FO: Meadow Multi Socks

Toe-up socks with afterthought cuffs make perfect travel knitting. | withwool.com

It’s March and it feels a little strange to be thinking about holiday parties right now, but that’s when I cast on for these socks. I needed something to keep my hands busy at a potluck last December and a pair of toe-up socks were just the thing. Then the pair was my constant companion, even if I didn’t always take them out of my purse. They flew cross-country and back, went to movies, binge watched tv, and went skiing with me too. I’ve got a lot of memories knit into these socks even if they are just a simple 2x2 rib.    

Toe-up socks with afterthought cuffs make perfect travel knitting. | withwool.com

The pattern is my own default toe-up vanilla sock with an afterthought leg. Ever since trying Cat Bordhi’s Houdini Socks pattern, I really prefer it over working an afterthought heel. When you bind off the cuff, you’ve got a finished sock - aside from weaving in ends - that’s ready to wear. That beats having to come back and add a heel any day of the week. 

Toe-up socks with afterthought cuffs make perfect travel knitting. | withwool.com

The weather’s been on the weird side for the past few weeks. It snowed for a couple of days, and by the end of the week temps were in the 70’s. I didn’t need a jacket, let alone a pair of wool socks. And now it’s chilly again. Weird. At least the socks are ready to warm my toes when it does get cold. 

Toe-up socks with afterthought cuffs make perfect travel knitting. | withwool.com

The Specs

Pattern: My Default Toe-Up Sock with an Afterthought Cuff

Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Multi - Meadow Multi

Needles: 2.25 mm circulars

Dates: December 13, 2016 - February 18, 2017 

@Ravelry

Self-Striping Travel Goodness

Simple, self-striping socks are a perfect travel project, especially with afterthought heels or legs. Self-Striping Travel Goodness | withwool.com

It’s almost surprising how much knitting I get done when I actually work on a project. I’m traveling this week and somehow convinced myself to only pack one project, a pair of toe-up socks. Unlike my last sock project which lingered for months, this pair is going pretty fast since I'm not just carrying them around in my purse.  Some credit for my voracious knitting goes to the the self-striping yarn by TurtlePurl Yarns. I keep thinking that I’ll finish just this stripe. Then that I might as well start the next one. And repeat. Add in bits of down time and a simple 2x1 rib - my favorite for self-striping yarn - and I've got most of a sock. Or parts of two. I’ve been jumping back and forth between the two and working on whichever was shorter. It’s how I combat second sock syndrome which seems to work most of the time. 

Simple, self-striping socks are a perfect travel project, especially with afterthought heels or legs. Self-Striping Travel Goodness | withwool.com

Since this is self-striping yarn, I don't want skew the color repeats with a gusset and heel flap. The plan when I cast on was to knit a toe-up tube and drop in an afterthought heel. For whatever reason, matching the stripe pattern and coming back to knit the heel seemed like a lot of work. So, I’m doing an afterthought leg instead a la Cat Bordhi’s Houdini Socks. An afterthought leg and an afterthought heel are the same amount of stitches and the same steps, but a different order. What seemed like work was continually checking if I had enough yarn to knit the heel starting with the right color.

Simple, self-striping socks are a perfect travel project, especially with afterthought heels or legs. Self-Striping Travel Goodness | withwool.com

The first foot is almost finished and the only thing left to do is close up the heel with kitchener stitch. It’s a happy coincidence that the heel used most of a stripe repeat and I’m almost back to the the green I need to start the leg. This afterthought leg thing just keeps getting better. 

Afterthought Heels the Cat Bordhi Way

After making several pairs of socks with afterthought heels, Cat Bordhi’s method is my absolute favorite for adding afterthought heels. Works really well for afterthought Cuffs too. Afterthought Heels The Cat Bordhi Way | withwool.com

It’s only been a month and a half since I cast on for these socks in Atlanta and the pair is almost finished. The first sock, in all its toe-up, self-striping, 3x1 rib glory, is bound off. The second sock is not. The first sock has a heel. The second sock does not but soon will thanks to an awesome technique called the Afterthought Heel.

When it comes to socks, I’m usually a big fan of the gusset and heel flap since the combo fits my feet really well; however, the socks I’ve made from Cat Bordhi’s Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters have shown me that I don’t need a gusset to have a well fitting sock. So, when I started the socks and wanted even stripes all the way up, I decided to try an afterthought heel with 3x1 ribbing on the instep to help the fit. The rows would stay the same width, and I wouldn’t have to worry about where to start the gusset increases or measure the sock every 5 minutes while stuck in Atlanta traffic. I could just knit and put my mind on other things. 

