“Ugly” Socks Finished

Completed these socks a couple of days ago. They turned out not badly. After I finished turning the heel turned I decided to continue with the single yarn until I was midway through the foot when I decided to add a couple of contrast rows to connect the foot to the leg.

Multi-colour Socks

I know the recipient will be happy to have them. They’ll keep her smallish feet warm!

Invisible Join For Knitting In The Round

I have a friend who’s picked up sock knitting again after many years. I was describing to her how I set up the casting on. I decided I might as well share that information:

Invisible join when casting on
for knitting in the round

There are lots of ways of casting on for knitting in the round – as I was checking out YouTube videos I didn’t quickly find one that does it in the same way I do, so here is my method:

Casting On

I use two needles held together in my right hand and cast on over both needles.

I cast on all the stitches (usually 64 stitches for a women’s sock) on both needles.

When I have the required number of stitches, I add one more stitch (you’ll see later why I do that).

Stitches Cast On Over Two Needles

Next I carefully pull one needle out of the stitches – now I have the required number of stitches (plus one) on a single needle that are somewhat loose and much easier to knit into for the first row.

Stitches On One Needle

Invisible Join

Here’s how I set up to knit in the round – I use double pointed needles because I find them easier than having to continually slide stitches along on a circular needle (when you can find one short enough for sock knitting).

With 64 stitches, I slip 8 stitches onto the first dp needle; 

First 8 Stitches Slipped To New Needle

I slip 16 stitches onto the second; I slip 16 stitches onto the third, I slip 16 stitches onto the fourth – that leaves me 9 stitches on my last (original cast on) needle.

Stitches Now On All Needles

I bring the two end needles with the 9 stitches (on the right) and 8 stitches (on the left) together, making sure I don’t twist the casting on, knit the first stitch on the left hand needle,

Knit First Stitch

slip what was the end stitch on the first needle (that is the extra stitch you added when casting on) over the first knit stitch – that secures the join.

Extra Stitch Slipped Over First Knit Stitch

Continue knitting – knit one more stitch (you’ve already knit the first stitch when making the join), purl 2, knit 2, purl 2…. What you’ve done is make the join in the middle of a needle – much easier to handle than trying to make the join between two needles.

Remaining 8 Stitches Knit On First Needle

[When you finish knitting that first needle you will have 8 unknit stitches (on the right) and 8 knit stitches (on the left) on one needle with the join in the centre.]

The nice thing about making that join in the centre is that it’s much easier to handle in the next couple of rows than trying to make that join between two needles.

BTW

If you happen to be working with a different number of stitches – I often start with 68 or 72, then I’m not going to have the same number of stitches on each needle – for 68 – I put 8 stitches on the first needle, 20 on the second, 16 on the third, 16 on the fourth, and I’m left with 9 on the last needle. For 72 stitches I distribute them 8, 20, 16, 20, 9. The reason for doing it this way is that those numbers are divisible by 4 which means I can K2 P2 and end up without knitting that pattern over two needles – the K2 P2 pattern fits on each needle.

Once I’ve finished the cuff, then I redistribute the stitches so that I have the same number on each needle – with 68 stitches I have 17 on each needle; with 72 stitches I end up with 18 on each needle. In both of those cases I knit ~25 rows, then decrease one stitch on each needle (and with 72 I decrease one stitch on each needle again at ~ row 40 of the leg) to end up with an ankle that has 64 stitches. When the leg is long enough (I generally knit 80 rows) I knit the heel flap, turn the heel, pick up the gusset stitches, begin knitting in the round again decreasing for the gusset, then knit the foot, rounding off the toe.

Here’s a link to my generic sock pattern if you want more details.

YouTube Videos On Making An Invisible Join

Here are a bunch of YouTube videos which show variations on the technique.

Only one casts her stitches on over double needles and then only on a single needle, many are knitting with circular needles, but you’ll see how the technique makes the join and be able to adapt it for yourself.

Using DP needles

https://youtu.be/rrfSQNgROpM

https://youtu.be/svCAFOhq6SY

Slipping end stitch with an extra stitch using a circular needle

https://youtu.be/idghalAiuZQ

https://youtu.be/S-Wbay5fROg

https://youtu.be/wHaQyK-2kJo

https://youtu.be/fbvOEotpOlA

Switching end stitches using circular needle

https://youtu.be/9xsPlcPp_tw

Socks Restored

Finished restoring these two pair of socks last night.

