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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Beginner sock knitting: Sockalong - Week 3 - Foot, toe and grafting the toes

Well, we've made it!  It's the final tutorial of the Sockalong, and I can't tell you how delighted I am that so many new pairs of socks are nearly finished!  Thank you so much to everyone who's taken part, I've loved seeing your progress photos - and hope that you'll post pictures of your finished socks on the Ravelry pattern page and in our Flickr group so that they can all be admired!  I also hope that you're not going to stop at one pair - there's so much sock yarn and so many fabulous patterns around that it would be a shame to stop now!

Right, then.  The home stretch this week - working the foot section, decreasing for the toes and then grafting with Kitchener stitch to make a nice seam-free toe.  Shall we get started?  Remember that this pattern is written for 60 stitches so if you've got more or less, you'll need to make adjustments to accommodate that.

Foot - short circular

Once you have 60 stitches again after decreasing for your gusset, continue to knit each round until you reach approximately 5cm before the end of your big toe ready to start the toes. It's best to measure your foot whilst you're standing up so that your foot spreads to the size it will be when you're walking.  Just to give you an idea, for my size 5 feet, this is about 45 rounds.  If you want to take one of the stitch markers off your sock so that you’ve only got one to slip across, then now is the time to do that and it’s best to keep the one that indicates the start of your round (that's the side where you made your first decease stitch for the gusset).  Don't be afraid to try your sock on again  before decreasing for the toes!

Beginner sock knitting: Sockalong - foot on short circular needles

Toes

You might want to read this whole section before you start!  You'll need stitch markers in to help you set up the decrease rounds.  Don't worry if you've taken both of yours out, it's not a big job to put them in again.  Look at the foot section of your sock and find your last gusset decrease stitch.  Then, follow the line of stitches straight up until you reach the top your sock and slip a marker onto your needle.  Your next marker will be 30 stitches around your knitting, but you can add that marker during your first toe round.  (If you have cast on more or less than 60 stitches, your next marker will be at the half-way point of whatever number you cast on.)

Beginner sock knitting: Sockalong - finding stitches for first toe decrease

Create the toes as follows:

Round 1:        K1, SSK, K24 sts, K2tog, K1, place marker, K1, SSK, K24 sts, K2tog, K1
Round 2:        Knit one round, slipping markers as you come to them
Round 3:        K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before marker, K2tog, K1, slip marker, K1, SSK, K to 3 sts                                          before marker, K2tog, K1

Repeat rounds 2 and 3 until you have 28 stitches left and divide these between two needles so that the front and back of the socks match.  You can leave more or less stitches on your needle if you prefer, as long as you have an even number for grafting, but do make sure that you try your sock on before making this decision.  If you need a reminder of how to do the SSK and K2tog stitches, you can find pictures on the heel tutorial.  

If you cast on more or less than 60 stitches, you will need to adjust the number of stitches you are knitting between your decreases.  As long as you decrease and K1 at each end, it doesn't matter how many stitches you have between; just make sure you that you have the same number on both needles.  You can try your sock on to make sure that it is comfortable and check that you want to decrease as far as 28 stitches - as long as your toes aren't squashed you can stop at any point.

Beginner sock knitting: Sockalong - toes ready for Kitchener stitch

Unless you are using one of the tiniest circular needles, at some point whilst decreasing for the toes, if you are using a small circular you will need to change back to DPNs as the number of stitches becomes too small for the circular.   You might find it easiest to do this at the start of a round, arranging your needles as in the picture, or alternatively you could use the magic loop method (see below).


Now we're going to graft the toes using Kitchener stitch.  This is another part of the sock-creation that some people aren't so keen on, but again, it's not too bad if you take it slowly. The best thing about Kitchener stitch is that there is no seam across your toes - I'm like the Princess in the story of The Princess and the Pea and can feel the slightest bump in my socks so it's always been very important to me that my socks are smooth!  One thing that I would definitely recommend is that you find a time when you won't be interrupted - you'll need to concentrate and trying to pick it up again mid-row after a break is not easy.

