My Crocheted Socks: The Toe

The previous two posts talk about my journey to making a sock that fits me well. Click below to read them, if you wish:

Crocheted Socks! The Long Journey

Crocheted Socks! Trial and Error…LOTS of Error

The latest version of my crocheted socks begins with my template. I made it from an old cardboard box I had in the house. It’s getting a little ragged these days, and I’m thinking of making my next one with a couple of placemats glued together, like GimmeYarn418’s Sock Blocker tutorial–you can find that on YouTube, and it’s called Tutorial–$5 Sock Blocker.

Sock Template 1

As you can see, there are several lines on it that I’ve made over the last couple of years. These were drawn after I repeatedly–and I do mean repeatedly–crocheted, ripped out, and crocheted again to find what is comfortable for my foot. They also tell me, for example, where to stop my toe and begin the main part of the foot if I want to use a contrasting color for my sock.

Sock WIP 1

My foot is a women’s (American) size 11, and it’s narrow. Being able to slip my sock-in-progress over this template and still have it fit my foot is something I just sort of lucked into–if your foot is taller in the instep, or shorter or wider than mine, it may not work in exactly the same way. Hopefully this will give crafters a place to start from in making their own socks.

 

I begin by chaining 10 if I’m using sock yarn or DK yarn, and 8 if I’m using worsted. I single crochet in the second chain from the hook and all the way down the row until the last stitch.

(I have seen many socks that begin with simply a magic circle. While it looks nice for many applications, I don’t like it for my foot because I don’t like that little knotted place near my toes–the yarn is kind of dense there.)

 

3 sc in last stitch20170314_181632~2

In the last stitch of the row, I place 3 single crochet. This allows my work to turn so I can go back and stitch on the bottom part of the chain. One single crochet goes in each chain until the last stitch, which gets two single crochets.

20170314_181722~2

In the first stitch of the first row are two more single crochets. At this point, I may actually change to half-double crochet or even double crochet if I’m impatient and want my socks/slippers done quickly, as I’m a product crocheter rather than a process crocheter. Whatever the stitches are, I place two of them in the first stitch in that row and one thereafter.

 

At the end of that row go two stitches. This again allows the work to naturally turn and provides some increase to accommodate my toes. From here on, one stitch goes into each stitch of my work until I get to the “short” sides, which show themselves pretty quickly, and I place two stitches here. It doesn’t have to be exact, but I basically increase twice in every round. You’ll notice that I’m working in spiral–most of my work, especially my socks, is done in spiral to avoid the messy line that chaining up creates and is virtually unnoticeable.

sock wip 4

I stop increasing when my work is about 3 1/2 inches wide–on my template, that’s also about 2 inches long, which makes for a nice-sized toe if I want a contrasting color there. If I want to change color, I will do it on one of the ‘short’ sides where it won’t be noticed as much. Regardless of whether I change color, I have to decide here whether I want to stay with the same stitch or use another.

In the next post, I’ll share my experiences with the main part of the foot and the increase for the instep.

Keep crafting, Dear Reader!

 

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Crocheted Socks! Trial and Error…LOTS of Error

In my last post I talked about my road to making a crocheted sock to fit me–it’s a long and winding one, for sure. Click here to go to that one if you need to catch up:

Crocheted Socks! The Long Journey

My road ends with the cardboard template I wrote about in that entry, but this post hearkens back to the beginning of my sock-making journey.

worsted tube sock

Tube sock in Hobby Lobby Overdyed, Hope’s Roses

So at first I tried making a tube sock, like the one above. It’s quick and easy, but if you’ve tried on a crocheted sock before, you’ll know that stretched crochet stitches really kinda hurt when you walk on them for an extended period of time. This particular pattern kind of ballooned out in the middle through the instep and heel, which provided some relief, but really didn’t work well for me, even if they were basically house shoes. This was also the first time I noticed that the cuff didn’t stretch nearly enough to go over my heel comfortably while not slipping down to my ankle.

It was around this time that I found a link to a vintage slipper pattern and made it for myself and several other members of my family.  The photo is below.

slippersock 3

Slipper pattern from LA Crochet Basics, 1976

This worked very well as a slipper, and accommodated my longer feet with the addition of just a few extra rows directly behind the toe increases. As a sock it was not feasible, because it uses two strands of worsted weight (no. 4) yarn, so I moved on.

slippers

One large concern of mine when I first began making socks was the heel. I had seen many podcasts where different heels were invented and debated over–and that was for knitted socks! My first ever crocheted pair, below, had a heel that involved a series of decreases followed by a series of increases and was very confusing. Additionally, the fit was strange–it was tight between my heel and my instep. Looking back, I wonder if my high arches played a part in the tight fit.

Screenshot_20190103-182648_Instagram.jpg

I’d also tried an “afterthought” heel of sorts, which involved skipping stitches where I believed the heel should be and instead chaining to the other side of the sock. After I was done with the cuff I would attempt to “fill in the hole” with a contrasting heel. No picture of that is available, as I ran out of curse words and eventually frogged it.

