You’ve probably had plenty of time to admire your heel turn by now and are eager to get started on the gusset.
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Knit Along Recap

Just joining us? It’s not too late to jump in! I’m hosting the KAL here on the blog so the information stays available. Do you have questions? Leave a comment! I receive an email notification when there is a new comment, even on old posts.

Overview. Key questions. Cast on & Cuff. Leg. Heel Flap & Heel Turn

Orientation

  1. We are now done working flat, in rows. The next few steps we work will position us for knitting in the round again.
  2. The last row of your heel turn, and the waiting stitches on Needles 3 & 4, are good places to put in lifelines. That way, if you don’t like your gusset pick-up for some reason it will be easier to try again.
  3. You can now mentally divide the sock into the Instep (the top of the sock) and the Sole (the bottom of the sock). This division won’t matter for this pattern, but it could come into play for future sock patterns you knit.
  4. The last heel-turn row you worked should have been a wrong side (purl) row. You should be ready to work a knit row, as in my picture below.

IMG_5571See, my working tail is at the 4 o’clock position, near my right hand. If you don’t look like this, get to that point.

We’re going to be working clockwise around the sock from the 4 o’clock position. We’ll knit the heel turn sts at 6 o’clock, up the side of the heel flap at 9 0′clock, across the instep at noon, and down the heel flap at 3 o’clock.

The Pattern

Gusset Set Up (I’ll be referring to double pointed needles here. If you’re using a different method just ignore the needle notations.)(See The Discussion for dealing with a potential gap at the top of your picked-up stitches.)

New Needle: Knit across stitches remaining from heel turn

Same Needle: Pick up and Knit 15 (17) sts along first edge of heel flap

New Needles: Knit across 28 (30) sts on instep

New Needle: Pick up and knit 15 (17) sts along second side of heel flap

Same Needle: Knit 9 sts (half the stitches left over from the heel turn). Place marker for beginning of round.

NOTE: The beginning of round is now in the center of the sole. Mentally renumber your DPNs accordingly. The instep sts are now on Needles 2 & 3. If you’re using two circs or magic loop you’ll want to shift your stitch markers around to match.

Smaller size: 76 sts total: 24 sts N1, 14 sts each N 2 & 3, 24 sts N4. Larger size: 82 sts total: 26 sts N1, 15 sts each N 2 & 3, 26 sts, N4

(If you made your heel flap longer or shorter than mine, adjust your numbers accordingly. You’ll pick up one stitch in each ridge.)

Also, don’t sweat it if you end up picking up 16 sts on one side and 15 sts on the other! People won’t be looking that closely at your sock and one stitch won’t change the fit much. Just remember to decrease the extra stitch away at some point to keep things even.

IMG_5271Begin Gusset Decreases

Knit one round even

Decrease round:

N1: Knit to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1

N2 & 3: Knit even

N4: K1, SSK, K to end

Alternate working a knit even round and a decrease round until there are 56 (60) sts remaining.

Note: The gusset decreases are another place you can customize the sock. For instance, work more even rows between decreases to change the taper. Cat Bordhi has an entire book devoted to working the gusset in different places.

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Foot

Knit even for 62 rows from picked up gusset sts, about 6″. Or about 2″ less than desired length.

IMG_5356We’ll tackle the toe shaping and Kitchener stitch next week!

The Discussion

Such a small part of the sock, but so much to tell you! I’m about to flood you with pictures to help you see what is going on.

Many sock patterns have you work the heel flap by slipping the first stitch of each row. That creates a column of bigger stitches along the edge, which is where you pick up for the gusset. I worked my socks that way for many years. It can be tricky to see where to pick up, and you can end up with little gaps along the edge of your heel flap.

I think the garter stitch edge makes things much easier.

IMG_5572Take a good look at the edge of your heel flap. When picking up stitches for the gusset, you’ll be aiming for the stitch between the ridges.

Since it can be hard to see what is happening at the fine gauge of my Indulgence 6-Ply with Silk yarn, I knit a big sample using Viking of Norway Balder yarn.

IMG_5575There are the garter stitch ridges.

IMG_5579You’re grabbing the stitch in between the ridges. The picture above is how it looks as you’re knitting.

In the picture below, I stuck the needle in through the back of the stitch to give you a better view.

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Here is how the picked up stitches look on my regular sock.

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Now, once you’ve picked up all the stitches along the first edge of the heel flap, you’ll automatically want to start knitting the instep stitches. Stop! If you do that you might end up with a little gap where your gusset and instep meet.

IMG_5587You can see the gap in this picture. There are two instep stitches on the left, then a gap, then the last picked up stitch. You can keep going, and ignore the gap, but it might make you sad later.

