Sunday, June 07, 2009

Arch-Villain Knit-Along: Toe

I'm going to call these socks "Arch-Villains," unless someone has a better idea. That's the whole point of this exercise: putting my plans to the test, and improving them with input of others.

How This Will Work
I will lay out the instructions here, starting with a general description of what's to be done, followed by specific details of what I did and why I made those choices. Comments are open for any henchfolk working along to ask questions, offer opinions, report on progress, etc.

Step One: Make a Toe

I haven't settled on a recommended toe style for these socks yet. You're free to begin however you like. But there is something to keep in mind: in experiments so far, the fabric of this sock tends to pull the toe up the instep slightly. So the "typical" toe looks crooked, the line of increases slanting from the top front of the toes to the bottom back. One of the toes I posted about last week might work better.

I'm trying something along the lines of Cat Bordhi's "Pontoon Toe." It's similar to Queen Kahuna's "Fan Toe," with elements of FiberQat's Patch Toe. Here's how I made mine.

Turkish cast-on 10 loops, and knit one round. Instead of starting the second round, purl back across the 10 stitches you just knit on that side. (Actually, slip the first stitch and purl 9). Work back and forth on these stitches, repeating * knit 1 row, purl 1 row * 3x, slipping the first stitch of each row. Turn and knit 1 last row.

At the end of this last row of knits, pick up 4 stitches in the edge of your rectangle. The first 2 stitches will be part of your instep, the second 2 will be on the sole side. Knit across the 10 sole stitches, then pickup 4 stitches on the other side (the first 2 on the sole, the next 2 on the instep).

Bordhi and Kahuna both have you place markers to tell you where to increase. I think markers get in the way when you have so few stitches on your needles.
  1. k2, yo, k10, yo, k2; repeat for other side (16 sts total)
  2. k2, k-twist*, k10, ktbl, k2; repeat.
  3. k3, yo, k10, yo, k3; repeat.
  4. k3, k-twist, k10, ktbl, k3; repeat
  5. k4, yo, k10, yo, k4
  6. knit round, twisting the yarnovers as established
Continue in this way, increasing on either side of your 10 center stitches, until your toe is the right size. (That's 68 sts on the sock I'm making).

It took me 8 tries to come up with something half decent. Here's hoping you have better luck.

* k-twist: Slip next stitch knitwise onto the right needle, changing its mount. Slip the stitch back to the left needle purlwise; the front leg of the stitch now lies in back of the needle while the back leg of the stitch comes down the front of the needle. Knit the back leg like it's a normal stitch, which further twists it to the right.


Unknown said...

I'm so glad you're doing that I've created the arch shaping in a cuff-down version, I was thinking about re-engineering it to toe-up...which is the only way to really handknit socks as anyone knows.

Jeremy said...

How does the k-twist differ from ptbl?

yarmando said...

@Jeremy The simple answer is that you're knitting, not purling. Your working yarn stays in back, and your right needle goes into the stitch left to right rather than right to left.

Duffy sent me an email this week saying that the k-twist is too fiddly for her. Instead, she changes the yarnover on the row before, bringing her yarn up from the back and down over the front, rather than usual way. In the next round, all she has to do is knit this stitch to get the same right-twisting effect.

Cat Herself said...

Good Lord, I think I'm already confused. Maybe I should eat breakkies before tackling your blog. Also - why didn't you let me know you were posting this stuff on the blog this week? I obviously don't check my Reader often enough!

I'll try to stop complaining soon . . .

Unknown said...

I was doing alright until I picked up the 4 stitches on either side. It says to coninue doing so, but then the sock was way out of proportion with the other side, where only 10 stitches continued to exist in the netherworld. I tried turning around and going back to include this other side in the sock, but that curled the toe badly. At what point should I go back for the other side. Also the part that said repeat (16 stitches) had me confused. Can you please help me out?! I've only made one pair of socks I wasn't crazy about and love the look of this band across the toe