Friday, November 28, 2008

Open toe socks

I think they're really cute, and I intend to make some because I do like to wear flip-flops just about any time of the year. However, I don't think I need to follow any specific pattern to do so-in my opinion, you can take any sock pattern out on the internet or in a pattern book and make it open toe simply by stopping your foot about an inch or so before you would stop for the toe shaping, then make about an inch or so or K1, P1 ribbing.

That's all an open toe sock is-a sock with no toe in it-so take your favorite sock pattern and make it into flip-flop socks!

Why I like WW socks

3: They're soft and cushy
2: They're warm and cuddly
1: They're a very quick knit

If you use the right yarn-acrylic or wool-you'll get a cushy-soft sock that works up in a breeze. I'm almost at the toe shaping of a pair of socks I started a couple of weeks ago that probably wouldn't have taken more than a few days of knitting if I hadn't put the first one down to work on something else for awhile. I'm using Simply Soft Heathers in Truffle on #3 DPNs and it only takes 48 sts to make a sock for my size 8-1/2 wide feet-and they're even the teensiest bit big, which isn't bothering me because I can't stand snug socks.

Yes, I do like socks made from sock yarn too-but they take a bit longer because you're working on at least twice the stitches on smaller needles, and with my CTS, sometimes the really small needles are a pain to work with because one or both of my hands will go numb after awhile.

Another good yarn for socks-and yes, I have a pair on the needles for that too-is Cascade 220 Superwash. It's a lighter weight than the SS, but I'm still using the same size 3 DPNs and I have the same number of stitches as for the SS, but the Cascade is a bit stretchier than the acrylic, so the sock will still fit and not be too snug. I'm using a twisted rib pattern I'm making up and writing down as I go, so look for it to be posted in my patterns soon-it's a bit different from other twisted rib patterns in that I'm twisting the stitches on every sixth round so you can still see the ribbing, but it breaks up the monotony some, since I'm carrying the rib pattern all the way down the instep.

But with the damp, chilly winters we have here in SW Miss, I like a nice thick sock for keeping my feet warm-and winter is when I usually wear socks/shoes cause I hate anything on my feet-which is also why I usually make ankle socks-and those make up even quicker than other socks-although I might try a taller sock to see how the twisted rib looks on it when I go to make another pair, I just don't think I have enough of the Cascade to do it with these socks.

Another thing I just don't understand about most sock construction patterns-why do they distribute the stitches so that they have to be rearranged when you get to the heel shaping, and why do they put the instep stitches on one needle when they get through with the heel? That, to me, is an awful lot of work for a pair of socks. The ones I'm working on have the heel stitches already on the third needle (last needle worked in a round) and I haven't seen any difference in the way my plain socks look than ones where you have to do all that shifting around. Yes, there is a slight line down the front of the sock where the two needles were when the sock isn't on the foot, but you have to look real hard for it, and it doesn't really bother me-as long as you snug up the first stitch or two when you change needles you won't get ladders.

Another thing-the heel flap/turning/gusset shaping of most heel instructions in patterns. Well, that's an awful lot of work to put into a heel, and yes, I can do them, but I don't like the way they turn out or look on the finished sock-even the pictures of socks where people can probably do them better than me. Short row heels and toes are much neater and cleaner-looking than traditional heel/toe shaping and make the heel/toe look more like a store sock, but better-since you made it yourself.

While I'm on the subject of short row toes-yes, I meant on a top-down sock. I don't like the way the leg of the toe-up sock does, it's a bit too snug for my taste. And if the top-down sock makers already know how to graft toe stitches together, there isn't much difference in grafting the sock together at the end of the sock than it is grafting it together at the instep-except you have more stitches and it takes a bit more time. Yes, there is a slight line there where it meets-due to the difference in looks of back and forth st st and st st in the round, but that just makes the sock look more store-bought, and like I said, it's a very slight line which store-bought socks have yet to achieve, because they sew their socks together at the instep instead of grafting them.

So, those are my comments on why I like my way of constructing socks-yours may differ, and that's okay-just like there's no right or wrong way to knit or crochet, there is also no right or wrong way to construct a sock, as long as it looks like a sock when you finish it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I put this basic pattern up because I wanted to do a sock in yarn that anyone could afford. I'm using Caron Simply Soft Heather in Truffle Heather 9502 and it makes a really pretty color for a sock. I think next time I'm going to make them longer-although ankle socks are my favorite socks since I don't like wearing anything on my feet unless they're cold.

I'm almost done with it-I'm at the toe shaping-and I decided to try the sock on. Wow, the sock is so soft and comfy that I couldn't believe it. I'm definitely finishing the second sock. I just wish I had a camera to take a picture, but I don't, maybe Santa will grant my wish and bring me a little digital one.

Anyway-I already have some more SS yarn and I'm making me some more socks out of it-they're thick, warm and cozy.

And if I want to make nice wool socks, I'll go to my LYS and purchase Cascade 220 superwash wool-the socks I'm doing out of it-while not nearly as thick as my SS socks-are nevertheless very soft and comfortable. And Cascade yarns are pretty affordable-even on my budget.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Have you seen the Fetching Fingerless Gloves from Knitty ? Do you want to make them, but don't have a cable needle or extra dpn, or you just aren't sure if you can make cables? Well, if you aren't a beginning knitter, and you don't mind a few acrobatics with dropped stitches, then cables without cable needles is what you need.

