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Tools of the Sock Trade

Tools of the Sock Trade

Our month-long sock Knit Along has come to an end-a very satisfying end at that, with so many of you trying socks for the first time and creating beautiful projects!

I am so proud.

But just because the KAL is done doesn’t mean your new skill set should fall to the wayside. Quite the contrary. I think that when the Knit Along door closes, a whole new project window opens.

So, what comes next?

Well, most of us made socks for ourselves during the KAL.  But socks are a great thing to make for other people. As we’ve said before, socks are a relatively inexpensive project to make. And unless the person you’re knitting for is a real jerk, they’re almost always loved and appreciated.

That said, there are a few things you’ll need to know before starting out. Just like making a sweater or a pair of mitts for someone, you need to be sure they’ll fit. And as we learned from the One Sock guide, there’s no such thing as One-Size-Fits-All when it comes to knit socks. At least, not if you want them to fit as well as your own One Sock does.

To start with, you’ll need the person’s shoe size. If possible, also measure the circumference of their foot, just like we did with the One Sock pattern.

Once you have that information, you can get to the knitting! You already know how to make the sock. Here are a few more tools and tricks you can use to make sure you get that perfect fit.

Something like the Socks Rule! Socks Ruler can be incredibly helpful when making socks for someone else. It fits right in between your needles around the cuff of the sock so you can see how long the leg is. Plus, the ruler’s rounded edge allows you to slide it straight into the heel or toe (for cuff down or toe up socks) to measure the length of the foot in inches or centimetres, and it’s even got men’s, women’s and European shoe sizes marked on it!

You could also grab one of the handy Mini Tool Women’s or Men’s Sock Sizes fobs. Small enough to sit in a project bag or notions kit without taking up any space, these bad boys list US and Euro shoe sizes on them, along with the corresponding foot AND sock length-it’s incredibly handy to have if you’re tired of looking up those numbers online.

The One Sock pattern closes the toe much like a hat, but some sock knitters swear by the Kitchener Stitch. It’s another way to close the toe seamlessly. The One Sock method is fantastic, but it’s worth noting that the Kitchener Stitch is a good skill to learn. I’ve seen it used in many other projects outside of the sock. The Kitchener Stitch Sock Fob handily provides instructions on how to do it and has the added benefit of being adorable.

Most sock yarns are super wash, which means they can go in the washer on the gentle cycle (Remember, always read the tag, or ask someone at the shop if you’re not sure; and no matter what they say, we always recommend no dryer). I suggest using something like the Soak Eco Wash Bag to give your work a little more protection. It’s also a product that can work with many other delicate items in your laundry.

The One Sock pattern itself is a tremendous tool. Don’t ever get rid of that guide. Keep it forever. Make it a family heirloom.

It’s a fantastic pattern for a yarn like Amble. But it’s also a fantastic source for when you find a skein of sock yarn that is so colourful, so fun and so wonderful that you know the yarn, rather than a fancy pattern, needs to be the star of the show.

I’m talking about yarns like Zauberballs, or the West Yorkshire Spinners series based on bird colours or their new line reflecting the four seasons.

These are highly variegated yarns, and complicated patterns involving lace and cables don’t always show up as well as we’d like when we use them. Using the One Sock pattern on these yarns lets the wool do the talking and ensures you’ll get a great finished product. Plus, we know we can do it!

Of course, the final tool at your disposal is Needles in the Hay! We love knitting, we love socks, and we love sharing all of that with you guys. Pop on down to Water St. or send us a message. We’re here to help!

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