I love knitting socks. They present many advantages as a project: they are portable, they use simple tools, they don’t take much yarn, they don’t take much time, and the list goes on. However, in my mind, one of the best things about knitted socks is getting to wear them. Custom socks always fit the best! As a result of my love of knitting socks and wearing them, I almost always have a pair of socks on the needles. I wanted to share some of my musings on knitting socks and perhaps encourage you to join me in the fun.
I feel like some people would think that I am crazy to knit socks. After all, you can buy a pair of socks for less than a dollar. Why spend significantly more money and hours of time? I have a couple of answers for that. First of all, my socks are made of higher quality materials and thus worth the higher cost. I use sock yarn that is mostly wool with a bit of nylon for duability. After becoming accustomed to my handmade socks, I have been shocked at how quickly those ultra cheap ones wear out. I have been knitting socks for over five years, and still have all my pairs. Furthermore, when my socks do get holes in them, I actually take the time to mend them. Cheap socks are not worth mending, but my handmade ones are. In the end, I get way more use out of my socks.
I remember when I first started knitting socks, I read an article on a knitter who had a young daughter who would knit socks from memory. I was in awe. Back then, knitted a pair of socks from memory seemed like a magical feat. I have never been one of those knitters who was scared to learn new things, so I painstakingly followed a pattern to turn my first sock heel. I may have been following the pattern blindly, I may have messed up the second one, but I did it. There truly is something amazing about shaping your first sock heel. After many years, now I am the one who can knits socks from memory.
One of the greatest advantages of knitting socks is that the yarns are all very similar, so it is pretty easy to substitute yarns. Although the knitting gods may strike me down for saying this, once you have a feel for your sock yarn gauge, you can pretty much dispense with knitting a swatch. I have a basic sock formula that I can pretty much use with any sock yarn I fancy. I usually get whatever sock yarn is on sale in a color I like. Since I can always use more socks, and I have discovered that a ball of sock yarn generally makes 3 socks in my size, now I usually buy two matching colors. I make one pair in each color and then make a third striped pair using both colors. It’s like getting a free pair of socks!
If you already are a sock knitter, then you already know the joy of making socks. If you are a knitter who has been hesitating, remember that it is a relatively small investment. I know that I plan to continue having a pair of socks on my needles.