I like the dodge the gap by picking up an extra stitch at the top of the gusset in the same way you work a Make 1 increase.

IMG_5586In this picture I’ve backed off to the top of the gusset. See that strand on the left hand side spanning the two columns? That’s the strand I’m aiming at.

IMG_5589Pick it up, front to back, with your left hand needle.

IMG_5590Knit it through the back loop to twist it.

This picked-up, close the gap, stitch is included in the 15 (17) stitches mentioned in the pattern.

It will look a little different when you’re coming down the second side of the sock.

IMG_5591You will probably have to fuss around with which strand you pick up. You’ll find that some are looser than others, which makes them less efficient for closing up the gap.

Resources for dealing with the gusset gap

The Knitting Squirrel uses a garter stitch edge, too.

Wise Hilda uses a slip stitch edge and picks up a different strand.

By the way, I’m using Knitting Fever brand “Indulgence 6ply with Silk” yarn in color 7 for my socks.

IMG_5292Caution! I’m at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY this weekend. I might not get to check for questions until Sunday night or Monday morning! If you get stuck, hang tight and work on another project until I get back. :-) Thanks!

This week we are tackling the heel flap and heel turn for our sock knit along.

The heel flap, heel turn, and gusset (which we’ll do next week) is an area that usually trips up new sock knitters. It is also the magical section that transforms your knitting from a plain tube into a sock!

IMG_4289Recap

Overview

Key questions

Cast on & Cuff

Leg

Orientation

Let me start by providing some notes so you know what is going to be happening before you start knitting.

  1. The heel flap is worked over half the stitches. In this case, needles 1 & 2
  2. The heel flap is worked flat, in rows.
  3. You’ll be ignoring the stitches on needles 3 &4 for a while.
  4. This is a good place to put in a lifeline if you want some extra security.
  5. The heel turn is accomplished using short rows.
  6. If this is your first time turning a heel, you should do it somewhere quiet where you won’t be interrupted. You want to work the heel turn all in one sitting so you don’t get confused.

If you are working on double pointed needles, you’ll want to work across all the stitches on needles 1 & 2 so they are on a single needle. If you are using two circulars, you’ll already have the stitches divided in half, but you can drop the extra marker designating the DPNs. If you’re using magic loop, all I know is this is an area that might get weird for you.

We’ll be working our heel flap using the “heel stitch” with a garter stitch edge. I learned this style heel flap in a class with Charlene Schurch and it’s my favorite.

The Pattern

Begin heel flap. (worked over 28 (30) stitches) Note: Slip the stitches purl-wise with the yarn in back.

Row 1: P3, (K1, S1) to last 3 sts, K3

Row 2: K3, purl across

Repeat these two row 15 (17) times more. You have worked 30 (34) rows

IMG_3701Note: Your heel flap will be about 2 1/4″ to 2 1/2″ long. Heel flaps are usually 2″ to 2 1/2″. This is an area where you can customize your socks. You can make the heel flap longer if you want, say to accommodate a high instep, but you’ll need to adjust your numbers when we get to the gusset.

Heel Turn

Row 1: S1, K16 (17), SSK, K1, turn

Row 2: S1, P7, P2tog, P1, turn

Row 3: S1, K8, SSK, K1, turn

Row 4: S1, P9, P2tog, P1, turn

Continue in this manner, working one more stitch each time, until all the stitches are used up.18 sts remain.

EDIT: Remember you are working short rows to create the cup for the heel. You are working little bites out of the 28 stitches you’ve been knitting for the heel flap. Each row will grow by one stitch.

So the first row will use up 20 sts (S1, K16, SSK-that’s 2- K1), and leave 8 sts unworked. On the second row you’ll purl back, but again working up just a few stitches and leaving several unworked.

Eventually you’ll reach the last stitch at each end of the needle you’ve been using for the heel flap and turn. You have also decreased from your original 28 sts down to 18 sts.

If you are using your own set of numbers for your sock, refer to the Heels By the Number chart for your heel turn. I’m using the “Rounder heel” style, which is the third one down.

Take a breath and admire your lovely, magic sock heel.

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As you are working your heel turn, keep an eye out for the little gap formed by the decrease in the previous row. There are two examples in the pictures below.

IMG_4286IMG_4287After you work the first two rows, which are coming off the heel flap, subsequent decreases are worked across that little gap. That is, when you SSK, one stitch will be on each side of the gap.

Don’t worry, it will make more sense as you’re knitting. But if you can pay attention to the gap, you won’t have to worry about counting as much!

The Discussion

Did you survive? Isn’t it cool? Feel free to jump around, waiving your sock in the air while exclaiming, “Look what I did!” But try not to drop any stitches.

