Smarter Socks

When Thor and I left San Francisco, we settled in an area where the winter climes were much colder.  We needed wool socks!

From time to time in the SF Bay Area I wore wool socks, but not often.  Thus, when the first winter arrived (yes, with snow and ice), Thor and I each bought several pairs of SmartWoolยฉ socks.  By the end of the first winter, socks that we had worn no more than four times a month were showing worn out heels and toes.

SmartWoolยฉ will replace any defective socks, and I took advantage of that policy, but not for long.  We paid for the return shipping and were given another pair of socks in exchange, but the new socks wore out just as quickly.

Clearly it was time to revisit sock knitting.  Of course I knew how to knit socks; in fact, while in my “sock phase,” I regularly gifted socks to family and friends.  But then I moved onto other  “phases.”  Until now.  Moved by the sock enthusiasm and encouragement of Wei S. Leong, I picked up needles for sock knitting this (hot!) summer.

SockButtonI took measurements of my feet, knit up a gauge swatch from John Q Earth Wear (a blend of recycled possum/merino and nylon, 100g=361m sent me by Kiwiyarns Knits– – I got the subtle hint: “knit some socks!”), and jotted down a basic pattern.  Remembering that I had never managed to make myself a pair of socks out of a single skein (yes, I have large feet), I used a provisional cast one and knit a sock with a short leg.  After weighing the sock, I realized I had enough yarn to lengthen the leg, remove the provisional cast ons and add a ruffle, and make a matching sock!

What fun!

While attending the Black Sheep Gathering this past June, I bought several cakes of sock yarn (3.5oz/400y) from Las Flores del Altiplano Alpacas of Yacoult, Washington.  The alpaca was blended with merino (40%) and nylon (10%), both of which adds to the sock yarn’s overall strength and durability.

Lacey

Lacey

Using yarn courtesy of Lacey I knit Seadragonus.

Daphne

Daphne

I then knit Anemone out of yarn made from Daphne’s fur!

I was on a roll!

After browsing through a few books for ideas, I sketched out two more sock patterns.  One will incorporate an Old Shale pattern (not the same as the Feather & Fan stitch – thank you, Northern Lace, for explaining and illustrating the difference!), and the other using some sort of twisted stitch, maybe a type of traveling clock stitch.

Persephone

Persephone


Zinnia

Zinnia

The yarn?  Courtesy of these two pretty ladies here!

I doubt I will knit enough socks this year to rival the impressive number and variety of socks made in 2014 by Ms. Leong.  That said, I should probably knit Thor a pair or two of warm socks.  I see a drive north to Yacoult!

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About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
This entry was posted in Fibers, Knitting and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Smarter Socks

  1. Pingback: Returned to Sock Knitting | The Sweaty Knitter, Weaver and Devotee of Other Fiber Arts

  2. Thanks for sharing – I will check out your pattern!

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  3. jmn111 says:

    I’ve worked out a basic sock pattern using a short rows heel and a parabolic shaped toe shaping. You might be interested: http://www.lupinworks.com/knitting/basicSockPattern-2.html

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Boomdeeadda says:

    Oh now see, you’ve tought me something new! I so enjoy this blogging community ๐Ÿ˜€

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  5. Those are alpacas. Llamas, I learned, are much larger – 500 lbs! Some folks keep llamas as flock guardians!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Boomdeeadda says:

    Lovely Llama’s! Or perhaps they are Alpaca’s? I can never tell. Thank you for joining the fun at Boomdeeadda. I really appreciate it. I’m not a knitter but love the country life and all critters. I’m running off today but will love to come by and see whats happening in your end of the country. Cheers B

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  7. Ahh, I see … A page from the “when I am old I shall wear purple” poem?! ๐Ÿ˜„ I’m with you! >

    Liked by 1 person

  8. salpal1 says:

    I like that! I figure if I am going to go all “clunky old lady” with tights and socks with my skirts, they could at least be pretty socks. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  9. Maggienesium says:

    Okay, socks now *have to* be my thing! The possibilities seem endless and you can’t ever have too many socks! Simple socks will do for now – just until I figure out what works but once I do, I’m going all out! Thank you ๐Ÿ˜€

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  10. Grey Dove says:

    As far as not realizing there are different ways of making heels, … you aren’t alone! I only found out some eight or nine years ago, and I’d been knitting for more then twenty by then.

    Socks are definitely worth making your thing! And I think being able to use any method is great, (including toe-up), that way when you sift out your favourites you’ll have a selection of methods that is just right for you. And usually you can swap construction methods while sticking to a pattern. (That is different ways of making heels, casting on, decreasing for toes and so on.)

    And you can make really gorgeous fancy socks, or be delightfully basic, whatever appeals , … a small fun way of creating!

    Happy Knitting!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Maggienesium says:

    Why had it not occurred to me that there is more than one way to knit a heel? Thank you! I’m not there yet, but if it’s giving me trouble, I’ll definitely scout for another method. I’m still really excited and determined to make socks my thing ๐Ÿ™‚

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  12. Grey Dove says:

    I agree, heels get way more hype then they deserve, once you’ve knitted one you will wonder what the fuss is about! That said, these days there is also a whole lovely selection of ways to knit a heel. If one way is really not appealing to you perhaps you could substitute another? I recently worked a short-row heel for the first time and simply because I didn’t need to look for an extra needle to pick up stitches along the flap edges I am quite smitten with them!

