The inevitable has happened – I’ve finally succumbed to the irresistible urge of The Handknitted Sock.
I bought this 100% Merino wool at Yarndale last September and cast on immediately back in our guest house bedroom…..and that was it until May. It was initially that Christmas gift making took priority but, as the New Year came and went, other projects in familiar territory always seemed to be picked up in preference to The Socks.
The last couple of months appear to have featured proudly made socks on every other blog post that popped up in my Reader, until I could no longer ignore the voice in my head whispering “knit me, knit me!”…..
Creeping shamefaced into my studio, I liberated the embryonic stocking from its woolly prison and unravelled the sorry looking cast on, ready to start afresh.
Flicking through “Coop Knits Socks”, Rachel’s face smiled back at me and I remembered how helpful she was when I bought her book, which she very obligingly signed for me. Ten pairs of brightly coloured hose jumped off the opening pages at me, each one a work of art and seemingly beyond my virgin sock-making capabilities. So did I sensibly decide to stick with good old stocking stitch whilst trying to solve the puzzle that is sock construction?
Did I heck!
I chose “Pennycress”, an eight row repeating pattern on several different charts to follow, which was mirrored, not identical, on the second sock. Keeping to the pattern and mastering circular needles was challenging and a few mistakes were made, although they’re not noticeable at all, luckily.
These are top-down socks, so start with the ribbing.
I really enjoyed knitting the leg section, especially after I eventually worked out where I was going wrong with one stitch on every row. The heel flap was a revelation in a harder wearing slip-type stitch, much easier than I had convinced myself it was going to be – why had I procrastinated for so long?? Again, turning the heel was no problem…..
……and the gusset was a doddle too. Adjusting the foot length to fit was made simpler using Rachel’s size guide at the back of the book. Just shaping the toe left to do… Kitchener’s stitch made for a brilliant, totally invisible seam-free closing, which is also demonstrated step-by-step in Rachel’s book. Finally, eight months after first casting on, a little under two weeks of knitting has produced My First Socks! I have to say, I LOVE them! Whether or not it’s beginner’s luck, the fit is perfect all the way through.
I now understand what all the fuss is about, why there is no going back to shop bought, despite the £13.95 price tag of a single skein of Fyberspates 100% Merino Superwash. They are supremely comfortable underfoot, hold their shape well and don’t appear to smell or need washing after being worn just once.
If you love knitting socks too, I highly recommend “Coop Knits Socks” by Rachel Coopey which you can buy here.