Mod Socks, lol

How about these "Mod" socks, eh? The colors don't show up correctly on my monitor - they should be Chocolate Brown, Peach, Avocado Green, and Pumpkin Orange. Hey! It wasn't until I typed this in that I realized that these are all foods, lol!

A while back my friend gave me a huge box of yarn that was from her Mother in Law's basement - in other words, straight out of the early 70's. Can you read the labels? Tangle Proof! Washable Colors! I didn't know that there was ever wool yarn with the Red Heart label - I thought that Red Heart was only icky acrylic stuff.
This yarn is *really* nice - it is firmly plied and a nice weight. The colors are way too cool too, lol. As you can see, the repeat in the variegation is almost exactly one round on the socks - a wonderful, stripey surprise!

I haven't knitted socks in soooooo long; it was fun to knit a pair again. First, I cast on at the toe with 8 stitches. Have you ever cast-on by wrapping the yarn around and around two needles? It’s like the figure-8 cast on, only a hundred times easier, and better, and nicer, and more wonderful, and just the best, lol. I think that there is an illustration in the Gathering of Lace book, so check it out.

I increased gradually until I had 36 stitches per sock – do you know the trick about increasing 4 stitches per increase round, except for the very last increase round? You spread these last 4 increase stitches over two or even more rounds, so that you don’t get those annoying “corners.” The corners only show when the socks are off of your feet, but it’s such an easy fix that there’s no reason not to do it this way all of the time.

OK, where was I, lol? I knit the foot-part of the sock for 6.75 inches and then I put in a waste yarn - do you know how? I knit two socks on one circ - magic loop - and this is how I put in the waste yarn. I knit across half of the first sock with the waste yarn, then turn it around and knit back with the waste yarn. Cut the waste yarn, and tie the two ends together. Then, knit across with the sock yarn. Repeat on the second sock, and now, I'm back in sock-knitting action.

As you can see, I started the ribbing way too early - chalk it up to sock knitting forgetfulness due to the fact that it's been too long since my last sock. I *should* have knitted in stockinette for about an inch, then commenced with the ribbing, but oops... I've cast on for my second pair with the green yarn, so I promise that I'll remember.

After the sock is finished, I go back and take out the waste yarn, and knit in a heel like this –

Put the stitches back onto the needles, and yes, I do both socks at the same time on my Magic Loops. Notice that at each side of the hole which results from removing the waste yarn, there is one "regular" stitch and one "sort of half way" stitch - knit these two together, putting the “regular” stitch on top. Put the socks onto your feet – possible with circs, but I don’t know how you’d do it on dpns - one side of the hole is under the arch of your foot, and the other side of the hole is at the back of your ankle - measure how much distance you have to knit in order to make it from one side of the gaping hole to the other. Find a nice, plain, even portion of the already-knitted sock, and see how many rows this works out to be. Since you are knitting from the edges of the gaping hole to the point of your heel, and then purse-stringing the final stitches together, you will need to knit only half of this many rows, get it? Now, you will have to do the math. You want to end the heel with 6 stitches, and you want the heel to have a certain shape - rounded, but rather flat at the very end.

This is how I figured it out – I want the last row to end with 6 stitches – second to last row, k2tog *every* stitch - third to last row - k2tog, *every other* stitch. I began the heel with 36 stitches, and I planned on doing a 6 point decrease, just like a hat, up until these last couple of rows.

Based on my measurements, I figured that I needed to knit 4.5 inches, which worked out to be 34 rows. Yes, I think that it works out better to take the entire measurement, and count the necessary rows for the entire measurement, then divide the number of rows by two, rather than dividing the measurement by two, and then counting the rows. Half of 34 = 17, so I wrote from 1 to 17 on a sheet of paper, and then worked backwards like this – Row 18 (yes, I added an extra row!) = 6 stitches. Row 17 = 12 stitches, which is the amount needed to k2tog, all around and end up with 6 stitches. Row 16 = 18 stitches, the number needed to k1, k2tog all around and end up with 12 stitches. Row 15 = 18 stitches, which is how many I end up with by decreasing at 6 points. Rows 14-12 = 24 stitches, Rows 11-8 = 30 stitches, and Rows 7-1 = 36 stitches.

In other words – pick up the stitches from the waste yarn, and knit plain for 7 rows. On row 8, decrease in 6 points, and knit plain for 3 more rows. On row 12, decrease at the same 6 points, and knit plain for 2 more rows. On row 15, decrease at 6 points, and knit plain for another row. On row 17, k1, k2tog all the way around. On row 18, knit 2 together all the way around. Cut the yarn, and run the tail through the last 6 stitches, and pull tightly. Work in the tail, very securely, over many stitches. Cut the yarn, but not too close – leave about an inch of a tail on the inside of the sock. When the heel felts a bit, with wearing, then you can cut the tail shorter without danger of it working its way out.

The heels came out perfect!

