Sewn Bind Off

In my last post I talked about how much I hated the look of Jenny’s Super Stretchy Bind off. Lack of a better bind off option had really turned me off toe-up sock knitting. Not only is Jenny’s bind off unappealing to look at, it is so stretchy that the cuff no longer holds the sock up on the wearer’s leg. In my opinion this sliding down completely defeats the purpose of knitting a cuff for your sock in the first place.

Enter, the sewn bind off. It’s still not as aesthetically pleasing as a cast on edge but it looks way better then Jenny’s super stretchy bind off. Plus the cuff actually retains its shape, which is a definite bonus.

Tutorial 

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You need to leave a tail that is three times the width of your project. Since a sock is round you need to remember that the circumference is twice the width of your project. I left a tail that was six times as wide of the top of my sock when it was laying flat.

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After cutting the tail I thread it through my yarn needle. Yes, that needle is orange and no, I didn’t buy is with the intention of doing tutorials. I thread the needle through the first two stitches purlwise.2017-03-31 12.55.27

Next, I thread the needle through the first stitch knitwise and pulled the stitch off of my knitting needle.

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Then I just repeated the last two steps all the way around. It left a nice edge that was stretchy but not too stretchy.

I hope this post helps those of you who are looking for an alternative to the sewn bind off!

Create a Sock Recipe: Part 3- Toe-up vs. Cuff-down

One of the many decisions you will have to make when knitting your socks is whether you want to knit them toe-up or cuff-down. For me there is no clear winner here. Both methods are equally easy and each have their pros and cons.

I will say that I usually knit my socks cuff down. I have two reasons for this and they both are mainly aesthetics.

  1.  1. I really don’t like the way Jenny’s supper stretchy bind off looks and I have yet to find a bind off that looks better but is still stretchy enough for the tops of socks.
  2. 2. I like to knit a heel flat and gusset with my socks and while it is possible to do toe up I prefer the look and fit when they are knit cuff down.

Toe-up socks allow you to knit a sock that is pretty customize able in regards to size. Since you can try the sock on as you go it is pretty easy to create a sock that is exactly the right length. Another advantage to knitting toe-up socks it that there is no yarn chicken. In other words because you knit the important part of the sock first you don’t need to worry about leaving enough yarn to knit the foot. If you are someone who does not like scrap yarn laying around knitting socks toe-up might be the way to go since you can knit the leg until you run out of yarn.

Cuff-down socks are my personal favorite. I think cuff-down socks fit my feet better than toe-up socks do. I also really don’t like the way Jenny’s Super Stretchy Bind-off looks. Sorry Jenny, but I don’t find your bind-off aesthetically pleasing. Also, I think Jenny’s bind-off is a little too stretchy and does not hug my leg the way I would like. Maybe there’s a stretchy bind-off out there that doesn’t look bad but I have yet to find it.

Knitting Socks with Magic Loop and 2 Circular Needles

Magic Loop is by far my favorite way to knit a sock. I’ve knit countless pairs of socks on magic loop and for me it is definitely the easiest, least fussy way to knit a sock. I don’t have to worry about dropping stitches off the end of the needle and there is no extra needle to lose track of.

I decided to combine the magic loop post with the 2 circs post because functionally I feel they are pretty much the same. With magic loop cast on your sock stitches then split them in half by folding the cable between the center stitches. When you have two circulars instead of folding the cable in half between the center stitches you cast half of your sock stitches on one needle and half on the second needle.

Before I get into the pros and cons of this method I have to mention that I don’t really see the utility of two circular needles outside of two at a time socks. When you’re only knitting one sock there is plenty of room on the needle for magic loop. For me adding the second needle when I am only knitting one sock just turns my project into a knotted mess. However, I can see the need for the extra space that two circs provide when knitting socks two at a time.

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Magic Loop can also be used for sweater sleeves.

Pros

1) One Needle to Rule them All

I swear there are probably a hundred different size dpns lost in my couch right now, which is part of the reason why I love knitting socks with magic loop. Because magic loop only uses one long circular needle there is no extra needle to keep track of since your one and only needle is always attached to your project.

2) Work is Easy to Manipulate

When I knit socks using 9″ circs I find it really hard  to move the stitches around. It seems like there just is’t enough cable to get the job done. With magic loop there is plenty of cable for maneuvering your knitting. I use a 40″ circ most of the time and I never feel pressed for space, even with two socks on one circ.

