"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What Is This "Pattern" You Speak Of?

There has been a pattern request for the organic cotton slipper-socks. Since I used a "gaugeless pattern" which isn't so much a pattern as a set of guidelines plus some math, I'll explain how I made them, and you folks can call it a pattern if you want to! This will give a women's medium in the gauge I used.

I worked with Pakucho worsted weight organic cotton yarn on size 6 needles, which gave me a gauge of 5 stitches/inch in stockinette. I also used two circular needles. I do not use DPNs, and cannot even attempt to explain how to use them to make socks.

Arrowhead Lace Stitch in the round
Round 1: Knit
Round 2: K1, (YO, ssk) twice, K1, (K2tog, YO) twice [repeat]
Round 3: Knit
Round 4: K2, YO, ssk, YO, sl2k-K1-p2sso, YO, K2tog, K1 [repeat]

Note: sl2k-K1-p2sso = slip 2 stitches knitwise to right needle, knit next stitch, pass slipped stitches one by one over knit stitch

Experienced sock knitters can read this paragraph and skip the rest of the post. Using your favorite gaugeless sock pattern, build a 40-stitch round, using the Arrowhead Lace pattern for leg and top of foot, stockinette for the sole. Ta-da!

What I did, in more detail:

First, I opened my trusty copy of Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. After gnashing my teeth through two pairs of ill-fitting, gusset-gapping socks using patterns that came with the yarn, this book turned me into a sock-knittin' fiend. Go get a copy. It's fabulous.

I turned to page 42 and worked the Easy Toe, starting on 8 stitches. I continued through the end of page 42, at which point I had 40 stitches in my round.

Through the instep, I worked the first 20 stitches in the Arrowhead Lace pattern, and the last 20 in stockinette. The stockinette half will be the sole of the slipper.

When it was long enough to come up to my ankle on the top of my foot (one advantage of knitting on two circulars is that you can try your sock on while you're knitting it. Whee! If you're size-guessing-impaired like me, it's the only way to go) I let the first half of the round rest, and turned the heel on the stockinette half, following the Short Row Heel directions on page 41.

The first short-row heel you ever do will make your eyes cross and your head pound, but when the lightbulb goes off you will run around your local Stitch and Bitch declaiming, "As God is my witness, I shall never pick up gusset stitches again!!"

Of course, if you've never turned a traditional (gusseted) heel, that joke just fell flatter than the Hindenburg.

Anyway...after that, it's smooth sailing. Rejoin with the top-of-foot stitches, and work the Arrowhead lace all the way around until you're about half an inch shy of the length you want. Three or four rounds of K1, P1 rib and a nice loose bind off (the tubular bind off is good for a smooth finish, I used the yarn-over bind off from the Knitting Answer Book for a more ruffled look).

The lace is so open it doesn't stand up well on it's own, so I threaded some ribbon through it and called it a design feature. On further reflection, I think it turned out charmingly.

And that's the pattern. Or the closest thing I've got. Happy knitting!

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