Hello friends.

Something very exciting has come into my yarny life and I’ve been dying to share it.

Join me in my journey as I discover The Knitting of Socks.

Now who would even know that handmade socks were ever a thing? But a quick glance around the internet and you would never be in any doubt as beautiful pairs of striped, spotted, fairisley fabulousness in every shade and hue are there to be admired and desired.

As a crochet addict it had barely occurred to me that I might actually be capable of knitting a sock myself. I’ve watched quite a few of our clever retreat guests whipping them up but then they were Knitters and I am a Crocheter.

Hand knitted socks are very desirable objects in my eyes. I am a person who almost always wears socks all year round as I live on a small farm. They are a daily necessity for wellies, work boots or trainers as there are far too many nettles and unsavory things to step in or large creatures to be stepped on by in daily life here. Not for me the pretty open toed sandals of summer and I always wear trousers so socks it is.

Now it’s a very long time since I knitted anything at all let alone something as ambitious as a sock so I needed to get to grips with some new terminology. Thank goodness I stumbled upon the wonderful ‘Winwick mum’ and her clear and generously shared instructions for beginners. Here’s a link to her sockalong: https://www.winwickmum.co.uk/p/sockalong-resources.html

Not only that but this lady, Christine Perry has written a book to help as well as making everything freely available on line. Not surprisingly the book has recently entered the top one hundred best sellers in knitting books on Amazon. How fabulous is that?

Here it is, this is what you need to get started: Super socks by Christine Perry. If you don’t know your dpns from your magic loop or your heel flap from your Kitchener stitch then this is where to find out. Quite honestly I did not know what a dpn was till very recently; a ‘double pointed needle’ and I certainly didn’t know what to do with them.

Christine carefully explains how to set about sock knitting with your chosen weapon which in my case is a small circular needle. Who invented these great little devices I wonder? The woolly loops are much less likely to fall off the ends as they are all safely gathered in. You do still need to use the pointy sticks here and there though.

I think it was the sock wool which really lured me into all this. Who could resist a self-striping yarn? The journey began as I picked out the first ball but honestly I really did not know at that stage if I could actually do it. Eek!

How to make a sock. Here I am making my very first sock and following the book very closely indeed.

It all begins with the pointy sticks for casting on and starting the rib but soon you are onto the clever little small circular and phew those loops are safe. Rib done you can breeze down to the heel flap. Did you realise that going round and round means no purling? I certainly didn’t. It’s so easy to keep knit knit knitting. Heel flap is straightforward, back and forth on the pointies again then time to turn the heel. Now this looks tricky but is immensely satisfying and clever if you just follow the process. I think it’s my favourite bit now.

Then pick up your stitches all down the sides of the heel and flap, tricky till they are all safely gathered in on the circular again. And breathe. Use your stitch markers now to show where to make gussets (great word isn’t it?) to either side then hurtle on with knit knit knit towards the toes. The next bit is a decrease on either side to draw in the toes and then time for the wonderful clever Kitchener stitch to make a smooth grafted finish.

That’s all there is to it. This pink sock is my very first sock.

Completing your first sock truly is a bit like giving birth. This is the post I wrote for the sockalong group:

‘I did it! I gave birth to my first sock! As a non knitter I can hardly believe it’s done. The hardest part was the last few stitches. I was sailing along nicely getting the hang of the kitchener when I got distracted and went slightly wrong. So in search of perfection I had to face my knitting bete noir and take back a few stitches holding my nerve as it all threatened to go Pete Tong in a big way. However I got there in the end and it’s not too shabby. Of course the problem is that unless you have only one foot then this must be a twin birth so…here we go again.’

Kitchener stitch at the toes is quite amazing and well worth learning. It gives a beautiful smooth grafted toe with no rough seams. With the first sock I think I actually had palpitations and sweaty palms trying to get it right. Later I wrote myself a diagram to help remember it and after that it all became much simpler. Just follow the arrows and slip off the circled stitch.

Knitting socks is a bit of an addiction as everyone says. After all there is so much to like about this dinky, portable project perfect for making in summer when you don’t want to be working on heavy blankets. A little sock on a circular needle can travel everywhere with you and is quickly made. One 100 gm ball of wool makes a pair with some left over. This I am assured can be used for future scrappy socks or contrast heels when you get clever.

