About 18 months ago I taught myself to knit. It’s something I’d been meaning to do for a long time, I had always seen it as a beautiful craft and a potentially very satisfying creative outlet. With a bit of encouragement and coaching from my sister, I took the first tentative steps, and I quickly fell in love with it as a hobby. It has lived up to all its promise and I’m still completely hooked. Speaking of hooks, this summer I diversified into crochet. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me it’s the perfect pastime: creative, contemplative, manual, organic, solitary, but also social.
I’ve previously posted a knitting pattern on this blog. A couple of weeks ago I was asked to knit a pair of socks by a previous happy recipient who wears them in bed. He wants another pair but, he specified, he wants a pair decorated with the EU stars. I duly delivered the first of the pair and at the time of writing I am working on the second. I tweeted a picture of the first and it found its way into the Brexit camp’s echo chamber. They don’t like it. It offends them, and they began queueing up to tell me about it.
I knitted a sock and Team Brexit lost its shit. 🏆 pic.twitter.com/nQ2Uy1GWcC
— Chr s Kendall 🇪🇺 (@ottocrat) October 7, 2017
I cannot begin to tell you how gratifying I find this. I knit because I love to, and I knit the EU flag because it’s a way to make a statement, isn’t it? It won’t change the world or reverse Brexit, but it feels good. But oh my God it feels so much better when I know it annoys Leavers!
A number of people on Twitter have asked me for the pattern. This isn’t going to be a pattern as such, but the following should give you all you need to knit these yourself, it’s actually very easy.
It’s based on a standard sock pattern. I got mine from a really good book which I recommend, Knitting Socks by Ann Budd.
Sizing can be tricky so it’s important to get the gauge right. I’m using Regia 4-ply sock yarn with 3.5mm needles and 64 stitches in a round, so I have room for 8 stars following the pattern above. It’s relatively simple to adapt the pattern to a smaller sock size either by reducing the number of stars and increasing the space between them, or by adapting the star pattern. Doodling new knitting patterns is what meetings are for, right? There’s also an app for that.
My 64-stitch round on 3.5mm needles gives me a sock that is pretty loose even on my size 11 feet so you might want to go with something smaller. Be careful with the colourwork – if you strand too tightly, your sock will lose elasticity and will be hard to put on; strand too loosely and a toe might get caught in a floater (a ‘floating’ length of yarn in the colour not being used – mitigate this by twisting the two coloured yarns around each other every four or five stitches). Experience is the only way to get this right. Just experiment.
The traditional way to knit socks is on four double-pointed needles (or three if you’re American). I’ve switched to using the magic loop method which I really recommend, it’s a lot quicker and neater.
Obviously, this pattern can easily be adapted to hats or scarves or mittens or gloves or anything else. If creativity strikes, please share your results in the comments.
I’ve put a gallery of my knits up on Flickr, and I intend to keep adding to it. I’d be delighted to hear from other knitters especially the craftivist type.