They were holdovers from a batch I restored well over a year ago. After replacing heels in a half-dozen pair of socks I’d had enough. This pair, however, although I had set up for new heels – I’d run a stitch-holding thread where the heel began and though the instep, cut out the worn heel – I put them aside.

Socks Renovated!

Marlene’s birthday is at the end of the month. I thought it time to repair these two pair of socks and give them back to her. These were two of the original Kaffe Fassett yarns I’d bought a long time ago. The original heels used the rust/brown yarn but I had none in my stash and couldn’t find any in town so I matched up the dark blue, instead. Works fine.

Both pairs look like new socks. They should each get another couple years of wear.

Small Projects

Last week Ruby handed me the sleeve from an old Persian lamb coat – wondering whether I could make a small zippered handbag for her.

I cut a strip from the sleeve, discovered some original lining inside (still usable), added a bright red zipper and a bit of leather lacing for a handle – and there you have it: a small Persian Lamb handbag – finished size close to 7″ x 9″. I also put a small zippered pocket on the inside! (I used a leather needle and ordinary polyester thread – the machine handled the stitching just fine.)

Persian Lamb Small Handbag

She should be happy with that.

After finishing the last pair of socks I picked up this ball of Antarctica yarn which came in a “mystery bag” of sock yarn I ordered from Hobbii (in Denmark).

It’s one of those balls you want to use up quickly but I realized I’d be more than bored knitting this yarn…

Ugly Yarn

It’s a lovely texture yarn, nice to work with, but the colours are so bleh! So I added a bright leftover that I intended to interweave through the Antarctica yarn:

Ugly Yarn + Bright Leftover

This is what the sock is turning out like. By chance, the heel more or less fit in the green section, almost the whole heel, so I decided to keep knitting with just the original yarn.

Developing Sock

Right now my plan is to continue the foot in the Antarctica yarn, introducing a bit more of the leftover somewhere past the instep for a short distance – mainly to extend the yellow section (which will knit 20 rows – I counted that in the leg).

If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to end the toe in mauve to match the cuff –

Socks For Christmas

I visited my massage therapist ten days ago. I noticed her largish sneakers – I asked what shoe size she wore – size 10.

I had already finished the first sock of a pair which I set aside. I worked on the second sock, extended the foot length by eight rows so it will fit her size 10 foot, then finished the toe. Next I unravelled the toe of the first sock, matched the yarn (which I happened to have on hand because I unrolled the better part of a pattern repeat so my second sock would match the first), added the required number of rows and reknit the toe.

Socks For Christmas

That Christmas gift is now done.

On to the next – for a smaller foot – size 6 shoe.

Christmas Sock Order Done

I had a second sock order – for two pairs – for Christmas. It’s amazing how working to fill an order changes the knitting – I feel pressure to get it done by a specific deadline. When I’m knitting to relax (or to justify sitting in front of the TV) I can knit 10 rows, I can knit 40 rows – doesn’t matter – no pressure. But with a new order once again I felt the pressure of a looming deadline.

Mary Ann liked the khaki ombre with dots socks I’d finished a couple of weeks ago. Since I had a second ball of that yarn from Hobbii (in Denmark) she chose that as one of the pairs. My initial intention was to knit a second pair using that yarn but decided just to give her the original socks and knit the other ball some time when I’m not facing a deadline.

The other yarn she chose was a grey/black/almost white variegated. I finished those socks two evenings ago. A handsome sock for a man.

Black/Grey/Almost White

That order is now complete (whew):

Sock Order #2

Last night I started a new pair – variegated in shades of peach/blue/gold.

Men’s Size 12 Socks!

A week or so ago a friend texted me wondering whether it would be possible to make her two pairs of socks for her husband’s birthday on Oct 25.

LOL! I answered her, pointing out it takes me close to two weeks to knit a pair of socks.