Start by leaving a long tail from the end of your knitting, then cut the yarn and thread the end onto a wool needle.  I'm giving you right-handed instructions here, and I have used a different coloured yarn so that you can easily see how the Kitchener stitch works, but you will just keep using the yarn from your ball.

1  Hold the two DPNs with your left hand.  Insert the wool needle purl-wise into the first stitch on the front DPN and pull the yarn through.  Don't take the stitch off the DPN.  


2   Next, insert the wool needle knit-wise into the first stitch on the back DPN. Don't take the stitch off.


3  Insert the wool needle knit-wise into the first stitch on the front DPN and slip it off. 


4  Insert the wool needle purl-wise into the second stitch on the front DPN and don't slip it off.


5  Insert the wool needle purl-wise  into the first stitch on the back DPN and slip it off.  


6  Insert the wool needle knit-wise into the second stitch on the back DPN and don't slip it off.


You can see how this process creates a new row of stitches which bind the two edges of the sock together.


Repeat steps 3 to 6 until you get to the last two stitches on the DPNs.  You will already have taken the yarn through the front stitch so after you have taken the yarn through the back stitch, you can slip both stitches off the DPN.  The single yarn thread through the first stitch will be strong enough to hold it and it will sit flatter when you weave the end back into your sock.


Weave the end securely into the sock and cut the yarn.


This is how the end of your sock should look once you have completed the grafting process.  You can see that the end of the sock is neat and straight, and there is no seam to rub against your toes.


It is worth remembering that the grafted row adds an extra row of stitches to your finished length.  You can see here quite clearly how the stitches blend into the original knitting.


Finally, sew the seam together at the cuff of the sock where you knitted your first two rib rows on DPNs, tightening it up if you need to, and your sock is finished.  You've done it!  Huge congratulations on a job well done!  Now all you need to do is make a second sock and you’re ready to wear your first pair!


Foot - DPNs

Once you have 60 stitches again after decreasing for your gusset, continue to knit each round until you reach approximately 5cm before the end of your big toe ready to start the toes.  It's best to measure your foot whilst you're standing up so that your foot spreads to the size it will be when you're walking. Just to give you an idea, for my size 5 feet, this is about 45 rounds.  Don't be afraid to try your sock on again  before decreasing for the toes!

Sock knitting for beginners: Sockalong - foot on DPNs

Toes

Once your sock foot is the right length, it’s time to start decreasing for the toes.  Your DPNs will already be in the right place, although you will find that as you decrease the stitches you may wish to go down to four needles.  It really doesn’t matter whether you do or not as long as you decrease in the same place every time.  If you're already on four needles, make sure that either you finish a DPN row where you need to decrease or you place stitch markers in your rows to help you keep your toes straight.


If you need to put stitch markers in, it's not a big job to work out where they should go.  Look at the foot section of your sock and find your last gusset decrease stitch.  Then, follow the line of stitches straight up until you reach the top your sock and slip a marker onto your needle.  Your next marker will be 30 stitches around your knitting, but you can add that marker during your first toe round.  (If you have cast on more or less than 60 stitches, your next marker will be at the half-way point of whatever number you cast on.)

Sock knitting for beginners: Sockalong - finding stitches for first toe decrease

Create the toes as follows, starting with needle 1 and assuming that you have 15 stitches (60 in total) on each needle:

Round 1:        (Needle 1) K1, SSK, K12 sts, (Needle 2) K12, K2tog, K1, (Needle 3) K1, SSK                                       K12 sts, (Needle 4) K12, K2tog, K1
Round 2:        Knit one round
Round 3:        (Needle 1) K1, SSK, K to end of needle, (Needle 2) K to 3 sts before end of                                           needle,K2tog, K1, (Needle 3) K1, SSK, K to end of needle (Needle 4)                                                K to 3 sts before end of needleK2tog, K1


If you have more than 60 stitches on your needle, make sure that the number of stitches is evenly divided across your four needles and work the decreases as above, knitting the extra stitches at the start and end of the needle as you come to them.

