Knitting as Therapy – The Joy of Socks…

socks knitting

I’ve rediscovered the joy of knitting socks…hooray!

I don’t know why I stopped, but I started again over the Christmas holiday when the seasonal cold germ dropped in, uninvited, and ground everything else to a halt.

I was rummaging pathetically around in the studio looking for something to do which required no flash of inspiration, no tracking down of supplies, no complicated instructions to follow and there in a little bag I found…the yarn…the pattern…the needles…and one completed sock just waiting for it’s mate to be knitted up – perfect!

I’m embarrassed to say that just now whilst looking through the archives to find past sock adventures I discovered when I made the first one of the pair…2011! We were taking Aimee to Uni when I made the first sock and in the time it’s taken for me not to finish the second one she’s graduated and is well on the way to being a qualified teacher! Oh dear…

Anyway, not only has this lone sock been matched with it pair, but I whizzed out for more yarn when I was feeling better and I’ve just completed a second pair.   To add to the mix my friend Kit arrived with a little cheer up bag containing…pink and green socks, so I’m well on the way to replacing all the ones which have succumbed over the years to the four legged sausage shaped ‘moth’ which makes holes in soft furnishing and garments willy nilly.

mini dachshund asleep

The Planet Penny Moth!

...and the socks he has chewed!

…and the socks he has chewed!

So what’s so good about knitting socks?

Well, the little pattern I use is probably the most basic one you can find, it came free with a ball of sock yarn a while ago.  And when you’ve used it a few times it sort of lodges in your head, and you can trundle away, following the plot of Broadchurch or The Killing (with subtitles) without getting flustered.

It’s a bit fiddly to start off with, casting on 60 stitches and dividing them between three DP needles and getting that first rib row set up, but then you are off.  Once the rib is done you’ve got rows and rows of straight knitting, and because you are in the round, every row is a knit row and you still get stocking stitch!

I like to use the self striping sock yarn because seeing what colour is coming next gives you something to aim for, ‘I’ll just finish the blue, or the pink, or the green’…

knitting socks - yarn

Turning the heel is an event, (you should have seen the first one I ever did!) but once you see the logic of where you are going it’s a little challenge in the middle of the project to keep you on your toes. and then you are off again, round and round until the toe arrives, a simple little decrease which makes an elegant seam each side.

And then…the wonder that is Kitchener Stitch!  It’s a fabby way to end your sock, weaving in and out of the stitches with your needle to make new knitting stitches so you can’t see the join.  It took me ages to get to grips with it so don’t shudder and turn away at this point, it can be done, believe me.  I can be heard muttering ‘Front – Purl off, Knit. Back – Knit off, Purl’ a little mantra to keep me on the straight and narrow.

And then, when you’ve finished, and tenderly pressed them (about the only time I like to get the ironing board out!) you’ve got something warm and delightful to enjoy yourself or to give as a very special present.  What a joy!

If you feel like joining in with a little relaxing sock knitting therapy one of my favourite online ports of call is The Sock Yarn Shop, where the most difficult thing is choosing! This what I’m hankering after at the moment…

sock yarn knittingIt’s like a spring sunrise, something to dream about just at the moment!

Are you a sock knitting fan, or have I inspired you to have a go?  I do hope so… If you are looking for some help, the Sock Yarn Shop recommends this set of tutorials.

I’ll be back soon with Happy Friday.  I’m going to try and get it posted on Thursday evening to give more people a chance to join in so look out your happy photos or jolly moments and get ready to link up…see you soon…x


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25 thoughts on “Knitting as Therapy – The Joy of Socks…

  1. Lilly's Mom

    This was so delightful to read. I’m also a sock knitter. I enjoy seeing how the sock takes shape with each stitch. The mochi sock yarn looks delightful. I have used mochi in an entrelac scarf. Your new socks are lovely and I’m sure they will be warm this winter.

  2. Magic Cochin

    I love hand knitted colourful socks to wear in my walking boots. How do you judge when to turn the heel and have enough wool left for the foot and not waste any yarn? I prefer using a toe-up pattern so I use every scrap of the sock wool and have nice long socks.

  3. pennygj Post author

    Hi Celia, I haven’t tried a toe up pattern, I can seen how it would work for nice long socks. I find all sorts of things to do with the leftover yarn from the pattern I use though, and I am working up to making a mad, multi-coloured pair using stripes from all the leftovers!

