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Saturday, 30 July 2016

West Yorkshire Spinners - a very modern mill

Back in May this year, I started - and finished - a pair of socks in one of the new cocktail colours from West Yorkshire Spinners. I chose their Rum Paradise colourway because I couldn't resist the bright rainbows and they were a joy to knit.  


The stripes were easy to match (perfect for beginners, in fact!), the yarn was smooth and slipped easily around my needles, and there was something really addictive about watching the rainbow grow along the shape of my sock.  (Love the yarn too?  You can view their list of stockists here.)


What also impressed me is that West Yorkshire Spinners produce yarn from British sheep.  I've long been a fan of supporting local businesses and buying yarn that supports our British farmers ticks that box for me.  Think yarn miles instead of food miles!  I'm also fascinated by where things come from and how they are made because I think that gives you a deeper connection to whatever it is (it's why I loved doing my Classical Studies MA so much, and now the researcher in me has been unleashed, it's hard to stop!) so I don't need to tell you how delighted I was when the lovely people at West Yorkshire Spinners said I could go up to see how their mill turned wool into yarn. Do you want to come with me?  Get ready for lots of photos because you're coming on a tour!

It was incredibly hot here in the UK last week but luckily, last Thursday when I drove up to the mill at Keighley in West Yorkshire it was a bit cooler.  I had visions of the place being hot, smelly and noisy so the thought of baking temperatures as well made me a little apprehensive as to what I was going to experience.  What do you expect a spinning mill to look like?  An old multi-storey building with uneven wooden floors and machinery so loud that you have to resort to sign language to understand what's going on?  If so, then like me you've probably visited too many National Trust properties because it was nothing at all like that!  This is what I saw when I drove into the car park ...


The mill is housed in a modern warehouse on a modern industrial estate.  Nothing dark or Satanic about this place, and no clogs or uneven wooden floors in sight either!  In fact, the inside of the mill is bright and airy, bales of fleece and yarn wherever you look and surprisingly, not nearly as noisy or smelly as I expected.  I thought at least there would be a sheepy aroma, but it was more of a soft machinery smell, not unpleasant or unbearable.  The workers all use ear plugs but for my tour, it was perfectly manageable without them - which of course meant I got to ask lots of questions!  


I met up with Peter, the Managing Director, Richard, the Sales &  Marketing Director and Marketing Executive Emma (all these people to show me round - I felt very honoured!) who knew the answers to all of my questions and answered those that I didn't think to ask as well. Peter and Richard are a father and son team who intend to see the WYS British yarns range grow substantially over the next few years.  Peter's focus is on technology, bringing young people into the business to ensure the traditions and skills are not lost, and on development of the products.  He's been in the yarn business for so long that I wouldn't be surprised to discover that there's wool flowing through his veins!

West Yorkshire Spinners (WYS) have been spinning yarn for export for many years, but in 2012 they decided to produce their own yarn using British wool.  At the moment, they produce Signature 4ply, Illustrious and Aire Valley DK, Aire Valley Aran and a range of 100% Blue Faced Leicester yarns which are available in 100% natural undyed on hank and also as a collection of dyed shades on the ball.   They also offer other undyed yarns available for hand-dyeing, but their plan is to extend this range in the near future to suit the demands of their customers.  One of the things that I discovered during the day is that WYS are very focussed on what their customers want.  Their range may not be huge at the moment but it is very popular and has a wide variety of colours within the yarns that they do produce - but more about those colours later!

This is how Illustrious DK yarn starts it's life.  It's been injection-dyed to give it an even colour and is ready to begin the process that turns it into yarn.  Illustrious is 70% Falkland Wool (if you remember when I wrote about my Peru socks, the Falkland Islands are still classed as part of the UK) and 30% British Alpaca.  The processes that it will go through after being dyed are drawing, spinning and twisting ...


and this is the end result.  It's like magic!

Photo: West Yorkshire Spinners

That makes it all sound very simple but of course it is a hugely technical process with no magic involved at all.  Would you like to see?  Come on then!