If I had used sock yarn, I would have had many more stitches on the needles to start with – something like 60-70 stitches - and I would have included more rounds of k2tog at the very end, and I would have included more rounds of k1, k2tog right before that, in order to produce a shape which barely reduced until the very end, where the reduction is abrupt, in order to knit a heel-shaped heel. No matter if the off-the-foot-shape is heel like or not, remember, knitting stretches and fits to the form. *smile* Anyway, if you work backwards, and concentrate your decreases near the finishing row, then you will knit a perfect peasant heel, too!

If you don’t like the shape of your finished heel, then rip it out and do it again, it goes fast. Keep notes, so that you know what works for you. When these heels wear out, you rip them out and knit a new heel. This *was* my original plan, but my LYS owner, Emily, suggests that maybe I would prefer to needle-felt a patch over the hole. What? Oh my gosh, what a wonderful idea! I’ll keep you posted on how this works. This yarn seems pretty durable, though, so it might not happen any time soon.

I've never knit or worn worsted weight socks before, and I was apprehensive, but now that they are finished, I just love them! I wanted worsted weight socks because my feet get so darned cold that for the last two years, I've gotten chilblains - what a complete and total bother! The way to prevent chilblains is to prevent your afflicted extremity from getting too cold, so - thick woolen socks! I have a nice pair of boots in which I clump around in all winter long, but I didn't have the appropriate socks until now. These socks work perfectly!

I wear them over a thin pair of cotton socks and my feet stay toasty warm, and the chilblains are kept at bay, yay! The cotton socks are an absolute necessity, otherwise it feels like I have uncooked grains of rice in my boots, lol. Yes, I tried to wear the socks inside out, and it still was quite bothersome, but with the inner socks, ahhhhhhh....... warm feet.


Janice in GA said...

Since I am older than dirt, I remember the wool Red Heart yarn back from many moons ago. Our local dime store (back when there were dime stores!) carried Red Heart yarn. Aunt Lydia's Rug Yarn (dunno if you've run into it) used to be a nice heavyweight cotton. Now it's something else not nearly so nice.

One of my first knitted sweaters was made from a variegated green yarn. That's when I learned about pooling and flashing in that kind of yarn. :) I also learned about felting when it accidentally got thrown into the washer and dryer. :(

knotingale said...

What a great explanation of your sock construction. I have some light worsted weight I'd like to knit into knee socks, and I was considering an afterthought heel.
I don't understand, though--What is it that makes the socks feel lumpy? (re: your 'grains of rice' comment) Is it the yarn weight, or the decreases?

Ellie said...

I can remember when red heart wool worsted was our yarn of choice for everything for kids-resonable and wore like iron. I am sorry it is still not around.I think you wpould be pleased with hats and mittens as well.

Rosemary said...

Knotingale, The "grains of rice" comment is because of the weight of the yarn, you know, the diameter of the yarn itself. I find that even "sock" yarn is not terribly comfortable, and I feel it under my feet, but it's not too bad if I put the knit side against the sole of my feet, instead of the purl side, as is the usual way. The worsted weight yarn makes this phenomenon even more pronounced, but the inner thin sock cures the problem.

These socks are soooo warm! They are also too thick to wear with close-fitting shoes, but my boots were purchased with room for thick socks. After all, I knitted these socks with the desire to wear then in my boots, so I'm a happy camper, and my green socks are on their way!

Yes, Janice, I certainly remember Dime Stores! I recently came across a skein of yarn which I bought at TG&Y, probably in 1972. I was still in diapers then. Yeah, right! I was out buying yarn!!!

Ellie, I have lots and lots of these 4 different colors, so yes, I think that there will be mittens and hats in the future. I'm thinking of a really large shawl out of the blue/purply yarn.

Thanks for your comments.

Sue said...

Thank you for your wonderful explanation of your heel construction--I'm the kind of girl who not only HAS to know how something is done, but also NEEDS to know why it is done that way!
(Also older than dirt - I started crocheting when I quit cigarettes in 1971. I tried knitting then too but found it too difficult - learning from my 35-cent Coats & Clark "How to Knit-Crochet-Tat-Embroider" booklet from TG&Y. Still don't tat, but picked up knitting from same booklet about 5 years ago!)

K2Karen said...

Gorgeous Mod socks! Hey--I have a tutorial on how to do those toes on my blog. Just so ya' know.

I'm really surprised at the gorgeous colors--can't wait to see the green ones.

JoAnn N. said...

Thanks, Rosemary!! I've never knit socks (still getting up the courage). When I read your heels, I thought -- too complicated, til I saw they are replaceable. I wear leg braces and my heels always end up with holes. Now I HAVE to sit down and start socks!

JoAnn N. said...

Hi Rosemary! Thanks for your comment on the blog that I forgot I had! My main blog is:
In the beginning, I wasn't sure which blog type I was going to use. I ended up going with yahoo -- for no good reason.
Anyway, thanks for your offer for help. I am going to swatch my socks today. I agree with you that once you start, it's not as hard as you (I) think. I'll let you know how I'm doing/ask for help -- may not be for a week or so till I get to the heel.
Happy knitting!