Vintage Knitspot – School Sock

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I just finished socks for my husband Matt and they turned out lovely. They were a very belated 1st wedding anniversary gift (we were married Dec 31) that he received Easter morning. I knit them in our wedding colors and embroidered 1st on one of the legs.

Matt adores the knit items I’ve created for him. Why I don’t cover this man in more handknits is beyond me. He’s my biggest fan.

The socks took me FOREVER because during the first 4 months of my pregnancy, it made me nauseous to knit. It was like being out to sea with no land in sight! Awful. Thankfully my knitting mojo is back in full swing. Since I’m on a roll, I ought to cast on another pair. Right?

Matt has very thin, narrow feet. I’ve knit him socks before, but they just aren’t a perfect fit. They’re wearable, but I know I could do better. I knit the anniversary socks at a finer gauge and made the pattern up. They turned out great, but not ideal.

Just the other day, I remembered I took Anne’s Designing Off The Cuff class at Sock Camp a couple years ago. I went and dug out my notes and what a brilliant class that was. If only I put those techniques to use! That’s what Anne’s probably saying out loud as she reads this.

In the class we learned that successfully fitting socks really isn’t a mystery of the universe. It’s just a little math. I looked at her in disbelief, but she said, “don’t worry. I’ve written a pattern with a worksheet and all you do is take some measurements, fill in the blanks, and follow the right size all the way through.” Then she passed out The Sock Pattern to End All Sock Patterns. Why in the world did I never put this into practice? A class I paid good money for? What a waste. Wow, I sound like my mother.

Anywho, the pattern is brilliant and super easy to do. It even gives you creative freedom, if you choose, because you can plug a lot of knit and purl stitch patterns into her recipe and design your own sock.

Last night, I took measurements of Matt’s foot, knit swatches (yeah, that’s right. I do that too now.), and plugged all my info into the pattern. Piece of cake. Did I mention this pattern was brilliant? This time around, I didn’t feel like designing my own sock. I really wanted to take all this info I gathered and apply it to another knitspot sock pattern.

Stash diving I went…

I found some gems that Matt would love. I swatched a few and then went to the knitspot archives. Love my job!

Did you know Anne has written over 50 sock patterns? Incredible! Here are my contenders for the yarns above…

Spectator Sock


Tottering Cables – David’s fave. Very stretchy sock for an all-over-cable pattern.

So Square Sock

It was hard to narrow my options down to just these! At least 30 knitspot socks are unisex designs, because Anne mostly knits socks for David. I called her about my discoveries and you know what she said,”you should blog about it.” I asked her a few questions about the designs before we hung up.

Anne said she essentially knits men’s socks that a woman would wear. Almost all her sock patterns are multi-sized. In SPEASP, there are 17 sizes! Anne said it’s a perfect pattern to knit if you live with someone who has a freakishly big or small foot. Also, there’s different sizes every four stitches, so you can really hone in on the perfect fit. From the cuff to the toe. Anne said people tell her all the time it’s the best-fitting sock they’ve made because of the heel area. The pattern has you knit a stockinette section after the leg and before the heel. Even if you have thick ankles, the sock will look great! Anne also swears this method makes your socks stay on your feet better.

I love all my choices, but at the last minute I found School Sock.

The pattern description says, top-down sock in four sizes features a knit/purl motif which extends down the leg and over the top of the foot, creating a fabric which resembles a “school plaid”. This was it! Matt & I both went to Catholic schools and he would find this very amusing. But I thought I would take the “school” theme a bit further. He is a die hard Michigan State University fan and years ago I bought Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in the MSU colorway.

Last Fall, Matt took me to my first Michigan State University  football game and I could see what all the hype was about.

The game was a blast! After, I secretly bought patches from the souvenir shop for a future project. Isn’t this combo perfect?!

