Thursday, June 12, 2014

My favorite sock recipe

Thank you, Elizabeth D., for pushing me ever so gently into the world of knitting socks a couple of years ago.  All it took, really, besides your encouragement (that was key!) was the right yarn, the right size needles and a simple how-to book. Making simple socks has provided me enough pleasure so far that I haven't yet ventured on to more sophisticated patterns. For now, I am sticking with stockinette or simple ribbed socks.

Knitters looking for a basic sock pattern are certain to like Susan B. Anderson's blog post, "How I Make My Socks."  It is very clear and reliable. If like me, you choose to use 2 circulars or the Magic Loop method, your stitches will be distributed differently on the needles, but that is easy to figure out. I use Susan's stitch numbers when I make socks for myself or for an older teen/adult size for afghans For Afghans.

For the current baby sock campaign, I looked around the web, using Ravelry pattern search engine to find free baby sock patterns, just so I would have a sense of how many stitches to start with. Once I looked at a few of them, I figured out my own "recipe". With sock weight yarn, I cast on 36 sts on a size #1 circular needle. As I mentioned before, I stop to tretch my new stitches every 4 or 5 sts. It really makes a difference. In response to a recent comment here -- I have tried casting on a larger size needle, which didn't work. What matters most here is the length of yarn in between two stitches. (The larger needle method works better for binding off in my experience, but only if I go several sizes bigger)

Back to the baby socks: using either sock yarn or fingering-weight wool, I cast on 36 sts, work in either 1/1 or 2/2 ribbing for 6 rounds, then switch to stockinette.  When the leg is about 3" long, it is time to start on the heel flap. Working on 18 sts, I follow Susan Anderson's method exactly. You may decide that a baby is not going to need the reinforced heel that this method produces. In this case, just go on in stockinette for 18 rows, knitted back and forth, slipping the first stitch of every row. Then return to Susan Anderson's steps to shape the heel and complete the foot. I make sure to have at least 2.5 inches from the heel to the beginning of the toe decreases. For this drive, I have made every pair a bit different in length since they will need to accommodate a variety of babies.

I make the toe decreases every other round until I am down to a total of 20 sts, then I proceed with more decreases on the next 2 rounds, which leaves me 6 sts to "kitchener". A fellow knitter recommends a more square toe with fewer decreases since baby feet do not taper off as ours do. Knitter's choice.

With sportweight or dk wool, I cast on 32 stitches on a size #2 needle and go from there. In either case the knitting is fast and pretty easy. Give it a try!

1 comment:

Elizabeth D said...

I am so glad I lured you in! Those socks are adorable.

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