Knitting 101: Eso Si Que Es?

Depending on who’s Spanish your speaking, this can mean “Yes, that, what is is?” or “it is what it is” or just be an Americanized silly phrase that means nothing at all. Whatever it means though, it’s homonym in English is S O C K S which spells out what our next set of lessons will be! SOCKS!

Now, I know I said that we would wait till summer and Christmas stockings to make something round, but I thought you guys might want a practice go on a small sock before we get to the big one. Before we get started though, there are a few things we’ll want to go over.

Basic Sock Terms

No matter what kind of socks you’re making, this part will be the same. I’ve put together a picture to label the parts of sock here (yes, it’s a crocheted sock, sorry guys):

parts of sock crochet

Toe: This is the part that covers JUST your toes, usually about 2 inches or so.

Foot: This is the part from the toe joints to where your foot starts to curve into your ankle.

Heel: This is the part that covers JUST your heel, usually about 3-4 inches of work.

Gusset: This is the weird triangular piece that fills in the space between the heel of your foot and your ankle. This piece basically evens out the sock so that the cuff can be worked evenly.

Cuff: This is the part of the sock that goes up your ankle (and sometimes leg).

Ways to Cast On

When it comes to casting on socks, there are several ways to go about it. First, you need to know if you’re going to make one or two at a time. I SERIOUSLY recommend making two at a time. Working two at a time means that when you’re done you’re DONE and you don’t have to cast on another sock and start from the beginning again.

The second thing you’ll need to know is if your pattern is working toe up or top down. As the names indicate, toe up works from the toe of the sock up toward the cuff and top down works from the cuff down to the toe. Depending on the direction your socks go, you’ll need to change the method for which you cast on, and may need to change the kind of needles you are using.

Now, since there are several VERY good tutorials out there already and I do not want to take up four posts on how to cast on in various ways, I am instead providing you some links to my favorite tutorials.

Two at a Time

These methods will require circular needles to make something known as the Magic Loop. The “magic” of the magic loop is that is shortens the cable part of circular needles and allows smaller work to be done by folding the needle basically in half.

Toe Up

There is an AMAZING picture tutorial that takes you not only through how to cast on two at a time toe up socks, but ALSO how to make the WHOLE sock on Silver’s Sock Class. This is both my favorite method and the site I keep coming back to when I forget how to do a toe up cast on (I don’t make socks that often). Because she does such a good job and takes you through the whole sock, I won’t be covering this method in our sock lessons.

If you need help with this method, please contact me!

Top down

Knitpurlhunter has a good video for top down cast on. And for those of you who would rather the pictures than the video, there’s a great tutorial on KNITfreedom. Knitpurlhunter shows how to cast on with the “long tail” method, this method is a continental cast on, and I have been teaching you guys how to “throw” knit, so I will show you a method of casting on more appropriate to throwing in our next lesson.

One at a time

Both of these methods will use DPNs (Double Pointed Needles) to work the socks. Working socks one at a time can be more time consuming, but the cast on tends to be less frustrating. If you’ve never made socks before, this is probably the best place to start.

Toe up

This cast on is sometimes called the “magic cast on.” Knitty has a good blog on the subject that takes you through in 8 steps how to use DPNs to cast on for toe up socks.

I’ll cover this method as well when we make our toe up socks.

Top down

It just so happens that I DID a tutorial on this method already, so if you haven’t taken a look at my entry on The Ever Dreaded Round, you should pop over there to take a look. I mentioned in that entry that this was not my preferred method for socks, and indeed it is not, but it IS a good place to start if you want to get comfortable with DPNs or if you have never made a sock before.


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