Heels and toes


It’s mid-October, so I thought a Soctober update was in order. Mostly, I think, I’m on track.

My first priority this month was to finish these Stepping-Stones socks for my mom, and I’m only a couple of inches from starting the toe decreases, so if all goes well they’ll be in the mail by the end of the week.


Indigodragonfly Superwash DK in Fringe Over Troubled Water. I changed skeins part way through the foot of the first sock, so I’m interested to see if the difference between socks is noticeable.


If you’ve never knit socks or are looking for a speedy pair, I can’t recommend Clara Hughes Parkes’ pattern highly enough (I can never get the name right on first type – this is why). These socks knit up quickly, are more than just plain stockinette but don’t require too much attention, and are a free pattern to boot. This is the second time I’ve knit these socks and I know more pairs are in my future because, honestly, in Canada we need thick socks. I also plan to knit the large size in lighter-weight sock yarn, because I like the way it breaks up the colours in variegated yarns.

Second on my list is Saltburn. These are the official start of my Christmas knitting, so I can’t say too much about them. I will say, though, that I’m planning to shorten them. The recipient like ankle socks, and while those aren’t super practical in the winter, I don’t want to knit socks so high that they won’t become part of the regular rotation. To compromise, I’m knitting the cuff as written and then three (rather than five) chart repeats. The leg is 3.5 inches right now, which is probably as high as they need to be, so when I pick these up again I’ll be dividing for the heel!


The white is Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label in Natural and the blue is Jill Draper Makes Stuff Splendor Sock in Cobalt.

That makes these socks just about 1/4 finished, which is a nice surprise. I usually knit the legs of socks to somewhere between 5 and 7 inches, and only knitting to 3.5 makes these ones feel super speedy!

I’ve been trying not to get ahead of myself planning- and execution-wise, which is something I absolutely tend to do, especially ahead of the holidays. I’ll cast on four things and then wonder why I’m not seeing any progress. This year, I’m trying a more measured approach and working on no more than two projects at once: one that requires attention and one that’s more mindless. Saltburn is my current attention-requiring project, but since I’m almost finished my mindless Stepping-Stones, I decided it was time to wind the yarn for the next mindless knit.

Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock in Mushroom Hunting. I can't get enough of this colourway.

Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock in Mushroom Hunting. I can’t get enough of this colourway.

I haven’t yet decided on a pattern for L’s socks, but I’m thinking they’ll be something kind of plain. The yarn is gorgeous all by itself, and he’s not sure he wants anything fancy, so I’m going to keep it simple: 72 stitches knit up as… well yeah. I have three basic options, I think: a) 1×1 ribbed cuff into 3×1 ribbed sock; b) 1×1 ribbed cuff into 1×1 mistake rib (one row 1×1, one row knit); c) 1×1 rib cuff and stockinette.

What do you think? Do you knit man socks? What gets the best reviews? I’ve knit lots of socks, but never for L, so I want to try and get this right.

16 thoughts on “Heels and toes

  1. lawlady1

    I just started the Stepping Stone socks – I love the “Knitter’s Book of Socks” book, with several patterns that I’m looking forward to knitting!

    1. Angela Hickman Post author

      That book is such a good investment. I knit a lot of socks, and I’m definitely more conscious about how I pair patterns and yarns now.

      I’ve knit a couple of patterns from the book and have plans to knit, if not all of them, certainly most of them. Have you knit any yet? How are you finding the Stepping-Stones?

    1. Angela Hickman Post author

      Sock knitting probably isn’t for everybody. On the other hand, I always tell people that it’s easier to knit socks when your feet are warm, so before totally giving up, I’d try knitting a pair of quick and easy socks for yourself 🙂

  2. Cassy

    I’ve knit mostly plain man socks for Matt, because I use the crazier yarns for him a lot. Last time I alternated a 1×1 rib round with a fully knit round to give it a broken rib look. I also like Charade Socks, which have a hint of a cable element to them, but are pretty auto-pilot for the most part. Either would also look great with variegated yarns.

    1. Angela Hickman Post author

      I’ve Charade in my Ravelry favourites forever! I just looked at the pattern and it’s basically Skyps without the purls, which makes it very appealing.

      Somehow two-row patterns always seem to knit up more quickly for me than plain socks. It’s probably all in my head (I can see the progress, so it feels like there’s more), but I’m okay with that.

      Thanks for the nudge!

      1. Cassy

        No problem. I’ve knit 2 pairs of Charades and I love the way they look. I’ve gifted both, so I should probably make myself a pair. 🙂

        I agree…two row repeats do go faster. Maybe it’s the feeling that you should just finish 2 more rows? Who knows.

  3. Julia M.

    Ho! 😀 As always – gorgeous knits! My last manly socks were 2×2 rib cuff into a 3×1 rib socks, but for my Grandfather, I’ll be making the Gentleman’s Matrimony Celebratory Socks by Sockbug (but I don’t know if this is mindless enough for you, also with that yarn …) Thus, I’d second Cassy’s suggestion for Charade! I’ve knit it three times so far, and it’s awesome. Also Hermione’s Socks are easy and should look great!

    1. Angela Hickman Post author

      I just went and looked at all your Charades and I think I’m convinced! They’re close enough to ribbing to be familiar to L (he’s not big on pattern in socks), but more interesting than plain ribbing for me. That’s pretty much the perfect compromise 🙂

  4. Audry

    I’m a little envious of your Soctober progress. I just have 1 sock that I’ve ripped repeatedly.

    As for a possible pattern, have you checked out the Vanilla Latte Sock pattern? I found that one to be relaxing without being too boring.

    1. Angela Hickman Post author

      What an excellently resounding endorsement! That pattern is lovely, and quite close to Charade, which has also been well recommended.

      I guess I should take the hint and go with that herringbone rib!

  5. Cameron

    I’ve never knit socks for a man so I don’t have any insight there, but I did want to say thanks for sharing both the lovely Saltburn pattern and the info about Clara Hughes. What an inspiration!

  6. Pingback: Stepping out | Pans & Needles

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