Beautiful Knitting

Where Mt.Mom knits, crochets, designs, and seeks Beauty as food for the soul.

Sideways Sock Variations

Posted by mtmom on March 23, 2010

This post will be devoted to discussing various ways to change/customize the Round 1 Sock Madness pattern, Simple Side to Side Socks.  I won’t write out the directions for the entire sock, just the changes I’m proposing.

(1)  Gauge:

Experiment with yarn and needles to find a stockinette fabric you like, worked flat and not in-the-round, firm enough for socks but still stretchy.  Measure and divide by # stitches and # rows to get your stitches-per-inch (stitch gauge) and rows-per-inch (row gauge).  Write this down!

(2)  Length:

Measure the entire length of your foot, back of heel to tip of toe, and subtract 4.5″ (12 cm).  Double this # and multiply that result by your stitch gauge.  For instance, a 9 1/2″ foot, minus 4 1/2″ gives 5″.  Doubled is 10″ — this is how long your cast-on row needs to be.  Multiply by 8 sts/inch gauge to get 80 stitches.  This is how many stitches you want to cast on using a provisional (i.e., temporary, removable) cast-on.  I favor crochet-chain provisional cast-ons [video tutorial link here], but you can also use Judy’s Magic Cast On [Jeny’s tutorial link here] and leave one of the 2 sets of stitches hanging on a spare circular needle cable.

(2b)  Simultaneous Faux Ribbing:  (also called “Rig and Fur”, or ridge & furrow, in gansey patterns)

Cast on another 1 1/2″ to 2″ of stitches, counting them in with the leg portion when it comes time to split.  Work these extra stitches in stockinette for the first 2 rows, then (4 rows reverse st st, 4 rows st st) repeating to the penultimate row.  Make your final row in stockinette — this will make the grafting easier.  Your total row count will need to be a multiple of 8, minus 1 — that last “row” will be filled in by the line of grafting.  Alternatively, you can group rows in 3’s or 5’s.  This change avoids the necessity of picking up stitches for the cuff and then binding them off.

(3)  Overall width:

Measure around the circumference of the ball of your foot, the wide part before the toes begin.  Multiply by your row-gauge to get total # of rows around.  Work the solid rectangle for the first half of these rows, and the 2 half-rectangles for the second half.  This is the simplest tube shape.

(4a)  Width variations for adding instep/arch room:

Several people have been working on this.  We all agree it will involve using short-rows to add length just around the middle of the instep portion.  The questions have centered around how many rows to add and how long to make them.  I’ll discuss our findings, both successful and failed experiments, at the end (see * ).

(4b)  Width variations for legs wider than feet:

Plan 1:  In the half-rectangle that will go around the leg, add short rows along the top, away from the heel.  Here is one suggested arrangement.  (Since I don’t know which half you’ve chosen to be the leg, I can’t say “knit” (RS) or “purl” (WS); I’ll just say “work”.)  After working a few rows, work down 3.5″ from the top, wrap&turn, slip first stitch, work back up to the top.  Work 2 rows even, picking up wrap as you pass it.   Work 3″ down — 4 stitches fewer than last time — wrap&turn, slip 1, work back up to the top.  Work 2 rows even.  Work another set of short rows extending 2.5″ down from top, and another set extending 2″ down.  You need to finish these rows *before* you get to the center line of the back, then repeat the short rows in the reverse order on the second half of the back.  This last will add a total of 1 1/3″ (3.4 cm) to your finished circumference.  If you want less, skip the last/inmost set; if you want more, work the short rows closer together to fit the first half of them in before you reach center back.

Plan 2:  Work the leg half-rectangle straight, but for more rows than on the foot half.  Your heel hole will not be symmetrical, so work a round toe/heel instead of a wedge toe/heel — i.e. work decreases evenly spaced at 6 points around the heel instead of only at the sides.  Decrease until 6 stitches remain, break yarn, run it through the live stitches and pull it tight.

(4c)  Width variations for narrower ankles:

Plan 1:  Work short rows at the heel end of the leg half-rectangle, allowing room for the heel without the extra fabric higher up.  Aim for the heel-ends of both half-rectangles to have the same # of rows, but have fewer rows at the cuff end.  Pick up enough stitches to match your stitch gauge:  8 stitches for each inch of edge, for example.

(5)  Last minute fixes, for after you’ve grafted the tube shut and try it on for the first time:

If you can’t get it on over your heel, undo the graft and work a few more rows on the half-rectangles — no amount of last-minute fiddling will change the size of the openings!

If you can get it on, but it’s snug at the ankle and your heel seems to stick out quite a bit through the gap, add a few plain rounds after picking up your heel stitches and before beginning the heel-decreases.  [Thanks to AdinaL  for this idea!]

Work the heel first, then try it on again before working the toe.

If the foot-tube doesn’t reach to the tip of your shortest toe, even when mildly stretched, pick up your stitches and work a few plain rounds before beginning your toe decreases.

(6)  Bind-off:  Try Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off  for the top of your cuff.  [knitty tutorial link here]


*Short row instep experiments:  (I’ll credit the failures if the knitters involved ask me too; otherwise they’ll remain anonymous.)  Note that none of these have progressed to the point of grafting shut, so we don’t know how they’ll *actually* fit.

A successful-so-far attempt (Lilymarlene):

Cast on 80 with prov cast on. Work one (RS) row knit.
On the 2nd (WS) row purl to 3 st beyond centre st (ie p43) turn
Next row, Slip 1, knit 5 turn
Next row, slip one purl 8, turn.
Continue in this way adding 3 more stitches to the short row section until you have about an inch of knitting at the deepest point. (For my tension this was 24st ) Continue as for the main pattern until you reach 4 inches measured along an edge. Then reverse the triangle. Then do the split etc.

So far this is looking good, you get a nice neat little triangle of gusset which allows a total of 2 inches of ease, but can be adjusted to suit the foot being knit for.

A not-so-successful attempt:

Cast on 80 (although for my foot that would be more so I can have a longer foot)
Row 1, Knit 80 turn
Row 2, Slip first stitch P 79 turn
Row 3, Slip first stitch, Knit 59, turn
Row 4, Sl 1, P 39, turn
Row 5 Sl 1, K 19 turn, then work back up to the full amount of stitches.

Carry on in SS til the edge of the knitting measures almost 4 inches (less two rows) and then repeat the short row sequence.

Another not-so-successful attempt — a cautionary tale:

I added too many short rows and did the turns way too close together. First short row row was 30 sts long, centered over where the foot/ankle split would be (cast on 80, knit 60, turn, p 30, turn). Each subsequent turn was done 3 stitches inside the previous one and I kept doing short rows until there were less than 3 sts between the turns.  Got a mountain growing over the top of my foot.

A less-extreme, good-so-far attempt:

Stockinette 6 rows.  K to center + 8 stitches and turn; slip 1, k15, turn, finish row.  Stockinette 6 rows.  K to center + 16 sts, turn, slip 1, k 31, turn, finish row.  Stockinette to 12 rows from end of instep rectangle.  Repeat the short rows in reverse order.  This adds 8 rows, about 2/3 inch.


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