Thursday, November 14, 2013

Recovery Socks

This past summer, my grandma was diagnosed with a pretty serious heart situation, and in September, she underwent open heart surgery to take care of the problem.  Her doctors say she's recovering well, and I can see a huge improvement in her coloring, but she's still having trouble getting out of the post-surgery funk.  I'm no stranger to medical funk, so I decided to make an attempt to boost her spirits by sending her some notes and little gifts in the mail.  I wish I could do more, but since I live 2 hours away, this is the best I can do for now.  Luckily, the holidays are coming up, so I'll get to see her in person at the end of this month and next.  She's been telling us since her surgery that her goal was to be well enough to help wash dishes after Thanksgiving dinner.  My aunt flew in from Florida last week to take her turn at nagging Grandma into we're all pulling for her!  If you're reading this blog Grandma, I'm happy to wash your dish for you, but I hope you're feeling well enough to sit at the table to visit and eat dessert with the women for an hour after dinner, while the men are in the family room watching sports and dozing!  I don't want you to have to go home for a nap at 4pm!

Anyway, keeping in mind that I wanted these sock to be easy-care and warm (but not too warm because my grandparents keep their house pretty warm in the winter), I went to my LYS looking for some mid-thickness yarn in a washable fiber.  I was thinking maybe superwash merino, but I also had a very specific color scheme in mind, and I didn't find any superwash that matched the colors in my head.  So I settled on this acrylic / nylon yarn from Cascade - Cherub DK.  My swatch looked great after being machine washed & dried, but this is my first experience with the yarn, so I can't vouch for how well it will wear.  It has 4 out of 5 stars on Ravelry though, so it can't be too bad.  And the price was certainly right - at $3 a skein, you could easily make a pair of socks for $6 (or $9 if you want to do stripes.)  

I am super-excited about this pair of socks, because it is my first experience with using the Fleegle Heel.  During the Unisox test-knit, one of my testers told me about this heel, but at the time I didn't have another pair of socks to knit and I was busy working on other things, so I bookmarked it to use next time I wanted to make socks.  Well, I'm so glad she shared this heel technique with me!  I've done a number of heel techniques - doing a heel flap & picking up stitches, short-row heel (and a couple modifications of this technique trying to eliminate tiny holes), and the after-thought heel, but I have to say, this heel is by far the easiest to work and it HAS NO LITTLE HOLES TO CLOSE UP.  None.  You get beautiful, tight gusset stitches and no holes at all.  Seriously, you have got to try this heel technique.  

I did a basic toe-up sock, simple pattern to follow if you're interested:                                                                            

Women's size M (L).                                                          
The size M would fit a size 8-9 shoe like a regular sock.    
The size L would fit a size 8-9 shoe like a slipper sock, meant to be worn over another pair of socks.

I used the magic loop method, so that is what this pattern is written for, but it could just as easily be done with two circular needles or a set of double-pointed needles if you prefer one of those methods.                                                             

2 balls of Cherub DK (3 balls if working stripes)              
(Skeins are 180 yds each)                                                   
US Size 4 Circ Needle                                                     
Gauge: 24 sts x 34 rows = 4" x 4" in stockinette st              

My stripe pattern alternated 10 rounds of the dark purple with 5 rows of the light purple, but this is easy to modify depending on your taste.                              
CO 12 sts divided bet 2 needles using Judy's Magic Cast-On.  
R1: (needle 1): K1, M1, K to last st, M1, K1.                            
       (needle 2): rep needle 1.                                                         
R2: Knit all sts.                                                                            
Rep rounds 1 & 2 until there are (20) 24 sts total on each needle.

K in stockinette until sock is long enough to fit the entire foot to the point where the leg meets the top of the foot.

Begin Fleegle Heel:
Make sure stitches are still evenly divided between the two needles.  Needle #1 will be your gusset needle (bottom and sides of the foot) and Needle #2 will be your instep needle (top of the foot).
R1 (needle 1): K2, M1, K to last 2 sts, M1, K2.
      (needle 2): K all sts.
R2: Knit all sts.
Rep rounds 1 & 2 until needle #1 contains 36 (40) sts.

(You'll notice that my math here is slightly different than the blog post I linked to suggests - my first attempt was made by repeating these two rounds until I had 46 sts on needle #1, but my heel was way too large and the back of the sock was baggy.  So I frogged it, reduced my stitch count to 40 on the gusset needle and the heel came out great.)

Turn Heel:

Place a marker in the middle of the stitches on needle #1 (There will be 18 (20) sts on each side of the marker.)

R1 (worked on needle 1 ONLY): K to 3 (3) sts past marker, K2tog, K1, turn.  Pull the yarn tight.
R2: Sl1 Pwise, P to 3 (3)  sts past marker, P2togtbl, P1, turn.  Pull the yarn tight.

R3: Sl1 Pwise, K to the gap, K the st before the gap tog with the st after the gap, K1, Turn.
R4: Sl1 Pwise, P to the gap, P the st before the gap tog with the st after the gap tbl, P1, Turn.

Rep Rows 3 & 4 until 20 (24) sts rem on gusset needle.

Work Cuff:

Resume working in the round.  For my first round, I did a plain Knit row, then I established 2X2 ribbing.  Since I was doing a stripe pattern, I made sure to Knit one round plain each time I switched colors, so the lines between the stripes aren't distorted.  The remaining rounds were all done in 2x2 ribbing.

The cuffs on my socks extended 3" past the heel, but you can work them as long as you like (just make sure you have extra yarn).

Switch to a US size 8 needle to work the bind-off so the cuff is stretchy enough to fit over the foot and ankle.

I hope these socks keep Grandma's feet cozy while she recuperates this fall, and I hope this simple sock pattern comes in handy for you sometime!

No comments:

Post a Comment