Second Sock Syndrome. A situation many knitters face, and it’s not just for socks. Any knitted item that generally comes in pairs is susceptible: socks, mittens, gloves, leg warmers. I find myself facing SSS or second sock syndrome a lot. It usually comes after I’ve finished a sock pattern I’ve really wanted to try out. However, finishing the first sock usually scratches the itch to knit that pattern or technique, then the second sock feels like a chore, and knitting isn’t my job, it’s my hobby! I want to enjoy it! So, how can we beat the second sock syndrome?
1.) Series of Singles
One of my methods for beating SSS is to knit three to five different socks, and then go back and knit the mates. That way, you’re always knitting something different, and when the second round comes around, it won’t feel like such a chore. Bonus, if you don’t mind wearing mismatched socks,you can wear your new socks immediately! Con: it might take seemingly forever to knit a pair, which is not helpful if you are knitting a gift or really want to click that finished button on ravelry.
2.) Cast on Second Sock IMMEDIATELY!
As in as soon as you bind off the first sock. Go! Go! Go! Get the second sock on the needles before the feeling of completion sets in. After all, you’re not really done until the second sock is done, right? If you make it feel like both socks are really one project, you might have a better chance of finishing that second sock in good time.
3.) Fall in Love With Your Sock
Of course you love your sock – you made it, but that doesn’t mean you’re in love with it. Put it on, imagine all the awesome things that you could be wearing with that sock. Wouldn’t it look awesome with those vintage style shoes? Is your sock girly? Would it look super cute with a dress? Is it rugged and you can’t wait to take it out hiking and see all the amazing sights, only to have other hikers marvel at your one-of-kind footwear? You need to finish that sock. You have to wear it with it’s mate. It’s calling your name, whispering to you: knit me.
4.) Does it Have to be a Pair?
I know, this is technically cheating, but what if you knit a gray sock with a red toe, a purple heel, and a teal cuff? Could it’s mate be a gray sock with purple toe, a teal heel, and a red cuff? After all, when it’s in your shoes, will anyone really see the heels, cuffs, and toes? And even if they do, what’s life without a little spice? Want to make it a little less obvious? Try this pattern: comfy socks by Ulli S. Shibuya.
5.) Knit it Upside Down and Backwards
Come on, I know you’ve got the skills. Knit one sock toe up and the other cuff down. This works especially well with short-row heels or after-thought heels. Get really crazy and teach yourself how to do a toe up heel flap illusion, like these I Heart Toe-Up Socks by Wendy D. Johnson. Find a stitch pattern that you can recreate going both directions. The socks will look the same, but you won’t have to repeat the same knitting experience. You can recreate the look of a round, wedge, or star toe going up or down. You are a smart and capable knitter – you got this.
6.) Continental vs. English Throwing Style
I challenge you to knit one sock entirely Continental style and the other sock entirely English Throwing style. Stretch your knitterly talents. Knit the first sock in the style you normally knit in, and the other in the other style. This is a good way to practice your technique. It’s like practicing reading a foreign language by reading a book you’ve already read in your first language. Just try to keep your tension consistent.
7.) DPNs and Magic Loop
Switch up your needles. With Double Pointed Needles, you are in good historical company. Paintings of knitting Madonnas have been around since at least the fifteenth century. In fact, I’ve even heard it speculated that the idea for Jesus’s shirt (or coat) that was made in one piece such that the guards did not want to tear it to divide it among themselves may have been inspired by knitting in the round. Whether or not that is true, DPNs connect you with history while circular needles, used in the magic loop method, are a much more recent invention. March your fingers through the past and into the future using DPNs for the first sock and circular needles for the second. After all, it’s all knitting.
8.) Two at a Time
And for the truly impatient, and technically adventurous, knit both socks at the same time. Check out this article for the how to: Extreme Knitting: 2 socks in 1 by Kory Stamper.
Have a novel way of beating Second Sock Syndrome? Leave it in the comments!