I started January 2016 with an abundance of sock yarn. I had been acquiring these luscious skeins over the course of several years, with the best intentions. I love going to craft shows and yarn festivals like Interweave’s Yarn Fest and Vogue Knitting Live, but I cannot leave a marketplace without purchasing several skeins of sock yarn. I think I had developed this habit mostly because I don’t feel any pressure to have a project in mind when I buy sock yarn. Usually a skein of sock yarn will include enough yardage to make a decent sized pair of socks, and that’s all the motivation I need!
Up until this year I thought that knitting was the best way to go about making a pair of socks. The only trouble is, I’m a terribly slow knitter. Even when I was knitting two socks at a time (on two circular needles), it still took me almost a year to knit one pair. Luckily I’m much faster at crochet, so I convinced myself that the only way to work through this stash, which was threatening to take over my bedroom, was to crochet the year away, one sock at a time.
Officially, I challenged myself to crochet a pair of socks each month over the course of the year, and because I wasn’t really sure I could hold myself to the task, I was pleased to learn that it’s not a hard challenge to meet. I’ve found there are several great things about sock crochet that make it possible to crochet a pair really quickly. First, they are portable. Each sock project requires only a few hundred yards of yarn. Unless you are planning on making slippers, you will usually choose a thin yarn like lace, fingering, or sock weight. Only a few tools are required: a yarn needle, pair of scissors, place markers, fabric measuring tape, and of course your crochet hook. It’s very easy to stuff all of this into your purse or backpack and take it on the bus for your daily commute or on the plane for your vacation. A few years ago I invested in a Go Knit Pouch: with it I can even crochet socks while I am waiting in line! Second, the patterns are usually pretty straightforward. Once you learn the basic construction (which varies little between patterns), it’s easy to work the rounds without having to refer to the pattern itself very often. In fact, many patterns are worked in unjoined rounds, leaving you to crochet around and around in uninterrupted bliss for several inches at a time to create the foot and the leg. This portability often allowed me to finish a pair of socks in as little as a week, which was a blessing when the end of a month snuck up on me.
What a year it has been! I am learning so much in this crochet sock crash course! I’ve learned what techniques I prefer for beginning when working from the toe up or the top down, which heel construction looks and performs best, which stitches lay flat and thin and provide a bit of ease, and which yarns look great and are super fun to work with. I’ve also learned what doesn’t work so hot. Each month, I blogged about my experiences and tried to provide a brief overview of each sock at the top of the post.
All along the way, I discovered that I wasn’t alone. Crocheters from all over the world are getting interested in sock crochet! I teamed up with fellow blogger Patricia Castillo from Pops de Milk in starting a Facebook group for our Year of the Sock challenge. Over 80 sock crocheters, ranging in skill level from first-timers to experts, have joined us, and together we are learning new things and cheering each other on every day. Whether you are just starting out or you’ve been crocheting socks for years, we encourage you to join the conversation in the Year of the Sock Facebook Group.
Check out further details about each of the sock patterns our group has tried in The Sock Drawer (a read-only Google spreadsheet).
And finally, follow my adventure in the Year of the Sock by perusing the following blog posts: