Archive for the ‘Socks’ Category

Celebratory herringbone socks

Herringbone socks, sans feet.jpg

Herringbone Socks from New Sock Fashions in Wool by Styled by Hilda, via Free Vintage Knitting Patterns
120-ish grams Patonyle 4ply, Navy
2.25mm and 2.50mm needles
Started: April 2014
Finished: May 2014
Modifications: Switched back to the smaller needles for the foot
Ravelryed: here

Whew. Now I’ve got the last post off my chest (thank you everyone for your kind words about the jumper), I can move onto happier things.

Over the Easter break, I wanted to do work on something that wasn’t a cardigan so I cast on these socks. They were a dream to knit; the pattern was interesting but easy to remember, the slip stitch heel flap created a lovely spongy fabric and even the most monotonous part of the sock (the feet) flew by. This is how I remember knitting being.

Herringbone socks, with feet.jpg

I really liked the not-very-herringbone herringbone pattern, but it does look a bit gappy on Matt’s skinny legs. The decreases for the toe and heel suffer from the same gappiness, so I wonder if it was a combination of the pattern, the yarn and my technique. It doesn’t matter too much, as Matt seems very happy with them and they still look quite handsome despite the flaws. It’s also another addition to his sock drawer; hopefully one day soon we’ll reach a point where handknit socks are for wearing and not just for admiring and worrying about destroying them through wear.

Pillow heel.JPG

Although I didn’t end up finishing them by the end of the Easter break, I did finish them at the same time as Matt finished a wee project he’d been working on for the last few months (avert your eyes if you’re sensitive to product plugs, there’s a shameless one ahead). It’s called RavExporter, which is a plugin for iPhoto and Aperture that allows Ravelry users to export their photos directly from iPhoto or Aperture into a project or stash item. The backstory is that I use Aperture on my Mac to store all my photos, and it can get quite unwieldy when I’m trying to import stash or project photos into Ravelry. So, Matt wrote this plugin so I could get my photos into Ravelry more quickly. Productivity! If you’re a Mac user that uses Ravelry, do check it out. We’d love to hear what you think of it.

Bendigo socks

Bendigo Socks.jpg

Sox (Dutch Heel) aka Design No. 1799 from Sun-Glo Knitting Book Series 15
110-ish grams Candlebark Country Socks Corriedale/Romney 5ply
2.25mm dpns
Started: July 2013
Finished: November 2013
Modifications: picked up more stitches around the heel flap, worked a few more decrease rounds at the foot.
Ravelryed: here

These socks were part of Matt’s Christmas present last year. They were knit on public transport, at Stitches and Bitches and at various other points in time where Matt wouldn’t see them in progress. Evidently I did a good job of hiding them, because he was thoroughly surprised (or so he tells me).

Both the yarn and the pattern came from Bendigo on the Sheep and Wool Show weekend. The yarn was from Corriedale/Romney sheep from a farm just outside of Bendigo, and the pattern from a stack of vintage patterns I picked up from the Sheep and Wool Show. I generally not location-loyal when it comes to buying things, there’s still enough hometown pride left in me to be tickled by the Bendigo-ness of it all.


I think these socks are one of the best yarn/pattern combinations I’ve ever come across. The socks are pretty basic ribbed socks, but the rustic, slightly slubby texture of the yarn lends itself well to a fairly plain ribbed sock.

The yarn was quite good to work with. It still had a slightly greasy texture from the lanolin left in it, and there was a little bit of vegetable matter that was fairly easy to pick out as I went along. It turns out I quite like working with that kind of toothy, unrefined yarn; it’s not something I’d really want against my neck, but even without nylon in it it seems tough enough to handle the wear and tear of being sandwiched between a foot and a boot.


One thing about the yarn I didn’t care for was the smell when I was blocking the yarn. Because of the lanolin content I was expecting a wet sheep smell, but as soon as it hit the water, it gave off a pungent camphor/petroleum smell. It was so strong that even though I was blocking it in a room with the door closed and the window open, the smell was still wafting into other parts of the house. Once the socks were dry the smell disappeared, but I’m not particularly looking forward to their next wash.

