Well, here I am at the Kitchener stitch finale of Natalia Vasilieva’s Smokey ZickZacks (page 140 of New Directions in Sock Knitting).

The knitting was relatively easy–a total of 70 rows of mostly garter stitch for my size. I like Kitchener stitch yet have been dreading this part of the sock. The double increases and decreases are to be included in the Kitchener stitch. Fortunately, detailed illustrations are shown on page 149.

To begin, I knitted 12 stitches, tied a knot, then unknit these stitches to figure out how much yarn tail I’ll need to Kitchener 12 stitches. I’ll multiply this length by 10 to determine the length I’ll need to thread on a tapestry needle to Kitchener the entire row of 120 stitches.

I folded the piece in half so that the provisional cast-on was just above the live stitches on my working needle. I worked with the right side of both edges facing me. I threaded the long tail on a tapestry needle and followed the illustration on page 149 to get started by bringing the tapestry needle up through the first cast-on stitch, then down into the next cast-on stitch. Then I followed the sequence for Kitchener stitch on garter stitch (shown here after a couple of inches have been Kitchenered).

Step 1 (below left): Bring the tapestry up through the first live stitch.

Step 2 (below right): Bring the tapestry needle up through the same cast-on stitch entered most recently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3 (below left): Bring tapestry down through the next cast-on stitch.

Step 4 (below right): Bring tapestry needle down into the same live stitch entered in Step 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tried my best to follow the illustrations on page 149 for working Kitchener stitch on the double increases, double decreases, and single decreses, but between the dark yarn, thick provisional yarn, and poor lighting (and maybe a bit of denseness on my part), I gave up on the fancy stitches and just worked regular Kitchener stitch across the entire row.

As suggested in the instructions, I left the waste yarn in the cast-on stitches as I worked. After a couple of inches, I pulled some out to make sure the grafting worked. I’m glad that I did! I ran into a snag at the second double decrease (above right) and had to cut the waste yarn to proceed (below right).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I made my way across the foot, I couldn’t tell that the look of my sock suffered much from my working simple Kitchener stitch for garter stitch instead of adding the increase and decrease gymnastics.

Stitch by stitch, the odd piece of knitting is taking the shape of a sock!

 

 

 

 

 

The final two Tiers (D and E) of  Natalia Vasilieva’s Smokey ZickZacks (page 140 of New Directions in Sock Knitting) are similar to the first two tiers with the exception that only decreases are worked in the heel section. The other sections maintain constant stitch counts. At this point the knitting is pretty easy and you may find yourself rushing to the end so you can see how this turns into a proper fitting sock!

When you have the proper number of garter ridges on the right side and the proper number of stitches (the two should coincide), you’re ready for the dreaded Kitchener stitch. I agree that it’s a bit intimidating, especially with the double increases and decreases. You might want to wait until you’re fully rested and have very good light before you proceed!

The heel of Natalia Vasilieva’s Smokey ZickZacks (page 140 of New Directions in Sock Knitting) is “completed” by removing the waste yarn from the provisional cast-on in the heel. This is quick and easy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Begin by pulling the knotted tail of the waste yarn through the “V”. This is shown in the photo on the top left, where the yarn is being pulled to the left. There will now be an open crochet loop, as shown in the photo on the top right.

Pull the free strand to the side that has the purl bumps of waste yarn, then pull on it to “unzip” the chain.

 

 

Ta-da! You have something that doesn’t look anything like a heel!

 

The “heel” of Natalia Vasilieva’s Smokey ZickZacks (page 140 of New Directions in Sock Knitting) is worked in Tier C. This has got to be one of most peculiar heels ever!

It begins by using the Crochet-On Provisional Cast-On to provisionally CO stitches for the heel (I used a tightly spun cotton yarn), which are inserted at the position of the double increase marker. Whenever I work a crochet chain (which is basically how the Crochet-On Provisional Cast-On is worked, only it’s worked around the working needle), I tie an overhand knot after the last stitch so I’ll be able to identify which end to unravel later.

Inserting the new stitches is a bit of a tricky maneuver. You’ll want to use a circular needle with a very flexible cable in order to knit outward from both sides of the provisional cast-on. This involves making a hairpin turn in the knitting by pulling out a loop of cable as for working the Magic-Loop method.

 

 

 

The knitting feels tight at first but loosens up with each successive row as double increases are worked at the center of the heel stitches.

The provisional cast-on will appear as purl bumps on one side of the knitting (the right side in my example) and chain stitches on the other side of the knitting (the wrong side in my example).

I’ve finished Tier B of Natalia Vasilieva’s Smokey ZickZacks (page 140 of New Directions in Sock Knitting). At this point, there are 11 garter ridges on the right side.

The knitting is surprisingly easy for what looks like such a complicated construction. And I love the firm yet squishy feel of the garter stitch!

I’m six rows into Tier A of Natalia Vasilieva’s Smokey ZickZacks (page 140 of New Directions in Sock Knitting).

I’m using Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock 100% Superwash Merino Light Weight (color: Schwarzwald) and a size U.S. 2 (3.0 mm) circular needle.

