Blog Book Tour: I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting Socks!
Today we have a special post with designer Karen Ratto-Whooley, author of I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting Socks! The book is a great learn-to guide if you have never crocheted socks before. Karen starts you off slow with DK weight yarn and step-by-step photos that show the anatomy of the sock by changing colors between each part, then you can get down to finer weights and make lots of classic pairs for pretty much anyone in the family. To date, I’ve crocheted 3 1/2 pairs of socks (1 was just a store sample, so I didn’t need a pair) and it is addictive and quick. I loved taking home a skein of sock yarn and bringing the sample back in two days. I asked Karen–who I just met this year at TNNA– for a few pointers on sock crocheting.
LP: What should crocheters look for in sock yarn?
KRW: If you want your crochet socks to fit in a shoe, you have to use sock weight yarns. I recommend a blend with either Wool or Acrylic (for those allergic to wool). Both of those fibers have elasticity, and that is what you want for socks. Silks, cotton and bamboo have no stretch to them. Using 100% of any of these may feel wonderful on your feet, but you will find if they stretch out, and they won’t comeback to shape
Color is actually important too! There are a couple of key points you want to remember.
- If the sock pattern has a lot of detail in it (i.e. lace work, cables, and texture of all sorts) you might want to stick with a solid color or a tonal yarn. Tonal yarns are basically a solid, but you can see where the color gets darker and lighter through the hank or skein. You will find that if you use a multi-colored yarn, the pattern detail will disappear in the color changes and you will be disappointed.
- If your sock pattern is more on the plain side, let the yarn do the work! Find a brightly colored long striping yarn, or even a variegated that changes colors quickly. You will be amazed at how gorgeous a very plain pattern can become!
LP: How can crocheters who are used to worsted weight yarn get used to sock weight yarns?
If you are struggling with a sock, switch to worsted yarn and a size I –swatch to figure out the pattern first. Once you can see and feel how it is supposed to go, you can jump back down to the smaller stuff. The key here is PRACTICE!
LP: What if the person you want to make socks for is not available to measure, or you’re making the sock as a surprise? How can you ensure they will fit?
If it is not a surprise, give them a call and ask what their shoe size is. Also ask if they would measure around the widest part of their foot (usually the ball of the foot) for the circumference measurement. Those two numbers should be all you need as far as getting the right width and length.
If it is a surprise, it will be more difficult. If you can get a shoe size somehow I would go with a medium width unless you know for a fact they have a wide foot.
LP: How should crocheted socks be washed?
No matter what you make your socks out of, my recommendation is NOT to machine dry them. Get sock blockers, and use them to hang the socks dry. Or, lay them out on a towel in a warm room. Drying flat is key to help hold the shape.
As for washing, I would check the labels on the yarn to see if they should be washed in cool or warm water. If the socks are super wash wool, washing in a delicate cycle in the washing machine should be fine. I would not wash 100% wool or any other animal fiber in the washer unless it is superwash wool.
And a final note from Karen: I hope that the tips above will help motivate you to try your hand at crocheting socks. And if you do, let me know about it! I would love to see photos of what you have created with my patterns or even what you might have done on your own! Drop me a note on my website and happy sock making!
Check out her blog for more scheduled stops (many of whom are giving away a copy of the book!)