Category Archives: Project – Knitting

ESCAPE KNITTING

So here we are at the beach again, seizing a weekend unoccupied by renters, to enjoy our place in North Truro.  It’s not as warm as it can be in full summer, but it’s plenty comfortable enough for lounging on the beach, wandering the shoreline, and nosing around Provincetown.

And what’s lounging on the beach without a knitting project?  It can be difficult to knit from a complex pattern on the beach – hard copy pages get damp, and tend to blow around.  It’s often too bright to knit from designs stored on the iPad, the screen washes out in the sun.  So I tend to look for projects that are mindless, memorized, or free-form.

So here’s the latest, photographed in full sun on our deck.

Crusher-01

I’m working entirely without a pattern, using a rustic style Aran weight wool.  I’ve got several skeins of well-aged Bartlett two-ply Maine wool, that are taking up all to much room in my stash boxes I’d prefer to put to other use.

I have a couple of heathered garnet red; a couple that are ragg-mix of one ply of the garnet, and one of a navy; and a couple of a medium blue which is too light to use in combo with the others.  None are enough for an entire adult sweater but it’s time they earn their keep.  Also the ragg style blue/red mix would overpower most texture work.  So what to do?

A unisex, simple raglan, worked top down was the obvious choice.  No pattern, no gauge.  I started by casting on 100 stitches, and working a rolled stockinette collar on a US #8 (5mm) needle.  I changed to a US #10 (6mm) needle.  I’ve now got about 172 stitches around – roughly a 44-45-inch chest circumference.  The fit is slouchy and sweatshirt-like, and the high lanolin content rustic yarn (though a bit itchier than Merino, and hand-wash) guarantees a hard wear sweater ideal for cool weather hiking, and winter sports.  It’s a bit small for me, but between spawn, and a huge army of nieces and nephews, plus lots of outdoorsy friends, it’s bound to fit someone.

So, what do I call this no-pattern piece?  The Wesley Crusher, of course.  Named for the ubiquitous shoulder-colorblock casual sweaters and uniform blouses worn by him and the rest of the STNG crew.

Minor discovery during the course of this one.  Many circular needles in larger sizes have a noticeable “bump” where the needle part slims down to the cable’s thin diameter.  It can be annoying to shuffle stitches up that steep incline as you knit in the round.  But you can minimize the problem if you are using an interchangeable needle set.  I’ve outfitted one of the circs with a size #10 on one end, and a #8 on the other.  Since stitch size and gauge is dictated by the needle you are using to form the stitches (as opposed to the one being knit from), the smaller size needle sits on the “feed” side of the round, and its slightly smaller diameter presents less of an impediment when shuffling the stitches around into “knit me” position.  Give it a try!

And in other knitting news, I have finished the leaf shawl/scarf:

scarf-3

It looks like work/home will crawl back to a more manageable schedule, so I hope to be posting more regularly again in the weeks to come.  Next up is a tutorial on a simple method to finish out a sampler into a backed hanging.

BELATED FINISH

A very hectic month, between work and other obligations.  I’m glad to say we’ve gotten Younger Daughter off and installed at college, purple hair and all:

dorm-1

And I finished her vintage shrug:

shrug-2   shrug-3

An interesting project, this was a very quick knit, but it did take a bit of attention in finishing.  The instructions for seaming in the original are pretty rudimentary.  Here’s what I did, in case you want ot make one of these for your own:

  1. Leave stitches live instead of binding off the final row
  2. After blocking, graft live stitches to the cast on edge, taking care to match the drop stitch ribs.
  3. Next, sew up the two sleeves, using grafting along their finished edges.  Again, match the ribs.
  4. You now have the final seam left. Carefully match the center back seam to the center of the shoulder strip, and pin.
  5. Use mattress stitch to join the two strips together.

In effect, what you end up with is a T-shaped seam in the back, with the horizontal running between the lower edge of the armholes, and a vertical seam at the “spine” of the lower strip forming the center back.  Both are hard to see in my photo of the back because (to brag) I took great care with my grafting and seaming.

Quite pleased with this one.  Younger Daughter is into swing dancing, and will wear it not with t-shirts as shown, but with her 1940s/1950s-style dance dresses.