    P x

  4. kathrynatcrafternoontreats

    Hi Penny – I get your posts by email and had to read this one straight away! I am crocheter not a knitter but I am giving knitting a go again inspired by Vanessa Cabban – hope she would have been pleased… I started a pair of crochet socks before Christmas and got thoroughly disheartened. The way you describe the sock knitting in rounds makes me think I might be able to do it. Do you know of any good tutorials to get me going as I’ve never attempted anything but straight knitting before? 🙂 Kathryn xxx

  5. Ana Paula

    I’ve made a few socks for me, my husband, his father and my best friend. My socks were soon loose on the rib and kept on falling. My husband has used his until holes appeared on the bottom and is very happy with the new ones. Still, I am always concerned they are too slippery (we have wooden stairs at home, not a good combination).

  6. ana paula

    PS: I’ve almost bought new sock yarn Las weekend. But I’ve promised myself to finish the 2 current projects before I buy more yarn 🙂 Besides, I still have yarn for new socks somewhere in my stash…

  7. VeggieMummy

    Hi Penny. Knitting a pair of socks was one of the things that I wanted to do for my 50 list last year ……….unfortunately, I gave up! You have, however, inspired me to have another go. I just have a couple of WIPs to finish first and then I’ll try again. It may take me a while though! x

  8. Linda

    I am a crocheter but I also knit simple patterns occasionally. I have wanted to make socks for a very long time but never have gathered up the courage to try. After seeing your new socks I decided to try it, and after today’s post I am getting ready to cast on my first pair! Not sure about a pattern, though. It has got to be a basic one for me–at least to begin with. Thank you for your inspiration…

  9. pennygj Post author

    Hi Linda,
    I’m so glad I have inspired you to try sock knitting. It takes a little while to get your head round it but once you do it’s so satisfying. And lovely to be able to wear little works of art on your feet!

  10. pennygj Post author

    Hi Kathryn, I don’t know of any off hand but I will certainly do some research and let you know what I find out, Penny

  11. Claire @mrsbrownmakes

    That sock yarn looks gorgeous! I’m half way through my second sock – it’s stalled at the heel. Definitely next on my list of things to do though as I’m determined to make lots of socks this year! Look forward to seeing how the socks with the new yarn turn out,… x

  12. ginaferrari

    I love knitting socks too and that is the exact pattern I always use… I know it off by heart now!

  13. Debby Fulcher

    Thank you Penny for letting me know that I am not alone in the lack of a second sock. I too am using the pattern which you described. Helped by a very patient friend and Lion Brand tutorials on youtube, (extremely useful) last January I completed my first sock and loved it! It was however a prototype made from odds & ends of four ply so technically I am two socks short of a pair! (Ha, that sounds just like me, tee hee) ………… I have a ball of sock yarn somewhere, am off to dig out me needles, thank you for inspiring me xx

  14. wendy

    Love your socks and I too have a sock waiting waiting for it’s partner to be complete….and I always feel a little bit more intelligent after I turn the heel lol

  15. knutty knitter

    I knit lots of socks but mostly double knit and very simple with a stripe so I can easily count the rows. I use left over wool so my socks tend to be one offs although I do match the rib bits so I know which are pairs and I do reinforce heels and toes with sock wool so they last. Me and Hubby live in these full time.

    I’ve not done fancier socks but may do this year just to say I have. My pattern is one I adapted to be as simple as possible because I used it to teach children at the local Steiner school how to knit. (embarrassingly my own son was one of my worst knitters in one class!).

    socks forever 🙂


  16. Helen

    Fabulous knits and thank you so much for the link to the sock wool. It is high on this years ‘learn how to’ list and I am on a little sock knit course at the end of the month-excited too.

  17. Toffeeapple

    I am a sock knitter too, thanks to the lovely Gina (above) who sent me the pattern. I use five dpns, much easier for the division at the heel.

    I never, ever get lovely patterns in my socks though, no matter what multi-coloured yarn I use and it makes me quite sad!

    I see that your yarn eating moth was choosing to ignore any derogatory remarks about him…

  18. nickirocky

    What is your default pattern for knitting socks? I have not yet found a standard one that give a comfortable sock and that I can use with any of the multitude of beautiful sock yarns out there.

  19. pennygj Post author

    For everyone asking about the pattern: I got mine free when I bought my yarn from The Sock Yarn Shop. It says on the pattern that it comes free with Opal sock yarn, and once you’ve got the pattern I found it knits up in any sock weight yarn. Hope you’ve been inspired to try! Penny

  20. Faith

    What a nice bit of socky inspiration! I knitted my first {and only) pair of socks with a sock knitalong two(?) Years ago and funnily enough I am wearing them today. I like the fact that its such a portable project, but at the time I put the book away and most likely made a blanket and forgot about socks….in fact it might have been about then I discovered my ‘thing’ for shawls 😉 I used a two at a time toe up pattern which was brilliant for me as I can be dreadful at completed things, at least I always had an unfinished project or a completely finished project I would never make the second sock i just know it! Thanks, I’m inspired!

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