Hello friends! I hope this finds you well and, for those of you in the northern hemisphere, enjoying sun-soaked days filled with ripe stone fruit and juicy tomatoes and eves sat out watching the lightening bugs dance. In my neck of the woods, summer is a much cooler and damper proposition … but the silver lining is it’s almost never to warm for woolly socks!
Whether you live in a place where summer temps rarely break 70 F or a spot where it swelters all summer long, today I’m really excited to share a little eBook I’ve been working on with what I hope are the perfect socks for summer (and beyond). Say hello to the Ginnel Socks and the Shorty Shorty Shorties, my newest pair of sock patterns. (And do make sure you check out the end of this post for a small treat for blog readers!)
Anatomy of a Perfect Footie Sock
I don’t know about you, but I adore a good footie sock! But I am also, well, a bit particular about them. Topping my wish list for a perfect pair is fun color or pattern (because if you can only see a tiny peep of it from your shoe, it should really count, right?), a fabulous fit and, most importantly of all, a heel that won’t slip under the foot! I’ve knit a pair or two over the years, and like so many of my commercial footie socks, they have a bad habit of sliding down underfoot while walking. And we all know once this happens once, no amount of yanking and repositioning is going to keep that footie sock where it’s meant to be! And no one likes walking on a lumpy sock!
These were the starting criteria for this little micro collection, which, I have to say, has been a rather long time in the making. I had the idea for simple colorwork footies many moons ago and last summer, I finally started knitting prototypes to get the no-slip heel I wanted, inspired by my favorite style of running socks (which, full disclosure, have not been run in for over three years, but are worn nonetheless). The results are these two patterns, which offer different ways to play with color and have fun with your sock yarn stash .. these are perfect for using up partial balls and scraps of treasured sock skeins! I think of the Ginnel Socks and the Shorty Shorty Shorties as sock siblings or cousins, rather than fraternal twins. While they share the same great no-slip shape and key construction features, they each have some unique details. Let’s take a closer look at each!
The Ginnel Socks
These little colorwork ditties have been in my head for so long, always the next pair of socks I was going to design and always getting pushed aside. Knit cuff down, they feature a gently raised cuff shaped with wrap and turn short rows, a short row heel, simple stripes and lice and are finished with a short row toe (though alternative instructions for a wedge toe are also included).
These socks are perfect, low-commitment way to try out simple stranded colorwork over a small circumference and are also a great opportunity for burnishing your short row and grafting skills! Instructions are included to mirror the sock’s jog (the spot where the stripes/colorwork meet and knitting in the rounds helical nature is revealed) so that the jog sits largely out of sight on the inside of edge of each foot (and also isn’t uncomfortably under foot!)
For my sample, I used Coop Knits Socks Yeah! 4ply in three colors, and I love the resulting silky smooth fabric … the smooth yarn seems particularly well suited to summer socks. But this pattern is a really fun chance to raid your sock yarn stash for partial balls, mini skeins and little scraps. You’ll need between 30-50 grams of a main color and, if you opt for two contrasts, 10-15 grams for the stripes and 5 grams or less for the little colorwork lice. Some of my awesome test knitters also used a single contrast color to excellent effect (which results, of course, in fewer ends to deal with ). I also really like the idea of using leftover self-striping yarn for the contrast for maximum color changing with minimum effort, or a full on scrappy version, with different colors for every stripe and colorwork segment. The possibilities are endless!
The Shorty Shorty Shorties
When I was working up prototypes for the Ginnel Socks last summer, I dind’t want to contend with any stripes or floats, I just wanted to focus on finding my perfect no slip cuff, so I cast on with some leftover Regia sock yarn I had and got to experimenting. The thing is, those prototype socks I knit last summer have become my most worn pair of socks: not just for wearing with sneakers, where they most definitely did not slip down, but also for padding around the house and, my personal favorite, wearing with Birkenstock sandals (I told you summers here are cool! #birkensocks). I loved them so much I decided they deserved a pattern of their own!
They share all the same major construction features of the Ginnel Socks — the gently raised cuff (obvs), the short row heel and toe (and include the alternative wedge toe instructions), the cuff down directions. But for this pair, I’ve opted for German Short Rows rather than the wrap & turn method, (meaning the eBook gives you a little crash course in short row methods) and included two cuff styles: ribbed or an i-cord. I’ve got to say, I absolutely adore how the i-cord highlights the swoop of the sock’s cuff! And since you’re not working stripes or colorwork, there’s no jog to contend with … you just knit two identical socks. This makes the Shorty Shorty Shorties an altogether simpler knit (not that the Ginnel Socks are hard!), perfect for partial or 50 gram balls of sock yarn you might have lying around.
My samples are knit up in size 2 and size 3. The self striping pair are knit in Opal Hundertwasser 4ply and the yellow pair in my favorite no nylon sock yarn, Retrosaria Mondim. Both pairs used between 40-45 grams of main color and a negligible amount for the contrast cuff. If you wanted to make favorite scraps go further, you could also dream up fun pairs with contrasting heels and toes.
Ready to Cast On?
You can buy the Ginnel Socks and the Shorty Shorty Shorties either bundled together as an eBook or as individual patterns over on Ravelry or in my newly set up Payhip shop. As a thank you for sticking with me here on this sporadic blog, I’ve also set up a small discount code for you! Use the code NEWSOCKS for 10% off any of the sock patterns in my Ravelry shop (yes, there’s a princely total of four now!) all weekend long. [If you can’t access Ravelry and want to use the discount code or buy the ebook, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get you sorted! I’m still figuring out how to make things work on Payhip!)
I’m so excited to finally have these patterns out in the world and also want to say a HUGE thank you to my test knitters — Jenny, Joyce, Mary, Nancy, Orla, Paula, Sally, Sarah and Sharon — for their excellent feedback and patience during testing! I hope to share some of their versions over on Instagram in the coming days, so keep your eyes peeled. And if you’re planning a cast on, I would love to hear about it in the comments. If you share your plans over on Instagram, use the hashtags #ginnelsocks and #shortyshortyshorties and give me a tag (@fiberandsustenance); I’d love to see your version!
All being well, I’ll be back end of next week with one more new sock pattern before I’m well and truly off on maternity leave … and I’ve also got a backlog of projects that I’m hoping to get scheduled to share here over the next few months (assuming this little baby stays put just a bit longer). See you soon, and happy knitting!