Ann Budd’s Special Brand of Sock Magic

Ah, technology. As Mary Chapin Carpenter sang, "Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug." Our server-hosting company had some technical difficulties this week, which meant that we were unable to do our regular Monday post. Sorry about that. The technogeeks have been working very hard to resolve things, and so now: Weeeee're baaaaaack! Thanks for your patience and for all the nice emails you sent to check to make sure that we were OK!

But Sandi–WHAT DID WE MISS? Monday's post was going to be a mini-buffet of goodies for you. Don't worry, you won't miss out! I'm re-arranging things so that I can include at least one of Monday's goodies in each post over the week or two.

This Week: Socks And More Socks!

Socks. These humble articles of knitwear seem to inspire a full range of emotions in your comments, from fear ("I'm scared of all those needles and of that HEEL!"), to love ("I'm a sockaholic!") and for a select few, on into dislike ("Please NO MORE SOCK PATTERNS. Enough already! Some of us don't like knitting them, so please stop going on and on about them so much.").

For those of you in the Sock Dislike camp: No worries–we'll make sure there's something for everyone on Knitting Daily over time. As long as you're here, though: While we Sock Fans are chatting, maybe you could go have a look at the Browse By Topics section, find something you do like, and then leave a comment to tell me what it was so you can have your turn, too!

Blocking Socks

The subject of socks came up during our blocking tutorial, when dozens of you asked how to block your socks. I started typing out answers for you, and then realized that it would be much more fun to hear from Interweave's very own sock lover, and author of Getting Started Knitting Socks, Ann Budd.

Here's what Ann Budd has to say on blocking socks:

Sandi: Do you have to block socks?

Ann: Not unless you plan to give them as a gift or have them photographed for publication. Any misshapen stitches will even themselves out after you've worn the sock for about an hour. Besides, they're socks. They go on your feet. In your shoes. No one should be looking that closely at your feet.

Sandi: Do you have to re-block socks every time you wash them?

Ann: The act of washing them actually blocks them. Just squeeze out as much water as possible, then pat them flat on a clean towel to air-dry.

Sandi: Do you have to use sock blockers if you block socks–can you pat them flat, or pin them out, instead?

Ann: You don't have to use sock blockers, but if you've knitted a pair of heavily textured (i.e., cabled or lace) socks, blockers are a nice way to give them a uniform look. Like I said before, I usually just pat them flat. I wouldn't use pins because pins can leave tell-tail scallops that might show even when the sock is stretched on your leg or foot.

On Friday we'll have more "sock talk" from Ann!

Not Just For Beginners: Getting Started Knitting Socks

As you can tell from the above interview, Ann's "a trip," as my Southern mother-in-law Marilyn would say. She appears quiet and reserved, but she can have an entire conference room in giggles in a nanosecond. She's one of the world's truly delightful people.

Free Pattern: Ambrosia Socks

She's also a wicked talented sock knitter, and this fall, she's sharing her Sock Smarts with all of us in a new book, Getting Started Knitting Socks. Personally, I think this book needs a subtitle: "The Book For All Those Who Love Knitting Socks." It's got so much good stuff in it, that it would be a shame if folks thought it was just for beginners! In addition to the step-by-step instructions (with photos! pretty photos!), there are loads of useful charts, tips, and of course, patterns. There are basic sock "recipes" for the five most common gauges of yarn used. There are expanded recipes for adding texture, color, and lace to the basic recipes. And then there are tips on heels, toes, and everything in-between.

I'm buying a personal copy of this book, and I've been knitting socks for decades. But let's say that you're a sock-knitting newbie, and you're terrified of things like turning the heel and grafting. If that's you, then this book is like having Ann sitting next to you, patiently going over every question you could possibly come up with.

At this point, there are those amongst you who might be thinking, "Sure, Sandi. You're saying those nice things because you work for Interweave and they pay you to say that sort of thing."

I do work for Interweave. But the REASON I came to work for Interweave in the first place is that I was an Interweave customer for more than ten years, and a subscriber to four of their magazines long before I ever sent in my resume. I came here because I love what Interweave does, and I wanted to be part of it. However: I don't have to convince you. Thanks to the wonders of technology, we can give you a sneak peek inside Getting Started Knitting Socks so you can decide for yourself.

But: I bet you're going to LOVE it.

This Week's Featured Pattern: Ambrosia Socks

To give you a little taste of Ann's lovely sort of sock magic, our featured pattern this week is Ambrosia Socks. These were Ann's brainchild for the staff project for the almost-here (almost!!) Fall 2007 issue of Interweave Knits magazine. Cast on for these socks, and before you know it, Fall Knits will be here!

