My Year in Socks: First Quarter in Review

I watched Summer Lee’s module on socks in Knit Stars Season 7 on a whim. I already knew how to knit socks and had knit plenty of them in my time – cuff down, toe up, two-at-a-time, Safiyyah’s two-in-one tube method (which involves knitting both socks on the same tube and inserting forethought heels and toes). You name it, I’d probably tried it. The two-in-one approach let me crank out a few pairs for the family last fall, but I’d otherwise been in a bit of a sock drought.

But whatever the reason, I tuned into Summer’s videos and absolutely fell in love with her love for the humble sock. In her lifestyle intro video, Summer explained how she would knit a pair of socks every month. As part of that, she’d go to the yarn store and hunt for that perfect skein to be turned into something special. She’d wait to cast on until the new month, yarn and pattern carefully selected.

I loved the idea of taking that extra moment to give your future self a gift. And socks were such an easy way to do it – low commitment, an easy canvas for experimentation and building new skills. It also was a bonus of being something I can wear during a good chunk of the year here in Minnesota (current glorious weather notwithstanding!). Being able to wear more than one handknit item, even if I never leave the house that day, fills me with such a sense of joy.

I decided I would participate in a similar monthly sock challenge and gave myself a few extra criteria:

  • Month to month, I would try to select different techniques and styles;
  • Whenever possible, I would try to shop my stash first, then consider purchasing from a LYS; and
  • Aim to use patterns I’d already purchased for some of the months.

To date, I’ve done 10 complete pairs of socks for myself since January, including successfully completing at least one pair of socks every month. Doing this much sock knitting has reminded me what a blast knitting socks are, especially for myself. Socks are one of the few items where I can actually knit a smaller size – so if it’s not overly complicated, I can have a new pair of socks done within 3 to 7 days! It’s a great sense of completion and accomplishment, especially while I work away at larger projects like shawls and sweaters.

This also tied in nicely with my knitting journal practice; I make a project page for everything I’ve cast on since September 2022. I’ve taken some of the principles of bullet journaling and made it work for my purposes – a yearly spread to keep track of what I made throughout the year, monthly pages to brainstorm and reflect on the month after it’s been completed, and a dedicated project page for everything I cast on.

As I started on January 22nd, I decided to keep my January selection simple. I fished out a Mudpunch self-striping colorway that I’d had for years and a contrasting plum for the cuffs, heels and toes and set to work! If you’re a fan of self-striping yarns and haven’t seen Chantal’s work yet – you’re missing out! She gives you that perfect stripe look with none of the effort! I love the yarn blend she uses; it holds up beautifully through normal use.

For my February pair, I waded into a territory that I hadn’t done historically: colorwork socks. As a magic looper, it took a bit of attention to trap the floats in the right places, but Summer had some great tricks in her module that I won’t spoil here! While my tension was a little looser than I might’ve liked, due in part to slippery yarns, I think these came out great! This pattern was one of the alternatives that came from Summer’s Midwinter Set (alternative #3). In hindsight, the yellow and the pink are a bit close to each other from a values perspective, so the colorwork doesn’t pop as well as the blue flower section does. But they’re a cute, spring-y pair. I purchased the yarn at Knitting from the Heart during a kid-free Saturday morning that my mother-in-law gifted me at the time.

February saw my first bonus pair – I was having such a ball that I dug out another deep stash item and knit a pair of vanilla socks. In the name of experimentation, I swapped out the heel flap and only did a short row heel (following the general recipe in Modern Daily Knitting’s Wanderlust Field Guide). The yarn was purchased at my very first Yarnover from Leading Men Fiber Arts! It’s their Soliloquy base in the delightfully named “Fright Night” colorway. As those are larger skeins – 150 grams instead of 100 – I have loads of yarn leftover as my vanilla socks took only 48 grams total. I’ll probably make matching socks for Dan and Ruby at some point. The base is 100% BFL, so it’s not as smooth as a sock base with merino and nylon, but it still feels great to wear.

