The Most Amazing Crochet Socks Ever!

The detailed crochet patterns we now enjoy are a fairly new development. The patterns for many vintage crocheted items, if they can be found, provide only a list of stitches and sparse instructions. Picking up one of these patterns and using a hook and ball of thread or skein of yarn to create a finished amigurumi cat, lace motif, cap, or teddy bear filet edging (see below) is like following a treasure map. 

A pair of intricately crocheted vintage socks. Maker, place of origin, and date unknown.  

Like an archeologist with a treasure map, you have to use your unique language skills-because not everyone can read Sl st over pc, working over pc and in blo, sc in 1st 3 hdc-to decipher the next step of the journey. And when you finally reach the end of the pattern, holding the finished piece feels a bit like finding treasure.

Patterns for some fantastic vintage crochet items have been lost or never existed. Sarah Read, Interweave Crochet's project editor, was immediately taken by a pair of crocheted socks that were given to a friend. The socks arrived without a backstory or pattern, but Sarah was determined to create her own socks with their own story. And along the way, she created a pattern to share with us in the brand-new Crochet Traditions. Here is Sarah to tell us a little bit about the experience:

Crochet the Amazing Technicolor Tapestry Sock

  Sarah Reads re-creation of the vintage socks

Every now and then I enjoy a bit of creative madness, and the Amazing Technicolor Tapestry Socks project should hold me over a couple months. I spent 6 months (with a few breaks here and there) trying to piece together the pattern for these socks, counting stitches (lots of stitches), drawing charts, and crocheting way past my bedtime.

Sitting in my favorite chair with my magnifier and light, I tried to puzzle out the mysterious origins of these socks. No one knows where they came from, or who made them, or when they were made. Their shape and colors suggest eastern European influence, but the colorwork and stitch techniques look Finnish. In any case, I can attest to the labor of love that the original pair must have been. The originals were almost certainly not worked from a pattern, and I wonder what the images on them signified to the maker or the wearer. They look well cared for, but worn, and I wonder what special occasions warranted the wearing of these special socks-a festival of some kind or only for weddings?

Vintage Teddy-Bear Lace crocheted in two sizes  

In any case, I only managed to make one sock. I haven't given up on making its match someday. For now, it hangs on my studio wall, quietly preaching the beautiful intricacy of vintage sock patterns and the merits of cowls made with bulky wool.

~ Sarah

Gather your crochet hook, yarn, thread, and exploration tools and create your own treasure with the vintage and vintage-inspired patterns as well as great stories about early crocheters. Order your copy of Crochet Traditions today!

Best wishes,

P.S. Do you have tips for crocheting with vintage patterns? Share them in the comments. 


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