Alright, I am very excited to finally write about this latest challenge! My sister in law is about to have a baby which is very exciting and what better gift could a sock maker give than adorable baby socks?! So for the last month I have been patiently (and not so patiently) making my own pattern (once again…) to make baby socks on my antique circular sock knitting machine. It’s been a hard and long journey this time, mostly because I have no experience with baby’s feet so I’ve been shooting in the dark of how big they should be. With the help of friends and family, I’ve gone through at least twenty test runs to finally nail down a pattern that I like.
So to explain the process a bit in a way everyone can understand, the sock machine is a cylinder that knits in a circle to create the tube needed for socks. There are different cylinders that have different needle amounts to change the size of the circle. BUT… baby socks are way too small for any cylinders out there. So to do baby socks, you have to use half of the cylinder to knit a flat piece and sew the sock up the side at the end. The hardest part is to know exactly how many needles to use to have a good outcome for the width of the sock.
Above of a photo of what it looks like when I take it off of the knitting machine before I sew it up. I knit both socks at once and keep them attached so I know they go together.
Some feedback I got from people is that baby feet are hard to know the size of so the stretchier the better and that babies aren’t walking yet so heels are not a priority. Also having a tie or an elastic is great so they can’t be kicked off so easily. All in all it wasn’t overly hard to make them, it just took a lot of thinking and trial and error.
Above is a pair drying over the wood stove after being sewn and blocked but before inserting the little ties. I made little spacers for the string which would be the same as a picot hem in knitting terms. It’s the same idea as the party socks I made in a previous blog post.
The bottom right photo is the sewn up side of the sock. It’s barely visible, especially when knitted so that both of the sock’s seams are on the inside of the baby’s legs and feet.
The wool is my own that I talked about having spun at Wellington Fibres in a previous blog post. I hand dyed both the red and the green and they turned out great. Very bright and fresh looking.
So there you have it, my last month in a nut shell. It’s been a long process but an amazing learning journey that I am very grateful for!