Sock Obsession!

Hello, friends! I hope everyone had a great weekend!

I’m sure I’m not alone in struggling with finding the time to blog regularly. One result of this is that small projects generally don’t get blogged, or boring, “regular” garments. But only blogging more complicated projects doesn’t paint a very complete picture of what I’ve been making! So, today, I wanted to talk a little bit about my big obsession of the last several months- sock knitting!

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It all started with my Ondawa sweater. The instructions suggest that you seam the sweater with a strong, round yarn, a sock yarn, because Shelter is prone to breakage (plus it makes the seams less bulky to use a thinner yarn). So, I begrudgingly bought a skein of matching grey yarn, Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk (the cheapest sock yarn I could find in a matching color), and used a few yards for seaming. Now, I had a nearly-complete skein of sock yarn in my stash, and I couldn’t stand to let it go to waste, so I remembered the gorgeous socks I’d seen made from the Hermione’s Everyday Sock pattern and cast on. I’ve never really understood the point of handmade socks- they seem like they would be scratchy, saggy, and sweaty. And why put so much work into something that goes on your FEET? Feet are gross! So I was a little grumpy when I cast on! But I was going to use up that yarn before it got trapped in my stash forever!

I owe much of my success at my first attempt to Sarah. Her “sock-a-long” posts held my hand while I worked through all the tricky bits, and gave me the confidence to keep going. Plus her finished socks looked so pretty that I was inspired to power through the scary heel turn and get to the end! But I still wasn’t convinced that handmade socks were for me (I decided to make this pair as a gift for my mother-in-law… her house has particularly cold floors in the winter, so I thought she might like them).

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I changed my mind about socks when I found out how magical sock yarn is! I occasionally meet up with a group of knitters based in Queens, and when I saw Melissa and Kathryn working on socks in an amazing speckled yarn, I needed to know more! They directed me to Gauge x Tension (which, sadly, is closing, which is a bummer because I’ve bought my yarn from there almost exclusively since I found out about it) where I picked up a skein of Spun Right Round sock (colorway: “Don’t Go Away Mad”). Readers, I fell in love! I had just started my new job, which increased my commute time dramatically, and it turned out that sock knitting was just the thing to keep me from biting my nails when the train was delayed. Plus, socks are small enough that I can keep a project bag stashed in my purse at all times, so whenever I’m stuck waiting for someone, I can just pull it out and knock out a few rows!

I made a second pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks, this time for myself, and I absolutely love them! The textured pattern is really simple, so you don’t need to have a pile of instruction pages on your lap, but it’s fun and satisfying to knit. The pattern is really easy to understand and follow, so it’s not too challenging for a subway knit. And the yarn is just so beautiful, and makes a sock so incredibly warm that my feet feel good, even when I’m standing on the cold concrete floor at work. I was totally sold on this sock knitting business!

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My third pair of socks was another gift, this time for my aunt. I bought a second skein of Spun Right Round, this time in the colorway “Graffiti Overlay”. I decided to try out another free pattern, the Simple Skyp Socks, which are reviewed really positively on Ravelry. I found this pattern to be slightly more difficult to follow- the beginning of the round seemed to change frequently, and I didn’t understand why (newbie problems!). But in the end, the socks looked really nice, and it was fun to try out a different stitch pattern.

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If you can’t tell, I’ve gotten super passionate about knitting socks! I’ve made five pairs as gifts, and am working on a second pair for myself right now. While I don’t know if the recipients appreciate them, I really enjoy thinking about the person that I’m making them for while I’m knitting away. And it’s done wonders for my commute- I’m naturally impatient, restless, and twitchy, and while I haven’t changed into a new person overnight, it’s gotten easier for me to be patient when I have something to keep my hands occupied, without having to drag around a huge project bag. Also, sock yarn is just so fun! It’s a great way to use colors that you might not wear all over your whole body, and to try out independent dyers. It can be expensive, but I’m a slow knitter, so spending $25 on a skein that gives me a project to work on for a couple of months isn’t too hard on my budget. If you’re on the fence, please give it a try! I definitely recommend the two free patterns that I reference in this post… they’re great introductions to sock knitting. πŸ™‚ And if you haven’t checked out the Spun Right Round shop, do it! I’m not being paid to advertise for her or anything– I just love her yarn and want everyone to try it. πŸ™‚

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Fun fact: I realized just a few weeks ago that I totally didn’t have to buy sock yarn for my Ondawa sweater because I DIDN’T USE SHELTER. Did I remember this at the time? Nope. Definitely not. But I’m so glad I forgot, or I’d never have fallen down the sock rabbithole! πŸ˜€ So thank you, bad memory, for giving me another hobby! πŸ™‚

Anyone else as sock-obsessed as me??? What are your favorite patterns?

