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,