Knitting socks has been a goal of mine ever since I got back into knitting last year. I haven’t posted anything knitting-related on here before, so here’s a bit of background: Like many people I learned to knit as a child, but never progressed beyond scarf-level. Over the years I’ve gotten back into knitting occasionally (and have amassed quite a collection of scarves) but have never had the courage to knit anything more interesting.
Then, last summer, when I decided to make my own clothes for a year, it seemed only natural that knitwear would be included in that… or it would have to be if I wanted to achieve my goal of wearing an entirely handmade outfit (including socks and jumpers- and underwear, but that’s for a different blog post!). So I picked up the needles again, this time with the end goal of making proper garments.
I swear by Aneeta Patel’s Knitty Gritty books; they’re written in a really accessible and encouraging style and include lots of step by step pictures. If you’re a beginner I highly recommend you get them (although fair warning, the sizing on the garments is a bit dodgy). Naturally I chose to knit the sock pattern from these books, and I’m very glad I did, as without its detailed instructions and pictures I don’t think my socks would have turned out so well.
There’s also a piece of really good advice in the book, which is: Don’t try knitting socks unless you have knitted in the round before AND can pick up and knit. So, to build up to socks I knitted a jumper which included a pick-up-and-knit neckband, and a hat in the round (both patterns from Knitty Gritty). Because I did this, knitting socks didn’t feel scary, it just felt like an interesting challenge!
Here’s how they turned out:
Immediately after I made them, my perfectionism kicked in and I couldn’t see past a couple of mistakes I’d made. This happens quite often after I finish a project, and it’s a horrible feeling. The main issue was that they were a couple of centimetres too short for my feet; to make them a comfortable length I have to pull the toe forward, and then the heel sits in the wrong place.
Looking back now, these worries seem incredibly pointless and irrational. Since I made the socks I’ve worn them countless times despite the length, and I’m so proud of them! I thought it would be at least a year before I could knit socks, but I built up to it in a couple of months!
But, there were still some things I wanted to do differently on my second pair: Obviously adding to the length, and I also wanted to try knitting the leg in rib for a closer fit, as the first pair kept falling down.
For this pair I chose a slightly more luxurious wool; Malabrigo Sock in the shade Abril. Words cannot describe how much I love this colourway! Here’s one of the finished socks:
The difference in fit doesn’t show in the photos, but they feel way comfier than the first pair, plus they don’t fall down! Success!
I have noticed a big difference in how the socks wear; for the first pair I used a yarn that contained nylon, whereas for the second it was 100 percent merino wool. The first pair have barely pilled despite being machine washed multiple times, but the second pair started to pill the first time I wore them (which was in bed, so they got basically no wear). Although the merino wool feels lovely and decadent, in the future I’ll stick to yarns with a bit of man-made fibre in them.
Before I finish this post, I just wanted to mention something slightly odd I’ve noticed, to see if anyone has any advice… Where I picked up the stitches along the edge of the heel flap, it looks different on either side.
Do you see how on the right image (which is on the side of the heel flap where I slipped the stitches purl wise) the stitches on the edge of the heel flap look fatter than the ones on the left image (where I slipped the stitches knit wise)? I was just curious to know if this is totally normal or if I’m doing something wrong. Advice would be much appreciated!
Thanks for reading, and happy knitting! 🙂