Sunday, January 15, 2012


I had great intentions about posting an article before Christmas...had a book picked out, projects selected, supplies purchased, notes written out...then I misplaced the whole shebang.  It was on my desk, I had visitors, it was gone.  Sometimes tiding up before company is NOT a good thing no matter how organized you think you are.

For once in my life I decided not to go too crazy and went with the flow.  I switched gears, slowed down, put the blog aside, and focused on the gifts I wanted to make for friends and family...most of which involved my beloved knitting.   I have to tell you, it was nice to approach the holiday in the relaxed state of mind that knitting puts me in.  Not to mention the fact that, for the first time in maaaannnnnnyyyyy years, the gifts that I was hand-making were actually ready and giftable!!!!!

Among other projects, I knit two pairs of socks (one for my dad and one for my sister) using Plymouth Yarns Encore which is a really soft and pleasant worsted weight yarn.  It was very calming to sit and knit these gifts, like a little gift to myself.

My sister's sock in progress. 
In the photo above I have just turned the heel - a process that sounds intimidating but is actually quite simple.  Just trust the pattern and do what it says. 
 It is always magically rewarding to me when I have completed the turn!

Funny thing - when I finished knitting those two pairs of socks and was cleaning up my patterns and supplies guess what I found folded into the pattern notebook I was using...all the copies of the projects I was going to make for my Christmas crafts blog along with all my hand written notes!!  Right under my nose the whole time!!  Lordy. 

Well, it all worked out and I really did enjoy slowing down and just knitting for a while.  I guess I needed that.  A frame of mind to remember in the new year.


F.Y.I.  Socks are a quick and fairly easy project to make.  To those who have not made them ever, they seem like a daunting project to tackle but that just makes knitting them for someone even more fun!

In a nutshell you begin by knitting a tube with what ever stitch pattern you choose.  I used a Knit 3, Purl 1 rib pattern for my sister's sock.  When the tube is the length you prefer you knit a "Heel Flap" back and forth on 2 needles (that part of the sock that sits behind your heel approximately from your ankle down).

 Here is a picture of my sister's sock with the leg tube and heel flap completed.

Next you "turn the heel" which, as I said before, sounds terrifying but is simple and somewhat exciting to execute.  Still using only 2 needles and working back and forth in "short rows" which means simply working only part of the way across...turning...and working back.  If you follow the pattern instructions you will be in awe of yourself when you are done! 

Here is a picture of my sister's sock after I turned her heel. 
 See the turn where her heel will nestle?

Once the heel is complete you work with 3 needles again to create a "gusset" by picking up stitches along the heel flap and knitting all around the sock.  This creates the part of the sock that fills in from the side of your heel flap to your foot section and looks like a triangle when completed.  Before I made my first sock I always wondered how that mysterious section was accomplished only to find out it is a simple pattern of knitting with specifically placed decreases.  Again, just follow your pattern and trust it!

Here is my sister's sock after I have completed the Gusset.

Once the Gusset is complete your pattern will tell your to knit, in the round, to create the foot section...more tube, this time usually in simple knit unless you have chosen a pattern that carries the design down the top of your foot...not me!

 Here are the stitches for my sister's sock all set to go round and round.

When your foot section reaches about 1-1/2" shy (or whatever length your pattern tells you) of your total foot length (from the back of the heel) it is time to decrease for the toe. 

In the picture of my sister's sock above, the marker shows where I stopped knitting the foot and began decreasing for the toe.

CRAFTY LIBRARIAN TIP:  Run a "lifeline" (a thin thread or piece of yarn run through the stitches on your needles) BEFORE you begin your toe decreases.  This allows you to easily rip out your knitting back to this start point if you are not satisfied with the length of the decrease section (if it is too long and pointy or too short and stubby)!!

CRAFTY LIBRARIAN TIP #2:  As you work your first sock write down everything you do (number of rows, etc) so your second will come out the same!

The final step joins the two sides of the toe stitches together in a such a way that there is no seam using what is called "the kitchener's graft. It is a way to "mock" knit stitches using a tapestry needle.  I didn't take a picture of this step because my hands were full but a good tutorial can be found by clicking here.


If you want to learn how to knit socks there are a number of books and websites that offer good instructions.  One of the best books I found when I taught myself is one published by Knitter's Magazine and titled "Socks Socks Socks," edited by Elaine Rowley.

This book includes an overview of a basic sock, in a section called "Six Steps to Sock Success."  Here the six steps involved in knitting a sock are clearly diagramed and explained.  The diagrams are great in that they showed me exactly what I should have on all my needles at any given time.

A website that also helped me understand the anatomy of a sock, provides tips as well as additional links can be reached by clicking here..

Happy knitting in the new year everyone!!!

1 comment:

  1. I am experiencing the same phenomenon ... in a mad fit of cleaning and "organizing" (aka stashing stuff in spots where it will be hidden prior to company coming for the holidays) has left me STILL searching for stuff!