My Sock Moment - N°7
"Wool socks were very healthy for me!"
Enjoys working on new designs
Lives in Münster, Germany
Hi Sophia. Can you please give our readers a short introduction?
My experience with knitting is kind of a bittersweet story. Even though my mother is a trained teacher for textile design, needlework didn’t really interest me for a long time. All attempts to teach me how to crochet, knit or sew were complete failures. Then, in 2012, an accident caused me to be confined to the house and at some point I was so bored that I got a ball of yarn and some needles and started experimenting, with the help of Youtube tutorials. First I started crocheting, then, beginning in 2013, I also took up knitting – including socks, in the last two years.
During my sick leave I taught myself knitting, from the ground up – although actually it was the other way around. I tried to make really complicated things and taught myself everything I needed to know to do so. If you don't realize how advanced something is, then you’re not afraid of it.
Very quickly I also began to design my own patterns and methods, even though I had never seen myself as a very “creative type”. Actually, I would consider myself to be someone who has a knack for numbers. I enthusiastically studied economy and worked with numbers, up until my accident. But as it turns out, an understanding of mathematics is very helpful for knitting. In addition, as an economist, you learn how to display relationships graphically, calculate increases, etc.. And my ability to work with Excel is an enormous help when writing patterns.
I have a friend to thank for the idea for the name “Stichfest”. In German, the various ways of writing this have different meanings or different associations. For my friend, “stichfest” referred to an alibi, “Stich Fest” sounded like a party, and “Stich fest!” sounded like an invitation to work tight stitches.
A cool name and a fascinating background! How do you like best to knit your socks?
Right now, I like best to knit socks with the addiSockWonder, with an afterthought heel, using my own method. I really enjoy combining colors and structures, as can be seen in my “Waldemar” pattern, for example.
Your "Waldemar" pattern is one in a collection of sock instructions. What is so special about these designs?
I first tried using the SockWonder on sleeves and loved the flow of the knit stitches. When I worked the ribbed cuff I had to twist my wrist to get the purl stitches on the little needles. So when I started knitting socks with the SockWonder, I wanted to avoid purling as much as possible but I also didn't want to just work stockinette stitch. That was the motivation to think up textured patterns without purl stitches. The result was my “Fraulein Wunder Socken”, an eBook with five textured patterns, which can be knit with one color or with several colors, without having to use several several strands of yarn at the same time. For example, I always use scraps of yarn for the cuffs, heels, and toes.
Since I often take my knitting along when I'm out and about, I didn't want to have to be changing from the SockWonder to double-pointed needles, so I learned all I could about the afterthought technique. I optimized the classic afterthought heel a little so that it can be knit with the SockWonder without forming holes. All “Fraulein Wunder” instructions are explained in detail for sizes 22-49. Each construction step has an overview of the measurements and figures for each size.
Super! Aside from the fact that you like to fiddle around and create such instructions, what do you associate with sock knitting?
For me, knitting is totally relaxing. In addition, almost everyone loves to receive a pair of hand-knit socks – and I give away 90% of my knits as gifts.
Do you have a favorite place to knit?
Actually, I like to knit everywhere! I travel a lot and I always take along a pair of socks in a mini-project bag, to work on during times when I have to wait or when I take a break. I also always knit in meetings. But I guess I have to say that my very favorite place is on the pier at the lake near our Swedish house.
That sounds idyllic! So, you knit always and everywhere … How much time do you need for a pair of socks?
Sometimes more than a year. I have a bad case of Second Sock Syndrome (SSS). On the other hand, I sometimes knit a pair of socks in four days. When I am designing, I often knit just the first sock, and don't knit the second sock until I want to give the pair as a gift.
That's a clever way to fight SSS! You admit that you are a REGIA fan. Will you tell our readers which REGIA is your favorite?
For purely patriotic reasons – the Norway Color Line. My family comes from Eidfjord, so this color name is close to my heart. Aside from that, I really like to knit with REGIA Pairfect, even though I now seldom use it for socks.
That’s a good cue! Besides socks, what have you designed with REGIA or REGIA Pairfect and why do you like to work with it so much?
First of all, I like the durability. At every opportunity, I am outdoors with my dog and I just generally walk a lot. My socks have to endure a lot. But I also like REGIA for scarves and for knits for babies. My first design on Ravelry, “Dimasq”, is a giant triangular shawl, knit with REGIA in the Fair Isle technique. In winter, I wear this shawl almost daily – and that might include out in the fields in bad weather. If the shawl gets dirty, I just put it in the washing machine, which is fortunately no problem at all.
For baby clothing, the same criteria are important. As soon as a little one starts crawling over a carpet, a pair of pants or a onesie has to withstand a lot of abrasion. And I don’t have to explain to anyone that things for children need to be washed frequently. I know that many people are worried that sock yarn is too scratchy, but in most cases, a baby will be wearing a cotton body under the woolen garment.
The pants and the litte cap from Regia Pairfect are really wonderful gifts for new parents. I hate to give a precious hand-knit as a gift and then worry that it will never be worn because the parents, understandably, don’t have the time to wash it by hand.
The “misuse” of Pairfect is really fantastic! One final question: Do you remember one particular sock moment?
Yes, but it’s not really a pleasant memory. A few years ago I broke my foot, and it was a very complicated break. For a long time, I wore wool socks on the broken foot, instead of shoes. On one especially hot summer day I couldn't stand it anymore and I took off the warm sock. The knit pattern was clearly recognizable on the back of my foot and I can remember how unbelievably funny I thought that was. Later, when the temperatures dropped below zero, I wore wool socks on both feet – extra-large socks, over my shoes, so that I didn't slip when I was walking with crutches. So you can see that wool socks were very healthy for me .
Thank you Sophia for the fascinating interview. We are looking forward to more clever designs from you!
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