November 29, 2010 by Spinningmad Dee (Dionne) Westwood
I particularly enjoy making socks; over the last few years I’ve produced many, many pairs for family and friends… even some band members who have benefited from a little pocket added in the sock to keep a spare plectrum in! My current commitment is to knit a pair for each month during 2010 for my hubby who complained I made far too many for other people!
I used the basic pattern that is given below to make my first ever socks; knitted with a hand-spun & dyed yarn I had bought online from Curious Yarns (sadly, I don’t think this shop is in business anymore). These were not only my first ever socks; but my I first experience with hand spun, hand dyed yarn as well! The pattern came with the yarns I purchased.
Since then I’ve come across lots of pattern variations, leg shaping, patterning using stitches such as ribbing and lace, and also different ways to knit and turn the heel… there is a heel flap and gusset method and also a method known as an “afterthougt heel” as well as the short row method we will employ here.
Recently, I’ve been making socks from the toe up instead using a cast on method known as Turkish Cast on but we will be knitting from the cuff down.
This knitting tutorial follows on from a set of 8 prior tutorials which began with choosing and blending fibre, spinning it using the short draw method and creating a 4 ply yarn, all elements specifically chosen to create a strong and durable sock. During sessions 6 – 8 section we focused on a simple technique to introduce colour in our design, dyeing our yarn with acid dyes to create a repeating 2 colour band.
Having successfully dyed, dried and set our yarn it is at last ready to knit with.
Knitting a Swatch
The first, very important task is to knit a new swatch sothat alterations in the yarn’s properties are taken into account.
This enables us to make necessary adjustments to the stitch and row count we took from the original swatch, and to change the size of knitting needles if we need to. As my yarn was very over-twisted I am expecting this to impact quite a lot now that the yarn has been washed and set.
How to knit a Swatch
- Cast on about 30 stitches and knit in stocking stitch until you have a square shape.
- Wash and block this and allow to dry.
- Take measurements from the middle part of the square as these will be the most reliable to use because they will be undistorted by cast on or off and any blocking tension.
- Using a swatch guage/tool or a tape measure mark using pins across 10cm and down 10cm.
- Now count the number of stitches in the 10cm between the points marked with your pins across the row. Note this down
- Then count the number of rows between the top and bottom pins you placed at 10cm apart.Note this down too.
“You can keep the swatch as a sample to refer back to with other projects or unravel it and re-ball this section of yarn”.
Now using this new tension guage we plan the cast on for our knitting.
My new guage:
I had 23 stitches in my 10cm sample.
= (2.3 stitches per knitted cm)
I had 40 rows in my 10cm sample
= (4 rows per knitted cm)
Returning to the measurement I took from my husband I know that his cuff size measured 28cm.
Using the number of stiches per cm (2.3) we multiply this with the number of centimeters required for the cuff to fit (28cm)
=2.3 x 28 = 64.4.
It is worth bearing in mind that in handspun wool there will be a natural fluctuation in stitch size.
And, as I am a loose knitter, I know my sock will still be quite roomy…
This knowledge indicates that if I knit a few less stitches than I calculate the sock will have a snug fit rather than constantly falling down…
“Having examined my swatch I feel that the 64.4 stitches indicated by my swatch guage will make a loose sock. I therefore round down to 60 stitches……sixty has the good grace to split into an equal number when halved (30), and the half will split well into thirds (3 x 10) for the heel which will make things very straight forward”.
1. Cast on 61 stitches.
***Ensure all stitches are lying straight, untwisted along the needle(s). ***
2. Join into a circle to create the round.
This is done by passing stitch 1 from the left needle over to the right needle and passing stitch 61 (on right needle) over (the moved) stitch 1 and off the needles.
3. Place marker at join.
You now have 60 stitches joined for “knitting in the round”
Note: There is no turning of the knitted piece when “knitting in the round”.Each row follows on from the last and the point at which a new row begins is marked with the stitch marker. All stitches to create stocking stitch are in knit stitch.
