The Trials and Tribulations of Knitting My First Pair of Socks

For my sister’s birthday, I wanted to make her something by hand. I remember over the holidays finding a pattern for a pair of Boston terrier socks on the Knit Picks website. They were so cute and looking at them from the picture, I thought this would be a fun project and a great way to start my first pair of socks!

Sadly, that was not the case. While the socks did come out great in the end, they were a huge labor of love requiring me to learn some new techniques including how to make a sock, how to do intarsia knitting, and how to shape. I was excited to do the sock making part, but I didn’t even realize the other techniques until I got to the second sock.

The first technique that really got me struggling was the shaping of their ears. To make them stick up like that, the pattern required I knit a ribbed edge (most socks have ribbing around the leg) through the back loop. The entire section required that you knit every stitch in a way that’s not average when you’re making anything else. That was fine, but I kept on messing up knitting through the regular method than through the back loop. I messed up about five times on this part, so my stress and frustration levels were already through the roof.

Intarsia knitting is a method used when you’re knitting a design within your work. Adding an initial to the front of a sweater? That’s intarsia. Got that terrible holiday sweater with a big Christmas tree on the front? Probaby intarsia knitting. It’s a method of knitting I’ve never tried since the most colorwork I’ve done is a few stripes. I was a bit confused by the pattern because I didn’t know intarsia was used, so I made one sock in the method that made sense to me at the time and the other sock using intarsia.

Left sock is created using intarsia. Right sock is made without it.

When I realized I had to use the intarsia method, I was already one sock in. I tried to think if I should take the leap and just make three socks instead. However, I had already worked on these for so long, tried so many times to get it right, and didn’t have a lot of time left to get these to my sister (who lives across the country) before her birthday. So one sock uses the intarsia method properly and the other doesn’t.

The end product is a little bit wonky, but I like to think they are sisters and not twins.

After finishing the face pattern, the rest of the sock was pretty easy. Although, I had to switch over to double pointed needles for the rest of the way, which can be a pain because there’s things sticking out at you from all angles. But once the sock was complete, omg there was a sense of elation. I made a sock! And it looked like a sock! I had heard some pretty weird sock stories and truly intimidated by the process. But when my friend told me she recently got into and loved it, well, I had to try for myself.

These socks came out so great. They aren’t perfect and if you look close enough, you can see their imperfections, but I made them by hand. I made a pair of socks! And I can’t wait to make sure. However, I might hold off on doing any more intarsia knitting for a while. I think I much rather work on textural pieces than ones with a face.

3 thoughts on “The Trials and Tribulations of Knitting My First Pair of Socks

  1. You should be very impressed with yourself. These socks look incredible. If I had not read your story about making these socks, I would not have known you did them both differently. Only you know. I honestly do not know which is which. I’m thinking of making these for my sister for her birthday in April as she had a boston terrier that died a couple years ago. I think she would love them but colorwork is not my strong point. Your story gives inspiration. Thank you for it. Your socks are amazing. I’m sure your sister loved them.



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