Guest Post By Sean – Hand-knitted Sock Love

I recently finished some socks for Sean, in my now favourite non-solid sock yarn, the Regia Kaffe Fasset series. The stripes in these colours are a joy to knit, but I’ve done it a few times now and there’s not much left to say, so I thought i’d hand it over to the recipient this time to tell us why he loves socks. He’s got a few pairs and you can read his thoughts on it while admiring the ever joyful colour combinations by that colour genius, Kaffe Fasset.

sean's socks

After much prodding, occasionally even with pointy sticks (Ed – it’s true. I had to prod a lot!) I am here to talk, well write, about why I like hand-knitted socks (Ed – note. there’s no gun to his head though).

Well what’s not to like? They are socks and they are handmade,  with love, usually, although at times I suspect the odd bit of frustration, anger, annoyance and apathy gets knitted into them as well. With any luck these coarser emotions end up in the toes, balls of feet or heels to ensure they’re hard-wearing (Ed – excellent observation!). Even if they don’t, I suspect the majority of the love in them makes them as much a joy to wear as they feel when first tried on.

Sean's socks

I think you creators of socks know this already, as I am sure there have been as many socks made for the feet of knitters as there are knitters of socks, if not more. Although I suspect the number of socks given away is the greater number.

Now I still wear commercially made socks. I think I’m hard on them and the capacity for machine-made socks to have layers of nylon and wool or cotton can make them hard wearing and reasonably long lasting. However the great feeling of a new pair of commercial socks is only good for the first wearing or two, after that they are like all your other socks (well the mass produced ones anyway). Once a sock gets that scratchy non-stretchy feeling its time for them to be turned into truck blankets or whatever else gets made  with such materials by charities to make a few dollars.

Sean's Socks - toes

Hand knitted socks are kept for more special occasions. (Ed: He does wear them through the week; just not every day) Why? I think  they deserve better attention, they feel so different, you know they were made for you , which makes them special from the first time the toes (or tops) are test fitted, they maintain that fresh new feeling for longer.

They have a history.

Beginning as stash, they come into the house and sometimes get to hibernate in their proto-form for months or even years, and I suspect a decade of pupation has occurred in some instances.  Having made it through the stash, the pupal stages of socks are gently but firmly cast on. From there they will get to experience both the mundane and the sublime journeys and events with their creators. From daily commutes, long car trips (Ed: during which I try to avoid driving as much as possible, hoping he hasn’t noticed), engrossing tv or movies, even conversations over a beverage, the threads of their creators lives get knitted in. It’s a kind of magic.

Sean's socks - feet

Then once completed and tried on for size, they get a water based baptism with special unguents called “wool wash”. They are dried and blocked and usually presented, sometimes wrapped but always passed on to someone who will be rapt with their gift.

Handmade socks are special. They almost feel too anachronistic to wear every day, but like anything handmade they can and should be worn with love and the knowledge that the person who made them crafted them with love over a period of, days, weeks and months, one stitch at a time, so that when you pull them on they fit and you have some magical (and in this case, stripey) feet.


+ + +

Here’s the basic recipe for these socks.

2.25mm needles (magic loop for me)

Start at the toe on 24 stitches, increase every row to 72 stitches

Knit to three inches short of heel

Work gusset heel

Knit leg til you feel like stopping. Knit a lengthy cuff. Sean likes the lengthy cuff. It wears well on him.

Sewn bind off for good stretch/fit.



27 thoughts on “Guest Post By Sean – Hand-knitted Sock Love

  1. Pingback: Still Around… « Mad About Ewe

  2. Pingback: Handsome Socks « Bellsknits

  3. Sean, thank you for your insightful words – they inspire both hope and fear that my husband will achieve your level of interest and understanding of the Joy of Socks…

  4. I’m glad you kept prodding – it’s a well written and interesting post and it’s good to read the thoughts of the recipient not the maker.

  5. Wonderful post, Sean, very heartfelt and well said! I adore the Kaffe Fasset sock yarns too, never tire of those colours 🙂

  6. Yay for Sean! Gotta love a man who appreciates where his hand knitted socks come from 🙂 Nice colour choice for his socks too those self striping yarns are a real gem.

  7. I love Sean’s comment that “frustration, anger, annoyance and apathy gets knitted into them as well” – that reminds me of so many of my finished garments.

    Great socks and my, what handsome feet your husband has 🙂

  8. Regia is the best yarn for socks – S.V. saw this post and was – I want those socks too – the formula you use Bells is what I have migrated to apart from the rib where I tend to do a 1 x 1 rib. S.V. really likes the rib you have done – and he also likes a longer sock.

    As to wearing them every day – he is worried they might wear out – and I am hoping he does so I can knit him more and acquire more stash…..

  9. I’m in. I’m figuring out magic loop TODAY. Thus far I’ve never been sorry about following in your footsteps (Ha! That was almost punny!). And good on you for forcing Sean to participate. I think I only managed that once. I was pregnant with the trips and it was back in the days. I believe he described my stomach as looking like three squirrels fighting in a sack. Kudos to Sean for waxing a bit more lyrical. ;D

  10. Sean what a wonderful writer you are! (Bells, you have chosen wisely! this is a man with wit, heart and words. Lucky, lucky you!) The conception and gestation of socks was a fascinating natural history lesson. And those socks are sooooo awesome!

  11. There is something special about hand-knitted socks. It s the thought that someone had laboured over such a beautiful but utilitarian-purposed item to make it especially for you.

  12. i love the idea that the (minor and infrequent, i’m sure) negative emotions experienced while knitting make the sock more hard wearing! a lovely ode to handmade socks, and great to have the recipe too.

  13. Exactly Sean! I love my hand made red socks and wear them often on small but significant occasions. They get an outing every birthday for example.

  14. It is just the best yarn, and makes the most beautiful socks, and there is nothing better than giving them to someone we know appreciates them. Thanks for sharing your experience from the other side of the sock Sean.

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