Thursday, 20 November 2014

Basic Toe-Up Socks, Part 2

So, last week's post left me in need of yoga to restore my calm after finding that the 64 stitch basic toe up sock with the decrease bind-off from the ill-fated Origami Socks pattern was too tight to get onto my foot. As you may have seen from this post, I didn't even get to yoga class because of the severe weather. Oh, well, these things happen.  At least I could put my feet up and have another go at the socks!

Having unravelled back to the last row of the foot, I increased by 8 stitches (to 72) and then set the heel up over half of those stitches (36, over two needles, so 18 on each). I redid the heel, transferred the stitches onto a cable and checked the fit. Yay! So I finished the leg and this time did my usual cast off in rib (knit or purl 2, pass first stitch over, then knit/purl the next and pass previous stitch over) which turned out rather stretchier than the other bind-off. I pulled the loop out wide and left the yarn ball attached, to try it on. Oh no! It may be stretchier, but not stretchy enough! I couldn't get the sock on. However, this time, I knew it was a problem with the cast-off (bind-off), so went in search of something stretchier.

I found a video for Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (JSSBO) and it made sense. It adds more yarn into the cast-off row by releasing each stitch off the needles with an accompanying yarn over. It took me a few moments to work out which way to wrap the yarn overs to be correct for the next stitch, as the video is demonstrated by Cat Bordhi working in continental style and she picks the yarn up around the right-hand needle so quickly, it's difficult to follow. For future reference, the trick is: put the yarn in the correct place to work the type of stitch which is next on the left needle (so at the back for knit, at the front for purl). For knit,. it then follows that you have to bring the yarn forward over the right needle and around to the back again. For purl, you have to take the yarn back over the right needle and around to the front again. (Note, Over the needle.  They're not called yarn-overs for nothing!) Once you're sorted with that JSSBO is easy. Okay, it takes a bit longer, and uses two rows' worth of yarn, and the resulting corrugated edge is quite visible (I've discovered some people are into invisible bind-offs). But, and this is the essential thing, it is surprisingly stretchy. And crinkly, squooshy and comfy. I tested it with the yarn ball still attached and it was easy to put the sock on, and lovely to have an edge which doesn't dig in.

So, I started the second sock straight away and finished it in just a few sessions. I sorted out the angle of my needles to make Judy's Magic Cast On (JMCO) less fiddly on dpns. I increased by 4 stitches on the last two rows of the foot, placing the increases a stitch away from the ends of the instep and either side of the heel needles (thus on the inside and outside of the foot). Having done Cat Bordhi's Sweet Tomato Heel a couple of times on the first sock, there was no need to refer to a pattern. Rather than put all the heel stitches on one needle as the pattern suggests, I worked then over two needles, dividing the 36 stitches by thirds, so 12 (6 on each needle) as the centre set of stitches. Easy, and it seems to fit me well. And having done JSSBO once, and got my yarn-over directions sorted out, that was easy too. Success, at last!

The only thing I might change is the width of the toe and therefore the number of cast-on stitches, as it is just a little long and pointed, but I haven't decided on the best number of stitches per needle to start with. At least 12, I think, rather than 10. I might have to have a play with that when starting another pair of socks.

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