Sock SymposiumTips ] [ Knitting
with Cotton Tips ]
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By Candy Grastorf
Symposium Tips in pdf format
KNITTERS HANDY GUIDE TO YARN REQUIREMENTS – YARN
YARDAGE REQUIREMENTS FOR BASIC MITTENS, GLOVES, SCARVES,
SOCKS, HATS, TAMS, VESTS & SWEATERS AT MULTIPLE SIZES
AND MULTIPLE GAUGES
BY ANN BUDD. Available at your local yarnshop or online.
This is great to have in your purse or knitting bag when
TO ME TWO SIZE SOCK LENGTH CONVERSION GUIDE – INCLUDES
US, EUROPEAN & MEXICAN SHOE SIZES, IN INCHES AND CENTIMETERS.
Gives you men's, infants & children's sizes on a laminated
Some knitters like the magic
loop method for socks (using long circular needles): http://www.az.com/~andrade/knit/mloop.html
or knitting with two circulars: http://www.az.com/%7Eandrade/knit/twocirculars.html
I like double-pointed needles,
they're faster for me. I use 4 needles, some like to use
5 doublepoints. I usually prefer metal needles rather
than wood (too flexible) but up to you!
There are some 11 ½”
long circulars but those are tough on your hands to use.
For those who knit on double-points,
(& elsewhere) have some great stitch keepers in 3
sizes (two little plastic cups with elastic in-between
to keep your stitches on the needle & keep those needles
from poking you through your knitting bag! - I highly
Knitting Zone has various software,
helps you design your own sock pattern in 30 seconds or
less (toe down or toe up). Various heel & toe options,
circulars or double-points.
These books are available through our guild library or your
favorite yarn shop/bookstore (local or online - try our
link to Amazon.com!).
by Nancy Bush.
I highly recommend
this book. Contains a "classic sock pattern",
7 heel variations, 8 toe variations, 18 sock patterns
and interesting historical information on knitting in
Estonia. Her shop is The Wooly West, PO Box 58306, Salt
Lake City, UT 84158. Order line is (888) 487-9665. http://www.woolywest.com
Knitting in Estonia
by Nancy Bush.
This one has 10 sock patterns, 16 glove & mitten patterns,
Graphs for Estonian pattern motifs and more history.
- Plain & Fancy
by E.J. Slayton.
Has a pattern for basic ribbed sock with French heel (on
even number of stitches) and a mistake stitch rib sock
(uneven number of stitches) plus 25 rib variations, 3
heel variations, 2 toe variations, a mini-sock for practice,
directions for weaving a toe, nice table to plug into
her sock instructions so you can vary yarn weight, foot
out the Museum of Odd Socks, very amusing! Lots of good
info on this website. Information on various yarns &
needles (readers opinions) for socknitting. Also Cyberknitting
classes: entrelac class, lace sock class, toe-up class,
festive socks (including "clock" socks), argyle
socks. Various sock swaps, including a Christmas stocking
swap. Look at their FAQs (Frequently Asked
Questions) page for lots of excellent advice & links
to techniques . Member patterns. You don't
have to get constant emails to look at this site, you
can set up your profile to just look online.
Bush's website: http://www.woolywest.com
sock and shawl kits, stitch-keepers, knitter's jewelry,
shawl broaches, etc.
is very important to cast on loosely, be very aware when
you cast on. A tight cast on will wear out quickly &
always annoy you or the wearer when putting on the sock.
knitters cast on over two needles with long-tail cast-on.
the German Twisted Cast-on – http://knitting.about.com/library/bltgcaston.htm
your gauge firm for & use sock yarn or tightly spun
yarn for hardwearing socks. If you fear a small needle
size would knit too tightly it is better to cast on more
stitches than go up in needle size. I usually use a 0
or 1 for sockweight yarn or a 3 on elastic yarn or DK
cotton socks always on smaller needles than you knit your
wool socks. Gerda W. suggests you knit the cuffs together
with “Woolly Nylon” (serger thread sold in fabric stores)
so they keep their nice shape wash after wash.
are lots of fun self-patterning yarns that make stripes,
fair-isle patterns, etc. Simple socks come out beautifully.
at Lucy Neatby's Cool
Socks Warm Feet
for suggestions on using self-patterning yarns to great
W. recommends if you want a self-patterning sock pair
to look alike, pay close attention to how the pattern
runs. Make the slip knot for the cast on between 2 color
changes of the yarn and remember this. Then knit the sock
until you see the pattern repeat again that you started
the sock with. This should be at the foot close to the
toe. Then cut the yarn and now can cast on the second
sock on at the right spot in the pattern and knit this
sock completely. Then come back and finish the first sock
matching just what is left to be knitted.
following the directions exactly:
Elizabeth Zimmerman said: You are the master of your knitting.
Make your socks to please you! You don't always have to
be a "blind follower" and stick to a pattern
be afraid to adjust the number of stitches for your socks
to custom-fit your foot (or giftee's foot)! You can have
more stitches for the leg/ankle and then reduce down (either
by decreasing two every inch or so down the back or the
leg or all at once after ribbing).
also don't have to use the same needle size for the ankle
& the foot. You could have a larger needle for the
leg/ankle and reduce a size for the heel/foot (I wouldn't
do the reverse though!).
can also reduce stitches in the foot by just continuing
to decrease at the gusset a few extra times (I sometimes
reduce 4 more stitches in the gusset)
Second Sock Syndrome:
knit my socks one at a time. I like to use the finished
sock to measure against for the second sock.
knitters like to knit both socks at once, if you have
a problem being bored easily and never finishing a second
sock this technique may be for you. Your tension will
and the socks will come out the same. http://www.socknitters.com/2circs/index.htm
Shows how to knit two socks at once on two
circular needles. I prefer to get one finished quick &
try it on!