The “heel stitch” is pretty classic for socks. If you take a look at the inside of your heel flap you’ll notice the strands from the slipped stitches.

IMG_3699They help make the heel flap cushioned and also provide durability from the extra layer of yarn.

Some people like to reinforce their heel flaps with a special carry along thread. It can be tricky to find, but your local yarn store might have it in stock.

However, if you are using Indulgence 6-Ply With Silk yarn, like I am, you shouldn’t have to worry about that. Indulgence has 25% Polyamide (a type of nylon), which helps strengthen the yarn. My husband and I both have Indulgence socks that are three or four years old and they are still going strong!

You can also work the heel flap in plain stockinette stitch, or Eye of Partridge, or two colors, or well you get the idea. It’s an area you can experiment a bit. But it is also an area that wears out first for many people, so eyelets aren’t a good idea.

Many patterns have you slip the first stitch of the heel flap, instead of working the garter stitch edging. I think the garter stitch edge makes it much easier to pick up stitches for the gusset. It makes a nice detail as well!

The heel flap and turn are just one combination you can use. There are many classic heels, and people seem to be inventing new ones on a regular basis. Cat Bordhi and Lucy Neatby are both great designers if you want to learn more about sock construction.

I enjoyed poking around in the Sock Knitters Forum when I first learned to knit socks. There are several types of heels and toes documented there.

A member of Ravelry named Taina has a project that is just testing out a variety of heel constructions. It’s rather inspirational. I can see how just working the heel area would be fast if you are testing them out, but I think I’d rather have actual socks!

The heel turn is based on pivot points. You are knitting to the center, then a few stitches beyond, at which point you turn. Then you work back half the stitches again, and pivot back. Or you can just refer to the Heels By the Number chart.

Next week we’re onto the gusset.

Many of you finished knitting your sock cuff quick as a flash! I know you’re excited to get on to knitting the leg.

IMG_3408Recap:

Sock KAL Overview. Sock KAL Key Questions.

Pattern: Cast on and Cuff

The Pattern:

Working in Stockinette Stitch, knit even for 60 (90) rounds total, or about 6″ (11″) from cast on edge, or desired length.

Alternate leg: Continue in K2,P2 ribbing for 60 (90) rounds total, or about 6″ (11″) from cast on edge, or desired length.

The Discussion:

What?! You waited a whole week for that?!

Well, yeah, I didn’t want to overwhelm you will too much all at once. :-)

Knitting the leg will be easy since it’s just all knitting. But it might take a while since you have to knit 6″.

The first question you should ask is, “How tall should I make my sock?”

IMG_3410A good rule of thumb (or is it toe?) is to knit the leg to be as long as your hand. This is very convenient if you are knitting socks for yourself, since you always have your hand along you don’t have to worry about carrying a tape measure, too.

If you are knitting the socks for someone else, it might not be as easy.

IMG_3411As you continue to knit socks you will find the leg height you prefer.

Get a Counter

Unless you are knitting your socks two at a time, I strongly suggest your acquire one of those hanging row counters (or another counter) like you see in my pictures. It’s much easier to make sure your second sock matches if you do all the counting on your first sock. Remember to take notes!

It’s also much easier to use a counter than it is to need to keep stopping and counting all the rounds. (Although I’ve been known to get on a roll and forget to advance my marker!)

Another advantage of the hanging row counter is that it can be used as your end of round marker.

Row counters should be easy to find at your local yarn store.

IMG_5419

Custom Fit

Some people don’t like hand knit socks because they fall down. That might be a simple matter of improperly sized socks. While it is obvious that socks that are too big will fall down, the book “Getting Started Knitting Socks” by Ann Budd (Interweave Press, 2007) says socks that are too small will shift down as well.

Most sock patterns are sized for the widest part of your foot on the assumption that it will be similar to the size of the top of your leg. But, since people are different, that isn’t always the case. Unlike commercial socks, you can easily change your hand knit socks to accommodate those differences.

The leg is a good the place to make adjustments to your sock size and how it fits.

If you want more room in the cuff of the sock for your calf, you can cast on enough stitches to fit there and then decrease down the sock leg to the ankle. If you are working toe up, you would flip that suggestion and increase up the sock leg.

It’s a simple matter of measuring your leg where you want the cuff to be and your ankle. Multiple those numbers by your gauge to get your target stitch counts. Then subtract them to figure out how many stitches to decrease (or increase). Then work the decreases at regular intervals down the leg. You don’t want to work them all at once because the change in size will be too abrupt and the sock will probably be restrictive in that area.

For more of a discussion on applying knitting math to shaping check out the “sleeve” section of The Knitting Architect  in the Tools & Tips section of  our website.