The wool that is brought into the mill started out as fleeces which have been scoured (cleaned) at nearby Haworth Scouring (there's a great article on Haworth Scouring in The Knitter, issue 100). Once at the mill, this is the first of the processes that the wool will go through and it is called drawing. We're going to follow this yarn to the point where it can be spun; it's going to be a sock yarn (they must have known I was coming!) and is for export to Scandinavia.  It's going to be a light grey yarn (WYS produce four shades of grey for export, this will be the palest) and instead of being dyed after it's been spun or injection dyed like the Illustrious, it's created by blending in the colour at this point.  Can you see that the bags contain different colours?  The white is nylon to make the yarn more hard-wearing, the cream is undyed wool and right at the back of the picture is a bag of black wool.      


You can see it more clearly in this picture here.  This wool has been dyed this colour (like the pink Illustrious), and just this one bag will be enough to create a pale grey yarn when it's mixed with the undyed wool.



The machine pulls all the thick strands of wool (known as "tops") into one big strand and as it goes through the square part of the machine that you can see on the left (with the orange light on top), it is combed to make sure that all the wool fibres are lying in the same direction.  This is what makes the yarn stronger and smoother; it's known as Worsted Spinning and you don't get the itch factor that those of us who remember having "proper" wool jumpers knitted for us as children never liked!  


Finally, the wool comes out of the other end of the machine through what looks like a tap and it is "poured" into huge containers at the bottom which are automatically moved around as the containers become full.  (Yarn on tap, imagine that! J )


So after the first run (called a "preparation") through the machinery, this is what has happened to all those bags of tops.  They've started to blend together and you can see that the black has already started to break up and blend with the undyed yarn.


There are four preparations before the wool is ready to be spun.  If you think that the wool in the containers started off as all those separate bags in the first picture, you can see just how much of it is spun here.  Peter estimates that around 750,000kg of wool will pass through the mill next year to become yarn that will be sold all around the world.  Now that is a lot of wool!


This is what the wool looks like just before it is ready for spinning.  You can see that it's a pale, even grey colour and it looks like rope or maybe plaited hair.  It's the softest rope you'll ever touch and I'm thinking that even Rapunzel couldn't match this!  (Yes, I did do a lot of wool and yarn stroking; it would have rude not to!)


After the drawing process comes the spinning.  Here's the Illustrious wool again (there's always more than one yarn being processed at the same time) being spun.  You can see the wool coming into the machine at the top ...


and here it is as yarn on the spindle at the bottom.  It's really quite incredible, and it all happens so fast that one minute the spindle looks empty and the next it's full of colour.


More spinning machines, this time producing another export yarn.  This one is spinning a blend of Norwegian and British wool.  The British wools that aren't from a specific breed are a blend of breeds that have the same wool characteristics; often this happens when there isn't enough of one breed to produce a whole batch, or if the wool would perform better if mixed with another similar type of wool.  WYS use single breed Falkland wool to produce Illustrious, Jacobs and Wensleydale which can be used for hand-dyeing and Blue Faced Leicester which is used on it's own and also blended with their own sock yarns (sorry, 4ply - I must remember that you can use it for garments other than socks!) to provide extra softness.  All the single breed wools that come into the mill can be traced back to the farms where they have come from.


This is what happens to it next.  It goes through another process, and I think of all of the ones that I saw in the spinning mill, this one was my favourite.  The spindle goes into the bottom of the machine, the yarn passes through the machinery and is wound onto the cones at the top.  



Now here's the really clever bit.  This part of the machine is quality checking the thickness of the yarn with a laser and if it finds something not quite right, it will cut and splice the yarn to fix the problem and ensure that there aren't any knots or slubby bits.  Nifty, eh?  


It's all moving so fast that it takes your eyes a moment or two to see what it's doing, so I've marked this photo to make it a bit easier.  The machine very obligingly cut and spliced the yarn whilst I was watching it; the whole thing was done in the blink of an eye.  Nobody likes knots in their yarn but yarn does have to start and end somewhere - it's impossible not to have any knots but WYS work very hard to minimise the number they do have.


Next, this single strand of yarn is plied together with other single strands to make up the right weight of yarn.  


If you look closely, you can see that there are four strands in this yarn.


It's still not quite ready to be turned into balls - you couldn't knit with those strands so loosely plied together, so the next process is twisting the yarn to turn it into one single strand.  As the yarn is pulled upwards from the bottom, it's twisted as it is wound onto the next cone.  This is yet another yarn being processed; there's never any wasted time here whilst you wait for one process to finish as there's always something happening on every machine.


