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.
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!