I’m off to knit MSU fan socks for Matt. I’ll let you know how my research/measurements/planning worked out along the way. Oh! How about a contest? Leave a comment about a sock knitting escapade (could be your’s or someone else’s) by 9 pm EST April 22 and I will give one lucky winner TWO sock patterns of their choice!

127 thoughts on “Vintage Knitspot – School Sock

  1. We don’t need as many socks here in the AZ desert as those in colder climes–but my son is moving to upstate NY and I plan to make the most of this opportunity. I knit up a thick, warm pair of handspun socks for good luck on his grad school interview trip last month…sadly, there wasn’t any snow so I don’t think he needed them. There’s always next winter, right?

    It turns out to be really helpful to knit socks tighter and a bit longer than I’d think–too bad it took several not-so-well-fitting pairs for this to sink in!

  2. I love Anne’s sock patterns! None of the men in my life wanted socks, they thought wool would be itchy, so I thought ‘no problem, more for me’. But, I decided to make them all slippers for Christmas. I made 3 pairs of bootie slippers. They ALL love them! And we’re so surprised that wool is not itchy! Now one son wants a sweater. This is the one that always was too hot for sweaters! I think socks for his size 13 feet are in order first! Waffle Cream will be perfect!

    I’ve had such a fear of making such big socks and having them not fit. But once I make the first pair, I’m sure it will be easier. Especially with the inspiration you have given me!

  3. I always love seeing the socks made for David. I know that I should knit socks for my father for Father’s Day, but I’m too nervous about making ones that fit. This post may give me the courage for it!

  4. The first pair of socks I ever made was for my mother. A while after this I had taught her to knit so when she came bugging me for her to knit her another pair of socks I bought her some Koigu sock yarn in her favourite colour (bright orange) and some needles and told her I was going to teach her to make her own. She did a little swatch on the needles and I made a little custom sock pattern for her written out in the plainest english I could. It is still the only sock pattern she uses.

  5. I make socks for my sister, she is a Doctor and wears them with her scrubs, they are her fashion accessory!

  6. I LOVE knitting socks!!! I admit it I’m obsessed and Anne’s patterns are to die for!

    I was living in Philadelphia a few years ago and traveling to work on the commuter train. One particularly snowy die there were several of us knitters knitting away on the longer than usual commute with an older gentleman walked by and found our projects quite amusing – he then coined the term “socks on the train!” This was just after the “Snakes on the Plane” moving came out. So from then on out we were known as the socks on the train knitting group!

  7. My husband has ENORMOUS feet, and he’s always wanted me to make him a pair of socks. Sadly, I’ve always been far too nervous about making a pair that would fit him to try. It would just be so much sock to rip out if they didn’t fit! I think that with one of Anne’s lovely patterns, I would finally give it a shot!

  8. I’ve only worked with two of Anne’s patterns, but I know from this limited experience that her sock patterns would be pure pleasure to work with. For my first pair of socks, I avoided DPN’s and went for magic loop and circs. The video tutorial I was using wasn’t entirely clear on how to hold the needles at the beginning of each round and of course I got things going a little backwards. My socks either grew from the top of the needles or were inside out. So I had to start all over and figure out how to knit then the right way round. I’ve only ever knit plain stockinette stitch socks and I’m dying to try something patterned.

  9. I have a sock story! I was in my LYS about 6 months ago, and fell in love with this beautiful BFL sock yarn, dyed in coral, hot pink, and chocolate brown. I put back the yarn I actually came for (and needed for Christmas Socks! LOL) It has so much depth, and was dyed by a local indie dyer. I’ve started and frogged several times, still in search for the perfect sock pattern, and have been so far unsuccessful. Still waiting for the perfect pattern, I guess….

  10. When I went to grade school in Denmark, many years ago, we were taught to knit socks in grade 3! I had been knitting since I was 4, so that was not the problem, but THE Heel !! I remember knitting the first part of the sock so slow in the hope that I would never get to the heel part. Well, eventually it had to be done, and it wasn’t so bad after all. Many socks have been off the needles since !

