Speaking of socks…

Speaking of socks yesterday, here is what I’m working on right now…

knee socks

Knee socks! Yes, I’m knitting over-the-knee socks. I started these on December 1st and this is where I am at. The ribbing at the top of the socks is twelve inches of 1×1 ribbing. (In the photo, that’s about five inches of ribbing so they are going to be super high and slouchy!)

Non-knitters, you guys might be thinking, how cute! While knitters are likely feeling my pain and boredom of knitting twelve long inches of tiny ribbed stitches. Twenty-four inches if you count both socks!

These socks fit my curvy calves perfectly. I’m knitting the foot size 8, and the calf size F (second largest calf size.) There’s no denying that I have muscular calves from all the cycling, and I love them most of the time, except when it comes to buying boots. Even when it comes to buying knee socks, so many of them come as straight tubes, from the ankle to the top cuff. I don’t know about you but my legs are not shaped like straight tubes. Being able to customize a sock so it fits my ankle and my calf snugly is wonderful!

The best part? I started both socks at once, so the second sock is close behind. As of today I have eight inches of ribbing on one sock, and three inches on the other. (I bought two sets of the exact same needles, and started both at the same time, knitting like this: one toe, second toe. One foot, second foot. One ankle, second ankle.)

two socks at once

(Colour is more accurate in this photo – tumbled stone by SweetGeorgia)

You might not see these socks completed for another month but I thought I would share them anyways! (Mostly so you could cheer me on about the twelve inches of ribbing and tell me it will be over before I know it.) Ravelry project notes here.

The key to knitting knee socks is to knit them both at once. If I was in the final stretches of the first knee sock and hadn’t yet started the second one, I can’t imagine how hard it would be to cast on the second sock. It would seem like a monumental task, not to mention I’d be dying to work on something new!

I take these socks with me everywhere and knit ribbing where I go – I knit ribbing in the car (while I am the passenger of course), I knit ribbing on the train, I knit ribbing while my computer is booting up. My next project is going to be completely ribbing-free. (Maybe. That might be hard to do.)

So that is what I am working on in my knitting world!

In my sewing world I am writing (and drawing) the instructions for my next pattern. The instructions are a bit lengthy so it’s too early to start talking too much about the new design or you’ll be bored by the time it launches!

I’m also trying to squeeze in some dress sewing for fun. I loved this post on the Coletterie about the projects we don’t start. Know why I have hardly any UFOs from 2012? Because I was excellent at buying fabric and not so excellent at actually starting the projects in my mind. Sarai’s post is about only working on one project at a time, and I admit I frequently work on several things at once, but she does have a point. I am making myself finish these knee socks before working on anything else! (Except when my hands need a break from all that 1×1 ribbing yet still want to keep busy. Other than that, it’s one project at a time!)

Have you made knee socks before? How many un-started sewing projects do you have in your sewing room, and are you disciplined enough to work on one project at a time?

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54 Responses to Speaking of socks…

  1. Amanda the Expatresse January 10, 2013 at 6:10 am #

    Cycling? Did I hear the word “cycling”?

    I KNEW I liked you! (I’m a bit of a cyclist, too–although the weather was so lousy in 2012, that I only did about 400 km)

    Love the socks–my daughter knits, but I just sort of play with it now and then. Nothing much beyond hats.

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

      Yes! I cycle to and from the office, it’s about 12k in total. So I suppose if I cycled 5x a week for 50 weeks, that’s 3000k. Not too bad! (Plus weekend rides, minus a few days where I took the train or car to work.)

      Always great to hear from other cyclists!

  2. Becky January 10, 2013 at 6:19 am #

    I have the opposite problem when it comes to buying boots– I have normal-sized calves and extra-wide feet! So I’d definitely like to give sock-knitting a try at some point. I do have a couple of skeins of wool-free sock yarn, and I’d like to see if I can manage to tweak a pattern to fit that extra-wide area right below my toes– I’m almost positive that is why my big toe always wears out a sock first!

    Not that I can start any socks yet. I’m finally at the point where I can really start sewing on my wedding dress, and am working on the modified Cambie bodice now!

