Visit Ancient Arts Yarns + Dye Studio - 607 Manitou Road SE, Calgary, Alberta

3.5" and 5" IC needle sets, in your choice of a Black Vegan Suede case, or a Grey Denim Case


Fixed Circulars, Interchangeable Tips, Cables, Connectors & Adaptors, and a selection of Deluxe Needle Sets!

Handcrafted wooden shawl pins made in India; available in Mango Wood or Rosewood

Visit Ancient Arts Yarns + Dye Studio - 607 Manitou Road SE, Calgary, Alberta

Visit Ancient Arts Yarns + Dye Studio - 607 Manitou Road SE, Calgary, Alberta

Visit Ancient Arts Yarns + Dye Studio - 607 Manitou Road SE, Calgary, Alberta

Visit Ancient Arts Yarns + Dye Studio - 607 Manitou Road SE, Calgary, Alberta

The Barb Brown: Random thoughts on Socks

Write something about socks for the blog!said my fearless leader, Caroline Sommerfeld, Chief Yarn Officer of AAY.It should be easy!she said.  

I started typing away. Halfway through one topic, I changed my mind. Began a post on another aspect of sock knitting, then changed my mind. Wash, rinse, repeat. I now realize that for me to writesomething on sockswould take 14 years, and reams of paper.

So, for your delectation, random thoughts on socks, random tips, and whatever else floated through my brain!  

  1. Even plain socks can be special and pretty and ruffly with a bit of picot cast on. And it adds lovely stretch to the top, too
Cover shoot and feature of Knitwear on model
Ask Alice
  1.  Many people have trouble picking up stitches along the heel flap without leaving holes. Ill be posting on that in the future, but heres a tip. My Mom always knit the first and last stitch of each row of the heel flap, so there was a one stitch garter edge. Then she picked up in the little garter bump. It is a bit harder to get the needle in there than in a slip stitch, but even if you accidentally knit into the front of the picked up stitch, there is rarely a hole.
  1.  Socks dont have to match. Wearing non matching hand knit socks can express your creativity, showcase different colours used in alternate ways, illustrate two sides of the coin, and prevent the dreadedsecond sock syndrome! Night and Day socks are an excellent example of this.
Night and Day Socks


  1.  Yes, hand knit socks will fit in your shoes. Sock yarn is available in many weights. Here you can see Queen Annes Lace by Barb Brown (coming soon!)


  1.  Socks are perfect for showcasing that hand dyed yarn, even in a simple texture pattern!
Rumple Catkin Socks

Or in something more complex…

Cat’s Paw Toe-Up Socks
  1.  Do you get a wee hole at the join of the heel flap to the instep after youve picked up stitches? Pick one extra stitch from the heel flap. Most patterns ask the knitter to pick up as many stitches as there were right side rows in the heel flap. Pick up one extra. Then, pick up one or even two more stitches in the corner and put them on the instep needle. Work them for one, two, or even three rounds. Then knit them together with the instep stitches and get rid of them. That is an abrupt right turn you’re making there, and youre asking a lot of your stitches in the stretch department! Give them some help.
  1.  If you love the look of that complicated texture stitch pattern, but just arent sure you can sustain your interest through a large project, try it on a sock! The Ice Blink sock by Cynthia Levy, is a great example! These will be available in the next few days on our websiteheres a sneak peek!


  1.  Knitting socks for gifts is a very rewarding thing to do; rewarding for the knitter and the wearer! Its even more rewarding if they fit. Use a rib pattern, lace pattern, or some other stitch with a stretch to it so the width can work. If you dont have their shoe size for the length, heres another trick from my Mom. Get the recipient to make a fist. Now measure around the fist. This, for most people, is the same measurement as the length of the foot. If the recipient has figured out youre knitting them a gift, theyll figure its a pair of mitts, and the surprise is left intact.
  1.  Use a good stretchy cast on (or cast off if doing toe up) to make it easy to get them on and off.
  1.  Try going down one needle size for the ribbing at the top of the sock compared to the size you use for the main sock. It will give a snugger fit.  Add some extra rows for those with slim ankles.

It was tough to stop this list. I think another 52,000 thoughts are still waiting to be written down! I do hope my fearless leader is impressed with my restraint. (NOTE from Caroline: She is!)

One of these days, I should sit down and start on that 14-year job and write that next book!


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