    Best of luck, I’m sure you’ll love your finished sock and thoroughly enjoy working its mate!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Maggienesium says:

    ๐Ÿ˜€ I hope so – though, once I get this, I think I’ll be able to knit anything!

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  14. And your amazing dyeing feats make me want to send you my undyed fibers … ๐Ÿ™‚

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  15. I forgot how addictive knitting socks can be … I already have five or so more pairs planned – and those are just the ones for me! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  16. I am sure after you finish your first heel you will think to yourself, “now why was I scared about this?” ๐Ÿ™‚ Truly!

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Maggienesium says:

    Absolutely. I am still scared about getting to the heel but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it ๐Ÿ™‚

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  18. sewknitrun says:

    I love knitting socks. They have just enough going to on to keep me interested. I always have a pair on needles in my desk drawer at work.

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  19. Rebecca says:

    Yay for hand knit socks… You inspire me.

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  20. writeknit says:

    Mine frequently travel with me:-)

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  21. Remember they’re a small enough project to tuck in your purse and knit anywhere! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Years ago a friend of mine told me that when she feels blue, she dons a colorful, fun socks and admires her feet! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  23. It’s nice to be able to have small wool projects to knit in the summer – and they can be as complicated or simple as desired!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Yes, your active sock knitting has shamed me! ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, encouraged me – that and seeing the heels of all those “good wool” socks [store bought] wearing out sooooo quickly!

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  25. Those sound like sturdy socks indeed. I met one woman who said her outdoorsy husband was always wearing through the heels of the socks she knit, so she started using fishing line in addition to the wool for knitting the heel flap!

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  26. Thanks for the info and referral. I think I have a couple of beautiful shawl patterns from them. Yes, I agree, hand made socks are a treat!

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  27. writeknit says:

    I love knitting socks but haven’t made them in a while since I only wear socks in the winter. Earlier this year I made one – hopefully the other will be done before fall. LOL

    Loving the alpaca pics also!! โค

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  28. salpal1 says:

    Sounds like your feet will be warmer this year! I had a similar problem a few years ago – not that I moved to a colder clime, but that my feet just seemed to be getting colder, and my store bought socks were rough scratchy ugly dull things. I wanted more color on my feet. I wear skirts and tights all winter, so my socks do show. ๐Ÿ™‚ I joined in the knitting sarah’s year long sock KAL – the only rule was to knit some on socks each day. I did that, and made 26 pairs in that year! Although I gave some away, I now have a nice pile of warm handmade socks in many colors. And the sock habit has stayed with me, although I am not as religious about working on them each day, I have a bright ink and orange pair on the needles right now. She still has the KAL group up on ravelry, and I am not the only one still knitting socks. Check it out, there are some interesting patterns people have made, and some great yarns used. and have fun! Sounds like you have some wonderful local yarns to choose from, you lucky thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  29. Maggienesium says:

    Those are going ro be some real cozy socks by the look of the yarn source ๐Ÿ˜€
    I think we might be seeing the beginning of another sock Renaissance! I just plucked up the courage to try to make my first pair thanks to a couple of post I’ve seen here and I’m really excited! I still live in the SF Bay Area, so it isn’t an emergency but I’m hoping I never need to buy socks again!

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  30. kiwiyarns says:

    So glad I helped the sock phase experience a renaissance in your knitting life. ๐Ÿ™‚ The alpaca sock yarn is gorgeous – the hank you sent me will definitely get onto the needles soon!

    Like

  31. Susan says:

    What a fun post………sent me off in a couple of directions per usual ๐Ÿ™‚ my sister was SO fed up with commercial socks that did NOT fit she made herself 10 pairs, yes, 10 of utilitarian socks for walking…miles. She used Borroco worsted with a strand of Kidlin yarn (linen and mohair) and so far they have been wearing like iron. Nice and warm too.
    So glad you are getting into socks…NOT brain surgery ๐Ÿ™‚

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  32. Grey Dove says:

    Socks can be great to knit and when made well are always favourite gifts. Everyone who has worn a pair I made has said they never had socks that fit like the hand-knit ones. I love the pair I made for myself but like a lot of other projects I end up making more presents then I do ones to keep.

    You may want to check out a couple of articles by Jackie E-S at: http://www.heartstringsfiberarts.com . She has some great techniques (with excellent easy to follow instructions) for darning and/or re-knitting small sections of hand-knitted socks. Nice to keep them going longer. (Her Winter Wonderland Socks are the ones I managed to make for myself, … I’m longing to knit up two other pairs of hers just haven’t had the time.)

    Good luck and enjoy, least socks don’t take up room on your lap, definite bonus in this hot sticky weather!

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  33. With a little cheese or butter and a cup of coffee … we can sit, nosh and watch your alpacas frolic!

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  34. You are more than welcome in Yacolt!!!! I cannot wait for your artisan bread. YUMMMM!!!

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  35. I think it’s for the sheer creativity, artistry and joy – not to mention durability – that goes with hand knit socks! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  36. I have two pairs of socks my mother knit for me. I haven’t ever knit socks- never could understand why put all that work into something hidden by pants and shoes. Maybe one day.

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