This machine looks like a top-loading washing machine, doesn't it?


This rather fuzzy picture is what the twisted yarn looks like before it heads off to be put into individual balls.  Each one of those cones is 7kg so each one will produce seventy 100g balls.  The mind boggles when you think about how many balls of yarn this is going to become, doesn't it?!
  

The balling process happens at the dye house which is a short distance away, so we hopped in the car to see what went on there.  Before we left the mill, though, there was time for a quick squish of this.  This is 100% undyed Blue Faced Leicester and boy, is it soft!  I think I could quite happily have stayed squishing this (or perhaps getting into the container and snuggling it) for a very long time!  


Now, if you've been following my posts you will know that I'm really interested in the idea that you can create strong sock wool without nylon.  I asked Peter about this as I know that Blue Faced Leicester is a long fibre which, in theory, can create a yarn strong enough for socks without any additions.  He told me that to do that you would need to put a very high twist on the yarn to stop it wearing, but the higher the yarn twist, the less soft it becomes.  He prefers to add nylon to the WYS yarns because then you can still produce strong yarns and not lose any of the softness of the wool, and because Signature 4ply isn't just for socks (really?!) then it's important to retain the softness for garments that will be worn next to your skin.

Over at the dye house, one of the first things that I see is my very favourite WYS yarn - it's the Rum Cocktail!  It seems quite incredible to me that it is just here in these huge baskets in the biggest hanks I've ever seen.



There's more of it here, along with other cocktail colours, wound onto huge cones.  I know what you're thinking and no, they are far too big to disappear out of the mill under your clothes J.


The dyeing process is one that WYS want to keep close to their chests, so there aren't any photos of how the yarn is dyed, but I can tell you that it is printed with rollers on machinery controlled by a computer programme which makes it the most precise yarn dyeing process anywhere.  I actually saw the Rum Paradise yarn being dyed - it looked like seaside rock!

Sarah is the dye house manager and the talent behind the colours and yarn patterns.  She chooses the colour palettes, dyes samples and knits them up as swatches to see how they are going to turn out as the finished product.  For someone with an eye for colour, it's a dream job!  Sarah's already working on new colours and designs for Spring/Summer 2017, and like other yarn producers, WYS also visit the big yarn and fashion events here and abroad to guide their production decisions.  Yes, I may have had a sneak peek at what might be coming up, and no, I can't tell you - but I think you'll love them!

The dye lab where all the colour magic takes place is right in the dye house where Sarah can keep an eye on what's going on whilst she works on her new projects.  She keeps meticulous records of how she has created each colour and how much of each colour is to be used in each dye run.  The amount of dye used in each run is carefully controlled so that there is no waste and there is rigorous control over how much energy is used in the processing too.

Once the yarn has been dyed, it needs to be steamed under pressure at high temperatures to set the dyeware and ensure there won't be any colourful washing machine accidents in the future. The yarn is then scoured and washed to remove any excess dye that might remain, spin dried in the biggest spin dryer I've ever seen in my life and then gently dried.  The spin drying process also helps to reduce the amount of time that the yarn needs to spend in the dryer - better for the yarn and better for the environment!    

The yarn is nearly ready to be wound into balls, but before it gets to the balling machine, there's one last process.  All of the washing and drying has left it rather flat so it goes through another steaming process to fluff up (loft) the yarn.  The yarn goes in flat and comes out looking just like the yarn that you buy in the balls.


I thought it looked a bit like a conveyor belt of cakes, but it was getting near to lunch time ... J


This is how the balls of yarn are made.  The ball bands are put onto the holders at the top of the machine ...


The balls are wound at the bottom of the machine (you can see how fast this is by the blur in the photo!) ...


And then the balls are slotted upwards into the ball bands and onto a conveyor belt which carries them off the machine to be packed.


I think it's quite amazing that machinery has been developed which does all of this.  Yes, it does mean that less people are involved than in days gone by, but life is different now and to survive in business often means automating processes that were once done by hand.  However, the really important stuff, such as choosing wool blends, knowing how to handle fibres and what makes them work for knitters, and putting together colours and textures that we want to knit with requires more than just automated intelligence; knowledge, intuition and even emotion are all necessary components and that's something that no machine can replicate.