If you are working on four needles, you need to make sure that it's easy for you to see where your decreases need to be, so use a stitch marker if necessary, or position your needles so that the row always ends at a decrease.

Repeat rounds 2 and 3 until you have 28 stitches left and divide these between two needles so that front and back of socks match.  You can leave more or less stitches on your needle if you prefer, as long as you have an even number for grafting, but do make sure that you try your sock on before making this decision.  If you need a reminder of how to do the SSK and K2tog stitches, you can find pictures on the heel tutorial.

If you cast on more or less than 60 stitches, you will need to adjust the number of stitches you are knitting between your decreases.  As long as you decrease and K1 at each end, it doesn't matter how many stitches you have between; just make sure you that you have the same number on both needles.  You can try your sock on to make sure that it is comfortable and check that you want to decrease as far as 28 stitches - as long as your toes aren't squashed you can stop at any point.

Sock knitting for beginners: Sockalong - toes ready for Kitchener stitch

Now we're going to graft the toes using Kitchener stitch.  This is another part of the sock-creation that some people aren't so keen on, but again, it's not too bad if you take it slowly. The best thing about Kitchener stitch is that there is no seam across your toes - I'm like the Princess in the story of The Princess and the Pea and can feel the slightest bump in my socks so it's always been very important to me that my socks are smooth!  One thing that I would definitely recommend is that you find a time when you won't be interrupted - you'll need to concentrate and trying to pick it up again mid-row after a break is not easy.

Start by leaving a long tail from the end of your knitting, then cut the yarn and thread the end onto a wool needle.  I'm giving you right-handed instructions here, and I have used a different coloured yarn so that you can easily see how the Kitchener stitch works, but you will just keep using the yarn from your ball.

1  Hold the two DPNs with your left hand.  Insert the wool needle purl-wise into the first stitch on the front DPN and pull the yarn through.  Don't take the stitch off the DPN.  


2   Next, insert the wool needle knit-wise into the first stitch on the back DPN. Don't take the stitch off.


3  Insert the wool needle knit-wise into the first stitch on the front DPN and slip it off. 


4  Insert the wool needle purl-wise into the second stitch on the front DPN and don't slip it off.


5  Insert the wool needle purl-wise  into the first stitch on the back DPN and slip it off.  


6  Insert the wool needle knit-wise into the second stitch on the back DPN and don't slip it off.


You can see how this process creates a new row of stitches which bind the two edges of the sock together.


Repeat steps 3 to 6 until you get to the last two stitches on the DPNs.  You will already have taken the yarn through the front stitch so after you have taken the yarn through the back stitch, you can slip both stitches off the DPN.  The single yarn thread through the first stitch will be strong enough to hold it and it will sit flatter when you weave the end back into your sock.


Weave the end securely into the sock and cut the yarn.


This is how the end of your sock should look once you have completed the grafting process.  You can see that the end of the sock is neat and straight, and there is no seam to rub against your toes.


It is worth remembering that the grafted row adds an extra row of stitches to your finished length.  You can see here quite clearly how the stitches blend into the original knitting.


Finally, sew the seam together at the cuff of the sock where you knitted your first two rib rows on DPNs, tightening it up if you need to, and your sock is finished.  You've done it!  Huge congratulations on a job well done!  Now all you need to do is make a second sock and you’re ready to wear your first pair!


Foot - long circular

Once you have 60 stitches again after decreasing for your gusset, continue to knit each round until you reach approximately 5cm before the end of your big toe ready to start the toes.  It's best to measure your foot whilst you're standing up so that your foot spreads to the size it will be when you're walking. Just to give you an idea, for my size 5 feet, this is about 45 rounds.  If you've been using stitch markers and want to take one of them off your sock so that you’ve only got one to slip across, then now is the time to do that and it’s best to keep the one that indicates the start of your round.  Alternatively, you can line your needles up so that they're at the point where you need to start decreasing for your socks.  Don't be afraid to try your sock on again before decreasing for the toes!  

