Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sock Party Homework

I mentioned earlier that I have some homework for Knitters' Day Out 2008. Anne asked me to share my homework for the "Sock Party" class. We were asked to list 2-3 sock-knitting questions or problems, and 2-3 favorite tips or techniques. Some of these were in the sock meme so if you're sensing deja vu, it's not just you. Here goes:

Sock-knitting questions or problems
1. I have not yet knit a pair of knee socks and would be interested in a reference for how to place the calf increases/decreases. Is there a tried-and-true method for determining these?

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Originally uploaded by JLW in PA

2. I’m not a big fan of pooling. Often there is nothing to be done about it … if you are committed to knitting a certain circumference and you like the fabric you’re creating at a specific gauge, handpainted yarn is either going to pool, or not. I do not like changing needle sizes to deal with this (I always select needle size in order to achieve a strong sock fabric). That being said, there are some patterns that showcase handpaints really well. I would love to hear which patterns other sock knitters go to again and again to show off handpaints to their best advantage!

Favorite sock tips or techniques
1. When executing the SSK left-leaning decrease, I:

a. Slip 1 as if to knit
b. Slip 1 as if to PURL
c. Knit 2 together through back loop as usual
This decrease creates a smoother line than the regular SSK. I first heard about this from Kelley Petkun on the Knit Picks podcast. She said she saw it on a Meg Swansen DVD.
Cat Bordhi has a new YouTube video called “Slim and Trim SSKs” that shows another way to do this. It’s considerably more complicated, but the video is interesting and entertaining!

2. The sock pattern that started my sock knitting addiction is YarnSmith’s “Classic Crew Socks,” available from Earth Guild in Asheville, NC, or via Ravelry download. It is a formula pattern for a basic ribbed crew sock that guarantees a perfect fit for any size foot with any size yarn. I still refer new sock knitters to it, and I still use its formula to check my CO number if I am in doubt about another pattern.

3. My favorite toe-up sock toe is the whirlpool toe described in Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters, Book One. The figure-8 cast-on is simple, and the toe tip is seamless.


  1. I can't wait to hear all about KDO.

  2. I'm gonna have to try that SSK decrease you describe. And I still need to get that book!

  3. This may or may not help but, when I took the class in June with Cat, she said, if you knit through the back loop, you won't get pooling. Ktbl makes the stitch twist enough that the color doesn't have a chance to pool. Of course, that means you would have to knit the entire thing tbl and I don't know that I would like doing that.