Back at the spinning mill, we took a quick look upstairs at the showroom.  Being rather sock-focussed (allegedly - I still maintain that socks are the way to go!), I hadn't realised quite how many yarns WYS produced, or in so many colours - it's always lovely to see yarns in rainbows, isn't it?  


These are some of the sock yarns with the complimentary solid colours; as much as I like both the British birds and cocktail Signature 4ply colours on their own, they do look great when matched with one of the other shades.  


I also liked that their latest Illustrious pattern book is spiral-bound making it easier to hold flat when you're working from it (I know that a few people have taken my Super Socks book to be spiral bound at stationery shops and I think it's a great idea), and conscious of the price of a pattern book, WYS have also added other articles to the book to give it more of a coffee-table book feel.  WYS don't have any in-house designers either, preferring to use outside designers both new and established so that they can offer a wide range of styles to suit all tastes.  It's another example of how their customers are a part of everything that WYS are doing.  I like it.


Phew - are you puffed out now?  This has been another long post (I think this is turning into the Year of the Long Post!) but I wanted to show you as much as I could because I think it's great to have the opportunity to see where that ball of yarn in your hands came from.   I think you appreciate things more when you see the work that's gone into getting them from raw materials to the finished product - I know that I certainly take my time reading knitting magazines now rather than flicking through them after seeing what goes into producing every issue!

Before I left, I was asked if what I had seen was what I had expected.  I had to think about this - as far as the yarn spinning and processing when then no, I had no idea of what to expect as my only experience of this sort of thing has been at something like a National Trust property; but also I hadn't expected the people I met to be quite like they are either.  After all, I'm just a Mum who knits and writes (rather obsessively sometimes) about socks, but I felt very welcome and I very much appreciated their openness in talking to me and showing me around their mill.  I found Peter, Richard and Emma to be friendly and customer-focussed, with a passion and enthusiasm for what they are doing and for keeping the spinning business alive and passing it on from one generation to the next.  I have no doubts at all that I'll still be knitting socks with WYS yarns for many years to come.




A massive thank you to Peter, Richard and Emma for taking time out of their day to show me around the WYS mill and dye house - I loved every minute of it!   And thank you also for the yarn - I shall certainly make good use of it!


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Basic 8ply (DK) boot socks - free pattern and tutorial

One of the best things about sock knitting is the sheer number of yarns that there is to choose from - not just in colours but in weights as well.  It means that you can knit a sock for all seasons, and for all occasions!

So far, we've concentrated on 4ply and 6ply yarns to create socks, but sometimes you need something a bit thicker.  8ply yarn (English DK or double knitting, light worsted in the US) is not quite as heavy as Aran but is thicker and warmer than both 4ply and 6ply (as you would guess from the name!) and makes a great boot sock.  It's quick to knit up too, taking less stitches and rounds to create a sock so you've got plenty of yarn to knit even the biggest pair of socks in the 150g balls that the yarn is usually sold in.

You can use any DK yarn for these socks, but do think about the composition before you start - acrylic will make your feet a bit hot and sweaty, and yarns with a nylon content with make them more hard-wearing.  You can use 100% wool yarns, but you will have to be careful when washing your socks in case they felt or shrink in hot water.


I've used my basic 4ply sock pattern for this sock, adjusting the number of stitches to suit the thicker yarn.  You can do this with any yarn and for any size of sock by working out the number of stitches that you need through a tension swatch - there are instructions on how to do that in this tutorial here.  If you need help with matching the stripes in your yarn, you can find it in this tutorial here.

If you're not familiar with knitting socks, you can find my step-by-step Sockalong tutorials here which will guide you through every aspect of knitting a pair of socks from choosing the yarn and needles to turning heels and creating seam-free toes.  Although the Sockalong tutorials are written for 4ply yarn, the process of knitting the sock is the same so you can use this pattern but follow along with the pictures.  If you have knitted socks before but still find that you need more pictures than are provided in this tutorial, the Sockalong pages are the place to go!

Are you ready to get started?


