I have just finished knitting my first pair of socks. I plan to knit some more.

It started as an exercise in technique. Socks can be knitted in so many ways, different heels, toes and cast ons are all useful tools for a knitted toy designer. I decided that it was time to investigate this untapped resource.

As I worked on the socks, I discovered that sock knitting is so much more than just technique. Socks are a very satisfying project. They’re quick to knit and you get to make the same thing twice, so the second sock is knitted even more quickly than the first (in theory). Socks are cheap, you could probably knit $100 socks if you tried hard enough. But most people don’t try that hard. Socks circumvent the “fashion” problem. Sometimes I see a pattern for a sweater or a cardigan that I really like, I spend six weeks and $100 making it only to find that it doesn’t suit me. I am confident that any socks I knit would both suit me and fit me and if they didn’t I could just hide them under boots.

In short, socks are brilliant.

I’m working from the book Sock Knitting Masterclass. I picked it up because each pattern is by a different designer, so I’ll hopefully learn lots of different thing. I have no intention of making every sock in the book, although I do intend to eventually work every kind of heel and toe in top up or top down construction. I am still a toy pattern designer, a mum and a craft shop employee so I don’t expect to achieve this goal anytime soon.

Unusually (for me), I began at the beginning of the book with Cookie A’s Asymmetrical Cable socks. For yarn, I chose some hand dyed fingering weight from my stash that is no longer available to buy.

I learned so much that it makes a better list than a paragraph:

  • When cable panels move around it’s called “traveling”.
  • Reinforced knitting is made by slipping stitches, how counter intuitive is that?
  • The round short row heel is much easier than I expected, but also a bit messy looking. Maybe this is a reason why knitters avoid short rows in toy projects?
  • I must READ the pattern, not GUESS the pattern.
  • SSKs get better with practice, they really do.
  • It is possible to change a purl stitch to a knit stitch (and vice versa) from the row above where it was knitted.
  • And again, for emphasis I must READ the pattern, not GUESS the pattern.

As I investigate some of these new ideas I’ll write  more about them. In the meantime I would recommend learning stuff from knitting socks. It’s definitely working for me.



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6 responses to “Socks?

  1. Dee near Berkeley

    Probably my favorite sock book is “Sock Knitter’s Workbook” by Stephanie van der Linden & Ewa Jostes. Not only a huge variety of sock “parts”, but a lot of the “why” behind different choices. I LOVE Steffi van der Linden’s sock designs. Check her Ravelry page!

  2. Dee near Berkeley

    A suggestion for improving the look of the SSKs – work the resulting stitch THROUGH THE BACK LOOP on the following row/round. It does a fabulous job of straightening out the jagged line in a heel (or anywhere else). After nonaknits did her Left-Leaning Decrease study, along with TECHknitter’s and others’ studies, I did my own and *my* results were, happily, the easiest. Work a standard SSK and work the resulting stitch TBL on the next row/round. Purl TBL is a bit more complex than knit TBL, so be sure to follow good directions if working in rows.

  3. Lovely socks! Congrats on your first pair.

  4. Pingback: Look So Pretty in Your New Lace…Socks |

  5. Pingback: New Heel, New Toe, New Cast On |

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