Crochet 101: The “Ugly” Heel and Foot

Get the Christmas music back on, and re-watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” or whatever you need to do to keep in the Christmas mood, we’re ready to start the heel.

The heel will be worked as we did in Top Down Socks with only a couple minor change. The first change comes in the heel flap, we’ll need to bridge the beginning of the round we just finished so that the heel is on the side of the sock and shows off the picture when displayed.

First, place a marker at the beginning of the round. Then count backward 1/4 of the stitches in the round (13 if you’re following along) and attach your yarn to start the heel flap. I’ll be working with white for the heel and the toe on this one. Work your heel flap back in forth like normal, I did about two inches for mine. If you want a little more pronounced heel, go for three inches.

heel flap christmas

When the heel flap is done, move onto the short rows. Remember, with the short rows, it is MOST important to have an even number of stitches and the SAME amount of stitches unworked on both sides. If that means you have to work more than half the stitches or work less than half the stitches, that’s what you do. I left 8 stitches unworked on either side and had to single crochet 4 rather than three to get this one to work out right. I also had to change the last two rows so that I only worked two together once at the end of each row.

turning christmas.png

When you’ve finished the turning, cut your white and switch to green. To get the different color heel effect you see on some socks you work the heel in one color and the gusset and foot in a different color. In this case, the foot is going to be striped, so we’ll just start our stripes in the gusset.

The gusset will be worked the same as Top Down Socks, so I’m not going to go into much detail with that here. Just remember, because we’re using a larger yarn and hook, you may have a smaller gusset for this project. Of course, the longer your heel flap is, the bigger the gusset will be. Just remember to start the foot when you have the same amount of stitches as the cuff.

For the foot, I worked three stripes. Each one is about 1.5 inches (6 rounds) and they’re green, white, and red–in that order. See:

christmas boot.png

With the foot done, we can move onto the toe, but I’ll save that for the next post.

Oh, and does that leg look a little short? It’s ok. Next post we’ll also learn how to do some edging and work with bauble yarn all at the same time.

 

 

 

Crochet 101: The “Ugly” Christmas Stocking

Roll up your sleeves and put on your Dean Martin, Straight No Chaser, or Trans-Siberian Orchestra, we’re launching into our Christmas project!

For those of you who missed the last post on design, yes, it’s July. It is also the perfect time to start all your Christmas (or other winter holiday) projects so that you’re not rushing to finish at the end of the year.

In the design post, I posted this as the basic design for the project:

crochet design

If you don’t like that or would like to do something else, then please do! I’ll be following this as a basic pattern and showing you what I do for it. We’ll be reviewing colorwork (both in pattern and stripes) and learning about edging and appliques on this project.

The VERY first thing we’ll do though is take a look back at the posts on toe up socks and top down socks to guide us through making the basic form of our stocking. You’ll want to measure out before hand how big (or small) you want your stocking to be so that you don’t end up with a really skinny, tiny stocking (unless that’s what you actually wanted to make). A lot of times, taking a large piece of paper and drawing what you want your stocking to look like or measuring an existing stocking helps (if you don’t have a stocking hanging check the craft store and measure what they have).

Once you know how you’re going to make your stocking and what the measurements are, we’re ready to start looking at the pattern. I’m going to work my stocking top down this time, starting with the red and green tree portion. This is the part where we get to pull out the colorwork technique we learned a few posts ago. Take a minute and go back to that post if you need to review on how to get cleaner looking colors.

We’ll also need to have the tree pattern. Since I’m not planning on writing out every single line BEFORE I get started, I’m going to work off a chart. We’ve sort of dealt with charts before when we talked about pixel art in Designing Colorwork. Color charts look like this:

blank-tree

Usually the rows are numbered up one side and the stitches are numbered across the top or bottom. This is only one type of chart used in crochet, but we’ll get to the other kind another time. For this sock, I’ll be using a chart similar to the chart above to work the tree into my stocking. For those of you who want to follow along, here it is:

Chart

I know that I am going to be making about a 7 inch square stocking (the top will be seven inches wide, the leg will be 7 inches tall, and the foot will be seven inches long–it seemed like a good number at the time). I also know that I am going to be making my stocking top down (hence starting with the tree). I have my chart ready, so there’s only ONE more thing to look at before we REALLY get going.

I my post on top down socks, I have you work the cuff in the round. The reason we do that is to avoid having a seam running up the leg of the sock. In this case, we’ll be working the cuff in rows, back and forth and joining as we go (sc across, join, turn, repeat). Because no one is going to wear this sock (who am I kidding, my three year old will have this on in no time), I am not concerned about the seem and it will in face help us when we get to the heel portion in the next post.

Since I know all of that, and I’ve already gotten my gauge from my gauge swatch. If you haven’t made a gauge swatch, make one. I did. All the cool kids do. See:

gauge swatch

I know how many stitches to chain to make 14 inches (7 inches across and it’s round). In my case it’s 52 (hence the 26 stitch tree up above). Make sure you check you gauge if you’re following along or this could get messy. If you’re not following along, you can just use a tape measure to check the length of your chain. You’ll want it to be twice the width of the desired top of your sock.

measure.png

For those of you who went back an read my post on top down socks again you’ll notice that I did NOT make my gauge swatch in the round. I made a square rather than a round because we’ll be working back an forth, NOT in a spiral around.

When you have the length you want, join your chain and TURN. Work two rows (or about half an inch) of single crochets. Don’t forget to join the rows and TURN the work. You’ll start seeing the seam right away, but it really won’t be that big of a deal. Once that’s done, we can start on the colorwork. (If you don’t want to work the half inch, don’t. it’s purely for aesthetic reasons that I have it there).

Now you can begin your chart. If you’re following mine, start at the top and work the next 20 rows, joining the round and turning at the end of each round. You’ll be making one tree on each side of your stocking, so you may want to make two balls out of your green to make the work a little easier (I did), but you can also just carry the green around with you. When you’re finished with your chart, work two more rounds of just red (sc around, join, turn).