Another option Budd gives is to knit the cuff and upper leg on a knitting needle one size larger than you plan to use. Many people, she writes, find the larger gauge from the bigger needle provides enough room.

Knee high socks are fun, but take more yarn.

Knee high socks are fun, but take more yarn.

Another time shaping will be important is if you make knee-high or thigh-high socks, like these Rainbow Knee-Highs from the Knit Noro book. (The ruffled cuff can be worn up as shown or folded down.)

For taller socks you’ll want to work shaping to accommodate the change in circumference from your calf to your ankle. If you are following a pattern the designer will have figured it out for you. If you want to design tall socks yourself, Elizabeth Zimmermann has a discussion along with a legging pattern in her “Knitters Almanac”, which could be adapted.

Keep in mind that the taller you make your socks the more yarn you are going to use. It is very sad to run out of yarn on the second sock.

You can use a kitchen scale to weight and divide your ball before you get started to ensure you have enough for both socks. (Yarn usage is a good argument for knitting socks toe-up. You divide your yarn in half and just knit to you run out!)

When using self-striping yarn, if you want your socks to match, you’ll also want to account for the need to reel out yarn to find the same starting point in the colors pattern. But that’s a discussion for later on!

Ladders

If you are knitting your sock on double pointed needles you might notice a gap developing in the space between the needles.

That row of loose stitches is called a “ladder”, which makes sense when you think about it since it does resemble the rungs of a ladder.

Be comforted to know ladders are the bane of many socks knitter’s existence. Find hope in the fact that they tend to go away, or at least diminish greatly, with every sock you knit.

One way to reduce how noticeable they are is to shift your needles by one stitch every few rounds. This will disrupt the continuity of the column and make it less noticeable. Simply knit an additional stitch or two before switching needles. This technique makes it important to have and end of round marker in place.

Some people also suggest giving the second stitch on the new needle a tug. That is supposed to take up some of the slack that forms between the needles.

For a more comprehensive discussion of defeating ladders check out the TECHknitting blog.

See you next Saturday when we tackle the heel flap!

Did you know we have an app for iPad and iPhone?

If you go to the iTunes store and search for “Knitting Fever” it should be the main result.

The app itself is free to download. Once you have it, you can purchase digital versions of Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine and Noro Knitting Magazine. You can also get digital subscriptions.

Want to know a secret? The digital versions of the magazines are often available in the app before the print editions start shipping.

There is also a selection of individual patterns available for free or purchase from a variety of the brands we represent, including Ella Rae, Mirasol, and Juniper Moon Farm, among others.

I’m bringing all this up because I just upgraded to an iPhone 6 and had a little bit of a freak out when I didn’t see my magazine issues the first time I opened the app.

Moving into a new iPhone is both fun and vexing as you learn the various quirks of the new model and discover which apps ported smoothly.

Happily, getting your issues back is super simple. Just click the “Help” icon in the lower right corner of the screen.

IMG_5444Then click the “Restore Purchases” button in the top right corner. My issues reappeared very quickly.

I think the app looks great on the new, bigger screen of the iPhone 6. It’s much easier to read the patterns than it was on my 4S. Of course, on an iPad it will be even better!

If you’re new to the app you should find it fairly easy to navigate. Just poke around to become familiar with it.

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You can swipe left and right to flip to the next page. Tapping that box on the bottom left in the above picture will open a thumbnail list of the various sections, which you can tap to quickly navigate to the one you want.

The double arrow icon is to zoom when you have the phone in landscape position. The next box, with the up arrow, allows you to share snippets through email, Twitter, or Facebook. Finally, the star is to favorite/bookmark pages.

A single tap on the screen will hide those white navigation bars.

To really zip around, and access your favorites/bookmarks, you’ll want to access the thumbnail navigation screen.

First make sure the screen is at its neutral start position. You don’t want to be zoomed and you don’t want the white navigation bars showing.

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Then swipe upwards to reveal the thumbnail navigation area.

IMG_5446You can grab that white dot and drag it, swipe the thumbnails to see them whiz by, or tap the gold start to see your bookmarks.

The thumbnail navigation tool has been really handy for me as I’ve been entering Issue 13 of Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine into Ravelry. You don’t realize how much page flipping happens when you’re entering a magazine pattern until you do several at a time!

Do you use our iPad app? What is your favorite part?

Maybe it’s because I’m working on a simple, stockinette stitch shawl on US5 needles, but I’m getting the urge for some instant gratification knitting.

You know what I mean. Chunky yarn and big needles!

The new Debbie Bliss yarn Roma seems like a good candidate to fulfill this need.

The Roma book features 13 “super simple knits.” There are 9 accessories patterns and four sweater patterns. Worked on US15 and US17 needles, you’ll be finished knitting and onto wearing these projects in the blink of an eye.

