My obsession with socks….

September 29, 2008

A few years ago, after many many years of very boring black socks, and many pairs of tights, I bought some knee high socks. They are stripy, with black and coloured stripes on every pair.

This purchase of one pair became an avalanche, and I currently own 17 pairs of commercially knitted stripy socks, ranging in colour from bright pink, to red, deep green, to white, to grey, to my 2 pairs of purple stripy socks.

The purple stripy socks are for the days when I need that extra bit of oomph, to give me that inner knowledge, that the world can’t get me when I’m decked out in my purple and black stripes, even if they are hidden beneath my respectable suit.

I will often wear one red one and one green one at Christmas, and my grey ones are perfect for those days when I want to curl up on the sofa, and knit in front of old films.

One of the reasons I wanted to learn to knit was dreaming of making my own socks and so a couple of months ago, mere months into my knitting journey and with the help of Tsuki I cast on for the first time at knitting group. With encouragement of my friends of Sylvia, and Tinks, I cast on for the free pattern I got with my sock yarn. It was a disaster; I didn’t get on with the yarn and  the combination knitting I, at that point, had been doing, meant my sock cuff twisted like a helterskelter.

Although an interesting effect, Its not what I was going for.

I appealed to the wise ladies of my fortnightly knitting group, and it was soon realised that I was always knitting through the back loop of the stitch not the front. In my defense, I am, for the most part, a self taught knitter. It was easy enough to relearn when it was explained to me and after a while I managed to produce half a sock in beautiful purplely trekking XXL…But then (insert favourite horror film sound here) I had to turn the heel.

I put the sock down, and regarded it out of the corner of my eye for well over a week, certain in my belief that I could not do this complicated turning of the heel. From my internet research I had come across so many people terrified of this that it had become, to my mind, a horrible tramatising experience, but with gentle encouragement and Tinks walking me through the pattern instructions I turned that heel, and then I finished the sock in record time!

I made the second sock, and they were a bit lumpy and not perfect, but i tried them on, and they were too big!

I was down about it for a while, but I decided they could be bedsocks and that I wasn’t going to be defeated on the first attempt!

I started another pair of socks as soon as I could get my hands on more sock yarn and carefully manipulated the pattern so I could work out how I needed to completly alter it so I could make it do what I needed from it.

This was new and scary territory to me. After many years of an undiagonosed anxiety disorder, which reached a nasty peak not long before I took up knitting, the thought of doing something than blindly following the directions terrified me, but I was obsessed. I was determined to make this work, and so, I cast on again and worked out what I wanted from a sock.

I shortened the cuff, and the foot, and knit away happily in some varigated pink vinca yarn, and finished my first sock. I cast on the first sock and cast it off, and it seemed to be working. I started on the second one and then went away for a week. Unfortunatly I made the mistake of working on the sock after a 7 and a half hour long train journey. Due to my somewhat spaced out state I did too many decreases at the gusset, and although it still fit, it looked completly different to its partner. The second and very odvious issue is that halfway through the knitting, I came to the end of the varigation and a new one had been fixed on. I jumped straight from palest pink to deepest pink in the space of a round and it resulted in a really ugly line right across my sock.

I present Exhibit A – the first sock of my experimental pair. It graduates nicely, and looks rather pretty.

Exhibit B – the second sock of the pair. Note the ugly shape, the odvious line of double decreases and the line of colour change.

I also realised when making the second sock that I really don’t like the toe of the sock at all…I don’t know if its the shape of my toes in the sock but it just seemed wrong.

So, I’ve gone back to my sock pattern again and cast on for another pair of socks, in some lovely rainbow coloured Trekking XXL, and worked the cuff, heel and foot.

While working on it I searched for a different toe to try, and I’ve found one!

Its called a star toe and it is so beautiful.

A mixture of purls and knits and p2togethers made a lovely collection of triangles on the toe and it gathers at the point. It makes a lovely rounded toe and is very comfortable and I am completly and utterly smitten with it.

So, where to go from here? Well I will finish the second rainbow sock and then its SOCKTOBERFEST! I am going to make Black Dog Designs Picot Eyelet Socks in the lovely yarn I got recently from Yarn D’Amour – the newly online handdyed yarn company run by my friend Tinks Mum – I was there first online order!You’ve got to love a yarn company that packages its yarn in packaging which I swear is the exact colour of the old foil wrappers on Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. The colourway is called Hedgerow and its so beautiful. Its sock weight, 100% wool Blue faced Leiscester yarn and its the only truely expensive yarn I’ve ever bought.

After these? I have a yearning to make the Very Tall Socks from Knitty, in shades of purple to be my purplestockings..shall have to start gathering together purple yarn 🙂



  1. Oh, so glad that you are in for the Socktoberfest fun!!

  2. Hi, I had a line with the noro yarn but I thinks in tht case its unavoidable………….I did the picot eyelet socks a while back and am about to do mthem again, they are one of my favourites.

  3. Thanks Pam.

    I’m addicted to the picot edge socks, its so much prettier than the ribbing and feels so nice.

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