Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sock it to me, baby!


Read through this first if you want to try it, because there are several variations and methods referred to. My hope is that you'll attempt to make socks, no matter your experience, and you'll see why so many knitters today are finding it addicting. If you have knit socks before, I'm hoping this blogpost will show you ways you can create your own unique designs. ~wearingpurple.

Makes one pair of basic socks for Adult, knit top down, but instructions for other stuff below.

Materials: 100g of sock yarn sport weight. A self striping yarn would be great for this basic pattern.

Needles: Sizes 5 needles, optional 3 for cuff. If you are make these one at a time, this will be sets of double pointed needles or 9" circulars. (I sometimes use a Balene brand 9" needle, which was uncomfortable at first, but now I find I can just zip around and round with it if I'm just creating plain socks.) If you knit two socks at a time, you need three circulars of each size.

Cast on 60 stitches. Usually on my double pointed needles set of four, this means I will have 20 stitches on three needles and one to work with. I use the larger needle for the cast on almost always the rolled edge method, then use the smaller from the first row. Also, if I am knitting a K1P1 rib, to create a very neat defined rib, I twist every knit stitch.

Work established rib pattern for 2". (If you are creating socks for a man, you may wish to continue with larger needles in established rib for 7", then one inch in stockinette stitch and then you are ready to turn the heel.) Knit in Stockinette stitch for 6 inches. (Means knit every stitch.)

I use the short row method for turning the heel. It creates a very soft flat fabric in stockinette stitch which will match the toes later. It is worked on half the total number of stitches being worked.

Knit 15 stitches on first needle, turn. Slip first stitch, purl back across stitches just knit, then continue to purl 15 stitches on next needle. * Turn. Slip first stitch, knit across to one stitch before first slipped stitch, turn, Purl to one stitch before first purled slip stitch. * Continue repeating from * to *, decreasing one stitch each side until ten stitches remain. Work these ten stitches for four rows, ending with the knit row.

Now the second half of the heel: *Pick up and knit first slipped stitch, turn, purl to first slipped stitch, Pick up and purl, turn. * Continue to repeat from * to * adding one slipped stitch back in to worked stitches each side until all stitches have been worked.

One thing that I do, and I recommend, is to pick up a stitch between the slipped stitches and knitting it with the slipped stitch, (k2tog) so that any gap between the slipped stitches is removed. If you do this, it is imperative that you be sure you have not added stitches and thrown off your stitch count.

Make sure you have all 60 stitches again. Continue to work all stitches for 6 inches, knitting every stitch.

And now for the toe: Work 13 stitches, *slip one, knit one, slip the skipped stitch over the knit one, PLACE MARKER. Knit 2 together*, knit 26 stitches, repeat from * to *, knit 13 stitches. 56 stitches.
Knit one row around. Continue working as established, decreasing one stitch before and after marker, every other row, until 20 stitches remain. Bind of with Kirchener stitch, so there is a flat invisible and non-creased seam. Repeat from cast on for second sock.

There you have a pattern for average men and women's socks. For boot socks with knitting worsted weight yarn, you'll only need 40 stitches but the measurements are the same.

For a child's sock you'll want to use fewer stitches, 40 stitches works great with sport weight, but you'll need to adjust the measurements depending on child. For instance, for my third grade grandson, I used 5 inches from cuff to heel, then 5 inches from heel to toe. Four inches for his little sister. Check your gauge. For finer yarn, you'll want to use smaller needles, like size 1 for cuff and 3 for rest of sock with a fingering or laceweight yarn. You'll also want to add to stitch count. Sixty stitches with a finer yarn makes great child socks.

Once you understand this basic pattern and how it flows you can change it up easily.

In the body of the sock, you can create a thermal sock by knitting one row, k1p1 around for one row. (Seemed to work best to keep the heel and toe in stockinette stitch.) Great for a solid colored or a heathered yarn. Especially nice in the worsted weight mentioned earlier for boot socks, go for the traditional look ~ a dark brown or charcoal grey with red cuff, heel and toe.