Great Free Sock Pattern eBook:
Knitting Socks with Knitting Daily:
5 Free Sock Knitting Patterns

Need a new sock knitting pattern? Want a great free sock pattern? I've chosen five of our top sock knitting downloads and put them all together in one FREE ebook for you.

So what kind of sock patterns are in this eBook? Let's see. There's a knitted lace sock pattern, a cabled sock pattern, a colorwork sock pattern, a men's sock pattern, and an easy beginner sock pattern. Something for everyone!

Download Knitting Socks with Knitting Daily: 5 Free Sock Knitting Patterns

Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's needles today? The front of the Bonsai Tunic by Norah Gaughan. Yes. Still knitting this. It's been a busy week….!

Other Things You May Like to Check Out:


Knitting Daily Blog

112 thoughts on “Ann Budd’s Special Brand of Sock Magic

  1. Welcome Back Sandi! Wow, it didn’t take me long to get hooked, did it? I’ve actually made socks before, but that was about ten years ago. Since I’m a process knitter, I guess that makes sense. I learned turning a heel and I had already done grafting…so why make something that no one (including me) will see? I’ve got the first few rows done on another sock, but that’s only been on the needles a few weeks. Maybe you’ll inspire me!

  2. Glad you’re back – I was wondering how I was gonna get my daily “fix”.
    I decided a month ago to make everyone on my Christmas list socks this year and have 2 and 3/4 pairs done already. (the 3/4 one is already past the heel turn so I figure the hardest part is over for that one). Keep the patterns coming!

  3. Whaaaaaaaaaat? Who doesn’t like socks? They’re the best! The perfect on-the-go project, always useful, and a great place to experiment with complicated stitch patterns without commiting to a whole garment! Oh socks, how I love thee. And–not to question Ann Budd, whose socks I am not worthy to dunk in Eucalan–but I’ve blocked socks quite successfully by pinning them out. The trick is to stretch them just enough to get the stitch pattern to show off without pulling them so taut that they get the scallops. It’s a fine balance, but not that hard to find.

  4. I *was* one of those afraid of socks. Then a guild member showed me a pair of socks she’d made with regular worsted weight yarn. Another recommended starting at the toe, and I was converted! As a spindle handspinner, I rarely spin enough yarn for a big project, and I never know if I’m going to have enough. So toe-up socks are perfect handspun projects for my medium-fine yarns. I, too, am interested in a toe-up version of this sock. Deb Jung

  5. here’s a SOCK TIP. try using one 30″ or longer circular needle instead of dpn’s. Cast on the stitches for the top, then knit 1/2, stop. Pull the right needle and loop out and the left needle in and continue knitting, using the loops to allow the round sock to form in the middle. I hate dpn’s, drop stitches or lose one or sit on one and break it, but the long circular eliminates this problem. There is a phamphlet floating aroung that describes the technique, if your imagination and my explanation aren’t enough. You can get long circ’s at your knitting store, on line ( has them( and on ebay. enjoy

  6. I love knitting socks because for the most part the recipe is simple. I am a ankle to toe knitter though, I have yet to try toe up socks although I am sure that they are a bit easier.

  7. You know what? I was a sock nay sayer until I came across wonderful sock yarn. Now I can’t knit them fast enough! To those in doubt, get some Blue Moon yarn and you’ll be hooked!

  8. Sandi on the sock front(no pun intended)I have two questions. First I have been searching for a sock pattern for pipers socks. Thus far the only pattern I have found is for knitting from the toe up and I was unable to make any sense of it! In frustration I unravelled them and put the project away. The second question, is there a pattern to make sock blockers? I remember seeing one years ago, but it didn’t include how to figure out the changes for different sized socks. I have enjoyed your daily missives. Keep up the good work.

  9. At this time in my life, I seem to be only able to finish socks. Too many half done sweaters sitting in bags in my closet! I love it that knitting socks gives me just enough challenges for my mind (I don’t get bored with them)because there’s many parts and if one part starts getting stale,then it’s time to do something else. Thanks from all us sock lovers!

  10. Until the last issue of Interweave Knits, I had made three pairs of socks, all top down, and truly loathed picking up the heels. Ann Budd’s article on toe-up socks was the instigator of my new sock style and it is glorious! I take my socks with me when I’m out walking and my husband loves getting all the results for himself! If it wasn’t for the article, I’d still be too scared to knit socks. Thanks you Ann and Interweave!

