Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sock Tutorial, part 1

As promised, here's the first part of my toe-up sock tutorial. This is easy to resize for any foot size, but I'm doing this one for my husband, who is a size 13!

Yarn: Patons 100% wool, worsted weight
Needles: 3.25 mm double pointed (5)
Gauge: doesn't matter, as long as you're getting a fabric density you like.

Step one is casting on. For most women's socks, you'll want 8 loops on each needle. For these, I'm doing 12.

You do a figure 8 cast on. Knitty has some good pics of how to do one as well. I find it easier to wrap a few extra loops. When you start knitting, just knit up the ones you need and let the rest drop off your needles.

Knit half the stitches from one needle off onto a third needle, then the other half off onto a fourth.

You should have something that looks a bit like this.

Next, you'll flip the needles over and knit off the stitches from the bottom needle (which is now the top needle.) I find it easier to knit into the BACKS of these stitches, and it tends to tighten up the stitches a bit too.

In all honesty, I had to do this a bunch of times before I could get the stitches tight enough. Make yourself some coffee (or something stronger) and resign yourself to frogging a few times. It's worth it when you get it right.

You should have something that looks like this picture (below). It can seem a bit of a mess at this point, but be patient, and after a couple rows, you'll be fine.

You'll increase every row from this point on. I do a make 1 increase at the ends of each needle. So, you'll knit one, make 1, knit to the end of the needle. Then, knit all the stitches to the last stitch, make one, knit the last stitch. Flip the sock and do the same on the other two needles. You're increasing along the edges of the sock (not the center!).

One trick I use is to concentrate on pulling the yarn especially tight when moving from the top of the sock to the bottom of the sock. This helps to make the sock start taking on a tube form.

You can see my sock below starting to take that shape. With this sock, I increased 4 stitches per row until each needle holds 10 stitches (40 total).

At that point, I start working increases only every other row. This provides the nice round toe shaping. You'll continue working that way until you get the sock as wide as you want it.

How do you know when that is? Just hold the sock against the bottom of your foot (or the recipients) and see if it's wide enough when slightly stretched. In this case, I finished with 14 stitches per needle.

Here's a picture of the toe just starting to look like a toe. Remember to pull your stitches tight where top and bottom meet or you'll get ladders, and you'll have to frog it.

By now, it should be a lot easier to work with (thank goodness, right?).

Finally, here's the sock actually looking like a sock. At this point, it's easy. Just determine your ribbing (if you want it) or just knit in stockinette until you reach the base of the ankle.

For this sock, I'm doing a 2x1 rib. The stitch count for that is something divisible by 3 plus 1. You'll need to start the ribbing with a purl (to separate it from the stockinette on the foot), work knit2/purl1 rib across the top and end with a purl.

So, make sure your stitch count across the top of the sock is right. You might have to adjust your increases a little to get the right number. Work stockinette along the foot and ribbing along the top.

When you've reached the base of the ankle (with the sock stretched as much as it will be when it's worn), stop. It's time to work the heel.

Now, I'll catch up so we can do sock tutorial 2. Have fun! Leave a comment if you have any questions, and I'll try to help.

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