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Archive entry for June 2009

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June 2009

Tennis Socks

TennisSocks.jpg

Early 1950s tennis socks originally knitted in crisp navy and white wool. I love cuffed socks but detect that some others (my sister) clearly do not. These have the design made specifically to fold down though - so there's no way out.

Instructions.

The pattern works the instep and the sole separately on two needles to enable you to work the fair isle pattern across the instep only. It is not possible to achieve this in the round. However, you join the two together as you knit.

Using No 12 needles with main shade (M), cast on 59 sts loosely and join in a round. Work 4 rounds in moss (also known as seed) stitch [every row k1 p1].

Next Round (increasing): K3; (m1, k8) 7 times. [66 sts]

Cuff border:

Change to No 11 needles and join in contrast (C) and work wave pattern border by repeating the 6 stitch pattern 10 times:

1st Round: * k3 contrast (C), k3 navy (N); repeat from * to end.
2nd Round:
* k1(N), k3(C), k1(N), k1(C) ; repeat from * to end.
3rd Round: * k2(N), k3(C), k1N; repeat from * to end.
4th Round: Knit in N.
5th Round (decreasing): K31; k2tog; ssk2tog; k31. [64 sts]

Now continue with cuff diamond pattern, repeating the 8 stitch pattern 8 times across one round:

6th Round: * k1(C), k2(N), k1(C), k2(N), k2(C); repeat from * to end.
7th Round: * k2(N), k1(C), k1(N), k1(C), k2(N), k1(C); repeat from * to end.
8th Round: * k1(N), k1(C), k3(N), k1(C), k2(N); repeat from * to end.
9th Round: * k1(C), k2(N), k1(C), k2(N), k1(C), k1(N) ; repeat from * to end.
10th Round: * k2(N), k3(C), k2(N), k1(C); repeat from * to end.
11th Round: As 9th.
12th Round: As 8th.
13th Round: As 7th.
14th Round: As 6th.

Now break off C and continue with N only; change to No 12 needles and work 7 rounds knitting.

Then turn the work so you are working the rounds in the other direction. This reverses the work to allow the cuff to fold over with the right side visible.

Work 8 more rounds knitting; at the end of the first round knit into the stitch below the first stitch of the round and knit it together with the last stitch of the round to avoid a small hole in the work.
Editor's note: Even if you don't understand how to do this, any tiny hole will not be visible as it is hidden under the cuff.

Join in C, working main diamond pattern, repeating the 8 stitch pattern 8 times:

1st Round: * k1(N), k2(C), k1(N), k2(C), k2(N), ; repeat from * to end.
2nd Round: * k2(C), k1(N), k1(C), k1(N), k2(C), k1(N); repeat from * to end.
3rd Round: * k1(C), k1(N), k3(C), k1(N), k2(C); repeat from * to end.
4th Round: * k1(N), k2(C), k1(N), k2(C), k1(N), k1(C); repeat from * to end.
5th Round: * k2(C), k3(N), k2(C), k1(N); repeat from * to end.
6th Round: As 4th.
7th Round: As 3rd.
8th Round: As 2nd.

These 8 rows form the pattern.
Work rows 1-5 inclusive again.

Continue with N only and divide for the heel, however do not break off C.

Divide for heel

Next Row: Using navy wool only, knit the next 31 stitches on to one needle to work for the heel.

Divide the remaining 33 sts across 2 needles, and leave to work the instep later. If you have worked the pattern correctly there will be a symmetrical set of complete patterns across the 33 instep sts. Make sure that it looks like this (you will have just completed row 5, the middle row in the picture):

[ Editor's note: If it doesn't look like this... you can compensate by knitting more or fewer sts for the heel flap until you get to the pattern boundary. Then when you purl back on the row below, follow the instructions as set to get your 30 sts. You should have your instep sts set correctly as above. If you still haven't then there is likely a mistake in your fair isle pattern.]

Return to your heel sts, and turn the work so that you can work back and forth across the heel sts using 2 needles.

Next Row: Purl back across 15 sts, p2 together, purl remaining 14 sts. [30 sts].

Heel flap

Next Row: * Slip 1, knit 1; repeat from * across all 30 sts.
Next Row: Slip the first stitch, p29.
Next Row: * Slip 1, knit 1; repeat from * across all 30 sts.

Repeat last 2 rows 13 times more.

Turn heel

Turn the heel by working short rows:

Next Row: Slip the first stitch, p16, p2tog, p1; turn.
Next Row: Slip1, k5, ssk, k1; turn.
Next Row: Slip 1, p6, p2tog, p1; turn.
Next Row: Slip 1, k7, ssk, k1; turn.

Continue in this way until all the sts have been incorporated in the row, ending with a knit row. [18 sts]

Turn. Purl one row.
Do not turn work, do not break wool.

Pick up and purl 16 sts down side of heel flap to bring the navy wool back to work the patterned instep. Leave these 16 sts along with the 18 heel sts, on a spare needle or stitch holder.

Upper foot panel

Take 33 sts left on needles 1 and 2, and slip them on to one needle.

Continue to use the navy yarn and pick up the contrast C, which should be waiting for you at the beginning of a purl side instep row (row 6 of the pattern). Begin working back and forth across these 33 sts, keeping the continuity of the pattern starting with a purl row and working from row 6 of the chart where you left off; work alternate rows in knit and purl.
Work the first 6 rows without slipping the first stitch and after that, slip the first stitch of every row.