Why is it so important to work in rows this time? I don’t want that seam! Can’t I just work in the round?

Alright Mr. George Bailey, let’s take you down that lovely path of what if…..

When you have the length you want, join your chain and work two rows (or half an inch) of single crochet in a spiral. For those of you unfamiliar with working in a spiral, when you get around to the first single crochet in the round, just keep working on top of it. Don’t worry about joining or chaining or anything, just keep workin’. Once that’s done, we can start on the colorwork. (If you don’t want to work the half inch, don’t. it’s purely for aesthetic reasons that I have it there).

Now you can begin your chart. If you’re following mine, start at the top and work the next 20 rows, working the round in a spiral. You’ll be making one tree on each side of your stocking, so you may want to make two balls out of your green to make the work a little easier (I did), but you can also just carry the green around with you.

If you chose to work with two balls of green, you’ll notice as you work around that the green is on the wrong end of the work for you to pick it up when you come around. Don’t worry. This is called a float and you’ll see it in Fair Isle knitting as well (should you choose to take up Fair Isle knitting).

To get the float back to the right side of things, lay it under the working yarn and then use it like you would normally.

As you’re working with the float, watch your tension VERY closely. Pull the line too tight or leave it hanging too loose and you’ll be able to see it on the front of the work. Note: I adjusted the color on the ‘too loose’ picture to–hopefully–help you see the puffy stitches that are too loose. The red I’m working with doesn’t like the camera very much.

When you’re finished with your chart, work two more rounds of just red (sc around, in a spiral like before) and you’ll have the finished leg! You’re ready to move on to the heel and the next post!

tilted

Now that this little adventure is over, let’s all have a hug, ring a bell for Clarence, and have a look at the REAL finished work.

straight finish

Comparing the two, I’m sure you can see that the first one is tilted. That’s not just a trick of the photo, it REALLY does lean like that. Working in a spiral shifts the work by one stitch every time you go around. You’ll have the same issue if you join your work, but don’t turn it. Because you’re continuing around rather than turning, the natural lean of the stitching will start to show through. Working back and forth allows the lean to move left and right as you work, pulling the work straight.

It’s not right or wrong to have your work one way or the other, but you need to be aware of what will happen before you choose so that you get the outcome you’re after. Whichever way you choose to work your colorwork, you are now ready to move on to the heel and the next post for sure!

 

 

Crochet 101: More on Colorwork

So we’ve talked about how to change colors without cutting ends and how to design a colorwork pattern, how could there be any MORE to it?

Well, unless you’re perpetually stuck in the land of stripes, you’re going to want to change colors in the middle of your work at some point. When THAT happens, this tends to happen as well:

before

See how the two colors sort of “bleed” into each other? Not very neat looking is it? So how can we AVOID that?

Easy! Stop following the instructions so closely.

*gasp* craft blasphemy!

Maybe more for some than others, but let me reassure you, this will NOT ruin your work. This isn’t like baking where if you use all white sugar when they tell you to use half brown and half white sugar you end up with CD’s instead of cookies (yeah seriously white sugar only= VERY flat cookies). It’s ok to fudge a little when it comes to your yarn. Not TOO much or someone is going to notice, but every now and then won’t hurt anything. Especially when it comes to working colors in the middle of the stitching.

When you’re working in stripes, you finish row one and pick up the new color for row two. To change in the middle is very similar, except before you finish your stitch, you’ll use the new color to complete the stitch BEFORE the pattern calls for you to change colors.

Let me show you.

My pattern (ok, it’s an imaginary pattern) says “with color A, sc 7. Change to color B, sc 1. Change to color A sc 7.”

I’ve finished 6 stitches here and I’m almost ready to change to a new color, but only for a few stitches. This is the last stitch before the pattern tells me to change colors (stitch 7 in color A):

set up

I haven’t yet finished the stitch in that picture because rather than using color A to finish that stitch, I’m going to pick up color B and use that to do the last yarn over and pull through.

add black

See how the loop on the hook is now the color I need to change to? That lets me start straight in on the next color.

black stitch

When I’m ready to switch back I follow the same process, picking up color A this time to complete the last stitch before the pattern says to switch. Keep that up back and forth (or round and round if you’re working rounds) and  you’ll have nice, clean colorwork.

This technique works for as many colors as you have to work with, but what happens when you have to add a NEW color in the middle of the row rather than adding it at the beginning of a row?

Well, it’s the same basic concept as what I demonstrated above. For those of you who are VERY confident in your tension, you don’t even need a slip stitch really, just pick up the new color as though it were already a part of the work.

For those of you who are a little less confident or a little newer to crochet, make your slip knot like normal, but slide it onto the hook in the middle of the stitch you want to finish, like this:

That slip stitch becomes the active loop (the one on the hook) and you’re ready to move on with your colors.

If everything here seems straight forward enough, then you should be ready to try out the new Nesting Baskets Pattern in the shop! Happy Crocheting!

after

 

 

Crochet 101: Top Down Socks

For my next sock trick, we’ll be working a top down crochet pattern.  Basically, this is the toe up pattern, but I’m working backwards. The measurements are the same, the instructions are the same (done in a different order of course), the only thing that will really change is how the toe is finished.

For those of you who just need the pattern, skip to the bottom like before and you’ll find the short version. For those of you who need a little more help (or just like to read my silliness) the long version comes first.

For this pattern, you will need:

crochet socks you will need

  • 1 Skein Sport weight (3) yarn any brand, fiber, and color (about 275 yards)**
  • 1 size US F-5 (3.75 mm) hook**
  • Split ring markers, locking stitch  markers, OR safety pins (at LEAST 2)
  • A measuring tape

**GAUGE NOTE: Because this pattern is using measurements rather than stitches, it doesn’t matter what weight yarn you use or what hook you use as long as you are matching the measurements. I have listed here what I am using for this project.

