A Plethora of Hand-Knit Socks

Prior to now, I’ve only ever made 2 pairs of toe-up socks.  Back in 2014, I made one test pair for myself and the “real” pair was for my grandmother-in-law’s 103rd birthday.  Mine didn’t fit great and got baggy nearly as soon as I put them on – I hope hers fit better.

I knew I was capable of knitting socks since I had knit some before, knitting a proper pair of socks that fit seemed like a daunting task – and I was in need of some hand holding.

Last fall, I decided that with Michelle’s help, I would be capable of knitting myself some decent socks.  She sent me a few patterns that she found tried & true – and then I got to work on knitting a pair of top down socks.

Hermione’s Everyday Sock pattern knit with Riverside Stuido‘s Yarn purchased from Lil’Weasel in Paris, using US size 1 needles.

As you can see, there was a lot of trial and error on these socks to get the right combination of negative ease, heel height, etc.

I followed pattern directions and used my measurements as a guide, Michelle was available to answer my questions on how a sock is ‘supposed’ to fit.  There’s a knack for starting the heel and working the rows needed for the heel before picking up stitches to work on the foot.

The knitting and following the instructions aren’t difficult – it’s the fit I knew I needed help with.

While I have itty bitty feet (women’s size 4), I have very high arches.  As high of an arch as Michelle’s husband’s MAN sized feet…. I had like 1 row shy of the same heel height to accommodate my arch as her husband does!  lol

Socks have a lot of engineering despite being such a small garment.  This was a great pattern to learn from; I love these socks and the color is great.  But my yarn is 100% merino so it does not bounce back to shape very well.  My first pair of socks have continued to grow with wear and washing – resulting in socks I rarely wear.  They’ll need to be gifted to a women with around a size 6 foot, I fear.

These were my learning socks.  I have since honed in on my preferred sock after just a few pairs.  :D

I forgot to include Felix’s Christmas gift socks in this mix… whoops.

After I made the pair of Hermione’s Every Day sock, I went digging in my yarn stash.  I started to pull out every lonesome skein of yarn I have along with any partially used skeins of fingering weight yarn – all the remnants!!

I pulled out every single yarn that I didn’t have enough for a sweater and have been hard at work this winter turning them all into socks!

I was/am determined to use up every scrap of yarn.  I want to clean out my stash of these languishing pieces that are taking up room in both my physical and mental space.

I’ve made 13 pairs of socks so far (3 of which are not pictured above.)

I have written down in a notebook my preferred sock details.  I’ve documented my sock journey by writing out how many grams of yarn a particular sock used so I can maximize my yarn usage b/c I’m a nerd like that.

With each pair of socks I’ve knit, I have tweaked things ever so slightly to figure out my ideal sock.  Sometimes I’d try a wider heel, other times I’d try steeper/faster decreases at the toe box to see what fits my foot best.  Each pair does fit my overall leg & foot in circumference and length – but some fit better than others.

I learned that I prefer my sock negative ease closer to 2″, despite many articles stating that 1″ of negative ease is good for socks. I like my leg length as a traditional crew length, just shy of mid-calf.  Which means I also have to have a good 2″ ribbed cuff for it to stay in place (as I have curvy legs).

I have my exact cast-on stitch count written down as well as my leg length, heel row count, foot length, and toe box length with decreases.  These details can be changed a bit to fit a new yarn weight or pattern detail – but I now know my ideal sock recipe.

Broken Seed Stitch Sock pattern using Cascade Heritage Silk combined with Cascade Heritage Solid and US size 0 needles.  This is one of my favorite color combinations – they make me happy every time I see and wear them.

I would never use a silk yarn for knitting socks as it doesn’t provide much recovery – but with the addition of the second yarn that has 25% nylon – this sock ends up being a winner.

This pattern is still one of my favorites and I’ve knit it the most.  You can combine two yarns within this great textured stitch pattern – utilizing those small skeins to make a great variety of looks.

This is the same pattern as above – but doesn’t it have a completely different flavor to it?!

The variegated purple yarn (merino + nylon)  from a Lorna’s Laces Yarn sale combined with a solid, deep plum (shepherd’s 100% wool) gives these great dimension.

This red sock (below) was made using perhaps one of my oldest skeins of fingering weight yarn – Wollmeise (wool + nylon), that was a swap gift.  I was only gifted the one skein and it languished in my stash for at least 5 years since I wasn’t a sock knitter yet.

For this sock I used Cables down the Back by Joji Locatelli.  This picture doesn’t do it justice but there’s a great cable that starts at the cuff and goes all the way down the heel. Such a fun knit this was!

With the remaining skein of Wollmeise – b/c yeah my feet are so small I can get 2 pairs out of one larger skein.  I made another pair of Hermione’s Every Day socks since the first pair I made don’t quite fit anymore.

Suffice it to say, I think I’m an avid sock knitter now.  :)  They really are fun to make and I can tuck a sock into my purse to knit up wherever I am – whenever I’m waiting.

I had quite a giggle-fest while taking these photos.  I can only imagine what my neighbors are thinking as Felix is standing around taking pictures of my stocking feet.  lol

I still have a (smaller) pile of fingering weight to use up, as well as sock yarn I purchased at Rhinebeck Sheet & Wool Festival specifically to make more socks.  Which means I can’t wait to pick out my next new-to-me sock pattern.

On that note, if anyone else has a favorite sock pattern feel free to add it in the comments!

Happy knitting!

