Adventures in Sock Knitting, Episode 2: Not so Vanilla Socks

Hello and welcome to Episode 2 of the blog mini-series:  Adventures in Sock Knitting.

Five months and three-and-a-half-pairs of socks into my adventures and  I am still thoroughly enjoying my foray into sock-knitting.

I know this post is well overdue because of what's been going on in my little family so I'm going to combine two pairs.  So, grab a cuppa, settle back against those Sunday morning pillows and let's get started.

Not so vanilla socks: my first patterned pair.

It stands to reason that, having "mastered" vanilla socks (by which I mean successfully knit one pair!), it wouldn't be long before I was searching for more challenges.  Cue my search for my first pair of patterned socks.

Just after Christmas I discovered Crazy Socklady Podcast (see my "Pick of the Podcasts" review post) and that did for me.  Never before had I seen someone so passionate about the knitting of socks.  Yes Amy and Amber are very very fond of socks but the sheer number of socks that Kay was turning out at a pace that inspired awe was enough to make me realise that I wanted, no, NEEDED more sock knitting in my life.   Imagine my delight when I discovered that Kay had ventured into sock design.

Kay promised a 4-row pattern repeat that's easily memorised and that really drew me to it.  Ultimately it made for the perfect "level-up" pattern: it was pretty enough to be worth persevering with, simple enough to be achievable, and memorable enough for the process still to be fun.

This photo (excuse my classy pulled up jean-legs!) shows my completed Rhinebeck is Calling socks - I loved making them and although it took me quite a while to knit the first sock as I was knitting it at the hospital with Lara, the second one flew off the needles once I'd plucked up the strength to start knitting again.  I'm really pleased with them and if you asked me whether I'd knit this pattern again, the answer would be a resounding yes!

I knit them using Sirdar Country Style 4ply, which is slightly more rustic than the Dye Candy yarn I used for my first pair of socks.  They are, however, super soft and really show off the beautiful pattern Kay designed.

Knitting these socks I became a proper knitter of socks with a capital S. I used a proper sock project bag and everything!

I was so pleased (shameless self-promotion here) that my sock project bag really was the perfect size for 2 long-tipped circular needles, the yarn cake, pattern and of course the sock in progress.  I did have  a bit of a giggle though...

You might remember I was in disgrace with my mother for accidentally felting my pretty jumper not too long ago.  Well, I'm not the only silly one!

My mum was looking at my handmade sock-sized project bag.  I was proud as anything but she looked concerned.  She eyed it, then said:
"Is it really big enough?"
Bemused, I replied: "Yes.  I'm sure it is."
There was a pause, before she continued slowly, as though aware she could possibly upset me with a critique of my sewing and design skills: "It does fit nicely now, but what happens when you knit the second sock?  It won't all fit."
I stared at her... "But mum,"  I said, equally slowly, "as I knit the second sock the yarn cake will get smaller..."

I gave it a moment, and gradually her frown became an expression of dawning realisation and we both fell about laughing!

"Are you sure it's big enough?"

She's started something!

The lovely Kay has a lot to answer well as convincing me to try and knit a patterned sock, her own foray into sock design inspired me to do the same!  I'm now working on my first ever sock design, which is almost ready to go to testers.  Never have I done so much maths or frogged a project so many times, but it's fun to do!

Here's a sneak peek of the process so far.  I started off wanting to use the gorgeous mojito colourway from West Yorkshire Spinners cocktail range in their signature 4ply but discovered that the pattern shows up much better in a solid colour for the purposes of illustrating it, rather than self striping.

I also started out with 2x2 rib but then settled on 1x1 twisted rib as it is neat, stretchy, and forgiving of a pattern forming below without looking lopsided.

I was on about my 5th attempt at knitting the entire sock (frogging the cuff too) when my friend, Emma, suggested that I just adjust the pattern on the "draft" sock as I went, rather than reworking the entire thing each time - the woman is a genius!

Anyway, here's a sneak peek for you.  If you'd like to see the finished item, be sure to follow me on instagram, and our facebook home page. xxx



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