Top Down Socks

Before we do anything, make a gauge swatch. Not just any gauge swatch though, we’ll need a circular gauge swatch. A circular gauge swatch is the same as a regular gauge swatch, but you work the swatch in a round. Why? Well, take a look:

circular gauge

 

 

See how the top part looks thicker than the bottom? The bottom is worked in the round and the top is worked back and forth like a traditional swatch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It might be a little easier to see in this next one:

why circular

What causes the change? All crochet stitches lean one way or another. Usually this lean doesn’t effect the work as a whole, but when you’re working in the round, it can change the gauge that you’re used to working–often making the gauge smaller than you’re used to. It’s also just a good practice to check your gauge the same way you work your project.  Since this sock is worked in the round, you’ll want to work using the circular gauge as your guide.

As we did for the Toe Up Socks grab your tape measure before you start with your hook. You’ll need to measure the circumference of your ankle (or highest point of your sock). Once you have that measurement, you’ll want to take about 10% away from it to start your cuff (ex: if the measurement is 9.5 in, the math is 9.5 * .1 = .95, so 9.5 – .95 = 8.55in for your foundation chain). If you’d rather with this one, you can make your foundation chain and just wrap it around your ankle until it just fits, gently stretched.

One of the biggest problems with top down socks, whether knit or crochet, is that the foundation chain (or cast on for knitting) can be stiff and hard to get a foot through. One of the best techniques for getting around this with socks (and a few other things) is to use a ch/sc foundation.

Working the ch/sc foundation is a little complicated, but it’s really fast once you get it down and it’s got a LOT more stretch than your traditional foundation chain. It also has the added bonus of working round 1 and the same time as your foundation chain. To start, chain two and insert the hook into the first chain.

Yarn over and draw the working yarn through the chain.

chsc1 yo draw through ch

Then yarn over and draw through the two loops on the hook.

chsc1 draw through 2

This is your first ch/sc done. Take some time to take a good look at it from all sides and familiarize yourself with how they look. Find the tail knot to help you see the chain and bottom of the stitch. When you’re ready, insert your hook into the fake chain you just made (or the loop on the right of the picture above):

chsc2 insert into chain

Yarn over and pull through the “chain” to make your next “chain”

chsc2 two loops on

Yarn over and pull through the two loops on the hook to make your single crochet.

chsc2 yo draw through 2

Repeat that process over again until you have the desired number of ch/sc and then join the round with a slip stitch. If that’s too complicated, not fun, or just too time consuming, just chain the amount of stitches you need and join with a slip stitch instead. For those of you following along with what I’m doing, I ended up with 35 ch/scs.

chsc

Now we’re ready to work the rest of the cuff. Pro Tip: as we’re working this sock, you may want to work in a spiral rather than joining each round to avoid having a thick seem running up the sock. If you’re working spirals, place a marker to indicate the start of the row so that you don’t lose your place when you start the heel flap.

Just like before I’m making an ankle sock, so I’m only worked about 1 inch of cuff, but you can work as much as you’d like. Keep in mind if you’re working knee or thigh high socks, you may need to increase and decrease the number of stitches you’re working to accommodate changing circumferences.

cuff

When you’ve finished your cuff, it will be time to measure again. This time, you’ll need to measure from the flat of your foot to where it starts to curve at your Achilles tendon or just below the Medial Malleolus (the bone that sticks out on the outside of some ankles), usually this will be about 2 inches for adults. Once you have your measurement, sc across half (rounded up) the stitches in the round. Chain one, turn, and sc back across. Continue like that until you have reached your measurement (2 inches for me).

heel flap

Now we’re ready to turn the heel. Single crochet across half the stitches in your heel flap. If you have an uneven number, round up just like before. Single crochet two together, twice, and make sure there is an even number of stitches left over. It is more important to have an even number of stitches unworked here than it is to have half the stitches worked, so if you need to go back and round your half down, do it.

Next, single crochet three (yeah, only three) then single crochet two together twice leaving the SAME NUMBER of UNWORKED STITCHES on the other side of your work. Seriously, it’s important.

Single crochet five, then single crochet two together twice using the unworked stitches from the first row of our heel turning adventure (or the stitches on the last row of the heel flap–same thing).

turn heel1

Single crochet seven, then single crochet two together twice using the unworked stitches from the second row of our heel turning adventure (or the stitches on row 1 of the heel turn–again, same thing).

For those of you who need to, continue working in rows, adding two each time and single crocheting two together twice each time until all the stitches that were unworked have been worked (sc 9, sc2tog; sc11 sc2tog; etc). When you’ve finished, you should have something that looks like this:

Notice the ridges on the sides of the rows? For the gusset, I’m calling those peaks and valleys to help with where to pick up stitches.

Heel turn done

Note: If you want to work the gusset in a spiral, you can. Just place a marker to indicate the start of the row (I would advise a different color than the markers we’re using for the gusset) and ignore the “join with a slip st” instruction.

To start the gusset, chain one and single crochet in each “peak” and each “valley” on the heel flap, stop in the second to last row (11 picked up). Using the last row, the cuff stitch that the last row is worked in, and the first unworked cuff stitch, single crochet three together.

Place a marker, then single crochet across all the cuff stitches, stopping at the second to last stitch. Using the last  unworked cuff stitch, the cuff stitch that the heel flap is worked in, and the first row of the heel flap, single crochet three together and place a marker. It seems like a weird instruction, but this will keep the sock from having a hole where the gusset meets the heel.

place marker 2

Working in the side of the heel flap again, pick up the same number of stitches as the first side (11 if you’re copying me), then sc across the top of the heel flap and join the round with a  slip stitch.

Now that we have the gusset set up, the rest is easy. Single crochet until two before the marker, single crochet two together. Single crochet to till the next marker, single crochet two together, single crochet to the end of the round and join with a slip stitch. Repeat that step until you have the same number of stitches as you started with (35 for me).

Gusset. Done.

gusset

Like most socks, the foot is the simplest part (the cuff is right up there too). You’ll first need to measure your foot from the back of the heel to the beginning of your big toe. Then, either working in a spiral or rounds, single crochet around until you’ve reached that measurement (about 8 inches for me).

