Saturday, 25 February 2012


Earlier in the month, I wrote about my small-scale ambitions for the year, one of which was knitting socks. I am pleased to announce that I am now the proud creator of my first pair!

Overall, I found it surprisingly straight forward. I'd read so many things online saying how turning the heel is feared by those new to sock-knitting and, whilst in the same breath they'd insist it was nothing to worry about, the idea became a self-fulfilling prophecy in so much as I thought there must be some foundation to this anxiety. Because I am young and a bit impressionable, I instinctively became a little terrified. Fortunately, turning the heel really isn't the part to worry about. No, it's the bit immediately afterwards when you have to join it all back together again.

Fortunately, there's plenty of instructions and videos around to set you back on track when your confidence wanes. I also found it really helpful to keep notes of what I was doing to ensure the two socks were as identical as I could make them.

After having a gander round online, I settled on this 'Crusoe' stranded stitch pattern on Knitty. The resulting socks are more-or-less a size 4, which is perfect for me/my sister, but could be a little tricky if your feet are of the size of any normal adult. Admittedly I didn't test my gauge, but I still used the larger pattern and there does seem to be a bit of a consensus online that it comes up rather small. But as I said, with our child-feet that wasn't really a problem, and it's an easy enough pattern to increase (you just need to work in multiples of four).

I used King Cole's ZigZag 4ply (shade 745, apparently) which cost me £6 for 100g/493 yards/448 metres. I was slightly surprised by the price (probably because I'm a bit of a stinge) but it's worth bearing in mind that I've not even used half of this, so plenty left to make another pair. The more I knit, the more I realise that you don't always do it to make something that costs less (especially if you're partial to soft, fancy wool) but to create something that's more than just the sum of its parts. This is a case in point - I don't think I'd ever buy a £3 pair of socks as an impromptu gift (bit weird on several levels), but making a pair for the same price seems like a smart thing to do. It's not too ostentatious, but just big enough that you know there's been some real effort put into them.

So, verdict on making socks: good. They're really satisfying to knit and exactly the right size project to keep your interest piqued throughout (I finished these in a week without too much effort). I could also feel myself improving as they progressed, which is always nice. So don't be afraid, try socks today! A-thank you.

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