The next pattern I’ve chosen to knit from New Directions in Sock Knitting is Jennifer Leigh’s Tilt-A-Whirl design (page 44).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These ingenious socks draw upon Elizabeth Zimmermann’s arch-shaped foot and Cat Bordhi’s unusual construction for a pair of nearly indestructible socks. The foot is knitted in a thick, reinforced fabric that provides support and cushioning that will withstand the most punishing wear and tear. A diagonal rib pattern punctuated with yarnovers provide ventilation and stretch in the leg.

Jennifer knitted her socks with colorful Noro Silk Garden Sock, which beautifully highlights the different knitting directions. For my version, I’ve chosen For my version, I’ve chosen Arctic Qiviut Qiviut Sock Yarn (35% qiviut, 40% superwash merino, 15% bamb00, 10% nylon; 375 yards [342 meters]/100 grams) in a colorway called Grizzly Brown. I plan these to be the ultimate in cozy slipper socks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although the instructions say to use two 16″ or 24″ circular needles, I’ve chosen to use a 40″ needle and use the magic-loop method of working in rounds. I hope this doesn’t pose a problem later. I’m using a size U.S. 3 (3.25 mm) needle and will follow the third size to fit my U.S. size 9-ish feet.

So far, I’ve casted on and worked 4 rounds without a hitch!

We knitters are such nice people!

I’m very pleased to announce that a total of 413 patterns were sold from my Ravelry site between Wednesday, September 13, and Wednesday, September 20, for a total of $1,900.25 raised for disaster relief! I’m going to add the difference to make an even $2,000 to send to The American Red Cross to use as they see fit to help the victims of the recent fires, floods, and fierce weather.

Thank you all so much for your support. I hope that the things you knit following my patterns will all turn out especially nice!

Between the fires, floods, and fierce weather, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, lost their homes, or worse. It’s hard to keep up with the devastation.

To help with the relief effort, I am putting all of my Ravelry patterns on sale for 25% off for the next week and will donate ALL of the proceeds to The American Red Cross. That’s right, the money I receive for the purchase of any of my patterns on Ravelry through Wednesday, September 20, will be donated to help those in need.

Just think, those socks, that sweater or skirt, or the scarf or shawl you may knit for a holiday gift this winter will also contribute to disaster relief. Please help.

I’ve just uploaded a pattern on Ravelry. In-A-Pinch Fingerless Mitts are about the simplest pattern possible. They use a single ball of Lion Brand Merino Yak Alpaca yarn (yum!) and are knitted on size U.S. 5 (3.75 mm) needles. You can easily knit a pair in a weekend.

The yarn is superbly soft and squishy, and it feels fabulous in your hands. The simple slip-stitch rib pattern adds a bit of texture and knitting enjoyment to the ottherwise plain mitts. For an even easier knit, omit the slip-stitch pattern and work the mitts in k3, p1 rib instead.

For now through September 15, you can get the pattern at 25% off by entering the code LUXURY MITTS.

I’m happy to announce that I’ve completed the first sock (the right one) of Natalia Vasilieva’s Smokey ZickZacks (page 140 of New Directions in Sock Knitting).

After working the Kitchener stitch on all the live stitches, there’s a small gap at the toe that gets seamed. In this section, the selvedge stitches on one side are grafted to garter ridges on the other.

 

When the toe is closed, the it’s time to remove the waste yarn. Like magic, the yarn unzips to reveal a finished sock!

The inserted stitches that form the heel are present on only one side of the sock; hence the need for right and left socks. I think I’ll take a break before I knit the mate…

 

 

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!