When I first started knitting, like many, I used good ‘ol acrylic. It was socks that introduced me to all the beautiful indie dyed yarns, which opened up the world of knitting for me. I felt this is a good place to start my story. How I learned to knit socks.
Disclaimer: This is a long one. I’ve included links that helped me through this process along with a list of patterns used. I do hope you’ll find it useful if you are a beginner sock knitter or thinking of casting on your first pair, or even if you’re simply curious to know how I got this party started.
I was making scarves for my husband and eldest son at the time. Knitting podcasts kept me company and almost every. single. one of them were making socks. I remember thinking – WHY? I don’t see the point. How can one even knit with such fine yarn and tiny, tiny needles? Not to mention how expensive yarn is only to put on your feet???
Fast forward 2 years later, and I am now a self professed SOCK ADDICT.
I ALWAYS have a pair on the needles (sometimes two or three – don’t judge!) and carry it everywhere I go.
When I got the hang of it, I told my family they were all getting socks for Christmas.
2016 was the year of socks.
This is how it began…
I’m a self taught knitter. I watched many tutorials online, specifically Staci Perry of Very Pink long before my husband surprised me with a knitting kit for Christmas. I also have my cousin to thank for showing me how to do the knit and purl stitches the next day.
Ok, back to the scarves and podcasts. After seeing many beautiful hand knit socks, curiosity got the better of me. I thought, can I do this? It looks daunting. I browsed Ravelry for the “perfect beginner’s sock pattern” but was quickly overwhelmed. Nothing screamed, “Knit me! I’m the one you should try”. So, I went on You tube, looked up sock tutorials and came across Staci’s video: Knit toe-up socks using german short rows. It’s made with DK/sport weight yarn, size US 3 needles, and the best part? NO WRAPS AND TURNS! (I’m allergic to them, btw, I always substitute it with German short rows (GSR).
There are many different ways to knit a sock. You can use magic loop, double pointed needles (DPN’s), 2 circular needles at once, or 9” circular needle. My preference is magic loop. I tried DPN’s but found it too fiddly. There is something about the motions in magic loop that captivated me. I love getting to the end of a row and adjusting the needles back to starting position. It’s an art!
I practiced magic loop, picked up some acrylic from Michaels and got to work. The pattern was well written and the video links were a tremendous help. It literally held my hand through the entire process. The result? Success on my first try! Apologies for the blurry pic – it was taken last year before I knew I was going to be blogging about it.
I was eager to use fingering weight yarn, but didn’t care for a provisional cast on. I heard a lot about Judy’s magic cast on and Fish Lips Kiss Heel so I gave it a try. I bought Patons Kroy Socks in the colorway Blue striped ragg and size US 1 needles. I didn’t know at the time this particular yarn is a bit heavier than fingering weight and I didn’t like the fabric I was getting. I ended up frogging it and tried again with size US 1.5 needles. Much better! (See #14 below.)
In total, I knit 14 pairs of socks less than a year later.
No’s 1-8 were gifts:
Here are the patterns I used:
No 9 – Tulsi socks by Verena Cohrs
No 1 & 10 – Blueberry waffles socks by Sandy Turner (free pattern)
No 11 – Hermione’s everyday socks by Erica Lueder (free pattern, my favorite!!!!)
No 12 – Express Lane socks by Diane Mulholland (free pattern – lace)
No 13 – Mrs Weasley’s Family socks by Molly of A Homespun House
These are all great beginner patterns. I found using this helped me stay on track.
Now, to answer my question – why hand knit a sock?
- It’s FUN. Knitting socks allows me to play with self striping, and speckled yarns since I prefer to knit everything else in tonals or single colors. It is such a treat to knit a sock in a colorway I love or watch the stripes appear as I knit.
- SHOPPING SMALL. Supporting small businesses is important to me! Most indie dyers and designers are stay at home mamas – just like me, doing what they love to support their family. I’m all about that.
- It’s PRACTICAL. You always need socks.
I hope I’ve inspired you to cast on your first sock! Let me know in the comments if you found this helpful at all. If you’re already a sock knitter, how did you learn?
On my next post, I’ll share my sock recipe. Until then, happy making!