Tuesday, September 02, 2014

My Favorite Sock Pattern (or lack of one)

These are my Jig socks. They've been finished for a few weeks but never got their own post. 

I think that's one of the neatest tricks I've seen sock yarn do all on its own. I wish Knitpicks was still making Dancing - I just used up my last two skeins.

Several of my readers have asked what sock pattern I use. There's no pattern. Over the past few years, I've figured out what I need to do to make a sock my size and I just keep doing that. Over and over and over. (The end of this sock knitting binge may or may not be near!)

My socks are knit toe up, on four DPNs. That gives me one needle for the instep and two for the heel. Knitpicks wooden DPNs come in sets of six...so buying two sets means I have enough needles to work on three pairs of socks. Last  year when Judy started the pooling sock yarn challenge, I bought three different brands from the store in town. Since then, I've dug my Harmony needles out of the project back they were hiding in. They are absolutely my favorites for sock knitting.

I start at the toe and increase until I've got enough stitches for the foot. Then I knit around and around until it's time for the heel.  No math or swatching here -- I just hold the sock in progress up against a finished sock that fits. If I was knitting something with lace or cables, I'd check the fit at some point, but stockinette is nice and predictable.

Short row heels don't require me to remember any numbers. I've done flap and gusset heels. Those aren't hard, but I can't keep the directions in my head and if I have to change the number of stitches, I'm lost. So short row it is!

Once the heel is turned, I switch to k2p2 ribbing until the cuff is long enough. My DPNs are 6" long, so I use those to judge the length.

Over time, I've found a toe that I like, a heel that I like, the number of stitches that I need to make socks in my size. If I want to make a pair for another family member, I can adjust the numbers and still use the same toe and heel techniques. Or I could add a stitch pattern across the instep and around the ribbing.  But for right now, I just need something to keep my hands moving without too much thought or planning.


Toni Macomb said...

Thank you for talking about your socks! I've only made two pair from one pattern that I got in a sock class. I'd never thought about....just keep going with the toe I like, just keep using 4DP needles (I'm comfortable with them) and doing what I know will work. Thanks again! Toni

Dar said...

I really like those self striping socks too. Thanks for explaining how you approach sock knitting. Now, to be more specific, can you give the approximate # of stitches you have on the needles when you are in the foot area. I am looking for a toe up pattern that is simple enough to try doing 2 at a time on a circular needle. My experience so far has only been with 5 dpns (2 for instep, 2 for heel and 1 to knit with). Thanks much.


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