If you follow us on Instagram, you already know I’m drooling over this jacket.

Roma JacketThe “Contrast Band Jacket” covers four sizes: 32-34 (36-38, 40-42, 44-46)” bust and is meant to have 5″ or more of positive ease.

This looks like a great coat for walking the dogs on a chilly morning, or running errands around town. I like the generous, set in pockets.

The contrast of the taupe with the hot pink boarder is fun, but you can make a different combination using Roma’s 16 colors. The trickiest part of this pattern is that the band is knit along with the body using the intarsia method of twisting the colors together.

Add the Contrast Band Jacket to your Ravelry queue.

Roma CableAnother sweater making my heart pitter-patter is the Cable Yoke Pullover.

This cozy pullover is sized for 32-34 (36-38, 40-42)” bust and is meant to be worn with 7″ or more of positive ease. For example the largest size has a finished bust of 52 1/2″.

Side vents, a generous turtle neck, and relaxed drop shoulders make this sweater look super cozy. The cables could be tricky if you haven’t done them before, but it would be a great time to learn since it will be easy to see what you’re doing with this bulky yarn.

Add the Cable Yoke Sweater to your Ravelry queue.

Roma BagThis fabulous Houndstooth Bag is one of the accessory patterns that caught my eye.

Wouldn’t it make a fabulous knitting bag?

There is extensive finishing involved with this project since you have to make a fabric liner. The bag is stiffened with cardboard on the bottom and interfacing on the side. I’m not a sewer, but the directions in the book look pretty clear so I think it would be manageable!

Add the Houndstooth Bag to your Ravelry queue.

Roma braidThis Plaited Cowl is another accessory topping my list.

It is simple to knit with an impressive looking finished project. I love the explosion of both size and texture!

The question is whether to work it in a sold color as shown or to go wild with multiple colors?

Add the Plaited Cowl to your Ravelry queue.

Patterns using the new Roma yarn aren’t limited to the Roma book. You can find more patterns in Debbie Bliss Magazine issue 13.

Roma balletThese pretty Ballet Slippers from the magazine are what first caught my eye and caused me to take a closer look at Roma.

The slippers take just one ball of Roma and are sized for a US shoe 5 1/2-7 1/2 (7 1/2-9 1/2). My toes feel warm just looking at them!

Add the Ballet Slippers to your Ravelry queue.

And don’t forget the Dandelion hat from Conway + Bliss.

hat-patternRoma is used for the body of the hat, while the pompoms are made using Baby Cashmerino.

Download the free Dandelion hat pattern.

Add the Dandelion hat to your Ravelry queue.

Debbie Bliss Roma yarn and book have been arriving in local yarn stores across the USA. Use our Store Locator feature to find an independently owned yarn store near you so you can see them in person.

Which pattern would you knit first?

It’s time to start our Beginner Sock Knit Along!

IMG_3346Knitting your first sock will be exciting, scary, and intimidating all at the same time. But when you are done you will have a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

If you’re just joining us, you should read the overview and key questions first. I’m providing numbers for two sizes, an 8″ foot and a 9″ foot. There will also be a discussion of sizing that should enable you to knit a different size if you want. In that case, remember to take careful notes!

The Pattern:

Size: 8″ (9″)

Materials:

Yarn: Indulgence 6 Ply with Silk

Needles: 3mm dpns or size needed to obtain gauge

Gauge: 7 sts x 10 rows = 1″

Stitches divided on DPNsPattern:

Using the Long-Tail method, Cast on 56 (60) sts. Divide stitches evenly over 4 needles (14 sts each or 15 sts each)

Join to work in the round, begin careful not to twist sts. Place marker for beginning of round.

Beginning with a K2, work K2, P2 rib around.

Continue working in K2, P2 rib as established until 15 rows have been worked (or desired cuff height).

A Note About Needles

The pattern for the knit along is written for double pointed needles. If you are more comfortable knitting in the round using two circulars or magic loop, you are welcome to use your preferred method during the knit along.

However, I won’t be addressing either method! I don’t even know how to do the magic loop method. We’ll have to rely on other participants to help out if you get stuck.

If you do use two circs or magic loop, I urge you to place extra stitch markers where the spaces would be for double pointed needles. When we reach the heel flap I’ll be referring to the various needles by number and the extra stitch markers will help keep you oriented.

The Discussion:

Fit and Ease

The great thing about hand knit socks is they are customized to fit you.

You can make the leg as long or as short as you want.

You can start with a wide cuff and decrease to fit a narrow ankle.

You can make the foot the correct length so you don’t have baggy toes.

And that all comes back to fit and ease.

It might take some trial and error, i.e., a couple pairs of socks, before you decide on just how you want your socks to fit.