The pattern itself is fairly unremarkable, it’s just a fairly long (4.5 inch cuff, 12 inch leg) sock with a dutch heel (which, incidentally, seems to be Matt’s preferred heel type. Just so you know). The pattern book was published in 1940, so it’s unsurprisingly quite utilitarian in its design. The only modification I made was to pick up more stitches along the heel flap and increased the number of decrease rows to account for those extra stitches.

All pretty straightforward, but a lovely result nonetheless.

Tricked up grey socks

diamond socks, aerial view.jpg

Gentleman’s sock with Lozenge Pattern by Nancy Bush
125g Patonyle 4ply, Charcoal
2.25mm needles
Started: February 2013
Finished: April 2013
Ravelryed: here

These socks were finished in April, but circumstances meant that I could only take photos of them yesterday. This meant that for about a month, I wouldn’t let Matt wear them for fear of them spontaneously disintegrating in his boots and thus going undocumented. Now that he has my blessing to wear them, they feel like they’re really finished.

The results are pretty pleasing but I’m glad they’re done. This is mostly because I ended up knitting approximately three socks in the pursuit of making two. Part of this was to make sure the socks fit Matt’s skinny legs, but most of it was because I wasn’t paying attention at the appropriate moments. In the end, I only made two minor modifications; the legs are narrower than given in the pattern, and the feet are longer.

When I first came across the pattern, I was drawn to the diamonds. Now that they’re done, the elements I like the most are the cuff and the faux seam that runs down the back of the sock. I think they look rather handsome and fancy up the socks just nicely.

the seam, the seam.jpg

The yarn did an impressive job of keeping it together as it was continually frogged and knocked around in my bag as I took it to and from work. However, by the end of the first sock, the cuff was starting to look a bit fluffy and in need of a visit from the magic depiller (the honeymoon period is still not over).

side on hipster view.jpg

Both Matt and I are people of simple tastes when it comes to yarn colourways. The more solid (and closer to grey) the colourway, the more we seem to like it. So while picking charcoal Patonyle might seem a boring choice, I think the solid grey suited both the pattern and the recipient well. Let’s hope they don’t spontaneously disintegrate upon contact with his boots.


The first post for the year is about my first finished object for 2012. It also happens to be Matt’s first pair of hand knitted socks and the first Nancy Bush sock pattern that I’ve finished.


Oak Ribbed Socks by Nancy Bush, from Knitting Vintage Socks
MadelineTosh Tosh Sock, Twig
2.5mm dpns
Modifications: Lengthened the feet

Start: November 2011
Finish: January 2012
Ravelled: here

So far in my knitting career my Mum, Dad, sister have all received socks made by my hands. Although Matt didn’t let on, I suspected that he was feeling a bit left out. These socks were part of his birthday present for this year, and I think they were a success.

There was a bit of trial and error involved in making these socks. Initially I cast on the Yarrow Rib Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks using 2.75mm dpns because that was the size I had and the swatch was to gauge. The fabric was looking a bit loose, so I had some concerns that they wouldn’t wear that well. After seeking advice from Twitter and SnB, they were frogged and I started again using smaller needles and the Oak Ribbed Sock pattern. As it happened there was a bit of frogging going on at that SnB meet up, as a friend was frogging a pair of socks that were knit up on 2.5mm Knitpro dpns, and the resulting fabric was so firm it could have stopped bullets. Bulletproof socks were apparently not the goal, so the 2.5mm dpns were kindly leant to me.

This was my first opportunity to try Knitpro/Knit Picks/whatever they’re called at the moment needles. Although there’s little risk of metal dpns breaking, I’ve been put off buying or trying Knitpro needles because of the broken circulars I’ve seen or heard about. After knitting one of the socks, I went out and bought myself a set of metal 2.5mm dpns. They feel nice and solid in my hands, have a decent point and are a good weight for me. I’m unlikely to move away from my circular needles of choice, Addi turbos, but I’d definitely consider buying more Knitpro metal dpns in the future.

