Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Y B Normal?

Over on Knitty's BB (the Coffee shop) there is a thread about Favorite sock pattern (i.e., the one you knit over and over again)(remember you have to register to read Knitty's BB)

The whole idea of knitting the same pattern over and over again is somewhat incomprehensible to me!

I have a serious case of SSS (second sock syndrome) and gave up knitting socks for years because of it.

Once I learned to knit 2 socks on 2 circ's (and could have a finished pair!) I returned to sock knitting with a vengeance. (I now own 2 dozen pairs, and have given away almost as many in the past 5 years)

And there are almost no repeats. Some are similar, but no 2 pairs are alike.

I am always changing up the
(1)cast on,
(2)the ribbing,
(3)the leg stitch pattern,
(4)the heel (type) and
(5)heel stitch,
(6) the gussets and
(7)instep pattern, (if there is one) and finally,
(8)the toe shaping.

Besides these basic 8 elements, there are lots of other choices..
Toe up? Top down? Novelty?

There are lots of novel ways to knit a sock.
Side ways—ala Sidewinder by Nona, or Better Mouse Trap by Debbie New –are two of the most common novelty, but there are also Splits (start at heel, knit foot, then finish by knitting from heel to cuff, and half a mousetrap (start at heel, knit sole, wrap around toe, then up the instep, then continue in round to cuff) and EZ moccasin (ie, replaceable heel/sole/toe style.)

These are just the common, well known novelties.
Really novel ideas make for oner's... and there are sock that are oner's out there!

The choice of wool is another change factor.. the same socks can look very different when knit in a self patterning stripe vs. a solid colored yarn.

And there are details like stripes, or fair isle, or intarsia...

Really the list is endless.. And I want to try them all!

My current socks are my own design, but have been inspired by others.

About 2 years ago, I scanned one of EZ books, and saw some of her socks with shaped soles and insteps, and thought them to be a good idea. About the same time, Cat Bordhi had a toe up sock from her new book(let) on New Pathways for Sock Knitters featured in Knitters.

Cat's sock (toe up) featured a reversed gusset.

And so I made my first 'shaped socks'. (These Cherry Pink Gumdrop Socks). My socks (top down, not toe up) were inspired by both designers, and incorporated aspects of both of their designs.

I reversed the gusset, and shaped the foot by increasing on the sole, and decreasing on the instep.
The socks feel good on the foot, but they are strange looking off, and the design is well, off.
They work, (as socks) but not elegantly.

Still, I liked the idea, and have been thinking about what I did, and what I could do to improve.

And so I have my Y be normal socks.

These are also knit top down, with a fancy variation of long tail for a cast on.

The cast on, one that I call open/closed long tail has a double yarn in the tail. The increased bulk accentuates the simple variation of the standard long tail, and makes it more interesting--and this cast on is very stretch (even more stretchy than Norwegian long tail!)

Ribbing is a basic 1 X1 (my favorite).

The leg is simple.. stocking knit for the most part, with some lace Clocks on the sides.

The Heel, is Flap/turn/gusset, with a round heel. The flap is worked in a standard heel stitch.

It's after the heel is turned and gusset stitches picked up that the changes become noticeable.

I started, at the top of the gusset, with reverse gusset shaping.

I made all the decreases on the instep part of the sock (not the more conventional sole side)

And I made the decreases more prominent by working K2tog, YO, K2tog (paired with the ever popular SSK, YO, SSK on the other side) to create a lace faggot line of decreases.

I made the heel flap extra long, (40 rows for a 35 stitch flap) and this resulted in the gussets shaping extending long enough to meet in center front of the insole. (Thank you Cat for this inspired gusset.)

After the gusset was complete, I continued the decorative faggoted line down the center top of sock (K2tog, YO, Raised Center Decrease, YO, SSK) (a net 2 stitch decrease) and paired that with a 2 stitch increase on the sole of the sock. (No change in total number of stitches.)

These decreases causes the instep stitches to bias and 'wrap around the foot' . The increases on the sole help the sock curl up and fit snuggly on the underside of the foots arch. (Thank you EZ, for this inspiration.)

About 1 inch before I started the toe shaping, I stopped the foot shaping.

I continued the tail of the Y visually with a decorative -YO, RCD,YO –on the instep, but knit in plain rounds of no increases or decreases.

The toe shaping echo's the Y shape of the instep. at the end of the toe shaping the last 10 stitches were pulled into a drawstring to finish.

Off (and flat) the sock looks strange. The bias knit midsection of the foot looks narrow, and the toe looks swollen. But it fits like a dream. Is this my favorites sock? I don't know... Will I make it again?

Well something like it.. with a different yarn, and a different cast on, and a different stitch pattern in the leg, and a different pattern in the heel flap, and...

Do I have a pattern? No. Do you really need one? Its a basic sock.. sort of!

But I hope these sock inspire you to try something different!


Robyn said...

As always, excellent technical information! Can you point me to information about 2 socks on 2 circs. I definitely suffer from SSS and have all but given up socks for that reason...but this newfangled idea sounds good.

And I may have take you up on your untangling offer! It is a little daunting to think about.

zippiknits.....sometimes said...

That is a very clever way to knit in a bias where the foot needs it the most. Good idea and a great pattern. Thank you for showing this on your blog.

|chee-uh| said...

Have you checked out Cat Bordhi's new sock book yet? Curious what you think and will make.