Thursday, 20 December 2012

Socks for Christmas

Do you give or receive socks at Christmas time? Socks are often an integral part of Christmas, birthday and fathers' day gifts. Last year, my family gave me the joy of socks...

I received gift vouchers for Christmas–very handy when reviewing the growing list of books on my wish list. I decided to purchase a book about socks, to fully understand the construction and different methods of creating them. I couldn't decide which book was best so I bought THREE!
·         "Sock Knitting Master Class" by Ann Budd, Interweave 2011
·         "2-at-a-Time Socks" by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, Storey Publishing 2007
·         "Toe Up 2-at-a-Time Socks" also by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, Storey Publishing 2010
Before you gasp in horror at the titles exclaiming, "They are not crochet!", let me explain that one can learn a lot about design and construction by learning about other crafts and then apply some of that knowledge to crochet; e.g. sewing, knitting, spinning. Even books on seemingly unrelated topics like interior design and fine art can be useful.
I haven't seen too many books specifically about crocheted socks. Sure, there are pattern books, but I haven’t come across a book with general discussion of crocheted sock techniques. If you happen to know of one that has been particularly useful for you, please let me know. Perhaps we can create a Lupey Loops Reading List.
Suffice to say, the books purchased, although about knitting, have been well worth it. I have read them all from cover to cover and learnt a lot.
Then I excitedly grabbed Interweave Crochet magazine’s Fall 2012 issue because of a project which incorporated three interests at once: colourworked socks in Tunisian crochet (Zig Zag Socks by Patsy Harbor).
Well, I haven’t got up to the Tunisian (tricot) socks yet, but so far I have knitted a pair of cuff-down socks and crocheted a pair of cuff-down socks. It was 'super exciting' to get a lovely compliment on Ravelry from the author of the crochet pattern, Karen Ratto-Whooley. I hope she felt equally complimented by my choosing of her pattern because it was a good one.
Karen Ratto-Whooley has also authored articles in Interweave Crochet magazine (Winter 2011 & Spring 2012 issues) about ‘formulae’ for top-down and toe-up socks. When I was a brand new beginner, the most confusing aspect of sock patterns was the terminology and the need to identify which part of a sock is the ‘instep’ or the ‘heel turn’ or ‘gusset’etc. Karen’s articles have clear illustrations of the ‘anatomy’ of a sock. The Winter 2011 issue features a number of patterns and articles about crocheted socks.
Along with reading books and articles on the subject, these free patterns (which can be found on helped me along with that understanding:
·         #70739AD Basic Socks by Lion Brand Yarn (these are knitted)
·         #90528AD Cozy Crochet Socks by Karen Ratto-Whooley

Basic Socks
Cozy Crochet Socks

This week I’m feeling particularly pleased because, after a year of reading and experimenting, the goal to understand the construction of socks has been fulfilled.

From knowing absolutely nothing at the beginning of the year, I have learnt enough to improvise some crocheted mini christmas stockings without a pattern. It was a little test for myself to see whether I truly understood the concepts involved in making a sock and they turned out well. There were two pairs–one with a fold-over cuff and the other with a plain single cuff.
The beauty of little stockings was that they were quick to make; I didn’t have to concern myself with ‘fit’–only shape and proportions. They are perfectly sized to contain sweet treats for young visitors, and when the children have eaten the contents, they will have a little ornament for their own tree that can be refilled next Christmas.

I love the freedom of being able to crochet using one’s imagination, without having to rely on a pattern. Once I understand a variety of ways to construct socks, then I might be in a position to alter some of the standard proportions etc. to custom-fit my daughter’s “special needs” feet with home-made “technical socks” (much cheaper than in the shops too!).
The moral of the story is that there is more than one way to give socks this Christmas!
Do you regularly give and/or receive socks as gifts? What makes a good sock? What are your favourite sock patterns and types of socks? Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts or you can email
Have a wonderful, warm (and 'woolly'!) holiday season.
Useful links:
· (Ann Budd’s home page)
· (KRW Knitwear Studio/Karen Ratto-Whooley)
· (Melissa Morgan-Oakes’ website)
· (Melissa Morgan-Oakes’ blog)
· (Zig Zag Socks)

1 comment:

  1. Almost two years since I wrote this post and I came across a delightful blog post about the joy of knitting socks. Yes, yes, my blog is mainly about crochet, but socks shall be where the two crafts shall meet. Kate, from Foxs Lane blog, enthusiastically explains why she loves making socks and I totally agree with her reasoning.
    I am posting a link here so I can easily find it again next time:
    If you are yet to be inspired to give socks a go, with either crochet hook or knitting needles, I recommend Kate's article.