I like the idea of being able to make an entire outfit. Do I want to make all of my own clothes? Not really. But do I want to be able to make all the types of clothes I might wear on a given day? Yes!
I have ventured into most areas of clothes making. Socks are one area I don’t visit a lot. I made a few pairs back in my first knitting phase, and I have sewn socks, but since picking knitting back up, I have more or less avoided socks. Rather than making one thing, I would have to make a pair. I wasn’t too sure I wanted to or that I would have the will to make both socks.
After I got a few sweaters under my belt, though, I realized that if I can knit two sleeves, I can definitely knit two socks. They are typically even smaller than sleeves! I was also inspired by my Mom, who is one of my knitting buddies, and who has gotten really good at socks. I needed to give this a try.
Drea Renee Knits Sparks Socks
Last year my Mom and I decided to knit the Drea Renee Knits Sparks socks pattern at the same time.
This is a stranded colorwork sock pattern with two colors. We’re both big fans of Drea Renee Knits patterns, and stranded colorwork is my favorite type of knitting so far. I had some Hedgehog Fibres sock yarn from when I first discovered their yarn (and speckled, hand-dyed yarn in general) that I wanted to use. There was a white mini skein with speckles of green, blue, pink, and purple in it that I used at the top of my socks, and a larger white skein with pink, purple, and black speckles that I used for the rest of the sock. That skein was actually reclaimed from a cowl that I frogged (ripped out). I can’t find the colorway name of the mini skein, but the larger skein was called “Cheeky”. I paired these with some Cascade Heritage yarn (colorway: “Real Black“) from Wool & Co. because I love that high contrast. All yarn was superwash wool combined with nylon for strength. The Hedgehog Fibres Yarn originally came from Pintuck & Purl.
Making the socks was fun, and I learned a lot. The design is cool and interesting, and the heels and toes look pretty. I really like all the tips and support designer Andrea Mowry puts into her patterns because there are a lot of things to know in knitting, and those tips and YouTube videos make it easy to learn as you go, no matter your level.
In making these particular socks, I made a few…mistakes? Accidental design choices? I don’t know. I’m a loose knitter, so I sized down to some tiny needles (US 1 and US 0), but nevertheless, my socks came out a little too large…definitely too large to wear out and about every day. No matter. They could be sleep socks. I usually wear socks when I go to bed and then, as my feet warm up, I kick them off. Their looseness made them perfect for this.
The other thing I did was accidentally reverse the colors on the second sock. It’s hard to remember what I was thinking because it looks like I redrew the color chart like I usually do so that I wouldn’t get mixed up, but somewhere along the line, I spaced out, and they are opposites. When I realized what I had done, I had to laugh. There are definitely socks out there that are made this way on purpose, and they look cool, but this was 100% a mistake on my part. Haha.
Since they are superwash and already too big, I have thrown them in the washer and laid them out to dry, and they have done great. I think they may have even accidentally gone through the dryer once or twice. They are pretty pilly at this point, but that’s easy to fix. They’re holding up great.
DRK Everyday Socks
My second pair of socks were the DRK Everyday Socks.
I used these as a sort of slow-and-steady, easy project since a lot of the pattern is knit 2, purl 2 ribbing. They were the project I brought along when I was listening to a speaker or knitting in front of the TV or in the car, and I worked on them slowly little by little over several months.
Come to think of it, I have done a lot of knit 2, purl 2 ribbing over the last year across three different projects and I discovered a few things.
1. I like doing this kind of repetitive ribbing best when knitting Continental rather than English style.
2. I also find it a lot more fun if I am using an interesting (rather than a plain) yarn.
Two of my three ribbing-filled projects have used a plain yarn, but these socks were more fun because I was using this great speckled sock yarn (colorway: “Pixie on a Bender“) from Birch Dyeworks for most of it. For the rest, I used a mini skein that I had which was also from Birch Dyeworks (colorway: “Mom’s Hot Pants“). The speckled skein, which is a white and pink base filled with pink, green, black, purple, yellow, blue, and even the occasional trace of orange was a gift from Maggie at Pintuck & Purl. Back when I used to work there we made plans to knit socks together so I could learn two-at-a-time Magic Loop*, where you knit two socks at once. Well…we didn’t get beyond about an inch and a half and the two-at-a-time technique never cemented itself in my brain. Even though those socks never materialized, I got to keep the yarn, and have always wanted to put it to good use. And those speckles really kept it fun.
My knitting was tighter on these socks, which I was happy about, so they are only slightly loose, and work great as everyday socks in general. I have worn them a few times, and I’m not sure yet if I like them as much as store-bought socks or not. When I first put them on, I can feel the texture of the sock under the front part of my foot, and I don’t love it. As I go along, I stop noticing it, but the jury is still out on whether or not I love handmade socks for everyday wear. I do love them on cold days with slippers, though!
This pattern was fun, I learned some interesting new things, and while I like the look of the Afterthought Heel in the Sparks socks better, both were great to knit. I like being able to have contrasting toes, heels, and cuffs, and both patterns allow for that in different ways.
It was also interesting to see what a dramatic difference blocking made in the look of the finished socks. Even though they are not at all necessary, I bought some Bryspun sock blockers by Bryson from Pintuck & Purl before finishing these. You can get a sense of how the socks looked before blocking in this picture of them soaking.
After knitting both of these, I feel like I have a good handle on using Magic Loop to knit one sock at a time. *If you haven’t heard of it, Magic Loop is a technique wherein you use a long circular knitting needle to knit smaller-circumference things in the round rather than using double pointed needles (DPNs). I’m fine with double pointed needles, but I am really glad I learned to knit this way too. I never really thought I would like it better than using DPNs, but I think I may be starting to.
Now that my DRK Everyday Socks are done, I’m trying to finish up a cowl I started in a class I took as well as a sweater. After that? Probably some Speedy Selbu mittens…just time time for Spring! Haha.