That’s when I started thinking about the slipper again. If the slipper fit comfortably, could I adapt that to a sock?

 

While it certainly accommodated my longer foot and provided some negative ease for my heel and instep, the stitch was uncomfortable under my heel. They too worked well as house socks but not good for everyday work wear inside shoes.

Through all this I did find out which stitches worked for the toe and the foot themselves, but I still struggled with the cuff. The fit was fine from the toe to instep, but I couldn’t find a cuff which provided negative ease and still slipped over my heel comfortably.

It was a while before I discovered front- and back-post double crochet, and it changed everything.

In my final entry I’ll talk about how I put all this together: the yarn, the template, and all the little techniques I learned from every pair along the way.

Have you had a similar journey when crocheting your socks? Let us know in the comments!

Keep crafting, Dear Reader.

mags

 

Crocheted Socks! The Long Journey

Dear Reader,

Welcome once again to my disjointed ramblings! This is not an instructional post exactly; I am only posting my process through more than a year and a half of trying different techniques to find the right design for me. This is for those who are thinking of crocheting their first socks or those struggling to find their fit. Crocheting a pair of socks is a very highly individualized endeavor, and this is merely to encourage you to persevere and know you’re not alone. Keep creating! The sense of accomplishment and warm feet will be worth it in the end. Thanks for joining me.

Maria

I have been crocheting socks for myself for about two years now. Scratch that–I have been crocheting socks for myself that fit me for about two years now. That distinction is important.

grey-marl

Patons Kroy Sock in Red and Grey Marl

I use my own pattern because I have long, narrow feet and high arches. It’s a combination that doesn’t work well with standard patterns–women’s patterns are generally not long enough, and men’s patterns are typically too wide.

I also hate following a pattern. I attribute part of it to simply not understanding the writing of other people’s patterns. The other part, I believe, is my own impatience; I am a product crafter, and waaaay more interested in the product than the process. I’m always afraid when I follow a pattern that I will get to the end and it won’t be right or what I had anticipated it would turn out like and all that work would have been wasted. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way.)

Fingering Weight Socks 1

The road to finding this pattern is filled with odd stitches, cuffs that won’t stretch over my heel, and dozens of those colorful 4-letter words we try to convince our children to not say. I slipped half-made socks over my feet countless times, adjusting, readjusting, stitching, ripping out, and generally trying to think of more colorful language to fully convey what I was feeling about the whole experience.

Light Fingering Weight 1

The light bulb moment came when I saw a review of the Sock Ruler on a knitting podcast. I began to think that I really needed something like that to help me with my sock-making journey until I realized I could just make a “ruler” with my foot. After all, I’d been using my actual foot to measure my fit–why not? As an added bonus, my feet would be warmer during “construction” because sitting around all evening with a sock on only one foot while I figure out the right stitch count and measurements is cold (not to mention downright silly).

I traced my foot out on a piece of cardboard I cut from the lid of a box. I made sure I was only wearing a thin trouser sock–anything thicker and I would likely make the sock too big for myself. Additionally, due to the way the stitches are made in crochet, my sensitive feet need a layer underneath.

Sock Template 1

Cardboard box flap, Amazon (just keepin’ with the theme here, y’all)

I’m not sure if you can see it here, but there is a series of lines all down the cutout which indicate the toe increases, the instep increases, and the heel measurement. This was also achieved by trying on the sock as I go, finding what fit my foot, and marking it on the cutout.

I will continue with my sock design process in later entries. Different patterns each had their good and bad points, and I was able to glean a lot of information from there and combined several techniques and concepts to make my own sock. Next I will highlight a few of them.

Keep crafting, Dear Readers.

 

Mitts in Minutes

I work in an office. It’s a tiny office, but that’s fine with me. I don’t think I could stand a large, sprawling space in which I could potentially have several seating areas and room for meetings–the introvert in me would probably self-destruct inside a week.

office

Complete with Hogwarts House Unity afghan…I’m such a Hufflepuff.

Anyway, one of the issues I consistently encounter, regardless of the season, is being cold in my office. I have a mild form of Reynaud’s Syndrome, and my hands and feet are always cold. Always. It’s why I began crocheting my own socks–more on that in future posts–and it’s why I recently took my H hook and began stitching something that would simply cover my hands, leaving my fingers free to type.

mitts

My Mitts in Minutes pattern was born during a summer that lingered far into October, keeping the air conditioning in my little office at it’s very best refrigerated-side-of-beef levels.

It uses small amounts of worsted weight (4) yarn, which gives me something to use my scraps for besides granny squares and magic knot balls. Additionally, it really does come together in minutes; after I finished the mitts, I made several more pairs for friends and coworkers (I’m not the only one there who’s freezing), and it took 40-45 minutes to complete a pair.

Click below for a the pdf.