I know when you first read Wendy's tutorial on doing them that you'll say "No way!" but I tried it and as long as you're careful and hold the stitches just beneath them, then you can do this. I now do cables this way when I make cables-which isn't very often, admittedly-so I have no use for buying extra equipment just to make them with.

I would suggest that you take some scrap yarn and some needles and practice this technique before implementing it in a project so you can do it effortlessly-or as effortlessly as possible. Sometimes you will split the stitch when picking up the dropped stitches, but that's easily remedied for any knitter who isn't a rank beginner.

Anyway. I probably have a post about this somewhere in my archives, but I just think it bears repeating now and then.

And while we're on the subject of the Fetching glove, she uses a pretty bulky yarn and larger needles, which makes the glove look pretty big with her pattern. I've seen posts in a knitting community about it-which was several years ago, but that doesn't matter-and they pretty much said when they made them that way, the glove was big. Well, I tried the pattern using Cascade 220 superwash wool and #3 DPNs and followed her pattern exactly. While my glove wasn't thick and chunky like hers, it did fit like....well....a glove. Also, I don't like the picot bind off, so I just bind off in a normal bind off, following the K4, P1 pattern. And before any of you say that I probably just have a small hand-no, I don't-I may not have huge hands, but they've never been small and dainty either, so that glove pattern-made to her specs-would probably fit a man's hand, if a man were so inclined to wear fingerless mitts like that. If I was to make them with a chunkier yarn, I'd probably go down to about a #5 or #4 set of needles to make them a bit smaller.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I had to frog my Lion Wool socks-I don't swatch, and the socks were a bit snug. Never fear-I will remake them since I only need to add a few more sts to make them not so snug. And I think I'll opt for top-down since I think that will make the leg a bit more to my liking and a bit stretchier. I can still do a short row toe since I don't like the toe decreases, and graft the instep sts to the sole sts when I get around to the top. If I can snag a camera somewhere I'll even take a picture and post it when I'm done.

Right now, I'm experimenting with Caron Simply Soft so that when I go back to the wool I'll know what to do-don't want to frog wool too many times or it will felt.

I must say I do like what's going on with the Simply Soft-I might do more socks in that if it fits right-I do like the thicker WW sock over regular socks.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Everyone has their favorite yarn to use. I use RHSS or Caron SS mostly because I can't always afford the more expensive wools and such-plus, I'm usually making afghans, slippers, slipper socks, etc. that take pretty hard wear and I don't have the time or inclination to specially wash an item simply because it will shrink and felt if I machine wash. Yes-I'm lazy.

I've read of crocheters and knitters who scorn RHSS to no end because it feels rough to them compared to wool and it hurts their hands-yes, it does feel a bit rougher to me, but I also have slightly calloused hands from working outside a lot, so it doesn't feel that rough and yucky to me. It helps that it's also the yarn my mother always used, so I've used it all my life. It's not going to feel like wool-it's made from plastic, don't expect it to feel like wool or any other luxury fiber. Caron SS is a very soft acrylic that I do like working with-it's plastic too, I know, but they've made it really soft. I wouldn't use RH for socks-it is too rough and stiff for that (except for the baby yarn)-but I would use it for just about anything else, and have.

I also like working with the acrylic baby yarns, since they're so soft too, and babys should have things that shouldn't have to be specially washed either-because mommy likely works and doesn't have the time or inclination to specially wash anything.I guess I'm saying-you like what you like and I'll like what I like-just don't chide me for using what I use-I'm not making it for you anyway ;)

Dog Hoodie

Dog Hoodie

I'm making this for my miniature Basset Hound. There are some things I'm doing/going to do different with this pattern though.

I'm using a circular needle in a size 9 or 10 (I think-there is no place on them that indicates size-they're the Boye circular)

I'm using RHSS yarn in Linen-a medium beige color.

I've reversed the order of the decreases in the hood-the left-slanting SSK is supposed to go on the right side of your work and the right-slanting K2TOG is supposed to go on the left side of your work.

Also, where she stops (just after the ribcage) leaves half a dog uncovered-that won't do-so I'm going to dec some sts (not sure yet how many) and simply work in K1P1 ribbing until it reaches her tail and put it together up to where her back legs are. For a male, you would want to put it together and leave a space for his wee ;)

Depending on how many sts are on my needles, I might get to work some of this in the round since I'm using a circular needle-I'll see. Anyway, I'll keep you updated on the progress-it's a nice little basic doggie sweater, it just needs a few mods. I'm also debating just putting some ribbing around the leg openings instead of sleeves-and I can do that with magic loop-so I don't have to go out and buy any DPNs that I might not use again.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Almost Finished

I've just about finished the pair of socks that I talked about in the last post-the WW in Lion wool. Not only do WW socks knit up faster, doing one sock, then working on the other means I'll still have a pair in less time than if I'd done one sock, then the other, because I'd have likely put the second sock down for no telling how long.

I'm at the cuff, and I'm just deciding how long I want it-it's around an inch or so now, and I think I want it long enough to fold down if I desired, so I'm going to go for 4-6 inches-which should be about thirty rnds. I'll still have yarn leftover to try the double knitting technique I also talked about-so I might make a pair of ankle socks doing that with the rest of the yarn.

I'll let you know-I just hope I haven't made a mistake in doing my first double-knit pair of socks in the same color instead of practicing using two colors-we'll see.