Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Shekure's Spiral Socks

I have been intrigued by the free stashbuster spirals pattern by Janine Hempy for quite a while, and after looking at comments on the ravelry page I knew I wanted to use the technique I preferred (toe-up, gusset and heel flap, two at a time, magic loop) instead of the designer's choice of toe and heel.  As you can probably guess, this was a HUGE hassle.  The basic gist of the spirals pattern is that you split the round into thirds and knit a third with the first yarn, a third with a second, a third with the third.  If you do gusset increases, this kind of messes up your numbers, though you can't really tell.  The other issue is that two at a time means, in my case, SIX balls of yarn going at once.  I did it, but it involved a lot of untwisting.  I have yet to weave in all the ends on my (frankly, kind of fugly) first pair done this way, but I did eventually wrestle them into submission.

My second pair, is much simpler and easier for me to knit on autopilot.  After a request from a friend I decided to write it up and share it. ;)  Because my version is algebra-based it works with whatever size yarn or needles you have.

I picked garter stitch toes and heels because they're comfortable and easy.  You could do regular (stockinette) short row toes and heels if you want, but then you have to pick up your wraps.

Please note - the spiral pattern is all Janine Hempy's and this is only my take on her original idea.  Credit where credit is due and all that. :)

ETA: Here is a picture of the finished socks!



Materials:
Your choice of yarn - at least four different colors (use up scraps!) and set of five double pointed needles to give a good firm gauge.

Notes: 
Here is a tutorial on weaving in ends while knitting.  Just make sure you don't make it too tight and interfere with the stretchiness of the sock.  When I do this technique I work the weaving in on the round following the introduction of the new yarn, and after doing the woven in stitches I stretch the work vigorously to loosen it all up.
If you run out of a color, simply add in a new one!  You can weigh each color and divide in half evenly for two perfectly matched socks, or let them be fraternal twins.  The choice is yours.

Setup:
First, a bit of basic math.  You can do it.  I even left spaces so you can print this out and write in your own numbers.

Measure around the widest part of your foot (circumference).  A=__________
Subtract 10% for negative ease (20% if you use superwash yarn, which is stretchier and slightly saggier) B=__________

Knit a gauge swatch.
Measure stitches per inch. C=__________
Total stitches for each sock BxC=D__________ (round to nearest multiple of four)
Stitches to cast on D/2=E __________
Wrapped stitches per side of toe E/3=F__________ (round to the nearest whole number)
Desired foot length (subtract .25 inch for a snug fit) G=__________
Heel stitches (60% of D) 0.6xD=H__________ (round to nearest whole number)
Stitches to pick up for heel H-E=I__________
Wrapped stitches on each side of heel H/3=J__________(round to the nearest whole number)

Short row garter stitch toe:
Cast on E __________ stitches in yarn 1.
Decrease rows:
Knit across E-1 stitches.  Wrap and turn.
Knit across E-2 stitches.  Wrap and turn.
Knit to last stitch before wrapped stitch.  Wrap and turn.
Continue working until you have F__________ wrapped stitches on each side.
Increase rows:
Knit across to first wrapped stitch.  Knit this stitch (no need to pick up wraps in garter stitch). Wrap and turn.
Continue working until all wrapped stitches are worked.  You now have a garter stitch toe!

Foot:
Round 1 - Pick up and knit across E stitches along the cast on edge of the toe so that your knitting is now joined in the round.  Divide evenly onto four double pointed needles, E/2 stitches on each needle.  Mark the beginning of your round.
Round 2 - Work k3, p1 ribbing across needle 1 in yarn 1.  Work k3, p1 ribbing across needle 2 in yarn 2.  Knit (or purl for princess feet) across needle 3 in yarn 3.  Knit (or purl) across needle 4 in yarn 4.  You now have worked one round, a different yarn on each needle.
Round 3 - Continuing with yarn 4, work across needle 1.  Drop yarn 4 and pick up yarn 1 (which should be at the end of needle 1 in the round below).  Pick up yarn 1 and work across needle 2.  Drop yarn 1 and pick up yarn 2.  Work across needle 3 in yarn 2.  Drop yarn 2, pick up yarn 3.  Work across needle 4 in yarn 3. Make sense?  Except at the beginning of the round, where you continue on with the yarn from needle 4, you are dropping your old yarn and picking up a new one at the end of each of your four needles.

Continue working in the spiral until foot measures approximately 2 inches less than G__________.  Garter stitch toes and heels are quite stretchy, so this will help with exact fit.

Heel: 
Rearrange your stitches, adding I/2 stitches from needle 3 to needle 2 and I/2 stitches from needle 4 to needle 1.  This will temporarily shift the beginning of your round.
Using yarn 2 (or whichever yarn you like, really) k across H-1 stitches.  Wrap and turn.
K across H-2 stitches.  Wrap and turn.
Knit to last stitch before wrapped stitch.  Wrap and turn.
Continue working until you have J__________ wrapped stitches on each side.
Increase rows:
Knit across to first wrapped stitch.  Knit this stitch.  Wrap and turn.  See how you're basically making a slightly bigger toe?
Continue working until all wrapped stitches are worked.
Shift I/2 stitches from needle 2 back to needle 3 and from needle 1 back to needle 4.  Return to working in the round in spiral pattern.  You may have to cut/rejoin yarns to keep the spiral pattern the way it ought to be.

Leg: 
Work in spiral to desired length.  Work 1-2 inches of k1 p1 or k2 p2 ribbing in yarn 3 (or whichever yarn you like).  Bind off loosely.  I like Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.

Et voila!

If you need help with math or have questions. please don't hesitate to email or comment.  Find me on Ravelry as Shekure (or click the link on the right).  I'll get pics up ASAP.

Happy knitting!