The perfect socks

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, for various reasons, but here I am, back again with the first of what will be a weekly blog post that I will write at the weekend and publish during the week. I find that my head is clear at the weekend – free from the pressures of work and deadlines, so for me it’s a great time to relax and share my thoughts with you.


I’m really poorly at the moment and there’s not a lot I can do about it other than to distract myself with lovely crafty things, whilst I sit very still, breathe gently and try not to talk (some would say that’s a bonus!!!). So this morning I was so happy to receive a couple of lovely parcels to cheer me up and even happier that my bright, new stitch library matches my latest finished object.

I’m excited to tell you that I actually knitted a pair of socks, all for me. I bought a skein of self-striping sock yarn from my talented friend Rebecca at @blackhorseyarn in a gorgeous combination of teal and oranges/rust. She kindly dyed up a mini skein for me in a contrast bright orange, for the heels and toes. It really is one of my favourite combinations and it’s incredibly bright and cheery. Perfect for lifting your mood whilst you knit. I love the little pops of colour in the rust-coloured stripes – can you see them?

In truth, I’m on the search for my perfect sock, so when I have a skein of the most gorgeous hand dyed yarn, I will know exactly how many stitches to cast on, which needle size to use, how many rows of rib and which type of rib to work, how many rows for the leg, which type of heel, how many rows for the gusset and foot and finally, which type of toe and how many rows I need.


My starting point was my basic family sock pattern in my latest book Knit Yourself Calm“. These socks are knitted from the cuff down and have a slipped stitch ribbed heel. I find that socks are perfect for mindful knitting, especially as I use a small circular needle, rather than double-pointed-needles, so once I’ve cast on I can just knit! knit! knit! and get into my mindful zone, focussing on the stitches as I knit each one, and focussing on my hands as they work away merrily, creating and making. If you choose your favourite colours for your mindful knitting, your project will definitely help to improve your mood. I picked up my socks at the same time each day, to relax after work for 20 minutes, and before I knew it I had knitted a whole sock (within one week too!!). I was determined not to get ‘second sock syndrome’, so I cast on the next sock straight away.

For those of you who are new to sock knitting, Christine Perry, aka Winwick Mum, has a fantastic library of resourses available freely on her website, with detailed tutorials, sock patterns to download and helpful guidance. I’d definitely recommend a visit to her website here.

Here are the results of my quest to find the perfect sock:

Yarn: Indie dyed merino sock yarn (75% superwash merino and 25% nylon) Colourway: Dirty Pond by @blankhorseyarn:

The verdict: Perfect – I love this yarn so much and can’t wait to wear my socks. Superwash merino is perfect for me as there are no naughty floating fibres to cause irritation to either my skin or my breathing.

Needle size: I usually cast on with 3mm  needles, work a couple of rounds before switching to 2.5mm needles.

The verdict: This works perfectly for me, so no change needed here.

Cast on stitches: Whilst I would normally cast on 64 sts, I decided to try 60 sts, as sometimes 64 stitches are a little baggy on my leg/foot.

The verdict: 60 sts is perfect with 2.5mm needles, so this will be now be my choice going forward.


Rib: I have tried 1×1 rib in the past which I find a little tight, so I tried 2×2 rib for 12 rounds.
The verdict: I feel that the 2×2 rib is too slack. Next time I will try 2×1 rib (k2, p1). Also, 12 rounds of rib were not quite deep enough so next time I will try 16 or 20 rounds.

Leg: I knitted 66 rounds of stocking stitch, so together with the rib, this made 78 rounds in total.
The verdict: this seems a perfect length for me, so I will stick to this total length in future BUT I do feel that if I cut down the leg by about 4 rounds, then I will possibly be able to get 2 pairs of socks from 1 x 100g skein of yarn plus a mini skein for heels and toes. So I may try that next time.

Heel: I love a slipped stitch rib heel as I find that it hugs my heel well (you can find out how to work a slipped stitch rib heel over on Winwick Mum’s website here)

The verdict: I’m more than happy with this, however, I would like to try other heels too, just to investigate further, so next time I will try a wrap and turn heel.

Foot rounds: I knitted 70 rounds of stocking stitch for the leg, including gusset, before the first decrease round of the toe.
The verdict: This is perfect for me.

Toe: I worked a standard toe decrease, on every alternate round and ended with 24 sts, which I grafted together with Kitchener Stitch.

The verdict: This is the perfect toe length for me.

