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I want to share a video I found that is extremely helpful in dealing with mistakes in lace knitting. It’s by JenACKnitwear and it shows how to fix a mistake without ripping out rows and rows of knitting. It really is worth the look.

In the meantime I have been working on the Infernal Socks and have just ended the gusset portion and begun the foot. Please let it be over soon.

In other news, Yarn Rascal has embraced corriedale yarn. Up to last week he wanted nothing to do with corriedale and heaven forbid a ball of corriedale got mixed in with his collection of merino. Since the sock stealing episode his opinion of corriedale seems to have changed. Last night he moved the left over corriedale yarn I had in my bin to his bin of merino. Corriedale is a cross breed of Lincoln Long Wool and Merino sheep. It is longer wearing than merino yet still soft enough for next to skin wear. It is absolutely great for socks as it doesn’t pill and wear out as fast as merino.

In addition to knitting the Infernal Socks I have been spinning my corriedale fiber on my Tibetan Spindle. It took a bit to understand what the yarn wanted versus what I thought I wanted. Once I listened to the yarn the spinning has been going great. I am quite pleased with it.

Hopefully by the next post I will have a picture of the completed Infernal Socks. Please let this be true.

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Last we left the Infernal Sock Yarn Rascal had snapped the yarn and I was looking for a place in the pattern where I could join the yarn. Well that is done. Today I thought I’d talk about symmetrical yarn overs because they are all over this sock.

Symmetrical yarn overs means getting the yarn over between a knit and a purl stitch to match the yarn over between two knit stitches. Usually the yarn over between a knit and a purl stitch tends to be larger because the yarn is wrapped completely around the needle. This causes more yarn to be used in making the yarn over and thus a larger yarn over.

Here’s what to do if you want symmetrical yarn overs.

First, do not wrap the yarn around the needle after the knit stitch. Leave the yarn in the back as if you were going to knit the next stitch.

1 knitted lace

Second, insert your needle purlwise into the next stitch and lay the yarn over the top of the working needle.

2 knitted lace

Third, purl the stitch as usual catching the yarn laid on top.

3 knitted lace

At the end, it looks like this.

4 lace knitting

The purl stitch and yarn over are made. Because the amount of yarn in making the yarn over nearly equals the amount of yarn made in a yarn over between two knit stitches the holes will be the same size.

When working the next round after making the yarn over between the knit and purl stitch you will need to reseat the yarn over so it sits nicely like all the other stitches and work it according to what is called for in the pattern.

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Weaving In Ends

When I was a very young knitter both in age and experience, I knit my first sweater and wore it to an event called Rhinebeck where I was introduced to a rather famous knitter. Since the knitter is still living and still famous I will avoid naming the individual. The person doing the introduction was crowing about how well my first knitted sweater turned out. The famous knitter looked at the cardigan then pulled it off me and scrutinized the inside of the sweater. She said that the hallmark of good knitting was a very neat wrong side where the ends of the yarn are woven in so they cannot be seen. While most of my ends met her approval, some did not. She took the time to demonstrate how these should be handled. She did this by undoing them and then weaving them back together again. While I am grateful for her sharing her talent, I was traumatized by the whole thing. I didn’t knit another thing for five years and when I did, I dreaded the moment of weaving in the ends. I still do.

Shawls produce the ultimate dread regarding weaving in ends so they can’t be seen. After all, the wrong side of a shawl is easily visible and I’d rather you see my underwear than die of embarrassment from an improperly woven in end. So here is what I’ve learned since that first fateful trip to Rhinebeck.