I always have a pair of socks on the go, and I was still working on the first of the pair so I sent her a picture of what I was working on and wondered “would Ebenezer wear these socks”? Sure she replied. OK, one pair of socks checked.

Men’s Size 12

I thought about the problem a bit more – I chose a pair of socks from my finished stash, sent her a picture and asked if he’d wear these?

For sure.

So as soon as I finished the blue socks, I unravelled the toe from these red socks, added 16 rows to the foot length, and reknit the toe on each.

Remade Men’s Size 12

There you have it, two pairs of men’s size 12 socks in time for Ebenezer’s birthday – and all without a lot of stress.

I’m never quite sure how long to make sock feet when they’re not for women wearing size 7 1/2 – 8 shoes. I found the following chart:

Men's Shoe Size Chart

I knit the foot of Ebenezer’s socks just about 11 1/2″ in length. They should fit him fine.

Ombre Socks With Dots

I don’t remember how I learned about the Danish Hobbii yarn company. I placed my first online order shortly after the pandemic arrived. The yarn didn’t appear for more than two months. In the intervening time, I placed a second order (figuring the first was just lost) which arrived reasonably promptly (a couple of days later the original order arrived, as well – now I had two sets of the same balls of yarn!).

The yarn is superwash (75% marino/25% polyamide), nicely twisted, a good sock weight, and the patterns I ordered seem to be interesting. This is the first pair I made from that yarn.

The “dots” made the knitting go reasonably quickly. I had a sense I was making progress and while the ombre changed regularly it was less obvious that was occurring.

The socks turned out nicely. Now on to another pair.

I’m an advocate of purchasing locally. I support two local yarn shops for most of my yarn purchases. But because both were closed at the beginning of the pandemic I was looking further abroad. This sock yarn from Hobbii is definitely very nice. Cost? Well, you’re paying in US$$ and there’s shipping to consider. The yarn cost me close to what a 100g ball of yarn would cost me were I to buy it locally.

In the meantime, I now must have twenty 100gm balls of sock yarn sitting in my basket. That will do me until well into spring, I’m guessing.

I Sold A Pair Of Socks!

It’s a longish story. A couple of weeks ago my niece (and husband) were having dinner with her brother (and wife) and another couple, friends of my nephew. I don’t recall how the conversation turned to knitting but out came photos of my socks.

Paula fell in love with them and really wanted a pair.

My niece call me to ask how she might go about getting a pair – I said two things: my generic sock (those in my stash) fit someone who wears a size 7 1/2 to 8 shoe; and they cost $50.

Paula’s Socks

My niece paused, said she’d relay the information to Paula.

The next day I get a call from my nephew – Paula is visiting and he wants me to talk to her about socks.

So I tell Paula the same thing – she wears a size 7 1/2 shoe – good. I tell her they’re expensive and I explain why – the yarn costs $25 a ball (before I’ve knit a stitch), it takes me 25 hours to knit a pair, and I won’t work for less than $1/hour. “Fine,” she says; she knits hats and appreciates the effort that goes into the socks.

We look at the socks in my stash (using the camera on my phone) and she chooses a pair she thinks are wonderful.

She sends me a money transfer. In turn I put the pair of socks in the mail. Oh, and I asked her to send me picture of her wearing the socks.

They arrived yesterday. She’s thrilled. This is the picture she sent me.

Good thing I’m not relying on sock sales to keep me going. People find the price prohibitive – don’t know why – were they able to make them themselves the yarn would still cost $25 and it likely would take them a lot longer than 25 hours to knit a pair. I figure it’s a deal.

So I keep knitting and sell the odd pair and give them as gifts on birthdays and at Christmas. What else am I going to do with the 26 pairs of socks I manage to knit in a year?

[I knit only in the evening with the TV on – so although I knit reasonably quickly it takes me about two weeks to turn out a pair of socks. 52 weeks a year divided by 2 weeks is 26 pairs of socks – that’s pretty close to what I actually complete along with some sock repairs I do during the year.]

 

Latest Socks

Latests Socks

I keep knitting – it’s relaxing. I can justify sitting in front of the TV mindlessly working away on socks and feel I’m doing something productive.

I liked the strong contrasts in this particular yarn and I thought the grey solid contrast brightens the other colours.

Finished last night.