4509 Tolt Ave, Carnation, WA
(425) 333-4066
  • Stock Your Sock Drawer : Susan Moskwa

    We are so pleased to introduce to you our friend Susan Moskwa.   Susan does a lot of behind the scenes work for Tolt, she is the tech editor for our patterns.   She is truly amazing and we don't know what we would do without her!  When Susan is not busy crunching numbers and making edits she enjoys spending time knitting.   You can find Susan on her website or on Instagram .

    1. Do you consider yourself a "sock knitter"? Why do you like to knit socks?

    Yes! For me, socks are the "comfort food" of knitting. They're safe and easy; I know my size, I can knit one from scratch without a pattern, and I know how to fix things when they go wrong. I travel a lot, and socks make great travel knitting: small, portable, and it takes me a couple weeks to finish a pair. Plus I love that one skein is enough for a pair, so—unlike sweater quantities of yarn—I can buy sock yarn here and there without knowing exactly what I'm gonna do with it but without worrying whether I'll have enough.

    I also love socks as a tiny canvas for whatever type of knitting you want to try out. Lace, cables, colorwork, bobbles, beads... you can do them all on a sock. You could do them all on the same sock. You can do totally crazy things on a sock that you could never get away with on a sweater (remember this??). Socks can be practical or decorative, rugged hiking socks or cashmere-y house slippers. When I was younger, I didn't believe in crazy socks; I thought of socks as underwear for your feet, something purely functional, not meant to be seen or shown off. But now I knit them in all kinds of colors and designs, and I love to incorporate them as part of an outfit, not just a layer between foot and shoe.

    2. When did you knit your first pair of socks? Was it harder or easier than you thought?

    I started knitting regularly in 2008, and in summer 2009 I knit my first pair of Leyburn Socks. I found it quite straightforward: start with a well written pattern, and do exactly what it says. Once you can knit, purl, decrease, and knit in the round, you've basically got what it takes for socks.

    3. Are you a DPN or Magic Loop knitter and why? Has it always been that way? If not, when and why did you make the switch?

    I started out using DPNs, but I got terrible ladders at the joins and I didn't want to have to constantly worry about snugging them up or shifting my joins. As soon as I learned Magic Loop, I never looked back. I also tried two-at-a-time socks on a long circular needle, just to see if I liked it, but found that a bit too fiddly... too much managing cables and working yarns and trying to keep everything straight (both physically and conceptually). I also like to do a lot of trial and error on the first sock, and then knit the second sock straight through once I've gotten everything exactly the way I want it. When I knit two-at-a-time, that meant ripping back two socks for every one mistake.

    4. Do you have a favorite pattern or heel and toe construction?

    I like to knit top down with a heel flap; I have a high instep, and this construction always fits me. I went through a phase of experimenting with different heel types, but nothing worked as reliably as the heel flap + gusset. But I also like to try new things, like interesting constructions or moving the gusset around. I rarely knit the same pattern twice. Among my own patterns, my favorite is Cheshire; I love the movement between the textured and the reverse-Stockinette sections.

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    5. Is there a favorite sock yarn at Tolt that you have worked with or want to work with?

    Right now I'm more drawn to individual colors than I am to any particular yarn base. I'm finding self-striping yarns really fun, and I'm trying to buy more solids and semi-solids, because I like knitting complex patterns that don't show up as well on multicolored yarns. I'll always be a sucker for a rich blue or purple, no matter who's dyed it!

    6. Do you have any tips, tricks or advice you can give to other sock knitters, new or experienced?

    1. Newbies: Don't be intimidated. Just follow the directions (carefully).
    2. Everyone: Take the Yarn Harlot's Grok the Sock class. This is the class that propelled me from "someone who has knit some socks" to "a sock knitter". It includes principles for knitting socks without a pattern, among other very useful and empowering info.
    3. Learn to darn and mend your socks! It will make you feel very clever. Plus, better to spend an hour darning than two weeks knitting a new pair to replace the old one.

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