Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Sock Experiments: Blue variegated #1

I really want to learn how to knit socks. Not just from a pattern. I want to be able to knit socks from the top of my head – like my Grandmother used to do it. This is where Pricsilla Gibson-Robson’s wonderful book “Simply Socks Plain and Fancy” comes in handy. We reviewed it here on Historic Crafts (reviewed lovingly by Dee last year) and since then I have been wanting to have a go myself. I have chosen to use her toe-to-top crew sock recipe. Even though it is not an actual pattern it is still on Ravelry and quite a few people have tried it out already.
drawing-footThe first step towards a pair of socks using this book is to measure the foot that the socks are going to fit. I did that and found that my foot has a max circumference of 23cm (C) and a length of 19cm (L) (see diagram).
Length wise I am a woman’s large and width wise I am a woman’s XL. Yes, I have my mother’s, wide feet. For this tester I am going to try the woman’s size large. Then when I get more confident I might do a little mix and match.
sampleThe next step is to knit a little tester (12 stitches wide) of my chosen yarn to get a gauge.
The yarn I chose is a variated blue 3 ply sock yarn. My gauge is 7 stitches to the inch and with this I can consult Priscilla’s chart on pages 23-24 and find that:

  • Cast on stitches = 60 = C

  • Ankle rows = 12

  • Heel/toe stitches = 30

  • Stitches between yarn-overs = 12

So, now the next step is to cast on using the provisional cast-on technique. I did a purl row into the invisible cast-on – otherwise I know I can’t control it.
I then did short rows using the yarn-over technique until I had 12 stitches left in the middle. I must admit that I didn’t find myself able to understand Priscilla’s instructions for yarn-over short rows so I asked my resident knit-guru, Cecile, for advice. She pointed me to NoNa knits who had experimented with different short row techniques. With NoNa’s help I finally figured it out!
I like to do my short rows 1 sock at a time, but when it gets to the knitting in the round bit I use magic-loop to knit 2 socks at the same time. For me, there is nothing worse than finishing a sock and then being only half way. So I did the other toe and put them both on my circular needles and knit and knit till I got to the heels. Once at the heel I used the same yarn over short row technique as for the toes to knit the heels one at a time.

And that's it for this time. I am planning something special for the ankle/leg of the socks.

Useful knitting references:

The images in this post are copyright of Eddie Roued-Cunliffe. You are hereby granted permission to use them for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit Eddie and link back to this page. If you are using them and talking about this post I would love to hear from you in the comments.

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