Having finished a few pairs of languishing socks these last few weeks, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on knitting socks and how I learned to knit them in the first place.
I have to admit, that when I first encountered sock knitters, I was a bit perplexed. It wasn’t something that I could see myself doing. Not something I absolutely wanted to try. Fast forward two years, and while I’m still not wanting to try out all the different sock yarns and patterns, I also have no idea, how I managed to survive all those winters without woolen socks.
Knitting socks for use and practical reasons, I’m not particularly interested in patterned or lace socks. I want them to fit me and to survive the test of time. As I tend to walk a lot, I’m pretty hard on my socks and want them to be able to cope with that.
For the first pair of socks I ever knit, I used a 100% merino yarn and 3mm needles – I didn’t know any better. And while I still have those socks, I only wear them around the house or as bed socks, as they pill like crazy and have grown considerably in size.
Nowadays, I only use yarn with nylon in it, and have gone down quite a few needle sizes. I currently use 1.5mm needles for my socks. Which gives me a gauge of about 36sts x 52rows over 10cm. Saving the nice, hand dyed yarns for shawls and other, less used knits, I tend to stick to commercial, hard wearing sock yarn for my socks.
Up to now, I knit all my socks from the toe up and use the heel flap and gusset construction I learned from the “Essentail Skills for Sock Knitting” craftsy class with Ann Budd. At some point I gave the “Fish Lips Kiss Heel” a go, but having a pretty high arch on my foot, a gusset construction just fits better.
When knitting socks for someone other than myself, I like to go with a ribbed sock. This leaves a bit of play in terms of sizing / fit, as I can’t necessarily have the person try it on all the time. This is really how I knit my own socks, just knit and try them on as I go along, taking some notes on a card, to end up with two identical socks.