  3. Sewing Sveta January 10, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    Oh, I didnĀ“t make socks, but I made legwarmers, it was very-very long project%)

    As about 1 project at a time – this is not for me, I am afraid! I will be too boring with only one project%)) But sometimes I try to make different projects in different hobby fields!%)) This is helps%)

  4. Seraphinalina January 10, 2013 at 7:01 am #

    I am not a knitter, but I can appreciate the pain – and the curvy calves. I can usually find a pair of boots eventually, but I bought a pair of over the knee socks recently and it’s a joke. It is fine up to my knee but they somehow think my thighs will be damn near smaller than my calves. My legs do not work that way. They start to cut off the circulation at the top of my knee not even really getting to my thigh. So I fold them down and wear them as trouser socks.

  5. Rachel January 10, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    Well they look lovely… even with the 12 inches from hell to go ;) Yes, I feel your pain LOL
    I actually have a lovely 1940s patter for stockings I keep considering… only the weather here has been too mild to make it worthwhile to knit them! I haven’t even finished my son’s balaclava because it has been too warm :/

    • Rachel January 10, 2013 at 7:05 am #

      *pattern not patter *sigh*. It’s on my site if anyone is interested ;)

  6. lisa g January 10, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    i do tend to work on one project at a time (from fabric buying to the finishing touches), though i’ve started fabric cutting for two or three at once just because i hate that step and it’s nice to have something waiting in the wings! i just can’t juggle multiple sewing projects, mostly because i hate cleaning up once i’ve finished sewing for the day, and i hate having to switch thread color and re-thread my machines every time i sit down to work! lazy, i know…

    • Thea January 10, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      Lisa, I’m the same! I really dislike the cutting step, so I also figured that I’ll try cutting out several at once. As at the moment, I’m trying to reorganise myself a sewing space, I haven’t really yet seen any results…

  7. Kerry January 10, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    Those socks look great but yikes, I detest knitting rib. It will be worth it though – those socks will be fab!

  8. Miriana January 10, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    I think that there is a method for knitting two socks at the same time on the same long circular needle. i think it’s a complicated version of the magic loop method (which is how one uses a long circular needle to avoid knitting on DPNs). I’ve never tried either as my mind boggles when thinking about it and knitting socks doesn’t appeal (especially as I have huge feet and it’s hard enough to find shoes to fit without the added fun of thick socks).

    • Miriana January 10, 2013 at 8:02 am #

      I notice from the pictures that it looks like you have the magic loop method licked anyway. I would have too if faced with miles of ribbing on DPNs.

    • zetinja January 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

      I’m now on my first pair of socks knitted at the same time on one circular needle. It’s quite ok, if the socks are all in one colour.. i chose the hard way – mine are three coloured so i’m juggling six balls of yarn.

  9. Claire January 10, 2013 at 8:07 am #

    ahah, I totally understand your pain. I struggle finding boots that match with my hiking calves and I didn’t even think about knee socks, it’s just impossible to wear.
    Good luck for the 12″ ribs, you’re almost done! Think about how proud and satisfied you will be if a few weeks!

  10. Michelle January 10, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    I was so relieved to see you are knitting these 2 at a time. I would LOVE. LOVE. LOVE to knit some similar, but I don’t think I have the will to work through that much stockinette or rib on sz. 1 needles. You’re a rock star.

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

      You have the will, if you want the socks badly enough! It’s a LOT of tiny stitches. I think next time, I’ll stop at knee socks and not do over-the-knee. (Unless they are awesome to wear as over the knee!)

  11. Maggie January 10, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    I only have one sewing project I am working on right now. But I won’t get into my big pile of UFO’s or even muslins and traced off patterns that never got past the beginning phases! I am trying to be better this year. Although I do keep sewing and knitting separate. So I guess I have two projects going right now, a skirt and a scarf :)

  12. Kristine January 10, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    Oooh, they look awesome. I tend to do more knitting this time of year. I’m pretty much a novice but have completed one sock….the second sock syndrome takes over though and getting to finish the second one is tough. I have a couple of books that I’m reading now actually about knitting both socks on one needle and hope to get going on a pair once I’m finished with a hat I’m currently knitting. The books are by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. Check them out.
    btw….love your blog and website!

  13. CJ January 10, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    I love those socks. And I love knitting socks. I hate knitting rib. It’s worse on teeny tiny needles but no matter how much I try knitting ribbing continental style or flicking to try and break the tedium it is still TORTURE. I think you can assume from the above that I’m in awe – amazing.