In March, I finally cast on the Sprocket Socks from Pip and Pin, a pattern that always catches my eye whenever I see it. If you’ve got a mini skein set that you’ve been hanging onto (perhaps from our mini skein event last summer?) and don’t know what to do with, you should absolutely give this a shot. It’s not a complicated pattern, as it uses slip stitch / mosaic colorwork rather than traditional stranded colorwork. As a result, the stitch counts are higher than you might be used to. I usually cast on 56 stitches, but the pattern called for 60, and they’re still pretty snug. When I make this pattern again (because I absolutely will!), I’ll either cast on a few more stitches or go up a needle size.

I let the kids help me dig through the mini skeins to develop a palette of stash yarns that I absolutely love. Two of my colors are a bit too close to each other (could’ve placed them in a different order for better success) but otherwise I’m delighted with these socks. My daughter adored the colors and pattern as well – immediately asking for her own pair as I was working through mine. As she’s still growing, it’s tough to have the perfect sock ‘recipe’ for her lately, but it’s definitely on my list!

March saw two bonus pairs – one that got finished and one that did not.

The first is in this gorgeous Hue Loco Barnyard Chicken Collection Sock Set (colorway: Whiting True Blue with Ochre mini). My husband took a weekend trip to visit some friends in Colorado and they kindly did a bit of yarn shopping for me! This is one of the goodies he brought back 🙂 As I knew I wanted that colorway to do all the talking, I did a vanilla sock again. The vanilla sock is also perfect disc golf watching knitting, as I don’t need to look down as I’m working on it!

The second was a pretty impulse decision to cast on another pair of the speckled space socks. My first pair was made when I was still a pretty novice sock knitter back in 2019 in the gorgeous Ghibli-themed colorway from Casual Fashion Queen (Arrietty – for those who are fans too!). If you’re a Studio Ghibli fan, she’s still doing colorways inspired by the movies! That Mei and Satsuki colorway is calling my name… But anyway! They came out way too big and loose for my feet, so I gifted them to my MIL.

I forgot how fiddly the chart was for this pattern – though it is gorgeous – and didn’t make a lot of progress on these so far. The colorway was a fun pickup from Knitting from the Heart too. A South African-based indie yarn dyer called Cowgirl Blues in the delightful Bette Midler colorway! I’ll get around to photographing these when they’re finished – or frogged and reimagined into something else!

April was my most productive month to date! Want to hear more about it? Join me next month for my Second Quarter in review! Hope you’re inspired by my Year in Socks – tag us at #MKGShowandTell to share with me! ~Jess, Newsletter Editor

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Designer: Courtney Spainhower
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#FOFriday : I’m still getting caught up on my backlog of finished projects. I finished this sweater in August, but I hadn’t yet gotten around to taking a picture.

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Morton cowl (on Ravelry). Love the texture.

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I have a yoke! Been working on this Alpenglow WIP in between tests knits lately. It’s been sitting since March🫢😂. I’m finally to the point to separate for sleeves! I can’t wait to see this one completed. The sillygooseyarns blueberries is really making the spincycle_yarns Hot Dish pop! And yep, using Hot Dish again because it’s that good!😋

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Show and Tell! Pattern/yarn info on each pic.

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Headshot of Roxanne RichardsonRoxanne Richardson is a knitting communicator who lives in Minneapolis. Her YouTube channel explores a variety of knitting-related topics, including knitting history and techniques, and she writes technical knitting articles for Interweave publications. She’s a certified master hand knitter and certified knitting teacher, and she can’t wait to answer your burning knitting questions.

