I’ve had a sock pattern developing in my head for many years now. I really like cables and have always wanted to design a pair of socks using cables. I knew right away how I wanted the cable pattern to look and I worked it in a cotton sock yarn to see how it would turn out. Back then I really didn’t have much experience knitting socks so it sat and sat and sat for a very long time. I just didn’t quite know how to turn my cable pattern into a sock. (Unfortunately, I also didn’t know enough to write my pattern down).
While it sat, I knitted other patterns. I started with Ann Budd’s basic sock pattern and knitted socks for myself, my kids, and my husband. I then went on to try more sophisticated patterns such as those in Interweave Knits’ Favorite Socks. My favourite patterns from that book are designs by Evelyn Clark, Ann Budd, and Mona Schmidt. By knitting many sock patterns I learned what makes up a sock pattern. I learned about the math that is involved. And I learned what features I like in knitted socks and how to best fit my own foot.
I also didn’t have much experience with sock yarns then. There was no LYS in my town. The only sock yarn I had access to was Paton’s Kroy which was sold at my local hobby store. Paton’s Kroy didn’t seem very dependable. Sometimes it was soft, sometimes it was itchy and scratchy. I’ve since learned (thanks to Ravelry) that this yarn is made in different countries and that’s the key to knowing which are the soft skeins. I needed to experiment with other yarns so I ordered online. My son likes warm wool socks for hockey and snowmobiling. My husband likes wool too. My daughter absolutely doesn’t. I use bamboo for her. I like merino wool. My favourites have become Cascade Yarns Heritage (a superwash merino wool and nylon blend) and Kertzer’s On Your Toes Bamboo (a bamboo and nylon blend). Still on my ‘to try next’ list: Sock by Malabrigo and Socks That Rock by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. These are both 100% merino wool sock yarns.
I recently dug out that sample that I started so long ago and carefully counted stitches and rows until I figured out my pattern. I wrote it down this time. I still like it, even after all the socks I’ve knitted since then. Better yet, I now know how to turn it into a sock. Mona Schmidt, Evelyn Clark, and Ann Budd have all taught me what I need to know to design my own socks. I’ve got some work to do and some beautiful Cascade Heritage waiting for me!