Tosh Sock is a great yarn to work with, and although it softened up a lot after blocking, I think it’ll wear really well. The colour way, twig, caused me a few headaches though. It’s lovely in the skein, but even fairly basic patterns kept getting lost in the mix of light and dark brown. Before making these socks, I started a Shaelyn Shawl and swatched for A Thousand Splendid Suns, but it just wasn’t working out. Even with this sock pattern there’s a bit of pooling, but I think it works well enough and Matt is happy. Before casting these socks on I bought another skein of MadTosh Sock but in Graphite. There seems to be less variegation in that colour way so hopefully finding a pattern to go with the yarn will be easier.


I’m very slow on the Nancy Bush sock pattern uptake, so the next paragraph or so will be nothing groundbreaking for anyone else who has used a knitting pattern by Nancy Bush. I remember borrowing Knitting Vintage Socks from the library not long after it was released and was impressed not just by the patterns, but by the sections at the front about the different kinds of heel and toe. Even though Oak Ribbed Socks are just ribbed socks, but little things like the rib ‘seam’ to the bottom of the heel, the welsh heel and the three point star toe made it a fun knit.


These were meant to be finished in time for Matt’s birthday. They were finished the night of his birthday so I was kind of on time and also kind of late. Irrespective of whether they were technically on time, they’re done, he seems to like them, and I don’t think they’ll be the last pair of hand knit socks he’ll get.

Ricking and a’racking

Kalajoki from the front

Kalajoki Socks by Tiina Seppälä (rav link)
4.5 balls Patons Patonyle 8ply, red
3.25mm DPNs
Start: June 2011
Finish: July 2011
Modifications: see below
Ravelryed: here

It may not seem like it, given how close this post is to the start of the Sheep and Wool Show, but I finished my Kalajokis with plenty of time to spare. Sadly the weather gods have not been smiling upon me lately, so I’ve had to wait for half-way suitable photo weather, before writing this post.

The biggest modification made to the pattern was to make the socks knee-length rather than calf-length. If you’re interested in making knee length ones yourself, these are the modifications I made:

  • Cast on 74 stitches rather than the 54 given in the pattern.
  • Knit 14 rows of twisted rib for the cuff, rather than 10 rows given in the pattern.
  • Starting with the first row after the ribbing, I decreased 2 stitches every 5 rows 10 times (54 stitches remaining).
  • Knit around about 2.5 repeats of the river ribbing for the leg, rather than the 1.5 repeats (give or take) given in the pattern.

Kalajoki, meet fence

The calf shaping is pretty crude, particularly when compared with the shaping used in the Delicious Knee Sock pattern. That said, the socks seem to stay up and it looks fine, which is all that matters really.

It was a really enjoyable pattern to knit; not something that I could work on without concentrating on it a little, but still simple enough to take along to a Stitch n Bitch. The rib snaking down the side of the socks is really striking and reminds me of ric rac a little bit. Not sure if anyone else sees that though…

The Patonyle 8ply I used makes for a lovely soft and warm fabric. Sadly, it also made for a sock that is too thick to fit in my everyday boots which is a bit of an issue. However, I do have a backup plan so I should still be able to wear them this weekend.

In my excitement about getting the socks finished in time for Bendigo, I completely forgot to think about the knitting that I should take with me and don’t have anything suitable on the needles. Such a rookie mistake! The current frontrunner is a Turn A Square for Matt using leftovers from my stripy knee high socks (he’s brought me enough cups of tea to warrant a beanie), but I cannot rule out a last minute change to the lineup…

Challenge update

It’s been just over two weeks since starting the knee high Kalajokis, and there are about two and a half weeks to go until the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show. I imagine there have probably been some sleepless nights as people worry about the status of my socks. Fear no more, for here is an update!

