If you had asked me at the start of the year if I’d be crocheting socks every month in something called the Year of the Sock, I probably would have scoffed and said, “Are you crazy? With a job, life, and blog projects you think I have time to crochet a pair of socks each month?” The year is close to over and I have 10 pairs of crochet socks (I didn’t start until March) and I never dreamed I’d make this many socks, nevermind all in a year!
But this would not have happened without Jennifer Olivarez (you may know her from Squirrel Picnic). Jennifer sparked an interest in not only me but many others who had been curious about crochet socks and maybe didn’t have the motivation, encouragement, or support. At the end of this crazy crochet journey I wanted to get Jennifer’s thoughts on the whole experience. Here is what she has to say:
How did you come up with the idea to crochet a pair of socks each month for a year?
I used to think that socks had to be knit, that crochet socks could not be attractive or comfortable. It seemed every crochet sock I came across looked more like a slipper than a sock. So I kept knitting socks. I am a painfully slow knitter, so a pair of socks usually took my several months to complete even after I learned how to knit socks two at a time with two circular needles. Because I was so slow and because I have a penchant (like many of us) for buying skeins of beautiful hand-dyed sock yarn, my yarn stash kept growing and growing and I never could seem to put a dent in it. Last January, I took stock of my sock yarn stash and realized that I had a dozen skeins! While surrounded by my pile of yarn, I decided to give crochet socks a try. I did some research and found that crochet socks were starting to become more popular and that there were many more cool patterns out there than I had thought. I bought the book More Crocheted Socks by Janet Rehfeldt and decided to try my hand at her “Simple Simon” sock first. It was so much fun and so much easier, in my opinion, than knitting socks. Best of all, I was able to crochet these socks over the course of about two weeks (probably about 10-16 hours). It struck me, if I could crochet a pair of socks in a month, I bet I could crochet a pair of socks every month for a year — which would make use of my sock yarn stash. And although some months were harder than others, I found the challenge of crocheting a pair of socks every month for a year very doable. In fact, I would do it again… and just might!
What did you love most about the challenge?
I learned so much about crochet sock construction! Whether you are knitting or crocheting socks, the basic construction is the same: toe, foot, heel, cuff. But within the basic construction there are many different approaches. There are socks that are worked from the toe up, top down, or even side to side. The heel might be constructed as a heel flap, short row heel, or afterthought heel. The fabric in between the toe and the heel and between the heel and the leg offer opportunities to try out fun stitch patterns. Sock crochet really lends itself to a lot more creativity than I ever thought possible. This challenge opened my eyes to that, provided a crash course in sock crochet, and most importantly got me to think about which techniques I preferred over others. Now I can look at a crochet sock pattern and know almost instantly whether I will enjoy it or not.
Do you now have a favourite sock pattern?
“Heart and Soul Socks” by Amy O’Neill Houck (you can find the pattern here). But I have to say that the book that I bought in January, More Crocheted Socks by Janet Rehfeldt, has become my go-to book for crochet sock patterns. I have yet to find a pattern in it that I don’t love. Every one is well written and fun to do. This is a great book for crocheters who already have some basic experience and are looking to try crochet socks for the first time. Rehfeldt is a great teacher and her tricks work wonderfully. Every sock from that book is amazing!
What is the most important thing you learned after crocheting socks for a whole year?
Don’t skip making a gauge swatch. Also, try on the socks as you go. Both of these steps will help ensure that your socks fit just right.
Any advice for future sock crocheters?
The most important thing I learned early on is to take care in choosing your pattern. Start with a pattern that is rated easy or beginner, that uses super fine (aka fingering or sock) weight yarn, and that incorporates stitches that you are comfortable with. If you haven’t ever used lightweight yarn before, I recommend making a pair of slippers in DK or worsted-weight yarn first to familiarize yourself with the construction before you try the finer yarn. And if it takes you longer than a month to finish your first pair, that’s quite all right. Just like so many things in life, the more you do it, the faster you will get.
If you took part in the Year of the Sock leave a comment below telling us how you did. Did you make a year’s worth of socks? Did this crochet challenge inspire you to make socks? If you’ve never crocheted a sock in your life what are you waiting for? There’s a Facebook group Jennifer started where members have shared their progress and helped each other out along the way, which you can check out here.