81 responses

  1. Aah, Hermione’s Everyday Socks are the pattern I was going to try next! Yours look awesome, I’m so glad to hear you like them. I’ve only made one pair of socks (Laule’a by Cabin Four, which were a really good first sock pattern but aren’t terribly practical as they are knit in 10ply wool), and I thought they looked pretty simple. How do you find the plastic sock blockers? Are they worth buying?

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    • Ooh, that pattern is so pretty! But you’re right- I don’t know that I could cram my feet into my shoes if I was wearing worsted-weight socks! The sock blockers were pretty inexpensive and they’re nice for me because I can even out small size differences between the socks. But they’re probably not necessary? I didn’t realize that when I bought them! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I make all my husband’s and my socks. Whilst I knit some by hand (I like Cat Bordhi’s patterns) I now knit most of them on a knitting machine- takes an hour and a half to knit a pair!

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  3. You just listed pretty much all the reasons I love knitting socks! I thought I would never fall for it, since after all I can afford to buy nice socks (unlike, say, a $300 sweater) … but once I saw how much nicer the handmade ones really are it was game over! I really like Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Heel pattern, and her approach in general. I’ve seen several other universal/customizable sock patterns around I may try another of those next.

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  4. It has been a very long time since I have knit socks…. your post may have piqued my interest again! Your socks look great and the recipients are sooooo lucky!

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  5. Trust me – everyone loves getting socks as gifts. I’ve made many pairs for friends and family. It never gets old – and they’re always so meditative to knit. I only use my own sock pattern (A Simple Sock). Part of me wants to make complicated socks and another part of me just wants to do what I know and what works. It’s my Type B activity!

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  6. I’ve pulled several sock patterns to attempt when I get more confident. But, I’ve never had handmade socks myself. So, it’s good to hear from someone what they feel like. I find sock yarn SO CUTE.

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  7. That speckled yarn is sooo pretty! I’m working on my second pair using the same Vogue Knitting sock pattern, and it’s my new favourite. I like to knit toe-up instead of top – down. Congratulations on your new knitting obsession!

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  8. I love knitting socks from the toe up – my grafting sucks so this is perfect. I tend to use the Lacery pattern from the Ravelry site. Sock knitting is definitely addictive, and yes they make great gifts πŸ˜ƒ

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  9. I LOVE sock knitting. I think getting to socks is almost a right of passage in a way. A lot of newbs can’t imagine putting the hours into a garment that goes inside your shoes, but wearing knitted socks is like wearing fancy underwear. It’s a luxury and you feel a little bit fancy knowing that you’ve got them on. Hermoine’s Everyday socks is one of my favorite sock patterns too!

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  10. I love that you’ve caught the sock knitting bug! I just finished a pair of Skyp socks for myself. I feel like, before I knit, I wasted years of commuting hours when I could have been knitting socks!

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  11. Yay socks! Yours are lovely. I finished my first pair a week ago (the ankle socks by Jenny Gordy in Lena Corwin’s Made by Hand book) and I just cast on another last night. I am totally hooked, too!

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  12. I’ve been knitting for years now and just discovered sewing as a new (and quite challenging) hobby. Seems to be the other way around with you- have fun, knitting is great!

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  13. I’m actually crediting you with piquing my interest in sock knitting! I haven’t made them yet, but I have fingering weight leftovers and some free patterns (thanks also to you) that I’m hoping will be my start. These look so comfy and definitely seem like the perfect travel project!

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  14. I really love all your socks – I want to get a skein of Spun Right Round, but I’m so backed up on yarn right now that it’s hard to justify getting some (I love having a fabric stash, but a yarn stash not so much – priorities!).

    I’ve still only made 1 sock and 3/4 of the second sock (which I started in December) – but I really should pick it up again. It’s really nice to have such a portable project! I used a really simple top down pattern (all stockinette), but my friend gave me a toe up, two at a time book that I’d love to dig into eventually!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you- stashing yarn is no bueno. I have a lot of odds and ends (single skeins that I couldn’t pass up), but I don’t like to have sweater yarn for more than what I’m currently working on.

      Girl, you gotta finish that sock! πŸ™‚ I wonder if you have the same book that Miss Crayola Creepy has… she’s made some CUTE socks from her two-at-a-time book!

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  15. I definitely need to start knitting more socks! I made one pair last summer and it was so fun, and so much faster than a sweater… ha! I was surprised how much I learned about knitting by making socks. It’s a great way to build skills without a major time/money investment.

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  16. I’ll bet your knitted sock gifts are huge hits. I know they would be with me! Maybe I’ll take the plunge soon… The traffic on my commute just gets worse and worse and I could be making something of it!

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    • Man, you need a knitting project for your commute! (Well, you could also read or something, but books make me too sleepy on the train). I’m sorry about your commute- that sounds horrible!

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  17. I’m actually working on a pair of Hermione’s Every Day socks in a speckled colorway right now! It’s nearly ideal for the metro and playground time. I need something to keep in my hands and my friends don’t seem to mind if I knit as I talk. I’ve also knit bed socks for myself and a few Jelly Bean socks (worsted weight toddler socks) for my daughter out of bits and bobs. I think you might like Mr Pitt socks which are also free and intuitive, but they’re a knit 3 purl 1 rib. I made them for my husband and he’s worn them so much that the heels and soles have felted. I also like the looks of a lot of the sock patterns on knitty, but I think I might be a vanilla sock knitter. I just don’t want much to pay attention to.

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    • Ooh! Those look great!! I’m working on a sock with a cable down the front (Sea Wall) and I’m not sure how following the cable chart will go once I have to start keeping track of the gusset, too. Might be too complicated for subway knitting!

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      • Just remind yourself that by that point, your foot is in the shoe. πŸ˜€ Really though, I try to keep the complicated parts to the house and the foot and the leg to public knitting. It shouldn’t be harder than knitting a cabled raglan, right?

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  18. I’ve been trying to build up the courage to make socks – I’m a novice and only just started practising knitting stitches. I was thinking about venturing into knitting actual things rather than samples, so thank you for this!

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  19. … and they feel amazing on your feet! … well… the few pairs I actually managed to finish πŸ˜› … can I call myself sock obsessed if I only knit one sock :0

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  20. I loveeeeee knitting socks!!! So addicting, easy to transport, and fun to make! I need to get started on a pair today, so I will be ready to bring them with me to the Kings game I am going to soon πŸ™‚

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  21. I’m so happy you caught the sock knitting bug! They really are the perfect subway knitting project. I still have so much Spun Right Round in my stash, I really need to get going with that.

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  22. I LOVE sock knitting, and yours look fabulous! They’re so perfect for the commute and I have gifted a couple pairs, but always to people I know will appreciate them (because I am moderately selfish like that). They are super cozy with a pair of cotton socks underneath, and the only way I pad around my freezing Portland apartment :-). Non-summer is long here, but I cheer myself up with lots of handknit socks, to compensate. I love the free Skew pattern from Knitty – so much fun the way they come together, addictive to knit, not too tricky (especially if you first figure out how to do the increases before you start the toe) and after a sock or two, pretty easy to memorize! Also, what sewist doesn’t love a bias garment?

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  23. Looking at your pretty socks I definitely want to try it again ( I had a failed attempt a year ago – at first the tube on the top was to large, then too small and then I gave it up). Thinking about that I always feel that knitting is not my thing anymore 😦 I loved knitting fair isle, but the process was not good for my body, I dunno how others do it – I have to concentrate that’s why I got neck pain and back pain from long sitting… So… I really love your socks, they look great and I’ll leave knitting to the knitters who love doing it! I’m more a sewer-person πŸ™‚

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  24. You are a sock knitting machine!! They all look great!! I love hand knitted socks they are such a dream to wear and they always make me feel happy. I haven’t knit any for awhile, but I really should get back on the wagon as they are a great driving in the car project!

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  25. I’ve been getting into the sock knitting thing, too recently and I’ve totally been stalking spun right round online. I have 2 skiens of sock yarn waiting in my stash for me, but I’m thinking that they’ll be my next purchase. I recently learned how to knit them 2 at a time and it’s been a serious game-changer!

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    • I still need to learn how to do two-at-a-time. And I’ve never done toe-up! So much to learn! It’s so good that you’re into socks– you need warm socks in Chicago! πŸ™‚

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  26. Your socks are awesome! I tried making a pair of socks for the hubby about 8 years ago. I knitted the ribbing of the first one, then gave it up as a bad job. I don’t think sock knitting is my forte, but the hubby still mentions it, in a wistful way, wondering when he will receive his handmade socks that I promised him nearly a decade ago. I swear, those will be the last words he utters…..

    Gem x

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  27. Hi Sonja,

    I just read your post about your finished sweater and I just learned about how to KNIT Kitchener stitch for grafting the underarm stitches. This might be a nice technique for you because the yarn you used is so delicate, and this is knitting, not sewing. You just need to leave the stitches live, if that makes sense (I’m dutch, so these terms can get a bit confusing to me), not bind them off. That goes for the stitches in the sleeve and the same amount in the yoke that you might (maybe) bind off usually. This is a link to the tutorial, which is very clear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-S9v-pEiu-M
    I really love! this technique and it gives a really nice finish too.

    Astrid

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  28. Pingback: In Which The Blogger Is A Magpie | Life in A "Mads" House

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