I've created a nice braided sock a few times. After working cuff, mark off 11 stitches on each side of the sock this way, knit 9 stitches, * place marker, purl one, knit 9, purl one, place marker, * knit 19 stitches. repeat from * to *, knit 10 stitches. Work in established pattern around one more time. On third row, work to marker, [ purl, using a cable needle, slip 2 stitches off needle and hold in front, knit 2 stitches, knit the two from cable needle, knit two stitches, purl ], knit around to third marker. { Purl, Knit two stitches, slip two stitches onto cable and hold in BACK, knit two, then knit two off cable needle, purl }. Finish row. Work as established for two rows. On the third, work the 11 braid stitches between from { to }, work to next marker work from [ to ]. Work two rows established. Continue as established working braid every third row, first one direction, then the other for 6 inches. What you are creating are braids reversed from each other on each side of the sock. When you get to turning the heel, do it after the second braid row of pattern, but continue with pattern while turning the heel. This creates almost a cool Celtic knot sort of a turn. Continue with braid pattern after turning heel for foot length, or 6 inches average, but drop the pattern for toe, just continue with stockinette in toe as before. This sock looks very traditional in an ivory color.

I have also created some very comfy stretchy CABLE SOCKS, using mini cable, very easily. NO CABLE NEEDLE REQUIRED! On the larger needles (skip the smaller ones this time), I cast on about 40 stitches in the rolled edge, then on the first row picked up a second knit stitch with every knit stitch, so that a knit 2 purl 1 rib is established which will be worked throughout sock and still have the 60 stitch count. Work one row established. Before the first purl stitch place marker, to mark start of row. Purl 1, * knit the second stitch on needle without sliding stitches off, then the first THEN slide the two off the needle, purl 1, knit 2, purl, repeat these 6 stitches around. * Basically you are cabling every other set of knit stitches . . . Work one row as established without cables. This next row, you will cable where you didn't before. Knit 2, purl 1, knit the second stitch on the needle without sliding stitches off, knit the first, THEN slide the two off, purl 1, repeat those 6 stitches around around. Now when I did this pattern, the heels and toes looked best to me in a garter stitch, or continue cabled pattern throughout heel, but if that seems too tough, you can either stop the cabled pattern and just finish sock in stockinette pattern, or just cable the front part of the sock and continue the heel through sole and toe in stockinette. If you can continue the cables throughout, you have created the perfect comfy, warm and stretchy sock that a diabetic will love. I have also knit baby sock using very similar pattern, 30 stitches with size three needles, the ankle was about an inch and a half, turned heels on half the stitches, knit through one inch of sole, then toe, very cute!!!

I have created many sock with the basic pattern, (one that I did a few months ago for a co worker was thermal with a mini wishbone that actually looked like stacked hearts up the front of the sock, very pretty!) right at the moment I can't remember them all. You can design your own, too, you just need to select a pattern stitch or repeat that divides into the number of stitches. For instance if you are using the sport weight with the 60 stitches, you'll want to make sure your repeats divide evenly into 60, whether it's two patterns of thirty like the braid socks or 30 patterns of 2 stitches like the thermals or better yet, 20 repeats of 3 like the cozy cables.

I have used the same pattern for toe-up. Just start with 20 stitches at the toe, cast on two stitches on each side every other row until you have the 60, knit for 6 inches, turning the heel is the same, work 6 inches, cuff for 2", bind off with rolled edge. They look almost identical in either direction.

I haven't yet, but I know I can do two socks at a time with this pattern also. I just haven't invested in more than one of each size of circular needles. I understand I would be working across the front of the two socks, turn work across the needle on the back of the socks. As far as turning heels: the last few, I have been working the short rows back and forth without turning my work, which seems cool at the moment, laziness being the mother of this invention, so, if I was working two at a time, that seems like it would be a cool way to go there too.


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