Spin-Off Presents: Spin Your Socks

Spinning for socks is one of my favorite things to do. I love that you can spin up the yarn for socks in a couple of evenings after work, or better yet, on a quiet Saturday with a couple of Jane Austen movies as company. And that the knitting can be carried around in your bag and worked on during meetings, in the dentist’s waiting room, or at a softball game. I love the challenge of socks—and for me that mostly means getting the second one done, but turning the heel is pretty fun, too. I love that making socks means cozy feet on a cold winter morning, memories of spinning that yarn every time I pull them on, and color progressions that you just don’t find in store-bought socks. Seeing my friends and family wear the socks I’ve made them makes my heart swell to bursting.

I imagine you feel the same way about spinning and knitting socks—so I had a lot of fun compiling some of my very favorite sock patterns and sock spinning how-to information from back issues of Spin-Off magazine into a downloadable collection called Spin-Off Presents: Spin Your Socks. In it you’ll find some basics for spinning a good sock yarn and a bunch of patterns that represent different approaches to knitting it up. If you’re a new sock knitter, you’ll find some good basic patterns, as well as ones that will take you to the next level. If you can knit socks with one hand tied behind your back, you’ll still find patterns that will intrigue and challenge you.

Knitting diva, Ann Budd, works with two spinners to create a basic (but not too simple) sock pattern that can be adapted for any size foot. Janel Laidman, author of The Eclectic Sole (and other books) shares her genius for spinning fractal stripes in socks. Kristi Schueler’s three sock patterns will challenge intermediate spinners and knitters—and your feet will thank you for the effort. If you go through handknitted socks like they grow on trees, then you might want to consider getting a circular sock-knitting machine. Susan Forsyth has figured out how to spin sock yarn that works in her sock-knitting machine. Perhaps you’re dabbling in dyeing and want to make self-striping socks? Paula Egbert maps it out with a simple technique for dyeing your handspun yarn. If you’re intimidated by turning the heel, consider making Anklettos—frilly ankle coverings that use a very small amount of yarn.  From everyday socks to a Christmas Stocking, you’ll find what you need to spin the right kind of yarn for knitting socks. But beware, spinning and knitting socks can form an obsession from which it is hard to recover.

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