The left sock rises

Last week I finished the right sock. The speed with which the first sock was finished caught me completely by surprise, particularly given I’m having so much trouble remembering the ‘river’ ribbing. My inability to remember the pattern is another surprise; with the number of times I have knit and reknit the socks with Bendigo Woollen Mills Allegro, you’d think I’d be able to knit these socks in my sleep…

You put your right leg in...

The Patonyle 8ply I’m using is lovely and soft, but I probably prefer Allegro for this pattern. Allegro’s tight crepe construction just feels sturdier, and the ribbed ‘river’ pops out a bit more. That said, I’m really happy with how the socks are turning out in Patonyle; they’re thick (perhaps even too thick for my boots) and warm, and it’s a really great red.

Progress on the second sock feels slow, but that’s probably because my mind is wandering to the next project. As fun as socks have been, it’s time I made myself a jumper. Or a cardigan. Or a different cardigan. Or a summer top

Delicious Striped Socks

striped socks

Delicious Knee Socks by Laura Chau
0.7 ball Noro Kureyon Sock, S149
0.7 skein SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock, Espresso
2.25mm DPNs
Start: April 2011
Finish: June 2011
Modifications: no slipped stitch or cabled seam
Ravelryed: here

During the week I finished these socks. As mentioned in an earlier post about them, these are the first socks I’ve knit for myself and I’m smitten. The two yarns worked really well together and they are so warm, perfect for this time of year.

Working on the cuff in only Tough Love Sock meant that I got a bit more of a feel for the yarn, and I quite like it. The nylon content (20 per cent) makes it a wee bit squeaky, but it feels very hard wearing and I’m still completely enamoured with the espresso colourway.

There’s quite a bit of both yarns left over, so Matt may score a thin version of Turn A Square to wear under his bike helmet. But only if he’s good and keeps bringing me cups of tea after dinner.

striped toes

Another thing mentioned in a previous post was the pattern, and I still stand by what I said then; it’s a really good pattern and highly recommended it if you’re planning to make knee socks. Actually, the only thing I should mention is that the pattern has a short row heel. While that means you get a nice contrast heel, I’m not sure if I like how the short row heel turns out when you pick up the wrapped and double wrapped stitches. Are they any other forms of construction where you can get that kind of contrast heel? I’m pretty much a beginner when it comes to sock construction so I don’t really know… The heel aside, I’m contemplating making a non-striped pair of these in grey, and with the cabled seam variation given in the pattern. And maybe the over the knee version rather than just below the knee.

Finishing these socks means that the red knee sock challenge has commenced. I cast on the first sock on Monday, and I’ve now finished the leg and am onto the heel. Given it’s now just shy of a month before the Sheep and Wool Show, I think they might just be finished in time. Famous last words.


The Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show is next month, so my mind has turned to the most important part of the event: what knitting to wear. July in Bendigo is almost without fail freezing cold, making it perfect for showing off a knitted item or twelve. Last year I was a pretty bad ambassador for my knitting, with my Henry being the only handknit I wore. Matt, on the other hand, was a far better billboard for my knitting; he wore his suave sweater, Claudius and his Henry. As scary as it is that I can remember which handknits we wore, it’s probably even more frightening that we wore matching scarves last year. Keep an eye out for us this year, we’ll be the ones wearing matching jogging suits…

It’s a modest goal, but I’d like to finish the knee high Kalajokis for Bendigo this year. It’s probably more accurate to say start *and* finish as I haven’t started the Patonyle versions yet. In fact, the Allegro ones are still sitting on my desk waiting to be frogged. These things take time!

