Socks – to knit or not to knit…that is the question

For some while I have been trying to get motivated to knit socks.

As mentioned in some previous post – I bought a Craftsy course that has been languishing since before Christmas but just can’t seem to find the time or motivation to cast on. For some reason I am more drawn to garments in knitting and to take time away from those projects just hasn’t felt right.

Over the last couple of weeks, though,  I am starting to feel that I am nearly there, and a small, smouldering fire has been lit under the ample behind of this desire as I am testing sock yarn bases and feel I need  to know firsthand what makes for good sock knitting.

A few inspirations have also popped up in the blog-o-sphere the last couple weeks which are also spurring me on.

The vivacious Juju Vale at my LYS, Loop in Islington, released a free simple striped sock pattern on their blog and introduced me to the brilliant concept of odd-matched socks which I love!
Juju Vale sock pattern
The concept uses three balls of yarn – one small ball of hardwearing yarn in contrast for the heel and toe and 2 colour balls for mirrored striping. From this combo you can get 7 somewhat matching socks. You can’t go wrong with that! And I love the idea of having slightly mismatching socks for some reason.

Also the pattern is toe-up and uses an afterthought heel which seems to suit my laziness factor as this means I can knit two simple tubes a the same time and then sort out the heel at the end. Perfect for a first sock project.

The second inspiration was at a recent trip to a knitting shop where I got to fondle the most beautiful cabled sock I have ever laid hands on. It was silver and textured and tightly knit in the most gorgeous yarn, and, and …truly a work of beauty and made me WANT. I suddenly have the biggest desire to wear that kind of loveliness on my feet.

The third inspiration came from Pinterest, where I saw this image:

Taina's Kannanottoja

French 1 Dutch 2 Taffy 3 Band 4 heel Shaped common heel 9 tip: French 5 Dutch 6 round 7 Reverse Dutch 8 other Afterthought sädekavenus 13 Heel edeellä 10 unnamed 11 Afterthought tape 12 short rows One wedge heel 14 hourglass 15 Sweet tomato 16

This fantastic visual collection of heel options is from Taina’s Ravelry page, where you can find links to many of these in patterns that use the methods. (Thanks Taina!) Click on the image to get a bigger view and check out her Finnish blog for lots of knitted goodness!

I find myself drawn to numbers 1, 2, 5, and 6 with their stripey twisted stitch looking appearance.

I’d love to get some feedback on these different types from those that have tried them before! What is your favourite sock heel, and why? Come on…you know you have one…! 😉

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7 thoughts on “Socks – to knit or not to knit…that is the question

  1. Yes, knit socks! It’s fun, and portable! I almost always have a pair in the works – it’s my idiot knitting for when I don’t feel like thinking too deeply about what I want to do. Most of my socks are just plain vanilla, made from a formula I found in one of my mom’s knitting booklets from the ’50s. I’ve been making them this way for probably 30 years! I’d say my heel looks most like #6, but I have no idea what it’s called.

    Handknit socks are my preference when socks are necessary at all. They are so much more comfortable for me. The line of stitching on manufactured socks often goes straight across the cuticles of my toenails and makes them tender from too much rubbing – weird, I know! And because I have high insteps and mostly wear Dansko clogs unless I’m going somewhere special, I don’t like to make socks with anything too bulky like thick cabling. I mention these as factors to keep in mind when choosing a pattern 🙂

    • Socks would be easier to lug around in my already heavy bag than my regular projects! (and I certainly can’t leave home without my knitting)

      No.6 is a good one. These twisted stitches look like they should help with abrasion on the heel, no?

      Hmmmm….Cabling/bulkiness is a good point. Thanks for that. I wouldn’t have thought of this until too late! I would have troubles with this in the foot area as I need to wear dorky orthotics and they already take up so much room in the shoe! I will have to remember to stop any thicker patterning at the foot.

      Now I just need to decide on which damn colours I want to dye up my stripes and cast on! Having troubles deciding (dyeing up your own yarn adds another prep layer that slows it all down, doesn’t it. heh.)

      Thanks Ladies!

  2. As a sock newbie, all the different types intimidate me a bit! It’s a whole other world! Out of this pic I like 16 the best just because it looks so seamless. It’s very impressive!
    My only socks have been toe up with heels and toe done with short rows. It was pretty satisfactory, I guess! lol! Enjoy your new adventure and let us know what you find out!

    • He he he…I like that ‘pretty satisfactory’! Perfect. I suppose if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, right? 😉

      Toe up definitely makes sense, though, as you can just knit until you run out. Think this is the way forward!

  3. Pingback: And the winner is…me! | From the Purl Side

  4. The numbers 1, 2, 5, and 6 with their “stripey twisted stitch looking appearance” look like they are made with the simple slipped-stitch reinforced heel that I usually make. It’s done by slipping every second stitch on every other row (the knit rows). If you alternate the slipped stitch between slipped-stitch rows, you’ll get a sort of honey-comb structure, but if you don’t, you get stripes that look very similar to the ones in the pics. This heel will be thicker and more hard-wearing but will also contract more than ordinary stockinette, so it’s not as practical to do for the sole, unless you can knit the soles separately, I suppose (something I’ve never tried).

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