  11. Hi Sandi,
    Count me among the sock lovers. They’re great for learning and practicing new techniques like lacework, colorwork, cables, etc, and wonderfully portable. One of my other favorite projects is hats – tams, berets, cloches, anything. Couldn’t find any in past postings. Mabe with winter coming along, you can do one or two.
    Donna B

  12. My very first sock yarn came in the mail today . . .! It feels and looks so scrumptions (well, one of them being colorway Strawberries n’ Limes certainly goes along with that . . .)I especially liked the preview of the book; those socks look pretty, and the information looks well organized and well-done.

  13. Yeah, could we have something for us “I’m so bored to tears with all these friggin’ sock pattern” people?

    How about something more topical, like back to school gear?

  14. About blocking socks. I think those knitters were thinking of the old days (the 30’s and 40’s) when you knit socks from wool that was not preshrunk. So you had to put them on sock blockers to dry so they would maintain their size. Also in those days there wasn’t the cotton yarns and blends we have today and neither was the wool preshrunk for socks. I wash my socks and I have knit many pairs from all kinds of sock yarn in the washing machine and they still fit.

  15. I’ve downloaded the socks and have read the pattern, I am so glad they are from the toe up. I better understand the cuff down, but having done my first pair toe up, I find I can make the leg as long as I want. I just don’t get the yo part yet. The first toe ups didn’t use a yo method, but it sounds easy enough. I also use the 1 longer circular needle, because seeing how the pattern turns out is great the first time through, but boring the second time.

  16. I just downloaded the Ambrosia Socks pattern (it looks pretty!) and the first thing I looked for was the chart for the pattern. My first reaction was “Where’s the chart?!” Upon further inspection, the stitch pattern appears relatively simple but… charts are good. 🙂

  17. I love socks and the colourfull sockyarn you can get. I just bought the whole collection of Kaffi’s sockyarn. That is 12 pair of socks. I will be busy in the near future.

  18. I am one of those who love knitting socks! To me, they’re like potato chips; once you start you can’t stop! However, I convert all patterns to use a bullseye or peasant heel. They are extremely quick and easy and you can replace the heel if it wears out. I keep my leftover sock yarn in one bag so I can be ready for the toe or heel that needs reknitting.

  19. Wow, what a delightful experience to be able to look at the sock book. I was so impressed with being able to turn pages and look at them up close and actually be able to read with the sharpening feature. Thanks, Janice

  20. Doreen-I have a book in my knitting library called “Knitting Scottish Kilt Hose and Hiking Socks” by Joanne Gibson Hinmon. It is published by Dineidin Publishing, in 2000. There are 10 designs in different skill levels. Hope this is useful to you-Anna

  21. I love socks! I have so much sock yarn in THE stash and am always on the lookout for more ! Usually each purcahse has a project attached in my mind but I find it so easy to buy a couple of balls of this yarn than to buy the larger ammount needed for jumpers etc,though Im fast collecting vests lately!!

  22. After breaking a bone in my ankle last fall, wool socks were necessary to get me through the winter. The best pattern has been Ann Budd’s Diagonal Ribbed. The past two weeks I have been frustrated with Charmed Knit’s Quidditch socks which are toe up. I ditched their instructions after multiple tries and I am now using Ann Budd’s!

  23. I was sooo happy to see socks- I’ve just learned to knit them from the toe up, and what a difference! I was never satisisfied with the way my cuuf-down ones came out, but these are just lovely! My cast-on is a little different, and the first few rounds are tough going (all those needles so close together), but the end result is more than worth it! I’ve made three pairs in the last four weeks!

  24. I would like to get the pamphlet on knitting socks on circular needles! I have read how easy they are compared to dpns. I want to learn to knit socks, but don’t understand the dpns directions. I need something to give me confidence!!!
    Thanks, Nancy S

  25. I recently had a bad experience knitting my second ever pair of socks. I think my pattern choice was the problem because the process seemed more like torture than fun. Right now I still don’t “get” the sock addiction.

  26. can’t wait to get this book, am a fairly new sock knitter, always looking for help…would like help converting patterb for 4-5 dp’s to 2 circulars. ellie

  27. Although I’ve knitted many pairs of socks and have lots of sock books (I think I’ll add this one to the collection), there’s a problem that occurs sometimes that I can’t find the answer to. With a standard heel flap/turned heel construction, some socks turn out to be very hard to pull on. They just don’t seem to have enough give at the transition from the leg to the flap/gusset area. They are okay once they’re on. This doesn’t always happen, and it never happens with a peasant heel. Making the flap longer doesn’t help (I haven’t tried making it shorter, or wider, or narrower). I don’t have fat ankles; do I have fat heels?