Before starting the Kalajokis, I should finish my stripy knee highs. Not that there’s too much to go now; I’m currently half way through the increases on the second sock. The increases on the first sock felt so slow, but on the second sock they signal the downhill run so they’re flying by. By sheer coincidence, the Noro stripes match up almost perfectly. I’d been mentally preparing for a pair of fraternal twin socks, but here I am with a pair of almost identical twins. Silly as it is, I feel almost let down that they’re turning out perfect.

stripy socks

Last but not least, thank you everyone for your lovely comments about my vest. You’ve motivated me to not only try wearing it again, but to also start thinking about possible colour combinations for another vest. I could rip back part of the original vest and fix up the problems, but I want to keep it in its slightly dinky state. Making another one, a sort of do over, seems a pretty good compromise to me.

2011: the year of the knee sock

While deliberating on the fate of my Kalajoki socks, I started on another pair of knee socks. This year seems to be the year for making socks for myself, something I’ve never done before. It’s also perfect weather for knee socks; Autumn is barely a blip of a memory now as the very chilly days have begun. As I walk to the tram stop each workday, I think about how good it’ll be to have some knee socks to provide an extra layer of protection against the cold.

Delicious socks

The pattern used for these socks is Laura Chau’s Delicious Knee Socks. It’s a good pattern, this one. While the sock itself is a fairly basic toe up, there are lots of foot width/foot length/calf width/leg length combinations which makes it very adaptable.


Getting a start on these socks has meant finally using some Noro Kureyon Sock I was given for my birthday a couple of years ago. Finding a good brown to stripe with the Noro proved to be quite a challenge, however Sweetgeorgia yarns came through with the goods with their Tough Love Sock in the espresso colourway. The swatch provided some concern as there wasn’t quite enough contrast between the Sweetgeorgia and the Noro for my liking. As it turns out, I swatched with probably the darkest part of the colourway; the lighter parts look really good against the chocolatey brown. With the lighter colours around it, the darker sections, which didn’t look so great in the swatch, look fine in the sock.

Delicious toe

It almost feels like a waste to use the Sweetgeorgia with the Noro. The socks are turning out well, but I’m not getting a good feel for the yarn as I only get to use it in two round lots, with the exception of the toe, heel and cuff. That said, I have gotten a good feel for the espresso colourway and I’m completely enamoured with it. So much so that the search has started, and has maybe ended, for a way to use that colourway again. The frontrunner is the Callie Bib Tee, using Sweetgeorgia’s Merino Silk DK. This is quite an expensive yarn for me, but it’s amazing what a fairly spectacular appreciation of the Australin dollar can do for your yarn budget…

The little red socks that could

The aim for this year is to use up as much stash as possible. Not to avoid buying yarn per se, but to make stash the first port of call when starting a project. So far it’s worked fairly well; there was enough yarn in my meagre stash to make a vest, a cowl (with some help from an abandoned scarf) and a bolero (with some help from a knitterly stranger). These socks, however, have put an end the golden run of stash diving.


Initially there appeared to be more than enough yarn to make a pair of Kalajokis. In fact, there looked like there’d be enough to make a pair of knee high Kalajokis. As soon as the thought of red knee high socks materialised in my brain, it was over. It was a pair of red knee high Kalajokis or nothing.

There were four or five attempts to try and squeeze a pair of knee socks out of the yarn I had stashed, but it was to no avail. Even with a pair of knee socks that was close to vacuum sealed onto my legs, there wasn’t enough yarn for most of the foot. There’s definitely enough yarn for a pair of ‘normal’, shorter, Kalajokis, but quite frankly it feels dirty typing those words. Red knee high Kalajokis or nothing, remember?

Kalajoki plus ankle defence mechanism

As it happens, the colour of the yarn (Bendigo Woollen Mills Allegro, in the discontinued colourway Scarlet) is pretty close to Patonyle 8ply in red. Let’s hope the seven balls purchased in the recent Clegs sale will be enough.

patonyle allegro face/off

As for the Allegro, its future is uncertain. It’s a fairly splitty yarn, so while the colour is good and the fabric seems pretty hard wearing, it’s not the best to knit with. So back it goes into the stash, waiting for another pattern to come along. Hopefully next time round there will be enough to finish whatever I start!