Crochet 101: Eso Si Que Es

Depending on who’s Spanish your speaking, this can mean “Yes, that, what is is?” or “it is what it is” or just be an Americanized silly phrase that means nothing at all. Whatever it means though, it’s homonym in English is S O C K S which spells out what our next set of lessons will be! SOCKS!

I know I’ve been saying we wouldn’t get to socks until this summer, but I thought I would give you a chance to familiarize yourself with some of the tricks and terms before we start our Christmas stockings project.

Now, I have to be honest with all you crocheters out there…I have been crocheting for 20+ years and I LOVE crochet work. I really think it is well suited to most everything. With that in mind, I have to confess, I HATE crocheted socks. They’re really easy to make and they’re really fun to design, they go quickly and they’re a heck of a lot less trouble than knitted socks, but ALL the patterns I have found have you standing on the posts of the work. To me, that feels rather like standing on dry rice. Not comfortable.

That said, I know there are some people who that doesn’t bother and in fact, some people who feel like the posts massage their feet, SO I will NOT forsake the crochet sock!

Since I was honest and mentioned my bias, I’ll be honest again and mention that there are a few ways to get around or at least mitigate my problems. Using soft, bulky yarn or thin, sock yarn will help the posts on the stitches not to be so stiff. Using a looser gauge may also help.

Basic Sock Terms

No matter what kind of socks you’re making, this part will be the same. I’ve put together a picture to label the parts of sock here:

parts of sock crochet

Toe: This is the part that covers JUST your toes, usually about 2 inches or so.

Foot: This is the part from the toe joints to where your foot starts to curve into your ankle.

Heel: This is the part that covers JUST your heel, usually about 3-4 inches of work.

Gusset: This is the weird triangular piece that fills in the space between the heel of your foot and your ankle. This piece basically evens out the sock so that the cuff can be worked evenly.

Cuff: This is the part of the sock that goes up your ankle (and sometimes leg).

Ways to Make Socks

There are basically two ways to make any kind of socks, toe up and top down. As the names might indicate, toe up starts from the toe and works up the foot and to the cuff and top down starts at the cuff and works down to the toe.

The benefit to toe up socks is that you don’t have to do any sewing and they have more structure. I find that they work up faster for me, so for crochet I prefer to do socks this way if I’m going to. The down side to toe up socks is that they tend to have more complicated instructions and require a little more flexibility–especially when working the gusset and picking up stitches.

If you don’t mind sewing the toe shut at the end, you might find that top down works better for you. The benefit to top down socks is that you can get away with making a completely unstructured “tube sock” that is basically just a long tube of cloth with a closed end. They’re very good for beginners to practice on (right up there with scarves really) and work up fairly quickly. It may not be the prettiest sock, but it is functional. As I mentioned before, the downside is that you’ll have to sew the toe shut at the end.

Is It a Slipper or a Sock?

This may seem like a silly question, but in the world of crochet, socks and slippers often get lumped together as the same thing or in the same category.

The easiest way to tell the difference is to look at the work and ask “could I get my shoe on over that?” Sometimes the answer will be obvious like with these:

Other times the answer may not be so clear like with these:

The real test will come when you try it out, but generally speaking if the pattern calls for worsted weight (4) yarn or larger it’s going to tend to be more of a slipper than a sock.

Now that we know all about socks, I’ll bet you’re ready to get started on a pair yourself huh? Don’t worry, next lesson will be the beginning of our REAL sock adventure!


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