Sock Serenity 9: The last leg of the toe-up sock

Once I’d finished the heel and decreased the number of stitches back to 56, it was just a question of knitting stocking stitch until I thought I ought to start on a cuff. As stated before, I was able to try the sock on to see if I’d gone far enough and then decide on which cuff to do.

I toyed with the idea of reducing the number of stitches to 50 and doing a K3P2 rib, but in the end stuck with the number of stitches I had and started a simple K2P2 rib. After about half an inch I became concerned that the cuff would be too floppy so ripped back to the stocking stitch and picked up the stitches on a 2.5mm needle. (Remember, I’d knitted the sock on 2.75mm a needle). That did the trick and I knitted about 3 inches of cuff – I like a nice deep cuff.

Next came the question of which cast off to use. Knitty.com came to my aid with various suggestions and in the end I decided to use Elizabeth Zimmermann’s sewn bind off (as the Americans call it).

This couldn’t be simpler and you get into a good rhythm very quickly. To illustrate the cast off I knitted a few rows in stocking stitch and then changed the colour of the yarn to make the photos clearer. I happened to cast off on the purl side of this sample, but obviously the sock was cast off on the rib.

Sewn Bind Off-1

Ready to start

Having broken off the yarn with a decent amount to spare, thread your yarn/darning needle and push it through the first two stitches on your needle as if to purl (i.e. from right to left), leaving the stitches on the needle.

Pull in the excess, then thread the needle through the right-hand of the two stitches you just used, as if to knit (left to right)…

… pull the yarn through…

…and slip the stitch off the needle.

The cast off from the other side.

Having cast off all the stitches on the needle, I pulled the yarn through the first stitch I had cast off to make a firm finish and wove the yarn in.

The completed sock

Postscript – A Word on Joining Yarn

At some point knitting your handspun socks, you are going to need to start on a new ball of wool. An old Great War recipe for socks issued by the Red Cross warned on the dangers of using knots to join the yarn, pointing out that the yomping soldier’s feet would rub on knots and cause blisters which would lay the soldier low. This pattern also made the request for socks to be knitted in pale colours so that any blood from wounds – or blisters – would show up easily!

The method I use is simple – I weave the ends in on two successive rounds. It also helps to make sure that the join isn’t going to be near any point where your footware might rub.

Another method, favoured by Beth, is the spit join. I’ll leave her to explain that one! 🙂