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Toe Up Short Socks

I don’t normally do toe up socks…now, I’m talking about toe up socks that you don’t have to Kitchener closed. I always laugh when people talk about doing toe up socks (typically, they’ve tried the Kitchener and given up or come from a hand knitting background where they only Kitchener every once in a while and don’t find it easy). The rub is that the socks have to be bound off of the machine somehow and I think when I tried my first toe up (way before I ever thought about ribbing) coinsided with the discovery that you can’t do a reverse hung hem. You’re left with live stitches! Once I got that part figured out, I gave up and went back to cuff down.

I made these socks at where we filmed a two part series on them. Part one was a total disaster! If there could have been a problem, there was. In the end, when it came time to hang the toe, I gave up and scrapped the project. I had the tension too tight and it was a struggle to hang the stitches for the toe and when you film live tv, there’s no take backs. That episode is a good one to watch if you feel like you’re the only one out there struggling with their machine. Let me just tell you, you’re not alone. Promise. I’ve been doing this sock knitting gig for 10 years now and there are days when things just don’t go my way! And that’s ok, I always think of how long it would take me to actually knit a sock…probably at least a year and a half since I only knit two things: washcloths and the Sand Bank Cabled Hat Pattern! Plus, everytime I make a mistake, I learn something. Sometimes I have to make the mistakes more than once to make sure that I’ve learned it well!! Ha!

Anyway, to make a toe that is long enough so you can hang the stitches across to the other side you’ll have to add in extra rows. In this pattern we add 6 rows on the decrease and 6 rows on the increase. Easy enough, right? Sure! To make the extra row, you just wrap the yarn behind the first standing needle and knit the row. And we already know that if you do it on the left side, you have to do it on the right side, so that’s a piece of cake! Don’t make it harder than it actually is! That would defeat the purpose!

So, when you knit the first row of project yarn, take careful note of the bars in between stitches. Those are the ones you will end up hanging. so that you don’t have to sew the toe closed with the Kitchener stitch. Now, note that we have to make a long enough toe to get those exact bars to be able to hang on the other side. The next thing to consider would be to determine if the waste yarn is dramatically different than the project yarn. That way you will be able to see the bars when you’re hanging them. You can see on the picture that some of the bars are already trying to hide, so make sure you are hanging the right ones!

If the hung stitches create a piece of fabric so tight you could bounce a quarter off of it, it might be too tight! And if you’ve made a soft weight, this is the time to use it. I will caution you that once the soft weight gets close to the floor, it’s tricky to get it up out of the tube without lifting stitches off of the needles too! So once the foot gets long enough to put the buckle on, it would be prudent to do so, especially if you are a fan of the sock snake.

Once the toe is complete you’re pretty much on the home stretch. You can manage a heel after you make the foot (but remember that you’ve added extra rows on the toe, so the foot is going to need to be 5-10 rows shorter. I like to make mine a little too big and let them shrink in the first wash. I also like to make them with lycra…but that was another post a ways back.

The next task that might throw you for a loop is stopping the project yarn on the last needle of the row and starting waste yarn on the first needle of the next row. This yarn change creates a hole in the fabric. Don’t panic! It should be there! You can barely see it forming in the above picture, but it’s there and that’s right.

Now, the pattern shows a picture of cutting a V leg on the waste yarn to remove the waste yarn from the toe. Cut about 6 little V legs all the way around the sock, then find tails to pull and the toe will separate from the waste. Be careful here, if you have any waste yarn fibers knitted with the project yarn you might have to make some careful snips. If you pull to hard you’re going to make your stitches uneven. Don’t worry if you do, they will sort themselves out in that first wash.

And then it will be time to do the back stitch bind off. The pattern explains how to do it and don’t get all wrapped up in semantics. If the first one doesn’t look that great, the next one will be better. This is a great time to learn how to do the bsbo because the sock is going to roll at the top and no one will ever notice if you flubbed on a stitch or two…just make sure that you don’t skip a stitch or you’ll have a live stitch just ready to run like grandma’s pantyhose!

So what I am saying is get those socks made and send me a picture so I can add it to this post!!

Happy Cranking!


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Heel Tab No Shows

I am going to kick off this blog with a statement. I hate it when a blogger writes a big old long story before he/she gets to the recipe or pattern or whatever the case may be…yet I sit here, writing my first blog by telling you a story….hmmmmmm……..

The most popular pattern Sue ever came up with is the Heel Tab No Show Sock. It’s very popular in the summer time. Probably even more so up north, because here in Cape G in August it can be hotter than the gates of hades and ain’t nobody wearin no socks! (ok, it’s southeast Missouri….you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl!)

A really long time ago, I was at a crank in in Colorado where I watched a woman demonstrating heels on her machine. Now, at this time, heels and toes still gave me hot flashes. So I watched in fascination as she made her heel using two thirds of the needles. I was thinking, I have trouble with just half the needles so why would I do this? She was explaining that by using more needles on the heels you wouldn’t have the problem of the sock working down into the shoe. {honestly, at this point, I hadn’t made a sock that would fit my foot and feel good yet, but that’s a whole other story for a different post}

So fast forward a year or so and I was at another crank-in where I was talking to Mike Yeomans. He was working on making short socks to wear for the summer time, and he had this idea to add the little tab at the top of the heel, in the hem, so that they could be worn with hiking shoes or tennis shoes. What I didn’t know was that Mike meant to wear them on 5 day hikes in the mountains of somewhere, I thought he, like everyone else, just had the shoes!! But his socks weren’t working because they would wad up in the back of his shoe. That’s when I remembered what the other lady told me and we combined the two techniques. We told Sue our idea and she wrote the pattern. It’s free because it was a combination of several inputters and Sue is the best pattern writer. It’s so popular that one knitter changed the terms in the pattern to hand knitting terms, changed the name, but not the row counts and published it as a PAID pattern on Ravelry!!!

The Heel Tab No Show Sock is a great pattern for beginners who can cast on, hang a hem and make heels and toes. There’s no ribbing.

Basically, you will cast on to the circular knitting machine and change over to project yarn. The heel tab is made with in the hem of the sock…so you go a few rows and make a little heel that uses more than half the needles. Here’s a link to a little you tube video I did about this part of the heel, because it sounds very confusing to read and understand. This is a case where pictures are worth a thousand words. Then you go the same number of rows as before that mini heel and hang the hem. Once you get the hem hung you go a few rows and make the heel. This time, you will use MORE than half of the needles. The first time you try a heel like this it will feel like the heel that lasts forever! Once the heel is made, it’a a downhill slide to the toe and to waste yarn for the Kitchener stitch!

Once you make a pair as the pattern directs, you can adjust the width and height of the tab to your preference. Be sure to keep notes so that you can make another pair if you so choose. I will warn you, they are fun to make and fun to wear and if you’re not a dude with giant feet, you can get a pair out of a 50g ball!

It makes me crazy happy when you post pictures of what you’ve made because of a pattern or tutorial that I’ve done, so head on over to my Ravelry group and post a picture! You won’t have to worry about someone trashing your work there, so you can post without fear of getting made fun of. Especially if you have questions or something didn’t turn out right. We’re there to help!!! The name of my Ravelry group is Jamie’s School of Hard Socks!