Sock knitting for beginners: Sockalong - foot on long circular needles (magic loop)

Toes

You might want to read this whole section before you start!  It’s very easy to create the toes using your long circular needle; you just carry on knitting as you would do normally but decrease at each side.



If you have moved your needles around, you might need to find the point where your decreases start.  Luckily, it’s not a big job to work out where they should go.  Look at the foot section of your sock and find your last gusset decrease stitch.  Then, follow the line of stitches straight up until you reach the top your sock and slip a marker onto your needle.  Your next marker will be 30 stitches around your knitting, but you can add that marker during your first toe round.  (If you have cast on more or less than 60 stitches, your next marker will be at the half-way point of whatever number you cast on.)


Sock knitting for beginners: Sockalong - finding stitches for first toe decrease

Create the toes as follows:

Round 1:        K1, SSK, K24 sts, K2tog, K1, K1, SSK, K24 sts, K2tog, K1
Round 2:        Knit one round
Round 3:        K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before end of needle, K2tog, K1, K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before                                         end of needle, K2tog, K1

Repeat rounds 2 and 3 until you have 28 stitches left and divide these between your two needles so that the front and back of your socks match.  You can leave more or less stitches on your needle if you prefer, as long as you have an even number for grafting, but do make sure that you try your sock on before making this decision.  If you need a reminder of how to do the SSK and K2tog stitches, you can find pictures on the heel tutorial.

If you cast on more or less than 60 stitches, you will need to adjust the number of stitches you are knitting between your decreases.  As long as you decrease and K1 at each end, it doesn't matter how many stitches you have between; just make sure you that you have the same number on both needles.  You can try your sock on to make sure that it is comfortable and check that you want to decrease as far as 28 stitches - as long as your toes aren't squashed you can stop at any point.


Sock knitting for beginners: Sockalong - toes ready for Kitchener stitch

Now we're going to graft the toes using Kitchener stitch.  This is another part of the sock-creation process that some people aren't so keen on, but again, it's not too bad if you take it slowly. The best thing about Kitchener stitch is that there is no seam across your toes - I'm like the Princess in the story of The Princess and the Pea and can feel the slightest bump in my socks so it's always been very important to me that my socks are smooth!  One thing that I would definitely recommend is that you find a time when you won't be interrupted - you'll need to concentrate and trying to pick it up again mid-row after a break is not easy.

Start by leaving a long tail from the end of your knitting, then cut the yarn and thread the end onto a wool needle.  I'm giving you right-handed instructions here, and I have used a different coloured yarn so that you can easily see how the Kitchener stitch works, but you will just keep using the yarn from your ball.

1  Hold the two DPNs with your left hand.  Insert the wool needle purl-wise into the first stitch on the front DPN and pull the yarn through.  Don't take the stitch off the DPN.  


2   Next, insert the wool needle knit-wise into the first stitch on the back DPN. Don't take the stitch off.


3  Insert the wool needle knit-wise into the first stitch on the front DPN and slip it off. 


4  Insert the wool needle purl-wise into the second stitch on the front DPN and don't slip it off.


5  Insert the wool needle purl-wise  into the first stitch on the back DPN and slip it off.  


6  Insert the wool needle knit-wise into the second stitch on the back DPN and don't slip it off.


You can see how this process creates a new row of stitches which bind the two edges of the sock together.


Repeat steps 3 to 6 until you get to the last two stitches on the DPNs.  You will already have taken the yarn through the front stitch so after you have taken the yarn through the back stitch, you can slip both stitches off the DPN.  The single yarn thread through the first stitch will be strong enough to hold it and it will sit flatter when you weave the end back into your sock.


Weave the end securely into the sock and cut the yarn.


This is how the end of your sock should look once you have completed the grafting process.  You can see that the end of the sock is neat and straight, and there is no seam to rub against your toes.


It is worth remembering that the grafted row adds an extra row of stitches to your finished length.  You can see here quite clearly how the stitches blend into the original knitting.


Finally, sew the seam together at the cuff of the sock where you knitted your first two rib rows on DPNs, tightening it up if you need to, and your sock is finished.  You've done it!  Huge congratulations on a job well done!  Now all you need to do is make a second sock and you’re ready to wear your first pair!


