Now that we have the basic terms of socks down (and a couple of patterns to start with), let’s talk design.
The best place to start when it comes to designing socks is “where?” No, that’s not an irritating teaching question, I mean where on the sock do you want your design? Does a sock with lots of colorful stripes appeal to you? Some extra fancy colorwork? Or perhaps something simple, with just the toe and heel highlighted? Maybe you’d like to add an applique or some beads?
Make sure that you keep the where in mind as you think through your design. Bead work is fun, but make sure you’re not putting beads on the bottom of the foot will not be nice to walk on. Appliques are super fun, but do you really want to cover them up with your shoe? Make sure as you’re designing that you know how the sock will look not only on the foot, but also in the boot (or shoe, or whatever). If you’re designing socks that are meant to be slippers (or worn only without shoes) you have a little more freedom of design than if you’re designing socks that are meant to be worn with shoes.
Once you have an idea of where, you’ll want to look at how the design will effect the length of the socks.
I had the idea of making some Fibonacci socks, using the number pattern as a guide for the stripes. While I’m not fond of the colors I worked them in, using a mathematical pattern as a guideline works fairly well. I would probably work them backwards (with the small stripes at the toe) next time or use brighter colors like the stripes above–maybe both. That’s part of designing though, sometimes you make something and look at it when you’re done and just get a better or different idea.
Getting back to the point though, the Fibonacci pattern gets into very wide stripes very fast. The wider stripes lend themselves to longer socks so the pattern is easier to see. If these were knee high or thigh high socks, the pattern of ever increasing stripe width might be a little more obvious. Working a pattern like this over baby socks–for example–wouldn’t make much sense.
If you do want to work stripes on baby socks, working them across the foot might be a better idea.
You may have noticed a theme in this post so far….
I’ve been focusing on stripes because, being honest, they’re one of the easier patterns to design and they are one of the easier patterns to create. They also happen to be EVERYWHERE in sock patterns. Nature can inspire stripes, mathematics can inspire stripes, your kids three (or twelve) favorite colors can inspire stripes. They’re just really easy to deal with.
They are also NOT the end all be all in socks and neither is colorwork. Take a look back at the Designing with Texture post for a few ideas on what to use to make textured, interesting socks. Maybe try a broken weave with a variegated, or a faux crochet cable in a creamy wool. Maybe work some baubles or purled picture into your socks. For those of you who are a little more advanced, cables can be worked into socks in a variety of ways. For those of you who have already worked mittens (we’ll get there), you might want to consider toe socks.
To help you along, and give you a little food for thought, I’ve made a Pintrest board for socks to help get you started.
OH!! And don’t forget about your yarn needle! When we get to designing our Christmas Stockings, you may want to add bells or buttons or other notions that can be sewn on with a piece of yarn or thread and a needle.