MittsInMinutes

No pdf reader on your machine? See the pattern below:

Mitts in Minutes

Difficulty Level: Beginner, Easy

Abbreviations (all in US terms): Ch: chain; Dc: Double Crochet (all worked in the back loop for this pattern); Hdc: Half-Double Crochet; Sc: Single Crochet; Sl st: Slip Stitch.

Materials: Size H (5.0) crochet hook; worsted weight yarn; tapestry needle for sewing in ends; scissors.

Stitch Guide:

  • Crocheters should know Single, Half-Double, and Double Crochet stitches as well as how to Chain and Slip Stitch. If you are unsure whether you know these stitches and techniques, there are many wonderful crafters on YouTube who offer tutorials. Simply search for “how to double crochet” or “half-double crochet tutorial” for examples.
  • When beginning the next row of Double Crochet, ch 2 and turn, and dc in the first st and all stitches across to keep the stitch count at 20.

Important Note: This pattern is written in US terminology.

Instructions:

  1. Ch 21.
  2. Hdc in second ch from hook and every ch in row. (20 sts)
  3. Ch 2 and turn.
  4. *Dc in the back loop of the first st and every st in row. Ch 2 and turn. **
  5. Repeat from * to ** for 9 more rows, for a total of 10 rows Dc and 1 row Hdc. For larger hands, add rows as needed.

Note: All rows of Dc in this pattern are worked in the back loop.

Making the mitt, with thumbhole:

  1. At the end of the 10th row of Dc, ch 1 and turn.
  2. Fold work in half and slip stitch both ends together in a tube. Make sure hook passes through both sides of work. Sl st work closed for first five stitches, then sc in back half of work (the side furthest away from you) for next 6 stitches. This produces the thumbhole.
  3. On half closest to you, skip those six stitches and resume stitching two halves together for remaining 9 stitches.
  4. Cut and tie off yarn. Sew in both ends.

cropped-img_20150724_1903473.jpg

 

 

Starting Fresh

Hello, Crafter! It’s nice to meet you. Grab your cuppa and your current project and stay a while.

Photo by Ulrike Hu00e4u00dfler on Pexels.com

My name is Maria and I am a Yarnaholic. (Hello, Maria!) –I heard that!

My crafts include crochet, crank knitting, and a smattering of loom knitting. I’m currently working on learning to knit in my spare time (I can’t say those two words with a straight face anymore), but progress is clunky and slow.

I live with my husband, Bald Man, and my son, Mr. Redbeard, in the Midwestern United States. I work at a local university with first-year students, helping them become acclimated to college life.

Photo by Javon Swaby on Pexels.com

It’s unfortunate, really, that my first post here will be about my new fiber goals and likely published around the first of the year. It feels so contrived. I often wonder aloud why people choose the New Year to make changes in their lives (or, like myself, say I’m going to make a change to my life in some area and quickly fall fabulously flat). It’s not as if we can’t make a new start on any of the other 364 days of the year. Hmm.

Regardless, it’s a time of fresh starts here at our house, as we have finally (cross your fingers!) hopefully sold our old home, the Bald Man can begin work in his new shop, and we can both devote our time to something besides building relationships with clerks and cashiers at the local home improvement store.

Frankly, the only thing we’re interested in building at this point is our savings account, which bled profusely during the aforementioned relationships we fostered at the home improvement store.

This blog will be about generally living just a little bit more mindfully. It’s well known that sustainable changes to our lives are achieved in baby steps, and that’s the way I’d like to take things for a while. I will strive to make changes not only in the crafting part of my life, but also in the areas of gardening, living a bit more frugally, and generally moving toward a simplification of our lives. I like the idea of getting as much out of our new home as possible, as well as becoming healthier overall.

With that in mind, here are some of the goals I plan to work toward off the top of my head:

  1. Be more mindful about the yarn I bring into the house. In the past, yarn would jump off the shelves and into my cart without a second thought. I have been a little better about it in 2018, but in 2019, I want to strive toward only buying that which I need for specific projects.
  2. Use the yarn I have. Yarn is much easier to store in the form of afghans, sweaters, socks, etc. Also, I get more use out of it that way. (I also trip over it less, and the Bald Man makes fewer comments on how the yarn will take over the house like some clumsy 1950s movie monster).
  3. Cook from scratch more. I am allergic or sensitive to several different foods, and in the last 20 years have had to radically change the way I eat, shop, and cook. Some of these recipes will be posted here.
  4. Use the property we have to garden. We have a large yard now, and we really need to get more from it than we have in the past. Bald Man now has a shop at home rather than a job that takes him away from home 70+ hours per week, so that will help considerably.
  5. Minimize the clutter in our house. This includes, well…everything. Clothes, tools, crafts (gasp!), kitchen odds and ends, everything. Really looking at what’s in our home and whether we will use it will hopefully end in many trips to the local Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity Restore.

Frankly, I believe that’s enough to be getting on with for a year. Remember, baby steps!