"The item, hot from the griddle, which I now unveil is the Moccasin Sock, the Breakthrough Sock, the Not-To-Be-Ground-Down Sock; The Eventually Totally Re-footable Sock. Call it what you will; all the above tentative titles apply." - Elizabeth Zimmermann, The Knitter's Almanac
This enthusiasm may bewilder. I will endeavor to explain.
This month's project, the Moccasin Sock, has a very unique design. Here it is, modeled by my lovely husband (who will happily comply with all manner of photographic nonsense if it gets him closer to a new pair of hand-knit socks):
|Mustard and Light Gray Heather|
Do you see the brilliance? No? How about this one:
See that gray sole? (Practically) every sock ever knit before now has been knit in the round, which convenient because human feet are 3 dimensional, requiring a tube-shaped sock to cover them and humans generally dislike trodding on seams. Thus, knitting in the round, whether you did it with 4 or more double-pointed needles or with two circular needles or with magic loop, was deemed to be necessary.
This Moccasin sock, however, is knit another way entirely: the leg and the top of the foot are knit back and forth, and then using gray, the knitter picks up stitches all around the edge of the foot and knits in the round on a circular or their preferred method, knitting towards the center of the foot, decreasing where necessary so that everything will lie flat, and then, when the sole is big enough, the stitches are sewn together with Kitchener stitch, which makes everything flat and smooth. The back of the leg stitches are likewise sewn together.
But why would you do this, when the traditional method of socks (knit in the round until you come to the heel, make a heel, knit in the round until you come to the toe, decrease for toe, sew closed) is so much simpler?
Here is why:
1. If you are intimidated by or simply dislike knitting using double-pointed needles.
2. If you don't have more than one circular knitting needle, or your circular needle is short. (It has to be long to use the magic loop method.)
3. If you prefer knitting back and forth to knitting in the round. Note that you will have to do a bit of in the round, but it's much less than if you were to use the traditional method. (This can be done with a circular needle if desired.)
4. If you want to use a different yarn for the sole and the top. This was, in fact, EZ's inspiration for designing this pattern: she wanted to use reinforced yarn for the sole of the foot but not the top, where it would be wasted.
5. If you only have one skein of special yarn and you still want to make a pair of socks.
Let me elaborate on that last one. If you are using sock yarn*, an adult-sized pair of socks requires at least 400 yards of yarn. Sock yarn is often sold in approx. 200 yard skeins. This yarn, Valley Yarns Huntington, a merino wool blend, was both lovely and economical but these descriptors are not often paired. If your heart is set on a yarn too expensive to buy two skeins, or if you simply have found an odd ball that you'd like to use up without making mismatched socks, this method will let you do that. You don't see the sole of the foot at all when wearing shoes, so it could be a cheaper color that coordinates, a color you want to use up, or even a series of scraps.
These are approximately men's size 10 socks, in a short crew style, and the yellow part used up nearly every bit of the 218 yards in the skein. As a side note, I would like to congratulate myself on finding such a cheery color that my husband will consent to wear. It's a great color, and almost perfectly matches a ginkgo tree in autumn.
|Very difficult to get three children to look at the camera at once, particularly when you are on the way to get ice cream.|
*Using sock yarn, or "fingering weight" yarn will produce socks that are "normal" thickness, suitable for wearing under dress shoes. Using worsted weight yarn will produce chunkier socks, more suitable for wearing under thick boots or as house slippers. The thicker the yarn, the fewer yards you will need.
In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that the reason that there is only one sock in the photograph is that there was only one sock finished in November, as I was much consumed with a Nanowrimo project, Thanksgiving, and a sinus infection. However, I did finish the other sock before Christmas which was their actual deadline. I intended to photograph both of them today, using my own feet, but 'Stache wore them to work.