Wow!  That's it!  Apart from knitting your second sock, you're all done.  I hope you're very proud of your socks, and I've love to see your photos.  As always, you can ask any questions either here, on Facebook or on Ravelry.  

Don't forget that we have a Flickr gallery to show them off - it's wonderful to see more pictures appearing every day!  If you want to join the Flickr group, you just need to click on +Join Group and then send me a quick note to say hello; once I get your message I can add you in.  As well as the Facebook group for the beginners' Sockalong, we now also have the Winwick Mum Sockalong Society - an online knit n natter for people to talk about other things than knitting a basic sock!  There's no need to leave the original Sockalong group as it's fabulous to have so many people share their knitting experiences and helping other people to work their way through their socks; but there are so many friendships being developed that I just know there are going to be lots more conversations going on!  Anyone can join in, whether you've finished your socks or not and you can find the new group here.

Finally, I thought you might like to see my pair of socks in their finished state rather than just bits of them for the photos!  Here they are!  They're actually for big daughter who probably would have liked her socks earlier in the year when it was cold enough to be wearing them, but had to wait because I thought the yarn would be good for the Sockalong.



Matching stripes - I couldn't do otherwise!


You can see the V of the heel here very clearly ...


and the way the heel joins seamlessly to the gusset.  


Big daughter was very pleased to finally get her pair of socks!



It's been wonderful to do the Sockalong with so many of you, I've absolutely loved it and I've been very grateful for all the questions as we've gone along as that's helped me to really think about how best to help you!  Thank you again for joining in.

I hope that this is just the start of your sock knitting adventures - you really can never have too many pairs of socks!



These Sockalong tutorials are free and will always remain so, but if you have enjoyed using them and would like to make a donation towards future projects, it will be gratefully received!  You can find the donation button on the sidebar on the left hand side.  Thank you! xx


More Sockalong posts:

Sockalong - yarns

Sockalong - needles

Sockalong - tension squares, casting on and stitch calculations

Sockalong - accessories and matching yarn

Sockalong - anatomy of a sock

Sockalong - Week 1 - Cast on, cuff and leg

Sockalong - Week 2 - Heel flap, heel turn and gusset

Sockalong basic 4ply sock pattern

Facebook Sockalong group for help, advice and encouragement

Ravelry Sockalong group

Paperback and Kindle book version of the Sockalong tutorials

30 comments:

  1. Thank you again Christine. This has been a fun sockalong.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for joining in Selma, and your socks are looking great! xx

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  2. This is just too exciting. I started this not knowing whether or not I would manage to do it and I'm about to start shaping the toes! I tried it on before and it's fab. An actual sock! (Almost). Thank you so very very much Christine. I could never have done this without your wonderful tutorial. X

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It's so lovely to know that you've managed to knit a sock - not long to go now and you'll have a pair! Thanks for joining in! :-) xx

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  3. Love the yarn and great instructions, I admire your patience!
    Caz xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Caz! It's a good job I like socks :-) xx

      Delete
  4. I've done it! I've made a pair of socks! Thank you for your brilliant instructions - now I just need to get to grips with technology and post a photo 😀

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    Replies
    1. Wow, that's fantastic, Elaine, well done! Yes, I'd love to see them so if you can post a picture that would be great. Feel free to put it in the Flickr gallery - we're getting a nice collection of socks in there now! (www.flickr.com/groups/winwickmumsockalong)

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  5. Thank you so much for the great instructions.I am just on the toes of my second sock and feel that the addiction has grabbed me already.my children are fed up at my excitement as the stripes appear! Already ordered wool for the second pair!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great, I'm so glad the tutorials have helped! I think self-striping yarn is what makes socks so addictive - because the rounds are so short the colours change very quickly and you're always waiting to see what happens next! :-) xx

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  6. Thank you ever so much for this pattern I have successfully knitted my first pair of socks on the small circular needles clear instructions and love the pictures as well

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    Replies
    1. That's brilliant, thanks for letting me know. I hope you're super-proud of your new socks! xx

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  7. Crikey - one sock complete, but of all the stages to completely and utterly muck up, I didn't think it would be the kitchener stitch! Not the ecstatic end high I was anticipating, considering all the previous nifty manoeuvres I managed!
    Oh well, on to the Frankenstein monster-toed next sock!