- Timothy Hunt received some
great advice from another guild member – knit the second
or Top-Down Socks:
usually do top-down socks. On occasions where I worried
about having enough yarn I've done invisible cast-on above
the heel, knit down then taken out the cast-on and knit
up the ribbing.
Hunt likes Wendy Johnson's toe-up pattern, he used the
short-row heel from http://www.wendyjohnson.net/blog/sockpattern.htm
but likes the toe shaping on Judy Gibson's “You're
Putting Me On” socks http://tiajudy.com/soxform.htm
. Anita Hellstrom prefers this pattern also.
had times where I've actually cut a sock off at the cuff
(or at a part that came unravelled) and knit back up to
example, once a hole appeared on the cuff of a sock where
I hadn't joined the new yarn properly, I cut it off and
knit back up.
time, I'd made a sock with a short cuff for my mother
and decided the foot was too small around. Since it was
on size zero needles I didn't want to unravel the whole
sock. Instead I decided my stepdaughter would get them
but she likes long cuffs so I cut off the cuff where rib
meets stockinette & knit up. To match the second sock
I did an invisible cast-on, knit the foot then undid cast-on,
picked up stitches & knit upwards to top of cuff!
That way the cast off at top matched on both socks!
Heels & Toes:
normally buy sock yarn that is 75/25% wool/nylon or 80/20%
wool/nylon so the socks will wear well so I don't use
reinforcement thread with that type of sock yarn.
100% wool yarns (such as Blauband) come with a small card
of matching reinforcement yarn in a lighter weight. You
can also buy small cards of this reinforcement yarn in
may also buy "woolly nylon" (at fabric stores)
in many shades to blend with your yarn if you'd like to
reinforce key areas (like the heel and toe). Some knitters
are concerned that the thread may cut into the wool.
usually like to use the "heel stitch", it is
pretty and somewhat thicker due to the slipped stitches,
no need for reinforcement with slip stitch heel patterns.
W. suggests this variation on heel stitch: Slip every
other stitch in the first row and then on the 3 rd row
you knit the stitches you slipped in the first row and
slip the stitches you knit in the first row. 5 th row
repeats the 1 st row and 7 th row repeats the 3 rd row,
etc. This gives a very cushioning grid pattern.
a garter stitch heel - works great to keep patterned yarn
from pooling. Here is an article by Lucy Neatby
from INKnitters 2001 issue: http://www.inknitters.com/Issue1/lucy.pdf
sometimes knit the toe in the next size smaller needles
for a firmer fabric.
- There are directions for
various heels and toe variations in sock books. If you
have problems with heels wearing out you may want to try
a heel that you can rip out & replace easily.
- Elizabeth Zimmermann's book
Knitting Around has a moccasin sock that you can rip out
the entire sole & reknit when it gets worn out.
- http://www.lanagrossa.com/service/stricktipps/index.html Click
on instructions for socks with a “JoJo” heel (a short
row heel). In the instructions for the heel for the 2nd
row it should read...."position yarn thread at front
of work" instead of position heel at front of work.
you're bored with K2P2 ribbing:
the rib variations in E.J. Slayton's booklet (Ribbing
Plain and Fancy).
often do K3P2 rib, less purling and I like to see more
of the knit stitch.
also been known to do K4P2 rib when the yarn/needles are
- Just do about an inch of
ribbing then go to stockinette to the heel.
ribbing entirely & just start knitting for a rolled
top (another color for the rolled top would be cute too!).
If you're worried about them staying up either be sure
the circumference of the sock fits your ankles or knit
the top in a smaller size needle (or possibly 10% fewer
stitches?) - or just say they're slouch socks! I made
a few pair of these for my stepdaughter and they worked
fine with no adjustments.
(Kitchener stitch) is a great technique to know how to
do but you don't have to know how to graft to make
actually prefer other toe styles that don't require grafting,
the shape of the toe is more like your foot (not wedgey).
I usually use the star toe (multiple of 4 stitches) or
round toe (multiple of 8 stitches) - both are in Folk
doing a star or round toe, I like to do the very last
row on a size smaller needle, then when you thread the
last eight stitches together it is a little neater. I
do this on glove fingers & mitten tops too.
- Also see the "You're
Putting Me On" toe up socks http://tiajudy.com/soxform.htm.
do I do with the leftover yarn?
your leftovers as stripes to a solid background sock or
use in fair-isle patterns.
some in case you need to repair the sock later.
baby hats, mittens & socks. Baby socks also can be
recycled as Chistmas ornament mementos.
- See our Not
Just Socks Links
NOTES ON THE SOCKS YOU ARE MAKING
yarn/colors did you use? What gauge did you get on what
many stitches for cast on? How many stitches did you pick
up on the gusset?
many stitches did you use for the foot? How long did you
make the ribbing, leg, etc.?
When did you start the toe? What was total length of foot?
What stitches did you use?
Who was the sock for? What kind of toe did you use? If
you used a pattern, what book/magazine was it in?
like to keep this info in a small notebook in my knitting
bag to refer back to. Our “Knitters' Journey” notebooks
we have on the Guild
Items for Sale
would be nice for this use.
keep measurements for your favorite sock giftees, how
long do they like their socks, etc?
Symposium Tips in pdf format
Georgia at Hearthstone Knits July 2009 program
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