Yeah, that’s really it. Almost done now.

foot

Yet again, before we get going though, we need to stop and measure. This time from the back of your heel to the tip of your toes. Then, lay your sock flat  (like the picture above) and place markers on either edge of the sock. There is about a 99% chance that this will NOT line up with your round join. That is ok. We want the seem to line up with your foot, not the round.

With markers in place, we’re ready to finish up. Single crochet until two before your marker, single crochet two together, twice. Do that one more time, then single crochet to the end of the round. Place a marker to indicate the beginning of the round, don’t join the round. If you have been working in rounds up to this point, now is the time to be adventurous and try the spiral out. I’m not saying you CAN’T work rounds for the toe, but I am saying that it will make your work difficult when the sc2tog creeps each time and you end up needing to sc2tog across your join.

Single crochet around, then work your decrease round again. Repeat that until you have the length you need on your sock, ending on a single crochet around round.

toe

Turn the sock inside out and lay the toe flat to sew it together using your yarn needle.

If you’re making socks for very small feet or infants, you can skip that second part and just work the decrease round a couple of times instead.

For those of you who have a distaste for yarn needles (or can’t find one, like me), you can use your crochet hook to slip stitch the two sides together rather than sewing them. Just lay the toe flat, lining up the two sides so the stitches match and slip stitch away. You may have to fudge a little if you have an uneven number of stitches, but just slip two together to work it out.

sewing

Time to fasten off, tuck tails and enjoy your work. Your sock is done!

 

…Oh, don’t forget to work sock number 2 for a pair of them.

The Short Version

Materials:

  • 1 Skein Sport weight (3) yarn any brand and color (about 275 yards)**
  • 1 size US F-5 (3.75 mm) hook**
  • Split ring markers, locking stitch markers, OR safety pins (at LEAST 2)
  • A measuring tape

Gauge:

5 sc x 5 rows =1 in x 1 in

**GAUGE NOTE: Because this pattern is using measurements rather that stitches, it doesn’t matter what weight yarn you use or what hook you use as long as you are matching the measurements. I have listed here what I am using for this project.

Take Measurements:

  1. Circumference of ankle (or highest point of sock)
  2. Desired cuff length
  3. Heel height from bottom of foot to base of Achilles tendon or just below the Medial Malleolus (the bone that sticks out on the outside of some ankles)
  4. From the back of your heel to the first joint on your big toe
  5. From the back of your heel to the tip of your toes

CUFF

ch/sc foundation (or chain) to match measurement 1 minus 10% Count the number of stitches you have and mark it down somewhere.

Round 1: Sc around.

Repeat round 1 until measurement 2 is reached.

HEEL FLAP

Short Row 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1st sc), sc across half of the CUFF stitches.

Short Row 2: Turn, ch 2, sc to across

Repeat Short Row 2 until measurement 3 is reached.

HEEL SHAPING

Row 1: Ch 2, sc across half the HEEL FLAP sts (rounded up) sc2tog twice. LEAVE AN EVEN NUMBER OF STS UNWORKED.

Row 2: Turn ch2, sc 3, sc2tog twice. LEAVE SAME NUMBER OF UNWORKED STS AS ROW 1

Row 3: turn, ch 2, sc across worked sts from previous row, sc2tog twice in unworked stitches.

Row 4: Turn, ch 2, sc across worked sts from previous row, sc2tog twice in unworked stitches.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all unworked stitches from row 1 and 2 have been picked up.

GUSSET

Round 1: DO NOT TURN. Ch 1, working side of HEEL FLAP rows, evenly pick up stitches in the side of each row, stop at second to last row. Work sc3tog in last row of HEEL FLAP, worked cuff sc and unworked cuff sc. Place marker. Sc across cuff to last stitch. Sc3tog in last cuff sc, worked cuff sc, and first HEEL FLAP row. Place marker. working side of HEEL FLAP rows, evenly pick up stitches in the side of each row (same number as side 1). Sc across top of HEEL FLAP, join round.

Decrease Round: Ch 2, sc to two stitches before marker, sc 2 tog, sc to marker, after marker sc 2 tog, sc to end of round, join with sl st.

Repeat decrease round until the GUSSET stitch count is the same as the CUFF stitch count noted, adjusting markers to remain in the first and last stitch of the CUFF as you work.

FOOT

Round 1: sc around, join round with sl st.

Repeat round 1 until measurement 4 is reached.

TOE

Lay sock flat and place markers in the sides of the foot (markers may not line up with row beginning).

Round 1: Working in a spiral, place marker at beginning of round.  *Sc to two before marker, sc2tog, repeat from * sc to end of round.

Round 2: Sc around

For older child and adult socks:

Repeat increase round 1 and 2 until measurement 5 is reached, adjusting markers as you work.

For younger child and infant socks:

Round 1 until measurement 5 is reached, adjusting markers as you work.

 

 

 

 

Crochet 101: Toe Up Socks

Now that you know more than you EVER wanted to know about crochet socks, let’s actually make a pair or two!

Over the next two posts, I’m going to cover two methods of making socks so that you’ll have a basic pattern to fall back on no matter what you end up preferring for style. I am also going to do these patterns a little different than a traditional crochet pattern. I will tell you how to measure your sock rather than exactly how many stitches you will need (though I will share with you the amount I have for my socks) so that you can easily adjust this pattern to whatever size your foot is and you’re not stuck making a ladies 9-10 (which is the size I’ll be making).  I’ll also include the “short version” at the end of the post, so those of you who just need the pattern can skip my verbose instructions.

For this pattern, you will need:

crochet socks you will need

  • 1 Skein Sport weight (3) yarn any brand, fiber, and color (about 275 yards)**
  • 1 size US F-5 (3.75 mm) hook**
  • Split ring markers, locking stitch markers, OR safety pins (at LEAST 2)
  • A measuring tape

**GAUGE NOTE: Because this pattern is using measurements rather than stitches, it doesn’t matter what weight yarn you use or what hook you use as long as you are matching the measurements. I have listed here what I am using for this project.

