Knitting the Shell Cottage Socks Pattern

hand knit socks in aqua blue variegated yarn

Although I haven’t knit many socks, the Shell Cottage Socks looked pretty cute. I bought the pattern from Curious Handmade and this page is about my sock knitting adventure.

Having less income over the past year and a half, thanks to the pandemic, meant a chance to use up stash yarn. That lack of extra money to spend on yarn forced me to clear out and use up. Most items I’ve been knitting this past year were made from the yarn already in my house.

Sock yarn with nylon should really be used to knit socks. I have quite a few skeins to use and this pretty variegated blue was the one I chose for the cute little ankle socks.

The yarn came from Four Purls, which is a yarn shop near Orlando. It’s Emma’s Sock Yarn in colorway “Juneau”. I bought it back when the shop would travel around central Florida in their yarn truck. They used to come to my town and it was my temporary local yarn store. That hasn’t happened in a while, which has been good for my wallet.

Shell Cottage Socks Pattern to Buy

I bought my Shell Cottage Socks pattern on Ravelry. Helen Stewart is the designer with the shop name Curious Handmade. Her patterns are mostly socks and shawls. One of the very first knitting projects I undertook was her Spindrift shawl.

For the socks I chose to knit a size Large, using size 1US needles. After reading through comments by previous knitters I learned that many people found the socks to be too tight, or too small, so I figured a large size would be safe. I’m a tight knitter, so it made sense to choose the large size.

I began using my 9-inch circular needle for the cast-on and followed the directions with cast-on number 72 and worked the ribbing. I continued to use the small circular needle until I reached the heel.

This pattern is like none I’ve ever seen in my short knitting life. Every single row / round to be worked is written out, except for the ribbing. That makes it easy to follow along and check off each row when finished. A stitch count is also included for every single row!

Good Pattern for Beginners? Probably Not

I like the way every row is written out to be checked off as I knit along. Any beginner knitter would appreciate that. But a couple of things slowed me down while knitting this pair of socks.

First, when it comes to working the heel and the gusset, the stitch placement refers to only two needles – Magic Loop knitting. If you know how to use Magic Loop, you’re all set. But, anyone using four DPN’s would have to adjust. Although it’s not a tough thing to do, a beginner might be confused.

My other problem was that I personally found it difficult to do that slipover stitch that creates the cute cable look. That cute design is the reason I chose this pattern! I had a really hard time grabbing that stitch and pulling it over the others. I ended up using a crochet hook, which was annoying. Maybe different needles would have helped, I don’t know. And to be fair, I did not read any other reviews of this pattern where the knitter complained about doing that faux cable stitch.

The toe is finished with the Kitchener Stitch, which is probably a difficult accomplishment for a beginner knitter.

In fact, if you are reading this and have not knit much at all, try something easier than socks! Socks are my least favorite item to knit. I think many people knit socks because they are useful garments. We all want to be able to use the items we knit.

For my first sock, I quit doing that extra stitch (named “KNOT” in the pattern) after the cuff (photo left above) because the aggravation for me was just not worth it.

On my second sock, I changed the way I did the “KNOT” stitch so the slipover was done on my right-hand needle instead of the left. This was much easier for me. It’s not exactly the same, but close enough, and was easy to do so I continued with it all the way to the toe.

So, my socks don’t match. They were good practice. I may knit this pattern again one day using a solid color, which I think would work much better for showing off that cable-look design. That ball of yarn is all I had left from the skein.

In conclusion, I did like this pattern once I made my changes. I made lots of notes on the pattern pages and that will make it easier to follow next time.

If you are a crazy sock knitter, and / or love knitting shawls, and haven’t heard of this designer, check out the Curious Handmade website.


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