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10-year socks

When I started knitting this pair of socks in 2011, I didn’t believe that it’d take almost 10 years for me to finish them! (Yes, I rounded up.) However, my shoulders started acting up and my migraines worsened every time I knit, so I had to put this project away. Now and then, I took it out and knit for a while and then headaches forced me to stuff this project back into my closet. Finally, I decided that enough was enough and thus, I finished the last rows and bound them off!

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Socks from the toe up book by Wendy D. Johnson.

The pattern came from Wendy D. Johnson’s book Socks from the toe up that was a brand new when I started. I wasn’t new to knitting socks from the toe up. Indeed, I usually knitted two socks from the toe up at the same time using circular knitting needles. But, I liked the simple patterns in the book.

I used Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn. It’s very soft and I like the semi-solid “Satsuma” colourway I chose. To get the right tension, I used 2 mm HiyaHiya circular needles. However, I don’t recommend this combination of yarn and needles.

One reason why it took so long to knit this pair was that the yarn felt way too slippery on the needles. I, like many other knitters, prefer wooden needles but in very small needle sizes wooden ones tend to bend or break. The slippery stitches meant that I couldn’t knit in a relaxed manner as I had to pay attention to keeping my stitches on the needles – thus the headaches.

Slip stitch heel basic socks.

Anyway, back to the socks. I wanted to learn how to knit the classic heel from the bottom up. With the pretty yarn, I didn’t feel like adding any details, so I went with the most basic pair of socks. I started with Judy’s magic cast-on that creates a seamless toe like this:

The Judy's magic cast on creates a seamless toe.

After the initial casting on, increases are added until the socks have the right width. One good thing about knitting socks from the toe up is that you can always try them on and see whether they fit!

The slip stitch heel was explained well. However, I don’t recommend stopping in the middle of it and starting again after a year or so! It took me over an hour at some point to figure out where I was! I finally found my spot and the heels look nice:

A side view of my new pair of socks.
My new socks.

As you can see, I didn’t make the socks very long. After knitting about 5 cm of the leg, I decided that it was long enough. I added ribbing and then used sewn bind-off to finish.

I think these socks might have improved a bit if I had added a few more stitches to the width. Right now they are a bit tight at the widest part of my foot. The length of the heel is determined by the increases at the gusset, so the heel is also slightly shorter that would be optimal. However, it’s really a tiny thing that doesn’t really matter as the knit stretches.

April has been for me a month of getting things done. I have finished several repairs and ufos and made tons of children’s clothes for my kids. Comment below, if you’d be interested in seeing some of them! I have also made some excursions into millinery and drafted some historical patterns for future use. Not much has had a chance of getting on this blog – especially as my laptop is now mostly used by my son in his schoolwork. However, these are strange times we are living! Now it, fortunately, seems that I’m getting my laptop back in mid-May as the schools are finally opening again.

Thank you for reading! Comment below: What has been your longest ever project that you have finished? Happy sewing, knitting and crafting times!


I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.


  • madamefruitbat

    I was sort of glad to read about the problem of breaking the sock size wooden needles. I thought it was just me as I had the same experience and I was rather annoyed as they were not cheap! I use metal dpns now….

    Your new socks are very pretty.

    • kk

      Thanks! And even if the needles don’t break, just bending makes you cautious that doesn’t make knitting very relaxing.

      • Janet

        I’ve had similar issues with wooden sock needles too – and I have a similar sock project that’s been on hold for a year or more now! Lovely to see how this yarn knits up in a sock, and I’d be interested in seeing some of the garments you’ve made over the last month too 🙂

      • kk

        Thanks! I must see whether I can get my daughter to model some of the garments I have made for her. The tees I made for my son are still a bit big but I made them to be worn after the summer. It was just a good opportunity to test the bigger size in a pattern I drafted last summer.

  • Karey

    How do you find wearing them. I knitted socks once, but found thickness of even finest handknitting yarn uncomfortable on my feet.

    • kk

      Oh, I love wearing them! Wool breaths, so my feer don’t sweat and they stay nice and warm. I can’t sleep without wearing proper handknit socks.

    • Karey

      Ok. Bedsocks. It’s feeling the individual threads when I’m walking that I don’t like, and wool is harsher than other fibres. I have to make extra long nighties to wrap my feet in. Socks keep my feet cold if they are cold, and overheat me if they’re hot 🤪😂

      • kk

        You seem to have sensitive feet! But I don’t mind wool socks during the day either. It’s just that thick socks don’t really fit into my shoes. If I’m not going out I’m happy to spend the whole day in my woolen socks.

  • Marge Rintoul

    Beautiful socks! I wish I could knit. If I could, I’d make them out of alpaca yarn… warmest socks ever!

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