4. Knit in rib for at least 2 cm.
(this could be 1 x1 or 2×2 rib or a variation as long as it works with the number of stitches you have cast on. You may need to increase or decrease a stitch or two to make your pattern work and then remove or add in stitches again to bring the stitch count back when you have done the ribbing.
Note: Some people will rib using a needle 1 size down from that which thy will use for the rst of the knitted piece.
I chose 2×2 rib as this also works well as the 60 stitches divide nicely by 4. Knitting in rib will give the sock some “grip” and elastication in it’s cuff.
I have knit socks entirely in rib stitch too, the choice is yours and you can experiment as you wish.
5. Change to stocking stitch and knit to beginning of heel
Remember this is knit stitch only when knitting “in the round”. For my sock I knit a further 11cm (my sock is 13cm including cuff)
6. Place a 2nd marker at 30 stitches (half of total stitches)
“I began to turn the heel just before my knitting was due to change to yellow.”
7. Knitting with these 30 stitches only, (Slip 1, Knit one)* until 1 stitch before maker.
8. Wrap this 30th stitch
(***see below for wrapping stitches***)
9. Turn knitting, and purl back across to the last stitch before marker
10. Wrap this 29th stitch
11. Turn knitting.
12. This time begin with Knit one, then (slip one, knit one)* until 1 stitch before the wrapped stitch.
13. Wrap this 28th stitch.
14. Turn knitting and purl to 1 stitch before wrapped stitch.
15. Wrap this 27th stitch
Continue in this way until you have 10 unwrapped stitches between 10 wrapped stitches either side.
(This is why the total number of stitches cast on, when halved needed to be divisable by 3).
Knitting with slipped stitches (as above) creates a slightly reinforced stitch in this heel area. There will be a loop of yarn on the inside of the heel behind each slipped stitch and forces it forward slightly making it sit more prominently than the knitted stitches either side of it. Keeping the slipped stitches in line with each other vertically, that is all slip stitches and all knit stiches above and below each other, these raised and slipped stitches look similar to rib… if you study them carefully the prominent slipped stitches are also deeper and elongated as it is only knitted once in every 2 rows (on the purl return) and therefore one stitch is stretched to a 2 row height.
To wrap a stitch on a knit row:
- Slip stitch to be wrapped from left to right needle bring yarn up from back of knitting to front.
- Slip stitch back to left needle.
- Return yarn to back of knitting.
To Wrap a stitch on a purl row:
- Follow same method except your yarn will move from back to front after slipping the stitch over to the right needle and then front to back after the stitch is returned to the left needle.
You will see by close study of the stitch that the working yarn has been wrapped around the stitch in a loop. The wrapped stitch was not knitted during wrapping and is now left “on hold”
You have knitted a series of short rows and your heel is half completed. You can see you have created a trianglular section at the base of your sock tube.
16. Slip 1 knit one* until the 1st wrapped stitch.
17. Pass the wrapped stitch over and hold it on the right needle…
18. ……..then using the tip of the left needle pick up the loop that is wrapped around the base of the stitch and place this loop with against the other stitch on the right needle.
19. You now knit the loop and stitch together.
20. Turn knitting.
21. Pass/slip this just knitted/wrapped stitch over, snug up the working yarn and purl to 1st wrapped stitch at the other end.
22. Purl this wrapped stitch together with it’s loop.
23. Turn knitting.
24. Pass/slip the just Purled stitch over, snug up the working yarn.
25. Now Knit one slip one* to 1st wrapped stitch
Continue working in this way until you have no more wrapped stitches on hold.
You are knitting one more stitch on each row.
When all 30 stitches are “back in working mode” you are about to return to knitting in the round using knit stitch only
This is the loop between stitch 60 and stitch 1.
27. Knit to the half way marker and pick up,
28. twsit and knit the loop beteen these stitches
(this is between stitch 30 and 31)..
