Seven Socks A-Stepping

On December 24th, the last pair of socks from Folk Socks came off the needles. They were the only pair for which I used the actual recommended yarn: Jamieson & Smith’s 2-ply Jumper Weight. They were kept hidden from the internet because their recipient was my mum.

Pattern review: I thought 90 stitches around seemed a little much, so I cut out a bit of the fair isle pattern to make them more reasonable. But then, feeling nervous about having such a thin wool on a sock sole without any nylon or reinforcement, I went down to US 0s. As a result, the socks just barely fit my mum’s wide feet. Because they’re a bit tight, they tend to show off a bit of the under-cuff ribbing, which I did in a contrasting color to save yarn. Thankfully, mum is enjoying this effect.

Yarn review: They also took a lot more wool than I expected; each foot took nearly a whole ball of 2-ply. These are projected leftovers from my epic fair isle sweater, which I think will still be okay sans two balls of the main color, but it makes me a little nervous. It’s amazing how a fairly rough wool is okay knit loose (on 3, this stuff is knit loosely) but knit tightly, like on 0s, it nearly made my fingers bleed. I have decided, actually, to never knit socks on 0s again; they are just too delicate for me to wail on with the death-grip I usually have on socks. But golly, these are pretty.

These and six other pairs of self-imposed sock-club socks went away as Christmas presents. But before they were wrapped, I wanted to see just how much knitting this project took.

These 18 pairs of socks, knit over 19 months, totaled about 30 feet of tubing. They were knit using around 7200 yards of yarn, which is just over four miles.

(The last pair wasn’t quite done on photo day, but I decided I didn’t care at all. It’s nice to be able to let little things go.)

Book review: Folk Socks is a classic. It inspired so many sock knitters to get back into traditional sock knitting way before it exploded into the communal obsession it is now. It has every basic heel and toe technique for top down socks that you could ever desire, and more besides. Knitting all of them has shown me some that I love and others that I will save for special situations. It’s taught me to be daring with color, as our ancestors did the hard way before we started dyeing yarn crazily to do all the work for us. It has a couple technical issues – her gauge is really tight on most of them, probably because older sock techniques were way tighter still. And the sock feet are usually shorter than my own (perhaps I just have shorter row gauge and therefore knit shorter toes). BUT…

Of course, Nancy Bush has probably fixed in the NEW EDITION of Folk Socks that JUST came out.

I am thrilled that she’s done this, though maybe a little disgusted that it comes out NOW after I’ve knit through the old edition. I sort of think that if Nancy is reading this, she should send me a copy of the new one just because. Don’t you think that? I think that. Though I’m sure she has better things to do, and besides I probably won’t knit many of these socks again. Possibly because I’ll have moved onto the next book…

3 thoughts on “Seven Socks A-Stepping

  1. jonica kelly says:

    Thank you Rebbie for the wonderful socks! I am wearing them now and they are so comfortable! Which is the next book you are going to do socks from now?????

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  2. Just over four miles!!! WOW!

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  3. […] it is nice yarn. But gently spun 2-ply fingering weight is not for socks. I know this because I made socks out of the very similar Jameson & Smith 2 Ply, and they lasted my mum about five wearings before they started becoming riddled with […]

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