Scrap socks - a serious study

Scrap socks - a serious study

Posted by Vincent Konrad on 6th Sep 2021

Hullo! My name is Vincent, and I'm a frequent customer at the Wellington Sewing Centre. I also learnt to knit socks at their sock classes and am here to tell you how I used that skill over lockdown.

Big feet, little feet

I have gigantic feet. When I knit socks for myself, there is very little yarn left over from a 100g ball. My friends, however, invariably have smaller feet, and often prefer a shorter leg as well, so when I knit socks for them I end up with quite a bit of scrap yarn. Not enough to make a whole pair, and certainly not for me, but once the collection grows, it's time to see what can be cobbled together. Something I like about using remnants is that it makes a little connection between me and my friends. Without going so far as to wear matching socks (which I also do sometimes), there’s a bit of their sock in mine.

Six lockdown socks for little feet 

Just before lockdown started, I chanced to buy yarn to make socks for three friends. Having little else on my agenda I  finished those quickly using 20cm long 2.75mm KnitPro Symfonie double pointed needles and an adapted version of the Ashford Easy Peasy sock pattern, distributed at the Wellington Sewing Centre sock class. With the shops temporarily closed and my idle hands anxious for work to do, the leftovers from those three pairs started to look like a stroke of good fortune.

The leftovers 

Usually when I make scrap socks I weigh the yarn and simply use half on each sock with little regard for the finished aesthetic. I tend to think of the resulting socks as socks to wear to bed, around the house, or on laundry day, rather than for wearing where they might be seen. A purely practical pair. Even on my good pairs I seldom aim for an exact match, preferring a complementary look rather than two duplicate socks. This time my scales were out of battery, and two of the three yarns were from the same range -- the beautiful Opal Joy collection and a more ambitious plan formed.

Opal sock yarn

Opal sock yarns make good use of bright colours tastefully patterned with more muted and reserved tones, producing a sock that is bold and playful without looking silly or garish. A true ‘statement sock’ that makes the right kind of statement. Because the two balls I had were from the same collection, one in purple and the other in blue tones, the designs were similar enough to go together well and for their tones to match nicely.

I had some cream yarn that had been sitting around for a while, which I decided to use for the cuffs, heels, and toes.  Together with the cream parts in the Opal patterns, I was confident this would help pull everything together cohesively. To add to the effect I changed to the patterned purple yarn at the point where it had a partially cream stripe, giving a sort of ‘fade in’ effect. Once I had knitted through the pattern once I snipped it off and changed to the other Opal yarn, in blue. Again I chose a cream patterned stripe to start this yarn, giving a more natural look than an abrupt change from purple to blue.

Of course, a bit of contrast can be appealing too, and that’s what I've gone for with the heel, which I've  bordered in blue. 

Nako Boho sock yarn

The third ball of leftover yarn is a variegated green pattern from the Nako Boho range. While it's a nice pattern on its own, it is quite different to the Opal yarns and the colours don't quite go with them.

The cincher came when I checked if there was enough of it to do at least one repeat of the pattern on each sock. It turned out that the Nako Boho design is very long and, despite having quite a lot of it left, it would only knit a little over one repeat - so not enough for two socks. Under other circumstances this would be fine, but I wanted these socks to be a perfect match. The Nako Boho would not do. I would have to get more yarn.

The final touches

So that is where I left them for the last few days of lockdown in Wellington, waiting patiently for Wednesday 1 September when I could collect more yarn from the shop. Of course, I won't need a whole ball to finish off this pair of socks, but I already know what I'll be doing with the scraps.