The feel of a well fit, hand knit sock is unlike any other. A pair of wool socks on a cold day can keep me happy and feeling warmer no matter what the temperature outside. But what if you hate knitting them? I submit that you haven't knit them enough. Furthermore, I suggest that Sock Knitter is not a badge you get with your first pair of socks, but is earned over time as you continue on your journey.
I knit my first pair of socks out of Lion Brand Wool-Ease worsted weight. I had read and reread my Ann Budd book, Getting Started Knitting Socks. I measured my foot in multiple places trying to make sure the sock would fit. I did a gauge swatch. I knit short cuffs so I could get to the heel and finally understand the words my brain could not comprehend. I pumped my fist in the air and whooped aloud when I turned my first heel.
Despite my accurate measurements, I didn't knit with enough negative ease to make a great fitting sock. I felt accomplished and invigorated having finished a sock, but I didn't love sock knitting. I felt it was a skill I had learned if a need for socks arose, but I wasn't ready to buy sock yarn in bulk just yet.
A few years later, my friend Susie gifted me some Knitpicks purple sock yarn for my birthday. I decided that I would use her sock knitting expertise to help guide me to a great pair of socks. It took a while to find a negative ease that was appropriate, but I kept on trying. Eventually I finished a pair of purple socks that were the start of my sock knitting journey. Still not a Sock Knitter, but in the grand scheme of The Oregon Trail computer game (the mother of all journey games), I was purchasing my supplies for the trip.
I can't point to a specific pair of socks that made me feel I had become a Sock Knitter, but I do feel today that I am a Sock Knitter. That's not to say that I have everything figured out, just that I enjoy the process. Part of enjoying sock knitting is finding what is fun for you, which may not be what other people find fun. In fact, you may be met with, "I'd rather stick DPN's in my eyes than knit socks that way" by your closest friends, but the beautiful thing is we respect the differences.
I discovered that I like the zoom of a short 8" circular needle for my socks. I enjoy a toe up construction using a Turkish cast on. While I love the look of patterned socks I can only have one on the needles at a time and I am content for now to expand my sock drawer mostly with simple vanilla socks. I love the Fish Lips Kiss heel both for the ease of knitting and for the great fit on my feet. I learned these things one at a time and with each new sock I learn something else about how I like to knit socks. Each time is more enjoyable than the last.
Sock knitting is an ever changing knitting skill. New heels are always being designed to fit different people. Easier methods are used. More challenging designs are published. Vanilla, patterned, or lacy socks? One at a time or two at a time? Toe up or cuff down? The possibilities are endless and with each sock you can try something new, changing just one aspect and working every closer to that magical, nirvana sock.