Basic socks in 8 ply (DK) yarn
(you can download a PDF copy of the pattern here)

These socks are constructed as top down socks with a gusset heel.  The heel is knitted in heel stitch which creates a durable, cushioned heel.  This pattern will create a medium-sized sock.  If you want to make the pattern bigger or smaller, simply increase or decrease the number of cast-on stitches by 4, but remember that you will need to make adjustments when you turn the heel.  If you need help working out how many to cast on, have a look at this tutorial from the Sockalong.

Materials

3.5mm needles – I use a 30cm circular needle but DPNs or magic loop will also work
1 x 150g ball of 8ply sock yarn - yarn pictured is Regia Iglu Color in shade 8991 Lappland
1 pair DPNs size 3.5mm (in addition to a circular needle)
stitch markers
wool needle

Note: I cast on using DPNs then change to my circular needle  –  it’s not easy to cast on using the circular as it’s too small.  If you want to use magic loop you will be able to cast on with the larger circular needle.  If you use DPNs, you might find it easiest to cast on and work 2 rows before dividing the stitches across the needles.

Pattern

Cast on 44 stitches using 4.0mm needle  (this is optional - I find that casting on with a larger needle gives a looser edge for getting your foot in and out of the sock but it's fine to cast on with the needle size you intend to use). 

1st row:            K2, P2, repeat to end, turn
2nd row:          K2, P2, repeat to end



Change to 3.5mm needles.  At this point, change to a small circular, magic loop or divide the stitches evenly across three or four DPNs according to preference.  To knit your stitches onto the circular needle, just use it in place of the DPN for the next row.



then join into a circle by bringing the needle with the working yarn around and knitting into the start of the round.  Place a marker over your needle so that you know where your round starts and finishes.  You'll be able to sew up the small gap where the join is later when you sew in your tail end.



Continue in K2, P2 rib for 8 more rounds or until desired length of rib (I knit 10 rounds of rib).

Continue to knit each round until desired length before start of heel (for me, this is 48 rounds in total including the rib).

Heel Flap

If you are knitting with a 30cm circular needles, you will need to change to 3.5mm DPNs to start the heel flap.



At this point, I tuck the ends of my needle down inside my sock so that it doesn't get in the way.  If you are using DPNs or magic loop, you don't need to change needles. 


You are going to create the heel flap from half the number of stitches that you cast on, so if you have cast on more or less than 44 stitches, remember to adjust the number of stitches when you start the heel flap.   
                               
1st  row:          K2, *Sl1, K1* until you have 22 stitches on your needle, turn  (slip the stitch by                                sliding it from one needle to the other without knitting it)
2nd row:         Sl1, P  to end, turn
3rd row:          Sl1, *K1, sl1* to end, turn

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until heel measures approximately 2 inches, finishing on row 3 (for me, that is approx 19 rows) .  If you want to make the heel flap longer, continuing knitting rows 2 and 3 until you reach the desired length, but remember that you will need to pick up more stitches to create the gusset.

The fabric will be different on both sides: a ridged stitch on the right side ...



and a slipped stitch on the wrong side.  This gives the cushioned heel.



Turn heel  (You might want to read all of this section before starting!)

*For a larger or smaller sock, you will need to alter the number of purl stitches in the first row of the heel (marked in bold below), increasing by 1 stitch for each block of 4 stitches extra that you cast on, or decreasing by 1 stitch for each block of 4 stitches less than 44 stitches.  For example, if you cast on 48 stitches, your first row would be Sl1, P13, P2tog, P1, turn*

Row 1:            Sl1, P12, P2tog, P1, turn             

This row is your set up row which gets you to the middle of your heel with stitches left on your needle on either side.  You are going to work the stitches in the middle of your needle all the time, bringing one stitch in from either side on every other row to create a V-shaped heel.

Row 2:            Sl1, K5, SSK, K1, turn
Row 3:            Sl1, P6, P2tog, P1, turn
Row 4:            Sl1, K7, SSK, K1, turn

Create the SSK stitch by slipping the first stitch on the left hand needle knitwise onto the right hand needle, then the second stitch on the left hand needle purlwise onto the right hand needle, transfer them both back to the left hand needle and knit them together through the back of the stitches.



You can always tell where you're up to as there will be a gap between the last stitch worked on the previous row and the stitches that are still be included in the heel.


Continue in this way, adding one stitch to each row until all your stitches are worked across your needle - eg, Sl1, P8, P2tog, P1; Sl1, K9, SSK, K1 etc.

