Knitting socks is a lot of fun.
I’ve heard that crocheting socks is fun, too, but I haven’t tried it.
In either case, if you make socks you already understand the appeal of these small, quick, portable projects.
Another thing socks have going for them, aside from being useful, is they are great for testing out stitch patterns. They are big enough to learn how to work the stitch pattern and get a good look at it to make sure you like it before committing to a larger project.
And none of that even addresses all the beautiful colors sock yarns come in.
I especially like self-patterning sock yarns such as the skeins of Indulgence 6-Ply you see here.
Indulgence is from our Knitting Fever brand. This yarn is a 75% Extrafine Merino Wool, 25% Polyamide blend that comes in 426 yard (150 gram) balls. One ball will make a pair of socks. There is even a pattern on the inside of the ball band. It is also machine washable, but you should air dry the finished project (not machine dry).
Self-patterning sock yarns are fun because you can knit plain ol’ stockinette stitch socks while the yarn does all the work. Knitting plain stockinette stitch socks is great for when you don’t want to pay attention to your project, for instance when you are socializing with knitting friends or watching something good on TV.
They are also good for stop-and-start projects. No need to worry about where you left off in the pattern since they are just straight knitting. And, if you’ve been knitting in line or in a waiting room, you can quickly shove them back into your bag.
I just finished this purple/green/blue pair over Thanksgiving. Usually a pair of socks takes me about two weeks if I’m focused, but these took longer since they were my “purse project.” (You know, that on-the-go project you only work on when running errands.) I was down to the second toe and knew Thanksgiving would be a great time to finish since I could chat while I knit.
I knit them on 2.5 mm needles, which equate to a US 1.5. This gave me a gauge of 7 sts/inch, which I think is very pleasant for this yarn. This size needle can be tricky to find here in the US, but it is becoming more common. If you don’t have this size needle don’t despair! Since everyone knits differently, you might get the same gauge on a US1 or a US2 needle. Another example of why swatching is so important.
Indulgence is a dream to knit with because it is so smooth and soft. But don’t let the buttery feeling fool you, the polyamide content makes durable socks.
My husband has had this pair of socks for about two years, so you might not be able to find this color in stores. But I wanted you to see how well this yarn wears.
When it comes to socks I take the machine washable option to heart! I wash my socks on the knit/gentle cycle in cold water with a mild detergent. Then I hang them on a drying rack to air dry. Hubby doesn’t have as many pairs of hand-knit socks as I do, but they see a lot of action as he likes to wear them on the weekends. As you can see, this pair is holding up just fine.
Almost as soon as I finished my pair I cast on a pair for my brother using this nice denim blue colorway. I made socks for his wife and children last year so I thought it was about time I caught him up.
Matching or Fraternal?
One thing people debate about self-patterning sock yarn is whether or not to make the socks match.
As you can see from my purple/green/blue socks I’m in the “make them match” camp. Other people are happy to have “fraternal” socks. They finish one and just cast on for the next.
Of course, mismatched socks are so popular right now that you can buy commercial socks in odd sets just for that purpose. This trend relieves knitters of the dreaded “second sock syndrome” some people get.
If you do want to make matching socks there are two things of which you have to be aware.
First, try to cast on at a recognizable point in the colorway. The transition from one color to the next is a good spot. The socks I’m knitting for my brother have just the cast on edge in the light blue color. That should be easy to replicate on the second sock.
Second, you’ll have to sacrifice yarn when starting your second sock. It’s very rare that the first sock will end at the point in the color pattern where the second needs to start. Just feed out the yarn until you find the correct spot.
I put that excess yarn aside against possible darning down the line. Other people use it to make stuffed animals, blanket squares, other other projects that require small amounts of yarn.
If you haven’t yet taken the sock plunge I suggest you give it a try. I’m sure the friendly staff at your local yarn store will be happy to give you a lesson.