You want your sock to be snug, but not too tight. A snug sock is more likely to stay up and not slouch down into your shoes. In general, socks are knit with negative ease ranging from 1/2″ to 1″.

What do I mean by negative ease? Ease refers to how much “breathing room” there is between you and your garment. So if your foot measures 8″ at the widest part a sock with no ease would also measure 8″. A sock with negative ease will measure less than 8″. (By the same token a sock with positive ease would measure more than 8″, but you would probably only want that for slippers or bed socks.)

For example, my foot measures 8.5″ around the ball (the widest part). I like -1/2″ of ease so I calculate my socks based on a 8″ circumference. (7″ gauge  x 8″ circ = 56 sts)

If the measurements in my pattern don’t suit you, it is a simple matter of applying your measurements to your gauge to adjust your stitch count. For instructions on how to accomplish that check out “The Knitting Architect” in the Tools & Tips section of our website. This free book outlines how to design or adjust a sweater, but the principles are the same for adjusting a sock.

The Cuff

IMG_3400I’ve given you directions for a basic 2×2 ribbed cuff that will be about 2″ tall.

The Cuff is one of three areas of a sock that usually trip up new sock knitters (they sometimes get experienced sock knitters, too!) along with The Heel Turn, and Closing the Toe.

Since we’re knitting a cuff down sock, you’re tackling the first hurdle right away.

The difficulties you encounter when starting will vary depending on how experienced a knitter you are in general and how you feel about double pointed needles.

First: Beware of twisted stitches. If you knit anything in the round–a hat, sleeves, etc., you already know what this is.

Twisted cast on
Not a sock, but you can see the twist.

You want to ensure all the stitches are aligned and not flipped around the needles at all or you will get a permanent twist in your sock and have to start over. On double pointed needles be aware the twist might be between needles and you might have to rotate the entire needle, not just a few stitches.

Second: It’s going to be fiddly and floppy. People who aren’t accustomed to working on double points will especially have this issue. Have faith and stick with it. After a few rows the fabric will be substantial enough to offer stability and things will get easier.

If you are feeling impatient, there are a few ways to address this issue.

One option is to work the first few rows flat, then join to work in the round. You will have to go back and sew a little seam to close the gap. Some people find this is easier because it helps them avoid a twisted cast on and is more stable when they do start to work in the round.

Another option is to knit your sock on two circular needles instead of double pointed needles. Many local yarn stores offer classes in this method. There are also books devoted to this method that should be easy to find at your local yarn store.

Finally, you can use the “magic loop” method. This is done by using a very, very long circular needle and sliding the stitches around on the cable and needle tips. Again, you can find classes and books for this method at your local yarn store.

While we’re knitting a standard 2×2 rib for our cuff, keep in mind you have options. You can use different combinations of ribbing (1×1, 1×2, etc), make a ruffle, or continue the pattern.

But this is your first sock, so we’re keeping it simple.

Suggested reading:

“Getting Started Knitting Socks” by Ann Budd and “Sensational Knitted Socks” by Charlene Schurch are both good reference books. Ask for them at your local yarn store.

There are pictures of working in the round on DPNs on the For Dummies website.

Advanced Tip

Sometimes when you join to knit in the round the first stitch pulls out and you end up with an ugly gap and a long strand at the start of your row.

In the round gapYou can avoid this gap by swapping the first and last cast on stitches.

Step 1: Bring the needle tips together. Slip the first stitch on the left hand needle (the first stitch you cast on) to the right hand needle without working it.

Step 2: Use the tip of the left needle to grab the second stitch on the right hand needle (the last stitch you cast on) and bring it over the first stitch as though you were binding off, but don’t drop the stitch. Keep it on the left hand needle. It is now your first stitch.

Step 3: Tug on the tail left from your cast on to tighten up the slipped over stitch. Begin knitting while pretending you didn’t just move stitches around.

In the round tight

I have been participating in the Soak Wash photo challenge on Instagram.

At the beginning of the month they posted a list of daily prompts. Each day you are supposed to post a picture related to that day’s theme. It has been fun to think up appropriate images, and also to see how other people are interpreting the prompt.

Thursday’s prompt was “Finished”. I ended up checking our Ravelry profile, then gathering up all the projects I’ve made so far this year.

IMG_5345It seemed like a fun picture to post on Facebook, too, asking whether people count up their own finished projects.

Of course, people started asking for details about my projects. It seemed easiest to share the info in a blog post.IMG_4952The black blob at the top of the first picture is my Vera collar from the Louisa Harding Luzia book.

Read more about my project.

IMG_4309The crumpled blue top is my Buttercup Top knit using Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy yarn.

Read the Buttercup project details.