  28. You asked to hear from sock nay-sayers… here’s a no vote. I don’t wear socks, I won’t make socks. What I really need to make: A transitional summer to fall cardigan, in cotton ( no sheep for me either, and thank you for letting me know about this book, stalking the postman for it ). WITH POCKETS. Which begs the question of the day ( for the future, I can hope ) – pocket help? So that when you put something heavier than a handkerchief, the pocket and sweater does not get bent out of shape?

  29. Love, love, love knitting socks! Quick question about the Ambrosia pattern: Do I have to you a solid colored yarn? I’m wondering what the pattern would look like with a varigated yarn….anyone try it?

  30. Just about to start my first pair of socks–one of Ann Budd’s baby socks from IK a few years back. I can’t wait to start and now I know where I can turn with my questions!!

  31. I finally crossed over to sock knitting after my LYS dispelled all my fears of handling multiple needles, etc. I can’t wait for this book to come out! I have been looking all over for a sock patter in worsted weight that I could use to make for an entire family from toddler to adult. Any ideas? This is my Christmas gift theme this year and I’m anxious to get started! -Cristie

  32. Thank you so much for this site. I have been knitting for many years and I love the diversity of your topics ! Unfortunately, it is like being at a smorgasbord and not having the discipline to pick and chose. It all looks so good !

  33. I am not afraid of knitting socks, as I have many pairs under my belt. I have, however, decided that I truly dislike making them! I know a lot of fellow knitters who are addicted to them, so I have knit them again and again in an effort to feel the same way. It didn’t happen. I don’t think that they’re difficult to knit, just tedious, especially those with tiny stitches. No more socks for me …

  34. To you people who are thinking of knitting socks of worsted wool for gifts, be sure that the giftee have shoes loose enough to wear such heavy socks. I have knit lots of socks and love the colorful ones like the Caspian Sea socks. You can knit an inserted heel from the top down as well as from the bottom up. I do it all the time. Milly E

  35. Thanks for the tip Milly. I should have mentioned that I’m looking to make what I call “house socks” to kick around in over the winter. It is a good point though not to expect people to be able to wear a worsted wool with shoes.

  36. Thanks for the tip Milly. I should have mentioned that I’m looking to make what I call “house socks” to kick around in over the winter. It is a good point though not to expect people to be able to wear a worsted wool with shoes.

  37. Please please please post some thoughts on the ladder problems people have when making socks. It’s not just DPN’s, I get them even when using 2 circs or magic loop. I’ve tried pulling tight on the first and second stitch and that doesn’t help much. Knitting the first stitch off the next needle helps, but it’s a pain cause you have to do something with your extra needle and I end up dropping it a lot. If you have small ladders, will they come out when you wash the sock so I shouldn’t even worry about it?

  38. I started knitting since as a petite, most store sweaters don’t fit. I’d like a post on how to measure fully fashioned sleeves that fit, and recalculating waist and hip placement on fitted sweaters for those of us shorter or taller than “average”.

    Also, how about posts for cable queens?

  39. As someone you so, er, eloquently refer to as a “techno-geek,” I would like to say that I actually am not into the terminology. Some people like it; I, for one, think that “geek” is not meant in a complimentary way. I wouldn’t call knitters “fibro-biddies”.

  40. I LOVE socks! In fact my first non scarf project was a pair of socks. Daring I know but I’m young and unafraid. The only thing that I don’t like about socks is the heel, not the part that you can see in a pair of clogs, but the part that sits between your foot and the sole of the shoe. It always wears out, always. There are fancy back-of-the-heel stitches but what about bottom-of-the-heel stitches? It would have to be somewhat smooth or else it would be uncomfortable. Please help or does Ann’s book do that?

  41. Nice to have you back, I thought I had a computer problem, was looking for you many times a day. I am a sock addic and have never to much patterns. It is nice to have people to share about socks knitting. After you have done a couple pairs they are very easy to do, and so compfortable to wear, and nice gift to do, and fun to try new stich pattern. I did around 15 pairs last year. Keep the leftovers to do baby socks, they are wonderfull.

  42. I LOVE socks! In fact my first non scarf project was a pair of socks. Daring I know but I’m young and unafraid. The only thing that I don’t like about socks is the heel, not the part that you can see in a pair of clogs, but the part that sits between your foot and the sole of the shoe. It always wears out, always. There are fancy back-of-the-heel stitches but what about bottom-of-the-heel stitches? It would have to be somewhat smooth or else it would be uncomfortable. Please help or does Ann’s book do that?

