Ringwood Socks

In October I set myself the challenge of designing a sock pattern. There were a few reasons for this;

  1. I’m behind on my sock challenge to knit a pair of socks every month this year – by October – month 10 – I’d managed just 5 pairs. I thought that if I designed some socks this would give me an additional push.
  2. I wanted to do something with the Ringwood Pattern which I’ve spoken about before and thought it might be good for socks, especially the socks I like knitting most: a basic pattern with a little interest but totally portable and knitable anywhere with the least amount of concentration.
  3. I wanted a pattern I could use when teaching sock knitting, simple, fun, good for mutli-coloured sock yarns that are so seductive but in which you can lose more complex patterns.
  4. The Malabrigo Junkies Ravelry Group October Stockpile included a design challenge to design a pattern making use of very variegated colorways of their yarns. I had a beautifully variegated skein of sock yarn in Archangel and socks in such a stunning yarn would be a lovely treat. Moreover based on the gloves my Grandmother had knitted me in the 1980s using the Ringwood pattern, I had an inkling that it would really make the colours of this yarn pop.

So I set about swatching and this latter point about colour popping was spot on; the combination of stitch and yarn worked really well.

Then came writing the pattern in 3 sizes and testing it out. I started with a cuff down version, ideal for beginnners, with a slip stitch heel and gusset. Then decided that if I were to knit a lot of these I would want a toe up version, my preferred approach, but again with the gusset and slip stitch heel. So I did the same thing from the other end and had a draft pattern for both versions.

I knitted up my samples and demonstrated that it really was a knit anywhere pattern as I knitted at the train station, on the train, at the Willow Tearooms in Glasgow over lunch and at the  Glasgow University’s Re-inventing Scotland Woollen Traditions Public Study Day.

The pattern went to testing through the Malabrigo Junkies Group and the Testing Pool group on Ravelry, was edited etc. and published in time to be entered in the Stockpile Design Contest.

These are my samples knitted in Malabrigo sock yarn. The left sock is the toe up version knitted in the Indecieta colorway and the right sock is the cuff down version in Archangel:

The pattern proved popular on Ravelry and much to my excitement made it onto the first page of the ‘Hot right now page’ on Ravelry patterns. So excited was I that I had to take a screen shot of it:

And my excitement increased even further when the pattern also won the Malabrigo Junkies design contest.

So all in all a good month. I’m still behind on the sock knitting but I’m up to 7 pairs and have a go anywhere pattern, and plans for another sock design and a number of other patterns in the pipeline.

I’ll write more in the future about my further investigations into the Ringwood pattern and local glove making. I have my copy of A History of Handknitting and will talk to my Mum more over Christmas, and have been in touch with various archive offices to explore additional sources of information.

The pattern is available from Ravelry and includes both the toe up and the cuff down version so ideal for sock knitters of all persuasions:

Ringwood socks pattern available from Ravelry for £3.00       


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