Kniftybits's Blog

All knitting, all the time.

Heel Turn on a Toe Up Sock January 30, 2011

I was blazing away on my toe-up sock and then it struck me, when am I supposed to turn the heel?  I am so accustomed to knitting top down socks that I would know how many inches of leg needed before the heel turn blindfolded. And if I was a little off, as long as it wasn’t the second sock, no biggie, I would just have a shorter sock. And even if this error was on the second sock I may just call it a new fashion. (Have I mentioned how much I hate frogging?)

But, if my measurements are off for the heel turn on the toe up, I’ll end up with my toes curled under like the lotus foot of Chinese women of old.  Or worse, having to gift my fabulous socks, knit in my salivated-over-torturously-balled sock yarn and I just can’t (read – won’t) part with it. Or worse still, and highly improbably given my temperment, having to frog the heel.

So, I pulled out my handy dandy sock knitting book for guidance…

And what do you know, it says nothing on the topic. Harumph.

Fortunately there is always the internet. Source one says to knit to two inches from the desired length and then turn the heel.  Source two says to knit until the sock touches the base of your leg.  I figure that they’re are probably about the same, so since I’d rather go off fit than measurements, I will aim for the base of the leg. As a side note, what did we do before the internet?!?!?!

Wish me luck.  I will let you know how it turns out.

What is your experience with toe up socks? How do you know when to turn the heel?

*UPDATE: The foot is just the right length. Thank you fellow bloggers!*


Negative Ease Nuisance January 28, 2011

Today I bit the bullet (a colloquialism originating from military doctors giving soldiers a bullet to bite during surgery (fun!), see you just learned something new) and frogged my toe up sock to the round before the last set of increases.

As you may recall, I feared it was too large, so I trusted my unreliable gut and frogged.

I picked up the right strand of each stitch on the target round before letting her rip. If you don’t know this trick, check out the video titled “How to re-insert your needle” on the indispensable site (that may be two new things you learned).  All in all it went well, only a few twisted stitches (coincidentally, an awesome name for a knitting rock band) and I didn’t have any suicidal stitches make a jump for it.

I knit on with my five fewer stitches and am about half way through the foot now.  I am pleased to report that my faulty gut instincts were right on this issue and the sock is the right size, which makes we wonder about the general wisdom of the 10-15% negative ease guideline for knitting socks.

I am not sure what it is, but my last socks were also knit with 15% negative ease and frankly I have baggy old woman ankle going on. I am not pleased.

And this toe up sock was calculated with 15% negative ease, with a couple extra stitches deducted for good measure, and it was still too big.

At this point I think I need to increase to 20% negative ease as my standard, but I’m not sure why. Could it be that my gauge swatches, which I lazily knit flat for these circular projects, differs greatly from my in-the-round project gauge?  Could it be that I am a loose knitter and thus need more negative ease?  Could it be that I just am accustomed to a tighter sock?  Could it be something else entirely?

What do you think?  What is the culprit?  And have you ever had the same problem with negative ease?



Toe Up Sock Territory January 23, 2011

Filed under: Techniques — kniftybits @ 17:19
Tags: , ,

Today I attempted my first toe up sock.

And it was without aid of internet videos! This is a noteworthy feat for me. Written instruction and diagrams are akin to trying to decipher binary code without a computer – some are capable of it, but I am not one of those people.

Regardless, I pulled out my favorite sock knitting book and cracked open the section on toe up socks for the first time ever. I had a vague recollection of a video I watched years ago, before I ever knit my first sock, involving short rows. Neither of the options presented in my book involved short rows.

One cast on was called “The Figure Eight” and the next was “Casting on with a loop” it involved loops (a given with that name), knit a stitch, then yarn over, or something of the like. Figure Eight seemed more straightforward.

My first attempt failed miserably. But, on the second try, success!

After those tension filled first eight stitches I started increasing. I was a few increase rounds along before I realized that I was supposed to be increasing the number of rounds between increase rounds just as I increased the number of stitches between increases. Whoops. Oh well, I just made a note of it and will make the same “mistake” on its mate.

However, now I think I’ve increased too much and the sock looks like it will be too loose. This is a dilemma I endure every time I knit something, especially socks. I diligently knit a test swatch. I meticulously count the stitches and figure my gauge. I then measure my foot width (something I do with each sock knitting endeavor, as if the size might change dramatically from one sock project to the next….it could also be that I have a poor memory.)  I calculate my number of stitches, reduce by 15% for negative ease and still as I knit along I feel like I have too many stitches.

So, should I trust my math and knit forth or should I trust my admittedly faulty gut and frog to before the last increase round and reknit with fewer stitches?

What to do? What to do?