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Sock-like objects

July 12, 2012

I have been learning to make socks. So far I have two small, sock-like objects: the second – happily – considerably better than the first.

The patten is called Altogether Sock because, magically, although done in the flat on a single-bed knitting machine, it comes off the machine all together, with no seaming required.

You start by knitting the front half of the cuff and then go all the way down the front leg and top foot – round the toe – back along the sole of the foot joining to the top foot as you go – round the heel – back up the back leg and cuff, joining to the front leg and front cuff as you go. Voila!

The joining part I found tricky until I gave in and followed the advice in the pattern to use hairpins. Annoyingly, I used to have millions of hairpins which I never used, and threw them out earlier this year as part of the Grand Decluttering. So I had to buy more. Humph. They were totally worth it though… the seaming on the second sock was lots, lots better.

The cuff I found horrendous. My first attempt was a nightmare of dropped stitches and failed latching at the front end, and the worst cast off ever at the back-end.

My second attempt was better with the latch rib, although it did still take ages and doesn’t look as good as I can do by hand. I also tried a different approach (thanks to Ravelry goodness!) to the cuff – to avoid the dreaded casting off. Instead I made the cuff separately and took it off on waste yarn, grafting sock and cuff together at the end. Much easier.

Now I just have to figure out how to make the seam a little tidier in the area where it turns for the heel. There are gaps which are just a little bigger than I am willing to settle for. More learning required!

Meanwhile, in other news – or at least, other machine-knitting related news – I’ve started cleaning up my ribber and it’s looking better and less scary than I feared. It’s been stored badly, kept for years in someone’s garage in a cardboard box that wasn’t properly closed. As a result, it had lots of surface rust and bent combs, and as the needle bed was exposed there is some damage to the needles – but nothing insurmountable. The sad thing is, I don’t think it’s even been used very much. Filthy on the outside, but clean as a whistle on the inside.

So. I’ve straightened the combs (there was hammering – and there were pliers), cleaned off the surface rust and begun cleaning and sorting through the needles. I think it will need quite a lot of new needles, just because loads of the old ones have got rusty around the latches (gah!)

I am consoling myself with the recollection that the whole shebang was practically free, and that makes it all better.

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