Most afterthought heels call for knitting in a half row of waste yarn where the heel should go which leaves a gap in each of the corners. In Personal Footprints, Bordhi has a great alternative that prevent gaps and is very easy to knit from. You just can’t be afraid to cut your knitting. Honestly, it’s not as scary as it sounds.

After making several pairs of socks with afterthought heels, Cat Bordhi’s method is my absolute favorite for adding afterthought heels. Works really well for afterthought Cuffs too. Afterthought Heels The Cat Bordhi Way | withwool.com

When you reach the spot for the heel (Most patterns mark this as 2” or 2.5” less than the total length but I only needed an 1.5”. My sock came out .5” short but still fits well so the measurements are forgiving.) or come back to it after a few more inches of knitting, thread a lifeline through through the sole stitches on one row of the sock and the sole stitches two rows up.

After making several pairs of socks with afterthought heels, Cat Bordhi’s method is my absolute favorite for adding afterthought heels. Works really well for afterthought Cuffs too. Afterthought Heels The Cat Bordhi Way | withwool.com

Come back and slip your needles back into stitches on the lifeline. Pull out the lifeline.

After making several pairs of socks with afterthought heels, Cat Bordhi’s method is my absolute favorite for adding afterthought heels. Works really well for afterthought Cuffs too. Afterthought Heels The Cat Bordhi Way | withwool.com

Pick a stitch in the middle of the middle row and snip.

After making several pairs of socks with afterthought heels, Cat Bordhi’s method is my absolute favorite for adding afterthought heels. Works really well for afterthought Cuffs too. Afterthought Heels The Cat Bordhi Way | withwool.com

Unravel the remaining middle stitches but leave the last 2 at each corner. They prevent those annoying gaps. You’ll knit the corner stitches just like normal stitches.

After making several pairs of socks with afterthought heels, Cat Bordhi’s method is my absolute favorite for adding afterthought heels. Works really well for afterthought Cuffs too. Afterthought Heels The Cat Bordhi Way | withwool.com

With new yarn, start knitting a toe. I went for a standard wedge toe and to help the “toe” fit better I decreased on the last 2 rows to round out the shape. Then, I grafted the remaining stitches. Feel free to drop in any toe you like. 

Cat Bordhi has a great video demonstrating this technique on a pair of Houdini Socks (Afterthought Legs!) that I highly recommend.

After making several pairs of socks with afterthought heels, Cat Bordhi’s method is my absolute favorite for adding afterthought heels. Works really well for afterthought Cuffs too. Afterthought Heels The Cat Bordhi Way | withwool.com

Sock one is all finished and I am in love. The stripes are even, the heel looks great, and the fit is wonderful. Now I just need to finish up sock number two before the weather turns much colder.

The Sweet Tomato Heel

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I could wax poetic about how I started these socks last December when it was cold and when I needed purse knitting. I could write about how much I wanted to knit this pattern and have a new pair of socks. I could write about how fun it was to knit them despite having to slog through the cuffs. I could write all of those things but the main reason I knit these socks was to knit another set of Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Heels.

Pattern: modified Willamette Socks by Sara Morris

Yarn: Cascade Heritage Paints - 9872

Needle: US 2.25 mm

December 14, 2011 - May 16, 2012

@Ravelry

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Cat Bordhi, I like the way you think. 

The process for knitting this short row heel isn’t hidden away in a pattern and you don’t have to be able to divine the mysteries of the universe to figure it out. The Quick Start Guide at the beginning of the book gives you everything needed to knit a a pair of socks this way and even a bit of troubleshooting help before diving into the patterns. Later in the ebook, she works out how to knit a padded, reinforced heel using this method. There are numerous diagrams, clear step-by-step instructions, and lots of helpful tips.  For example, instead of wrapping and turning when working the short rows, she uses a lifted increase to close the gap between stitches. Two versions of short row heels that can be knit from the cuff or the toe and numerous patterns aside, just that epiphany was worth the cost of this ebook to me. This video shows the technique off nicely. 

Reinforced heel flaps with a short row turn are still my favorite heel, but the Sweet Tomato is such a close second. It’s relatively easy to knit, uses less yarn, and - best of all - fits so well. The question of fit was the main reason I stayed away from short row heels to begin with but the tomato is so easy to modify on a foot by foot basis.