CATCHING UP

It’s been a while since I posted last.  Hectic doesn’t begin to describe it.  Kitchen finish, work-related deadlines, college graduations, and last – a blissful vacation week on Cape Cod in our new beachside condo, full of kayaking, golf, good food, and the active pursuit of doing absolutely nothing.  All in all too many things to accomplish, with too little time to document any of it.

But through it all, a modicum of sanity-preserving handwork has happened: three pairs of hand-knit socks (my default no-thinking project of choice); plus some others.

First, thanks to the generosity of Certain Enablers who shall remain unnamed – a vintage shrug.  I began working on this just before the vacation break.  On US #9 (5.5mm) needles, this one was a quick knit.  At left is the photo from the pattern.  At right is my piece.

coats140_b350 Shrug-2

Those projections on the side are the sleeves.  Obviously, I haven’t seamed the thing up yet.  A bit of pretzel-type manipulation is slated to happen that will result in a T-shaped seam in the back, and the graceful drape of the simple drop-stitch rib pattern curving in the front.  Or so we hope.  I have the piece left on the needle because I haven’t decided yet on whether or not I will be doing some sort of live-stitch seam.  It’s hot and sticky right now – too hot to sit with this tub of alpaca boucle on my lap.  I’ll go back and finish this piece off when it cools off a bit.  I’ll have to rush though, so Target Recipient can take the completed garment off to university with her next month.

Second is also a time-linked project.  The first of two, in fact.  I am edging off the two inspirational samplers I did for the girls, backing them and readying them for simple rod type hanging.  Here’s the first.  I’m hand’ hemming the backing/edging cloth to the stitching ground.  The backing cloth is in one piece, strategically folded to be a self frame.  I’ll baste a length of chain threaded on some thin woven tape in the bottom fold to provide weight, and leave small gaps in the two top corners for insertion of the hanging rod:

Trifles-almostdone

The second one will be close behind – the other sampler I did this fall/winter past.  Also finished out for hanging from a rod.  More on that after I’ve laid it out.  In fact, if folk are interested, I’ll use the second one to illustrate the folding and stitching logic required to do this.

And finally, just for fun with no deadline attached (so you know what I’ll be working on tomorrow evening), an Autumn Lace shawl out of some unknown Noro fingering weight yarn, augmented by some Noro Taiyo Sock.  The unknown Noro was also from the same Enabling Anonymous Donor, and was perfect for a project I’d been planning on working up for a long time:

Leaves-01

Here you see the first course of leaves (worked bottom half, then top half).  This is not a particularly difficult pattern, but it is an exacting one, with a pattern that has to be closely followed, and that is not within my capability to memorize.  More on this one as it develops.

TOPSY TURVY

Things here at String Central are about to be totally up-ended.  We’ve now lived in the New House for about 10 years, which makes it not so new any more.  In truth it hasn’t been new for quite a while, having been built in 1911 or so.

When we bought it we looked around and fell in love with the place. Some parts more than others:  the large, open layout, the abundance of surviving original woodwork and detail, the high coffered ceilings in the living and dining rooms, having a tiny library(!) plus sufficient space for all of the bedrooms, office areas, and workrooms a family with a wide variety of solitary pursuit interests needs.

On the problem areas, we’ve gone through a long list of improvements over the years, most having to do with systems: heat, insulation, wiring; or structure. New plumbing, a full-house rewire to get rid of (barely) functioning knob-and-tube, secure/weather-tight basement windows, a new heating system with a separate upstairs heat zone, insulation, a new roof, and a new driveway are just a few.  Other than rehabbing the poorly functional upstairs bath, we haven’t done much in the way of aesthetics or livability, beyond addressing basic needs.

But no longer.

After 10 years we are about to begin a major kitchen rehab, and FINALLY be rid of the sagging mint Formica countertops, the droopy cabinets, the dismally scratched (and hideously pink) floor tile, plastic sheet backsplashes; and the outdated, poor functionality of our layout.  I can hardly wait!