    Also interested in the calf shaping – often occurs to me to shape the socks; rarely occurs to me to do it until I’ve got to the end. Even though I grumble often about them falling down.

    You’ve got to love hand knit socks but you do have to be committed to get them cast on; primarily because you know you’ve got to make two. Buying two sets of the same needles is inspired. What length do you use on the circulars? I always use DPNs but they are a bother.

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

      One is a 32″ circular and one is a 40″ – I’m fine with the 32″ but when I went to buy the second one, the saleswoman was like, “oh no, you HAVE to have 40″, 32 will not be long enough!” But it is.
      I learned this trick from my knitting group! I saw some of the other women doing it this way and thought it was brilliant. Wish I could take credit for the idea, but at least I can share it!

  14. Wendy January 10, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    I’ve never really got into knitting, but am impressed with your continuing efforts!

    With my sewing, I am mostly a one project at a time person. I do thrive on lists, so have an upcoming projects list, that I add to as I have a fantastic idea (read, hairbrained scheme!) Recently I have started cutting out the odd project for myself, to have ready since I am doing so much sewing for other people at the moment. That way I can sneak the odd thing in for myself, until I get through my ‘other people’ sewing list. I have these tied in little bundles of cut pieces, with the pattern and relative notions, and think of them as ‘sewing kits’.

  15. Truly Myrtle January 10, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    I love your socks – what a star! It’s a great idea doing them at the same time… I have problems with second sock syndrome with only short socks!
    I read the Collette post too and thought it was a great idea – if I could just get through some of the mountains of fabric I already own it would be even better :)
    At the moment I am on a mission to create a handmade wardrobe – one outfit a month. Although I don’t have too much problem finishing things off I do get jittery about starting them… should i do this, should i do that? Then I just do something I’m not sure i wanted to do at all! This is really helping me focus on making stuff I really want and that will work – well, so far, it is only January. Outfit one ;)

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

      I have the same starting jitters as well – is this the right pattern for me? is this the right fabric for the pattern? do I have anything that will go with this when it’s all finished? The best thing to do is just start! And if it isn’t a hundred percent perfect, then try again on the next project! At least something will be completed that way. Good luck with your one-outfit-a-month goal!

  16. Corinne January 10, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    I love that you jumped into knitting socks, two feet at once so to speak. I did see a u-tube video some time ago with both socks knit on one circular needle. Looked reasonable to me. These, like the prior pair, are great. You are truly the most goal oriented and patient person. Bravo to you!

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      Oh thanks! I don’t know about patient, but I am plodding along on these!

  17. sarah January 10, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    i’m right there with you on the non-straight tube legs! skinny jeans are a challenge and most boots are laughable! but i’d rather have these legs than tube legs :)
    as a knitter i feel the pain of lots of 1×1 ribbing– at least you use circular. dpn’s would be a really big pain! lovely socks by the way :)

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      Oh me too, I’d rather have my curvy (and strong!) legs than stick legs, if only they were easier to shop for! (Although if my body was easy for shop for, then I might not have fallen in love with sewing like I have. So it’s all meant to be!)

  18. VictoriaR January 10, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    The socks look great. I really enjoy making socks. I use the 2-at-a-time-socks technique where the socks are both knit on the same set of (long) needles. The patterns in the book are all top down, so I’m not sure how they would work for your toe up pattern, but they could probably be modified once you get the hang of it. I love knitting socks with this technique. It is a bit like knitting two seamed sleaves at once on straight needles so that the sleaves are matched throughout. I have only tried the patterns in the book, but it is simple enough that most top down patterns would work, I think. It also gets rid of SSS (second sock syndrome). Thanks for sharing the socks.

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

      Thank you for the suggestion! The good part about doing the same set of needles is that both socks will end up the same length without counting – I like the sound of that!

  19. Janet in Forest Knolls January 10, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    Love your knee socks.

    Also love your blog and follow it regularly, via e-mail. This is the first time I’ve commented.

    There is a way to knit two socks at the same time on two separate circular needles that I have found to be the perfect solution to Second Sock Syndrome (losing motivation after finishing one sock and never getting to the second one). I like it better than that one long circular method which I found confusing.
    I got the idea from several good books at the library and found it very accessible. I make my socks and my wristlets that way, and love how it lets me finish two things at once, in just about the same amount of time.
    If you do try it, It was the tiniest bit confusing at first, figuring out how to keep track of which sock I was working on, but once I sorted that out, it was fine. It also helps to use two different colored needles.

