Okay. So, I fell off of the writing wagon, but I think I learned something about my topic from this.
There is only so much you can read about sock knitting before you start finding that information repeats itself, even if it looks as though it is presented differently. A lot of it circles back to the basics, too. Having a good solid foundation of basic knitting really allows for a lot of experimentation and variety in knitting patterns.
Yesterday and today found me reading about starting knit socks from the toes, and even two at a time. The biggest thing I learned was that I need to do more reading on knitting two socks at a time before I tackle a project like this!
The short-row toe looks fairly straight forward, but this is likely because I have done short rows on other projects, and in my first socks, the heels are made with short rows.
Two of the cast-ons I read about involved a provisional cast on, which would demand use of my crochet skills. It has been a while, so it would be nice to use these skills again!
I think that this might become a go-to cast-on for socks once I get the hang of it. This can also be used for mittens – which I haven’t tackled yet.
I’ve done a lot of reading about different ways to knit heels and toes, reinforce them, and shape knit socks. A lot of the things here echoed things I have already read.
I think that reinforcing with nylon thread seems like a very easy, viable option to strengthening the heels and toes of the socks.
I also learned that an average pair of adult socks made with sock-weight yarn has approximately 34,000 stitches! That’s a crapload of knitting.
Last night, I watched Lesson 7 of Lucy Neatby’s My First Socks class. It covered ways to neaten up the grafting, including sewing in that little ear you get with Kitchener stitch or the sock toe chimney technique. You simply thread through the toe to the inside of the sock, as if to begin another stitch, but do not thread it back out to the public side. You can darn in the end from there, and nobody will notice!
Today I read more about blocking, which I admittedly rarely do, though I should. I’m also not great at, hence my decision to learn more. The few knits I have blocked, I did in cool water, since I was worried about felting. I learned from two separate articles today that the temperature of the water doesn’t matter if there is no agitation. I already knew not to agitate my woolens, so that was no surprise.
I also read about setting dye so that colors won’t bleed or run by adding 2 cups of vinegar to 1 quart water, but this seemed too easy, so I did some more digging and found this site. On the site, Paula notes,
“Wool is a fiber made from the hair of sheep. Other animal hair fibers, such as angora, mohair, cashmere, and camel’s hair, are in most respects dyed the same as wool. All animal fibers are made of a class of chemicals known as protein.
Proteins are made out of different combinations of the twenty essential amino acids. They are more complex than cellulose, which is made out of repeating units of a sugar, glucose, and thus there are more ways in which different dye chemicals can attach to them. There are, therefore, many more different substances which can be used to dye protein fibers.
All animal hair fibers, such as wool, are sensitive to high pHs.”
She goes on to explain numerous options for dyeing and setting wool and fiber…I have a lot more to learn, but won’t depend on just vinegar and water to set the dye in my knits!
Well, I finished the sock last night, but wasn’t 100% satisfied with the grafting…that’s what I get for staying up after midnight to do it, though, I suppose! So, tonight I watched a few more tutorials and did some reading on different ways to graft the toe. This video is the clearest one I have found that demonstrates a Kitchener stitch. The interesting thing is, even though the directions are the same as many of the other videos and tutorials I have seen about the Kitchener stitch, it somehow makes more sense to me than to graft it as though I were knitting than to graft with the darning needle.
I also learned that the popularity of the Kitchener stitch soared because of World War I. This grafting technique was brought about because the bulkier closures of socks at the time were rubbing the soldiers’ feet raw and causing issues with infection. They needed a better way – something smoother that would cause fewer issues. Thinking about the potential infections those soldiers faced, my nurse-mind races, and a variety of possible infections come to mind, as do mental images of infected feet and toes I have helped care for over the years. Needless to say, I have a new-found respect for something I avoided, and loathed the only three times I used it for anything. Now I feel obligated to perfect my ability to perform it…
Well, really, A toe. But still. I watched part of Lesson 6 in Lucy Neatby’s My First Socks class to get to the toe section, and then checked out the following:
A sock toe chimney photo tutorial, which can be found here and a video version of this, which can be seen here. I also checked out this page on the kitchener stitch.
AND I FINISHED MY FIRST SOCK! It’s late though, so pictures to come…
Well, Day 10 was a bit of a bust. I reviewed Decreasing and Increasing, but from a new source. There wasn’t anything there that I haven’t read and/or seen before. In fact, all of the information covered things I have used in my own projects already. That was bound to happen at some point, I suppose!
Day 11 was a little better. I read about different types of cast-on techniques that work well for socks. I read about them here, and this will likely become a reference for me in the future. They even included one of my favorite cast ons for hat projects – the long-tail cast on. I’ll have to look for some toe-up patterns for a near-future project so I can try the Turkish cast on, it seems interesting! Interesting fact of the day: Sock patterns that are knit top-down are much more common that patterns that are knit toe-up.