Self Striping Yarn Socks

I am always worried about whether people will like the Christmas gifts I give them. In recent years we have reduced gift giving to only a few people, and we are only supposed to give one gift per person. It is hard to find one thing I know is going to be a hit, so often I end up with a couple of smaller items, or one main gift and another smaller bonus gift.

I could not figure out what to get our adult son James this year. I had ordered a “Life is Good” tee shirt in two sizes, but after they came in the mail it did not seem like enough, and also I was not sure either of the sizes would fit. I ordered another size, and then kind of late in the game decided to knit him a pair of self striping socks. When we saw James at Thanksgiving I had drawn a diagram of his foot on heavy paper, so I had a good chance of ending up with the right size. In the past he has been known for wearing fun socks, but at his recent wedding he wore low socks that were not visible with his expensive custom shoes. I verified that he does sometimes wear dress socks with work shoes, and then got organized to knit a pair. The photo below was taken at the wedding.

The expensive custom made wedding shoes with socks you cannot see

I used Regia 4-ply sock yarn I had ordered in early December with Black Friday sale pricing. In the photo below the yarn is staged next to a tile my mom’s sister painted many years ago of our family cabin.

Yarn for socks next to a tile hand painted by my aunt

I used my ball winder to divide the original skein of yarn into two center pull balls, one for each sock. They were supposed to be the same size, but one turned out bigger in volume. The two balls of yarn looked very different but were actually the same amount by weight. To get the self striping pattern on each sock to match, I started at the beginning of a white section from each ball.

I have been reading about various methods for knitting socks. I saw another way to cast on toe up socks called the “Turkish Cast On” so I decided to try that. There are quite a few good youtube videos if you want to check that out, including this one from The Chilly Dog. Following are photos of the turkish cast on with two socks at a time using the magic loop method.

Turkish Cast On two at a time
Close up of tip of toe for both socks, ready to begin toe increases

I also saw a method for the toe increases creating a rounded toe, rather than the pointier style used in most sock patterns. You can find that pattern here on Ravelry. The Seam Free Rounded toe has increases more often to make rounded toe, as seen in the photo below. There are increases in two out of every three rows, rather than every other row in the more common type of toe pattern.

Looking like sock toes, with rounded shape

The original center pull ball was starting to fall apart, so I rewound it into an old fashioned ball by hand. They looked even more different from each other, but were still the same weight. It was fun to see the pattern come alive as I knit the foot of the sock.

Sock feet in progress

I used the Fish Lips Kiss Heel pattern for the heel, which you can see in the next photo.

Done with the heel, ready to start the foot

The stripes on the two socks matched up almost perfectly for the entire foot section. When I got a couple of inches into the cuff, there was a knot in one of the balls of yarn. I hate that. I undid the knot and overlapped the two ends, knitting with both ends together for an inch or so. That caused an irregular section in the sock and for the stripes to not match up after that. I don’t think my son will care, but it is annoying when I was excited about making matching striped socks. You can see the place where the yarn is joined in the sock on the right in the photo below. And also that I rewound the other ball of yarn into a regular ball by hand. There are five inches of cuff at this point, so it was time to start the ribbing.

The stripes did not match after the knot in one ball of yarn

I was not sure if there would be enough yarn for three inches of ribbing, in addition to the five inches of plain cuff. I like the look of ribbing for the entire cuff, but that takes longer and maybe does not look best with the self striping yarn. One advantage of starting at the toe is that you can knit the cuff as tall you want, or until you run out of yarn. As it turned out, I was able to knit eight inches of cuff with a small bit of yarn leftover. I switched to double pointed needles for binding off the cuffs one sock at a time.

Following is a photo from the label of the yarn, showing what they are supposed to look like.

What the sock is supposed to look like with this yarn

I was happy with how the socks turned out, except for the way the break in the yarn caused a jog in the pattern.

Completed socks

I mailed the socks and tee shirt to my son in January, well after Christmas. Upon my request for photos of the socks on his feet, he sent the following. Um, this reminds me of the Wizard of Oz. LOL.

The Wicked Witch of the West

The next two photos are better, with shoes off, and then while wearing the infamous custom made wedding shoes.

Self striping socks with the wedding shoes

Meanwhile I learned another way to join yarn ends in the middle of a row from HeyBrownBerry. It looks better than having double yarn for a couple of inches, but would still result in the stripes of the two socks no longer matching. All in all I think this project was a success.

Published by Meg Hanson

Hello. I am a recently retired empty nester. My husband and I moved to Jewett Lake in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, after living most of our lives in the Minneapolis area. I have no trouble keeping busy with knitting and spinning of wool, selling yarn and handmade goods, reading, walking, watching movies, surfing on the internet, traveling, doing bookkeeping for our family cabin, and spending time with family.

10 thoughts on “Self Striping Yarn Socks

  1. I think these socks are beautiful. The mismatched row doesn’t matter one bit. It just proves the socks were handmade with love. I am sure your son was very happy to get the socks. This year at Christmas, we cut back on the number of gifts we give our kids. I am glad, and I plan to continue the trend. Like you, I do worry, “Is this enough?” But they were happy, and the most important thing is to be together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you….and I did order a Life is Good tee for myself too! I already have 2, but one of them got a tiny hole in it when I was using a “picker” machine to pick wool. I was so bummed but glad I only picked my shirt and not my skin!


  2. Thank you for sharing the link for the rounder toe. I will try that on my next pair of socks. I too like to use the Fish Lips Kiss Heel. Sadly I have also found knots in Regia yarn. I too like my socks to match as much as possible. I always try to start out with them being the same but it seems like by the cuff one sock is off by about 2 rows versus the other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems like they should give you a discount if there is knot i the yarn! I have only tried the self striping yarn once, but I am not surprised if the stripes do not match the entire way even if there is no break. Oh well. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

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