  43. I LOVE socks! In fact my first non scarf project was a pair of socks. Daring I know but I’m young and unafraid. The only thing that I don’t like about socks is the heel, not the part that you can see in a pair of clogs, but the part that sits between your foot and the sole of the shoe. It always wears out, always. There are fancy back-of-the-heel stitches but what about bottom-of-the-heel stitches? It would have to be somewhat smooth or else it would be uncomfortable. Please help or does Ann’s book do that?

  44. What I really, really, really, really, really, really want to know is how to make some cool knee socks?

    My daughter (a sixth grader to be) loves funky looks. I could have so much fun making knee socks (that stay up). I’ve made ankle length but it would be cool to learn how to alter patterns to make them knee socks (that stay up).
    Please put some of these kinds of patterns and I promise not to complain about too many sock patterns.

    BTW – I just finished the swallowtail shawl in the Interweave mag from last fall. My first lace project with real lace weight yarn. I feel very very very accomplished. 🙂

  45. Help. This sock pattern uses the Eastern Cast-on which I would love to learn. But I just don’t “get it”. All of my knitting books show the exact same set of directions. I must have some mental block about this method. I get stuck at the point where I am supposed to knit across the loops on the top needle. Can you offer any advice?

  46. I am a “sockie” and coverings for this humble part of the body is as important, fun, and useful as ever. Keep the patterns coming. For those who are not interested in socknitting..just remember. We will make socks for all of you..just let us have the patterns!!!

  47. Is there a chart [or other info] that tells what weight yarn you get when you combine yarns. Eg. two strands of lace weight = fingering wt?
    I recently saw where someone said two strands of fingering wt = worsted wt. It would help bunches and tons to have this info. Or, a reference to who has it. Thanks.
    BTW: I love the Icelandic shawl and plan to knit it. On my needles: a faroese shawl in alpaca laceweight, a shrug in worsted and bling-bling, an afghan on the diagonal that I’m crocheting, and a few other back burner items. ;~)))

  48. I love knitting socks too and usually have at least one pair on needles. I often make socks after I complete a sweater so while I’m knitting the socks, I can think about and plan my next “masterpiece”. I usually make the cuff-down sock – I’ve got that pattern memorized….I really should learn how to do the toe-up sock.

  49. I recently purchased some nice sock yarn and am in the process of practicing with some baby yarn since I decided to try the sock up method. I love this method although the directions I had were a bit confusing. It would be great to get a step by step for this method.
    Glad you are back! I missed you in my mail box.

  50. I’ve been a knitter for about 40 years. I just don’t get this current sock craze. I see all the wonderful new hand painted sock yarns and think of knitting something that can be seen with them! I’ve knit socks every which way (two circs, very long circs, dpns, toe up, top down, add in heal, etc) and really don’t get the current popularity they hold. If you want a small, quick project, grab some of that lovely yarn and make a little tank top or skirt – takes no more time than a pair of socks and people (including you) get to see your work!

  51. Hello all — I too, have not liked knitting socks, but ever since I used the “Magic Loop” technique (1 long circular needle) I love it. For LAURA L: Maybe you pick up too few stitches along the heel flap sides?
    SANDI: You didn’t forget about the bust dart tutorial, did you? – I really appreciate all the great info and techniques I am finding in this newsletter!!!

  52. Surely you’re not going to do a bit on socks while ignoring Cat Bordhi’s new book? I know it’s not an Interweave publication, but her new architecture is amazing, and totally deserves Interweave’s attention!

  53. I’m an admitted sock-a-holic. I’m actually more of a sock yarn-a-holic. I’ve been knitting socks for a while now. But you’re right. I do love that book. I love the different techniques she describes. I will also be grabbing a copy of this book!

  54. I also would love to know what I can do to get my socks that I knit to stay up. I also looked at your preview of the book and tried to measure my foot circumference to see how she did it, but I come up with several different measurements,, which part of the foot do you measure? Near the toes, in the middle or near the heal? Any help would really be appreciated for either of these problems. Thanks

  55. Thank you so much for the information on socks, Sandi – I knitting socks and anything sock related – a link for those who aren’t interested is a good idea for the “others”!

  56. I am so glad that you posted a sock pattern… I love making socks!!!

    I have a question… How do you make two socks at a time? This may be a stupid question!!! But I was wondering if you use larger double pointed needles, or two sets of regular double pointed.