Bonnie Swierzbin

Marketing Director

(Term 1, Year 2)

Bonnie comes from a long line of makers, so between their sewing and her own knitting, her Barbies had loads of one-of-a-kind dresses. She loves to buy yarn and knit while she travels, so she has a yarn stash the size of Cleveland and memories imbued with knitting; she can tell you exactly what baby sweater she was making on the overnight ferry from Rab to Split, Croatia, in 1985. When she isn't knitting, Bonnie is dyeing yarn and vintage textiles, embroidering, and making felt or silk paper vessels. She's happiest when she is learning a new skill or knitting technique. (she, her, hers)

Kelly Amoth


(Term 1, Year 2)

A visiting friend from Seattle taught Kelly the very basics of knitting (a twisted loop cast on and just the knit stitch) in 2008 before flying home. Turning to the internet (thanks!) Kelly taught herself through a lot of trial and error. Uncontent to keep knitting the scarf she’d started as her first project, she jumped into knitting a pair of striped mittens for her non-knitter, but very knitworthy, twin sister. Twelve years later the mittens are still in her sister’s glove box, and Kelly is usually horrified when she pulls them out and sees the mistakes she made using double pointed needles for the first time. Kelly loves knitting socks and is thankful for the many months of cold weather when she gets to exclusively wear her handknits. (she, her, hers)

Kendra Hyland


(Term 1, Year 1)

Kendra lives in the Twin Cities and learned to hand knit from her mother in middle school. In the last few years, she has also learned crochet and machine knitting. Kendra enjoys knitting items to donate and challenging herself with new techniques. She prefers knitting in the round with colorful yarn. (she, her, hers)

Rose Tobelmann


(Term 2, Year 2)

Rose learned to knit from her mother at the age of ten. She started knitting on the ends of small paint brushes. She continued to knit off and on through her teenage and young adult years and became a more avid knitter after taking a Norwegian sweater knitting class through community education. Today, knitting has become a passion and she knits for charity, herself, and her family her stash. She enjoys meeting other knitters and learning new techniques.

Open Position

Programming Director

(3-year term)

This position is currently open. If you are interested in volunteering for the Guild board, please contact our president, Kelly, at the email me link below.

Betsy Preston

Service Director

(Term 1, Year 3)

Betsy never had patience for knitting, until she found herself spending a lot of time at little league games and waiting for the last kid to emerge from the locker room after swim practice. With her background in graphic design, stranded colorwork has a natural appeal. Not to mention the practicality of an extra layer of warmth. Betsy has recently begun publishing her original hat and cowl patterns, which are available on Ravelry. (she, her, hers) (See our Service Knitting Page for more information about our current projects and donation process.)

Nikky Heidel

Membership/Programming Director

(Term 2, Year 1)

Nikky was first introduced to knitting in 2012 when her visiting sister-in-law taught her the basics of casting on and the knit stitch. A few weeks later, she learned how to purl from her mother-in-law. From there, it quickly became a passion and she has taken on each new project with a desire to expand her skill and discover new techniques. She loves a good mystery (knit-a-long) and knits way more shawls than a single person can wear in a month.

Melissa Mintern

Technology Director

(Term 1, Year 2)

Melissa has been knitting for 15 years. She loves socks and sweaters. She is a new member who hopes to use her marketing background to lift up the MKG. While she isn't local to MN, she really loves the atmosphere created by the Guild. Melissa and significant other Al enjoy traveling, wherein Al graciously offers to drive so Melissa can knit in the passenger seat. (she, her, hers)

Anna Turk

Yarnover Committee Chair

While Anna learned to knit at some long-forgotten point in time, her commitment to the craft really began her freshman year of college. Sitting still has never been Anna’s strong suit, and giving her hands something to do while chatting with friends or watching movies in the dorm brought a sense of calm during this new chapter of her life. Once the sense of calm wore off (and no one else needed a scarf), she began trying new techniques, patterns, and projects, and until 2018 was primarily a self-taught knitter. After being intimidated early in her crafting, Anna feels strongly about creating a welcoming environment within the fiber community for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. She enjoys knitting and fiber traveling, test and service knitting, a good challenge (knitting or otherwise), and is likely to have at least 3 WIPs at any one time. She is also learning to spin and ply her own yarn! (she/her/hers)

A photograph of hands knitting green yarn against a black background.Project HandWork is an exhibit of photos by photographer Christopher Dykes. Using flash, a backdrop, and the infinite human variety, Christopher is collecting a series of images of hands at work in the fiber community. Manicures, hangnails, tattoos, wristwatches, cheap yarn, expensive silk, easy socks and exquisite lace all show the human diversity and the compulsion to create.

