Wednesday, 18 February 2015

On the needles: socks...

Just in time for the latest snow falls (3 times in 48 hours!!), I finished darning some holes in a pair of Michaels' woollen socks, and I finished making a pair of woollen socks for Jimmy. Michaels' socks will last a few more years, while Jimmy will outgrow his before May this year.

Darning Michaels' socks was made easier by using an old baseball inside the toe. It worked like a darning mushroom, only it didn't cost us anything as we have found a few baseballs while out and about. The work was quicker with the baseball in the toe and I'll use it again when I get around to darning a few more pairs of socks. While not the funnest of needlework projects, darning saves otherwise good socks from going to waste, and saves the replacement cost, which can be at least $15 per pair of knee-high woollen socks.

Jimmy's not-so-little socks were knitted using a Patons sock yarn, on 3 mm circular needles, based on the classic rib socks in Cute Knits for Baby Feet. I say "based on" because the pattern was a little unclear and odd in places, so I winged it when it came to the heel and then just checked the pattern to get an idea of how long to make the foot before starting the toe. Having knitted a few pairs of socks over the years, using really good patterns with really clear instructions, the socks turned out fairly well. They could be longer, but winter will be over soon and one way or another there will be no need for them.

This is what I did for a pair of socks that will fit a 12-18 month old who wears size 4-6 shoes:

  • Using sock yarn and 3 mm needles (circular or double pointed) cast on 36 stitches (I used the Old Norwegian cast on), join for working in the round, place stitch marker at the beginning of the round;
  • Start a 2x2 rib, work for 33 rounds;
  • Heel: knit 9 stitches, turn, slip first stitch, purl 17 stitches, turn, slip first stitch and begin working short rows until there are 6 stitches between the two sets of wrapped stitches, knit across the wrapped stitches (as for short rows) until there are no more wrapped or slipped stitches, ending with a knit row.
  • Foot: continue the 2x2 rib for 26 rounds*
  • Toe: knit 6 stitches, slip-slip-knit the next 2 stitches, knit 2, knit-together the next 2 stitches, knit 12, slip-slip-knit the next 2 stitches, knit 2, knit-together the next 2 stitches, knit 6, knit one round. Continue decreasing, alternating with knit round, until there are 16 stitches on the needles. Graft stitches and weave in ends.
  • Knit a second (or third or fourth sock).

*I would actually make the feet 28 rounds long, possibly 30, because Jimmy is wearing size 6 and size 6.5 shoes and the socks are a little short for his feet.

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