A Short History of The Handmade Sock Society

Cornish Cream Tea Socks by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

As we all look forward to the launch of the Handmade Sock Society Season 4, I thought it would be fun to take a little look back. Over the past three seasons, we’ve knit socks with texture, lace, pretty stitch patterns and simple cables. There’s always something new to try, and even new sock knitters seem to impress themselves every year.

It’s wonderful to watch knitters discover each season’s sock designs. Every season has a bit of a theme: it engages my imagination as I design the socks, and I think it sparks inspiration in knitters as well. Many Society Members go all-out with themed yarn choices and project bags, while others just enjoy the story and follow their own creativity through clever shopping in their stash.

I’ve been doing these mystery collections for a while now, and I know it takes a very adventurous kind of knitter to sign up for six secret patterns, sight unseen! If you’re new to the Curious Crew and are wondering what on earth to expect, this might help. And if you’ve been a Society Member since the very first collection, it might be fun to revisit some old favourite patterns!

In the run up to the launch of the new season, I’ve just released the designs from Seasons 2 & 3 as single patterns for the first time, so you can now pick and choose your favourite designs from each collection! And to celebrate, I’m running a flash Buy One Get One Free Sale on all Curious Handmade sock designs on Ravelry from today (Friday, January 15th 2021) until Monday, January 18th 2021. No code is needed, just put two or more sock patterns or collections in your Ravelry cart and one will become magically free at checkout!

Shop the BOGO Sock Sale!


The Handmade Sock Society 3

Ever since we human beings began trying to explain the world to ourselves, we have looked for—and found—meaning everywhere. We hear messages on the wind and see shapes in the clouds. We read stories written in the stars. We can walk into a room and somehow instantly understand what’s going on, without saying or hearing a single word. A hum of anticipation. An excitement that travels like a ripple through our awareness. It’s something in the air. It’s the atmosphere. 

This ability of ours to pluck meaning from the world is the root of all creativity. Creativity might seem like something drawn out of thin air, but it’s much more ordinary and wonderful than that. Part observation, part imagination, it’s about being present and open to our senses, our experiences, and the atmosphere around us. The third Season of the Handmade Sock Society explored that atmosphere and the stories of those who have found enlightenment and meaning there.

The last season of The Handmade Sock Society drew inspiration from the skies, the stars, and even the air around us. I thought a lot about both the literal atmosphere and the emotional atmosphere when I was designing this collection. As a result, there was something quite ethereal about these designs, which I think is probably a funny thing to say about something as grounded as a pair of handmade socks!

Patterns:

Clockwise from top left: Luminary Socks, Ambient Socks, Rainy Window Socks, Cirrus Socks, Vapour Socks, Altitude Socks  

Buy the whole Handmade Sock Society 3


Handmade Sock Society Season 2 

Run away to a quiet cottage in Cornwall, a remote hideaway overlooking the sea. Outside, the waves crash against the rocks, but you are snug and warm, wrapped in blankets and toasting by a little wood-fired stove. There’s peace to be found in the wildness of the ocean and comfort to be gleaned from the humble pleasures of life on a windswept beach. No matter how fierce the weather may be, the sound of the sea can soothe a ruffled heart. When you’re feeling brave, you can climb the cliffs and take in the exhilaration of the view, or strike out in a sailboat and test your skills and courage against the wind. 

There is nothing else to do and nowhere else to be but right here, and every moment in this place is full of inspiration.The second season of The Handmade Sock Society took us on a voyage away from the complexity and clutter of our modern schedules to a seaside retreat where we can steal a little time for ourselves, our thoughts, and our handmade projects. 

When I designed this collection, I think I was yearning for a holiday! These designs were obviously inspired by the seaside, and I was very excited about the idea of a week hidden away with nothing to think about but nature and knitting and cups of tea. The Curious Crew played along and seemed to love every minute of our imaginary getaway. 

Patterns:

Clockwise from top left: Shell Cottage Socks, Samphire Socks, Cliff Walk Socks, Cornish Cream Tea Socks, Sailing School Socks, Dorsal Socks   

Buy the whole Handmade Sock Society 2


Handmade Sock Society Season 1

A bit of earth. A little patch of garden. A place where you can take root and feel a blossoming kinship with little growing things. Bulbs and seeds, ladybirds and dandelion clocks, sprouting mushrooms and fallen leaves, the secret world of the very small and very beautiful. The first season of The Handmade Sock Society delved into the rich life of the earth beneath our feet.

I was still a bit new to sock design when I decided to take the plunge with The Handmade Sock Society, but I was so inspired by the botanical theme that I put aside my fears and managed to create some patterns that are still community favourites! This collection was a “spin off” of The Shawl Society 3, which had a Secret Garden Theme. For the socks, I loved the idea of getting closer to the ground and the real secret life of a garden. 

Patterns:

Clockwise from top left: Winter Rose SocksMagnolia Socks, Astrantia Socks, Honey Bee Dance Socks  Red Robin Socks, Hazelnut Socks   

Buy the whole Handmade Sock Society 1


I’m so excited to share some new socks with you very soon. In the meantime, I hope you’ve found a bit of inspiration and encouragement by looking through all of the Sock Society designs so far!

If you’re new to sock knitting and want some extra support to learn the basics before we launch Season 4, you should sign up for our free Simply Curious Socks Workshop. You’ll get a free vanilla/plain sock pattern and a series of emails walking you through all the most important steps of knitting a sock. Once you’re signed up here, you’ll also be on the Curious Handmade Newsletter list, so you’ll know the minute the new collection drops!

If you’re a sock veteran and just want to make sure you don’t miss any updates, early bird sales, and yarn hints, you can just sign up to the newsletter here:

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