Friday, October 5, 2018

Scrap Socks (Crocheted)

Almost 10 years ago, I started experimenting with crocheted socks. I'd been knitting socks for a while by then, first on one of those round looms, then on double-pointed needles. I learned how to do two socks at a time on two circular needles, but didn't like the process, so I went back to my double points and kept on knitting socks. I wanted to try to crochet socks, so I started playing around. I'd seen some patterns for crocheted socks, but didn't like them. Some used stitch patterns that were not going to be comfortable in use--lace patterns are great on the top of the sock, but that lace would be uncomfortable to walk or stand on when it goes all the way around the foot. Some patterns tried to mimic knitted sock construction by using single crochet to go around and around, making a heel flap back and forth, doing a gusset, etc. But they always looked bulky and not stretchy enough. They also seemed like they'd be uncomfortable to actually wear. One day, when I was looking at an Interweave Crochet magazine that my daughter had given me, I saw a pattern for crocheted socks, made toe-up and using linked double crochet stitches. I decided to try them. The linked doubles make a solid fabric that has enough stretch to mold to the feet without being baggy or too bulky, although they are crocheted, so are thicker than knitted socks made of the same yarn. I liked the toe-up construction because I could try them on as I stitched to see how many increases I needed to make. I liked the afterthought heel, because I always get holes on the bottom of my sock heels and this way, I figured I could remove the heel and add a new one. I liked those socks--still have them and wear them, in fact--but there were things I felt I could improve upon to make them better and more comfortable for me. I switched to linked triples, which made a better and more flexible fabric. I played around with different lace patterns on the top of the foot to make socks for the summer while keeping the sole part solid. I used a bigger hook, which made a nicer fabric, since I am a tight crocheter. I changed the toes a bit for some socks and again in a different way so I could add mohair which makes really warm socks for winter. I loved making socks this way and wearing the socks I made. I can easily make the weight I want--heavy for winter, medium for spring and autumn, and lightweight lace for summer. I kept on knitting socks, too, but for a while, I crocheted more of them than I knitted. In the past couple of years I've knitted several pairs of socks and not crocheted any, but for some reason, a week or two ago, an idea for some crocheted socks popped into my head, so I rummaged around in the sock yarn collection and came away with some scraps--a couple of larger balls left from knitted sock projects--both in blue colourways, but one dark and one light. The patterning in each was the same, so I figured that while I didn't have enough of each to make a whole pair, I could make one sock out of each ball, using different scraps for the toes and heels. So that's what I did.
I used my beloved half-double crochet through the very back loop in the round for these, instead of my usual linked triples. I love the way they came out.

There's an afterthought heel, although now when I get holes, I just needle felt a repair instead of trying to rip out the heel and make a new one.
I kept this project upstairs and it was lovely to sit in bed at the end of the day, listening to peaceful music and crocheting away on these socks. As it happens, I also found some new ideas swirling around in my head for different possible ways of constructing crocheted socks and different stitch patterns to use. I've always done my crocheted socks toe-up and my knitted ones cuff-down, but I think the next crocheted pair is going to be cuff-down. Looks like this crocheted sock thing is going to be an obsession for at least a little while. I'm fine with that. 😉

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