Toe Up Socks

Before you pick up your hook, grab your tape measure. Measure across the tips of your toe from your big toe to your little toe (my toes measured about 4 inches). Divide that measurement in half (mine is 2 inches) and make a chain that is about the same length as the divided measurement (ch 10) and then chain 2 more, this will count as your first single crochet.

Now, flip the chain over so you can see the “bumps” that are the back of the chain (pardon my poor drawing).

work the bumps

Single crochet across the back of the chain, working in the “bumps.” You should have the same amount of single crochets as you had chains before you added 2 more (10 sc). Ch 1 to turn the round and place a marker (or safety pin) in your chain 1 to mark the side of your sock.

sc across place marker toe

Work single crochets across the tops of your chain (10 sc), remember your first sc in this set will effectively be worked in the same space as your LAST sc from the previous set. Don’t forget to work your single crochets OVER the tail of your slip knot so you don’t have to worry about tucking that tail later. Ch 1 and slip stitch into the top of the ch 2. Place a marker in the ch 1 you just made (it may help to use a different color marker here so you know where the round begins).

sc tops place marker 2

Pull out that measure tape again, and measure from the tip of your big toe to the top of the big joint (about where the ball of your foot begins). This will be how long you need to make the toe on your sock.

Increase round: ch 2 (counts as 1st sc) sc across all scs. In ch 1 sp work sc, ch1, sc. Sc across all scs, in ch 1 sp work sc, ch 1, sc, sc in remaining sc(s), sl st into ch 2 to join.

For child and adult socks, alternate the increase round and ch 2,  sc across, ch1, sc across ch 1, sc in remaining sc(s), sl st into ch 2 to join round. STOP when the rounds measure the same as your toe measurement from the foundation chain to the edge of work (about 2 inches or 10 rows in my case).

The toe will curl up as you work, don’t worry. It’s supposed to do that. As you work, don’t forget to move your markers every time you do an increase round to keep them in the ch 1 space.

Time to grab the measuring tape again. This time measure from the top of the ball of your foot (where the last measurement ended) to the end of the arch. It may help to imagine your heel as a circle right about the top of that circle is where you’ll want to stop. For most adults, this will leave about 2.5 inches of heel left over.

Now that we’re measured, work the foot even (sc in each st around join with a sl st) for the length of your measurement (40 sc and about 5 inches or 25 rows for me). It is best at this point to leave one marker where it is (so you can measure your work) and move one along with you as you work. You can just work even without moving your markers, but we WILL need to move them later. If you get impatient, or don’t want to pull the measuring tape during this part, you should now be able to slip the sock onto your foot to measure how close to done you are. Remember to stop when you’re 2.5 inches from the back of your heel like so (due to the shallow angle of the shot, it looks like my heel is closer to 3 inches, but I promise, it’s 2.5):

finished foot

Once you’re there, you should be ready to start the heel of your sock. There are several methods to making a heel, I’m going to show you a mildly structured version here so that you have the experience with it. If you get frustrated, or don’t like it, you can just continue working the sock even from here and make a tube sock (which conveniently make great sock puppets as well).

To start, we’re going to move our markers. ch 2, Place one marker in the second chain of your chain 2 and sc halfway around (20 sc) then stop.  You won’t need the second marker for a bit, so you can either leave it in the toe or just take it out till we need it again.

Measure the height of your heel, from the flat of your foot to where it starts to curve at your Achilles tendon or just below the Medial Malleolus (the bone that sticks out on the outside of some ankles), usually this will be about 2 inches for adults. Picking back up the crochet part, ch 2 and work even across the short row until the short rows measure the same as the height of your heel (2 inches or 10 rows).

Now it’s time to start shaping the heel. Ch 2 and work across to the last inch (5 sts) of the row [short row 1].

one inch'

Ch 2 turn and work back across to the last inch (5 sts) of the row [short row 2], leaving the ends of both of these unworked. It will be VERY important that you have the SAME number of stitches on both sides of these rows, so if you need to fudge a little and do a single crochet decrease (sc 2 tog), please do.

If you don’t know how to do a single crochet decrease (it occurs to me, I haven’t actually covered that yet), here’s how:

Ok, we’re ready to start picking up stitches and properly turning the heel now. We’re also ready to get to the weird stitches. We’ll be doing a version of the decrease I just showed you, but rather than picking up loops through two scs, we’ll be picking up a loop from the last sc on the row we’re working, the SIDE of that same stitch, and a sc on short row 1 or 2 depending on which direction you’re going. I’m going to abbreviate this sc 3 tog for this pattern,  but it’s not a TRUE sc 3 tog.

So, ch 2 and work across the short row you just made, stopping at the last stitch in the row. Sc 3 tog as described above and shown here:

ch 2, turn your row and work across to the last stitch, sc 3 tog and repeat that until you have picked up all the stitches on short rows 1 and 2. When you’re done, you should have a nicely shaped heel and most of a sock.

heel done

Now it’s time to grab the markers again and start picking up the gusset stitches. Ch 2 and do NOT turn. You’re going to be working in the side of your heel flap rows now. Notice the edge of the rows alternate in “highs” and “lows?”

highs and lows

You’ll work one sc in each high and each low across the heel flap. When you get to the corner where the foot and gusset meet, you may need to do a sc 2 tog or add an extra sc to help cross the gap and keep holes from forming (13 sc). Once you get to the foot, work 1 sc in each sc across. When you get to the corner, you may need to do another sc 2 tog to close the corner gap. Place a marker in the first and last stitch you work on the foot. Working the other side of the heel flap, pick up the same amount of stitches as you did before (13 sc). Work even across the back of the heel and join the round with a sl st and you have the beginning of your gusset.

The rest of the gusset is easy, work the next round even until you get to two stitches before the first marker, sc 2 tog, work even across the foot, after the next marker, sc 2 tog, work even to the end of the round and join. Then, work one round even. Keep repeating those two rounds until you have the same amount of stitches as you had for working the foot (40 sc). Don’t forget to move your markers as you decrease so you don’t lose your place.

