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New Year, New Socks

So here we are, we made it through 2020 and 2021 has opened its doors. I would love to spout on about all the positives that are ahead of us, of the Summer we will have and escapes abroad or elsewhere with our loved ones, but we all know that this is likely to be waylaid by the pandemic. We have all dealt with this differently, I for one have enjoyed being at home, home schooling and just being with my family. Yes, there have been frustrating times where tempers have flared and voices raised but I really think it brought us three (plus the dog) back together. I know it made us realise that we didn't need to do all this running around and being everywhere for everyone else. The lack of after school clubs and weekend happenings has actually been quite nice. I'm not sure we as a family will go back to how we lived pre-pandemic, but in a good way, a slower life with more of a feeling of being able to do things on another day.

The other great part about being at home more is my creativity has increased, particularly on the knitting steaks, although crochet is bubbling along too. As you may have seen on my Instagram feed my love for knitted socks has continued and I have been plotting and planning my own two designs.

There are only so many ways you can knit a top down sock. I tried the toe up method once and for me it was extremely frustrating having so few stitches on three or four needles, I didn't think it gave me the neat toe that I get with a top down sock and a Kitchener stitch finish. I have knitted quite a few and had got to the stage I didn't need instructions to do the heel turn, gusset etc and thought perhaps my way of knitting would make sense to others too. I hadn't seen a pattern that knitted them in the way that I had or with the additions that helped me. I thought that I should keep it simple with a pattern down the front of the sock onto the food rather than an all over one. One of my favourite patterns in crochet is a wave (see previous post) so I decided to recreate a wave effect. After a few false starts and rather a lot of swearing the pattern was born. I had bought the Yarndale Hope Sock Kit back in September so decided to use this (link below) as it was West Yorkshire Spinners yarn which is my absolute favourite when sock knitting.

I have no idea if there is a correct method in writing a pattern but for crochet or now for knitting I have a notebook and write down what I do as I go for the first attempt. I then write it up on the computer and print out a draft pattern to make the second attempt. Its quite handy that socks are done in pairs as the second one is a perfect way to test the first draft. Not sure why I've not attempted it before. I then find some lovely people who would like to test the pattern, this time Alex and Kathy. Whilst working through the second sock they were both going through the pattern. After a few teething problems and rectifying my spelling the pattern was born. I had added tick boxes for the rows with pattern rows highlighted in bold, I thought it would save loosing that piece of paper that we all have or do use to mark off rows or an app that crashes. I was really happy to hear from both Alex and Kathy that this was a good edition to a pattern. Seems like my thinking is not bad for knitting patterns after all.

So, as you do when bolstered by this sort of reassurance, I started on Sock Two straight away. This time I wanted to go for texture and also have a go at a little cable too. I'm not sure to be honest where the inspiration came from but I was sat with a A4 piece of squared paper and started making patterns with dots. It ended up a twisted ribbon effect which I repeated three times across the sock. I am no expert when it comes to cable, it is one of my two New Year Resolutions to become better at it (that and to learn Tunisian Crochet). I thought I'd keep it simple with just a six stitch twist.

Knowing that my sock structure was working thanks to my testers I quickly created the second pair. I used some of the left over Yarndale stripe for the cuff, heel and toes and picked up the aptly named Juniper (I love gin of all descriptions) by West Yorkshire Spinners as the main colour. As I was going for texture and for the purposes of photographs I wanted to keep the body of the sock plain so it would show what we were doing. So here we are, Sock Two:

The patterns for both socks are free and are in the link below.

Sock One V2
Download PDF • 782KB
Sock Two V2
Download PDF • 787KB

They are also both in my Ravelry Store if you want to save them over there:

I really do need to try and think of more imaginative names for socks as I think there are going to lots more. For now however, the first two designs will be Sock One and Sock Two. I think it marks the end of 2020 well, with warm toes.

I have no idea what will happen in the wider world this year but in my little world in Devon I am going to bury myself in designing crochet and knitting patterns. In an attempt to be organised and not loose focus I've got myself a small business planner and a diary to keep notes of ideas when they happen and to try and make things that fit with the time of the year. I'm looking at turning around a quick Valentines crochet amigurumi and am still plodding on with my 2020 temperature blanket in crochet which will hopefully be revealed by the end of this month.

What ever you have planned for this year I hope with fingers and everything crossed that you are able to do it. If all else fails we can hide away and knit/crochet whilst binge watching series we would never normally look at.

Thank you so much Alex and Kathy for your time in working out my first sock pattern.

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