Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Socks from scratch

IMG_1414 I'm obsessed with knitting socks!!

I know that that's not news for anybody who knows me in real life as I'm always pulling that long, skinny needle and a couple of balls of fine yarn out of my basket to knit a row or two. It's probably nothing revelatory to you guys who know me online either, as my last few yarn purchases and crafty projects have been all about the sock too.

But as well as the click-clacking, I've been thinking a lot about this new love too. Trying to turn it over and inside-out, attempting to understand it and trace it back to where it first began.

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A long, long time ago, when I was in my early teens, I used to learn the clarinet off this wonderful woman called Anna, whose family ran a shop that sold roses on Wattletree Road. During my lessons Anna used to knit these long, colourful and heavily patterned socks. They were incredible. I remember them being knitted up with a different pattern each strip working up the sock. A house with a garden, a sky with butterflies, flowers, trees and birds.

The fact that they impressed this non knitting teenager says something and the fact that they have stayed in my mind all these years makes me wonder if I should credit Anna with my love of the knitting of the humble sock. What I wouldn't give to hold one in my hands right now and reconcile my memories with sock truth.

(Miss Pepper's blue socks raveled here.)

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Fast forward thirty or so years and finally I'm knitting socks of my own. Not nearly at Anna's level of complication, but there's time.

About four years ago when I picked up the needles and googled 'how to cast on', I think I probably had socks in my mind as the end game. (Check out Miss Pepper's cute cheeks in my first knitting post).

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Knitting socks just makes sense to me.

I love that I can play with the cutest, craziest, most colourful yarn that I would never be brave enough to experiment with on a larger piece of clothing.

I love that I can make something that we actually need and wear everyday. If life as we know it ever ends, my family will still have cute socks to put on.

I love how portable the sock knitting project is.

I love the anatomy of a sock. To date I have knitted nine and a bit socks and I never cease to be overwhelmed with admiration for the person who first broke it down and designed something that covers that tricky bit of the body and fits it so well.

I love all the different patterns and choices available from the utensils, to the yarns, to the directions, to the cast ons, to the gussets, to the heels, to the patterns, to the lengths, to the cast offs.

I love knitting two socks at a time, on a long circular needle, from the toes up.

I love that sock knitting is a slow and meditative craft.

I love that sock knitters are like members of a secret club. Three or four times over the past few months strangers have approached me while I was knitting and chatted sock techniques. It's almost like finding someone else who speaks your language when you are in a foreign country.

I love this book.

And I love clicking on the sock knitting hashtags on instagram and scrolling through what everybody else is making.

(Bren's Farmer Boy socks ravelled here.)

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Yep, I'm hooked on socks!

How about you?
What are you hooked on right now?

Happy equinox you guys!

Big love

xx


35 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hahahaha yes!! My plan is to grow it until I can knit it. xx

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  2. Alright. You've convinced me: I'm gonna have a go at knitting a pair! I'll let you know how it goes... :/ LOL

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    1. Best news!! I high recommend the two at a time book but I'm sure there are zillions of great patterns on revelry. x

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  3. Bren's socks are the very best! I think next week winter I will colour up my wardrobe with colourful socks - bought ones because you know I can't knit ( yet) x

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    1. but maybe by next winter you'll knit them?
      you never know.
      xx

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  4. fabulous socks! i am not a knitter but i am a sock admirer. just lovely!

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    1. I reckon that's where all sock knitting addictions begin. x

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  5. Yummy socks! I am wearing knitted socks today, too! My granny makes them for me and I adore them!! :-)

    Have fun with making more socks! I am currently working on a crochet corner to corner blanket for my granny for christmas!

    Take care
    Anne
    http://crochetbetweentwoworlds.blogspot.de

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    1. She knits your socks - you knit her blankets, sounds like the perfect partnership to me! x

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  6. Ahora mismo estoy tejiendo el segundo calcetin, tengo lana para tejer otro par mas . Me encanta tejer calcetines para el invierno . La lana que has elegido es preciosa ;D


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    1. Right now I'm knitting the second sock , I have another pair wool knitting more . I love knitting socks for the winter. The wool you chose is beautiful ; D

      Thank you sweet Karmen, I love that you speak sock language too. x

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  7. Wow Kate your going great with your socks. Do you know that I have not yet knit any socks from the toe up but I only knit from the cuff down on 4 dpns. Your doing the magic with 2 at a time. Coop Knits is a great book for patterned socks with semi solid yarn if you ever decide to knit those kind, although most are from the cuff down. I hope your enjoying the warmer weather on your farm over the school holidays.