Here’s the official set of Before Pictures:

KitBefore-2 KitBefore-1

In the shots above you can see the partial wall between the prep and dinette areas, that breaks up the space without adding value. They are remnants of what had originally been a full wall, separating a back day-room for maid’s work from the kitchen proper.  This is now our eat-in area and will remain so, but the partial wall is going.

KitBefore-3

In this one you can see the patched- in wasted space above the cabinets in between them and the equally useless dropped soffits above the cabinets themselves.  That overhead space will be put to far better use.

KitRehab-6

And here are the mint green counters and plastic backsplash of the inconveniently far from everything Other Counter.  It’s the clutter-magnet area where we stash recycling, and although absent in this shot, where pantry overflow usually sits.  This space will also no longer sit idle.

KitRehab-8

Although we do have an pantry, it is of very little use, with narrow shelves too shallow to accommodate most cans, boxes, or jars.  The front part is a hinged armature that is very difficult to move if you want to access similarly shallow dead shelf space behind. We are in sore need of effective pantry space.  The new design will address this, too.

KitRehab-9

The rusted, creaky round-abouts (lazy susans) are an invitation for stuff to fall behind and jam the mechanism, with center poles that preclude larger items.  The gadget garage isn’t bad, but tends to be another clutter-magnet area, and uses up more useful space than it provides in return.  Technology for corner cabinetry has vastly improved since the ‘80s.  I’m looking forward to the new solution.

On overall design, the current kitchen/dinette area, although it looks large, is not wide enough to add an island or peninsula without serious bottleneck or access issues, so we are not going to radically change the footprint.  However, the current arrangement of appliances and countertops isn’t very efficient.  We end up doing 90% of our prep work in the two foot space between the sink and the stove.  The stove itself  does not have a vent to the outside, which doesn’t add to ease of keeping the room clean. And the kitchen is dark, with too many lights that don’t manage to provide illumination of the actual work areas.

So it’s time for all of it to go.

In the mean time, we’ve moved out of the kitchen, so the crew can come in tomorrow to start demolition.  We’ve crammed everything into the living and dining rooms, and will live without stove, oven or microwave, dishwasher or useful kitchen sink for the time being:

Kit-rehab-4  KitRehab-5

We plan to address all of these issues.  Stay tuned to see how!

 

For my knitting and stitching pals – don’t worry.  This isn’t going to turn into a home-improvement blog.  I continue to plug away on the wavy infinity scarf/cowl, plus progress on a pair of socks.  I always have a pair going, as “briefcase knitting” to do while waiting for appointments, on line, or in other away-from-home-base moments of idleness.

wavescarf-3

 

It’s slow going.  As I’ve said before, I spend as much time untangling as I do knitting.  And I still need to pay attention to the pattern.  I haven’t memorized the thing yet.  So it’s difficult to do when I’m watching TV in the evenings – my favorite time to do handwork.  Especially so because we’re re-watching our set of Lone Wolf and Cub TV series DVDs, which are in Japanese with subtitles, and on Netflix, the Norwegian series, Occupied, similarly subtitled from Norwegian.

So there you have it.  Chaos is about to descend.  But at least I can knit my way through it, while nibbling sandwiches in the dining room.

THIRD TIME IS THE CHARM

I’m still plugging away on the Mixed Wave pattern scarf for Elder Daughter:  It’s based on a cowl pattern of the same name.

Russet-scarf-2

Now, why has it taken me two full rip-back and start again cycles on this one?  Mostly because I can’t resisting tweaking here and there when I work from a pattern.

In this case, the recipient and I decided that a narrower piece was more desirable for wear with the target coat.  So I removed a ten-stitch unit.  Then we jointly decided that instead of two contrasting colors, we wanted to use three, in combo with our neutral color (black).  It’s hard to see here, but I’ve got a cranberry red, a maroon, and a variegated that ranges from cranberry through maroon, with shots of turmeric here and there. After that it was the traditional matter of Not Paying Attention, forgetting to move counting markers, and getting incredibly tangled from all of the flipping as the short row segments (the almond shapes) are formed*.  And let’s not forget the last forgetting – neglecting to make sure that stitch count was stable after every left and right edge segment pair.