In: Knitting

Blogger for 6 years and counting, I am a passionate creator who loves to tinker.

Comments (16)

  1. B May 18, 2017 — 10:13 AM

    My first pair of socks was the Churchmouse Basic Sock Pattern https://www.churchmouseyarns.com/products/basic-sock-pattern and it worked so well and was easily adaptable for patterning, I haven’t used another pattern. I have a wide but fairly easy foot so I haven’t messed with the formula too much, although I suspect it could use a little tweaking for a better fit.

    That seed stitch sock pattern caught my eye though. I may have to try that one next. It’s already in my ravelry library and it might make it to the top of the queue as the palette cleanser after this shawl project I’m working on that has taken what seems like forever.

    1. Liz May 19, 2017 — 9:38 AM

      The seed stitch one is great B – each row is one color and the stitch pattern makes them combine in a great way so it doesn’t read as stripes. :D

  2. MayravB May 18, 2017 — 1:57 PM

    My current favourite is Wendy D. Johnson’s toe-up sock pattern. I’ve combined it with Kristin’s fabulous instructions on how to knit toe up socks two-at-a-time on one circular needle. It’s much easier than I thought it would be. This will be my fourth pair of socks, but the first ones that might actually be the same size as each other! I didn’t even have to split the skein; I wound it into a centre-pull ball and am pulling one strand from each end. I did have to move each sock onto DPNs to turn the heels, but other than that it’s surprisingly straight-forward.


    1. Liz May 19, 2017 — 9:37 AM

      I need to get on the two-at-a-time bandwagon. Seems like such a great idea now that I have my ‘recipe’ all fixed. :D Thanks MayravB.

  3. Kat May 18, 2017 — 6:06 PM

    Looking great! Always lovely to see a fellow sock knitter :) I’m on 30+ pairs and counting, even though no more will fit into my sock drawer. I’m a huge fan of all the sock patterns published by Knitty.com and am gradually working my way through them…

    1. Liz May 19, 2017 — 9:14 AM

      Oh wow 30 pairs is amazing Kat! I’ll have to go look at the knitty site to see all of the socks they offer. :D

  4. K-Line May 18, 2017 — 6:22 PM

    Love this post! I just made Hermione. I feel that pattern is not for a slim foot and calf / small foot without alteration. I make socks all the time but I’m trying to make them more interesting to by switching up the pattern (after making 25 pairs of stockinette socks), striping and colour blocking (this really helps you to use up your scraps!) I do need to make a toe up sock but I’m resistant for some reason that I can’t figure out.

    1. Liz May 19, 2017 — 9:28 AM

      I have such curvy calves with a slim ankle, I don’t think I could do a plain stockinette as I fear it would sag down. Saggy socks are the bane of my existence. lol
      My second red Hermione sock fits so much better using a size 0 needle, more negative ease, and fiver with nylon content helped it to be more snug.
      All of my recent socks are cuff down, and I haven’t done a toe up since my first two socks (which I feel don’t count). I am resistant too, but I do remember how nicely my toes fit when I did a toe-up sock.

  5. Rachel May 18, 2017 — 10:06 PM

    Congratulations on mastering socks! I’m a fan of socks with textural stitches; two of my favourites are http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/primavera-socks and http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/gladys-5. (I’m lucky to have a very standard-shape foot, so I didn’t need to make adjustments to either.) My next sock project will be http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/smooth-operator-socks with self-striping yarn from Trailing Clouds (http://trailingclouds.bigcartel.com/product/mind-the-gap-self-striping-sock-yarn).

    1. Liz May 19, 2017 — 9:23 AM

      Oooh look at all of these sock suggestions for me, thanks Rachel! :D

  6. June Keyes May 20, 2017 — 10:30 AM

    I also have started knitting socks, and the book Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson is a great book with some lovely patterns. I shall slowly work my way through this book. Good Luck in your sock adventure.

  7. Abbey May 24, 2017 — 12:47 PM

    You are a sock knitting whiz–wow!! I haven’t knitted that many pairs yet, but I’m working my way up, LOL. Broken Seed socks are next on my list, specifically to use up remnants. I have size 9.5 feet, but I like short legs on my socks; thanks to that preference and my scrawny legs and narrow feet, I can get a pair out of half a skein if it’s more than 400 yards. That leaves a LOT of big leftovers!

    I use a recipe method for socks like you do, so I can’t recommend a pattern per se. I am knitting a pair of Vestigial socks for my husband right now (just using the stitch pattern–I have a recipe for him, too!) and they’re so squishy! My favorites so far though have been the pairs I knitted using the stitch pattern from the Campfire Cowl–it is perfect for yarns with sharp color shifts.

    Congrats on getting well-fitted socks: there’s no stopping you now! =)

  8. What a nice collection! And socks are a winter staple! :)

  9. hd June 12, 2017 — 3:22 PM

    this post made me so happy! i have been an avid sock knitter in the past, but it’s been awhile since I’ve knit them! my favorite socks are from nancy bush’s knitting vintage socks (i think i’ve knit all of them in that book, but my favorite is child’s first sock in shell pattern–i’ve made that pair quite a few times!.

  10. SC June 24, 2019 — 10:21 AM

    I sure do miss reading your blog, Liz! Hope all is well with you.

    1. Liz August 6, 2019 — 9:17 AM

      Aww thanks Sara. Yeah I’m still here… I’m on Instagram knitting away. But I’ve sadly had to pack up some of my sewing stuff for a bit while house renovations have taken precedence. It’s been draining but we’re getting there…

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