Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I do not knit a ton of socks like some people. I do however enjoy knitting a good pair of socks once in a while. I have to prioritize and disperse them in with my many other knitting projects. There is so much out there that I want to knit, so many things I have in waiting and so many things I have already on the needles, so it is very difficult sometimes to decide what to knit with my limited knitting time. Nonetheless, I have not knit a pair of socks in while so no matter what else is going on, it's time for socks and socks are on the needles!
Saturday at Knit Knacks, I showed Nachaele, Leah, and Christie the Turkish toe cast on and gave them an insight as to how I go about making socks. When I took a toe up sock class from my friend Kathy, I discovered that I enjoy making socks from the toe up for many reasons. When you start a sock at the toe you can be very flexible about the number of total stitches you need for the yarn weight you choose, the pattern stitch you want to do and the needles you want to use. You can fit your sock, as you knit. You can make adjustments as needed, as you try on your sock. For example if you have a larger ankle measurement you can change a needle size at the ankle to accommodate or even add another stitch pattern repeat, you can make a longer heel flap; in other words you can fit your socks to your own feet as you knit. (be sure to write down what you do so you can make a second sock to match!) If you split the yarn into two even balls you will know that you will have enough yarn for each sock. This may be important if you have a bigger foot or want as long of sock as possible without having to buy more yarn.
Unless a really great top down pattern comes along (and it will have to be really spectacular) I will plan my socks like this......
1. Decide on yarn. I decided to only to pull out my Socks that Rock yarn stash, this not all of my sock yarn just my STR.
Tough choice but the winner is ....
Lightweight STR in the color "Lucy"
2. Review this book.....
In my opinion this book, Sensational Knitted Socks" by Charlene Schurch is the only book about socks you will ever need. I said need folks. You need this book no matter what other sock books you have or want, you need this book. You may also want to rely on a stitch pattern book or calendar so you can find different stitch patterns to use for your socks.
Here is my first pair toe up socks I made using the Turkish toe cast on. My friend Kathy gave me the yarn for my birthday last year so I took her class and made these awesome socks. I used a five stitch beaded rib pattern from the "book" The yarn is the medium weight STR in the color Hard Rock. I used a size 1 needle and 60 total stitches. I have a small foot and cannot make a lot of the other sock patterns out there, because they turn out too big. My feet are also not the same size as each other so I find a that a rib pattern gives me a good fit.
I love these socks, they are very special. The yarn was a present from a special friend, they are my first toe up pair and they fit like a glove, a foot glove that is. Store bought socks never fit me. My foot is small, my heel is small and I end up with the heel of the sock riding all over the place, it is most irritating. Well not when I make socks like this! These socks rock!
3. Wind yarn of choice. How beautiful, I almost hate to use it.
Okay, I said almost..... I cast on 16 sts on two 24" circular needles at the same time. I knit around even on each needle, for one round and then started increasing one stitch at the beginning and end of each needle every other row. This equates to an increase of 4 total stitches every other round. You will need to figure out your own formula for how many to cast on based on what you want in a sock, your gauge and your foot measurement. For example, if you have a gauge of 8 sts to the inch and are making a 66 sts pattern you will make a sock that is about 8.25" around. (Funny, but that is the measurement of my foot and it is my ankle measurement mmmm....) But it really doesn't matter, just figure out what number will get you to 1/2 your total number of sock stitches on each needle (using a 2 needle method or a 1 needle magic loop method.) It is a little bit of math but not bad. It is so worth it to get an absolutely fabulous, seamless toe, like this.
With the lightweight STR and Size 1 needles, I calculated that I could go up to 66 total stitches for my foot circumference, which then equates to a six stitch pattern. (there again, more math but worth it.) I started with 16 stitches on 2 needles and ended up with 33 stitches on each needle. When increasing I had to increase only once at the beginning of each needle one time, (instead of increasing at the beginning and the end) to get to my 33 stitches on each needle. After I increased to the total number of stitches I wanted, I knit a round even and then started the foot of my sock. I am using a six stitch, slip stitch (say that one fast 3 times) pattern that is based on a 3 x 3 rib. With the six stitch pattern I needed to be able to knit the first three stitches of the six stitch repeat at the end of my instep stitches so I can have a balanced pattern over the instep. That is why I needed 33 stitches on the instep needle (repeat of 6 +3.) Then of course, I needed the same number for the bottom of the foot which I knit in plain stockinette. This method works. (hard for me to explain so TRUST ME, it works) WOW - What a perfect fit. You gotta love this toe up method! Here is the toe from the back of the sock. Awesome, no seams.
The sock is started and is on its way UP. I did rip twice in the beginning and tried a couple of different stitch combinations before I chose this one with this yarn. So anal, but so easy when you start from the toe. I think I have the beginning of another great pair of socks! We shall see... More to come.