  11. I’m so glad to hear that I’m not alone in pregnancy knitting nausea! I’ve been forcing myself to knit for classes I’m helping teach and it’s been rough. Strangely, the only thing I’ve been interested in making are crocheted doilies. I’m hoping some knitting nesting instinct kicks in soon, I’ve got shower gifts to knit!
    On the sock knitting, my husband only likes to wear thin socks, and the heels on the last pair I made him were a little funky (afterthought heels, possibly too many rounds) so I think he’s only worn them a few times. In a way it works out though, I’d rather knit lace!

  12. I really enjoy knitting socks, but tend to always stick with the plain vanilla style. I love it when I see my kids (adult aged) wear the socks I’ve knit for them. Would love to branch out and knit some of the cool styles that Ann has designed. Thanks for the ideas and inspiration!

  13. It’s more a sock-washing escapade, but I have recently accidentally felted one of the only hand-knit pair of socks I ever knit for my husband (large feet=unwillingness to do any more). On the other hand, if I stick the other one through the machine too, I’ll have a pair of felty socks that will fit me! (I can completely understand that you might not think I’m worthy of being gifted sock patterns…)

  14. I’ve never knit adult socks, only infant socks. All of Anne’s patterns are so beautiful that I feel the urge to break out my DPN’s. Thank you for the inspiration!

  15. OMG! Your journalism degree is showing. What a humorous writer you are with practicality. I am sooooo ready to make some sox for Bob. I made him a pair last Father’s Day and he wears them every Sat. I can’t wait to explore and find the pattern you are talking about and start a new pair or three. I am inspired by you, Erica!

  16. oh Erica what a great post! ( I’m just catching up after two full days of classes, go you!)
    omg, when I saw those patches I nearly fell off my seat; they will be fantstic on your school socks!
    hopefully, these will be done for Christmas because the colors will be perfect for a stocking stuffer . . .

  17. I struggle with the “math works” approach to knitting socks. I followed this theory when first knitting socks for DH and me. Both attempts failed at fit. I went trial-and-error from there, experimenting with needle size and number of stitches cast-on. third set of socks and I have a pair that fits him well. They required multiple try-ons, but I managed it. Someday, I’d like to knit a pair of socks without restarting them 2 or 3 times.

  18. Sizing is my big issue. I am really good at overestimating the size needed. It is only an adventure if you like wearing socks on your head! I will have to check out Anne’s Sock Pattern to End All Sock Patterns. I need help!

  19. I’ve just been asked to knit some sock for a male friend. It’s a surprise from his wife so trying them on as I go isn’t an option but she can send me measurements so this post answered a burning question of how to make them work. Thank you!

  20. Sock worthiness is my big story…good thing my brother is a relative mor he would never get socks again. He recently complained that my socks didn’t wear well…had big holds in them…after 5 years of wear…off to darn!

  21. I don’t really knit socks – but – do have a cousin who became a Michigan State fan via her husband …. and she loves that shade of green!

  22. Great blog post, looking forward to seeing the Sparty socks! Would love to choose a couple of sock patterns.

  23. We kid my husband about his habit of taking new clothing gifts and “aging” them. When I made socks for my sons about five years ago, hubby begged for a pair and I made him a pair. So far, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him wear them! But, if I win patterns, I think I’ll make him another pair.

  24. Thank you for this great give away. I ruined my hands on a pair of socks. I spent 4 hours knitting on US 1’s trying to find a stitch pattern to do justice to a beautiful, high-contrast, varigated yarn. Imagine my surprise the next day when I couldn’t press my thumb and forefinger together. It was months before I knitted again. Yes, I finished the socks and I love them. But what craziness. A year from first swatch to first wear.

  25. Well someday soon i hope to be the proud knitter of the perfect fitting sock, so far they all have been made for, obviously, somebody else’s feet! Great blog post, Mama!

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