Metalouse fence closeThe multi-colored shawl with the orange stripes is my Metalouse shawl knit using Noro Kirara and Ella Rae Lace Merino yarns.

Read more about my Metalouse shawl.

IMG_5325The light blue sweater with the cabled neckline is my Kayleen top from the Summer 2014 issue of Interweave Knits. I used Juniper Moon Farm Sabine in the Icicle color for mine.

Read more about my Kayleen top.

IMG_4828The multicolored striped sweater in the middle is the Multidirectional Cap Sleeve Top from the second issue of Noro Knitting Magazine. I used the Noro Koromo yarn called for in the pattern in color 2.

Read more about my Multidirectional Cap Sleeve Top.

DSC08080The lace sweater on the right is my Miss Kitty top from the Louisa Harding Jesse book. I used Louisa Harding Jesse yarn in color 103-Faded.

IMG_4907I submitted this sweater to the state fair and won the blue ribbon in the adult hand knit sweater category!

IMG_3626Last, but not least, the pink sweater at the bottom is my Tucked Pullover from the Fall/Winter 2013 issue of Knit.Wear magazine. I used Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool yarn in the Rose Madder color.

Read more about my Tucked Pullover.

Two finished projects were missing from the first picture in the post.

IMG_3696My Gillespie Shawl from the Louisa Harding Harmony book is MIA. As you can imagine, I own a lot of shawls. They tend to get tossed around the house, depending on how hot or cold I am. It could be anywhere from folded neatly in my closet where it belongs, to stuck between the couch cushions.

Read more about my Gillespie Shawl.

IMG_4123The last finished project for 2014 are my Susie Roger’s Reading Mitts. I knit them using Debbie Bliss Mia yarn, a lovely 50% Wool, 50% Cotton blend.

My mom was so enamored of the, even though they were two different colors, that I had to let her have them.

They were fun while they lasted! Read more about my Reading Mitts.

There are, of course, a few unfinished projects lurking around, too. But we won’t go into them.

When I first how few projects I had finished this year I was a little disappointed. Nine projects in nine months doesn’t seem very productive. Then I stopped to think. I’ve knit five sweaters this year, which is probably the most sweaters I’ve knit in a single year. Each sweater took about a month of knitting for an hour or two each day.

If all I’d been knitting all year was small projects like hats and cowls I would expect to have finished more by now, but sweaters tend to be long term projects.

However, speed it not the goal. Knitting is what I do to relax in the evenings after work. The fact that I get to wear lovely, unique garments is a bonus!

There has been an enthusiastic response to the sock knit along, which is very exciting. But judging from the flood of questions coming in, there are some important points I glossed over in yesterday’s post.

It seems like it would be easier to try to address them all in a second post, instead of giving the same answer to all the individual comments!

Yarn

I’m using our Indulgence 6 Ply with Silk yarn. This is a 55% Merino Wool, 25% Nylon, 20% Silk blend with approx 426 yards per 150g ball.

The suggested sweater gauge is  5.25 sts per inch on a US 3-6 needle. That puts it in the sport weight range. We’ll be knitting the socks at a denser gauge of 7 sts per 1″. I wear these socks in my regular shoes, but some people might consider them more boot socks.

Use our store locator feature to find a local yarn store near you that carries Indulgence yarn.

Needles

The socks will be knit in the round. I’m writing the pattern for double pointed needles. You should be OK on two circulars as long as you are already familiar with that method of knitting in the round.

I will NOT be covering magic loop because I don’t use that method and can’t answer questions about it. Other experienced sock knitters might be able to jump in and help out.

I’m using 3 mm needles, which are US2.5. You should use the size needed to obtain the correct gauge of 7 sts/inch (28 sts in 4″).

Skills Needed

Knit, Purl, basic decreases. It will be helpful if you already know how to knit in the round since I’m not there to help you in person.

Size

I’m knitting the sock in my size, which is a women’s shoe size US6, foot circumference of 8″.

I’ll include a second, larger size based on a pair I made my brother, which is a men’s US11 shoe. (For that size I’m totally cheating and using my Sock Wizard program!)

Part of the discussion will be how to tweek the pattern to fit yourself!

Following Along, Joining In

The Knit Along will mainly be hosted here on the blog. You can leave questions in the comment and I’ll answer there, too. That way everyone will be able to see them.

If you are signed up for our weekly email newsletter you’ll receive the blog digest every Saturday evening. There is a “subscribe” box in the right hand sidebar.

I’ll be posting the link to the blog on our Facebook page, of course. I also created a FB event for the Knit Along. You do NOT have to be a member of Facebook to knit along!

I created a Ravelry pattern entry for the Knit Along, too.

Socks!

