We knit socks for many reasons.
It might be simply to keep our hands busy or because we want the best-looking sock drawers. We knit them to bring us joy or to distract us from thinking about things we would rather not allow our minds to dwell on. They help to pass the time whilst we are waiting – and we spend a lot of our time waiting. Waiting for news, both happy and sad; waiting to be reunited with someone; loved ones who have been on journeys, children who have been at activity events, long-awaited babies being born … there are so many reasons why we do so. And sometimes, we wait to say goodbye.
I first met Dr Sarah Holmes, a palliative care doctor at the Marie Curie Hospice in Bradford, at a Knit Now Awards day a couple of years ago. A strange place to meet a doctor, perhaps, but she was being recognised for the incredible work she has been doing through our yarn community to raise funds for Marie Curie. It all started off as a desire to knit socks for each of the patients in the Marie Curie Hospices around the country (so naturally, that was something that would attract my attention!) and I was so pleased to be able to send her socks from the Yarndale Sock Line to help make up the numbers, knowing that they had been knitted with love for someone who needed an extra woolly hug.
Last year, Sarah’s Flower Power Fund raised money through limited edition hand-dyed yarns, and it was so successful that she is doing it all over again this year – but this time, there are patterns for each month too! When she asked me if I would like to be involved, I didn’t even have to think about it. Whether we have used Marie Curie’s services directly or not, there are not many of us who have not been touched by cancer in some way during our lives and I was glad to have the opportunity to do something to contribute.
Here is my contribution. These socks are called Amory, which is an old German name meaning “brave”.
I thought long and hard about what a sock design for such a purpose should look like. I didn’t want anything too complicated (and trust me, these might look complicated but really they’re not!) as often our minds need to be occupied but not to the exclusion of all else. I wanted a stitch pattern that was easy to keep track of, because sometimes we need to put our knitting down before we are ready to. I wanted something that would suit both men and women, because there is no restriction on who we love enough to knit our socks for.
Most of all, I wanted a name that would be just right and a name that means “brave” feels perfect. We are all called upon to be brave at different times of our lives and our bravery takes many different forms. Sometimes we are brave for ourselves and at other times we are brave for others. It’s not always easy, and yet the result is almost always worthwhile.
These socks are knitted top (cuff) down) and, as always, are based on my `Basic 4ply Socks pattern. This means that if you can knit those socks, you can knit these; the hardest part about knitting a sock is understanding the anatomy in the first place, and once you’ve got that under your belt, adding a pattern is usually pretty straightforward. If you’ve never knitted socks before but fancy trying these ones out, you can get extra help in the Sockalong tutorialsfor the basics.
The cable stitch that you can see is called a Slip-Cross Coin Cable and you can actually knit it without a cable needle, although you might prefer to have one to hand just in case. The pattern block is only eight rows and only two of those involve any kind of extra concentration so as long as you mark your rounds off as you go, this pattern is suitable for on-the-go knitting.
I’ve chosen the colour quite deliberately as it’s the same blue as in the Marie Curie logo. You won’t be surprised to know that it’s a West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply yarn (yes, I do knit with other yarns sometimes! ?) and this shade is Blueberry BonBon; shade number 365. WYS are in the process of adding the colour names to their ball bands which is a HUGE help as we all talk about the colour names, so you should start to see those appearing in the yarn shops very soon.
The heel is a variation of the slip-stitch heel stitch that I usually use for my socks. The stitches are still slipped, but I’ve kept the pattern to match and I do like the way the single lines flow down from the cable!
As you might expect, because this is a fundraising pattern it’s a paid-for one. You can find it on the Ravelry project page here, and if you’re not a Ravelry remember you can use this button:
£2.00 from the sale price will be given to Marie Curie UK for the month of June 2020. You can find out more about Marie Curie and the work that they do here. Sarah’s JustGiving page is here, her Flower Power Fund Instagram account is here and the Facebook page is here.
The pattern is a long one – it’s 13 pages – but it does include a photo tutorial for working the Slip-Cross Coin Cable rather than just a description in the pattern abbreviations. There are charts and written instructions, and it’s designed for 4 sizes from 8 – 9.5 in width feet. There isn’t any need to size up for the cable unless you’re a tight knitter as *whispers* it’s not really a cable stitch 🙂 The pattern has been tech-edited for errors so any remaining are entirely my handiwork as I created the PDF – although of course I have checked it very carefully!
Thank you very much if you choose to buy the pattern, and I hope you enjoy knitting it!