I am a sucker for socks. Knowing that I’m not alone, I polled my knitting friends to find out why socks are so popular. If you’re yet unconvinced about the marvels of sock knitting, I hope these reasons convince you to give it a try. If you’re an avid sock knitter yourself, I think many (if not all) of these reasons will have you nodding your head in agreement!
Why Sock Knitting?
1. Portability: Everyone mentioned this! Most of us who love to knit enjoy taking our knitting wherever we go. With certain projects, this isn’t practical. It’s rather difficult to lug around a sweater or an afghan in the making! Socks, however, remain small from start to finish, so they’re perfect for toting anywhere. Sock yarn is also suitable for travel, which you cannot always say for small projects like hats that may use bulkier yarns. 2. Economy: Sock yarn is usually reasonably-priced, although like any yarn, you can certainly find the Cadillacs and Rolls-Royces made of high-grade fibers that come with luxury price tags. But with sock yarn, you usually don’t have to buy more than one ball to knit a pair. That’s more than you can say for projects such as scarves, sweaters, and afghans! 3. Color: Sometimes we might shy away from the most exciting, vibrant colors of yarn for large-scale projects out of concern that it might be “too much.” A sweater or blanket with brightly-colored stripes might not sit well with any but the most adventurous person. That’s less of a concern when you’re knitting socks because most of the time, we don’t see them. So go ahead and knit those socks with the flashy neon self-pattern. It can be the wearer’s little secret! 4. Sense of accomplishment: Knitting a sock isn’t really that complicated, but there’s something about completing one that makes you feel really clever. All the little tricks of sock knitting–like creating gussets, turning heels, creating heel flaps, using Kitchener stitch or a provisional cast-on–make you feel like you’ve created a bit of knitting magic. And you really have, haven’t you? 5. Variety: Knitting socks can be as easy and simple as you want it to be, or as complex as you dare it to be. Some people like to use bare-bones sock “recipes” with variegated or self-striping or patterning yarns for variety and interest. Others prefer to use patterns with lots of cables, lace, and/or other kinds of designs with solid and/or multi-colored yarns. And some (like me) enjoy bouncing between basic and complex, depending on one’s mood. With socks, you get multiple choice–or you can choose “all of the above.” Want to try sock knitting yourself but don’t know where to start? I highly recommend a couple of resources. First, there’s Silver’s Sock Class. In my opinion there’s no better place to start learning how to knit socks. Silver’s class takes a knitter through detailed and well-illustrated steps. The best thing about it is that if using sock yarn for your first sock attempt scares you – no worries! Silver offers instructions for using sport, DK, or worsted weight yarn in addition to fingering weight. Second, there’s The Sock Knitter’s Handbook by Charlene Schurch & Beth Parrott. This is an excellent book to follow up after you’ve tried Silver’s Sock Class; it can help take your sock knitting to the next level. I love the way Charlotte and Beth go through the different parts of the sock – the cast-on, the heel, the toe, the cuff, and so on – and demonstrate different ways to achieve different looks and uses. On a purely practical note, I also love that it’s spiral-bound, so you can have it open and lying flat beside you (or in your lap) while you work. Very convenient! I don’t know about you, but now I’m ready to knit some socks – want to join me?