Sunday 13 September 2009

Socks and Shopping

I have finally finished my "Vanilla Socks". I started the first version in June, these were then frogged (rip it, rip it. Get it? No, then say it out loud. Now do you get it, good?) and started again in August. Basically I made a mess of the gauge somehow and ended up with rather large socks. As these socks were meant to create a default template for me to knit socks by, I thought I'd better get it right.

When I started again I used two very helpful sources of information:

  1. Vogue Ultimate Sock Knitting Book, a very useful and lovely birthday present, and
  2. Maia Spins, a very detailed blog which contains great tutorials.

Between these two sources and some other bits and pieces I have picked up over the last year or so I managed to create these:

I know they look baggy on the blockers but this is because I have rather wide feet. The process was this:

My gauge, in stocking stitch, on 2.5 mm needles, is 9st over 1”. My feet are 9.5" wide, so I worked out that 9.5 x 9 = 85.5. I then reduced this by 10% to 76, then knocked off 4 stitches to make it easier to work out increases and decreases throughout the sock. This gave me a total of 72 stitches I needed to arrive at, after casting on the toe.

I cast on 36 st, increasing up to 72 using Judy’s Magic Cast On, which I had re-written and revised for my On Target Bag pattern. At some point I intend to add it to a tutorial when I get time to take some photos.

Once I reached 72 stitches I worked in straight stocking stitch until the sock measured 6.5” from toe to working edge. I then knit a heel flap of 24 stitches for 2.75”. This heel flap is knit in the middle of the back of the sock, leaving 6 stitches either side from the back needle. This made the total length of the sock 9.5" for my 10" long foot, before the heel was turned.

Using short row shaping around the middle 12 stitches, I then turned the heel. Once all stitches were incorporated, I picked up stitches along the heel flap to form the gusset.

On alternate rounds I reduced 1 stitch at each side, by either K2tog, or improved SSK, which is as follows:

Slip knitwise, slip purlwise then knit slipped stitches together. On the next round, knit through the BACK of the loop. Video of technique.

Using the above technique, which eliminates the little jagged line you sometimes get with normal SSK, I reduced the stitches down to 80, in total, to allow for my thick 10.5" ankles and knit a couple of rounds and switched to 1 x 1 rib.

After trying on the finished product, I think I started the ribbing too soon, as it rides down at the back when I flex my ankle. I must remember for next time, to knit stocking stitch up to the top of my ankle.

I did around 3" of ribbing and then did a picot edge cast off to make the cast off edge nice and stretchy, as tight sock tops are my pet hate.

Apart from the ankle issue, I am pretty pleased with the fit of the socks and will follow my own instructions again.

Having said that, after reading the Fall 09 issue of Knitty, I just had to try the Hat Heel Socks. It just seemed such a sensible suggestion to start from the tricky ankle bit and then work outwards. So I have cast on using my Wendy Happy Aquarius yarn and I'll let you know how it goes. This is what I've got so far:

Cute huh?

Oh yes, shopping, I knew there was something else I had to tell you. I bought the most scrummy yarn ever! It is Adriafil Baba, which is destined to be made into something beautiful.

I will let you know what, very soon.


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