“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

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.

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.

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.

Still Knittin’

These socks took longer than usual to knit – I found the emerging pattern rather boring even though the socks are colourful; I was caught up with other stuff – nothing outstanding but the days slipped away and I didn’t end the evening by knitting as I would normally do. Maybe it was just Covid-19 getting through although my life has been minimally affected by the virus – I’ve been able to carry on as usual. The only disruption has been the absence of my three times a week exercise at the pool which I miss a lot.

Regia Blue Socks

These blue socks are my standard size – for a person wearing a size 7 1/2 – 8 1/2 shoe. They’ve gone into the give-away stash which is growing quite large. I definitely must give these socks away! Likely in the fall when the weather starts getting colder.

Opal “Butterfly” Socks

Another pair of socks finished. Not sure whether to put them in my sock drawer to in the “give-away” pile. I just enjoyed knitting this yarn (Opal “Butterfly”) – the colours were strong and cheery. Had I had either a ball of the golden or red colours to use for cuffs, heels, toes, they would have been even brighter. But I didn’t – I used what I had in my yarn stash. The charcoal makes a somewhat more “sedate” sock.

Opal “Butterfly”

Started the next pair last evening as soon as my needles were free.

I’ve actually gone back to the Knitters Pride wooden “Cubics” needles (6″ double pointed 2.5mm) after having used Knitters Pride “Zing” metal ones for several months. The Zing are lightweight, very smooth, and they hold the yarn but I found I had still had more slipping than with wood. By that I mean when you hold up and shake the sock in progress the Zing do sometimes slip out – the Cubics – never. It was like returning home when I switched back to the Cubics mid way through this pair of socks. They slip through the yarn smoothly; they just don’t fall out – ever. I enjoy the feel of them in my hand. Mine are actually getting smooth on the edges from use, the points have also worn a bit but I’m sure they’re still good for many more pairs of socks.

Ombre Socks

A month ago when I had shopped at Have A Yarn in Mahone Bay, I came home with a ball of Lang “Happy Stripes” Twin Soxx ombre sock yarn. You can see the colour gradation in the finished socks but it wasn’t really visible as I was working on them since the colour change is so gradual. The single repeat actually gets a lot lighter but the sock foot stops at 50 rows past the gusset because that’s all the socks need to fit someone wearing a size 7 1/2 – size 8 shoe.

Ombre Socks

Decided to use the striped yarn to complete the toe in order to get the lightest pattern repeat possible.

I have enough yarn left over to make a pair of legs – just have to find a complementary yarn so I can knit a full pair of socks!