As happens to so many, my gymnast niece Veronica had a disagreement with gravity, momentum, torque, and a body part; and has landed in cast. She’s on the mend, but disappointed to miss out on the remaining Spring competitions, and (living in Buffalo) regrets her now chilly, exposed toes.
Knitting to the rescue!
To cheer her up and warm those toes, I whipped up a quick set of tie-on toe socks. I used worsted weight washable acrylic or superwash wool blends, all leftovers from prior projects, and US #5 needles, playing with simple stranding, eyelet patterns, or no design at all, as whimsy manifested. I think that the pale blue is in fact left over from a Fishy Hat I knit for Veronica years ago…
The toe is my standard Figure-8 no-sew toe cast-on, but rendered wide enough to go over the end of the cast. After that I worked about three inches of foot, and ended with 20 rows of ribbing. I made crocheted strings to tie the things on. Apparently I didn’t make them long enough (being several hundred miles from the recipient), and they are not quite adequate to tie behind the heel. The directions below are modified to add the extra, needed tie-string length.
BASIC TIE-ON TOE SOCKIES FOR THE CAST-BOUND
Washable worsted weight yarn with native gauge of 5 stitches = 1 inch. I recommend an acrylic or a washable wool.
Set of five US #5 double pointed needles (can also be done Magic Loop or two-circ style)
US size G crochet hook for ties (ties can also be done using I-cord, braiding, or any other method you desire)
Tapestry needle for ending off ends.
Roughly 5.25 stitches = 1 inch. You want these socks knit tightly for warmth and durability.
No-Sew Toe Cast-On
Take two of the needles and wrap the yarn around them, figure-eight style. The yarn should loop around the bottom needle and cross to the opposite side of the top needle. Loop over it and then return between the two. The result should look something like this:
Continue wrapping the yarn this way until you have 12 loops on each needle. Let the end dangle free with no knots or other securings – you’ll need to work looseness in the first row out towards the end later. Knots will interfere with this in-flight adjustment. Take a third dpn and knit across the top needle. Take the fourth dpn and knit across the bottom needle. Be careful not to twist stitches – one needle’s loops will be “backward” with the leading edge of the loop on the rear side of the needle. Make sure you knit into the rear side of these “backward” loops. You now have a very narrow and slightly awkward strip of knitting suspended between two needles. There should be 12 stitches on each needle. Don’t worry if the stitches running down the center are loose, in a couple of rows you can tighten them up by carefully working the excess down towards the dangling tail end.
Row 1: k1, M1, k5. Using another dpn, k5, M1, k1. Using a third dpn, k1, M1, K5. Using the fourth dpn – K5, M1, K1. You should now have 4 live needles in your work, each with 7 stitches on it.
Row 2: Knit all stitches
Row 3: *k1, M1, k6 [Note – this is the end of first needle, remainder on second needle] K6, M1, K1* repeat
Row 4: Knit all stitches
Row 5 and subsequent odd rows: Continue adding one stitch after the first stitch of the first and third needles, and one stitch just before the last stitch of the second and fourth needles.
Row 6 and subsequent even rows: Knit. When you have 14 stitches on each needle (56 stitches total) the toe is done.
The foot is just a cylinder worked on all 56 stitches, for about 3 inches after completion of the toe. You can work this in plain stockinette, or go wild here, working simple stranding or eyelet lace patterning. Repeats of 4, 7, 8, 14 or 28 stitches are all possible. For example, my wide eyelet ladder is
Row 1: *K2tog YO2, SSK*
Row 2: *K1, K1P1 into double YO, K1*
When the foot part is complete, it’s time for 20 rows of ribbing. I tend to use K2, P2 ribbing because it pulls in more than K1P1 ribbing, but feel free to use anything that’s comfortable for you. Bind off and darn in all ends.
I crocheted my tie strings for speed. I located the “side welts” – the stitch column that corresponded to the beginning of needle #1 and the end of needle #4, and the stitch column that corresponded to the end of needle #2 and the beginning of needle #3. It will be very visible on the side of your toe. I walked those points up to the ribbing for my designated side attachment points – one on each side of the sockie.
Using the crochet hook and my yarn, I worked a two-stitch column of single crochet.
Row 1: Single crochet 2, chain 1 (this is the turning chain)
Row 2 and subsequent rows: Skip turning chain, single crochet 2.
I made my strings about a foot long, but I strongly suggest making yours about 18 inches long. Darn in ends, and you are finished.
I report that the sockies work, mostly (they need longer ties), and the recipient is warmer and happier. Heal quick, Veronica! We all want to see you dancing (and tumbling) real soon.
Kim, Veronica was so stylish today at school! Many of her friends loved the sock and the knitters wanted the pattern. We directed them to your site. Big smile on V’s face! thanks again! Carolyn
So nice of you to knit the toe-warmers! When my husband was in a cast in the middle of a MA winter, we found that making a regular sock toe and tucking it inside the cast actually worked better. Since I suspect it’s not as cold now as it was in February that year, it probably doesn’t matter at all, but just thought the info might be useful to someone sometime…