29. Continue knitting to end of row. 62 stitches.
30. knit2tog both additional stitches made on previous row with its neighbour.
This brings the stitch count back to 60.
By picking up these loops, creating temporarily these 2 additional stitches nd then “losing” them back into the knitting you reduce the gap/hole that making the short rows will have created.
You could continue to slip one knit one on the bottom of the sock if you wish to reinforce and thicken the entire sole section of the sock. Leave both stitch markers in place to remind you where to start and stop doing the slip1 knit 1 repeats.
If you do not wish to reinforce the sole, you can remove the 2nd stitch marker, but leave the original “join/new row” marker in place.
31. Now return to knitting “in the round” until the sock measures the correct length before beginning toe shaping (see size chart).
|UK Shoes Size||Length to knit from point of heel before beginning toe shaping|
32. Place marker at point between stitch 30 and 31 again
This splits the row count in half again as we will now begin the toe shaping….. to do this we decrease 4 stitches on alternate rows until there are 40 stitches left in total. Then we decrease 4 by 4 stitches on every row until 16 stitches remain.
You will need to change to DPN (Double Pointed Needles) during this section as there will be too few stitches to work on a circular needle.
You might like to switch to the DPN’s before beginning the decreases and putting 30 stitches on 1 needle and 30 on the other. If you decide to do this now you wont need stitch markers then as the row ends are clearly defined being on separate needles.
33. Knit 1
34. Slip 1 stitch across,
35. Knit next (3rd) stitch
36. Pass slipped stitch 2nd) over,
(No 34 – 36 are commonly known a knitting abbreviation SSK)
37. Knit until 2 stitches before next marker.
38. Knit 2 together,
41. Knit to last 3 stitches.
40.Knit 2 together, knit 1.
This has reduced the row count by 4 (56 stitches now in total). Using this method creates neat decreases sloping with the toe.
41. Knit next row as normal (all knit stitches)
42.Continue repeating instructions 33 to 41 ( a two row sequence) until 40 stitches remain
43. Now make the decreases as above on every row until 16 stitches remain
44. Graft these 16 stitches together. (see grafting below)
45. Sew in ends.
Repeat to make 2nd sock
I try to cast on at the same point in a colour change to ensure my knitting of each sock is as identical as possible. However this is not always exactly right… this is the beauty of a handmade creation, each is unique and has its own character as a pair. Equally I can just ignore the colours and see how sock 2 turns out and have very whakky socks!
Grafting: (Kitchener Stitch)
You will need a darning needle to do this stitch.
- Cut yarn from main ball, ensuring an adequate length to work across the width of your stitches.
- Thread this onto the darning needle.
- Arrange stitches on needles (if necessary) (in this project you should already have 8 stitches on each needle front, and back).
- Position needles so that the working yarn is on the right hand side on the back needle.
- Sew through the right hand side stitch on the back needle so that you are sewing as if to knit… that is passing th needle into the loop of the stitch from left to right.
- Now sew the right hand stitch on the FRONT needle as if to KNIT.
- Slip this stitch off the needle.
- Sew the next stitch on the FRONT needle as if to PURL (from right to left).
- Leave this stitch on the needle.
- Now sew as if to PURL through the right hand stitch on the BACK needle
- Slip this off the needle.
- Sew the next stitch on the BACK needle as if to KNIT
- Leave this stitch on the needle.
Repeat steps 2 through to 9 until only 1 stitch remains on each of the front and back needles.
10. Sew the front as it to knit,
11. Sew the back as it fo purl and slip off needles.
Grafting looks like a knitted row and joins the seem together invisibly.
Some of this knitting might appear to be complicated particularly the short row wrapping and knitting up of the wrapped stitches, but once you get your head around what you’re doing it should quickly become routine….I’ll leave you to your knitting… for now and see you back here one final time for this project with PART TEN – blocking your socks until then, Happy Knitting
Love Dee x
written by Spinningmad Dee
supplies from Sara at www.sarastexturecrafts.com