My dear husband has worn through a pair of his favourite socks and asked me if I’d knit him a pair like them. He’s never wanted hand-made socks before, despite my many offers in the last few years when I was looking for something to knit, so this was an unexpected turn of events. I moved fast in case he changed his mind.
I have a few balls of sock yarn in my stash and we went through them together. We settled on a German self-patterning yarn in the usual 75/25 wool/nylon blend that I bought for peanuts from a shop in Skipton that has been advertising its closing down sale since – to my certain knowledge – 2013, and probably much earlier. Long may it continue, I’m always finding bargains there.
The dear-departed socks had a wide rib but were otherwise unexceptional. I decided I’d do a similar rib, but broken (alternate rounds of plain knitting) to prevent the fabric drawing in. I knitted a tension tube to get an accurate measurement – my stocking stitch tension in the round differs a fair bit from my worked-flat tension – and concluded that 70 stitches would give the right size. On that basis, I opted for a 6×1 rib to get five repeats across the instep and five across the sole. A stitch count that is not divisible by 4 precludes a 2×2 rib around the cuff, but that’s fine.
I had no idea how the patterning in the yarn would come out, and the tension tube was too small to give much of a clue. The picture on the ball band is nothing like the stripes that have resulted, but there are several things that are odd about the ball band. (This might explain why the yarn was sold off cheap in a bargain outlet.) For a start, it gives the meterage as 260m per 100g, which would suggest the yarn is a double knitting thickness, and that makes some sense given that the recommended needle size is 3-4mm. But the label also mentions the word “sport” (= 5-ply, thinner than DK), and my tubular swatch proved that it knits to a standard 4-ply tension. Anyway, I’m very happy with the bold, multi-coloured stripes and so, fortunately, is my dear husband.
I’ve knitted about a dozen pairs of socks and I feel I’m getting the hang of it now. Hence the decision to go off-piste and devise my own pattern. I’m working from the toe up, which is my preferred direction, and I’m using the Fish Lips Kiss (FLK) twin stitch, short-row method for both the toe and the heel. This is essentially the shadow wrap short-row technique, but I do like the FLK way of handling the half-way point with two “boomerang” rows.
I started by provisionally casting on half the stitches (35) and working from the toe/sole interface on the underside of the foot, around the toe and back to the toe/instep interface on the upper side. Then I put the provisionally cast-on stitches on the needles, along with the live stitches from the toe, and continued working in the round. This gives a really neat, hole-free toe that’s smooth on the inside.