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First ever sock!
Instruction 1 – Don’t panic!
Instruction 2 – Never forget instruction 1!
The pattern you’ll be learning is my ‘carry around’ project. I always have a pair in my bag as it’s easy to knit up without instructions and you can pick it up and put it down with ease. I’ve found socks I’ve forgotten about for months and just picked up where I left off! I love socks as a travel project, they’re portable, a basic pattern is very easy to do without concentrating and the look really impressive to non-knitters!
We’re going to knit a full size adult sock, the basic instructions will be for a size 4 – 6 UK (6.5 to 8.5 US). I’ll add extra instructions for those who want something a little smaller or larger and you’ll all learn how to adapt a plain pattern for size. I’m British so English sizes and terms come more naturally to me, I’ll try to remember to always add the American translation if needed but if I forget, tell me! Always ask any questions you have as we go along, posting pictures can help me to work out what the problem is (if indeed there is a problem). I’ll be talking you through every step, no crazy knitting shorthand to try to understand! The picture above shows the style of sock we’ll be doing (you don’t have to do the crazy two colour thing that I did though!).
Socks are really quite easy once you get the hang of it, there’s the leg bit which is a simple tube, the heel (turning a corner), the foot (again a simple tube) and the toe. In this class we’ll be doing a short row heel to get you started. I’ve been knitting socks for ever, and have found this heel to be the easiest and most adaptable. It’s not the classic look you see in many patterns but it’s a darned good start and once you’ve managed one heel it’s easier to learn to do different types.
This class will concentrate on learning how to use double pointed needles as that’s my favourite way to knit socks. It can seem a bit intimidating to have all those needles on the go at once but you’ll soon get used to it. You are only ever using two needles at a time (the same as knitting on straight needles), the others are just very fancy stitch holders. They’re also awesome ‘show off’ sticks as people watching you are always so very impressed by seeing that many needles in use (as far as they understand it) at once.
All you need to have to participate in the class is a set of double pointed knitting needles (they come in sets of four or five, it doesn’t matter which you choose), some sock yarn, and a willingness to give it a go!
You need 2.75mm needles, any kind of double pointed needles you like. Metal ones can be a bit slippery to work with but are sturdy, wood or bamboo are better at grabbing the yarn but can feel a bit bendy (they also snap more easily in your bag). I prefer tiny little stubby wooden ones (about 10cm long but most people find them a little short) the standard length is about 15 cm. Buy whatever you can get hold of, if you have a choice, go for the same type as your favourite straight needles.
There are so many fabulous sock yarns around! They are usually a super wash wool with some nylon for strengthening. It’s important to use a sturdy yarn or you’ll have holes in your socks the first time you use them. I like self striping yarn for first socks as it motivates you to get to the next colour. Choose something you like but as this is your first pair of socks don’t get anything too expensive. Your second pair will be much neater and more deserving of a lovely expensive yarn. You’ll need about 100g, each sock will use about 35g of yarn. With both the yarn and the needles, if you want to check with me before committing to a purchase that’s fine!
The willingness to give it a go;
That’s up to you! If you can knit a simple scarf you can knit socks. For this type you’ll be casting on, knitting some rib stitch and using left and right slanting decreases. Nothing too complicated at all. I’ll be here to help you through it. I’ve yet to fail to get someone knitting socks (although this is the first time I’ve tried it remotely so give me a chance if I fail to explain it well the first time. We’ll get there!)