But I’ve got it well in hand now.  I’m even beginning to remember to alternate left and right leaning almonds, along with choosing which segment to work as an almond, cycling through the colors, and remembering to work the row-beginning decreases and row-ending increases that give the piece its rhomboid slant.

I will continue on this piece, making it a bit longer than the original, and eventually either graft it into a true infinity scarf, or finish it off as a straight scarf with pointed ends.  We’ll see how my well my composure handles the all-too-frequent stopping to untangle.

 

*  Yes, I know the trick of always flipping clockwise on front side and counter-clockwise on wrong side rows of the short row sequence.  It isn’t helping.

REAL HIPSTER SOCKS

Well not, actually.  Just socks that feature hips:

Doc-sox-2a hip

These are the socks I mentioned in my last post, bespoke by the Resident Male as a gift for his hip replacement surgeon.  A frenzied week of knitting, to be sure, in order to be ready to be given at the scheduled follow-up appointment. 

I will say that both TRM and the socks have knit up well. Thanks to all for the get well wishes. He’s hobbling around quite spryly with cane, and gains movement range and strength every day.

On the socks, as previously posited, I worked them on two circular needles, in the round on 80 stitches around (US #00s) with figure-8 toe and short rowed heels.  I kept on that way until just after the completion of the heels, then splitting them at the center back, adding a stitch to the new left and right edges for later ease in seaming, and then continuing to work side by side, but this time, flat.

Here’s a typical late-night, poorly lit shot of the pair, side by side, being worked flat on a single circ, which I remembered to take at last minute:

doc-sox-1a

All in all, while I was happy to fulfill the special request, and interested in the experiment of working a pair on two circs with an Intarsia clock, I have mixed feelings about this project.

  1. If I had more time, the socks would be about an inch longer before the ribbing.  The proportion would be better.
  2. I still am not a fan of Intarsia.  That’s my mother’s favorite style of knitting.  I vastly prefer textures, lace and stranding.  Taming the multiple bobbins or yarn butterflies drive me crazy, no matter how careful I am at always using the strands in the right order and orientation.
  3. I should have used proportional graph paper rather than plain 1:1 squares when I charted the hip.  The stitch height:width ratio has flattened the design somewhat, and has lost some of the more gracefully round curvy details.  Here’s a place to make printable graph paper in any proportional ratio you need.
  4. I have and will probably use two-circs again for larger things like sleeves, but I don’t like that method for socks.  Not one bit.  Stopping to assort the needles and yarn slows me down big time over plain old DPNs.  I know others adore the method, but it’s not for me.

On the up side, the socks are complete.  They are the right size (I aimed at a guessed shoe size of men’s US 12-13, for a 6-foot guy), and although just a tad short from heel to ribbing, are totally wearable.  The motif sits well in place, and the copious end-darning doesn’t create uncomfortable ridges inside.  The mattress stitch seam worked perfectly, and the result is invisible from the outside of the work. 

Now on to other projects!

HAPPY 2016!

Apologies for silence at this end.  Things have been a bit unsettled here at String.  The holidays came and went, with their obligatory cookies:

cookies-2016

…and decorations.

xmas-2016

Foods were cooked for the appropriate occasions, including cassoulet, latkes, boned-out stuffed ducks, panforte, ham, roast beef, and all sorts of sides.  Gifts were obtained and exchanged. Wine and champagne were consumed. Visitors popped by.  Spawn were supported as they wrestled with college application deadlines. And The Resident Male (TRM) had his hip replaced.  He’s well on the road to recovery, and is delighted to be regaining utility that he had thought lost forever.  Warning to his golfing pals – by the Spring, he’ll be back in training and itching to test out the new equipment, to see what it can do for his swing.  But as you can see, the interval since my last post, although long, has been a tad hectic.

