This week, I chat with Heather Zoppetti (digitalnabi on Ravelry), the designer behind the Dahlia Cardigan, and share a worksheet for a short-row sock toe with no wraps, gaps or worries.
Toeing the Line
A few of the women in my knitting group really wanted to tackle socks for the first time this year. So, I pulled out my old worksheet for short-row toes and...discovered that I hated it. I re-wrote it, photographed many of the steps, and made the "new" pattern for this show.
The toe could also be used as a heel. After working the toe, simply knit the foot until it is deep enough to go from the tip of the toe of the wearer to the front of the leg. Then, work the same instructions over half of the stitches to create a heel.
I haven't been using short-row heels as much lately, because I am so in love with afterthought heels, but I really loved them when I was just learning to make socks.
Technically, you could work the short-row toe on any needles you like, but you will need double points or another method for working in the round when you start to knit the foot. You will also need removable stitch markers, waste yarn, and reinforcing thread, if you like to reinforce your toes and heels.
Your sock toe can also be your gauge swatch. Just make one toe, measure carefully, then either go from there or try again. Don't be alarmed, though, if your toe looks smaller than it should. I usually suspect that it is too narrow, but when I measure, it's fine. I think my mind just plays tricks on me when only two or three of the rows I've knit so far are the full width of the foot. If in doubt, knit the foot for about an inch, then slip the stitches onto waste yarn and either try it on or measure again.
As always, Gauge – Ease = Fit. With most garments, some ease is added to the body measurement, to allow for a nice fit. For socks, the measurement is usually reduced by 10%. Your personal preference will be the most important factor, but that's a good starting point.
In the worksheet, I give you numbers that work for me with sock yarn and #1 needles. Your mileage may vary. If nothing else, this will give you some practice with short-rows.
In general, if G = Gauge, in stitches/inch;
Width of Sock Foot, in number of stitches =
This assumes that you want 10% negative ease for your sock. If you want your sock to measure
the same as your foot, cross out the .9.
You also get to choose how pointy you would like your toe. I like mine wider, so that's what you'll see in the photographs.
It all starts with a provisional cast-on. There are a few methods for this. The easiest is to just cast on and knit a few rows with waste yarn, which you remove later. I did this for the photographs. If you do this, knit one full row with your working yarn before you continue onto the set-up for the first short row.
I use pins or removable stitch markers to both keep track of where I am in the toe and lift threads of yarn to prevent gaps. There is a sneaky extra step for this. Attach your pins to the working yarn before you begin and simply slide them into place as you need them. This cuts down on the amount of needle and pin juggling you have to do.
Heather was so nice to talk with me. We talked about socks, her Dahlia Cardigan, and what it's like to have a pattern in Interweave Knits magazine.
Crafty Detour University (We didn't mention this, but it's very cool)
CSI: Most Wanted Sock Series (ebook) http://craftydetour.com/csi-criminal-sock-investigations/