Those glorious little knitting projects that we can wear everyday. Relatively quick. Totally portable. Rather scary until you’ve knit your first one.

And always magical every time you do.

IMG_5236

See end of post for yarn info

Many knitters are fascinated by the idea of knitting socks, but too nervous to take the plunge on their own.

I’ve seen many people post on our Facebook wall about a desire to learn how to knit socks.

Well, let’s go!

Over the next 5 weeks we’ll knit a sock together.

Why 5 weeks? One week for each part of the sock’s anatomy! I’ll post on Saturdays and you’ll have a week to work through that part of the sock before it’s time to work on the next part.

sock anatomyI’ll post the pattern in pieces as we go along. The pattern will be for a simple, cuff down sock with a heel flap & gusset, and a wedge toe.

Why this style? Because I said so and it’s my knit along. :-D Actually, this is my preferred way of knitting a sock. Since I don’t knit socks toe-up I wouldn’t feel comfortable pontificating on, and asking questions about, that construction method. :-)

Once you’ve knit your first sock you can start experimenting with other construction methods. Many local yarn stores offer classes that cover various sock knitting styles, too.

As we work through the sock I’ll be sharing my personal wisdom developed over years of knitting socks, as well as pointing you toward resources to learn more.IMG_5234

Homework

The knit along will start next week (Sept 27) with a discussion of fit and the directions for the cuff.

To get ready, you should gather your supplies and knit your gauge swatch.

IMG_3346I will be using our Knitting Fever Inc brand Indulgence 6 Ply with Silk yarn for my socks.

Indulgence 6 Ply with Silk is a 55% Merino Wool, 25% Nylon, 20% Silk blend with approximately 426 yards per 150g ball. One ball is enough for a pair of adult socks (as long as you don’t make the leg really tall). I’ve be able to use a single ball to knit a pair of socks for my husband, 10M shoe.

Obviously you don’t have to use the same yarn, but you will probably have better results if you do since the pattern is designed for this yarn.

The socks will be knit in the round. So you’ll want to swatch in the round.

Required gauge is 7 sts x 10 row = 1″ (28 sts x 40 rows = 4″).

While this sock knit along will be aimed at people who either haven’t knit a sock before, or who haven’t knit a sock in a long time, I hope you experienced sock knitters will join in and share your own tips and wisdom in the comments. :-)

Key to the socks in the first photo:

Black socks at 12 o’clock: OnLine Supersocke 100 (Ravelry link)

Two pairs of Noro Silk Garden Sock socks colors s313 and 292.

Two pairs of Indulgence 6 Ply socks in discontinued colors.

The prototype sock for the KAL!

Edit: Answers to key questions in Planning Part 2 blog post!

 

Shiver me timbers! September 19 is being International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Maybe it’s the grog, but it slips my scurrilous brain until it rolls in like the tide every year.

Yarrrrrn!

Don’t worry. I can’t keep that up for long and I’m stopping now. LOL Still, this day tickles my funny bone and I thought it would be fun to try and find pirate themed projects among our offerings.

It was tricky, since most of our patterns are sophisticated and stylish, but I did pull it off!

31282It’s probably the puffy sleeves, but the Heron pattern from Louisa Harding’s Sorrela book looks great for swashbuckling!

Heron is knit using a combination of Grace Wool & Silk and Grace Hand Beaded yarns. The collar, while quite pretty, is optional, which tones down the pirate aspect of the pretty vest.

You can see a version without the collar in the book preview.

29301Pirates are known for wearing slouchy hats, right? Think Mr. Smee from Peter Pan.

The Man’s Slouchy Hat from the premier issue of Noro Knitting Magazine fits the bill! It is knit using two colors of Noro Kureyon yarn.

Find the pattern on Patternfish.

Bailey_hero_small2Pirates are also known for wearing stripes for some reason. Or is that sailors? Anyway, the Bailey Boatneck Pullover from Juniper Moon Farm seems appropriate, if only because it has “boat” in its name!

Bailey is knit using two colors of Juniper Moon Farm Moonshine yarn, which is available in over 30 colors. You might be interested to know it is sized from XXS through 4X! You can outfit your entire pirate crew with this pattern.

30024If you just want to bring the seaside into your home, go for the Anchor Floor Pillow from Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine issue 4.

30025There is also a matching Nautical Throw.

The digital version of these two patterns are sold as a set. You get both patterns in one PDF so you only have to purchase one version.

Both projects would be super yummy if knit using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran yarn. You could also try Ella Rae Phoenix yarn, if you are looking for a cotton.

I found more patterns inspired by Talk Like a Pirate Day. Rather than overwhelm you in a blog post, I created a Pinterest board to collect them (because that is my new “thing” now.)

Heave to, and have a shipshape weekend!