Books

And While I’m Away…

As you read this post I’ll be getting ready to return from a most excellent two-week vacation with my husband in France. I’ll post about the details later.

For now, I’d like to give you a chance to win a copy of one of my books. Simply reply to this post telling me which book you’d like and I’ll draw a winner on Saturday, August 11.

Not familiar with my books? No problem. Below is a list with links.

Getting Started Knitting Socks

New Directions in Sock Knitting

Sock Knitting Master Class

Knitted Gifts

Lace Style

Wrap Style

Bag Style

Color Style

Simple Style

Knitting Green

Scarf Style 2

The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns

The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down SweatersColor Style

The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns

Book Winner

Thank you for all your kind words about my books. I never tire of hearing that people find them helpful and inspirational.

The winner of last week’s raffle is Carol Perecman, who wrote: “I think the only one of your books that I don’t already own is Knitting Green, so I guess that would be the one! Thanks for all your hard work with your books and posts!”

Well, Carol, I sure don’t want you to be lacking one of my books! Once I get your mailing information I’ll send a copy of Knitting Green to you!

 

Raffle Time!

It’s been a while since I’ve hear from you. Respond to this post by telling me which of my books you’d like to own and why, and I’ll enter your name in a drawing for a free copy.

Check out my website for details about each book.

I’ll draw a winner Sunday, June 11. Knit on!

How Does a Square Sock Fit?

Since I posted my completed my version of Nicola Susen’s Square Socks from New Directions in Sock Knitting, I’ve received a lot of questions about how the sock fits.

I have to admit that I didn’t take time to knit a gauge swatch (I can’t believe I’m admitting this!) and these are a little too big for me. I’m confident that I’ll find the perfect feet someday.

Here are a few images of the socks on my feet. They are surprisingly comfortable, given the unusual construction. The slanted bind-off at the top of the leg evens out greatly when the sock is on a foot. The only issue might be the circular starting point at the ball of the foot. People with sensitive soles may find it uncomfortable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hmm, I wonder which socks I’ll knit next…

A Finished Square Sock

I’m having so much fun with Nicola Susen’s Square Socks from New Directions in Sock Knitting that I find myself knitting on it when I ought to be doing other things. I love how this sock is constructed so differently from the standard toe-up or top-down sock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s no real heel to speak of. Once the foot is the desired length, the the leg begins in bias k2, p2 ribbing with mirrored increases worked at the center front of the leg and mirror decreases worked at the center back. This forms a tidy knit columns at the center front and back of the leg, with k2, p2 ribs angled between them. When the leg is the desired length, the top is finished back and forth in rows with a stitch bound off at the center front of each row while decreases are continued at the back of the leg.

The result looks oddly angled, but wet blocking helps it to assume a more sock-like shape.

A “Square” Foot

As I knit my way through Nicola Susen’s Square Sock pattern from New Directions in Sock Knitting, I’m struck with her ability to create a sock shape out of simple squares.

The sock begins with a square to form the ball of the foot. Two quarters of that square are put on a waste-yarn holder while the other two quarters are decreased to form closure at the top of the toe. The decreases are worked in four sections to end with just 2 stitches in each section. These remaining 8 stitches are gathered with yarn threaded on a tapestry needle.

At this point, the sock shape isn’t readily apparent.

 

The two sections of held stitches are then returned to the needles and worked in a bias tube with decreases worked along the top of the foot and increases worked along the bottom of the foot.

When knitting socks, I typically work with four double-pointed needles–three to hold the stitches and one to knit with. Hovever, the “square” format of this sock construction makes it easier for me to hold the stitches on four needles (one needle per section) and knit with a fifth.

So far, the sock has an odd shape. The cast-on “point” at the ball of the foot looks suspiciously like a heel. I think blocking is going to be a key step in this pattern.

 

Square Socks by Nicola Susen

The next pair of socks I plan to knit from New Directions in Sock Knitting is Nicola Susen‘s Square Socks (page 134).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This sock construction relies on a clever formula for squaring the circle: you knit two squares and two tubes in seamless succession. It begins with a circular cast-on centered under the ball of the foot. These stitches are divided into four groups that are worked outward in rounds as increases are worked on both sides of each group to form the foot square, which determines the fit.

When the diagonal of the foot square is the same as the foot circumference, the live stitches from two adjacent sides of the square are worked in a diamond shape to form the top of the toe. The stitches from the remaining two sides of the foot square are worked even in bias stockinette until the foot reaches the desired length, then the stitches are worked upward in a bias rib pattern for the leg.

Nicola used two colors of fingering weight merino for her socks, reversing the placement of the colors on the two socks.

For my version, I’ve chosen Dream in Color Everlasting, an 8-ply sock yarn composed of 100% superwash Australian merino (420 yards/100 grams) in a single colorway called Rosy 734.

I’m using U.S. size 1.5 (2.5 mm) double-point needles to get the specified gauge of 18 stitches to 2″, or 9 stitches per inch. I plan to follow the instructions for the larger size, which has a foot circumference of 8 1/2″  (21.5 cm) to fit my largish feet.

 

The first few rounds are tricky, but the knitting gets easier as more stitches are formed on each needle and the size of the square increases. So far, I’ve increased to 39 stitches in each of the four sections for a total of 156 stitches, which is the stopping point for the smaller size. Although this is not progressing in a recognizable sock form, the knitting is engaging and I’m enjoying the symmetry of the paired lifted increases.

I also LOVE this yarn!

Tilt-A-Whirl–Toe Shaping

The star-shaped toe in Jennifer Leigh’s Tilt-A-Whirl socks in New Directions in Sock Knitting is unusual in that it sits on top of the foot. It’s worked by decreasing eight times in each decrease round to form eight wedges that come together in points at the top of the foot. After all the decreases are complete, just 8 stitches remain.

All that’s left is to draw the yarn through the remaining 8 stitches twice, pull tight to close the hole, and fasten off on the wrong side.

I’m anxious to knit the mate — these slipper socks may be my best friends this winter!

Tilt-A-Whirl–Foot Complete

The foot in Jennifer Leigh’s Tilt-A-Whirl socks in New Directions in Sock Knitting basically continues in the same pattern used for the Heel Turn, but the piece finally is worked in rounds after all of the leg stitches have been joined to foot stitches.

To maintain pattern continuity, one stitch continues to be increased each side of the center sole stitch and a centered double decrease is worked at the top of the instep. It’s all very clever.

The foot is worked longer than usual because the star toe sits on the top of the foot, not at the tip of the toes as is usual. In the photo at left, I’ve placed 8 markers to identify the positions of the decreases for the toe.

The end is in sight!