Monday, 26 January 2009

What? No Nupps?

A woman can not knit with nupps alone and it is time (well past time actually) for me to sort out some socks for my dad.

We sock knitters know that the world is made up of two kinds of people: people who think handknit socks are a warm and special treat; and those who would be just as happy with a pack of 5 pairs for £5 socks from Walmart. I tend to think that people fall into category 2 unless I get very strong evidence to the contrary - like an outright "please make me a pair of socks".

The problem with this approach is that some people just won't ask.

My poor father after a few days of watching me hand out socks to my sister and nieces, and listening to me promise socks to some aunts, forlornly picked up the pair of socks I had made for my sister (which she'd accidentally left behind) and said "maybe I could have these ones".

Bless him.

I told him he didn't have to settle for bright blue socks that were going to be way too small for him and I'd love to make a pair just for him.

With Christmas knitting and the Crown Prince out of the way I finally went to cast them on the other day.

I bit of panic ensued as I started searching through the 40 gazillion skeins of sock yarn I own for 2 skeins that weren't bright girly colours. It wasn't looking promising.

And then at last I spied 2 skeins of grey sock yarn -- bought when and why I have no idea -- hidden at the bottom of the cupboard. Perfect for dad socks.

Picking a pattern was even trickier. I didn't want to make plain grey socks as I thought that would be more than a bit dull. I browsed through my socks books (and I have a lot) and found very few (2 or 3) patterns that weren't 'too girly'.

I finally settled on the Retro Rib pattern in Favourite Socks which I hope will be masculine enough.

But this has me wondering.

Is there a great store of men's sock patterns out there somewhere I'm missing? I'd be grateful for any masculine pattern suggestions as I'd like to make him a few more pairs over the year and I think he (and I) might grow tired of the retro rib!


B. said...

Knitting Vintage Socks has a few patterns that are plain-ish and masculine, and in men's sizes to boot. A few of them have stitch patterns that are just ribbing fancied up a bit, which inspired me to knit socks for all the men in my life for Christmas with ribbing patterns pulled out of a stitch dictionary. It was easier than sifting through all the delicate lacey patterns out there in search of something manful. :/

Caroline said...

Don't know of any such store, or any other greats books other than the one already mentioned, but here are my favourite online ones:

Thuja from Knitty
Jules from The Inside Loop
Lighthouse Gansey Socks from Knitty
Primavera Socks by natalja (might depend on the man though)
Boyfriend Socks by Alice Bell
Leyburn Socks by MintyFresh
Hedgerow Socks from Knitter's Review

(Links are so tedious, so you'll have to search for them on Ravelry or some search engine.)

And of course, depending on the man, cables and some travelling stitches might be fine as well.

Rachel said...

I definitely think the retro rib is manly enough--I'm sure your dad will love them!

To add to the list, Anne of Knitspot has quite a few patterns designed for men...I think they could easily work for women too, but her intention with those was 'male' socks. Check her out if you get a chance!

Robin Marie said...

Haha, I started to make a list of my favorites, but Caroline already listed them all! The only two I would add to her list at the Herringbone Rib socks and the Asparagus Cables socks.

Your story about your dad actually choked me up. So sweet!

Donna said...

Oh, the Gentleman's Fancy Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks (a book full of manly patterns) would be a great choice. I'm wearing mine right now, and definitely feel more gentlemanly :)

Opal said...

i'd have to echo everyone else's suggestion of 'knitting vintage socks' as a pattern resource. it's a really great book for men's socks.

i love what you've got going on!

fleegle said...

Roy likes anything I knit him--he says he is large enough that he can wear anything he wants :) I do refrain from putting ruffles on his toes, but he does love his screaming yellow zonkers, complete with bobbles :)

the Lady said...

How funny! I was just thinking the same thing - I only have enough wool for 2 pairs of manly socks out of my 60 or so potential pairs. I am not a very adventurous knitter when it comes to man socks - my boyfriend likes the cables I do up the sides to keep the sock up. I put them amongst ribbing, and that's about it. I agree with the suggestion for Leyburn socks and also the Boyfriend socks - those 2 popped into my mind immediately.

Anne said...

I have to agree with Rachel about Anne Hanson's patterns, I've used a few of hers for mens socks. Also "baby cables" but can't remember which book that pettern is from. Try here also, YarnAddictAnni has some lovely sock patterns too, she is behind Sockmania. Hope you find some to your taste.


Agnes said...

Some subtle small cable patterns inserted into plain stocking stitch would be nice for men. And yes, there are several nice patterns from Knitting Vintage Socks too.

Not ready for handspun said...

The retro rib socks are fab - he's sure to love them. And I second (or third?) the votes for Thuja and Hedgerow Socks.

Sue said...

Dad socks are a good thing :-)

I've tagged you for a meme, should you fancy it,

Happy Knitting


LittleBerry said...

love the socks and it's a nice rib pattern.. can't suggest any others as you know me I'm a self-striping sock knitter ;o)

Evelyn said...

I am currently finishing up a pair in garter rib stitch in the color flax and though they're for me, they would be suitable for most men. The pattern is dead simple but attractive:
Round 1-K2P2
Round 2-Knit

If you change Round 2 to Purl, you get a thick waffle texture.

Batty said...

Lovely sock!
Speaking of Dad knits, I have to finally finish the Dad sweater that has been sitting in my bag in a knitted-but-unseamed state for a year or so... if I'd known how much I dislike seaming garter stitch, I would have reversed the pattern.

clarabelle said...

Oh, poor Daddy - what a sweet tale!

Not being the world's most prolific sock knitter, I'm not really qualified to advise on men's sock patterns, but I did knit the Yarn Harlot's Earl Grey pattern last year to a certain person's satisfaction...

kris said...

I ditto the suggestions of Anne Hanson and Nancy Bush. However, I add my own preference for kilt stockings. Originally knitted for the kilt-wearing Scotsman, they can be as plain or fancy as you like. They are nice and warm all the way up the leg, and the cuff can be folded up over the knee for added warmth.

Check out Veronica Gainford's book entitled 'Designs for Knitting Kilt Hose and Knickerbocker Stockings' and can be bought at School House Press for about $15.

This is a very charming and interesting book written by Lady Gainford some years ago, and carried on by EZ and Meg. In her foreword Lady Gainford says " was the delight of countrywomen to discover and use interesting and beautiful patterns for the stockings we made for our families." I was startled to discover that many gentlemen knit their own kilt stockings....

Well, there's my two-cents worth!

For my three-cents worth, you could probably take any of Cookie A's knee sock designs and knit them for men. They're all pretty meaty and muscular!

Linda said...

I would like to suggest some of the socks in Knitting on the Road - I have made at least 4 pairs of socks from that book, all for men.

dana said...

Fiber Fool's Gentleman Socks.
just finished Anne Hanson's Tesserae socks for my husband. He also like a knit 3 purl 1 rib sock. they knit up quickly.

Bev said...

I'm a little late to this party, but I thought I would give you the popular opinion in my house. I only knit men's socks as I have elephatine feet that do not allow room in shoes for fabulous socks. That said, my men love their socks!! Their friends love socks. I love to knit socks for all of them. They could care less if there is any pattern at all. They like socks that stay up, heels that hug, softness and the color is important. Any other consideration is for the knitter. They all love handknit socks, but I never bother with pattern anymore. They just don't notice. I love your lace, and your blog. Bev, just finished reading the whole thing, bevqw on Ravelry.