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear! The Kitchener stitch does take a bit of practice but luckily you've got another sock to improve your technique ;-) xx

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  8. Just finished my first sock, hooray! I was wondering whether this pattern would work for a baby/child sock or if it would mess up the shaping to make it so small?

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    Replies
    1. Hello Kirsty, well done on finishing your sock! No, it doesn't mess up the shaping at all to create this as a child's sock - you will need to cast on less stitches, of course (use your stitch calculation to work out how many you need), and so your set-up heel row will be different, but other than that everything else is the same. Take a view as to how many stitches you want to decrease to on the toes and you're away :) xx

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  9. Thank you sooooooo much for your instructions, I have just finished my first sock and about to start the second. I noticed your stripes match up across your pair of socks. How do I make sure the same happens with my socks. I am using a similar self striping wool. Hilary

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    Replies
    1. That's great to hear, Hilary! If you look at the list of tutorials on the Join The Sockalong page you'll one called "accessories and matching yarn" and you'll find instructions for matching stripes in there. As you've already made one sock, it should be quite easy to match the second - keep pulling the yarn from the ball until you find an obvious stripe which you can match up against your first sock and then work backwards from there until you find the point where you can cast on. I hope that helps! xx

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  10. That will teach me to jump in and start knitting before I've read all the instructions. I'll have a go at matching but if it doesn't work I'm fairly relaxed about having mismatched socks ! Thanks again for all your help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem ... I'm impressed that you read the instructions at all, my husband never does ;-) xx

      Delete
  11. Hi thanks for the tutorial, it was great for a novice like me!I've finished my first sock and it looks sockish but it's a bit wavy and bumpy, do I need to block them , if so , how can I do it without the block inserts , thanks

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    Replies
    1. Hi! I think you'll find that the waves and bumps disappear when you put the sock on and certainly when you wash them. Blocking will only last until you wash the socks anyway, so I'd just wear them. If my socks are to be gifts, I often press them under a damp cloth instead of using blockers, but be careful not to press so hard that you crush the yarn xx

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  12. Hi. I would like to thank you for your fantastic tutorial. It is so easy to understand and follow. I have finished my first sock and love it. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's brilliant to hear, thanks for letting me know Vicki! xx

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  13. Hi Christine. I have just finished my 3rd sock and as I said above, your tutorial is so easy to understand. Just wondering if you think that the socks stretch at all. I am using a good quality sock yarn. They are quite firm but am afraid that if I make them a little longer, they may stretch. Thanks for your time.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Vicki, I've never had a problem with my socks stretching, but I have found that after about five years or so (!), they tend to shrink just a little so I tend to add a round or two to compensate for that :-) xx

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  14. Hi Christine. I have finished two more pairs of socks since last I posted. I now feel very comfortable with this pattern. Thankyou. One pair was in Nako Boho and are not as soft as I would have liked. The second pair are Patons Patonyle Merino and are lovely and soft. Being in Aust I can't get most of the wools I see on your blog. I'm hoping that the Nako one washes up a bit softer.

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    Replies
    1. Wow - two more pairs? You're on a roll! I've seen that quite a lot of people in the Sockalong Facebook groups who are in Australia shop at Bendigo Mills and Spotlight (you may know of these already) and it's also worth having a look at UK online yarn companies as often their postage to Australia isn't as much as you think. The other thing to do is find a friend who wants yarn at the same time and combine the order :-) xx

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  15. So I was moving my needles about a lot in an effort not to get ladders. It worked!! Trying to line up the start of my round for the toe now. Should I be placing my marker to the left or right of the heel decrease row you suggest to use?

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  16. To the left, Gemma, so you'd slip your marker and then knit the first stitch and then decrease :-) xx

    ReplyDelete

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