On Knitting Socks
I started knitting socks about 6 years ago and gave the first pair I made to a dear friend. They were traditionally knit from the cuff down in black Wildfoote Luxury Sock Yarn, which hid all of my many mistakes. Those socks are still keeping her feet warm.
Knitting socks these past few years has been a journey to perfect my technique and to discover the sock formula that works best for me. I taught myself to knit using two circular needles because I hated the dps sticking out everywhere and they just weren't easy for me to take with. Inevitably one of the needles would wiggle its way out of the stitches leaving me to pick up the mess. Before switching to two circulars I decided, for a reason I can no longer remember, to knit a pair from the toe up. Probably because I like to do things backwards. :o)
I used Brown Sheep Nature Spun and the instructions from "Percentage-Based, Toe-Up, Garter-Stitch Short-Row Heel, Gauge-Less Socks by Stasia" to create a sock that was decidedly funky. (The link I have for the instructions is broken.) It was my first sock design and had cables up the instep and a cabled rib for the cuff. I completed one sock but it sat without a mate for 4 years until I finally decided to finish the pair. No pics but I'll take some soon.
As each pair of socks passed through my needles I modified my pattern more and more, trying different toe and heel combinations. However, there always seemed to be the persistent hole by the point where the heel stitches came back to the foot. In my quest for the perfect sock I've tried every short row method I've come across. I bought Simple Socks: Plain & Fancy by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts to try her method of short rows but couldn't figure it out. Then there was an article in the Winter 2004 issue of Interweave Knits by Veronik Avery that described several methods for short rows. The yarnover method looked promising but was still too convoluted for me to figure out on my own. (Little did I realize it was the same method described by Priscilla)
Finally, while cruising knitting blogs I found these great instructions for the yarnover method of short row knitting. Thanks Alison for very clear instructions that even I could figure out!
Now that I have the toe and heel down I'm free to let my needles go where they will in the creation of my socks. The formula is simple, provisional cast on for toe of half the number of stitches needed for sock circumference, work yarnover method until there are about an inch worth of stitches on needle then work back, pick up stitches from provisional cast on, knit to 7.75" for my size 9 foot then work the heel same as toe. Finally knit about an inch of plain st st before working the cuff. I usually do a k2 p2 cuff and end with a tubular bind off. I prefer the tubular bind off as opposed to the regular bind off, it gives a very finished look. Within this formula any number of stitch patterns can be added. This sock is worked using my formula but the short rows are wrap & turn.
You can direct any questions to lilith.designs at gmail dot com.