When you’re done with the gusset, you should have a sock that looks something like this:

gusset done

On to the grand finale! Working the cuff. You can make the cuff as long or as short as you would like. I would advise doing at least an inch or so to help level out the sock and keep it from falling down when you wear it. One final note as we finish up here, if you don’t have the person in front of you to measure, or if you’re having difficulty measuring your own feet (I feel you, pregnant momma does not may for easy measuring), you may want to take a look at the Craft Yarn Council’s Foot Size Chart to help get a general idea for measurements.

I only did about an inch of cuff on mine, but my finished sock looks like this:

finished sock

The Short Version

Materials:

  • 1 Skein Sport weight (3) yarn any brand and color (about 275 yards)**
  • 1 size US F-5 (3.75 mm) hook**
  • Split ring markers, locking stitch markers, OR safety pins (at LEAST 2)
  • A measuring tape

Gauge:

5 sc x 5 rows =1 in x 1 in

**GAUGE NOTE: Because this pattern is using measurements rather that stitches, it doesn’t matter what weight yarn you use or what hook you use as long as you are matching the measurements. I have listed here what I am using for this project.

Take Measurements:

  1. Across top of toes
  2. Big Toe Length from tip to joint
  3. From your big toe joint to the start of your heel
  4. Heel height from bottom of foot to base of Achilles tendon or just below the Medial Malleolus (the bone that sticks out on the outside of some ankles)
  5. Desired cuff length

TOE

Make a chain half the length of measurement 1. Ch 2 more (counts as 1st sc)

Round 1:  Working the back of the chain, sc across. Ch 1 to turn, place marker in ch 1. Working the top of the chain, sc across. Ch 1 to turn, place marker in ch 1 join round with sl st.

Increase round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1st sc) sc across all scs. In ch 1 sp work sc, ch1, sc. Sc across all scs, in ch 1 sp work sc, ch 1, sc, sc in remaining sc(s), sl st into ch 2 to join.

Increase round 2: Ch 2,  sc across, ch1, sc across ch 1, sc in remaining sc(s), sl st into ch 2 to join round

For older child and adult socks:

Repeat increase round 1 and 2 until measurement 2 is reached, adjusting markers to remain in ch 1 sp as you work.

For younger child and infant socks:

Repeat increase round 1 until measurement 2 is reached, adjusting markers to remain in ch 1 sp as you work.

FOOT

Round 1: sc around, join round with sl st.

Repeat round 1 until measurement 3 is reached. Count the number of stitches you have and mark it down somewhere.

HEEL FLAP

Short Row 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1st sc), place marker in second chain. Sc across half of the FOOT stitches.

Short Row 2: Turn, ch 2, sc to across

Repeat Short Row 2 until measurement 4 is reached.

HEEL SHAPING

Row 1: Ch 2, sc across to last 1 inch of Short Row

Row 2: Turn, repeat Row 1

Count the unworked stitches at the end of both short rows. Make sure they have the same number of stitches. If necessary, use an sc 2 tog decrease to even the unworked stitches.

Row 3: turn, ch 2, sc across to last stitch. In last stitch work sc 3 tog with sc from working row, side of sc from working row and sc from row 1.

Row 4: Turn, ch 2, sc across to last stitch. In last stitch work sc 3 tog with sc from working row, side of sc from working row and sc from row 2.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all unworked stitches from row 1 and 2 have been picked up.

GUSSET

Round 1: DO NOT TURN. Ch 2, working side of heel flap rows, evenly pick up stitches in the side of each row. Pause before turning the round to the FOOT, count the picked up stitches and make a note of the number. Sc in each sc across the FOOT, place a marker in the first and last stitches of the FOOT. Working the other side of the HEEL FLAP, evenly pick up the same amount of stitches as the previous side. Sc in each sc across the top of the heel flap join round with a sl st.

NOTE: You may need to sc 2 tog to turn to the corner from the HEEL FLAP to the FOOT.

Decrease Round 1: Ch 2, sc to two stitches before marker, sc 2 tog, sc to marker, after marker sc 2 tog, sc to end of round, join with sl st.

Decrease Round 2: Sc around, join with sl st.

For older child and adult socks:

Repeat decrease round 1 and 2 until the GUSSET stitch count is the same as the FOOT stitch count noted, adjusting markers to remain in the first and last stitch of the FOOT as you work.

For younger child and infant socks:

Repeat increase round 1 until the GUSSET stitch count is the same as the FOOT stitch count noted, adjusting markers to remain in the first and last stitch of the FOOT as you work.

CUFF

Round 1: Sc in each sc around, join with sl st

Repeat round 1 until measurement 5 is reached.

Crochet 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!

I know I’ve been saying we wouldn’t get to socks until this summer, but I thought I would give you a chance to familiarize yourself with some of the tricks and terms before we start our Christmas stockings project.

Now, I have to be honest with all you crocheters out there…I have been crocheting for 20+ years and I LOVE crochet work. I really think it is well suited to most everything. With that in mind, I have to confess, I HATE crocheted socks. They’re really easy to make and they’re really fun to design, they go quickly and they’re a heck of a lot less trouble than knitted socks, but ALL the patterns I have found have you standing on the posts of the work. To me, that feels rather like standing on dry rice. Not comfortable.

That said, I know there are some people who that doesn’t bother and in fact, some people who feel like the posts massage their feet, SO I will NOT forsake the crochet sock!

Since I was honest and mentioned my bias, I’ll be honest again and mention that there are a few ways to get around or at least mitigate my problems. Using soft, bulky yarn or thin, sock yarn will help the posts on the stitches not to be so stiff. Using a looser gauge may also help.

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:

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 Make Socks

There are basically two ways to make any kind of socks, toe up and top down. As the names might indicate, toe up starts from the toe and works up the foot and to the cuff and top down starts at the cuff and works down to the toe.