Even on the project end, I haven’t had time for as much as I planned.  Between working from home part time and the rest of the laundry list, above, plus standard household stuff like shoveling, I didn’t get a chance to sew the the new curtains for the library that I had planned as my end-of-year break effort.  I’ve also set aside the Mixed Wave Cowl for Elder Daughter, and didn’t get started on some other holiday knitting or needlework.  Those things were derailed by a request from TRM to knit up a pair of socks as a post-surgical gift.  So I am now trying to motor through a pair in very boring grey fingering weight.  They will be enlivened by a design on the ankle – probably something skeletal and hip-like, worked in Intarsia.  Here you see them, with the feet and half of the heel complete, almost up to the motif area; two rather dull, shapeless grey blobs.

greysox-1

To do Intarsia on the ankles of these toe-up in-the-round socks, I’ll cheat.  After the heel is finished I’ll split the rounds at the center back, and work both socks flat.  Since I’m doing them now side by side using two circs, I’ll re-assort the stitches onto one circ and continue, to guarantee uniform length and design placement.

How do I like the two-circ method for knitting a pair of socks at the same time?  Frankly, not much. 

I find I am actually faster at five DPNs because I don’t have to stop and fiddle at the end of each half round to retrieve the correct needle end, and I don’t have to pause to untangle twisted feeds from two balls of yarn (or both ends of the same ball).  But the idea here was to use this project to try something  new to me that so many others recommend, and to ensure the hard-to-count charcoal color yarn produced two socks of the same size and length.  On the latter, I have to give kudos to the two-circ method.  No actual counting – just keep on and you are guaranteed uniform products.

So here we are.  January has been achieved.  All sorts of seasonal and special-case speed bumps have been successfully traversed.  Bring on the rest of the year.  After December 2015, I can handle anything.

PERMISSION GRANTED, MORE OR LESS

Here it is, totally finished, and with a vaguely decent picture (but as yet, unsigned and un-mounted).

Permissions-06

The recipient is thrilled, which is always gratifying.

UPDATE:  People want the specs on this piece so they don’t have to hunt through previous posts.  30 count evenweave linen ground, stitched over two threads (15 spi).  The 6-strand floss is man-made “silk”, rayon actually; a vintage find brought back from India, slightly thinner than standard DMC floss.  I stitched all of the foreground using two strands.  Some of the background I did in single strand for contrast.  Pattern strips with one exception are all from my forthcoming book The Second Carolingian Modelbook.  The alphabet is from a vintage Sajou booklet #104 reproduced at Patternmakercharts.blogspot.com.  I hemmed my linen by hand before starting.

The reason I haven’t done the last teeny bits is that I’m trying to finish off some end-of-year gifts for the spawn.

First up and already done was the new pair of Susie Rogers’ Reading Mitts, done in a sparkly yarn for Younger Daughter.  She’s a fan of the surreal Welcome to Night Vale podcasts.  One of their taglines is “Mostly void, partially stars.”

void-stars-1

To get the partially-stars look, I used Loops and Threads Payette – an acrylic with a running lurex thread and small paillettes (flat sequins).  Both inspiration and enablement are courtesy of  Long Time Needlework Pal Kathryn, who sent this stuff to me.  Just seeing it sparkling at me kicked off this project.  Kathryn’s  initial intent was to knit socks from the Payette, but that effort was a no-go.  And rightly so.  The stuff is not fun to work with, and would make supremely uncomfortable socks.  The base black yarn is waxy feeling. The lurex thread breaks easily and is scratchy, and the paillettes can make stitch formation difficult – especially on decreases. Oh, and forget about ripping this stuff back. The lurex snaps.  But the look can’t be beat, especially for a big-box-store available yarn.

Yarn aside, this project is a great quick-knit.  Both mitts together took two evenings.  I used the Payette doubled, and knit the smallest size, which fits perfectly. The only change I made to the original design is eliminating the bulk of cast-on and cast-off. To begin, I work a figure-8 or provisional cast-on. When I get to the last row before the cuff welt, I reactivate the bottom stitches and fold them up, knitting one bottom edge stitch along with its live pre-cuff counterpart. This melds the bottom into the work, and eliminates the final bit of sewing up, and cuts down on pre-cuff bulk.

To cast-off, instead of making a finished edge and then sewing it down, I leave a long tail and fold the live edge inside the work. Then I use that to secure each last-row stitch to its counterpart in the first row after the fancy welting on the upper edge.