Williamette3.jpg

The first few pairs of Sweet Tomatoes that I knit taught me a few things. The first pair I made for myself and got the method in my brain. The second pair I knit for the Bearded One’s giant feet and they fit him just as well. The third pair - this pair - I knit in a fingering weight and decided to add a mini gusset to get a little more room in the gusset. The gusset made the fit all the better and saved the instep pattern from disruption since the heel is knit over more than 50% of the stitches. I also needed a fourth wedge instead of the three I needed in worsted weight socks. Such an easy change to make. 

I think I’ll be using this heel for a long time and for many, many pairs of socks. 

Discovered Socks

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Pattern: Discovery Socks by Cat Bordhi

Yarn: Plymouth Happy Feet - Ciderhouse (17)

Needles: US 1.5 (2.5mm)

Dates: Oct 2-25, 2009

@rav

When it comes to knitting (and a few other things) I like to play, to experiment. Whether it's a new technique or a new construction, I get excited and try to poke around at the underlying "rules" that make something work. So when I find something that is a bit different in knitting that also explains the how and why of its difference, my interest spikes. The latest method for sock knitting as put forth by Cat Bordhi in Personal Footprints for Insouciant Knitters is different. It's not different for novelty but for a definite reason - well fitting socks that are easy to reproduce. After knitting through this first pair, I find that the entire process from first tracing my foot to casting off the cuff is an exercise in playfulness. So, not only did I get a cool pair of socks, I got to play and, in doing so, I discovered a few things.

1. I know a lot more about the shape of my feet which'll make sock knitting a bit easier.

2. Magic loop and socks isn't a horrible combination but DPN's still have my heart.

3. I can now make myself nice, tall socks with less yarn and finish them in a month. ROCKETBALLS!

4. The star toe is not my friend.

5. I think I've figured out how to change the footprint and still follow its rules. That's probably the best discovery of all.

P.S. My latest recommendation for horror fare is also a bit different but it's a vampire movie definitely worth checking out: 

Let The Right One In

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Review: Discovery Socks for Insouciant Sock Knitters

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I've been making good progress on the scarf but it's definitely too big to bring with me about town. Socks, however, are wonderfully portable and I've always got one (or two) with me. Currently on the needles are The Discovery Socks from Cat Bordhi's latest book Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters.

When I first heard about this book, I was thrilled since Bordhi's first book in this series, New Pathways for Sock Knitters, revolutionized how I thought about and knit socks. Once I heard more about the book though, my excitement started to wane. Usually, I knit the toe, figure out gauge, and make the rest of the pattern fit.  This new method would add in a few more rules. Also, in regards to sock knitting, DPN's are my one true love and I wasn't pleased about having to switch to circular needles even temporarily. These annoyances aside, I decided to buy the book and try it out anyway because I don't want to be so stubborn that I keep myself from learning anything new.

Now that I'm on the cuffs of both socks, I can give a better review of the book. The first part of the book is full of clear, detailed instructions and illustrations for all of steps neccessary to make a pair of socks with this method. The second part is a collection of different patterns, of which the first  socks you knit form the base, that range from basic ribbing to complicated lace. There's even a question and answer section at the back of the book which details how make a few modifications for a better fit. Even better is that the process is pretty fun and that includes snipping a stitch to open the leg. 

While fun,Personal Footprints does have a few downsides. One, it's almost impossible to make socks for other people using this method if you don't get a trace of their foot first and then have them try on the sock-in-progress to make all the measurements. Second, if you don't get the same gauge on every pair of socks you knit, you're going to have to make more footprints. I miss the freedom of finding out my gauge and going from there without trying to match it to a preexisting pattern. Third, the star toe is the only toe used in this book because it echoes the heel and determines when the heel starts. This takes a bit of the guess work out of knitting a sock but what if the star toe doesn't fit your foot well? The standard toe fits me much better and I think I've figured out how to substitute it for the star toe without mucking up the rest of the pattern. More on that later.

Despite the downsides, I'm happy I bought this book and tried out something new. At this point, I'm well into the cuff on both socks and they fit wonderfully, aside from that toe. I doubt that this will ever become my default way of knitting socks but I will definitely use this method again.

P.S. The sushi stitch markers are part of a set from The Opalescence. She also blogs as The Akamai Knitter.

P.S.S. I recently won the Snow Cat Hat pattern from Cozy. I can't wait to cast on. Thanks Cozy!