With a sweater, yarn ends can be hidden in seams. Not so with a shawl. Often the edges of a shawl are patterned in lace which doesn’t make a great place to hide yarn ends. Unlike with a sweater, where the rule is join in new yarn at the edges where it will be lost in the seam, this doesn’t happen with a shawl. Sometimes I need to join new yarn while in the middle of a row. It is best to pick a point where there is a block of stockinette stitch surrounding the join. I keep my joins simple. The more simple, the less noticeable. I join new yarn by wrapping the new and old yarn around the needle and knit the stitch. This creates two stitches, which I mark so I remember to decrease it on the wrong side row. Below is an example of where I joined yarn in mid row. This kind of join has never unraveled for me. In fact the garment will wear out before the join gives way. It is, for me, the surest way to join yarn.

weave-in-ends-1

When it comes time to weave in the ends of the yarn, I want to prevent a hole. I do that by crossing the yarns.

weave-in-ends-2

Then when weaving in I weave yarn A one way and yarn B in the opposite direction. By weaving in, I mean that I am piercing the yarn of the purl stitches and drawing the yarn end through them.

weave-in-ends-4

I pierce three going down one row and then pierce three going up the next row. It is like duplicate purl stitching except that I am piercing the yarn and drawing the yarn end through in order to have it hold. If I just duplicate stitched, the end of the yarn would always be exposed as the garment is used. By piercing I am burying the yarn end.

In order to “lock” my weaving I select a purl stitch, pass the needle and yarn end underneath without piercing, draw yarn end up and pierce it as close to the purl stitch as I can get so it locks into itself.

weave-in-ends-3

This locking works very well with slippery yarns. Then I continue to work three down and three up piercing the purl stitches. Should my yarn end come unraveled the point at which it locks will stop it from further coming undone. In the end, my weaving in of ends looks like this:

weave-in-ends-6

I hope this helps some. My way is not the only way. There are many techniques for weaving in yarn ends. Give them all a try and find which one works best for you.

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The number of picked up gusset stitches is half the number of the total of heel flap rows. At this point, put the stitches held on the locking stitch markers back on their respective needles on either side of the instep.

Pick up the correct number of gusset stitches plus 1 extra, if needed, on either side of the instep. Carefully create the extra stitch so it will close any hole made by stressing the running thread during heel flap and heel turn work. This is done in one of two ways. Every knit stitch wears a little collar at the top. For a lifted increase knit into the little collar. The second way is to simply knit into the stitch in the row below. How you make the extra stitch is less important than where you place it. Search for the correct placement by trying different areas. You’ll know when it is right. On the next round, decrease the added stitches.

You also need to decrease the stitches added to accommodate a high instep. These decreases are done on the sole of the sock. Usually they are made 3 or 4 stitches away from the center of the sole.

Decrease the gusset stitches until the original cast on number is reached. Gusset stitch decreases are made on either side of the instep. On the right side of the instep knit to the last 3 sts then work a k2tog, k1. Work across instep stitches. On the left side of the instep work a k1, ssk. Work to end of round. On the next round work even, with no decreases. Alternate between decreasing on one row and working even on the following row until you’ve decreased to the original number of cast on stitches. Measure the length of the foot and jot down the number.

It is at this point that most sock patterns tell you to work even until the piece measures x amount of inches (cm) from back of heel or X amount of inches (cm) less than desired total foot length. This is where many knitters go wrong. They follow the numbers given instead of using the numbers from their actual knitting.

In order to know how many rows you need to work even until toe cap shaping begins, you need to know the length of the sole of the sock when the gusset decreases are complete, your row gauge, how long (the number of rows) the toe cap will be, and your desired foot length. My total actual foot length is 9″ (23) cm. My desired foot length, however, is 8.5″ (21.5) cm. Yes, I shorten my desired foot length by 1/2″ (1.5) cm because I like my sock to gently hug my foot. If I knit it to my actual foot length of 9″ (23) cm the sock tends to be floppy on my foot. Please be aware that many, many knitters vehemently disagree with shortening the sock’s foot length by any number. I’ve tried it their way and it doesn’t work for me. So I suggest you do the same. Try knitting to your actual foot length and see how it fits. If it is too loose, decrease the length by 1/2″ (1.5) cm and don’t even mention it in knitting circles. I know there are no knitting police but there are opinionated knitters. What they don’t know won’t upset them.

