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Dear Kay,

Amid this totally uneventful news week, breaking news: I have hit a new PSB (Personal Sock Best).

I made a pair of socks in 2.3 days.

In between checking out New Zealand real estate and prepper websites, I managed to a) meet with Doug The Accountant, b) lay in a new store of Lara Bars (Pineapple!), and c) crank out Ann Budd’s Après-Anything Socks in what ranks as one of the most satisfying knitting projects in ages.

Why Ann Budd’s Socks Are What the World Needs Now

  1. They use size 8 needles.

2. They are not supposed to be practical. They are supposed to be what you dive for when it’s cold and you’re longing for some miraculous thing to happen to your chilly, chilly feet. These socks are that miracle.

3. Clever bits keep it fun: twisty stitches at the cuff and heel. Slip stitch colorwork to add, you know, STYLE.

4. Each sock is a grand total of maybe 2,000 stitches, cuff to toe. You can pretty much do brain surgery, or a challenging episode of Happy Valley, while blasting out a foot.

5. Two words: no Kitchener. You get to the end, catch the last few stitches in a drawstring, and zoop! Done!

6. These socks present, once again, the chance to gaze upon this marvel of engineering. What genius invented the heel of a sock?

7. The yarn is one of our kits, the maximally buttery Blue Sky Fibers Hand Dyes. You can make these socks with any worsted weight wool, but hey—we picked this yarn for a reason, y’all. It’s merino/alpaca. It is smooth and soft. And it has absolutely no place inside a shoe of any kind. Which is the point with these socks.

Slouchy socks.

Lounge socks.

Bed socks.

Extravagant sleeping bags for the footular area.

Luxuries for the extremities, please!





  • Wow! Must knits socks…must knits socks…! Those are gorgeous!

    • Thank goodness I have some nice worsted on hand!! These are irresistible.

  • As one who cannot even dream of real estate in New Zealand, I think I’m going to be knitting a lot of socks.

  • You guys are making it very hard to stick to my New Year’s resolution of finishing one knitting project before moving starting another!

  • Those socks will be nice in your silo. Is yarn part of your prepper stash? I’m sure it is. Better have a sheep and a spinning wheel, too!

  • I’m looking for easy socks for my beginning high school knitters. I wonder if this is the pattern. I could leave out the colorwork to keep it simple.

    • I think it’s a fantastic idea! The only thing hard about socks is the anticipation before you’ve ever made one. Break it down for them into parts and tackle one part at a time. Signed, Another Self-Taught Sock-Knitter from Books

      • Thank you HONEYBEE33, what an awesome comment: “the hardest part about Sock Knitting is the anticipation.” That’s me, and I haven’t started yet but I have read and studied what everyone has to say about Sock Knitting. Thank you much.

    • Not that I would recommend socks for beginners, but they are so enthusiastic and insistent. 🙂

      • My first knitting project was a pair of socks made with Lion Brand Wool Ease (20% wool and only about $4 a ball). The twists on the cuff and heel of this one might be a little much for a first time knitter. Maybe after they get the hang of holding the needles and consistent tension . . .

      • I once worked with a lady whose adult daughter taught herself to knit from written instructions (before the popularity of videos on the internet). That first project: worsted wt socks!

        • So true! One of my first projects as a beginning/self taught knitter( before You Tube videos) was worsted weight boot socks for my Dad, size 14 feet! When I brought them into the LYS, they first thought they were Christmas Stockings to be hung by the fire & my gauge was off. Nope! Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Sock book got me started:-)

        • That sounds like me as a learner. Didn’t use on-line videos, just figured it out from books about 5-6 years ago.

      • Interesting idea! I wonder if you could experiment with one student to see how it goes. I do think we are quick to declare something “hard” when it’s more a matter of simply paying attention. If you can read, you can knit, I always say!

  • I’ve already knit a pair, and they are fantastic! That slip-stitch colorwork is loads of fun to knit, and the mini-cables in the cuff and heel flap are great. Also – can I brag? – Ann Budd left a comment on my Rav project page. I’m chuffed to bits about that. 😀

    • So great! They are such potato chip knitting–I’ve already started another pair.

      • Wow!!!

      • I know what the Shaynes are getting for Christmas!

        • Shhhh, it’s a secret.

  • I love that — “Extravagant sleeping bags for the footular area.”

  • The size 8 needles have sold me. My feet need these. It is snowing, again, up here in southern Ontario.


  • These look so lovely! And I love the juxtaposition of “hand-knit socks” and “crank out!” I love the description of the yarn, too. “It has absolutely no place inside a shoe of any kind.”

  • I’m writing from the southern half of the South Island of New Zealand (long-time MDK fan) – plenty of room down here for you all, should you wish to decamp.

    I’ve recently bought the e-book version of Field Guide No.2 and those socks are singing a siren song to me loudly. I’m grinding my way through a regular pair of socks for my size 11-13 hubby at present so near-instant sock gratification sounds marvellous! Also trying hard not to think about Hadley either (so far my willpower re yarn purchasing is holding!).

  • my first socks were a worsted weight felted slipper sock. I got to learn the construction of the various sections of a sock in an extra large size of stitch, and any mistakes were felted away!

  • Different strokes for different folks….those look like an ocean of heel pain to me. Maybe I have princess feet, but any sock knitted looser than 7 or 8 stitches to the inch leaves me feeling purl bumps like pebbles under my heel. I’d have to wear a regular sock inside! These are cute in a rustic way, and I am quite familiar with the design excellence of Ms. Budd, but I’ll have to stick to my fingering weight socks. Which I should get back to, because I abandoned them for two crocheted afghans (for Christmas presents), a now nearly done Afmaeli Lopapeysa, and a crocheted shawl/cowl hybrid that’s done. Socks (at 8-9 stitches to the inch, most knitted in stockinette with fun yarn) are my perpetual purse project.

  • Those socks are lovely – just what we need right now in these cold Berlin days. I also love that you’re considering a doomsday property. Scary thoughts though 🙁

  • You had me at size 8 needles! Too many neurological problems for fingering weight, but my knitting pals tell me socks are addicting. I have orders for two more pussyhats, once pink yarn is available again at less than $50 a skein in DC — yikes! — so maybe now is the time to dive into these fun footsie flourishes.

  • I never do Kitchner any more. I end all cuff down socks with a Russian lace-makers join. Most socks i do 2 at a time, toe up.

  • Awesome reading for me this morning, new to the sight but today was my day. Started with the Julia Child story, then Fair Isle knitting and ended up with annbuddknits about SOCKS. What an awesome winter morning. Better late than never but this greatgranny is excited about all the possibilities available today: FAIR ISLE, ENTRELAC, BRIOCHE, LACE KNITTING AND SOCK KNITTING. OMG!!! Thank you for your encouraging stories.

  • Pattern. Are this worsted weight #4,

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