My First Pair of Socks (and then some)
Tackling one of my (knitting) fears, socks, has been so easy! After knitting my first sock up – and really, after casting on for the toe, I still don’t know what the big deal is.
Sure, there is a new cast on technique I used, but it wasn’t hard. And yeah, I had to work some short rows on the heel, but I’ve done short rows loads of times. Beyond these two techniques, nothing was new or hard to knitting up my first pair of socks. I’m stoked to have some cute, fancy new socks that I knit and can’t wait to make more.
Since these are my first pair, I didn’t want to go all fancy & purchase new yarn. Instead, I found I had just one skein of this Cascade Heritage yarn, como blue colorway, in my stash. I used these socks as the perfect opportunity to stash bust a bit. Win-win.
True to form, my gauge remains looser than the pattern gauge dictates so I had to drop down to a US size 0 knitting needle. I’m a loose knitter, apparently. LoL
I happened to be chatting with my knitting coworker friend, Maria, that I was going to knit some socks soon. She came in the following day with a sock-knitting book for me to browse through. She’s the best!
These pair of socks only came in one size. I got gauge using my size 0 needle, and had the same foot circumference as the pattern stated, so I cast on and got to work knitting. I got to the base of the toes and realized it was way too large for my foot somehow. Ack!
The pattern called for a total of 66 stitches (at the widest part of the foot) & I ended up reducing down to 52 stitches, a 1.75″ reduction in circumference – kinda a lot, imo.
Yeah… we have to talk about feet:
I had to get a bit fancy altering the pattern since I have such short feet (8″ in length) and I also had to reduce the lace-pattern stitch-count without altering the pattern too much. Instead of a 33-33 split between the top foot and bottom foot, I had a 31 top – 21 bottom, split. This kept the lace pattern pretty much intact while the stockinette-stitch feet base was minimized. (The lace pattern wraps more around the sides of my foot than the pattern dictates it should, is all.)
I have short, kid feet but in a normal, adult width. I ended up casting on a few stitches more than the toe called for (34 vs the pattern’s 30). My toes are more round than pointy so increasing this gave me a more rounded (ie wide) toe. Doing so also removes some increase rows; I reduced my toe area by 4 rows, to give me that rounder, shorter sock-toe section.
I doubt you can see any difference between mine and the original pattern. It just looks like it fits is all. :D
I worked the heel just as the pattern stated, but… Since I only had 21 stitches to start with instead of the 33 recommended, I had to get a bit fancy here with my short rows. Really, it just took a bit of math and guesswork. I stuck to the same proportion of increases as the pattern did – I just reduced it down given my smaller stitch counts. (Just leave comments if you want more details on how I did this…)
I put in a life line in case I had to frog my work back- It ended up perfect the first time around. *Woot*
I’m really happy with my socks, but of course I always have more tweaks I’d do for the second pair.
Speaking of second pairs… The reason why I decided to push myself and knit up some socks is that I really wanted to knit up a pair as a birthday gift for Felix’s grandmother, Phoebe. She’s turning 103
next weekend a few weekends ago (yes 103!!) & I wanted to make her something special, something that a 103 year old could use. :)
Rosebud Socks #2
As soon as I finished up my pair, I delved in making grandma Phoebe a pair of her own!
You’d think I’d have the lace pattern memorized by this point but I didn’t. heh I think I finally memorized it by sock #4.
Phoebe has very similar feet as I do. She also has an 8″ length foot just like me, but she has substantially wider feet than I do. My foot is 3″ wide at the widest part whereas hers are 4″ wide at the widest part.
Using Dream in Color‘s Everlasting Sock yarn (poppy colorway), I had the same gauge using US size 0 needles as my turquoise pair, so it was easy to just add 2 inches to the circumference of her feet. (But really I only added 1 3/4″ since I’d rather have her wearing stretchy socks than socks that may be too wide). I didn’t have her foot circumference, just the measurement of her foot at the widest part. So it’s hard to say if she has flat feet or high-arched feet (like I do). I just kinda split the difference.
Since she has the same length foot as I do, it was pretty easy to know when to stop knitting the length of her foot. I proceeded with the heel & heel gusset nearly the same as mine, just with more stitches this time – but still less than the pattern calls for.
I can actually, sorta, fit into these socks too. They are looser on me and the heel is more substantial/pronounced than my heel since there are more stitches here for width & for her thicker ankles.
Socks really are stretchy and can fit various shaped feet quite easily. Just cross your toes for me that they fit Phoebe perfectly. :D
The red yarn I used for Phoebe’s is really to tie for. I love the semi-solid nature of this yarn.
The one thing to note is that hers are made using a 100% superwash merino wool (while my turquoise ones are 75% superwash merino + 25% nylon). The nylon content that is in yarn, specifically sock yarn, is in there to provide durability which is key – especially when walking around & with the rubbing from your shoes/socks/feet. Just a note when you’re shopping around for yarn to make socks. You want some nylon in them – not just pure wool unless you’re not going to wear them often.
I’m not terribly concerned about Phoebe wearing out these socks. At 103, she’s really not walking around that much so she won’t be wearing out her socks like you or I would. I’m just envisioning her kicking back in her bed wearing some pretty, warm & cozy socks for the upcoming winter months.
Her birthday was last weekend and she seemed pleased. I didn’t make her try them on, so I do hope they fit alright.
So much red!
While I’d love to continue to make more socks for myself right away, I need to give my hands a break from using such small knitting needles. US 0’s feel (& look) like I’m knitting with toothpicks.
My hands are aching. I’m not sure if it’s from knitting or if it’s from working so hard on my house with tools (shovels & hammers) lately. Either way my hands need a break.
So…. I’m now knitting with US size 2’s on a new cardigan. LOL I have slowed down my knitting pace & did give myself a 3-day break while I was focusing on weaving in the ends of this colorwork vest. (It’s all done now!) But it’s so hard NOT to knit while I have a 1 hour commute to work 2x a day, while I’m staying with my parents in the burbs – you know while I have some plumbing work done on the house…
Socks are such easy little projects to tote around in purses. If you’re afraid of socks – please don’t be. They’re not hard & they knit up really quickly (1-2 weeks). You’re cold feet will be really pleased with you, if you make some up in time for fall/winter.