All Purls Together: Catherine Socks

Who doesn’t love a good pair of hand-knitted socks? There’s nothing quite as cosy. As far as small projects go, though, they can be quite intimidating to make. In order to make a pair of socks, you need to do quite a lot of shaping and – scariest of all – turn the heel *insert dramatic musical cue*. Luckily, the lovely Sarah of All Purls Together has a fantastic and not-too-tricky method for making socks. I’ve tried quite a few patterns for socks now, and her Catherine Socks are by far my favourite. I was one of the testers for the pattern and have really put it through its paces. I made lots of pairs of Catherine Socks for Christmas presents and it really stands up to repeated use.

So, let’s get into it!

Pattern Profile

This is a pattern for a pair of ankle-length socks, worked in the round on 4.5mm circular needles from the top up to the cuff, which is folded over and sewn in place. The Catherine Socks use a really nice range of techniques, like Magic Loop, a Turkish cast on, leaning increases and decreases, and short rows. It’s interesting enough to keep an experienced knitter occupied and for newer knitters to improve their skill set. Indeed, the Turkish cast on has to be one of my new favourite techniques!

The socks come in two sizes which correspond to the circumference of your foot, but they are very easily adjusted to fit your foot. Since you start at the toe and work up to your heel, you can very easily just make them longer through the foot.

Sarah describes the Catherine Socks as a ‘soft, cosy, at-home’ pair of socks, which is spot on, in my opinion. It’s rare that I’m not wearing my pairs when I’m at home… Which is a lot, these days…! However, I have also worn them under my boots and they didn’t slip down my ankle, as hand-made socks often can, so they’re pretty versatile.

This pattern is available for £4.50 on Ravelry. Knowing how much effort went into this pattern, I think the price point is really fair. Each technique is clearly explained and the resulting socks are so comfy.

What yarn did I use? If not the one recommended in the pattern, why?

I used some DK-weight alpaca yarn held together with a strand of Drops Kid Silk Mohair (review here). Unfortunately, I ran out of the main yarn earlier than I predicted (my mistake, not the pattern’s!), so I worked the ankles in The Baby Alpaca by We Are Knitters (review coming soon). I had hand-dyed this yarn, so there was no good alternative, really. This is why you dye more than one skein at a time!! All the same, this combination of yarns worked really nicely and they’re wearing well so far.

Sarah recommends Feeling Good Yarn by Wool and the Gang held together with a strand of La Bien Aimée Silk Mohair. I’ve never tried either of these yarns, but I’m sure it’s a winning combination. Feeling Good is a natural-synthetic blend, which should make it quite hard wearing.

I think the addition of a strand of mohair is quite genius. I’m a big fan of doing this in general – don’t underestimate the effect it can have on your woollen projects! – but I think it works particularly well for socks. Silk-mohair blends are a stiffer fibre than regular yarns, so they add a good amount of structural integrity to the finished product. It’s definitely something I’ll continue to do in the future!

How clear was it to follow?

As mentioned, this is quite a technical pattern. I had never come across some of the techniques before making the Catherine Socks, but Sarah’s explanations were so clear that I never felt intimidated by them. She provides links to helpful videos and uses clear language to explain herself.

If you’ve never made socks before but want to start, I think that this would be a great option for you!

Overall impression of the finished garment

I love these socks! Again, this is now my preferred method for making them. I think that the heel has some really pretty details and the overall fit is excellent. I’ve actually omitted the last part of this review (Would I make these again?), as I think the answer is pretty clear: yes! I made these socks a fair few times now and have always been thrilled with the results. I can’t wait to see what Sarah comes out with next!

You can buy the Catherine Socks for £4.50 on Ravelry here.

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