Experiment – Socks without Math?
Any time I start knitting socks, I have to do a bunch of math – even for my own foot, which is also one reason why I’ve only made socks for myself (and a pair of baby socks but those ones don’t really count). This isn’t because you HAVE to math, but because the components of a sock that I have chosen to knit so far have required it. The reason this frustrates me is because it means stopping my knitting, going to do the math, and then painstakingly counting during those portions so I don’t mess something up and end up with a sock that would only fit a fish.
There’s math to figure out the cuff size (based on yarn and gauge), there’s math to figure out the heel turn, there’s math for a gusset, etc.
I would like less math in my socks, and I know there are lots of patterns that allow you to do this, so I decided to challenge myself and figure it out. I wanted to also learn TAAT (two at a time) but you need two balls of yarn for that (or at least two ends) and my yarn is already in a ball so I decided I had enough techniques on my plate and to save TAAT for the next pair.
The first thing I had to learn was toe-up socks. Socks can be knit toe-up or cuff-down. I’ve only ever knit socks cuff-down before. I find them easier, I’ve never really been a fan of learning toe-up. In order to start a toe I had to learn a new cast-on, so I went with a figure-8 cast on, where you weave the yarn between two needles in a figure 8 pattern, then you knit across the top, and bottom, and slowly start increases. You can see my progress so far pictured above. It was actually a LOT easier than I thought, I love using DPN (double pointed needles) so I didn’t have any issues aside from the toe being a smidge more loose than I would like. That will come with practice though.
So my toe is started, it’s looking like a toe, I’m doing increases. Before I started this, I made a cardboard cut out of the bottom of my foot, and marked the ankle bone, also called the hinge. For my heel I’ll be using a technique called fish lips kiss – a ravelry pattern for $1 that claims there is zero math and you’ll get perfect sock heels every time (as long as you can learn the stitches). Once I’m done the toe, and the foot, I’ll start learning that technique and see how it goes. I’m pretty excited to be done with gussets. One of the reasons is because if you look at store bought socks almost NONE of them come with a gusset. Instead they use negative ease to make socks fit us all perfectly. Sure there’s also a bit more elasticity, but most of the magic is through negative ease.
Here’s hoping I get some beautiful ankle socks by the end of this experiment, and that I learn a few techniques to help me with future socks.