The benefit to toe up socks is that you don’t have to do any sewing and they have more structure. I find that they work up faster for me, so for crochet I prefer to do socks this way if I’m going to. The down side to toe up socks is that they tend to have more complicated instructions and require a little more flexibility–especially when working the gusset and picking up stitches.

If you don’t mind sewing the toe shut at the end, you might find that top down works better for you. The benefit to top down socks is that you can get away with making a completely unstructured “tube sock” that is basically just a long tube of cloth with a closed end. They’re very good for beginners to practice on (right up there with scarves really) and work up fairly quickly. It may not be the prettiest sock, but it is functional. As I mentioned before, the downside is that you’ll have to sew the toe shut at the end.

Is It a Slipper or a Sock?

This may seem like a silly question, but in the world of crochet, socks and slippers often get lumped together as the same thing or in the same category.

The easiest way to tell the difference is to look at the work and ask “could I get my shoe on over that?” Sometimes the answer will be obvious like with these:

Other times the answer may not be so clear like with these:

The real test will come when you try it out, but generally speaking if the pattern calls for worsted weight (4) yarn or larger it’s going to tend to be more of a slipper than a sock.

Now that we know all about socks, I’ll bet you’re ready to get started on a pair yourself huh? Don’t worry, next lesson will be the beginning of our REAL sock adventure!

Crochet 101: A Few More Basics

Now that you have the basic stitches down, let’s talk about some of the other things you’ll run across in basic crochet.

One of the first things crocheters see as beginners is the “Granny Square.” This does not mean that you need to be a Granny (or Grampy) to make it, but rather is an affectionate term given to a style of in the round, coarse lace that was popular in the 1970’s (it was called a Granny Square then too). There are about a zillion ways to pattern a granny square, and they can be as big or as small as you’d like. They also only require basic stitches to make, so you can see why they’re great for beginner projects.

Sometimes Granny squares are made small, in 3-4 rounds or so, and tied together like this scarf:

1420820086994_1483979528770

Other times, one square can become a whole blanket of any size. You just keep working round the square until you’ve reached the size you want. Granny Squares are WONDERFUL for using up scrap yarn from other projects, because they don’t really have a large yardage requirement and multiple styles, weights, and colors can be tied together with a common color (tan, grey, or black all work well) to create a patchwork. Depending on how many squares you have, they can become a scarf, blanket, purse, shirt, shorts, or anything else you can think of. They’re kind of like Willy Wonka’s glass elevator in the crochet world.

So, how do you make this wonderful, versatile, crazy thing? That depends.

Older patterns will call for you to chain–usually–6 and join the loop with a slip stitch like so:

Newer patterns may call for you to make our another thing you may come across in basic crochet, the magic loop.

Especially in Amigurumi crochet (which has become quite popular in the last few years), the magic ring is a good way to make an almost invisible starting point. To make a magic loop, first take your yarn and wrap it around two or three fingers (depending on the size of your fingers). You’ll want about a two inch loop, so if you’re not sure, measure your finger span and see how wide it is. You don’t need a perfect two inches, just get close. Holding the tail with your thumb, wrap the yarn around the back of your fingers and bring it back around across the tail so that the part attached to the ball lays over the tail.

magic-loop-step-1

Lay the working yarn (the part attached to the ball) across the back of your hand again so you have two parallel strands

magic-loop-back

Then insert your hook UNDER the strand closer to your fingernails and grab the strand closer to  your wrist. Notice that the hook is down, facing the palm of my hand.

insert-hook

Pull the yarn under and turn your hook face up to create a small loop on your hook. (This is NOT your first chain stitch, just a loop to help us get going).

If you were to slide the loop off your hand at this point you would see the magic loop. Being as I can’t take pictures of the loop and chain that the same time, that’s what I did. You should be able to loose the working yarn from your pinky and use that to do the next step with the loop STILL ON YOUR HAND. There is NOTHING holding this loop together right now, so if you slide it off, you risk losing it and starting over.

magic-loop-off-hand

chain-3-loop

 

 

Read the first row of your pattern and chain as many as it calls for to begin ROUND 1 (NOT the foundation chain). I am chaining three because I’ll be working double crochets from here. NOW you can take the loop off your hand that first chain holds the loop in place. Still take care though, that tail will pull the loop out.

 

 

Next make the rest of the stitches for Round 1 in the “magic loop.” I have 12 double crochets (including my chain three) in my loop.

work-stitches

Once you’ve made all of your stitches, gently pull the tail of the loop to bring your stitches together.

Slip stitch into your first stitch (the top of the chain three in my case) and you have a nice little round with almost no hole in the center.

magic-loop-slst-round

For those of you who look at all that and say “Wow, that’s complicated…” there is an easier way! Tie your slip knot like normal and chain one. Then work the first round of your pattern in the chain 1 rather than the magic loop. I have done the same 12 double crochets using this method so you can see the difference.

ch-1-round

Yeah, they’re virtually identical. The chain one method can be a little harder to work (especially with a LOT of stitches or a larger hook), but usually it does just fine. You decide which is easier and which you like better.

Alright, enough off topic rambling right? Back to granny squares. I am going to use the chain one method for this granny square, but if you would prefer to make a ring, chain six and join the chain with a slip stitch. If you prefer the magic loop, make your loop.

Chain three to count as your first double crochet. Then make two double crochets in your loop, giving you three total at this point. For those of you using the ring, do NOT crochet into the chains, but into the center of the loop, wrapping your yarn AROUND the chains (as though it were the loop for your magic loop).

3-dc-granny

Now we’re going to make a corner. Chain three.

ch3-corner

Make three more double crochets, chain three, three more double crochets, chain three, three more double crochets, chain three and slip stitch into the chain three that makes your first double crochet. You should have a cute little square with 12 double crochets and 12 chains.

round-1-granny

To make the next round, chain 3 for your first double crochet and TURN your work. Make two more double crochets in the chain space, chain three (for your corner), and make three more double crochets (sound familiar?).

