Tuesday, May 23, 2006

How I Knit Socks

Here follows a detailed description of "my standard sock pattern." I cobbled it together from a lot of sources, using the heel and toe that I like best and the measurements that fit my foot and leg. These particular instructions describe my Soda Shoppe Socks, and so include instructions for the picot edge bind-off. More usually, I either do a couple inches of K2P2 ribbing and then use Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind-off, or I do K4P2 ribbing all the way up the leg and then use the sewn bind-off.

I knit my Soda Shoppe Socks using my own standard toe-up pattern. I use two circular needles, size 2.25 mm.

To cast on, I make a slip knot and put it around one needle. Then I wrap it around both needles, held together, twelve times. Then I pull one needle through the wraps, so it is hanging by the flexible part. With the other needle, I knit into those twelve loops. Turn the work, and using the other needle, knit into the twelve loops again. This is a version of the Figure-8 Cast On described on Wendyknits.net's toe-up sock tutorial, available on her own website and on Knitty. This method was also described in Interweave Knits sometime in the last year, and called the Turkish or Eastern European cast-on. If you do it Wendy's way, with a figure-8 instead of just straight wraps, you have to knit into the backs of the loops on one needle. If you just wrap the yarn around both needles, you don't.

I now have twelve stitches on each of my two circular needles. I begin to knit around, making one stitch (Elizabeth Zimmerman's way--the backward hitch) on each side of each needle, one stitch in, every row, until I have 24 stitches on each needle. So, on each needle, K1, M1, knit till last stitch, M1, K1.

When I have 24 stitches on each needle, I begin to do increase rows only every other row. This rounds the toe very nicely. I do the increase rows every other row until I have 32 stitches on each needle.

Now, I just knit the foot. For the Soda Shoppe Socks, I was very careful with how I handled the striping. I cast on the toes at the very beginning of a pink-and-white section--the one that comes right after the caramel-colored section. The toe increases took up the whole pink-and-white section and most of the dark brown section that follows it. I then knit the foot in the round past the next caramel-colored section and to the end of the plain white section that comes some time after it.

Then, I work the short-row heel on one needle, 32 stitches. I short-row down to 14 stitches, then work back up. At my tension, this took up a dark brown section, a pink-and-white section, and part of a plain white section.

When I am done with the short rows, I begin to knit in the round again, picking up one stitch at the beginning of each needle in order to close the holes that tend to form at the corners of the heels. I now have 33 stitches on each needle, 66 stitches total.

I then knit the leg through two more caramel-colored sections and the pink-and-white section right after, and one round in the dark brown section after that. To make the picots, I YO, K2tog around one round (to make this come out even, I transfer one stitch from one needle to the other, so I have 34 stitches on one and 32 on the other). Then continue knitting as normal, through the rest of the dark brown section and the pink one that comes after it.

Then, I bound off using a Chibi needle. I would sew through one stitch, sew through a stitch on the sock (count how many rows you have knit plain after the picot row; sew the stitch down to the row that is that many + 1 or 2 from the picot), and then sew through the stitch before that one, also on the sock. Then move on to the next, picking up the stitch from the knitting needle, sewing through its corresponding stitch on the sock, and then sewing through the previous stitch you sewed down. Doing this makes the sewing yarn loop around, which works extra length into it and makes the bind-off stretchy.

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