Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Adventures in Knitting: "I can have a dark side too..."

Hey everyone!

Two weeks ago I took a great leap over to the dark side - I learned how to knit :o (Thanks to Tim Minchin for the post title!) 

I had done knitting in primary school (quite some time ago now!), and every so often picked up a set of needles to have a go, but just never really enjoyed it, or at least not enjoyed it as much as crochet. Crochet is faster, you can't drop stitches (or if you do it's not a drama in the slightest), and I can do it much better! I have always had the dream of knitting socks though, which seemed roughly equivalent to climbing Mount Everest but without the fun party times.

Then, my lovely friend Emily who can knit wonderfully asked if she could trade knitting lessons for advice about uni courses, and I felt ready. This was the moment. It was time.

After learning the basics - cast on, knit, purl, slip, increase, decrease, cast off - I was ready to start a real project. A knitted Wrap with Love square!

It worked! It came out a bit big, but after undoing one row I decided I didn't care that it was a bit too big. Knitting is wayyyy harder to frog :(

So, how hard could socks be? They thought I was mad, mad, MAD! *insane cackling* 

This gorgeous ball of Stylecraft's Head Over Heels sock yarn fell into an online shopping basket quite some time ago (I think I needed to get to $100 for free postage, and much better to spend a bit extra money on yarn than waste it on postage). It's a wool/nylon blend which I am told is ideal for socks, and didn't feel super itchy - maybe I could even tolerate having woolly socks? Spotlight provided 3mm knitting needles, and then it was time to choose a pattern

After much perusing of Ravelry, I chose the Just Plain Socks pattern by Talena Winters - It is free! Has ribbing! Multiple sizing options! Intermediate difficulty? Bah, I'm sure it will be fine.

Oh man, I thought knitting with two needles was complicated. Four? FOUR? It took me nearly two hours to knit the first inch of the cuff. Maybe knitting wasn't for me - I could nearly have a pair of crochet socks done in that amount of time. But I persevered. The yarn was working up in adorable stripes, and I was getting the hang of it. Slowly. 

The texture of the back of the heel was awesome, plus knitting goes way faster if you slip every second stitch ;) 

Now, it was heel turning time. This was the part I was most afraid of - I'd read about terror of turning heels in novels and thought this, this is where this experiment is going to fall apart.


I did it! I just followed the pattern step by step, and then there was a heel turned. If I can turn heels, I can do ANYTHING.

Gusset? What on earth is a gusset? What on earth am I doing? Oh no wait, this is ok. Picking up stitches is ok. We can do this. I even did a Kitchener graft to close the toe (although I do need more practice...). 

I measured Kiah's foot as instructed, and knitted to the measurement as per the pattern, and then he put the first ever finished sock on. 


It was too long! After the experiments with the Wrap with Love square, I was 100% not excited about doing any undoing. After a few minutes of blind panic, I remembered that my little brother James has enormous feet (AU mens size 13-14 - if I put my feet in his shoes, I can see my standard sized toes before the laces start). I texted him to see if he would be interested in hand-knitted socks and he said YES! Crisis averted!

Sock 2 went much faster, and I had lots of fun learning how to count rows to make it identical to the first one. 

I am so thrilled with the outcome, and totally pumped to make more socks and do more experiments in knitting! For now I have to get back to the crochet WIP pile but more knitting is definitely in my near future <3 

What are you favourite interesting knitting patterns for adventurous beginners? What techniques, stitches and skills should I learn next?


  1. This is my favourite shop on etsy:
    Very very easy patterns, such cute toys!

  2. I'm impressed with your socks. I'd been knitting for years before I plucked up the courage to do them. Within sock knitting, there's lots of things to explore - magic loop, toe up socks, different heels.

    You could try your hand at something completely different, eg, shawls/scarves. There's a ton of patterns on Ravelry and I think you'd find a lot of them easy compared to socks. A good, free pattern is the Reyna scarf/shawlette. Or asymmetric triangles are good - Quaker Yarnstretcher is a pattern I come back to again and again, as is the Hitchhiker. Both are paid patterns, but are very cheap. The designers of both of those patterns have a lot of other good patterns to choose from.

    Or you could explore something like mosaic knitting? Brioche? Hats - these are a doddle, compared to socks :)

    1. Wow thank you Shelagh!! I will have a look at those shawl patterns, and find out what mosaic and brioche knitting are :D

    2. The Hitch hiker is a pattern that is referenced all the time. It's like the book that everyone has read and the must see movie. You are bound to have plenty of experienced Hitch Hiker knitters happy to help you through it. A shall will give you a chance to learn lace techniques.