I was surprised to find three of my designs within these pages, but I was particularly happy to see my cuff to cuff socks. One of the weird things about this wild and wonderful industry is that (as with all creative fields) you just never know how your design will be received, if your ideas are cutting edge or crap, and if your small attempts at making the craft more enjoyable is relevant to any other knitter - anywhere. Of all my fiddling and attempts at solving small knitting problems (like second sock syndrome), I always loved these socks because they were in response to an abnormal desire to knit the darned things even though in general, I don't find sock knitting enjoyable.
The first pair of cuff to cuff socks were born on January 6th of 2014 which seems like a lifetime ago. Hubs and I called them "swap socks" because of the way the self-striping yarn settled into a bold, alternate pattern. I immediately knit a second pair and tried to document the connected toe and how I had separated them for future reference. At the time, my first designs were hitting the pages of magazines and I had just unexpectedly learned that I would soon fulfill my lofty dream of writing a knitting book on January 5th.
Of course, the editor and I found a place for the cuff to cuff socks within that book, but the pattern failed to launch as they say - it never really picked up steam. I even listened to a podcast that reviewed the book and the one podcaster basically said it was idiotic. Not in those words, but I caught her tone. She didn't really think that second sock syndrome was that big of an issue, and even if it was, two at a time socks are the preferred method for combating it. It might be a good time to mention that after the launch of my first book, I fell out. I literally didn't socialize or leave my house unless it was to shuttle the girls to and from school. My groceries were even being delivered. I have always been rather guarded and enjoyed time alone, but never was I anti-social or a sufferer of social anxiety. In fact, I always worked with the public when I was still in the work force and quite enjoyed travelling and buzzing around here and there. These years later, I still don't know what triggered that response, but in all other ways, I was still me. I have a background in fine art and I am conditioned to not only listen to, but appreciate criticism. I would listen to all of the reviews, read the blurbs, and take note. I wasn't offended or hurt. I was tired. It was time for me to step back and re-group.
However, that comment stuck with me. I teetered on defensive because my little cuff to cuff socks weren't stupid, and second sock syndrome (or sleeve or any other second of anything) is definitely a thing - at least for me - and that's valid. I still love these socks. I still knit these socks. I still think that knitting two socks at a time is a complete pain in the ass and I still think that this method is superior. It has taken me a long time to be so brazen as to defend my concepts/designs/work, but here we are. I might just be tired still or older (seasoned, let's say) or unafraid to step on a toe or two but it feels damn good. I posted about the socks on IG and a lovely knitter commented that she's seen tubes knit this way, then had afterthought heels and toes placed after breaking the tube and you know - if my cuff to cuff socks are stupid, all those shenanigans are downright intolerable (unless of course you're knitting in a dark pub half popped. In that case, it's advisable).
It honestly means a lot to me to work with such an amazing group of people at Interweave, to feel supported by my editors, and I value all of their encouragement - they keep me chugging along.
And so, now that you know that cuff to cuff socks are definitely the best way to knit socks, I would encourage you to give it a spin. The pattern itself is more of a canvas for you to experiment with. Use your preferred short row heels, use your preferred toe shaping, it's all gonna work. And then, rather than afterthought-ing a tube to death, simply remove your waste yarn and graft the toes closed. Boom.
I know I went on a bit of a rant here today, but I do hope you'll check out this amazing collection of patterns Interweave put together (and namely my favorite editor Kerry). The book weighs a ton and some of my favorite IW patterns from their various magazines and books are tucked inside. I linked at the beginning of the post, but HERE it is again since that was way back there somewhere.
*And, of course, enjoy that kid from Fuller House modeling the socks. The show hit the scene right around the same time the book did and I got more questions about that than the pattern!