Yarnover attendees may have their hands photographed for a $50 sitting fee. Each sitter will receive an edited photo via email. The sitting fee goes to Help In Crisis, his local domestic abuse shelter. 

Anne Rojas


Laura Haave

Great Guild Getaway Committee Chair

Laura learned to knit in 2003 by taking a four-week class during MIT's annual January Independent Activities Period. The class project was a striped hat knit in the round, and since that time, Laura has been a big advocate of 1) helping other adults learn to knit for the first time, 2) hats as a manageable first project, and 3) circular needles for everything. She enjoys thinking about knitting and planning her next project almost as much as she enjoys actually knitting. Laura is highly motivated by knit-alongs and loves to knit in community. (she, her, hers)

Jess Dahlberg

Newsletter Editor

Jess learned to knit in middle school and attempted (but never quite finished) a few garter stitch scarves. Years later, she picked up crochet with her best friend in law school and eventually fell back into knitting. Ever since then, she's been a daily knitter (commuting time for the win!) and has never looked back. She enjoys knitting gifts for friends and family and loves trying new techniques. (she, her, hers)

Meg Duncan

Vice President

(Term 1, Year 2)

Meg grew up surrounded by makers. Her mom, a master quilter, former Home Ec teacher, and 4-H club leader in Duluth, taught her to sew, embroider, and cook. She won a trip to the State Fair as the Dress Review Princess at 13! Another MKG member taught her to knit continental style 15 years ago. Meg can’t sit still and NOT be knitting, embroidering, rug hooking or sewing. Favorite thing to knit? Mittens! She loves taking classes and learning new things – absolutely amazed and inspired by all the amazing knitters in the guild! (she, her, hers)

Get Bentz Farm LogoOur spinning demonstrations are sponsored by Get Bentz Farm. 

After growing up in the city and suburbs, the owners of Get Bentz Farm felt a need to be closer to nature and to be more connected to where their food came from. 

In 2014, they found a farm house for sale and later that year they decided on and purchased their first two Icelandic sheep. 

Once they had a good size flock they began marketing the amazing meat and wool. Initially, they found that many mills in the area do not process dual coated long wools, which slowed down their growth in yarn, but they did find a great market for wool filled bedding products and batting for spinning. 

Today, they have a variety of yarns, batting and roving as well as finished products like dryer balls, sheepskins, and wool bedding. Most recently, they opened their own Get Bentz Wool Mill as well as their own line of yarn – Badgerface Fiber.

Mona McNeely been a certified Iyengar Yoga instructor since 2016 and has studied yoga since 2002.   

She has three grown kids and two, almost three, grandchildren. Her grandma taught her to knit when she was seven. She picked it up again in her early 20’s and hasn’t put the needles down since. She is also an avid spinner and has woven her share of rugs. In her spare time, she volunteers at a non-profit called We Can Ride where they use horses as therapy for people with disabilities. She also works full time as a Treasury Analyst for a fairly large company.  Somehow it all balances out.

Midwest Machine Knitters' Collaborative logo

The Midwest Machine Knitters’ Collaborative (MMKC) is a Minnesota based fiber guild established in 2011. We envisioned the Collaborative as a way to connect with other machine knitters who like to think (and knit!) outside the box. MMKC provides a forum to promote fun, interest, appreciation, education, inspiration, and camaraderie in the art of machine knitting. We welcome all levels of experience, as this is the best way to learn and inspire. We will all become better knitters through collaboration.

Kathy Lewinski


Kathy has always been into crafts, but didn’t teach herself to knit until after college. She really got hooked while living in San Francisco when a friend opened a knitting store. To pitch in, Kathy started knitting up fun (and odd) things for window displays, as well as teaching classes. In the last couple of years, she has started designing her own knitting patterns (many of them available for free on Ravelry!) with toys and mittens being her primary obsessions. (she/her/hers)