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    1. Thanks for the book rec Sue, I'll look it up.
      And I think you'd love two at a time socks, they're so much fun! x

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  8. Aww, great sock story. You've inspired me to pick up my sock needle again. I've been on a selfish cardigans for me knitting bender. No 4 about to be cast on! Xxx

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  9. Yaaaay, another sock addict, I usually knit from the top down, pattern from Stephanie Pearl McPhee's book "knitting Rules" very easy to understand (the pattern is now in my head after the 10th pair). Hand knitted socks are just The Best, so warm and comfy and soooooo appreciated as a gift.
    I lost count after 15, but still love the fun of self patterning or self striping wool, my secret weapon is to knit the first sock until end of heel shaping and start of straight bit , then start the second one, so the finish is quick and easy.
    Happy to see some of your lovely socks being worn and shown here, it is so handy to just take them, even if they are almost finished, it is still a small project to knit anywhere and a good conversation starter too.

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  10. I have a friend who knits socks, it looks so complicated!! Love the stripes :)

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  12. Kate

    I can so relate to your sock knitting addiction. I have been a knitter for many years. I used to knit all different type of garments but as my children got older and life got busier, it seems I only knit socks these days. They are my comfort knitting. I don;t have to count, calculate or even think. It is just the meditative process of knitting. I no longer need a pattern so they are the perfect take along knitting. I have outfitted family and friends with socks over the years (they are great gifts) and of course I have a huge selection of my own. Sock knitting is the best. Carla

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  13. I wish that I could knit socks, one day if I ever do learn to knit properly, once I have that mastered, socks will be high on my list of things to make! xx

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  14. Loving your sock addiction. I need to tackle knitting two socks at the same time, as so far I have suffered from one-sock-itis. One day I will finish a PAIR! xx

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  15. I'm knitting my first pair on dpns! It's slow progress because I'm a very s-l-o-w knitter and a bit of a project flitter but I definitely understand how you feel about the sock knitting. I know for a fact that this will not be my only pair of socks xx

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  16. I have yet to enter the world of socks, though you are making me edge closer! Right now I'm into vests for my little babe. With just a basic simple pattern you can make so many different color designs and patterns. Plus, her little chubby belly looks adorable in them!

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  17. SOCKS!!!! I, too, have been obsessed with socks my whole knitting life....which means I have drawers (and drawers and drawers full....an obscene number really, which doesn't keep me from making more....and gifting them regularly).... I use them as my color outlet...my wardrobe is very very 'grey'....but I'll usually have on wild, funky socks! (Yes, I'm quite the fashion statement!)
    Love (LOVE) your socks and it's always comforting to know that there are others as sockupied as I am.

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  18. Socks are not the obsession they once were ten years ago, when I first started knitting them (ten years! That is a lot of socks!) but I still get three or four pairs done a year (don't ask about my sock yarn stash!). I'm impressed that you are doing them two at a time - I also prefer toe up but I do one at a time and often make them different because two at a time is too slow for me. I mostly do simple socks using a variant of a Cat Bordhi New Pathways for Sock Knitters design. (Cat does amazing socks, just sayin'. Go look her up :-)

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  19. Örgünün önemi büyük tabi. Zamanında bizde giymedik o patikleri sarışın porno izlerken ayaklarımız üşümesin diye.

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  20. m Hooked on knitting Andi Satterlund's cardis they are so easy to follow and fast to knit up. I love them. You have inspired me to knit some socks. I should have the finished for next winter hehe. A good project to knit over summer as they are not to large.

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  21. I love the blue socks, blue is my favourite color! I should really learn to knit as autumn has started here in Austria and warm socks are badly needed! Greetings from Austria, Emm.A

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  22. I too love knitting socks. Any and all socks. And Wendy's book is wonderful. It's made converts out of many of my knitting friends who were sock haters. Love the new blue socks. I only knit my socks toe up as the fit is so much better.

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  23. I am a brand new knitter. I am currently knitting my very first sock. If I ever finish it I will make the second. I really like the blue socks. You are so very talented.

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  24. I agree - there is something very satisfying about knitting socks and I call them my "portable project"
    Love the strip socks!
    Caz xx

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  25. I'm just starting on this sock venture and wrestling with four needles!! Let's see how I go!!

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  26. I love those colourful socks on those hairy manly feet!! Good work, I can't knit at all. :)

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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