Not Martha

ma première chaussette

my first sock - the toes

One could not go to Sock Summit and come away not having gained at least enough knowledge to start a basic sock. In this case I took Amy Singer‘s class called Knitting Without Wool where she gave us Amy’s Favorite Sock Recipe, taught us Japanese Short Rows (there at nonaKnits) and showed us a super secret stretchy bind-off that will be published in Knitty in the Autumn. (I’m, apparently, a bind-off geek and am gleeful to have learned three new stretchy bind-offs at the summit.)

my first sock - the cast on end, seamless and so so nice

So, this is a toe-up sock knit in Fixation, started with Judy’s Magic Cast On. The picture above shows the cast-on end with the ball of Fixation holding the sock open. Isn’t the cast-on breathtaking?

my first sock -

This pattern uses an ankle gusset (is that the right thing to call it?) and, at least from what I can tell so far, a fairly shallow turned heel using the aforementioned Japanese Short Rows. I have a high instep so I think this combination will work out well for me. I got to the short rows last night:

my first sock - pins lining my Japanese short rows for the heel

The technique uses placing pins at turns, and using those later to lift the bit of yarn up and over the needle. In class we talked about using coiless safety pins. You can use locking or split ring stitch markers as well but I think those are awfully big for a sock (and I don’t already own any).

detail of small button pins

I set out to find coiless pins and ended up with these Button Pins from Joanns. The only other coilless pins I could find were in the beading section and were 1 1/8th inch and seemed a bit big at that size. The button pins have a little bump in the wire but are only 3/4ths an inch and work really nicely. Here is the package:

button pins package, Dritz brand, 3/4 inch

In my research I also came across these coiless plastic safety pins that Riot of Daisies uses as stitch markers. They are 1″ long and still a bit big for socks, I think, but if you want to break free of the peach and mint green locking stitch marker monopoly these would work well. See also Colonial stitch markers (which I didn’t see in the mega-store) and 3/4 inch coiless safety pins at Angelika’s Yarn Store, as well as larger sizes.

Next I decrease the ankle gusset stitches and then it’ll just be a question knitting a tube up to to the top. I did buy four balls of Fixation just be to sure I would have enough and at this rate it looks like I’ll have a pair of knee socks before I’m done.

· comments [20] · 08-11-2009 · categories:knitting ·

20 responses so far ↓

  • 1 just barrie // Aug 11, 2009 at 10:27 am

    i’ve been knitting for 6 years and i still have never attempted a sock. sure, i have about sock patterns waiting in my ravelry queue but i don’t know what’s stopping me. the cumbersomeness of dpns? i just don’t know. but either way, i did that aqua color. those will be perfect for days just like today.

  • 2 just barrie // Aug 11, 2009 at 10:28 am

    oops, i meant to say, “i dig that agua color.”

    carry on.

  • 3 Lissa // Aug 11, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Ha! My first pair of socks was also in Fixation. In that color, too. I blew out a heel on them last year and cannot bring myself to toss them out. Love them.

    And that is my favorite cast on. It IS magic.

  • 4 carol // Aug 11, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Glad you enjoyed the sock summit and learned new to you techniques. I think this is the first time I have posted a comment; but I am a regular reader and love your site.

    Since you brought her up, I feel I have to ask: what happened to nona? She was one of my favorite reads, but just seemingly disappeared from the internet tubes, or at least from nonaknits. Any ideas?

  • 5 megan // Aug 11, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Carol – This question was actually brought up in class and the official answer is that nobody knows. I do hope she is fine.

  • 6 Kari // Aug 11, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    I just started my first pair of socks, but they’re not basic! VK’s #31 Lace Stockings are thigh high, and lace, so I’m hoping my sister’s sock experience will come in handy!

    LOVE that color, and I can’t wait to see more of them! (I’m also green with envy, I wanted to go to SS, and could not make it!)

  • 7 Alissia // Aug 11, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Isn’t it still called a “heel gusset” even though you’re doing it from the toe up? I’m not sure. I really really want to try a toe up sock, but I’m scared of short row heels and haven’t found a pattern I like yet with a flap heel.

    Oh, and beautiful socks so far. :)

  • 8 Kristin // Aug 11, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Love the color of those socks :-) I taught myself how to knit and crochet but have had a hard time starting socks. I can’t seem to get the round joined – I have no problem joining with bigger needles and thicker yarn though. You’ve inspired me to give it another go.

  • 9 The Redhead Riter // Aug 11, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    You have done a great job! All the stitches look even and that is a huge accomplishment. You seem quite organized in your knitting too. Way to go girl!

    Here’s a HIGH FIVE for you!

  • 10 Kate // Aug 12, 2009 at 3:11 am

    Pretty, I love the colour!

    I’m another who’s been knitting for years but never attempted socks. I must take the plunge soon. Is the pattern you’re using available online anywhere?

  • 11 megan // Aug 12, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Kate – I’m using Amy’s Favorite Sock Recipe which Amy Singer gave us in a class at Sock Summit. It’s not so much a pattern as a group of suggested techniques – Judy’s Magic Cast-on, gusset, Japanese short row heels and a stretchy bind off that will appear in Knitty in the Autumn. I needed to have friends who have knitted socks to help me determine how much of each section to work. Amy does point to the numbers used in the Widdershins pattern as an example to use, though the heels I’m making are different.

  • 12 nicole // Aug 12, 2009 at 9:34 am

    the socks are beautiful, yes

    but i wanted to let you know…


  • 13 megan // Aug 12, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Nicole – I’m so glad! We have to get us some limeaid soon.

  • 14 kate // Aug 12, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Thanks megan – I don’t have any sock experts nearby so probably safest if I try a readymade pattern for my first sock attempt!

  • 15 Seanna Lea // Aug 12, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    I have done a few short row heels and I never thought of using a safety pin or anything else to bring the loop over the needle again. As far as I can tell from my socks it works without it, though it certainly would be easier to not have to manipulate the wrap with the dpns.

  • 16 amyknitty // Aug 12, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Megan, your sock looks amazing! Fabulous! Wonderful! Love the Fixation in that color.

    Glad the recipe has been helpful, and that your friends were able to help you fill in the blanks!

    Mostly, I’m really glad I got to finally (!!) meet you after all these years! Next time, we’ll get to knit together and talk some, okay?


  • 17 megan // Aug 12, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Seanna Lee – The Japanese short rows don’t use wraps. Instead we mark a spot near the turn and use the pin to pull up that loop and close the gap on the next way through. It’s very tidy, and well worth learning if you do socks a lot. You can see the technique at nonaKnits, as well as a more sock specific work through over at Adorabubble Knits.

  • 18 megan // Aug 12, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Amy – Thanks you so much for a fabulous class, the techniques you’ve picked out are incredible, and somehow I went from never having thought about socks to feeling confident enough to start one in just a few hours. I do hope we get to sit and chat someday soon!

  • 19 Angela // Aug 14, 2009 at 9:17 am

    I just taught myself Judy’s Magic Cast on. It is truly a thing of beauty. Now I need to go learn the Japanese short rows if they don’t involve wraps because I so can’t do the wraps and the little holes I always end up with. They are why I decided that I quit on socks the first time. But this time will be different.

  • 20 Abbie // Aug 27, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Yay for first socks, and they look awesome!! Very impressive! I may have to get brave and try toe-up/magic cast-on/different heel.

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