    I am about to start a project that I believe I got from your magazine with a very fancy Nordic type pattern and it states to do the two socks at the same time… I was not sure how…


  57. To those who want “cool” or knee sock, try the on-line magazine My next sock project will be the “Space Invaders” socks for my son to wear with his Utili-kilt. I do’t think I’ve met a sock pattern that I have not liked. Clogs show off the work quite well for those that want to display their work.

  58. Sandi–can you block something while it is still on the needles to get an idea of what it is really going to look like? I am working on a baby sweater and I am not believing that what I am knitting is really going to morph into what it is supposed to look like after blocking. Thanks, Lisa

  59. I recently picked up Ann Budd’s latest book on socks. I am a fairly new sock knitter and and new to knitting as well, but the book is absolutely lovely. Sandi, thank you for your posts on socks. . .I just love receiving my Knitting Daily articles. Keep up the good work.

  60. Hi Sandi, eventually you’ve come up with a topic I can relate to. I love knitting socks. But – you knew there had to be a but – when I knit socks on DPNs I always have a little gap where I change needles.
    I’ve heard a lot of different ideas on how to avoid this gap – some say I knit too tight, others adviced me to knit more loosely. But nothing seems to work.
    Anyone suggestions to solve this problem?
    Cheers from rainy Germany!

  61. I belong to the group of knitters who don’t understand the point of knitting socks now. You can buy socks of any shape, material and colour inexpensively – or expensively if you prefer – and you can throw them away without regret or guilt when they are worn out!!

  62. My other point is about dpns. I grew up in Finland where dpns came in packets of 5. Here in England they come as 4. Using 5 needles is much more convenient; it is easier to store the knitting and to make measurements. Why do they come as 4? How do they come in the States?

  63. Hi JULESG — I am also from Germany, but live in sunny California … anyway, avoiding the gaps or “ladders” in sock knitting is one reason why I knit them on 1 long circular needle (2 circs will work as well) – try it!

  64. Hi ELSA X: Anything you can knit can be bought, not just socks. Personally, I like wearing my home-made socks better than bought socks, because they are more comfortable … airy, yet warm. Why make sweaters or hats or whatever, when you can buy them? For the same reason why most people would prefer home-cooked meals rather than take-out. It gives you a sense of accomplishment, you know what “ingredients” were used and how it was made. But you know that, otherwise you would not be knitting at all, right?

  65. I’m still consider my self a newbie with socks. I’ve done quite a few but I’m still afraid ti tackle anything with more than 2 colors. I made several pairs with heavy worsted weight until I got the hang of it and felt comfortable turning the heel, grafting was easy, I use rubber ball and “T” pins to ensure I dont get the graft to tight.The hevey weight worked great for friends who wear hiking boots and treking sandles,which in turn made for great gifts.

  66. I want to know why wouldn’t a beginning sock book address the most difficult aspect of sock making (in my opinion)….picking up gusset stitches.

    I am looking for a book that will demonstrate the technique.. step by step.. so that when I teach someone to make socks I can refer them to a visual.

    I am always disappointed when picking up the gusset stitches is neglected.

    Does anyone know a good book or site with a visual tutorial???

  67. I have tried the sock thing but find the fine wool tooooo fine. What is the thickest wool one can use and do you have a pattern you can recommend to go with i? I figure if I work my way down from thick to thin I may just get it!

  68. I’ve been knitting for less than a year and am currently working on my second pair of socks. I can’t say I love them to the point of addiction, but I do like challenging myself with the patterns (lace!) and unlike scarves, you can never have too many socks!
    One thing: While I appreciate the durability that’s supposed to come with heel flaps (if I’m spending this much time on making socks I want them to last!), I really like the look of short row heels more. Do you have any tips on how to pick up wraps? I can just about manage when I only have to pick up one wrap but I find it next to impossible to pick up two. Stitches start to fall off needles, ply gets split, and steam comes out of my ears.

  69. About eliminating ladders, the only way that works for me is to wrap the yarn the opposite way around the stitch as normal, resulting in a twisted stitch. Then, when I’ve made it back to that stitch I untwist it before working it, wrapping the yarn the wrong way around again.

