First socks x colorwork = bad idea?

Flying Geese quilt and socks

Two things I had vowed to knit this summer: my first pair of socks, and some kind of colorwork project. I keep waffling on which socks (currently debating between one of these or these), and have been collecting good options for beginner colorwork (watch for a roundup!), and it would probably be a bad idea to combine the two in one project. But I’ve been sorely tempted by this Flying Geese sock pattern that recently appeared at Knitty. The traditional Flying Geese quilt is one of those impossibly beautiful, timeless designs, and I love Lacey Volk’s idea of adapting it to a sock pattern. Plus the construction is pretty fascinating. The minute the always-inspiring Maura Grace Ambrose, of Folk Fibers, began Instagramming her indigo- and osage-dyed quilt (above left), I began picturing these socks in a combination of undyed and indigo-dyed yarns. Wouldn’t those be the best socks ever?

It’s just a little short-row intarsia — what could go wrong?

Meanwhile, since August means the onset of back-to-school-clothes fever, this week’s ICYMI post is FO Sightings: Z’s coveted closet of handmade clothes.

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19 thoughts on “First socks x colorwork = bad idea?

  1. I would say go for it! I am not the best person to ask about this though because I usually just jump into very large projects without thinking. My first sweater was a plaid intarsia monstrosity. If you are comfortable with instarsia and short-rows it shouldn’t be too hard. Socks aren’t as scary as they look!

    • I think it might be the fact that I don’t find them scary that’s really at work here. My only concern is knitting one (if even) and never finishing the second one. That may be why I’m so drawn to this idea — much more intriguing project, and I really want those imagined indigo geese socks.

  2. Someone at knit night recommended Lydia’s Picot socks the other day as I have been having stretch problems with the ribbing bind off on my socks. I am thinking I might try them next as keep fumbling the tops no matter which way I go (toe-up or top-down – they just always seem a bit too tight at the rib).

    Oh, and I have been doing them magic loop – two at a time – as I, too, have a serious worry that I will have second sock syndrome! Done this way, it isn’t too bad – though have yet to try a flap heel.
    ;-)

      • I did too…until I realised the advantage of top down is I can do a long tail cast on for the ribbing and have a good looking but stretchy enough edge. Luckily I just found a new cast off – ‘easy sewn cast off’ that looks PERFECT….and is stretchy. So will try that on the next pair of toe up…

  3. Go for it. Socks are not that hard (yes, I’ve made socks quite successfully) and the small amount of colourwork will maintain your interest (I haven’t done any on socks, just hats and jumpers). Think, “Just one more row to see if I can get to the end of this goose.” You’ll be finished in no time! Although I haven’t used the magic loop method, I’m keen to experiment with it as I imagine it would be a good way to ensure not only that you actually do make two socks but that they’re knit at the same time, so the gauge is relatively even across both (if, you know, you’ve had a tough day and you put in a few rows that are a little tighter, you’ll do that on both socks).

  4. hummmm. I hate to be a spoilsport, but I’d suggest a simpler form of socks and colorwork for your first attempts. because once you master the basics, you can do anything with it, but I think it’s easier to see those basics if you only have the socks, or the colorwork, going on. not both (especially combined with shortrows!) I teach the Churchmouse Basic Sock as my beginner pattern (and I’m going to check out Ina’s, too). For beginner colorwork the Selbu Modern beret (free pattern from Fibre Co) is perfect. Small and lovely.

  5. Socks were the second thing I knit after a scarf, so given how much more experience you have, I say go for it. Socks are no harder than anything else unless you let them psych you out. You know how to knit in the round; you know how to knit intarsia; you know how to count; you will be fine.

    Honestly, if they’re too much, you can put them aside, knit a plain pair to sort things out in your head, and come back to them, but I suspect we’ll be seeing your indigo geese (a gorgeous idea!) before summer’s end.

  6. Late to the party here, but I too would advise against. I just finished my first “big girl” socks, well, sock. I don’t have second sockitis, but I just started a deadline project with Spud and Chloe Sweater. I quit knitting my socks to begin my project– if you set aside your sock it is a major shock to return. I know you like to knit a variety of items, so beware. I can’t cast on my second sock til the end of the month, and I think I will have some problems. I started knitting my sock with Knitter’s Pride size 1’s, then dropped one of them down a crack in my porch floor so began over on the only needles I could get–bamboo 1’s. I don’t mind double points, but these are so small and add in Malabrigo sock yarn–you get the picture! I inadvertently dropped a few stitches, and when doing decreases, a couple times I missed catching the second stitch. I ended up having to restart, rip out, tink back, etc. and the finished sock still has a toe decrease error, but I loved every minute and I am hooked!!!!!! I also have colorwork tension issues; I’d separate the 2 and save the above sock pattern for later. This is all legit; I just kitchnered my toe last night, so take my advice. Oh, I started off my sock journey with Hickory by Jane Cochran from C. Parkes’ Knitter’s Book of Socks. I see someone else did Stepping Stones; try one of these 2 patterns–there is so much involved in socks, and her patterns are a delight to knit.
    I’m going simpler after I finish the second sock–probably a ribbed or plain sock with self striping yarn. Good luck, Karen. Dive in but beware of the water!

  7. These responses are having the funniest effect on me. I’ve never felt intimidated by socks — just never really had any interest in making any. I’m not much of a sock person, in general, and it seems like an awful lot of knitting for something that can be bought so easily and gets hidden away in a shoe. But I KNOW, I KNOW, “there’s nothing like a hand-knit sock.” I have heard and believe you, and have grown intrigued with all the different construction methods, which is why I’m thinking of knitting a pair. My feeling has always been like Angela’s, that they’re not any harder than anything else, just different. But now you guys are actually making me feel like maybe it’s hubris on my part NOT to feel intimidated by them!

    So now I really have to cast on and see.

  8. I’m totally bad with dpns and fine yarn. I’m with your previous comment about buying a nice pair of socks. I have friends who knit them like crazy, but I have no interest. The other thing about socks is…once you do one, then you have to make a second one…

  9. I love doing socks because handpainted sock yarn is SO BEAUTIFUL and lovely to work with. (Though I use that yarn for hats, too.) Every time I get to the heel, I pull out my the Yarn Harlot’s super simple instructions that work so well (though I have many sock books now.) I can’t even imagine doing one sock at a time for a couple of reasons: 1) I don’t count rows very well because I tend to improvise; 2) it would feel like starting all over instead of being “done” with a project – ugh! So I do top down socks with circulars, working on both socks at a time. I haven’t managed cast on for two socks with circulars (will figure that out one day), so I knit the first few rows of each with dpn and then move them to the circulars. I usually let the handpainted yarn speak for itself and make up patterns as I go along.

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