Craftsy class review: My First Toe-Up Socks with Susan B. Anderson

Craftsy class review: My First Toe-Up Socks with Susan B. Anderson

After embarking on my first knitting project using a We Are Knitters kit, and falling down the rabbit hole of knitting podcasts, I decided that the next thing that I really wanted to knit was a pair of socks. I know they aren't beginner level, but everyone I watched seem to enjoy making them. Given that these are project number 2 in my knitting journey, I looked into using an online class to hold my hand. I found them very useful whilst learning to sew (there's a load of reviews under the Learn to Sew tab if you're interested) and I'm so glad I used one for these socks. They do have mistakes but they turned out better than I was expecting for my first try! If you too are new to sock knitting, have a read to find out why this is a great way to get started.

Materials used

I usually start my sewing posts with fabric so it's just out of habit that I'll say what I used!
Based on my podcasting addiction, I went with a hand dyed yarn. I know it's best to try your first go in something inexpensive, but anyone who reads my sewing posts knows that I don't bother with toiles and tend to jump straight in. Therefore my knitting seems to follow the same pattern. I chose 'Oh So Fine Sock' from Cat and Sparrow, a blend of 55% Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) wool and 45% silk. Socks need a tough fibre like silk or nylon in them to keep them wearable, and I felt that I might enjoy this blend. At £19 for a 100g skein, it's not a cheap practice, but I actually only used about half for these socks. They do have a lovely feel to them because of the silk and I reckon they will be very warm come winter. However, coupled with other ongoing wips...I'm not sure I like BFL bases. More to come when I've made more knitted projects.

Lykke driftwood fixed circular needles for knitting socks

I bought my yarn from Cat and Sparrow largely because they had the needles I wanted! Again, totally influenced by the fashionable knitters (possibly just the Little Tailoress actually - I love her), I wanted to try out some Lykke driftwood circular needles for this project. They were sold out a lot of places in the size recommended by the class notes, except here, so I bought my yarn at the same time too. I used Size 1/2.5mm needles with a 32"/80cm cable. I haven't yet used any other needles for socks so will compare in later project posts, but they were nice enough to work with. The driftwood has a little flexibility, stitches don't slip off easily and the points aren't 'sharps' so won't prick fingers too hard (hello, beginner!). I'm not convinced that the cable is as flexible as others, but again will report back after trying some others.
I much prefer circular needles to straight needles like I used for my Lemon Tee! 

Craftsy class review: My First Toe-Up Socks with Susan B. Anderson

The class

This was so helpful. Susan covers sock basics and essential knowledge as well as showing you step by step how to construct these socks. You get written instructions to accompany the class, and options to use worsted or fingering weight wool, and Double Pointed Needles (DPNs) or circular/magic loop needles. What I think makes her classes so effective is that she shows you the technique more than once, and the close up views show you very clearly what to do. I'm a big fan of free learning on YouTube, but I find you can't always see what to do very easily. You can here. And Craftsy classes also have other features too - like a 30 second replay and a comments bar where questions are answered relevant to the point in the video. It's all broken down into short chapters so you don't lose your place too. (I'm not being sponsored...just a fan!).
Another bonus for beginners is that you don't need to create a separate tension swatch - you can find this out early on in your actual project and adjust accordingly. I didn't need to this time. 
The class (link here) at full price is about £35 but Craftsy often has sales on. I got it for half price at about £17- that's how much it is as I'm writing and I haven't seen it full priced so far. For the quality of the tutorials I think it's good value. 

The pattern and final finished object

So, they are finished! A whole pair. The pattern you get is for a toe up sock with an afterthought heel. They are 'vanilla' socks (no patterning, just stockinette stitch). I really enjoyed having a simple stockinette to pick up and knit - I didn't have to concentrate a whole lot on it and could have a chat or watch a podcast at the same time. I made mine quite short in the leg as I don't like very long socks and have short legs in any case!! I think I'll try an extra inch next time but these are fine as they are (and probably why I only used half of my yarn).
The afterthought heel was simple, and is probably best for a beginner. I am finding it doesn't fit brilliantly so will need to experiment a bit for a tighter at this point. Basically they are too long.

Craftsy class review: My First Toe-Up Socks with Susan B. Anderson

The only drawback really with these is complete user error. My bind off is WAY too tight. I'm starting to find that I'm a tight knitter anyway, but I reckon I made a classic beginner mistake. I can get the socks on and off, but not easily! I could have ripped back to the ribbing, but having got to the end really didn't want to! Next time I think I'm going to try cuff down socks, as I can fiddle about with these at an early (more enthusiastic) stage for a good fit here. I'll also be giving a few different heels a go over the next pairs that I make to find my perfect sock combination. I know that socks are a bit of a pick and mix where you can find your favourite elements to create the socks that suit you best, so do leave your suggestions so that I can give them a go.

This really was an enjoyable project - and I think with knitting it's the actual crafting I enjoy more than the final product. I think I'll be aiming to have a pair of socks ready to knit on at all times! Next pair I'll also try a traditional sock blend to see how they feel to wear and knit with too.

Guess what everyone's getting for Christmas this year!

Craftsy class review: My First Toe-Up Socks with Susan B. Anderson


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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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