How To Figure Toe Cap Length

The beginning of the toe cap calls for decreasing 2 stitches either side of the instep for a total decrease of 4 stitches per round while knitting even, without shaping, every other round. Thus, one complete decrease of 4 stitches takes two rounds. We want to halve the number of cast on stitches and find out how many rows it’s going to take to get it done. 56 cast on stitches divided by 2 = 28 sts remaining at the end of the first part of toe shaping. The calculation looks like this: _______ cast on stitches divided by 2 = ______ sts remaining from first shaping of toe.

How many rows will it take to decrease 28 stitches? Divide the number of stitches that need to remain by the number of stitches being decreased in a round. 28 divided by 4 = 7. I will have 7 decrease rows. The calculation looks like this: _______half the cast on stitches divided by 4 = ______the number of decrease rows. Since it take 2 rows to complete a decrease I multiple 7 by 2 and get 14 rows total in the first shaping.

_______number of decrease rows times 2 = ______total number of rows in first shaping.

How many inches does 14 row equal? To find that, divide 14 by the number of rows you are getting per inch. For me its 14 divided by 7 = 2 inches (5) cm. The calculation looks like this: _________total number of rows in first shaping divided by ______my gauge of rows per inch = _______length of first shaping.

The last half of toe shaping occurs on every round until there are anywhere from 7 or 8 to 16 or 18 toe stitches remaining. This is also the part of shaping where you can tailor the sock’s toe shape to fit the slant of the toes. The more stitches remaining at the end of this shaping the more square or wider the toe shape. Finding the total length of this part of the toe cap is similar to that above. Take half the number of cast on stitches and subtract the number of stitches you want to have left across the top of the foot. 28-8 = 20. The calculation looks like this: _____half the number of cast on stitches minus ______number of stitches I want to remain across the top of the foot = ______the number of stitches I need to decrease. For me the number I need to decrease is 20.

Again I need to find out how many rows will it take to decrease 20 sts. Divide the number of stitches to be decreased, 20, by the number of stitches decreased per round, 4, = 5. It will take me 5 rows. The calculation looks like this: _______number of stitches to be decreased divided by ______number of stitches decreased per round = ______number of rows worked. To find the length of this part of the toe work I divide my row gauge, 7, by the number of rows I need to work to complete the decreasing, 5 = 0.71. This means the length is just shy of 3/4 of an inch (2) cm. The calculation looks like this: _____my row gauge divided by ______rows needed to complete decreases = length of this part of toe cap.

So I should work even until the foot of my sock measures 5.75″ (14.5) cm or until the foot is 2.75″ (7) cm less than my desired length. This is what the calculations look like: ______length of first part of toe cap plus ______length of second part of toe cap = ______ total length of toe cap.
Next calculation looks like this: _______desired length of foot minus _____total length of toe cap = length of foot when I begin toe cap decreases.

I hope this helps clear up some of the mystery of knitting a sock that fits. At some point in the immediate future, I am going to publish all the sock math on one page so you can use it to customize your fit.

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Heel Turn

To find the number of stitches for the heel turn divide the number of heel flap stitches by 2. The equation looks like this: _______ heel flap stitches divided by 2 = __________ number of stitches in the heel turn. The first decrease of the heel turn begins 2 stitches past the center of the heel. For example, I have 28 heel flap stitches. Divided by 2 that gives me 14 stitches and I am at the center of the heel. I then add 2 stitches to the 14 for 16 sts. This means I knit 16 stitches before beginning the first heel turn decrease by making an ssk, k1, turn work.

The next row is a WS row and worked thus: Slip 1 purlwise, p5, p2tog, p1, turn work. The purl 5 is a fairly standard number for a heel. The ssk in the previous row and the purl 5 in this row set up the heel cup. The number can be changed, but when doing so be sure the number of stitches on each side of the heel cup are equal.

The next RS row is worked by slipping 1 purlwise, knitting to 1 stitch before the gap made on the previous row, performing an ssk, knitting 1 and then turning the work.

On the WS row, slip the first stitch purlwise, purl to 1 stitch before the gap from the previous row, p2tog, p1, then turn work.

Repeat the last two rows until half the number of heel stitches you began with remain. For example, I began with 28. At the end of the heel turn I should have 14 stitches remaining.

