Socks! Cosy, satisfying, hand knit socks. I might only knit one pair or so a year, but they’ve remained one of my knitting constants: something I can cast on for without having to think much about a pattern, very portable and (nearly) always fun. Plus any non-knitter is usually fascinated by the sight of you knitting a sock (and knitters will always come and have a look too).
I’ve made half a dozen pairs during my blog hiatus, some of which have been more successful than others. These are the ones which are still going strong, and all of them cheer me up when I see them in my sock drawer. I’m always a tiny bit pleased when it gets cold enough in winter for me to break out the hand knit socks – these guys are either worn when it’s very cold indeed, or as a special indoor treat at home. Plus you can go crazy with sock yarn colours and nobody knows! Sensible work attire from the ankle up and a party going on in the boot (er, as it were).
Twenty-twelve tube socks (guess when I made these?). The simplest of simple stocking stitch toe-up socks, using this Opal self-striping yarn from way back when. These were made at a time when I had a long daily tube commute, and going home I could guarantee a seat all the way and needed something to occupy my time. It was a bit of a bleak time, work wise (happily not for long), but these socks helped to cheer me up at the beginning of a wintery January. They are great basic workhorse socks which I reach for regularly during winter (and which can be chucked in a normal wash, hooray!).
Buttercup socks (2012). I don’t have enough yellow clothes! You can’t not look at these and smile. Yarn (Regia extra twist merino) bought from Liberty when I was out shopping with my friend Katie, and so picking these up will always make me think of her. Toe-up, and using a simple but really effective combo of cables and rib. Happy socks.
Low-key socks (2013). My first foray into contrast toe/heel/cuff shenanigans. The main yarn (Regia 4-fädig Color) was a Christmas present from my mother-in-law, and the moment I saw it I thought how well it would go with some leftover Rowan Cashsoft in my stash. And it did! This is one of the most fun self-striping yarns I’ve used for a while. Worth saying that the basis for this sock, as it often is for ones I knit, is Wendy’s generic toe-up one. A classic and a winner.
Peppermint Stripes (2015). LOVE THESE. Cute k3p1 ribbed socks (toe-up, obvs – it’s going to take a lot for me to go back to cuff-down) in soft angora/merino blend sock yarn. The only fiddly bit was working out the right stripe widths (and making sure the contrast heel was in the right spot) – there’s the tiniest gusset but otherwise they’re straightforward short-row toes and heels. I have found, over the years, that adding a little gusset increase (just 2 or 4 stitches) helps to make the heel comfortable and adds stitches for around the leg. These ones also use a jogless jog, which isn’t perfect but it’s not half bad (I kept my colour changes in a vertical stack, rather than letting them travel around the foot/leg). The yarn is a touch soft for heavy wear (they’re my newest socks and they are already starting to pill a little), but they are super comfy.
And, just for kicks, here are a few old-time socks which are still going strong.
Raspberry Koigu Cables – I am literally wearing these right now, ten years on. The Koigu has held up brilliantly with only a touch of pilling around the heel. Well-played, Koigu.
Chuck’s Cabled Socks – still squidgy, soft and brilliant (though only worn on special, very cold, occasions).
Rainbow socks – my original pair! And still going strong.
(Side-note – I find it amazing, and not a little unnerving, that I am wearing things now that I knitted ten years ago. Not so much that they’re still in one piece ten years later, but more that TEN YEARS HAVE PASSED and I can easily remember knitting them. Bloody hell.)
Ooh handmade socks are brilliant, though, aren’t they – writing this post has made me fidget a bit to cast on for a new pair (it has been nearly a year since my last ones). Are you a sock knitter? What’s your favourite pair?