The phrase “So much crochet, so little time” would also be quite a good title for this post. As time goes on and continue to crochet, learn and to improve in this wonderful craft that we share, I often wish I just had more time to sit with my hook in hand and do all the projects I’d like.
But life does get in the way doesn’t it? Quite early on in my podcasting life, I was really into crochet socks. I have tried, and mostly failed, to become a sock knitter so the idea of being able to crochet handmade socks is still extremely attractive. Crochet is quick, I find it much easier than knitting, its more convenient to pick up and put down and I have no problem at all wearing crochet stitches on my feet.
Plain sailing, it is not. But what in life is? The real issue with crochet and socks is stretch and getting socks to fit well requires quite a bit of flexibility and downright inventiveness. After making half a dozen quite successful pairs a few years ago, even writing my own sock pattern, I sort of fell off this particular wagon.
Other projects, podcasting, vlogging, running a business, the pandemic… a long list of excuses come sliding off my keyboard. I have another half dozen started, half finished and proto crochet socks that have been discarded when I ran into problems, just got bored, or just put them in a project bag and forgot they existed.
But last week, during my week off/staycation I decided to go through some old crochet magazines to see if there were any I didn’t want any more. I like to keep back issues but this year I’ve subscribed to two monthly magazines, so they do take up quite a bit of space so its good to let a few go to a local group or charity shop.
One of my flicking through at coffee time sessions brought me to Issue 55 of Simply Crochet and to a crochet sock pattern by Hannah Cross. Hannah is a prolific crochet designer who produces many patterns of magazines, so I knew her name and her work. The sock pattern was part of a feature on the two very different designs that two designers can come up with when given the same yarn. In this case the Rialto sock yarn by Debbie Bliss.
As it happened, I had also been giving my stash a bit of a sort, and I knew I had a ball of Rialto so, without any planning, I decided that a pair of socks would be the perfect holiday week project. I know! Yet another new project… But I have just finished a large project, my first in ages (you can see more about my completed hexagon wrap here and in Episode 106 of the podcast).
Trying out toe-up crochet socks
Hannah’s pattern is a toe up sock and I’ve only really ever had success making cuff down crochet socks before. But the socks looked lovely with an unusual lacy pattern and a more solid heel and toe, so I just had to start them.
Although July in my part of the UK (East Yorkshire in the north of England) was fairly poor with cool, rainy days and lots of cloud, August has been sunny and quite warm. Not the crazy temperatures of the south of England but a nice, steady mid 20s Celsius.
Sitting outside and crocheting these lovely lacy ankle socks has been delicious. The pattern is clear, easy to follow and although the lacy stitch pattern is a bit tricky at first, once you are in the rhythm of it, the socks work up really quickly.
I made up a new Sun, Moon and Stars stitch marker set for my Etsy shop at the start of the week and these markers were perfect for this sock.
I love using yarn jewellery – its a nice extra pleasure, as is having a lovely project bag to stash a project between sessions. The markers aren’t just decorative either; the large moon marker was my stitch keeper to keep my work from unravelling as I was putting it away and getting it out, the little moon was my progress keeper and the star and the sun were my side markers for the toe increases and the heel decreases. The extra fairy in the moon was just too nice not to include, even though I didn’t use her in my sock project.
Adjusting to fit
I did make some modifications to the pattern to adjust the fit, adding an extra two rounds before the heel, and then adding two more rounds to the leg so that, while still ankle socks, mine would be long enough to wear with ankle boots in winter. The first sock took about four days, but I was just doing half an hour here and there as the mood took me, so not a very arduous project at all.
I felt the fit was good but the sock was a little bit tight over the arch of my foot so in the second sock, which I started immediately, I added a few increases at either side of the front of the foot and then decreased these again after working the second leg row. It made a real difference so I’ve made sure to make a note of this for the next pair. I photocopied the pattern from the magazine and have the annotated copy now tucked safely inside the magazine with the original.
Making a toe up sock using Hannah’s construction method was easy and I learned how to add an after-placed heel. Its not an afterthought heel as the gap is left for it deliberately. Its just worked after the rest of the sock is finished. I did some filming for Episode 106 just before I finished the second sock, but I really wanted to show the pair completed and blocked in the podcast, so a great incentive to cross the finish line.
It would be a bit pants to say crochet socks were back in my life if they were destined to join the other half-done ones in my crochet graveyard drawer.