Heel Turn When You’ve Added Stitches for a High Arch

Omit the added stitches from the equation for the heel turn. Work the equation as is with the original stitch number. The two or four extra stitches remain outside the working heel turn area. They will be decreased early in the gusset work.

Other Advice for High Arches

While I have not worked nor read the Arch-Shaped Stockings pattern by Meg Swanson it presents an entirely different way of dealing with high arches and sock construction. If your arch is very high, it may help you get to a better way of constructing socks that fit. For the sake of transparency, I do not know Ms. Swanson, nor am I employed by her. The suggestion to look at her pattern is just that, a suggestion.

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I know people hate the g word in knitting but knowing your stitch and row gauge is crucial for a sock that fits. If you are guessing your gauge or assuming it is the same simply because you are using the same needles and yarn cited in the pattern, you aren’t getting a well fitting sock at the end of your efforts. Further, if the yarn you are using is familiar to you because you’ve knit with it before, still check your gauge. Depending on the dying process, yarns that are dark in color tend to use more stitches per inch than lighter colored yarns. The lighter colored the yarn, the more rounded and loftier the yarn. The darker the color, the more brittle, squashed and dense. Same yarn, different colors, different gauges. Knowing your stitch and row gauge guarantees socks that fit.

Once you know how many stitches per inch you are knitting, then you can figure out how many stitches you need in the total sock. To make this sock easy, let’s knit it using stockinette stitch only, meaning we’re knitting all rows.

Cuff Down Socks

The number of stitches per inch times the adjusted circumference equals the total stitches in your sock. For example, a gauge of 8 sts per inch times my 7” circumference equals 56 sts. The calculation looks like this. Go ahead and fill in your numbers.

________number of stitches I’m knitting per inch times _______my adjusted circumference number = _______the total number of stitches I need to cast on.

Because the sock begins at the cuff, work a 1 x 1 rib as follows: K1, p1. Repeat to end of round. Make the ribbing at least 1” (2.5) cm long. Then begin knitting all stitches on all rounds until the leg of the sock reaches the top of the heel flap.

Heel Flap: To Fit or Not

The typical heel flap is 2” (5) cm less than the total leg length of the sock. If you have average feet the calculation looks like this:

___________total leg length of sock minus 2″ (5) cm for heel flap = ____________length at which I switch from knitting the leg to knitting the heel flap.

The length of the heel flap is an important measurement that can make a sock fit or not fit. You have some decisions to make if your foot is not the average foot. If your Achilles Tendon area is longer than 2″ by 1″ or more, the heel flap needs to be longer too. If you have a high arch, you want the heel flap longer to accommodate it. In both cases, the length of your heel flap would no longer be 2″.

How To Find Your Heel Flap Length

The heel flap is where the sock is divided in half. One half of all the leg stitches become the top or instep of the sock, the other half the sole or heel flap. Divide the total number of stitches originally cast on by 2. For example: 56 sts / 2 = 28. I would have 28 instep stitches and 28 sole stitches. Go ahead an fill in your numbers.

_____total cast on stitches divided by 2 = _____ number of stitches for the heel flap and number for instep.

If you have a high arch, the number of stitches for the heel flap is going to be greater than the number of instep stitches. For high arches it is suggested 2 or 4 stitches be added to the last row of the leg of the sock. The only way to find out what number works here is by trying. Add an even number of stitches, work the heel flap and try on the sock to see how it all fits and make adjustments up or down in the stitch count accordingly.

The math for dividing the sock into instep and heel flap stays the same even though you have added stitches because your are dividing the original cast on number by two. Precisely half the number of original cast on stitches are instep stitches. The rest of the stitches, the heel flap, will be either 2 or 4 stitches greater than the instep. The number of heel flap stitches also signals the number of rows you need to work. Extra stitches make the heel flap longer. This gives the sock more stretch to navigate the heel-ankle-instep-ankle-heel area.

Here’s Where Row Gauge Matters

At this point, check your row gauge. Measure the sock over a 4″ (10) cm length and count the rows. Divide the total number of rows by 4. This is the number of rows you are getting per inch. Take the number of rows per inch and divide it into the number of heel flap stitches. The answer is the length of the heel flap.

