Saturday, 4 March 2017

Sock knitting journey...

I started sock knitting almost a year ago, guided by expert online tutorials from Christine aka Winwick Mum and with my anniversary just around the corner, I thought that it was a good time to reflect and share some of the things that I have learnt along the way.

Stack of hand knit socks

Here's my modest pile of hand knit socks. My first pair - top of the pile - was made from some Regia Pairfect. If you haven't come across Regia's Pairfect and are concerned about pattern matching your yarn, then this might be a good yarn choice for you. I would definitely recommend it as a good beginner yarn; yellow yarn indicates where in the ball to start each sock so you can just focus on knitting rather than pattern matching yarn.

Socks are my go-to travel project; they are so portable and I have discovered that I can knit them whilst my husband drives which is bonus making time. It also makes a good project bag an essential and I am very lucky to have been able to buy one from the lovely Emma at Eldenwood Craft. Emma makes the most beautiful project bags for crafters and her Etsy shop updates sell out in minutes so I feel very privileged to have this birdy bag for my sock knitting kit.

Contents of knitting project bag, two socks partially knit, stitch markers, row counters, notebook, crochet hook

Over the last year, I have evolved the way that I knit my socks and refined the 'essentials' that I need to have with me. Whilst knitting my second pair of socks, I fell victim to 'second sock-itus' so I now knit my socks concurrently on short circular needles. I find I knit the socks more quickly this way and it feels great to finish one socks and then another in quick succession. After trying two other brands I have settled on 9 inch Hiya Hiya 2.5mm circular needles. 
Notebook, pencil, crochet hook, stitch markers
Like many sock knitters, I am on the search for the perfect sock-recipe and I find it helpful to have a notebook and pencil with me to note down what I've done or changes I have made whilst making in each sock. A 2.5mm crochet hook is useful to fix any issues that might arise and I wouldn't be without my stitch markers...

sock knitting in progress

Knitting socks concurrently is fantastic, but you do need to keep track of how many rows you've done on each sock so I have two row counters - one yellow and one green - and then one sock has a yellow stitch marker to indicate the end of the row and the another has a green stitch marker. It sounds very simple but one less thing to remember can only be a good thing! 

As part of my sock knitting experiments, I have added a fish lips kiss heel (FLS) to the last two pairs of socks that I have made using this pattern on Ravelry. .It breaks up your stripe pattern, but if you aren't too worried about that, the FLS heel is a really good heel to have in your sock knitters armoury; it's quick and I find that it looks lovely and neat. Through trial and error I have found that when using a FLS heel, I need to knit a longer leg (80 rows including the rib) and this time, I increased the number of stitches by 8 over 16 rows in the run up the heel and after the heel, I reduced back down my stitch count by 8 over 16 rows. These changes have given me a much better fit across the top of my foot and will definitely be staying in my sock knitting recipe! 

Finished socks
The end point of any top-down sock is the kitchener stitch. Until my last pair of socks, kitchener stitch and I just didn't get on - I think something to do with the fact that I sew left handed but knit and crochet right handed? - it was always the most fraught part of my sock knitting and then I discovered this great video on you tube; kitchener stitch without ears. The photograph above shows the finished result - I am so pleased to have finally mastered kitchener stitch (and not have sock ears too!).

I love to learn and sock knitting is perfect for this - there is always a new technique or different approach to learn and try. I am only at the (relative) beginning of my sock knitting journey but I hope what I've learnt and shared in this post is helpful to anyone starting out, my only warning is that sock knitting is highly addictive!


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this! I've started looking at the Winwick Mum site and look forward to knitting my first pair of socks! Yours look great!

    1. Thanks so much Carrie, I'm so pleased you're going to start your own sock knitting journey! x