Monday, March 28, 2011

Sock Tutorial -- Sock number 2

How are your socks coming along?

I just finished turning the heel on sock number 2....I had to frog it twice after turning the heel. The first time it seemed lop sided -- like I had forgotten one of the p2Ts. I pulled it out, picked up the stitches again and tried again. The second time the placement of the heel was good but when I examined my turned heel one side had really loose, I mean really loose, stitches that wouldn't have worn well in use. So I frogged it again right to the heel flap, in fact I ripped it back to the second to last heel flap row and purled the last row with really tight stitches, so that the loose stitches would be no more. And turned the heel for the third time.

Now I'm satisfied with my turned heel and ready to begin the gusset.

A bit about frogging or ripping out your work. I just pull the needles out and rip back to where the error is and then pick up the stitches with a needle that is finer than the ones I am working with. You will see that the stitches all stand at attention waiting to be picked up. You want them to lie in the right direction when you pick them up. If any are backwards as you go to knit them, slip them off and correct their position before you knit or you will have a funny row of stitches in your work. If you pay attention to how the yarn lies on the needle as you pick it up to knit it, you will understand what I mean.

How about you? Are your socks working for you? Do you like them? Do they fit? If there is something about it you don't like, you can rip it back, pick up the stitches and continue knitting until you like them.

I view knitting as a journey and each row is an enjoyable step in the journey. The destination -- a finished sock -- is not the reason for the knitting of the sock. If you just wanted a sock you would buy a pair at Walville. But the journey to get to the sock is what we are wanting -- the learning of a new skill, the experiment with a new yarn, the joy of working with our hands to create something beautiful. This is the real goal of knitting. So don't fuss if you need to frog. Enjoy the journey.

When you are ready to begin your sock number 2 you have a choice -- you can find the place in the yarn's pattern repeat where you began the first sock -- recommended if your sock yarn has a huge pattern repeat, as my first yarn, Opal #650, did. On my second pair of socks the pattern repeat was much shorter and I opted to just begin where I left off. There is enough yarn on a ball of Opal sock yarn to find the pattern repeat so the choice is yours.

Another choice that you have is to make an entirely different sock for sock number 2 -- "One sock is ART, Two socks is wall mart" we say at home. Sometimes you want matching socks and sometimes its fun to make two different socks from the same yarn -- they match but they don't. So if you want to try this, for sock number two cast on the same number of stitches as sock number 1 and do the ribbing for the top of the sock for 2 inches and then get out your stitch dictionary and find a stitch pattern you've always wanted to try. Its best to find a pattern that will work on 32 stitches so you won't have to add stitches for the instep. When you divide for the foot, you will continue in this new pattern stitch for the instep stitchs but knit stockinette for the foot.

Use the directions for the heel flap, turning the heel, and the gusset as in the first sock but be creative with the rest, being sure to use your pattern stitches on the instep. You are designing your own sock. We'll talk more about sock design next time.

You can post pictures of your socks on Joybilee Farm Facebook


  1. I confess I have not gotten very far with my socks yet but when I do I will be happy to send pics. (Life has been rather crazy with the kids on spring break for 2 weeks.) Thanks for all of the guidance though, I am sure I will need it!

    I dream of becoming a sock knitter with all of the skeins around here taunting me. Tomorrow I will hop back on the horse and get on it.

    Amy in Chilliwack

    BTW great job Sarah and Mom on the jacket!

  2. 10 May and I am starting pair #5 they are a hoot to make.