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Socks 201

How many pairs of socks did I have to knit to get this pattern right?

Probably ten, but those pairs warmed my feet, my daughterís, and those of several of my friends, including the dubious but intrepid Gordon, who field-tested his cabled ones on his annual hiking tour in Cornwall.

Once youíve understood the basic plan and architecture, and knit a pair of basic socks--which Iíve made simple enough for me to knit easily, and for you to do the same--you have a couple of variations, of which my personal favorite is the cabled one. These are easier than most socks, because they have a Dutch heel, not a diagonal one; a round toe, not a Kitchener one, a top-down construction rather than a toe-up one, and a simple but blister-proof cushioned heel.

A few pairs in, youíll be able to knit these from the cast-on without even looking at the directions, and to begin to think of many variations of your own. On a cold morning, there is nothing quite like opening the dresser drawer, and selecting from among several pair of these.

Again, this is a pattern I wish Iíd had when I began making socks. Although there is nothing new in knitting, Iíve tweaked these to be as simple as possible for even the novice sock-knitter, consonant with good fit and long wear.

I hope you will love yours as much as I love mine, even you donít live where the cold weather begins with a snowstorm in the mountains before Labor Day, ends with one that bangs into the Fourth of July weekend, and barely gives the Brandywine tomatoes time to ripen.

The Materials you'll need for this Knitting Project:

The formula offered in this set of knitting instructions works for any yarn size, but I have done these in a standard knitting worsted, using #4 needles for the ribbing and #6 needles for the sock body. I donít think theyíd work well in a heavier yarn, and I know they wonít work in an unspun yarn (which would felt excessively, and pill like mad). With these considerations in mind, you'll chose the yarn you want and work out how many stitches are required.