Final verdict – the kid loves these. The original design’s pretty welt and eyelet detail is lost in the sequined look and it’s over the top sparkly. But it fits in perfectly with the Nightvale-inspired theme.

Next on the needles is a new scarf for Elder Daughter.  As I mentioned in the last post, I’m enchanted by Sybil R’s designs and was determined to make one or another of them.  At first we contemplated a different scarf, but rummaging through my stash, we came up with yarn better suited to her Mixed Wave Cowl, an exercise in nested short row enhanced stripes.  Here you see the bare beginnings of mine:

Russet-scarf-1

I’m using an eclectic mix of well-aged stash denizens, plus a more recent variegated yarn seen here in a rather blue-shifted photo.  The black and russet are both Lang Jawoll bought who-knows-when.  The claret (again not as purple as it looks here) is Froehlich Wolle Special Blauband, which I’m pretty sure I had when we moved back to Boston in ‘95.  The variegated scarf thingy is Regia Creativ one of the unravel-me-and-knit dyed strips, in a mix of autumn colors including chocolate, russet, claret, and burnt orange.  The pattern is written for DK, on rather small 3.5mm needles.  I’m using  fingering-weight sock yarn on 3.0mm needles, which is making a slightly looser fabric.

More on this one as it grows…

SURFACING

It’s been lonely here at String.  So few posts over such a long period of time.  I apologize for that.  Life has been hectic, with work deadlines, the close of Younger Daughter’s school year, and house projects just getting under way.

For a start, here’s Younger Daughter, decked out for Junior Prom.

IMG_2375

No copycat column dress for her, she took inspiration from decades past, and found a bargain repro-1950s dress on line. Much child/parent conspiring took place to round out the outfit. The rhinestones for example are excavated from my jewelry box, and ultimately belonged to my grandmother and great-aunt. Younger Daughter looked great, and had a wonderful time.   And not a bit of envy for dance-able comfort from some of her more elaborately dressed peers.

On the Trifles sampler, I ran into a roadblock.  I tried drafting and tracing meshed gears, which I intend to use as a background, filling each one with a different counted blackwork-style filling.  But I wasn’t finding a great amount of success.  So I caved in and bought a plastic stencil.  I’ll use selected bits of it, tracing the precision cut cams onto the cloth and tiling the thing where needed (it’s calculated to do that!).  More on this once I get going.

I’m also working on a two-person knit-along with Friend Kim – a mesh-knit three-quarter sleeve pullover from a Kate Bellando pattern.  I think we’re both at about the same mid-sleeve point:

meshy-Knit-2

For the record, we’re both using SMC Select Reflect, a light DK/heavy sport yarn in rayon/cotton blend.  I can say that both of us have had extreme problems making gauge and have had to adjust needle size and move down in selected garment size to compensate.

And I’ve done a ton of socks as I noodled out the various problems and challenges, above.  This pair was knit up from a hand-painted sock blank – Plymouth Happy Choices, in the Fiesta color. 

sox-new

In essence, a sock blank is a long scarf-like machine knitted strip that a dyer then paints with her or his chosen colors.  When the scarf is unraveled for use, its patterns knit up in unexpected ways.  I knit mine straight from the blank rather than re-winding, working my standard figure-8 toe, short-rowed heel sock.  The crinkle made no difference in the finished product, and the convenience of working from something that wouldn’t escape and skitter down six rows was perfect for airplane knitting.  The lace pattern on the ankle is from Walker’s fourth treasury.

And on larger, family projects – we start to consider redoing our kitchen.  The floor tiles are worn past their surface color, the cabinets and countertops are sagging beyond simple repair or re-use, and the layout/look is inefficient and dated.  The room was spruced up around 1980, as a peace offering between the warring couple that sold the house to us.  I have detested the shell pink/mint green/faux Colonial cabinet combo from the day we moved in.  Before pix in next post, for sure. Ten years is enough, and it’s time!

NIECE, SLIGHTLY DAMAGED

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.

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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…

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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.

Gauge

Roughly 5.25 stitches = 1 inch.  You want these socks knit tightly for warmth and durability.

Directions

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:

loops

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.

Toe Shaping

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.

Foot

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*

Ribbing

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.

Ties

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.

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