When I left teaching, I was exhausted. I had become really burnt out and took a long time to get myself back on my feet. I rediscovered knitting and found it incredibly therapeutic. I had forgotten how much I loved being creative, starting out with one thing and ending up with a finished product that was something else altogether!
Most importantly though, for me, knitting had to be uncomplicated in order to be relaxing.
At the time I was living in the UK and had moved out of London to a small village in the Midlands. In a nearby village was a wonderful group of women at a Knit and Natter group who threw me an emotional lifeline. If you've never joined a group like this, do so immediately! Yarny people are the best!
I would watch these women sit and knit socks. They were amazing!
At first I thought this was well beyond my skill set. That was rubbish of course, anyone can learn to knit socks, but it looked so complicated! With their encouragement, I bought a set of DPNs, happily accepted the basic pattern they gave me and began. With a few hiccups and occasionally unpicking a row here or there, I ended up with a pair of socks. That was 6 years ago and not only are those socks still going strong but I've always got a pair of socks on the go now.
So after 6 years of knitting socks, here are a few reasons why you I think you should try knitting a pair for yourself:
They will fit you. You can adjust them to fit your feet.
Your feet don't get hot and sweaty!
You don't need to wash them after wearing them once. (Sounds disgusting I know but it's true!)
They will last for years! Literally!
A few pointers, warnings and recommendations:
They are addictive!
Your yarn stash will only get bigger.
Once you have knitted a couple, the pattern is easily memorised and you can start to play around with colour combinations or more intricate stitches.
Play around with different needles. I started with DPNs because minicirculars hurt my hands but once I discovered the Addi Sockwunder, that was me! Unlike other minicircs, the needle in your dominant hand is a little longer and so I find I can knit for ages without getting sore hands.
Play around with different methods. Some people like using magic loop so they can knit 2 at a time and bypass the 'Second Sock Syndrome' where you never get around to knitting the second sock of the pair. Although you can always just wear odd socks!
Play around with different effects. Contrasting heel, toe and cuff, matching self striping yarns, etc
So if you have now decide you want to give them a try, you can get the pattern I used from Winwick Mum here:
You will need:
Yarn. I use 4 ply weight. You will definitely get a pair out of 100g 4 ply sock yarn. I knit midlength socks and can get 3 socks out of 100g. Merino with a nylon percentage is great for fit and wear and tear. I don't recommend fibres like alpaca or linen as they won't hold their shape as much which might become annoying when you wear them. Merino/cashmere/nylon is another beautiful blend I like to use.
Needles. I use Addi Sockwunder as I find them more comfortable and less finicky than normal minicirculars or double pointed needles (DPNs). You will also need a set of DPNs for the heel and toes ideally. I have both of these in stock in 2.5mm if you wish to try them. I buy them retail to have in stock so I may not be the cheapest but I charge what it costs me so you are welcome to ask.
Pattern. There are sooooo many out there! Down the Yarn Hole also does Knit-A-Longs for additional support. You can find them on Facebook. Ravelry has a multitude of patterns, both free and paid, all of them beautiful! I use a very basic pattern as it is easy to memorise after a few socks and I like the yarn to do the talking. Besides, I'm easily frustrated so easy is good for me!
The pattern I used when I was learning was this Basic 4 ply by Winwick Mum. Winwick Mum Sockalong on Facebook also has an amazing community around the world for support as well as videos for each step to help you get the hang of it. They also have an amazingly supportive group called Winwick Mum Knit and Natter, which is a closed group where many people feel they can be open about what is going on in their lives knowing it won't be seen by family and friends. They are all warm and lovely people.
So try socks, I'm happy to help at the end of an email or message if you need it or custom dye you a skein for inspiration! Get knitting and don't forget to tag me in your pictures! Enjoy!