So all in all this was a great experiment Now I can just cast on 60 sts and knit a sock following my own recipe above, without having to find a pattern. I think next time I will knit with a variegated yarn and I’ll try a 2×1 rib for 20 rounds and a wrap and turn heel. I’ll use a mini skein for heels and toes as I love the definition and contrast this gives. I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you and create another pair of socks too.

Even more exciting is that I finally managed to buy a pair of handmade Bunny sock blockers from The Knitting Shed, so now I can block them properly and make them perfect. These are so very cute aren’t they.  Thanks to Emma over at the Potter and Bloom podcast for alerting me to these, and they’re much better than plastic ones.

Do you have a perfect sock pattern – I’d love to hear all about it and if you share the link to the pattern, we could all give it a try. I hope you all have a great week and thanks for reading – if you would like to join me on social media, I’m @the_woolnest on Instagram and @thewoolnest on facebook and twitter. It would be great to see what you’re all up to.

Don’t forget to tag me and use the hashtags #makeandbehappy and #knitcrochetcreate – I’ll share my favourites.

If you would like to receive my newsletters and be the first to hear about my latest competitions, giveaways and free patterns, click the link on the right side of my blog page, or visit my website here: knit, crochet, create with Lynne Rowe.

Happy sock knitting,

Lynne x

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9 Comments

  1. The best thing about socks is that you can create your own perfect pattern to fit your own feet – which is what you've done! It will be so quick to knit socks for yourself now that you know all those details and it makes it much easier to experiment as well because you become familiar with your basic pattern. That yarn is really lovely – great choice! xx

  2. Thanks Christine – your website is a fantastic resource and inspiration 🙂 I'm looking forward to round 2 xx

  3. Thanks Christine – your website is a fantastic resource and inspiration 🙂 I'm looking forward to round 2 xx

  4. Great post Lynne , I too seem to be always experimenting with different tie/heel and rib combinations for socks . For me tge sl st heel and eye of partridge (love the texture) wear and fit me best and my rib for neatness sake is twisted 1×1 (although I don't always feel like knitting it!) Right now, I am doing a 2×2 rib again as I find it looks a bit better than plain old 1×1 – but au will keep experimenting! Christine's website is a terrific resource as anyone who will come by it can only agree I am sure . Hope your health picks up quickly for you.
    Caroline

  5. Hi Lynne, enjoyed your tale of your perfect sock. It is very similar to mine but I go to 4 dpns after a couple of rows of rib and I usually do 20 rows. I find that knitting into the back of the knit stitches of the rib makes it firmer, whether I do k2p2 or k1 p1. I've also discovered that after completing the decreases of the gusset, the number of rows I need to knit equals the continental shoe size of the person I'm knitting for! This may be just a coincidence with my tension but it is very useful!

  6. Thanks Avril – I will also try knitting into the back of rib stitches – I might try this with k2, p2 rib to see if it firms it up as you say – and will try 20 rows. Interesting info on the rows of your foot matching continental shoe sizes – I'll see if this works for me too 🙂

  7. I hope you're feeling a little bit better Lynne, these socks are so cheery, they should def cheer you up. I love the yarn, must go and check out the dyer and that book is on my Christmas list :))) I love reading other people's sock formulas, mine is very similar to yours, 20 rows of 2 x 2 ribbing, a fairly long leg (I like my socks to poke up above my boots), slipped stitch heel (sometimes I do 3 purl stitches either side of this like the Hermione's Everyday Sock pattern), foot to size and a fairly long toe. I'm SO into sock knitting at the minute, I've got at least four pairs on the needles right now!! Eek! x Sending hugs xx

  8. Hi Lynne, enjoyed your tale of your perfect sock. It is very similar to mine but I go to 4 dpns after a couple of rows of rib and I usually do 20 rows. I find that knitting into the back of the knit stitches of the rib makes it firmer, whether I do k2p2 or k1 p1. I've also discovered that after completing the decreases of the gusset, the number of rows I need to knit equals the continental shoe size of the person I'm knitting for! This may be just a coincidence with my tension but it is very useful!

  9. Hi Lynne, enjoyed your tale of your perfect sock. It is very similar to mine but I go to 4 dpns after a couple of rows of rib and I usually do 20 rows. I find that knitting into the back of the knit stitches of the rib makes it firmer, whether I do k2p2 or k1 p1. I've also discovered that after completing the decreases of the gusset, the number of rows I need to knit equals the continental shoe size of the person I'm knitting for! This may be just a coincidence with my tension but it is very useful!

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