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Topic: Sock construction questions - heels, toes and reinforcement  (Read 1170 times)
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Maryam Ovaci
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« on: December 16, 2005 11:22:02 AM »

Okay, so I've not done much with the sock knitting, but I have made a single, top-down, short-row heeled round-toed sock, and I'm working on its partner. I may have enough yarn for a third sock in this color, and since the lady at the yarn store asked to put my sock in as an example, I'd be okay with giving her the one I've made and making an extra one, if by chance I've made 'em wrong.

So my question is this: when working with a yarn that is not specifically made for socks, is it neccesary to reinforce the heels and toes? If so, with what? More wool? Nylon? A delicious pastry?

Is there a way to knit the heel that makes it sturdy enough to NOT need reinforcement? If so, is there a toe version of this?

Also, I know I saw somewhere a way to do top-down socks (which I favor at the moment), with a short-row toe, in such a manner that the grafting is done on the top of the foot - does anyone know where this tutorial is, or one like it?

Is there an online listing of many different types of heels and toes that are possible? I'm ordering a whole mess of books off interlibrary loan, and whichever ones I really like I plan to get off amazon, but they won't come in for a while, and I'm antsy about my unpaired sock. Any help you can give would be appreciated.

~Zari

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« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2005 11:35:25 AM »

I'm afraid I don't have any answers for you, but your post has finally given me the courage to ask something that's been on my mind for a while.

So... do hand-knitted socks wear well?  Is it worth it?

Personally, most of my store-bought socks give out after a few months, but then I usually buy the cheapest brand.  I'd like to try making my own but I don't think I could take the heartbreak of having to throw all my hard work away after only a dozen wears.  Also, I've seen patterns that give ideas for reinforcing the heels and toes of hand made socks, but my socks always seem to wear out over the Achilles tendon.  And my sweetie, who really needs some aran knee socks so he can wear his kilt in the winter, puts holes through the toes of his socks like nobody's business.
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Maryam Ovaci
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« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2005 11:45:53 AM »

From what I've heard, and what I've knit to reproduce, hand-knit socks are usually much more sturdy than store-bought - often lasting for many, many years (I've heard of 3-10 years being common!) The lady at my yarn store said the denser the fabric, the longer they'll last (I had 3mm DPNs and worsted weight wool on me, planning my next sock adventure, and she said that'd work just fine). As for kilt hose, there's a nice pattern here:

http://www.knitting-and.com/knitting/patterns/socks/john-anderson.htm
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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2005 03:15:49 PM »

I've been knitting socks by hand for about 9 years.
The heels wear through first.
The best tip I found on that one is to use a fingering weight yarn (assuming you're working with a worsted weight) and knit it into the heel. The same thing then for the toes.
The pair I did that in lasted really well in the heel. Of course I forgot since that first pair and have had a couple of pair wear through. The upshot is that they can be darned!!! I actually had to ask my mom how to do that, but it's amazing how easy and well it works!
I have a brown pair, I've been patching them with red and they look fun.
We live in a 100+ year old house, so I've been wearing the older ones for warmth.
I'm also thinking about felting the older ones after they've completely worn out - maybe for christmas stockings!!
Just be careful about washing them. I made a pair of wool and silk handknit socks for my mom - she washed them in the machine in cold and hung them and they shrank anyway - she can't even get her foot into them now.
Blessings - Selkie
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Maryam Ovaci
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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2005 10:33:41 PM »

So what if you're working with fingering weight to begin with? Do you double up on yarn, or use a different size with it, or forgo it entirely? I was reading up and found an interesting heel, I think it's the dutch heel? Anyway, it had a pattern of every other stitch slipped, would that make a heel strong enough that it didn't need to be otherwise reinforced?
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mizuiro
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2005 11:55:32 PM »

The slip stitch heel is part of what makes the heel flap tougher.  When you work it up it's thick and not quite as stretchy because you're carrying the yarn past every other stitch and it makes little 'floats' of yarn.  Check and see if the fiber content of your yarn also includes nylon.  Most sock yarns do, and that's part of making them wear better.

From what I've read about sock making, you can use the reinforcement thread (wooly nylon or the extra spool of thread some yarns put with ball), knit the sections subject to more wear with a smaller needle, 2 maybe 3 sizes smaller, to make them more dense, and with the heel, you do a slipped stitch pattern, heel stitch like you described or some other pattern where you slip every other stitch on a row.  You can do all three on the heel, and use the nylon thread and smaller needle on other wear points.

I've only made a few pairs of socks so far(the past year),so I don't know how they'll do in the long run, but right now they're great!
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eunnyjang
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2005 09:14:16 AM »

I typically knit a slip-stitch heel with a needle one size smaller than the body of the sock, unreinforced.  They seem to wear fine that way - I do, sometimes, knit a thread (I just use polyester sewing thread in a matching color) into the heel flap, since that's where I wear through.
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Maryam Ovaci
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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2005 09:01:05 AM »

Thanks for the help Smiley I think I'm going to use the sock I've got now as a template, and make a new pair, with the slipped stitch heel ^_^
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Belleville
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2005 12:28:45 PM »

I've been wanting to learn how to knit socks for awhile and just today, I bought some inexpensive yarn to try to learn.

Anybody here feel charitable enough to post your favorite sock pattern? I'd love to hear from you sock knitters. Before I came to the board today, I ordered QueenKahuana's sock book. It'll be here in a week I guess but I'd like to know what everyone else uses.

Thank you. Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2005 01:37:41 PM »

For the same for the yarn store, you can always knit a baby or toddler sock to insure you have enough yarn...

I do not think it is necessary to reinforce the heels and toes...but this, as always, has a lot of factors....do you keep your toenails short and trimmed, what kind of shoes will you be traditionally wearing?

I use the slip-stitch heel, and that has some reinforcement to it by nature.

I use books for teaching a variety of toes and heels....the best ones being by Nancy Bush....but I find that her socks are very small, so if you have a chunkier leg, this can be an issue.

One NEW love of a book is Sensational Knitted Socks http://www.knitpicks.com/books/books_display.aspx?itemid=30656, which offers a TON of variations for each sock, including how to use your gauge to figure out the number of stitches to cast on, etc.  She also demonstrates a number of heel and toe choices as well.  A good choice for starters. 



So my question is this: when working with a yarn that is not specifically made for socks, is it neccesary to reinforce the heels and toes? If so, with what? More wool? Nylon? A delicious pastry?

Is there a way to knit the heel that makes it sturdy enough to NOT need reinforcement? If so, is there a toe version of this?

Also, I know I saw somewhere a way to do top-down socks (which I favor at the moment), with a short-row toe, in such a manner that the grafting is done on the top of the foot - does anyone know where this tutorial is, or one like it?

Is there an online listing of many different types of heels and toes that are possible? I'm ordering a whole mess of books off interlibrary loan, and whichever ones I really like I plan to get off amazon, but they won't come in for a while, and I'm antsy about my unpaired sock. Any help you can give would be appreciated.

~Zari


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