Saturday, November 22, 2008

The First Time

I have accomplished it! I have knit my first pair of toe-up socks! I don't know why I was so wary about accomplishing this milestone in knitting. It was pretty straightforward. I knit a simple 2x2 ribbing so that I could concentrate on the construction of the sock itself.

The toe was remarkably simple. I'm not sure what cast-on method I used, but I learned it at the LYS. Basically you hold both needles (I knit my socks via ML method) as you would for a long tail cast-on. I place my needles beside each other, and made one of them a little higher in height. I think I wound around my bottom needle first (or you could use a slip knot), and then just transferred the cast-on to the upper needle, and cast-on for the long tail method as I normally would, alternating between needles being the only difference. It was amazingly easy, and I promptly scolded myself for never trying this method before this knit.

The foot of the sock seemed to breeze by, and before I knew it, I was at the heel. As usual, expecting the worst, my heart began to beat faster, my palms became a bit sweaty, as I glanced and reread the pattern. I am a bit anal (as if you couldn't figure this out by reading the blog) about making mistakes. So before knitting the heel, I wrote the pattern out long-hand, just to make the knitting easier. It was very straightforward, and once I wrapped my head around the P3 tog TBL, I was soaring along! My pattern for short row heels doesn't require any wrapping and twisting, which, in itself, seems confusing to me, although I may try to conquer that fear in the near future. The first heel went remarkably well, as did the second.
And I marveled at how I did not need to pick up any stitches after knitting the heel, as you would with a top-down sock.

Finally, I did a new bind-off as well. My first bind-off was too tight (can you imagine?). I quickly researched bind-off methods, and decided on Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind-off. Here's another new skill that works like a charm. It gives just enough stretch to wear the garment on the appropriate body part, without making the bind-off too loose!

So here's the final product, my first-toe up socks.
Started October 2008, Finished November 2008
US #2 ML Harmony Wood needles (40 in) from Knit Picks (a gift from Morticcia). PS - love them!
Yarn: Scarlet Fleece in the Olives and Pimento Colorway, no major pooling - YEAH!
Pattern: 2x2 rib, 56 stitches, generic toe-up pattern

I couldn't be more pleased! This yarn is not the softest I've ever knit, but the fabric that it knits into is altogether lovely. It has 20% Nylon, which I think must be important in toe-up socks. My concern with this heel construction is that it might wear poorly, not having that nice reinforced heel flap as top-down construction does. Anyone want to weigh in on this factor?
Next post, maybe I'll feature the cowls that have been piling up for Christmas giving!
PS - yesterday we got between 4-6 inches of snow, and it was lovely, even if I did have to drive in it!


Kay said...

Your socks look great.... I can't wait to see the cowls...

I hope you didn't have to drive in it today... I sat in my chair stitching and enjoyed watching the snow fall all day!

Nell said...

I love toe up socks. My feet are quite long. So I like knowing I'll never run out of yarn when I get to the toes.

Congrats on the new techniques!

IrishgirlieKnits said...

Those socks are fabulous!! Great job!! Yay for your first toe-ups!!

KnittingMoose said...

Very cute! I love how the short row heel looks. :)

peaknits said...

The socks look great - I am interested in opinions about whther to reinforce the heel as well - I have always just wondered - be sure to report on your research:) Holiday cowls - tis the season indeed!

Shannon said...

Congrats on passing that milestone by! I haven't knit toe up yet, but I am finding it harder and harder to resist.

Morticcia said...

Congrats on the toe up! The socks are lovely (I'm glad the needle cam in handy.)

I have yet to employ the short row heel on my toe ups for fear they wont wear well.

I knit a similar heels as my cuff down socks, a sl1, k1 flap that is joined to the gusset with k2togs. That's the technique I learned with my first toe up socks, the Yarnissima's Firestarter.