Saturday, February 6, 2010

sock class, part 3: foot and toe

No pictures today -- I take all my pictures outside, and right now we're just finishing up getting 24 inches of snow. For this area -- near Philadelphia -- that is a BIG snow. I will go back in and insert pictures as soon as I get a chance, but I thought some of you might be stuck in limbo waiting for this last step.

Note: a friend is proof-knitting this lesson for me. I think it's OK, so I'm posting it now because it's Saturday and you may need it. (It's 1:45 p.m. Eastern time.) Any needed corrections will go up as soon as I receive them.

You will have noticed by now - especially if you're using the thicker yarn -- that I've tricked you into making larger-sized socks. I always feel bad for the older kids, because more of the "cuter" sizes come in. So I've deliberately aimed for medium adult sizes here.


The foot

The finished foot length of your sock should be 8 to 9.5 inches (20 to 24 cm). Once you've finished your gusset decreases and are back to a total of 36(40) stitches, continue knitting round and round until you're 1 to 1.5 inches short of your desired finished length. To measure, fold your sock flat and measure from the back of the heel. Now it's time to start the toe decreases.

The toe
Divide your stitches, if they aren't already arranged this way, as follows, starting at the center back of the heel: 9(10) on first needle; 18(20) on instep needle; 9(10) on last needle. You will be decreasing in 4 places on each decrease round. I am writing these instructions in excruciating detail; it's not that hard. Like the heel turn, it just requires a whole lot of words.

round 1: on first needle, knit 6(7) sts, k2 tog, k 1. On instep needle, k 1, ssk (as defined in the heel turn - remember? slip one stitch to righthand needle as if to knit, slip another stitch to righthand needle as if to knit, insert tip of left needle through the front of those 2 stitches and knit them together), knit 12(14) stitches, k2 tog, k1. On last needle, k1, ssk, knit to end. You should have a total of 32(26) stitches.
round 2: knit around
round 3: on first needle, k 5(6) sts, k2 tog, k1. On instep needle, k1, ssk, k 10(12), k2 tog, k1. On last needle, k1, ssk, knit to end. 28(32) stitches total.
round 4: knit around
round 5: on first needle, k 4(5) sts, k2 tog, k1. On instep needle, k1, ssk, k 8(10), k2 tog, k1. On last needle, k1, ssk, knit to end of needle. 24(28) sts.
round 6: knit around
Now you will decrease on every round. Have you figured out the pattern yet?
round 7: on first needle, knit to last 3 sts, k2 tog, k1. On instep needle, k1, ssk, knit to last 3 instep stitches, k2 tog, k1. On last needle, k1, ssk, knit to end. 20(24) sts.
round 8: work as round 6. 16(20 sts).
If you're knitting a 36-stitch sock, wait a minute for the 40-stitchers to catch up. 40-stitchers, knit one more round. 16 stitches.

Grafting the toe
Now everyone has a total of 16 stitches left, and you've ended at the middle of the heel. Take that first heel needle, and knit the 4 stitches from the other heel needle onto it. You now have all your stitches on two needles, each of which holds 8 stitches, and your working yarn is coming from the last of the heel stitches, at your right.
Now you will graft the toe. This is not hard!! Again, it just requires way too many words. If you need pictures, not my words, to figure this out, just do a google search for grafting sock toe or Kitchener stitch. There are, as always, YouTube videos.

Cut or break your working yarn, leaving about 12 inches (more than you need, but why run the risk of running out at this point?). Thread it onto a sewing-up needle. You are essentially going to lace together the front and back rows of stitches, forming a row of knitted-appearing stitches. (This is so cool.)

I will use the word "front" for the instep needle and "back" for the heel needle. Those needles stay in those positions until we're done.

First, to start off, take that sewing-up needle, and thread it through the first stitch on the front needle as if to purl -- that means from right to left. Do NOT remove that stitch from the needle. Pull the yarn all the way through. Next, move the yarn to the back and put your sewing up needle through the first stitch on the back needle as if to knit, and pull the yarn through. Do NOT remove that stitch from the needle. This gives you a nice beginning to this edge of the toe.

Now we're going to start grafting. I will use the term "sewing-up needle," even though it's cumbersome, to indicate the one with the eye and the yarn threaded through it. If I just say "needle," it means the double-pointed needle that is holding the stitches.

step 1: Thread the sewing-up needle through the first stitch on the front needle as if to knit and take it off the needle. Thread the sewing-up needle through the next stitch on the front needle as if to purl; pull yarn through and leave that stitch on the needle.
step 2: Move yarn from front to back. Now, put the sewing-up needle through the first stitch on the back needle as if to purl, pull yarn through, and remove that stitch from the needle. Put sewing-up needle through next stitch on back needle as if to knit; pull yarn through and leave that stitch on the needle. Move yarn back to front, and repeat steps 1 and 2 until you've used up all the stitches.

It's an easy rhythm: one off, one on, switch needles. One off, one on, switch needles. Just pay attention to which way you're putting the sewing-up needle through the stitches. "As if to knit" means left to right; "as if to purl" means right to left. You should get a magical row of little V's, like stockinette stitch. If you get little U's, like garter stitch, you're putting your sewing-up needle in backward.

Last stitch -- thread yarn through and snug it up. This always gives me a nasty little point, sometimes called an "ear." I don't know if this is technically proper, but here's how I make it go away. With sewing-up needle, move one stitch away from the toe, into the sock, pull the yarn all the way through, and give it a little tug. It should disappear. You might have a tiny little bump left, but it smooths right out.

Now -- make another sock to match!

For part 1 of this sock class, go here.
For part 2, go here.
For part 4, go here.

3 comments:

Kathy said...

This is a very clear explanation of kitchener, Elizabeth -- I appreciate that a master knitter like you also gets that little "ear" at the end, and your tip for how to hide it! Thanks for this series.

Tory said...

Another tip about kitchener: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee says to "pretty it up" after the grafting is done. For me, a simple tug isn't enough. I always need to take the tip of the sewing needle and tighten the graft here, loosen it there, etc. before securing the end. In other words: Pretty it up. This tip has made all the difference for me.

ritikitib said...

Dear Elizabeth D. Is there a way that I can print out these clear instructions?

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