I knit my first pair of socks* last winter. It was time to learn something new so I purchased an ebook and set off to learn basic sock making. I decided to try toe up first and quickly whipped up a pair of worsted-weight socks in a squishy Malabrigo (which now needs to be darned as I quickly wore holes in the lofted yarn from wearing them too much).

I decided to make the Prickly Pear Socks by Thayer Preece Parker. The picture on the pattern page is really quite lovely. The socks have an interesting texture and show off a beautiful yarn. I knit these on US 1.5.

These socks have two different patterns on them. The herringbone rib is worked over two rows while the pear pattern is worked over eight. I had to create a cheat sheet to keep track of which part of the herringbone went with which row of the pear. Even with that, I know if you look really, really close you will see several times where I mixed the pattern up.

These socks look really pretty but I didn’t enjoy this pattern. I think it was a little to fussy for what the end result was. The pear looks a little squishy and I don’t think the holes in the pattern show up as much as I expected them too. The herringbone strip is a really cool effect, but I think it easily gets lost next to the drama and texture of the pear columns.

I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On to start the toe and Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off to finish. I have a very high arch and the stretchier the cuff, the better. I knit these two at a time. I’m glad I did or I may not have knit the second sock of this pair. The heel section off the pattern was a little challenging for me and resulted in one evening of pulling out and trying to pick up those stitches (because I was too cocky to add in a lifeline before I started the heel). When I was done with the heel, I think I still missed a stitch somewhere. To allow the pattern to continue in the proper order, uninterrupted across the back of the leg, I had to add one more stitch on each sock than I ended up with. I also should have knit a few more rows in the gusset. While the socks fit nice and snug and don’t move, the yarn isn’t stretchy enough to make it over my heel without a little bit of tugging.

The REAL star of this project was the yarn. When we went on a family vacation last year to New York and Washington, D.C., I picked up a skein of sock yarn in each city as my souvenir. These socks were knit with yarn purchased from this awesome yarn shop in Old Town in Alexandria. Fibre Space has a super friendly staff as well as a section dedicated to locally-made yarns for tourists like me.

This yarn from Neighborhood Fiber Co. is really beautiful and amazing and I love it so much. When I wear the socks, it’s like I’m walking on clouds. Well, if clouds were sturdy and made of bright blue yarn, that’s exactly what it would be like. The yarn is Washington Circle and the color is simply brilliant. It did twist up as I knit, but I find that is a common problem when I knit two socks from one ball.

While I won’t knit this pattern again, I would certainly purchase this yarn.

Pattern modifications
  • Adding one stitch for the leg to get the pattern
  • Reduced one stitch before ribbing to keep k1p1 pattern
  • Pattern suggests Turkish cast on and tubular bind-off which I did not use
Skills required
  • Knit
  • Purl
  • Knitting in the round
  • Slip 1 (sl1)
  • Knit two together (k2tog)
  • Pass slipped stitch over (psso)
  • Wrap and turn
  • Understanding of basic sock construction

What’s your favorite sock pattern?


*Okay, I guess you could say I had knit a pair of socks one other time. I knit Christmas stockings for my daughter. They were knit HUGE and felted, so any mistakes were easily and quickly felted out of sight.