Friday, February 18, 2011

Socks Education Part 5: Finishing Off (The Toes)

We are to the toe!  Can you believe it?  It seems like just yesterday that we were turning the heel...  or was it the day before yesterday?  My, how sophiscated and experienced we are with socks now.

The Toe

Believe me, after the heel, the toe is going to be a breeze.  A walk in the park.  An ice cream sundae with a cherry on top.  It’s going to be easy.

Round 1
·        Needle #1:  k until 3 sts left, k 2 tog, k 1
·        Needle #2:  k 1, sl 1 st, k 1, psso, k until 3 sts left, k 2 tog, k 1
·        Needle # 3:  k 1, sl 1 st, k 1, psso, k to end
Round 2
K even
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until
12 sts are left
To Finish
·        Graft remaining sts (aka Kitchener sts); or
·        K 2 together for 1 round until 6 sts remain; cut thread leaving 8 inch tail, thread tail onto a yarn needle, then thread yarn through 6 sts and pull up; or
·        Bind off 12 sts and sew toe closed

Before we start, make sure your stitches are properly distributed.  You should have one-fourth of the stitches on Needle #1, one-half the stitches on Needle #2, and the final one-fourth on Needle #3.  We are going to decrease one at the end of Needle #1, one at the both the beginning and end of Needle #2, and one at the beginning of Needle #3.
Sock with stitches distributed

For Round 1:
Needle #1:  Knit until there are three stitches left on the needle, knit two    together, knit one.
Needle #2:  Knit one, slip one stitch, knit one, pass the slipped stitch over the knit stitch, knit until there are three stitches left on the needle, knit two together, knit one.
Needle #3:  Knit one stitch, slip one stitch, knit one stitch and pass slipped stitch over the knit stitch, knit to end of needle.
For Round 2:  Knit even.

Repeat these two rounds until you have 10-12 stitches left.
Ten stitches left

We have three choices for binding off: 
1)  Graft the remaining stitches. Grafting is also known as the Kitchener stitch.
2)  K two together for 1 round reducing the number of stitches to six.  Cut yarn leaving an 8 inch tail.  Using a yarn needle, thread yarn through the six remaing stitches and pull up to close toe.
3)  Bind off the 12 stitches and sew the toe closed.

There are pros and cons to each of these methods.  I graft my remaining stitches.  This looks the nicest and there is no bulk.  However, grafting is the hardest method, especially if you haven’t done it before.  I’m not going to go into an explanation of it here.  My suggestion is that if you want to give this a try, go to YouTube where there are several good videos.

Pulling up the threads is the easiest method, but it is also the least attractive.  It will give you a little point at the tip of your sock.  The sock will be perfectly comfortable and usable, but if you’re anything like me, that point will annoy you.

Binding off and then sewing the toe closed would be my second most preferred method.  It results in a little bulk in the toe, but it’s attactrive.

Once you have finished the toe, weave in the ends.  If you have change colors at any point, and have two ends right next to each other, go in opposite directions when weaving them in.  This will reduce bulk.  Also, added colors with Russian join, you don't have to weave in at all.  Just snip your yarn and get on with your life.

Second Sock

Here’s the worst thing about knitting socks.  Unless you have only one foot, you have to make a second one.  So, return to the Casting On section and do it all again. 
One finished sock.
Come back tomorrow when I will publish the final, printable version of the Basic Crew Sock Build Your Own Pattern.  If I do say so myself, this pattern is pretty nifty.  Sara loves it because she can put it in a page protector (she has a strange affinity for page protectors).  It does fit neatly onto the front and back of a single sheet of paper which is handy if you knit on the go.  I’ll also have some ideas for you regarding designing and custom fitting your socks.

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