Sock knitting and the trials of learning something new

I’ve been learning how to knit socks for the last couple of months. I chose a couple of free patterns and some yarn back at Easter time. It was another month or so before I actually started trying to knit a sock.

The pattern I started with was title ‘Socks for Beginners’ but was very much not written with beginners in mind. Specifically there was no description of any terminology, and knitting has a lot of terminology and abbreviations. Fortunately there is a wealth of information on the internet and I more or less figured out the instructions.

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3D Knitting – My first time knitting in the round

I really enjoyed knitting the socks. I liked the 3D nature of the socks and seeing the object appear felt very accomplished. However the sparse nature of the pattern caused another problem – the fit of the sock. I have small feet and not particularly slender ones, but the sock from the first pattern was so short and stubby – it didn’t look like a sock. It also had a really narrow heel – only 3 stitches for the middle of the short row heels. The lack of instructions meant I didn’t feel comfortable altering the pattern myself. I was also a bit disillusioned that it looked nothing like the socks I was used to.

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Even my child sized feet are not that short and fat

So for the second sock, I used a different pattern. This one had more size variations and considerably more detailed instructions. I still turned to the internet occasionally (picking up stitches), but I finally had a sock looking sock.

 

The main thing learning to knit socks has actually taught me is how to unknit, i.e. undo something smoothly so I can go back a specific number of rows etc. I’ve had to do it quite a few times over the course of the three socks. I’ve also since starting the sock discovered ravelry, which has considerably broadened my access to patterns and different sock construction techniques. I can now see how store bought socks differ in construction to the heel flap and short row heel method of construction. I love my socks but I think I will definitely investigate other construction methods in the future.

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A Comparison of the two socks 

My finished socks aren’t perfect but they keep my feet warm and are a pair. One is slightly in smaller than the other, so the gusset stitches stretch a little. And I couldn’t get the kitchener graft to work on the second sock, I tried three times and then called it a day. I’ll try again next time.

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