Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Upcoming Sock Tutorial

I'm still working on the top down hat, but there's not enough progress to warrant a picture.

I also just started a pair of socks for my husband, Mr. Size 13 extra wide. As with most patterns, I've not been able to find any patterns to fit him, so this one is a mix of what I know from following others' patterns.


So, I thought I'd start off with a simple sock tutorial, and I plan to get the first steps up in the next day or two. These socks are toe up, worked with a heel flap and gusset. I'm doing a simple rib up the top of the foot and then up the entire cuff. I've found that ribbing carried the whole way (instead of stockinette with a couple inches of ribbing) gives him a better fit. If you'd rather have smoother socks, then you can just ignore the ribbing instructions, of course.

Toe up socks

I learned to knit by following the basic sock pattern in Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot's Bag of Knitting Tricks. I really enjoy knitting socks top down, as she does, but I'm using toe-up for this tutorial (and for many of my socks now) for a couple reasons.
  1. You don't need to check gauge to do toe up socks. For some mysterious reason, I always get the size wrong when I do cuff down, even if I check gauge. So, this keeps me from ripping out... and swearing... a lot.
  2. Toe up lets you make the most important part of the sock first (the foot!) so that if you run short of yarn, you can just shorten the cuff a bit. That doesn't work the other way, unless you're a fan of toe-less socks. For my hubby, this is important. When you're making size 13 socks, you need to be careful about your yarn supply.
  3. One problem is that doing the first row or two of toe-up socks is a huge pain. The first time I tried it, I bet I ripped it back out at least half a dozen times, and it still wasn't great. I'll give you some of my tips for getting through this first, most difficult step.
Gusset or no gusset

I've tried socks both with and without a gusset. Since both my husband and I have relatively thick ankles, gussets make the socks fit SO MUCH better. If you're ankles are thinner, you can probably get away with no gussets.

One problem with my approach is that it will disrupt your striping pattern, if you're using a self-striping yarn. I can live with that easier than I can tight socks.

I've already worked the toe of the first socks, and I have some pictures of what I did. I'll get that up first, along with stitch counts, yarn, gauge, etc. However, these are super easy, and the "pattern" should work for sock sizes from tiny all the way to enormous.

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