Friday, February 23, 2007

Learning a new sock trick

I promised myself that this would be the year that I figure out toe up socks. There are so many pretty sock yarns that lend themselves to this type of pattern. Wendy published a free pattern in detail. She calls it "excruciating detail", but I think it is just what I need.

But I thought I'd try an even easier pattern first. The Socknitter's website has a toe up pattern that is labeled 'advanced beginner'. The yarn I am using is an old ball of Sockatta in denim, tan and lime green that has been in the stash for about a year. In my first flush of discovering that I love handknit socks, I bought several skeins of self striping sock yarn. The yarn has very regular stripes, so I thought that short row toes and heels would interrupt the flow of the colors. A center start toe and an afterthought heel solve THAT problem. And I've used the afterthought heel before.

I struggled and struggled with the figure 8 cast on. It is SO fiddly. I can manage the figure 8 around the needles and more or less the first two rows, but after that - hopeless. I turned to Wendy's Knitty article on toe up toes. There I discovered the 'easy toe'.

It really IS easy. You do a provisional cast of 8 to 12 stitches, work in Stocking Stitch (slipping the first stitch like you do for a heel flap) for eight rows, unzip and pick up the provisional stitches. Then on the first round, you knit up four stitches on each of the tiny selvages and hey!presto you have a neat little square of knitting that becomes the tip of your toe.

Then you start increase on the side bits. K1, make one, K2, make one rev, K1. And pretty soon you have a nice, if shallow, toe like this:

My ONLY complaint about this start is that the paired increases are not QUITE as neat and tight as paired decreases in a standard toe. see:

But I'm not sure how much of that is me needing to work on my technique and the choice of a marled yarn. Most, I suspect. Also, I think I may want to try a pair with the make one rev first. I think that may hide the increase 'gap' better. We'll see.

Both toes are done, and we are on to feet.

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