  70. Somewhere, along time ago, I found a toe up sock pattern in which you did a yarn over instead of a wrapped stitch, just to mark where you turned around.
    Then when you were widening the heel back out, you picked up the bar of the stitch on the row below together with the slipped stitch and then passed the yo over. This also closed any holes along the edge of the heel. Or something like that. It removed the hassle of all those wrapped stitches. As we speak, I can’t find the pattern, though. If anyone can come up with it, it’s the easiest sock in the world.
    I have made many “house socks” with worsted weight and bulky yarns, even eyelash. It takes a lot more patience for sock yarn, so I usually make kids socks. My brother broke his foot 3 years, and had pain if it wasn’t wrapped around the instep, so I made him some socks with snug middles so he could go without ACE wrap around his foot.
    I have gotten hooked on 5 needles-plan to try Danish lace doilies next. as that is the way they start.

  71. If you do want to block your socks, and don’t want to pay for those expensive forms, pick up a piece of balsa wood (a small flat “sheet”)at your local hobby store and trace on it around a pair of socks whose fit you like. Cut the shapes out with scissors or kitchen shears, smoothe the edges (emery boards work great if you aren’t in to sandpaper,) and lightly finish with a coat of polyurethane to waterproof them. Connect them with a piece of yarn and throw them over the shower rod to dry. Works great, costs about $3.00. I make sizers for all family members! Terry

  72. I enjoy knitting socks because it is the only way I have socks that really fit my feet, I have short wide feet, which comercial socks dont fit.It was a revelation when I made the first pair, and I have had socks on my kneedles ever since. My feet are warm now! and I like being able to make socks, just the way I want, color, shape and stitch. So I eagerly await more patterns.

  73. People like and dislike all sorts of things in this life; everyone has their own preferences. I’m sure when cables are discussed, or hats, or fair-isle (in more depth than on Tomato) or when the super-checked out instructions for Sandi’s size and fit Hot Tomato, and then the more encompassing dart tutorial come out, that there will be people who have no interest in or even active dislike for any one or more of those, as well as those who DO like or love them.

    One reason knitting is so popular, I think, is its versatility in application; you can create just about anything that’ll work in yarn. This versatility, of application, and then style, means that there will be MANY differing tastes.

    I think anything that is creative, doesn’t harm anyone, and makes people happy, is a good thing; if it’s something I don’t like for myself, I think it’s a good thing for those who DO enjoy them.

    I also have been thinking about cables, and predicted that it would probably come up before my daughter goes back to school (If I’m right, I’ll “win” myself an as yet undecided knitting goodie.)

    Just my opinion, not a lecture, and just how I feel, recognizing that many feel differently.

  74. I do like knitting socks but every mailing I look for the bust dart PDF. Alas my poor Tomato is languishing as an UFO. I do hope the bust darts have not been forgotten.


  75. I admire the beauty of many sock patterns, but I hate wearing socks, so I don’t enjoy knitting them. I knit my mother one pair of socks, then cast on a pair for my husband, and never finished them.

  76. I just started my first pair of socks this week. I’m making the On-Your-Toes socks from the Summer ’07 issue. The Eastern Cast-on just about drove me insane. I kept dropping stitches and needles. Then an idea hit. I grabbed one of my steel crochet hooks (I love crocheting doillies) and used it to pick up the stitches then transferred them to the needle. The cast-on took no time that way and I zipped thru the toes. I’m making them for my sister. I hadn’t planned to until I saw the yarn. It is the exact same colors as a purse I made her and since she picked out the yarn for the purse I knew she would like it. Plus it was a wonderful chance to try making socks. So far I love knitting socks!

  77. I love socks because I am an engineer! So many design possibilities, so much room for improved techniques…. Ah, bliss! Also – I live in Texas, and it’s too hot to knit anything big from May thru October!

  78. I like knitting socks. They’re perfect for that Waiting Room knitting. Onlookers are particularly impressed if a sock is finished during a doctor’s visit wait. Although, that certainly means one has been waiting too long if that occurs.

  79. Okay, I’ll do it–I’ll get Ann Budd’s book and finally try knitting socks after 6 years of knitting. This book looks like just the thing to rehabilitate a longtime sockphobic. Thanks for the tip!

  80. I’m so happy this week is about knitting socks! I just cast on my first sock about a week ago, so the timing was perfect! I’m definitely on my way to a sock knitting addiction…

  81. Hi,

    After many tries I mastered(?) the toe-up cast on in Ann Budd’s directions in the new issue. What a great way to start socks! My sock is looking great and I can try it on while I knit. Plus I am always a culprit in trying to knit socks without enough yarn, so for the first sock I will knit until skein one is finished, then do the next sock with skein two. Whether they are peds!, anklets, crews or knee socks, at least I know I’ll be able to wear them when I am finished.