These socks begin with a crochet-on provisional cast-on that will provide the loops to Kitchener together with the live stitches when the knitting is complete. I’m trying not to think about that yet…

The sock is constructed with a series of increases and decreases that will produce the the unique sideways zigzag pattern. I’ve placed blue markers in the decrease stitches and pink markers in the increases stitches. For reasons not yet revealed, a double decrease marker is placed at the toe and a double increase marker is placed at about the half-way point — I suspect this is for the heel.

Double decreases (slip 1, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over) are worked at the decrease markers every right-side row.

Double increases (yarnover, knit 1, yarnover) are also worked every right-side row, then the yarnovers are twisted to close the holes on the following wrong-side row. The effect is similar to working Make-One increases, but extra yarn is added in the increases by working the yarnovers on the right-side rows. It’s a clever way to insure that the stitches aren’t too tight at the increase points.

So far, the knitting is fun — I forget how much I love garter stitch!

The next pair of socks in New Directions in Sock Knitting that I’m going to attack is Natalia Vasilieva’s Smokey ZickZacks (shown in upper left of the cover).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This amazing design is worked side to side in garter stitch with increases and decreases that form zigs and zags that fit together with a row of Kitchener stitch to produce the traditional sock shape. This construction requires a leap of faith because the sock cannot be tried on along the way. I’ve got to wonder how Natalia thought up the design!

For my version, I’ve chosen Socks That Rock Light Weight (100% superwash merino) by Blue Moon Fiber Arts in the colorway Schwarzwald (Black Forest).

Stay tuned!

I’m over-the-top excited to announce that two of the hottest podcasters in North America, The Grocery Girls (Tracy on the left and Jodi on the right), have accepted an invitation to join my Knit For Fun Retreat in Vancouver, Washington, this fall (September 21 – 24). I can promise you that you’ll enjoy every minute you spend with these smart, witty, energetic, fun-loving, and spontaneous sisters!

In addition to attending classes with the other retreat-ers, Tracy and Jodie host the special Friday night (September 22) event during which they will interview the three teachers–Carson Demers, Lorilee Beltman, and me. Carson has agreed to assess the Grocery Girls on their knitting styles with a special focus on ergonomics and ways to prevent stress and injury as described his new book Knitting Comfortably. It’s bound to be a learning experience for all of us, and a ton of fun, too!

The event, which includes dinner, is included in the retreat registration fee. Click here to secure a seat.

 

The winner of a free copy of New Directions in Sock Knitting is Susan Day, who wrote:

“. . . because I have loved seeing your progress on the Mitered Triangles socks. They are beautiful!!”

Congratulations Susan! I’ll send you a personal message to get your mailing address and get the book in the mail right away!

Thanks to all of you avid sock knitters who entered!

Next up, I’m going to try my hand at Smokey ZickZacks (pictured top left on the cover) by Natalia Vasilieva.

I’m thoroughly delighted with my version of  Kathryn Alexander’s Mitered Triangles socks from New Directions in Sock Knitting. Adding 2 stitches to each of the triangles compensated for the thinner yarn I used and I’m happy to announce that they fit my feet!

 

 

As you might suspect, the fit is a bit odd with all the garter ridges and I’m not sure I’d want to wear them in a pair of shoes. On the other hand, why cover up all that fancy colorwork in shoes? I’m happy to wear them as slipper socks.

As I suspected, the second sock was much easier than the first. I had the “road map” in my head as I worked and didn’t have to puzzle out the errors in the instructions, which I’ve summarized below.

 

 

Corrections Mitered Triangles

Please accept my apologies for the following errors and the confusion they undoubtedly cause!

Page 67

First Sole Panel Garter ridge (left column):With Rosy pink, knit (not purl) 1 WS row, then place 10 sts at end of panel onto holder.

First Sole Panel Pick-up row (left column): (WS) With attached strand of Rosy Pink and WS of panel facing, pick up and purl (not knit) 8 sts along selvedge of Rosy Pink triangle, then 10 sts each along Melon, Pale Gold, and Mustard triangles–39 sts total.

Second Sole Panel Garter ridge (left column): With yellow Green purl (not knit) 1 RS row, then place 10 sts at end of panel onto holder.

First Heel Triangle (right column): With smaller needles, Yellow Gold, and leaving a 30″ (76 cm) tail, use the backward-loop (not the long-tail) method (see Glossary) to loosely CO 12 sts.

Page 67; Second Heel Triangle (right column): With smaller needles, Rusty Rose, and leaving a 30″ (76 cm) tail, use the backward-loop (not the long-tail) method to loosely CO 12 sts.

Page 68

Second Back Leg Panel Pick-up row (right column): (WS) With attached strand of Fuchsia and WS of panel facing, pick up and purl 9 sts along selvedge of Fuchsia triangle, then 10 sts each along Purple Rose and Dusty Violet panels, then purl (not knit) 1 Rusty Rose heel st from holder–30 sts total.

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Don’t forget to sign up for the raffle for a free copy of New Directions in Sock Knitting. Respond to this post by telling me why you’re ready to knit socks from a new direction, and I’ll enter you in the drawing to be held Sunday, June 25, 2017. I’ll announce the winner Monday morning (June 26).