3) Easy on the Joints

I find that magic loop knitting is easier on my fingers and wrists that 9″ circs or dpns. But everyone is different you may find that the exact opposite is true for you.

4) Your Stitches are safe

One of my biggest complaints with 9″ circulars and dpns is that my stitches slide of the ends of the needles. I’m not an overly lose knitter either I just seem to have bad luck when it comes to keeping stitches on my needles.

5) There are Limited Pattern Breaks

With magic or two circs you sock stitches are split in half so there are only two pattern breaks. Since the patterns on sock are often organized so that the sole stitches are independent from the instep stitches this pattern break is pretty low fuss. However when you knit socks with dpns you can wind up with some really strange pattern breaks.

Cons

*I really tried to come up with a good list of cons for this sock knitting method but it is my favorite and I am a little biased.

1) Tangles

When I put my magic loop socks in my bag the needle’s cable usually gets tangled with my yarn. Normally it’s not a big deal and it takes a couple seconds to fix but if you really hate tangles this might not be the method for you.

2) Laddering

Because your stitches are split in half you do end up with some laddering. I don’t really mind this because they block out. If you don’t block you socks and you feel like laddering is public enemy number one you should probably knit your socks on 9″ circs.

 

Washing Socks

One of the challenges of knitting garments is washing them. Sure you need to wash a hand knit scarf or a shawl but a lot less often than a hand knit sock or sweater. So much time goes in to hand knit garments that washing them can be a little nerve wracking. So today’s post is all about how I wash my hand knit socks.

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Today I used a little castile soap on my socks because my wool wash is MIA. All of these socks are knit out of super wash fibers, which means technically I could have thrown them in the washing machine and the fiber isn’t as sensitive as a non super wash fiber. If your socks or other knit garments are not made from a super wash fiber I would advise against using castile soap.

Once I have all my dirty socks together I grab a bowl and normally some no rise wool wash. I fill the bowl with tepid water.With non super wash fibers the temperature of the water is important. You don’t want to shock your fiber with really hot water because this can lead to felting.

I usually let my socks soak for about 20 minutes. I always set a timer because otherwise my socks would be sitting in that bowl for hours.

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If you are using a wool wash you won’t have to rinse you socks but since I was using castile soap I made sure to rinse them in the sink when I was done soaking them.

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After rinsing I squeezed out the excess water and hung them to dry. Get as much of the water out of the socks as you can. You do want to be careful and not ring out your socks because this can damage them. I put a towel under my drying rack to protect the floor because it’s hard to all the water out by hand and I find my socks sometimes drip a tiny bit.

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Sock Repairs

Does your beloved pair of socks have a hole in them? Today I am going to show you how I fix holes in sock heels. This is my improvised sock patching method. I know there are other methods out there that may or may not be similar to the way I patch socks.

This is a sock that I knit for a friend and as you can see they have been well loved. I wanted to patch up the hole and reinforce the stitches around it. I also wanted the patch to look neat because I was repairing the sock for a friend.

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So the first thing I did was pick up the stitches above the hole. I wanted to make sure that the patch was going to b strong enough to withstand some wear so I made sure it was a couple stitches wider than the hole.

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Next I added the working yarn by knitting across the stitches I picked up. I carried the tail with the working yarn to make sure everything was secure. I worked two rows, knitting on the right side purling the wrong side.

To attach the patch to the sock I picked up a stitch at the beginning of each row and worked it together with the first patch stitch, knitting the right side and purling the wrong side.

I worked back and forth in this manner until the patch covered the hole plus a few rows for good measure.

To attach the bottom edge of the patch I did a traditional bind-off (knit one, pass previous stitch over the second stitch) but each time I knit a stitch I picked up one of the heel stitches and knit them together. When I was finished I wove in the ends like I normally would.

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The finished product is a visible but discrete patch that should hold up for some years to come.

Create a Sock Recipe: Intro

I love sock knitting. Socks are definitely my favorite garment to knit. There are so many different ways to knit socks: toe up, cuff down, magic loop, 9″ circs, dpns, two long circs. Every sock knitter has their own favorite vanilla sock recipe but figuring out what works for your feet can take a long time.

For the next few weeks I am going to be going over the different methods, tools and techniques used in sock knitting so that you can create your own sock recipe. We will talk about the different needle types and sock architecture.

Once we have our foundation laid we will jump in to knitting socks and using one or a combination of the different methods we discuss!

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