Easy Colourwork Socks – getting started

Have you ever looked at patterns knitted in two or more colours and thought they would be fabulous for socks?  It seems that more and more these days, colourwork is an integral part of pattern design and it’s not really as hard to do as you might think.

From simple, two-colour geometric designs like this …

A predominantly red and grey colourwork sock laid next to a predominantly grey and red colourwork sock

to Norwegian designers Arne and Carlos’ Scandinavian style …

to pattern books encouraging you to develop your own style, it seems that colourwork is everywhere.

So what is colourwork?  The way I understand it – and I am sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong! – is that:

  • colour work is just that – working with more than one colour
  • stranded colour work refers to the floats that run across the back
  • any other name (eg Fair Isle) refers to a particular technique or place where that method of knitting originated and is very specifically connected to that method or place.

There’s nothing more complicated to it than having two (or more) balls of yarn on the go at the same time and following a chart – but if you’ve been following my technique tutorials then you’ve already had a go at reading charts so there’s nothing new here to learn.
So what do you think?  Does it sound like something you’d like to wear on your feet?  Enter my Easy Colourwork Socks!

These socks are created with a simple pattern in two colours to help you practice your technique and use more than one yarn.  Once you get confident, you can use as many colours as you like!

The main tutorial will have the pattern both online and in downloadable PDF form, lots of photos and also video clips.  I’ll be posting all of that tomorrow, but in the meantime, I’ve tried to answer some of the questions I thought you might ask.  If I’ve forgotten anything, do let me know in the comments!


What size are your socks going to be and can I change it?

The pattern is written for four sizes so there should be one that fits your feet.  Don’t forget that the size of a sock is based on the width of your foot, not the length.  You can also try your sock on during the knitting process to make sure it’s comfortable.


Can I use any yarn for these socks?

Yes.  The pattern is written for 4ply yarn so any 4ply should work, although I always recommend a quick tension swatch just to be sure that your size will work out right.

I’ve used Freehold Yarn Co Autumn 4ply* yarn for my socks.  It’s a blend of 75% Blue-faced Leicester and 25% Gotland and it’s lovely yarn to knit.  I’m hoping it’s a strong yarn too as it’s a no-nylon blend and I do like to try them out!  I bought two skeins which were quite expensive but I’ve got two pairs of socks out of them plus enough left over for possibly another pair of ankle socks so I feel that I’ve got good value out of the yarn.  I’ll be reviewing the socks in my no-nylon review section in about six months’ time.


I’ve never knitted colourwork before, will I be able to do it?

Yes!  It’s really not as hard as you might imagine that it is, and by starting off with two colours there’s less chance that you’ll get yourself into a tangle.


Can I adjust the size of the pattern block for a bigger or smaller sock?

Yes!  It’s very easy to do that with this particular pattern as it’s written for four different sizes.


Do I have to knit the contrast stripes into the sock?

Not at all!  If you don’t want them, you can knit your socks without them – if you look at the top photo you’ll see that I didn’t knit the gusset stripes into the grey sock.  It’s entirely optional!

Right then!  I think that’s everything for now … I hope that’s been useful as background information and tomorrow I’ll share the pattern with you.  Do ask if you’ve got any questions, but I hope that now you’re all ready to grab your yarn and needles and prepare to cast on!


*2021 update – this yarn is now discontinued.

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9 Responses

  1. Jennyff says:

    Not a huge fan of colour work, though I did make a Kaffe Fasset jacket once, it took some effort. However those socks look so lovely I could be tempted so I’m looking forward to hearing more.

  2. daydream in colour says:

    You make me want to put the crochet hook down for a minute and pick up the pointy sticks. It's freaking me out a bit. I'll get there though I'm sure 🙂 xx Susan

  3. Catie Burnside says:

    Hi Christine, I have a pattern I want to do. It’s colourwork where there are two colours but one is rum paradise (WYS) so it will look even more amazing. Can’t wait to practise with your pattern, thanks. Btw enjoy Yarndale -I’m sure you will.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Rum Paradise is a fab yarn for colourwork – I've used it for my Rainbow Zig Zag socks in my new book, More Super Socks. Hopefully you'll find your pattern a piece of cake once you've tried this one! Thank you, I'm really looking forward to Yarndale! xx

  4. Loraine McLean says:

    I'll have to try this, they'd make lovely Christmas presents x

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