With just over a week left of our Socktober celebration here at SweetGeorgia, we thought we’d take some time to reminisce and share with you memories of where it all began. Where our love for sock knitting all began.
At the start of the month, Felicia shared in a Taking Back Friday vlog episode, the story of her very own first pair of socks. Made in 2006, it’s the same pattern she’s knit many times since then – the Basic Sock Pattern by Regia Jacquard. And now, following this, we’re sharing stories from some of the SweetGeorgia and School of SweetGeorgia team members about their own first hand-knit sock adventures!
It all began back in 2009, by the quiet pattern book shelves of Urban Yarns in Edgemont Village. Before this day, my mind would have been filled with crochet patterns and project ideas, but thanks to the joy of finishing my first knit project, a garter stitch scarf, I wanted to knit it all. And so there I stood, staring at Judy Sumner’s Knitted Socks East and West pattern book for what was an awkwardly long time. With gracious thanks to the kind staff member who encouraged me that their own second knit project was socks, it was all I needed to buy the book and dive in.
I rushed home and found some Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool from my small stash at the time (hah, oh the days of just a couple of skeins to choose from) and cast on the hiking sock pattern, Inro. I made so many mistakes along the way, spent a lot of time searching up knitting videos online and had worked up some beautiful ladders along the sole, but just over a week later, socks emerged and I was hooked. They’ve since had plenty of use and it didn’t take long for holes to break through, be darned, and break through again… but I sure will never forget the joy of this fantastic pair!
During that time I was crocheting more than knitting, and I only knitted hats for charity. Purl Soho provided a very detailed and easy to follow pattern, and I went through my first sock no problem. Summer Skin colourway was very cheerful to knit, and I enjoyed the colour play while alternating this awesome blue with the variegated Waterfall colourway. However, there was such a thing called second sock syndrome. I put down the second sock half done and went off to knit something else (such as Sail Shawl!). One year later I came back, finished the second sock, and blocked them. It’s until I put them on I realized: my gauge was very different from a year ago! The second sock was tighter than the first. Alas, I didn’t want to re-knit! So let it be and I still wear them regardless. But a good lesson learnt. Because of this funny gauge incident, I never dared to knit socks in two separate times. No more second sock syndrome for me! And the next step is to learn how to knit two at one time.
I was still new to knitting when I saw Patons Rainbow Variegated Canadiana Yarn on the shelf. The bright, vintage colours reminded me of wooden pattern blocks, sitting criss-cross applesauce and the smell of crayon drawings worked laboriously into the thickest paper any teacher could find. I had never used a needle smaller than a US 8, didn’t know what made sock yarn different from worsted and had no pattern in mind. As someone who probably spends too much time in the planning phase of any project, I was surprised to find that none of these were inhibiting factors. I just knew I needed to work with something that inspired so many memories, fond feelings and a desire to play.
They aren’t perfect and I typically only wear them while sitting on the couch so they don’t get too worn. However, they’re one of the most joyous things I’ve ever made. I can sense the excitement in my clumsier stitches as I figured out (kind of) how to do magic loop, kitchener stitch and form the heel and toe. I think everyone deserves a fun, care-free project to learn from in their queue — and socks really do the trick.
I knit my first sock at a knitting class, and it went wrong from the beginning. I brought in lace weight yarn, with no stretch, and the cheapest craft store bought needles with no flex. My teacher grabbed a ball of DK weight yarn from clearance, told me to buy the DPN set they sold, and gave me a store made pattern to reference (replacing everything I came with). Up to this point, I had never knit in the round.
Week one, my teacher had me cast on in class and do the ribbing, and knit around the tube at home. I knit row one of the calf, and went to purl row two and didn’t get why it wasn’t all stockinette on the inside. I came back next week with a lot of questions. At the end of the class I did have one great sock that was too big and had ladders, but they make the best house socks (slippers) I’ve ever had. Despite my rough start, I continue to knit socks as a purse project for when I drive my kids to activities; and I like knitting socks.
Once upon a time (and you know every good story starts with “once upon a time”), there was a young woman who was an eager student of the knitting craft. This young woman’s name was Tabetha. Like a knight in training, she threw herself into mastering every technique she could get her hands on, from scarves to bags and even a sweater. And yet Tabetha knew a small sense of unfulfilment. She just knew, somewhere out in the world, there was the perfect project destined for her; a magical accessory that would save both her world and her stash.
Tabetha began a quest that led her to the great, expansive state of Colorado, in search of tutelage from a sock guide, Sock Master Jennifer. She began a grueling training regimen immediately. Hours upon hours she wept, sweat, and whined through the practice of sharp weaponry and tangled fibers. She nearly gave up. At one point, after having worked the heel flap with the wrong-side facing out, she fell to her knees and cursed the Universe for placing her on this path. Standing tall before her, Sock Master Jennifer demanded she rise, demanded she try again.
“You were made for socks, Tabetha, and it’s time you accepted your destiny.” She said.
It was in that moment, Tabetha knew the truth of her being. Knew that her future lay here, at the base of this heel flap. Sniffing softly, she wiped away the remaining tears and, with a firm stance, ripped the work she’d spent hours on. Tabetha picked up her finely crafted tools and began again. Again and again, she practiced, never giving up until one day, the magic of the sock filled her soul and revealed its wonders.
It wasn’t until many years and many, many pairs of socks later (over 54 pairs in one year), that Tabetha looked back to see just how far she’d come since that training under Sock Master Jennifer. It had been a long journey, but one that opened a wide world of contentment, wonder, and colourful delight. She learned the journey was more than just the discovery of socks, but a journey into the self. As a Sock Master herself now, this revelation guides her in training the young novices that show up at her door, eager for fulfillment.
I don’t have a picture of when I completed my first knitted sock nor do I know the exact date. It would have been in 2013… maybe early 2014. No one told me that sock knitting was difficult so I had jumped in with no fear. Patons Kroy sock yarn, toe up construction. It may have been one of my first fingering weight projects which is why the first sock took me about 2 months to knit. The second sock only took a month because I had an idea of what I was doing… kind of lol. I knit them knee high and had to improvise the pattern by increasing the stitches around the calf… something I never did before. Well, the top looked kind of ridiculous lol. Last year I ripped out the top and did a simple bind off as I wear most of my socks slouchy now a days. I also took the time to de-pill the heels. Years later, they still look good and I am very happy they are in my wardrobe!!
Let us know… what was your own first experience with knitting socks?! Or if you’ve yet to cast on your first pair, we hope these stories share a bit of our joy of sock knitting and help inspire you to grab some needles and create a new sock adventure of your own!
If you’re inspired to cast on a new sock project for yourself, check out our sock knitting patterns, plus we also have a few copies of Laine Publishing’s beautiful 52 Weeks of Sock pattern book. And if you’re new to sock knitting and looking for a bit of help to get started, don’t forget that over at the School of SweetGeorgia, there are two sock knitting courses taught by Tabetha Hedrick to help you each step of the way: Custom Top Down Socks for Beginners and the recently released Custom Toe Up Socks course!