This is what the heel looks like on the SSK side (left) 



and the P2tog side (right):



Holding your sock with the outside of the heel flap facing you, knit across the heel stitches if required to bring you to the left hand side of the needle ready to pick up the gusset stitches.  Remember that if you made the heel flap bigger, you will need to pick up more stitches.  When you pick up the stitches, you will notice that you have a line of bigger stitches at each edge of the heel flap.  This is created by the slip stitch at the start of each row and will make it easier to pick up the stitches.  You are going to pick up every large slipped stitch which is the equivalent of 1 stitch for every 2 rows.


To pick up a stitch, you are going to insert your needle into the inside loop of the large stitch (some people prefer to pick up two loops - it's entirely personal preference) and wrap the yarn around the needle as if to knit the stitch ...


then pull the yarn through the loop as if you were knitting an ordinary stitch and there's your new stitch!


Repeat this for each of the slipped stitches plus one extra stitch between the heel flap and the top of the foot stitches which will stop a hole forming there.  This will give you a nice neat line once you have picked up all of your stitches.



If you are using a long circular for magic loop, place a marker over your needle at this point - there's no need to do this if you're using a short circular or DPNs as it will just fall off!  

Knit across the top of the foot stitches - I usually knit back onto my circular needle at this point by bending the ends of the needle around to knit the stitches in a tiny circle ...



place a marker (if you're using short or long circulars), then pick up the stitches up the other side of the heel.  If you're using a short circular, you can either pick up your stitches with your circular needle - your sock will look like this (note that I've stopped to take the picture at the top of the second set of pick up stitches):



or if that seems too fiddly then use a DPN to pick up the stitches (or even knit across the top of your foot stitches) and then join the short circular in again later.  There's no hard and fast rule here, just do what works best for your hands.



As a guide, I picked up 11 stitches on each side but you will pick up as many stitches as you have slipped stitches so it may be different to mine.  

Knit across the top of the heel and then shape the gusset as below.

Shape gusset

Round  1:        K to 3 sts before the marker, K2tog, K1, slip marker, knit to next marker, slip                                   marker, K1, SSK, K to marker.
Round 2:         Slip marker, knit to next next marker, slip marker, knit to 3 sts before marker.
Round 3:         K2tog, K1, slip marker, knit to next marker, slip marker, K1, SSK, K to marker.

Continue in this way, decreasing by two stitches at the gusset on every other row until there are 44 stitches on the needle.  Your gusset line will look like this:



Once you have 44 stitches again, continue to knit each round until you reach approximately 3cm before the desired length ready to start the toes.  For my size 5 feet, this was about 42 rounds.  Don't be afraid to try your sock on before decreasing for the toes!

Toes

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.   It's up to you when you choose to do that, and how you distribute the stitches across the needles; just keep following the pattern as set below.  Create the toes as follows:

Round 1:          K1, SSK, K16 sts, K2tog, K1, place marker, K1, SSK, K16 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 the back of the socks match.


Graft toes using Kitchener stitch.  If you've used my basic sock pattern, you'll have seen these instructions before but if not, then hopefully this will take some of the confusion of it!  Just take it slowly and graft each toe in one go (don't start and then leave it half-way through or disaster is guaranteed!).  Cut a long length of yarn and thread it onto a wool needle.  I'm giving you right-handed instructions here.

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.  




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



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


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



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



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



4  Repeat 2 and 3 until you get to the last two stitches on the DPNs.  You can see how the Kitchener stitch creates a new row of "knitting" so that there is no seam on your toes.



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.



When I come to sew the end in, I usually make sure that I catch the last stitch if it's a bit loose and sew it into place so that I don't get the "ears" on the end of my sock.  If you do get those, don't worry about them too much as they will generally disappear once you've worn and washed your socks.


And there's your sock!  Remember to sew in the tail end at the cuff and tighten up any stitches if you need to, make another sock to match and you're good to go.  This pattern is also listed on Ravelry so if you have enjoyed using it then please consider linking to the pattern so that I can see your socks - I always love to see people's socks!




This sock pattern is free and will always remain so, but if you have enjoyed using it and would like to make a donation to future projects, it will be gratefully received!  You can find the donation button on the sidebar on the left hand side.  Thank you! xx