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

      Thanks for the recommendation! I will look it up!

      • Janet in Forest Knolls January 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

        Here’s the title of one of the books: Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles, by Cat Bordhi


  20. Lauren January 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    Oooh, so excited about your knee socks! Something like that is definitely on my future to-knit list, although I should probably get normal socks down first ;) I just wanted to cheer you on in your ribbing journey – I just finished the ribbing on that Lauriel cardigan and I thought I was going to die before the ribbing was complete (and you know that’s only like 28 rows!). You can dooo it!!

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

      Ha, I remember thinking that about the Lauriel ribbing too. It’s worse because it’s twisted!

  21. Cathy January 10, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    I am not a knitter, but do admire your tenacity. As another pear shaped woman with curvy calves, I’d love to hear where and how others like us found boots that fit well! Would that fit into another Sewaholic post?

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

      I wish I had a good recommendation! I’ve had good luck at Nine West – actually, the two tall pairs I have are Enzo Angiolini (hope I spelled that right) from the Nine West store here in Canada – they were pricey, but very well-made and actually fit my calves. Other than that I go for cowboy boots (they stop short of the calf bulge) and sometimes short boots. Short boots aren’t as flattering on my short legs but sometimes comfort wins over flattery.

      I’d guess that there are way more options in the USA for curvy calves, as many online stores won’t ship to Canada and I prefer to buy boots in real life.

      • francesca January 25, 2013 at 2:07 am #

        Gabor. I don’t know if you get them in teh States – I think they’re German, like Rieker – they don’t just do different foot widths but different calf widths…..

        I’ve also been lucky with Timberland and Asos. Timberland knee boots tend to be quite big on top, and i bought beautiful smart leather knee boots from Asos with a 2 inch heel that fit so well, I went back and bought them in another colour….

  22. Stephanie January 10, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    OMG, honey, are you nuts!

    In the ribbing-free area, check out the “Ochre” Cardigan:

    Raglan, top-down, and it’s SEAM-free and BUTTON-BAND-free, too, with cute little eyelet details and an interesting shape. Whether those benefits will outweigh kntting an entire cardigan in stockinette from fingering weight… I’ll let you know in eight or nine months… or years.

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

      Yup! Totally nuts :)

      Thanks for the link to the Ochre cardigan – very cute! Fingering weight though, I feel like a fingering-weight cardigan is more of a time investment than socks because it’s harder to fit AND takes a long time to knit.. You let me know how it works out!

  23. Meredith January 10, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    Twelve inches of 1×1 ribbing … I don’t think I could even undertake that!

    With knitting, I really like to have more than one thing going at a time. If I were doing, say, 12 inches of 1×1 ribbing on something, I’d like to have something else to switch to for a little bit. Having a lot of different kinds of projects–lace, garter stitch, tiny socks, big sweaters–keeps me interested in motivated.

    With sewing, though, I’m completely different. I definitely do one thing at a time, without exception. I think it’s because sewing takes more concentration for me, so I’ve got to really focus.

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

      Oh sure you could – but would you want to? :)

      Interesting that you have two different approaches for knitting vs. sewing – makes sense though!

  24. Ruth January 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

    Hey, you’re right. They’ll be done before you know it! Knitting two at the same time sounds like a great idea. I usually knit one, then I get bored knitting the mate and want to put in some different coloured stripes, a couple of cables, a little lace, etc because I get so bored. I’ve usually managed to restrain myself, but not always. I do have some unusual ‘pairs’ of socks, but hey, the pants usually cover them!

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

      I would have been bored out of my tree with the second sock, if I had only knit these one at a time! I like the idea of fraternal twin socks – related, but not identical. Why not? Makes it more fun!

  25. Jo January 10, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

    ” I knit ribbing in the car (while I am the passenger of course)” Lol too funny imagining you knitting as the driver… yikes!
    So are you knitting these with the magic loop method? They look great- I want to knit socks this year, but I’m starting with a 10ply yarn so it’ll go quickly, lol :)

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

      Yup, magic loop! Good idea to start sock knitting with thick yarn. You’ll have super-warm socks to wear around the house too!