Then there is collecting sock yarn. Oh my, oh yes. You only need one ball to make a pair so it’s easy to treat yourself. It makes for wonderful browsing time in your local wool shop and you don’t have to spend a fortune. It’s an inexpensive treat. Probably until you discover hand dyed with sprinkles and speckles but I’m not  quite there yet.

I’m looking forward to a cosy autumn and winter this year with my tootsies encased in warm, colourful loveliness.

In case you are wondering, currently I have pair number five on the needles and they are improving every time. Yes I can knit socks and so could you! So now I am a knitter, a very early days beginner knitter  that is, as well as a crocheter.

Here’s someone else obsessed with socks. I’ll leave you with our gorgeous granddaughter Margot age two.

See you soon,

Gillian

The Knitting of Socks.

12 thoughts on “The Knitting of Socks.

  • August 1, 2018 at 8:25 pm
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    Wonderful read Gillian….you are so funny!
    I fear I may have been an influence in your newest addiction! All those lovely new hand made socks to wear 😃

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    • August 1, 2018 at 8:49 pm
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      Indeed Carol! I was watching pretty closely last time you were here and asking questions if you remember. At the time the idea was slowly forming in my head of having a go at sock knitting myself. I did not tell anyone though in case it was a fail! I really love hand knit socks and will stick with simple ones at least for the time being. Thank you for being an influence. xxx

      Reply
  • August 1, 2018 at 9:32 pm
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    I also love Christine’s book. I started knitting socks when I discovered Christine’s blog a number of years ago and now like you always have a sock on the go. It is a perfect project when traveling on the train, waiting for appts etc. It is totally addictive. I can’t wait to meet Christine this year at Yarndale (travelling from Australia). She will also have her new book available 🤞. Xx

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    • August 2, 2018 at 10:19 am
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      Hi Lenore and many thanks for being here and commenting. Australia to Yarndale is rather special. I’m sure Christine will be a lovely person as she shares so generously. I met Lucy there from Attic24, a few years ago and she is just the same. What a fab community we have.

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  • August 2, 2018 at 6:34 am
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    Well done Gillian! You’ve mentioned all the right things about why it is so addictive … Ahead lie lacy /cabled / two-colour /indie dyed versions!! And deciding who in your family and friends is knitworthy … Ie worthy of receiving a pair as a present! Get knitting now – christmas is less than five months away!

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    • August 2, 2018 at 10:16 am
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      Thanks Kim and so good of you to comment. I think you are right they will make great presents once I perfect them. Eek Christmas!

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  • August 2, 2018 at 10:05 am
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    Such a wonderful blog post. I too love knitting socks and over the years I’ve amassed a collection of sock yarn. I had a break from knitting them for a good few years but now I’m back on it and recently treated myself to two books called The Sock Drawer and The Second Drawer Down. These are patterned socks though, not the vanilla ones (plain knit) as you’re doing. I’m so pleased you’re a convert. I love wearing hand knitted socks 💗💗💗

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    • August 2, 2018 at 10:13 am
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      Thank you Tanya and great to have your comment. I’ve seen those books and they look interesting. Maybe I might sometime venture that way.

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  • August 2, 2018 at 6:14 pm
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    WoW! they are gorgeous , such lovely colours. I do admire you for venturing into sock knitting. I’m still astounded that I can crochet and it still feels new to me, so don’t think I will be doing anything else just yet, unless…………………….a granny sock? hehe. A lovely post as ever. x

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    • August 3, 2018 at 4:19 pm
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      Thanks Aline and I’m sure you could make beautiful socks. It’s another learning curve.

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  • August 14, 2018 at 9:00 pm
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    WOW… they are fabulous. I keep looking at knitting socks but I keep hovering over the checkout button, having never delving into the mystical world of circular or dpn’s… but after reading your post, I will commit to pressing the button. Thank you for making up my mind. What was the wool and design, that you used for the pink socks please?

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    • August 28, 2018 at 2:14 pm
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      Hello Sharon, I’m so glad you are feeling encouraged to try. I started with Drops Fabel for the pink ones and the pattern is Winwick mum’s basic sock.

      Reply

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