When I first started my knitting adventures several years ago, I thought socks would forever be beyond my skill level. Like many other beginning knitters, washcloths and simple scarves were my go-to projects. But, while I still enjoy those simple projects, I wanted to challenge myself and created my first pair of socks. It was a complete FAIL. (It was me, not the pattern.) So, after moping and pouting, I decided to try again. The second pair was much better, and I found myself looking for different patterns. I tried different patterned socks and different construction methods (i.e. toe-up vs. top-down), and found myself thoroughly enjoying the process. Now, socks are my absolute favorite thing to knit.
For me, socks are the perfect project. They’re small, which makes them extremely portable. They use at least a few different techniques, which makes them interesting. And the design possibilities are endless. Ravelry has nearly 29,000 listed sock patterns. (That doesn’t include other leg accessories like booties, legwarmers, etc.)
Socks can also be knit many different ways, using the technique one is most comfortable with. I found double-pointed needles a bit awkward (though there are some patterns I use them for), but the Magic-Loop method worked great for me. Other methods that I’ve not tried are using two circular needles and knitting two at a time.
I’ve knit several different sock patterns. Some of them I did more than once. I want to share with you a few of my favorite sock patterns. A couple of these I haven’t knit yet, but plan to.
5 Of My Favorite Knit Sock Patterns
In my opinion, nearly ALL of Cookie A’s designs are pretty amazing, so I had a difficult time picking just one for my favorite. Many of her designs are characterized by complex stitch patterns consisting of cables, twisted stitches, lace and more.
This top-down sock is knit with fingering weight yarn. It begins with a simple ribbed leg, then continues with a seriously cool stitch pattern that begins on the side of the ankle, then curves its way across the top of the foot. I love it so much, I’m on my third pair. (My other pairs are here and here.)
(As a side note, I got to meet Cookie A a few years ago at a cabling class she taught at one of the LYS’s. She was very charming, a great teacher, and autographed my Knit. Sock. Love. book. 🙂
This simple, yet elegant design by Angela Tennant is a beautiful tribute to one of my favorite fictional characters and the actor that brought him to life onscreen. Anyone who has seen the Harry Potter films will be reminded of the billowing black robes worn by Alan Rickman as Severus Snape throughout the films.
These socks are worked toe-up with fingering weight yarn and use a simple eyelet pattern throughout. A white picot edge that is picked up inside the top of the cuff gives a nice finished touch, and I love the knit buttons. Here is my interpretation of the pattern. While I like the black yarn for it’s reference to Snape, many projects have been created using other beautiful colors.
3. Tree of Life
I first saw this design by Janel Laidman many years ago, and it prompted me to go out and purchase her entire book. I have to admit though that I’ve never made any of her designs. Yet. I love socks. I love colorwork. But the thought of putting the two together still intimidates me. I’ve done plenty of stranding in the round using fingering weight yarn, but the non-stretchiness of it in socks scares me a little. Yet, when I DO venture into stranded socks, this one will definitely be one of the first.
This beautiful design is worked top-down with two contrasting colors of fingering weight sock yarn.
I haven’t knit this one yet either, but it’s next on the list. I’ve only ever knit socks with fingering weight, so I’m looking forward to trying some out using worsted. I’m especially looking forward to using the yarn called for in the pattern, Traditional Collection 2-ply by Cestari. This yarn is 100% wool from Targhee/Columbia sheep that produce a soft and lofty yarn and is processed so that it retains some of the natural lanolin.
This pattern and yarn is available from one of my favorite local yarn shops: Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation, Washington. This beautiful shop carries locally crafted fibers and designs, a great selection of needles and crochet hooks, and fun and interesting notions. They also carry a great selection of books and items from local crafters. Tolt offers a diverse schedule of classes and knitting circles and hosts a variety of events. If one needs a relaxing area to meet up with fiber-y friends while enjoying coffee and working on a current project, this is the place to be. I highly recommend stopping in if you’re ever in the area. It’s about a half hour drive east of Seattle.
This pattern is from another one of my favorite sock designers, Cat Bordhi. It is worked toe-up in fingering weight yarn. The all-over stitch pattern is simple, but the genius in this design is in the way it is constructed. The increases for the arch are placed on the bottom of the sole, allowing a small stitch pattern to be placed all over the surface of the visible parts of the sock. Additionally, this technique makes for an amazing fit on the foot; these are probably the best-fitting socks I’ve ever made. This construction technique and others are found in Cat’s book “New Pathways for Sock Knitters.” The book is about 10 years old, but still relevant and great for creating one’s own designs. These are just a few of my favorite sock patterns. I’ve got plenty more that I would love to share with you in the future. Have you knit any of these? Do you have any favorite sock patterns to share?