      I have knit as the driver, but only when stuck in very heavy traffic, at a standstill for several minutes or in border line-ups. Safety first! :)

  26. Roobeedoo January 11, 2013 at 1:19 am #

    I am an over-knee sock knitter. I once made a pair of self-striping over-the-knees I called my Pippi Longstockings using different yarn for each sock – so one was mainly orange and one was mainly turquoise, but they still looked like a pair because the yarn was from the same range. They were great!
    And can I just tell you that it is all your fault that I just purchased a skein of Mind The Gap self-striping to knit my next socks – thanks so much for favouriting it on Ravelry and bringing it to my attention! :D

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

      Self-striping over the knee socks! They sound fabulous. (Update: I checked them out. They are awesome! They do look like a pair even though the colours are different.)

      Oh yay! I favourited it because someone else did, but didn’t buy it because, too much yarn already. I can’t wait to see yours!

  27. Jane January 11, 2013 at 4:27 am #

    Those socks would be soooo sloooow to knit, I’m incredibly impressed with your perseverance. They’re going to be super wearable once they’re done, though – I can’t wait to see what they look like.

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

      Check back in a month or so! :) Hopefully they’re finished sooner than that.

  28. astitchtoofew January 11, 2013 at 4:43 am #

    I’ve never really gotten into sock knitting, but I stall on sleeves, so that’s kinda the same thing. I admire your perseverance purely based on the length of that whole sock, let alone the ribbing required. Stick with it! You’ll have such warm legs when you’re done :)
    I have quite a few projects that never seem to get off the ground, more so with knitting than sewing. I think that’s because the time it takes to knit a garment is generally much greater. Oh, and some more yarn I ordered arrived today, now just when am I going to get around to knitting what I bought it for?!

    • Tasia January 11, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

      Thanks! I know, the thought of wearing these socks is the main motivation! I like knitting sleeves because the yarn is usually thicker, and they’re near the end of the project so I know I’m nearly done.
      I have both knitting and sewing projects that aren’t off the ground – yet! I do intend to make everything eventually or at least that’s what I tell myself.

  29. Redeyedtreefr0g January 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

    Wow, such a pretty sock!

    Why is ribbing such a pain? I would think that knitting one stitch over and over would be boring, that the change to ribbing would be nice. But then, I’ve just learned to knit, and am only a few inches above the ankle on my toe-up sock. My lace pattern is somewhat mangled and I hate the yarn, but I’m also proud of that little thing so far.

    I’m using double-pointed needles, and circular looks so much nicer. You’re trying on your sock! It looks very well-fitting. How do you do that? I’m amazed. I think I need to knit plain socks until I get the hang of it, especially if they might turn out as nice as that one!

    As for multiple projects at the same time- it depends on if I’m working on something for me or not. For me- I tend to finish one at a time unless it’s time-consuming (like my sock). But, I have serious trouble when it comes to doing things for other people, much to my husband’s frustration. The attempted homemade copy of his favorite ready-to-wear shorts is now several months stalled. I just have no real desire to work on them- the pieces are all cut out and everything.

    It took me a full year to draft the pattern, cut out and sew the 22-something pocket jacket based on a Scottevest for him. He hardly ever wears it. Says it’s too big. Maybe I could put darts in the back to take it in? But then, the sleeves would still be as short as they are and the jacket no longer. Well, that’s what he gets for having me create a bajillion-pocket MASTERPIECE from the scraps of 3 worn Cabela’s shirts. /sigh

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your work!

  30. Missy January 11, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    I am nearing the end of a pair of knee socks too. I took the Craftsy class called Knit Sock Workshop. The first project is knee socks done toe up in a lace pattern. I have knit both at the same time with the Magic Loop method. My first toe up, first knee socks and first two at a time. I can’t imagine having to go knit the “other” sock : ( Your idea of knitting both at once on two different sets of needles is a good one! Knitting continental style is easier for doing ribbing..not near as much movement of yarn back and forth. It is worth the time to learn to knit that way. Your knee socks are lovely!

  31. Jo January 18, 2013 at 2:07 am #

    I also have trouble buying boots, but ordered some this winter from ‘boots for broads.’ You send your measurements and they make them to fit you perfectly. They are an Australian based company, but are offering free shipping at the moment. I had been looking for boots for over six years and am so excited to finally have some.