First Footing (Ceilidh Oidche Challain)


I’m really pleased to introduce my first sock pattern, which is now available as a kit in my online shop. I knit socks all the time, but for some reason have never yet designed a pair…until now! This very seasonal design celebrates the Scottish New-Year tradition of First Footing, which, in Gaelic is known as Ceilidh Oidhche Challain (translating as “a visit on Hogmanay night”). In Gaelic, Ceilidh does not really signify a party, in the terms we know it today, but should be thought of more generally as a sociable visit. Ceilidh Oidhche Challain would traditionally have been very jolly affair indeed, as communities celebrated the turning of the New Year together with the sharing of songs, tales, and verse. So if you fancy first footing this Hogmanay, why not do so in a fresh pair of socks?


The cuff-down sock pattern covers two sizes – small and medium – to fit adult feet with 8in or 9in circumferences. The kit contains pattern, project bag, and lovely Jamieson and Smith Shetland Heritage yarn, in a choice of two colourways, indigo or madder (the same as the Toatie Hottie kits).


So pop on your socks and prepare for Hogmanay!

First Footing kits are now available.

52 thoughts on “First Footing (Ceilidh Oidche Challain)

  1. You have a lovely sock debut there. I love that Heritage yarn. I have a wee stash of it: likely enough for socks. But the Toatie Hottie comes first! It’s warmed up a little here, but it’s still -15°C.

  2. They are beautiful, Kate! I just ordered them in the Madder colour way. Now I need to patiently wait for them to make their way across the Atlantic, then across Canada. I’m so happy to see you come out with a sock design!

  3. those are gorgeous… I love colorwork socks but its almost always too warm to wear wool socks in Texas, (although I make them and then they sit in my sock door looking sad and unworn). I am so happy you have more of the mini hot water bottle kits in stock! I ordered one to make it for my mom who has really severe arthritis and who always needs to be warm. They just look so cheery and sweet!

  4. These are so beautiful and I went right on to order them but they are sadly sold out. do you think you’ll produce more kits, or make the pattern available on its own? Lovely design!

  5. What a wonderful pair of Christmas socks they would be. I love them! So sad to see they are already sold out, where there be more kits available anytime soon?

  6. Kate, these are beautiful! And as always, I also love and appreciate your History/geography/heritage lesson, always so interesting and inspiring. I read and re-read!

  7. OMG – these are lovely. Yet another of your patterns added to my to do list. As soon as I’ve finished my PhD amendments I’m going to spend my time knitting your beautiful patterns!!

  8. Drat! I had this in my shopping cart this morning but got distracted and by the time I got back to it they were sold out – will you have move in the future?

  9. Thanks Kate, yet another beauty to add to my to do list of your patterns [I’ve only managed two so far – with amasing results thought]. However, I’ve promised myself as soon as I’ve finished my PhD [not long now ] I’m going to dedicate my life to knitting everyone of you lovely designs xx

      1. Ha ha. We are stalking you!!!! In a good way a fan in the US loves ya!!!! I think if you had a line if anything I would just purchase. Ha ha.

  10. Great work and as beautiful as all your other designs! Your work always manages to make me think wow! And I just thinking the other day I haven’t made any socks in quite a while! X

  11. These are splendid. Isn’t it so that for good luck the first person to enter your house on the new year should ideally be a tall dark man, for that first footing? Maybe I have to make these for my man and send him around.

  12. Yes, at least some black hair :) Wow, what a sale………LOVE the pattern! Cheery for Solstice also.
    I too would buy the pattern.

  13. sorry cant edit comments… so here is another request for a waiting list for the kit… or a pay and you will send it when you put it together? the toattie is sold out again also. good for you … but how can we buy it if its constantly sold out…

  14. I’ll need to set the alarm on the west coast of Canada as I must have been under the covers. Do you think in the future that snaw paws will be in a kit to match the hat I ordered last week. Also interested in other hat kits. Thanks

  15. I’m inpsired to knit socks. I’ve never knitted a pair before, but this pattern is lovely, so I will definatly be having a go.

  16. The pattern, Gül (“rose” in Turkish) is truly lovely. I came across it in a book called _Anatolian Knitting Designs_, by Betsy Harrell. She gives the chart for it and many others — simple and complex. The book is about the knitting of women in the Sivas province of Turkey. Harrell writes about a project to help them create a cooperative for producing stockings that they could sell to the wider world. So, I am sure they will be thrilled to know that a superb designer in far-off Scotland is incorporating one of their gorgeous traditional motifs. I use the patterns in hats, since I hate to hide such glory under a trouser leg!

    1. Yes, the gül chart was my starting point – my favourite out of many beautiful stitch patterns in that book – I felt it had a rather Celtic flavour!

  17. So I read about Hogmanay, first footing and all of the traditions surrounding this event. I am in for a bad year. The first person to cross my threshold will most likely be my husband who is not tall, nor dark (but he is handsome). We will probably be in bed by 10 and too lazy to clean out the ashes in the fireplace(a suggestion for a new start to the year).My only good luck charm will be to land a First Footing sock kit for the following year. However, a recipe for a Het Pint might be nice.

  18. Do you have plans to sell more of these kits? If so, do you have some sort of waiting list? I missed the second round of kits you offered – they were sold out almost immediately it seems!

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About Kate Davies

writer, designer and creator of Buachaille (100% Scottish wool)