  82. Ann Budd is absolutely my hero. I knit socks before I “met” her, but I never understood them before I encountered her patterns, especially in the Knitters’ Handy Book. She’s fantastic!

  83. I just did the sneak peak of Ann Budd’s knitting socks book. I loved it! Not only the book itself, but also the way I was able to look inside. I’m heading to my local knit shop after work today to pick up a copy for myself. I’d love to see more sneak previews of books … thank you!


  84. Becky D. ladder problems are basically tension problems. pulling the yarn taut before the ladder as well as while at the point of the ladder should help. I find that when changing from k to p as well as changing needle I sometimes have to change the position of my fingers or the yarn or both.

    Years ago my mother-in-law knit replacement soles on worn out socks, being of the mind that there was plenty of time to learn, I didn’t. She is no longer available so if anyone else has the knowledge please pass it on. It was so neat because there were no ridges along the length of the sole. I get the picking up stitches across toe and grafting at heel but the knitting the old top of sock to new sole has me stumped.

  85. I bought this book at my local Barnes & Noble. I didn’t think I needed a starting out sock knitting book, but it’s great for it’s basic instructions and ideas. I can’t figure out Norwegian cast-on quite yet, can you help with that? Another question, Budd says that people like knitting socks on circular needles because it avoids the gaps between needles. I have found just the opposite. I tried circulars and hated the gaps I was getting, I LOVE using 5 dpns.

  86. Do not worry about your technical mistakes. Most of us, mothers, make errors of judgement with our first baby. Keep up sending your newsletters. Yours and Clara’s are my favourite way of learning knitting and crocheting. Love, Sina.

  87. I’m a little behind with the comments and questions. But, re last week’s discussion of blocking, how do you block items that are carefully crafted to have 3 dimensions (e.g. items with bust darts). Any suggestions?

  88. Hi, knitting socks is fun. I have honned my skill for turning the heel and the “ladder” problem while making Christmas stockings for my neices and nephews. I have found several patterns that are worked on 4 or 5 needles, which is my preference. The first one was very rough, but now I look for lace and fun ankle pattern. And portable, I get so many comments while knitting at lunch or in a waiting about how many needles and isn’t that confusing. Good conversation starters.

  89. I prefer to knit socks with 5 needles. It reduces the ladders between needles. I have never enjoyed working with circs, so this works out well for me. I keep track of my rows by using 4 needles of one color, and the 5th one of another. I can look at what position this 5th needle is in and tell what row I’m on. If it’s needle 2, I’m on row 2 (or 7) of a pattern. When I’ve reached my 5th, 10th row etc., I use my row counter. This way, I don’t loose my place when I have to pack em up. It also works with 4 needles, except you use the row counter on 4, 8, 12, etc. I also use the cast on tail to note the beginning and end of rows, eliminating the need for a stitch marker. A couple of really good sock yarns that I have found to feed my addiction are Tofutsies by SWTC, and Super Sock by Cherry Tree Hill. They are both super yummy!

  90. I’m hooked on socks and like Cat Bordhi’s book “Socks Soar on 2 Circular Needles” — much easier and 4-5 straight needles. Please don’t make the same mistake I made over 30 years ago when I knit my then-husband a pair of argyll(sic?) socks with regular non-sock fingering yarn (I think it was for crewel work). He wore them once and got holes in them. Wool/nylon sock yarn is superb. Cotton/elastic sock yarn is great but make your socks a little longer and wider if you plan to machine wash and dry them-because they’ll shrink a bit. My favorite toe folds over the instep for (I believe) a 3-needle bind off. Very comfty.

  91. I’ve knitted a pr of ribbed striped socks. I cut the yarn at each color change. Now I have all this weaving to do. Is there any way to prevent weaving in all the ends in striped socks?

  92. Stacey-to answer your question, yes. When you change colors, wrap the old and new yarns as you would in interstarsia or fair isle work, keeping them loose going up the side/back seam of the sock. Then you only have to weave in the very beginning and ending tails from your yarn.

  93. I love the short row heels and toes on Ann Budd’s baby socks. I had a problem at first but it was just me not reading. Once I got the ssp and the s s s p, I was off and running. The zigzag bind off is too cute!! Thanks Ann.

  94. Hi I need help with Ann Budd’s Tailored Vest page65 in SimpleStyle. I have finished the 14 inches to the beginning of the v neck. My question is= After knitting the rib and the 36 stiches to the center front Then I am to Work 1 WS row . Do I stop at the end of ribbing before the back. then dec in the rib pattern as I go back to the center front???
    Thank you