Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do Not Adjust Your Set: Free sock pattern

As you might recall, I started these on Sunday, and "unvented" the stitch pattern to mitigate an overly effusive tendency for the colours in this yarn to pool, flash, and generally go nuts.

I am about halfway through the second sock, but several of you have emailed to ask about the pattern. So for the curious (or terminally bored), here's a very loose description of how I constructed these socks:

For starters, I'm using Blue Moon STR Mediumweight, at a gauge of about 8 stitches to the inch. For me, this means 2.75mm needles, but your gauge will vary.

I knit BIG socks—women's size 12s—so in the extremely likely event that your feet are a bit daintier than mine, you'll want to use fewer stitches than I did.

These are knit toe-up with a heel flap, and the nature of the stitch pattern kind of dictates that you'll want to knit them on circs rather than DPNs. If you're totally dead set on DPNs, you'll want them to be the longest ones you can find; and use three rather than four. You'll put all the stitches for the instep (the top of the foot) on one needle, because believe me, it's a lot better than rearranging your stitches every couple of rows. (Then again, maybe you like that kind of thing. A chacun son gout, I suppose.)


I cast on using Judy's Magic Cast-On, starting with 8 stitches per needle (16 total). Knit one round, then start toe increases:
K2, LLinc, K to last 2 sts, RLinc, K2; K2, LLinc, K to last 2 sts, RLinc, K2.

That's a full round, and you should have 20 stitches total. Continue increasing 2 sts per side (4 sts per round) until you have 32 sts total. Then increase every second round, until you have 64 sts total. (The actual number is less important than the fact that your total stitch count should be divisible by 4.)


Here's where you get to start the pattern stitch, but only on the instep (not the sole):

Round 1—**YO, K2, pass YO over two stitches, K2**. Repeat to the end of the instep needle. Then knit the rest of the round (the sole).
Rounds 2, 4, 6, and 8—K
Round 3—K1, **YO, K2, pass YO over two stitches, K2** to last 3 sts. YO, K2, pass YO over two stitches, K1. Knit the rest of the round.
Round 5—K2, **YO, K2, pass YO over two stitches, K2** to last 2 sts. YO, K2, pass YO over two stitches. Knit the rest of the round.
Round 7—K3, **YO, K2, pass YO over two stitches, K2** to last 3 sts. Knit the rest of the round.

Repeat these 8 rounds for about 5 inches (or about 4 inches, for the small-footed).


Then start your gusset increases:
K1, LLinc, continue in pattern to last stitch on instep; RLinc, K1. Knit the rest of the round.

You'll be increasing every third round, not every second, 13 more times.

Your mileage here may vary, so I'd suggest trying the sock on a few times during the increase process. If it's too short, knit more increase rounds; you're done when the sock is about an inch and a half shorter than your total foot length.


Working on the sole side only (the plain knit side), K1, sl1 to last stitch. Wrap and turn (w&t). Purl to last stitch, w&t.

Continue in this way, wrapping and turning at the end of each row, until you have made the heel as deep as you like it to be; you should end on a purl row. I prefer a fairly deep heel, so I usually keep going until I have about 10 unwrapped stitches in the middle of the needle. In this case, that means I have 11 wrapped stitches on either side.

Now, Sl1, K1 across your right-side stitches, and then knit each wrapped stitch, picking up and knitting the wrap with the stitch. When you come to the last wrapped stitch, pick up the wrap, then slip both the wrap and the stitch onto the right needle knitwise. Move the first gusset stitch from the instep side of the sock onto your heel needle, slip it knitwise, and knit into the back of the three stitches (wrap, last heel stitch, and first gusset stitch)—SSSK.

Now, move the gusset increase stitches from the instep needle onto the heel needle. Turn your work, slip the first stitch, then purl back across until you get to the gap between heel stitches and gusset stitches. Purl the last heel stitch and the first gusset stitch together; then turn. K1, slip 1 to the last heel stitch; SSK the last heel stitch and first gusset stitch. As you work back and forth, you're creating a nice neat heel flap. (Of course, if you're a dedicated short-row heel person, please feel free. Improvise! Amend! Have fun! Take chances!)

When you've worked all the gusset stitches, you should be back to 32 stitches per needle. Now you're ready to work the leg. Of course, you may wish to stop at this point and admire your beautiful heel flap, rejoicing in its niftyness. I know I do.


Now you're back to the stitch pattern you established on the instep, only you'll want to work it on both needles from here on, as follows:
K1 through the back loop (K1tbl=twisted knit), P1, then follow stitch pattern as established until the last 2 stitches on the needle. P1, K1 tbl. Repeat for the second needle.

This should create a nice straight line up the side of each leg, and (not coincidentally) means that you don't have to fiddle around with moving your stitches between needles every couple of rounds, which trust me, I tried and it wasn't fun at all.

When you get to a decent leg length (I usually fold the sock in half at the heel, and try to make the leg at least as long as the foot, yarn yardage willing and all other things being equal), switch to ribbing for an inch or two.

To cast off, you can either use the Elizabeth Zimmerman sewn bind-off, or do what I do:
K1, YO, slip K stitch over YO. K1, slip remaining stitch over new stitch. YO, remaining stitch over new stitch. K1, slip remaining stitch over new stitch.

This will make a slightly ruffled bind-off, but it will also prevent you from cutting off circulation from the ankle down, which I think is a point in its favour.

And that's about it, really. Oh, except that you should probably knit a second sock. Wnich I am going to soon as I've got this work deadline taken care of.

1 comment:

Mary Keenan said...

I didn't get a chance to say the other day how pretty this stitch is!