Thank you Ellen for allowing me to do a guess post on your blog! Socks are a passion of mine, and I am thrilled to share a bit about them with everyone.
I, like most crocheters, was really intimidated by socks. Knitters seemed to make them by the dozens, but there weren’t many patterns for crocheters out there that could actually be called socks. Most were made with sport or worsted weight yarns and, in my humble opinion, they looked like slippers more than socks.
A few years ago, while looking through a box of items from my grandmother, I found the sock pattern that she used to knit for the family. I decided I needed to make that pattern because it was hers. Once I knitted it up, I knew I could translate it to crochet! My very first sock pattern, Toe-Up Socks (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/toe-up-socks-5) was created from the techniques I discovered in Grandma Bessie’s pattern.
Working with Grandma’s pattern, and creating my own, I realized several things I would like to share with all of you. I am hoping these ideas will not only turn you on to crocheting socks, but give you some tips to help make your socks turn out flawlessly.
1. Select the right yarn. This is really important. Most crocheters don’t like the “sock” patterns out there because they are too thick and won’t fit in their shoes! So first, head off to the actual sock yarn section of your local yarn shop or box store. The preferred weight is the #1 (Super Fine) or #2 (Fine). Also make sure you select a yarn with some stretch. Wools, acrylics are the most elastic. If you must have cotton or silk, both of which have little to no elasticity, make sure they are blended with a wool or acrylic so that you have enough stretch.
2. Sizing is important. The best place to measure your foot is around the widest part of your foot. (usually the ball of the foot) The way my patterns are written, the heel takes into consideration how the ankle is formed. The gusset in the case of a heel flap, or the way I do the short row heel will give you more room to get the foot into a sock if needed.
3. Start simple! In the book, the first pattern is a cuff down sock with a heel flap. I used #3 Light Weight Yarn on purpose because it is larger yarn and a larger hook. If you never made a sock before, start with that one. It is a basic recipe for a sock that will help you really understand what goes on in the construction of a sock. The best part is that the sock will still fit in your shoes!
4. Don’t be afraid of the smaller weights of yarn. Many crocheters stay away from socks because they don’t want to work with thinner, lighter weight yarns. Don’t be afraid! To make socks you are actually using a bit larger of a hook that you would normally with that yarn. Definitely larger than what the label says too! This does two things: 1) your stitches are larger so you can see them, and 2) it makes the crochet stitches less dense so you have drape and elasticity in your fabric.
5. If you struggle at first, switch to a heavier weight yarn. When I teach sock classes, many people struggle because they have never used sock yarn before, and they have a hard time seeing the stitches. This is especially true when starting from the toe-up. What I have them do is take out worsted weight yarn and a Size I (5.5 mm) hook. Then I have them work the pattern in that yarn first. If you find you are struggling too, try this tip! Once you know what you are looking for, going down to the sock yarn and smaller hook will be a snap!
I hope that the five tips above will help motivate you to try your hand at crocheting socks. And if you do, let me know about it! I would love to see photos of what you have created with my patterns or even what you might have done on your own! Drop me a note on my website at http://www.krwkntwear.comHappy Sock Making!
Karen generously gave me a copy of her book to GIVEAWAY. Leave a comment for us here on this post with your first name and last initial plus your city before 11:00 pm EST on Wednesday night. I'll randomly select a winner. I'll announce the winner in Thursday's post. The winner will need to email me at Ellen at sign GoCrochet dot com with the mailing address. Thanks, Karen!