Sunday, August 30, 2009

Easy Socks yahoogroup KAL Sept/Oct 2009

It's my turn for the group KAL, and I've chosen the Basketweave stitch pattern for the leg. It's relatively easy, but not so easy you can't ignore which row you're on! And I admit I chose it for the name, since I sell Longaberger baskets!

I apologize if my instructions aren't the best, but I write like I think! LOL I don't usually write up the patterns I make here on my blog, but scribble notes in my "magic knitting notebook" that I record all of my projects in. Feel free to contact me if something doesn't make sense or if you find an error. (Heaven forbid!)

If you've been following the EasySocks group, you'll have learned all you need to know from Rhonda's "perfect fit" socks from the last KAL. And of course, your socks all fit perfectly because you followed her instructions, knitted a gauge swatch, and made your socks your perfect size! (or your mom's or daughter's or DH's or.....)

I've used 2 balls of Berroco Comfort DK in red, because I'm thinking red is always a great color (I live in St Louis, and the Cardinals are here, of course!) no matter what the time of year. However, red is the perfect Christmas color, as well as a great fall color. Obviously, you can choose whichever color you prefer, and whichever DK yarn you prefer. (I also picked up some Tennessee Orange yarn for my SIL, but don't tell her!)

This is a nice yarn to work with and comes in lots of colors. It's acrylic and nylon, and very soft. I prefer wool sock yarn, so was pleasantly surprised at how nicely these worked up. (and since you're not using size 0 needles, surprising quick!)

Remember your gauge is important, but since this stitch pattern is over 4 stitches, you'll need to make sure you CO a number that is divisible by 4. Also, since the 2x2 ribbing is a multiple of 4, you will see right away if your stitch count is off. It might be a good idea to have a row counter handy at the beginning.

I used size US size 3, or 3.25mm DPNs. If you prefer using two circs, or magic loop, that's up to you! But you'll need to check your gauge, because you don't want to make socks for someone else unless you intend to!

If you prefer a worsted weight yarn, you can also use this pattern by using bigger needles. I used CottonEase worsted for the anklets KAL this summer and CO 40 stitches on US 4's. It worked great because it is still a multiple of 4.

This is a cuff down pattern, so you'll CO at the cuff, and work your way down to the toe.

CO 48 stitches, join in the round, being careful not to twist your stitches, place marker at the beginning of the round. If you do twist them, you'll end up with a Moebius strip and you'll have to rip out.

Work a 2x2 ribbing for an inch, or longer if you prefer, then switch to your pattern stitch as follows:

(The pattern is repeated over 4 stitches and 4 rows. After a while, you won't need to use your row counter, because you can tell what your pattern needs to look like.)

Row 1,2 (K2, P2)* repeat to end of round
Row 3,4 (P2, K2)* repeat to end of round

Repeat rows 1-4 until desired length of cuff. I stopped at a total of 6", including my 2x2 ribbing.

Knit all round for 1" of stockinette stitch, then you'll start your heel. I prefer a short row heel, but you can use any heel you like. For a short row heel, my center stitches numbered 10 before I started increasing again.

The best short row heel instructions I've found are here at Knitting Daily in the Ambrosia Socks pattern. I won't reinvent the wheel or retype the instructions, but I will give you the link.

Ambrosia Socks - Knitting Daily

Once you've finished your heel according to either these instructions, or doing the heel you feel comfortable with, it's time to start the foot.

Because you aren't increasing or decreasing with this type of heel like you would with a gusset, you won't need to worry about decreasing for your foot. However, if you have a particularly narrow or wide foot, then you can do that here.

The foot is stockinette stitch (which is knitting all rounds) until you get to the length you need. I stop at the ball of my foot because the toe I use gives me about 1 1/2 inches additional length. As a guide, I wear a size 6 shoe, and the length of knitting between the toe "corner" and the ball is about 5 or 5 1/4" in length.

To decrease for the toe, you'll need to make sure you have equal number of stitches either distributed on the 4 DPNs or the 2 circs or the magic loop. Basically you'll need them divided in half. To begin, you'll decrease two stitches every other row until you have 16 stitches on each half (or total of 32), then you'll decrease every row until you have 8 stitches total, 4 on each needle. I've dropped two needles at this point because it's awkward to have only 2 st per needle.

To decrease for the toe, you'll treat the two needles as one:
K1, SSK, knit to last three stitches, then Ktog, K1 twice (so you're decreasing a total of 4 st on those rounds)
Next round is Knit all around

Repeat these two rounds until you have a total of 16 on each side (or 32 total).

Now you'll decrease 4 stitches on every round (using the same method above) until you have a total of 8 stitches.

I don't do a Kitchener stitch much anymore, because I think the following instructions are easier, and look just as nice. If you find this toe doesn't fit you well, then there are other options and types of toes you can use.

I cut the yarn, thread a yarn needle, and thread the end of the yarn through the last 8 stitches a couple of times, then weave in the ends. The pictures I've uploaded will show the short row heel and the toe decreases.

Voila! A finished sock! Now you do the exact same thing for the second sock, and you're good to go!

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