Friday 17 May 2019

Welcome to the sock parade!

For the past few weeks I have knitted little but socks. To me they really are the perfect portable project: small enough to be popped into a bag for a day out, easy enough to work on while feeding a baby or holding a conversation, and quick enough that you can get to the end of the project before you lose interest. Somehow, I have finished 10 pairs of socks so far this year,* which has surprised me! So here they are, 10 pairs of socks in all their glory.

1. Fabulous Felici socks
I started these socks a long time ago (2016 to be precise), whizzed through all the sock knitting and stalled at adding the heels. I had planned on these being my first afterthought heel socks, but got intimidated and put them to one side. I've now knitted several pairs with true afterthought heels, so once I stay down to work on them, knitting the heels only took an evening or so.

2. My Christmas Eve 2018 cast-on socks
Every year I cast on a pair of socks on (or around) Christmas Eve to work on over the festive period. Last year's cast-on was a pair of sport-weight socks in yarn from the December 2018 sock crate from Knit Crate. The yarn came as a colour-blocked yarn, which I broke down into its constituent colours and knitted up as tonal stripes with contrast heels and toes. I wasn't certain I'd have enough yarn to make full-length socks, so knitted these from the toe-up having split each shade of yarn into two balls that weighed the same. The socks are the perfect length, and I had just enough of the contrast yarn left for the cast-off.

3. Little rainbow socks
I can't resist a rainbow yarn, and this lovely bright rainbow yarn is no exception, it's just beautiful! My daughter (aged 4) saw it and requested socks for her in it. She has small feet, so in theory these socks should have been quick, but I got sidetracked after I started them last summer once I had knitted the first sock, so they were finished long after they should have been! Fortunately they still fitted when I finally finished them.

4. These socks make me think of cake...
I was given the yarn for these socks in my knitting-group Secret Santa last year, and I love it! There's something so cheery and bright about it, and the combination of pink and sprinkles makes me think of cake. I hadn't used King Cole Zig Zag before, and was pleasantly surprised - the yarn is inexpensive but nice to work with and I think it'll wear really well.

5. Another pair of Felici socks
Felici sock yarn is definitely one of my favourites: it comes in lots of bright, striped colours and is wonderfully soft. Unfortunately Knit Picks release the yarn in batches, and they usually sell out pretty quickly, so I always make sure to stock up when they have some available. I bought this colourway a few years ago, and had been hoarding it. The pink and green seemed perfect for spring, and I really enjoyed knitting these socks. It took me a few attempts to get the heel to look exactly how I wanted it to - the first time I misjudged how much yarn the heel turn would take, the second I used a pink that was just wrong, but I was really pleased with the final choice of green yarn for the heel turn: unobtrusive, and it kept the stripes in order.

6. From the deeper recesses of the WIP pile
I have a collection of long-abandoned sock works in progress (WIPs), and this spring I have been focusing on clearing some of them off the needles. These socks were cast on in 2016, on cheap circulars that I kept arguing with. Inevitably I abandoned the project, and when I picked it up again I switched to some nicer needles. Having looked at the socks, I decided that I needed them to have a few more stitches, so unravelled them and started again. Obviously I was more successful this time, and the finished pair have been sent to my brother.

7. Socks for a knitworthy uncle
I knitted my uncle some socks as a surprise birthday present a couple of years ago; he liked them so much he requested another pair, and this is what I came up with. The colours are more muted than I usually choose, but I enjoyed watching the gentle, soothing stripes appear.

8. I cast on the right number of stitches this time...
Sometimes when I knit socks, I underestimate how much attention I need to pay. Last year, I was knitting these socks to go to Marie Curie to be donated to a cancer patient over the festive period. I knitted the first sock, then ploughed on with the second. I did briefly wonder why the two socks were pooling differently, and it was only when I got to the heel that I realised I had cast on the wrong number of stitches for the second sock. Just before Christmas is not the best time to add extra things to my to-do list, so I put these to one side and came back to them earlier this month. I knitted a good portion of the second sock while watching Avengers: Endgame at the cinema, and these socks seemed to knit themselves once I got past the heel.

9. I weighed the yarn, and yet...
I cast on a pair of socks for my aunt at the same time as I was knitting socks for my uncle. I thought I'd be clever and use up the leftovers from another pair of socks. I weighed the yarn and got knitting. By the time I got to the heel of the first sock, I realised that I was definitely going to run out of yarn. Oops. Rather than unravel them and start again with something else, I made some slightly smaller socks, and sent them to my sister in law instead.

10. My aunt did get socks in the end!
Having passed the socks for my aunt on to my sister in law, I had to cast on a different pair for my aunt. This Stylecraft Head Over Heels was a yarn I was quite excited about knitting up, but was a little disappointed when it was actually on the needles. The colour changes are a little messy, and there are dye splashes on some of the stripes. Not the end of the world, but not quite what I was aiming for. The finished socks do look nice though, and I didn't run out before the end.

Here's to many more pairs of socks! I'm going to carry on working through the pile of old WIPs, and start knitting through my stash of special yarns - there are quite a lot and they deserve to become socks. Remember, I'll be hosting the Marathon Sock KAL from July 1st if you fancy joining me on a sock adventure.

*Ok, I didn't start them all this year...

Details of the yarns and patterns used can be found via the Ravelry project pages for each project, which are linked in the headings for each pair of socks.

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