When you hit a set of three double crochets, chain one, skip the double crochets and get back to work in the chain three space that makes the next corner.

skip-3-dc

Continue like that around and join with a slip stitch.

round-2-granny

Ready for round three? Just do the same thing you did for round two. Working  three double crochets in all the gaps and chaining one to bridge the sets of three double crochet.

round-3-granny

Keep going like that until you’re happy with it and then stop. Like I said, Granny Squares can be used in just about any shape and size.

Crochet 101: Pulling It Together

We’ve covered how to tie a slip knot, the chain, the single, double, half-double, and treble (triple) crochet stitches. We’ve even had a go at color work and joining yarn. Now it’s time for the quadruple crochet!!!

Ok, we’re not going to cover quadruple crochet here. I didn’t make that up, there REALLY is a quadruple crochet stitch, but in 20 years I’ve literally never used it, so I’m not going to cover it as part of our basics. For those of you who are interested, it’s like a treble crochet with an extra yarn over. You can actually do as many yarn overs as you’d like and make it an “n” crochet stitch, but that might just get silly!

What we ARE going to cover today are the last of the basics. A lot of this will have been covered in other lessons, but I want to make sure we have them all in one location in case you need the reference later. So, what’s left?

Slip Stitch

The slip stitch is a really simple stitch that allows you to skip over stitches or to work back down a line of chains. It’s used for all kinds of things, but I think that joining rounds is really the most common use, so I’ll demonstrate that here.

Make up a chain, (any length will do for this) and then insert your hook into the very first chain you made. The one closest to the tail.

Wrap your yarn around your hook and pull it through the two loops.

You have successfully slip stitched. Well done!

Turning chain

We actually covered this in our second lesson,  it just wasn’t called that or addressed specifically. The turning chain is the chain you use to begin a new row in your work.

Remember this guy?

That’s our turning chain to make a single crochet. Usually a turning chain will be a 2 chains for single or half double crochets, 3 chains for double crochets, and 4 chains for treble crochets.

Sometimes, however, the turning chain is ACTUALLY meant to turn the row (or round) only. In these cases, you’ll chain one in order to give you enough space to turn the work and then work in the first stitch on the row. Usually you’ll see this with single or half double crochets.

Yarn Over

This is probably the easiest of all the crochet “stitches,” and it works in knitting too! You literally take the yarn and put it over your hook. Just like every wrap we’ve done for all our basic stitches.

yarn-over

You’ll usually see this instruction by itself in more complicated stitches like broomstick stitch or when making bobbles.

 

Crochet 101: Treble Crochet

The Treble Crochet (aka Triple Crochet) Stitch is basic stitch that is very similar to the double crochet. This time, however, you’ll loop three times in stead of two. It makes a nice loose tall stitch that is fun and fast to work. You won’t probably see treble crochets very often, but the concepts are used in many stitches from baubles to broomstick, so let’s take a look.

hdcbase

I’ve already made my foundation chain and done a couple rows of half double crochet so we can see how to turn and start a row of Treble Crochet. Treble Crochets are our first stitch whose abbreviation doesn’t exactly make sense. It is abbreviated tr unlike the double crochet (dc) and single crochet (sc), the Treble Crochet does not use the first letter of each word, but instead uses the first two letters of treble to make it’s abbreviation.

Why? Well, most likely it was an arbitrary decision made by the ACA (American Crochet Association) or some yarn council somewhere. I have see tr and tc used interchangeably to mean treble crochet, but any given pattern has always chosen one and stuck with it. I am choosing to stick with tr for our lessons so that it doesn’t get too confusing when you start to see tch and trtr (that’s turning chain and triple treble crochet).

Getting back to the fun work now, we’ll chain four to make our tch (see what I did there ^_~):

20170130_120555

Once you have your chain done up, wrap your yarn twice around your hook

twice-around

Then insert the hook into the stitch

through-the-stitch

Wrap the yarn again and pull through the loop through the stitch top

wrap-one

Wrap the yarn around the hook again and pull that loop through the first two on the hook

wrap-two

And do it again

wrap-two

and again

wrap-three

and again

last-wrap

Until you’re FINALLY out of loops to pull through

tr-done

This stitch can be a lot of fun and definitely fills a lot of space if you need some filler. It can be a little loose, so really watch your tension and gauge when you’re using this stitch. When it’s in a row though, it looks like this:

row-done

Remember, the first two rows are half double crochets? The triple crochet is about two and  a half rows of half double crochets in this piece. Gauge is IMPORTANT! The tr may be HUGE here, but if you have a smaller needle, or thinner yarn or tighter tension, that can change quickly.

 

 

Crochet 101: Tuck Tails, The EASY way

While we’re talking about different basic stitches in crochet, I thought I might go off on a little tangent, especially for those of you who are excited to get started on Colorwork. Since we ARE working on BASIC stitches in crochet, this entry will take you through the BASICS on changing colors. We’ll focus on changing the color for each row here. When we get a little farther along, I’ll go over changing colors in the middle of a row.

If you’ve been reading Design it Yourself, we just talked about Colorwork and what exactly it is. The short version is that Colorwork is the use of multiple colors in a knit or crochet work.

When you’re designing there are several things to take into account, but when you’re actually doing Colorwork, there are some more practical issues that come up. For example: What in the world do I do with all these strings!?

all-the-strings

First thing to do, don’t let yourself get to that stage! Rather than tying your yarn together and leaving it to chill out the end, just fasten off the first color and use a slip stitch to move onto the next one. Like so:

Once you have the slip stitch in place, make your turning chain (your pattern will tell you how many to chain, I’ll be chaining 3 to turn a double crochet row).

ch3turn

When you turn your work, lay the “tails” across the top of where you will be working. This will let you work over them.

work-over

Make your stitch and wrap it around the tails as your work and you’ve successfully hidden those pesky yarn ends.

nicelydone

It may not be the fanciest way to change colors, and goodness knows that Pintrest is FULL of ways to join yarn for knitting or crochet, but it gets the job done and it looks good when you’re finished.