My first time knitting socks

Knitted socks

I’ve been watching images of amazing knitted socks passing by in my Pinterest feed and decided I had to give them a go.

Pattern first
I knew that I needed a pattern. After some googling I found myself a briefly described and photographed basic knit sock pattern (this link goes directly in to a PDF in Finnish) from yarn manufacturer, Novita.

A long time ago I was given a bunch of double-pointed needles which I dug up but I realised they were all sets of four. I’d looked at enough photos to know that I needed a set of five so off I went to the craft shop and picked up a set of 5 bamboo 3.25mm needles.

Why 3.25mm? They were the smallest the shop had in stock. The pattern asked for 3.5mm but the yarns I looked at mentioned 2-3mm needles so rather than run around town I decided to risk it.

In hindsight I should have been using smaller needles so I will be picking up 2.5mm needles if I spot them at a reasonable price and I’ll give those a try next time.

As much as I wanted to leap in to using the most gorgeous sock yarn to create a masterpiece, I came to my senses and looked for cheap but colourful sock yarn.

Deliberately staying clear of my favourite (beautiful and expensive) yarn shop, I went to trusty ol’ Spotlight and found a 4-ply yarn called Regia Design Line Jazz Color by Erika Knight (my socks are made with the “be bop” shade) for $4 a ball. It’s 75% superwash new wool/25% polyamide in 50g (210m) balls and should be easily washable.

A shorter sock for quicker result
To get my socks ready quicker, I decided to reduce the height of the ankle piece. I gently wriggled it over my foot to see how it looked, I could fold the top over itself, and it felt like a good height to get on to the juicy part of making the heel.

Ball of wool, a sock, and a sock being knitted

Testing my nerves
One heart-stopping moment was when I was working on the heel, going great, finished a row, yanked at one of the many needles in my hand and suddenly realised that the empty needle I held in my hand had been one with stitches on it from the ankle section! Eeek. I had just dropped 14 stitches!

I gently held on to my sock, grabbed pins and crochet hooks and all sorts of implements to capture the stitches to prevent them from unravelling too far. Keeping pressure off the stitches was important. Carefully laying my sock down with all the objects poked in to keep it together, I found my copy of the “Stitch ‘n Bitch” book and used it as an instruction manual to help me recover the stitches on to the needle by “knitting” them back in with a crochet hook.

It took time! It was nerve-racking! But half an hour later I had rescued every last stitch and they seemed to be going in the correct directions. Phew!

The second sock was better than the first
As I went along making the first sock I became a little muddled. I was trying to translate the pattern to myself and mistook a particular stitch-style for just a descriptive word and I ignored it. I ended up with a loose-looking join in the heel and a hole! It’s not a big hole, and it’s not a dangerous hole – the stitches are simply stretched apart further than they should be.

When I finished the sock and studied it more carefully I turned to google again and found some very good advice – keep going! I also saw the word that I’d misunderstood and I realised where I’d gone wrong!

The second sock came together much better. The knit in general is more consistent, I avoided creating a hole and the join at the heel is neater, but because I was in flow I may have been knitting a little looser because you can see the ladders that can appear from switching between needles. Ah well, it’s something to improve on next time!

Knitted socks on a crochet doily rug

Amount of yarn
For these short socks I used approximately one ball in total. I bought three balls (the pattern had suggested 150g of yarn) but my socks were considerably shorter. When I finished the first sock I decided to start the second sock from a new ball to avoid needing any joins. I still have one whole ball and two half balls remaining for a new project.

Mismatched stripes
I could have started both socks at approximately the same location by chopping off some of the starting yarn so that both started from the same colour section. But I like my mismatched stripes and different coloured toes :)

The main lesson
My main lesson from this experiment was don’t give up, keep going, and finish the project. Don’t worry about the holes or the ladders or wobbly stitches – I’ll always remember having made these socks.

The side of a knitted sock with a small hole in it
There’s the small hole in one of the socks where the heel, foot and ankle join together. A needle and thread will fix it.
The side of a knitted sock
The second sock doesn’t have the hole and the foot-to-heel join is tighter. Lesson learned!