__________number of heel flap stitches divided by ________number of rows per inch = ________length of heel flap. Does the length equal what you need in order to make the sock fit? Try on the sock. If you find the fit too large, reduce the number of added stitches. If the fit is too tight, increase the number by twos to keep it even.

Go back to the equation that tells you when to stop working on the leg and begin the heel flap. Substitute your heel flap length in place of the 2″ (5) cm.

Set-Up The Heel Flap
Place the instep stitches on holders, or if you prefer, leave them on your dpns and just ignore them. I leave them on the needles and place 3 stitches from each side onto locking stitch markers. This helps prevent holes from forming between the stitches I’m working for the heel flap and the stitches on hold. It eases the amount of stress placed on the running thread between the working stitches and the stitches on hold. The more stress placed on the running thread the more gruesome the hole.

To set up the heel flap for working, divide the number of heel flap stitches in half. For example, my heel flap is 28 stitches / 2 = 14. I’d knit 14 stitches, stop, turn work then purl across 28 sts.

______heel flap stitches divided by 2 = _______ number of stitches to knit across. Turn work around and purl across all heel flap stitches.

Heel flaps are worked back and forth in rows as follows.
Row 1 (RS): *Slip first st purlwise with yarn in back, k1. Repeat across row. Turn work.
Row 2: Slip first st purlwise with yarn in front, purl to end of row. Turn work.
Repeat these two rows until you have worked the number of rows designated by the number of your heel flap stitches. For example, my number of heel flap stitches is 28. I would work 28 heel flap rows.

Next we’ll begin the heel turn.

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Once the shape of the foot is known, then comes the measurements. Take the first measurement around the ball of the foot; the padded area just below the toes.

ball of foot measurement

This figure is the circumference of the sock. For average feet and legs this measurement ensures a proper fit around both foot and leg. Jot the number down and subtract 1″ (2) cm from it. You want the sock to measure 1″ or (2) cm less than your full measurement. This smaller size helps the socks gently hug the feet and stay up on the legs and not bag around the ankles. My circumference number is 8″ (20) cm. Subtracting the 1″ (2) cm from the 8″ (20) cm gives me 7″ (18) cm. My adjusted circumference number is 7.

Socks knitted in stockinette stitch have about 4″ (10) cm of stretch in the fabric. This is how my socks go over the 11″ (28) cm that make up my heel-ankle-instep-ankle-heel area.

heel-ankle-instep-ankle-heel area

heel-ankle-instep-ankle-heel area

11-7= 4″ (18-28= 10) cm. If the heel-ankle-instep-ankle-heel area is greater than 4″ (10) cm from the adjusted circumference number make a note to add 2 or 4 stitches to the sock in the gusset area only and/or look to lengthen the heel flap. In the picture below, the gusset is the stockinette stitch area that looks like an upside down V.

gusset, heel turn, heel flap

gusset, heel turn, heel flap

The next measurement is foot length. Put a ruler or tape measure on the floor and measure your foot from the longest toe to the back of the heel. If your foot resembles the Greek tapered foot where the second toe is longer than the big toe, unless it is longer by an 1″ (2.5) cm or more start the measurement from the big toe to the heel. Remember the sock is going to stretch.

foot length sock

The last measurement is the leg length. Put on a sock that has the leg height you want. Measure from the base of the heel up the leg to where the cuff stops. This is your sock’s leg length.

Sock leg height

While you’re at it, measure your Achilles tendon area. This is where the heel flap on a sock goes. It should measure about 2 or 2.5″ (5 or 6.5) cm. If it is much longer than this (an inch (2) cm more) make a note that the heel flap needs to be longer.

achilles tendon

Finally, I put all the information on a drawing of my foot and put it in a folder in a file cabinet. Everyone who has ever had me make a sock for them has a folder with the drawing of his or her foot notated with sizes and alterations made. This makes it easier to knit socks that fit them again.

foot scan 3

foot scan 4

Now that the measurements are complete, next up is sock math.

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