Holiday socks


For the last three years (basically since I started knitting) I’ve taken the holiday break to knit myself socks. Two years ago (the first year) those socks were only the second pair I’d ever knit and I still wear them (you can see them here). Last year, I knit these, and after they stretched in the wash I gave them to L, who wears them quite happily.


The stripes look off in this picture, but they’re actually a perfect match until the tips of the toes.

For me, holidays socks needs to be a couple of things: They need to be good for social knitting, since I spend a lot of knitting time with family and friends; they need to be at least a bit interesting ā€“ I haven’t knit plain socks since that first holiday pair, and even they had surprise toes for interest; and, perhaps most importantly, the knitting needs to last about a week. I always pack a back-up project, but in general I like my holiday socks to last for just about the whole time I’m away, which tends to be about a week. The combination of social knitting and not-too-quick can be a little tricky, but Jaywalker fits those requirements nicely.

Jaywalkers have a nice two-row repeat that is easy to memorize and, once you’re a few rows in, requires no counting. Because of their structure, though, they need way more stitches than a normal pair of socks (I’d normally cast on 64 or 68 stitches for plain socks; for Jaywalkers I use the 84-stitch size), which means they take longer to knit. As a bonus, when using self-striping yarn the pattern looks very dramatic.

I'm very pleased about this heel.

I’m very pleased about this heel.

And can we just talk about the yarn for a minute? I was all geared up to use stash yarn for my holiday socks, but then I was on Etsy and this Gynx yarn caught my eye. It’s Gynx Strong Sock in the Christmas Bells colourway and it was a total pleasure to knit with. I used almost the entire skein, with just one repeat of red leftover. The yarn is soft and squishy, and the stripes blend so seamlessly between colours that there’s no jogging or obvious break points anywhere. I loved this yarn so much that I’ve been keeping an eye on the Etsy shop just to see if more self-striping yarns will be added.

I would have loved these socks anyway, but somehow the drama of losing them and then getting them back and still finishing them on time (on the plane home, with hours to spare until my self-imposed deadline) makes them that much better.

Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina
Needles: 2.25mm Addis ā€“ I knit these entirely with a magic loop, not my preferred method, but so much better for travelling.
Yarn: Gynx Strong Sock in Christmas Bells
Mods: None really. I cast on for the small size and knit the ribbing and then increased evenly up to the next size for the rest. The next time I knit this pattern I’ll probably go up a needle size, as these are a bit tight to pull on over my heels. I’m really happy about how matchy they are, and I’m especially pleased about the heels. I’d pretty much resigned myself to having the heels mess up the stripe sequence, so when they totally didn’t, I was thrilled. They’re ravelled here.

I know I should be annoyed about that little red toe, but I kind of like it instead.

I know I should be annoyed about that little red toe, but I kind of like it instead.

14 thoughts on “Holiday socks

  1. knockonwool

    These are great! I love the way the stripes turned out. Also, that toe has some character. I think I am doing a year of socks as my New Years resolution this year so I will have to give Jaywalkers a try.

    1. Angela Hickman Post author

      I have so many sock plans for the new year! I’ve actually been having a lot of fun looking through my stash and making plans. I don’t even care that most of my plans are for plain stockinette socks!

  2. kiwiyarns

    They are really lovely. It would have been such a shame to lose them, I’m so happy for you that you got the project back! I had heard that the Jaywalker were very tight. Thanks for the tip about sizing as I may decide to knit these too!

    1. Angela Hickman Post author

      Thank you!

      This is the second pair of these that I’ve knit and both need an extra tug to come around the heel. After that, though, they fit perfectly, and don’t sag, which is excellent. It’s definitely a shock to knit socks with a steady 84 stitches around, but somehow they’re just as speedy as regular socks.

    1. Angela Hickman Post author

      Thank you! I definitely recommend it. There’s nothing like knowing the next project is for you to get you to finish up your gift knits on time šŸ™‚

  3. lawlady1

    Terrific socks and terrific pattern. I have this pattern in my “to do” pile. I really like your goal of knitting YOURSELF a pair of socks as a Christmas present. That would be my only way of getting socks for me – most of my socks are claimed by family members before they are cast on.

    1. Angela Hickman Post author

      This is exactly why I set aside the time for myself over the holidays. By the time I cast on for these, I’d barely knit a stitch for myself since mid-September. I don’t begrudge my family their handknits, but it is nice to know that there will be something on the needles for me in the near future. Plus, since they’ve all just opened handknits, no one is jealous!

  4. Cassy

    Love these socks! They’re holiday colors, but not overwhelmingly so. I think I’ve knit 3 pairs of Jaywalkers so far. It’s such a fantastic pattern for stripes. Sounds like a well thought out holiday project.

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