Continue for 5½ inches or 4 inches less than overall desired foot length, ending with a knit row.
[ Editor's note: This is where you can adjust the length of the foot. Each pattern is approximately 1 inch, and it is nicer if you can end your work after one complete pattern, which will be to the nearest half-inch, after knitting row 5 or row 1 of the pattern. If your feet have not grown to a multiple of half inches you can still work to complete patterns, and compensate by adding a couple of rows when you work the toe.]

Break contrast yarn, and continue in navy only.

Turn the work and purl across 15 sts; p2tog; p16.

Continue with wrong side facing, using another No 12 needle, pick up and purl about 27sts from the slipped sts down the right side of the upper foot panel, and from the edges of the first 5 rows you knitted.
[ Editor's note: This is 27 sts, or more, or less, depending on how you adjusted the foot length. Also - when you pick up these sts you may want to work the sts through their back loops to keep them tight.]

Mark the stitch, by placing a piece of waste wool between the sts at this point. The waste wool should be about 6 inches long in an easily distinguished contrasting colour, and smooth, (for example cotton), as it will be woven between rows, and later pulled out.

Using the same No 12 working needle, pick up and purl 17 sts from side of heel flap, then purl 9 sts from the heel.

Using another No 12 working needle, purl the 9 remaining heel sts, and then purl the 16 sts you already picked up from the other side of the heel flap.

Mark the stitch with a piece of waste wool, as before.

Continuing with this needle, purl along the left side of the upper foot panel, picking up 27 sts from the edges of the first 6 rows you knitted and from the slipped edge sts.

The work is arranged on 3 needles. The picture shows the working needle in the process of knitting across the sole, and the waste wool markers in white.
[ Editor's note: This is where you need the needles to be long. I managed with 8 inch dpns but they really need to be longer to ensure you don't lose sts off the ends. While you are working and joining the sole, it might be prudent to put end stops on the two working needles.

Purl across the 32 sts at the top of the panel. Then using one of the spare needles, purl down the right side of the panel again, as far as the stitch marker.]
The marker is trapped between sts in the row below; pass the waste wool between the sts again before continuing, so that it will be trapped between the rows and continue to mark the sts for the sole section.

Do not turn the work.

Sole

Using the No 12 working needles, you are going to knit back and forth across the sole (between the markers) in stocking stitch, knitting the last stitch from each row together with one stitch from the upper foot panel.

1st Row: (Wrong side facing) Slip1, p24 from first needle, (16 sts up side of heel and 9 sts from heel flap), then purl 24 sts from second needle, up to 1 stitch before the stitch marker. Purl the last stitch of the sole section together with the first of the instep sts. [50sts between the markers]
Turn.
Continue to work sole on 3 needles, one working needle and the sts arranged evenly over the other 2.

2nd Row: (Right side facing) Pass the waste wool marker between the sts. Slip 1, ssk2tog; knit to the last 3 sts before the marker; k2tog, ssk the last stitch of the row together with the next instep stitch as before. [48sts between the markers] Turn.
3rd Row: Pass the waste wool marker between the sts. Slip 1, purl to the last stitch; purl together the last of the sole sts with the first instep stitch as before. [48sts between the markers] Turn.

Repeat 2nd and 3rd rows, shaping the sole by decreasing 2 sts on the knit rows, until 28 sole sts remain between the markers.

Then continue without shaping as follows (continuing to weave in the markers as before):

Next Row: Slip 1, purl to the last stitch before the marker; purl together the last of the sole sts with the first instep stitch as before.
Next Row: Slip 1, knit to the last st before the marker; ssk the last stitch of the row together with the next instep stitch as before. Turn.

Repeat the last 2 rows until all the sts from the sides of the upper foot have been joined to the sole. Do not join any of the sole sts to the 32 sts left on the 4th needle at the end of the panel.
End with a knit row. Do not turn.

Toe

Now you continue to work the sole and upper foot sts together in a round, as follows:

With right side facing, using your working needle (needle 1), knit across 32 sts from the upper foot. Knit the next 14 sts from the sole on to the next needle (needle 2), and knit the final 14 sts from the sole on to the next needle (needle 3).
Knit the first stitch from the upper foot panel on needle 1 and slip it on to the end of needle 3. Slip the last stitch from the upper foot panel on to the beginning of needle 2.

You have 60 sts arranged with 30 sts on needle 1, and 15 sts on each off needles 2 and 3.

Continue to work in rounds as follows:

[ Editor's note: This is where you can adjust the length of the foot if your feet have not grown to a multiple of half inches. Work a couple of extra plain rounds here before starting the decreasing.]

1st Round: Needle 1: k1, ssk2tog; knit to the last 3 sts; k2tog, k1.
Needle 2: k1, ssk2tog, knit to end.
Needle 3: knit to the last 3 sts; k2tog, k1. [56 sts]
2nd Round: Knit.

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 24 sts remain.
[ Editor's note: You can decrease further if you have pointed toes.]

Slip the sts from needles 1 and 2 on to one needle and graft together with the sts on needle 3.

Making up

Sew in all ends. Fold down cuff.

Materials

4 ply: 2 ozs navy, 1 oz contrast colour.

One set each of 4 double pointed needles (dpns) size 11 (3mm) and 12 (2¾mm).
The smaller (12) needles need to be 9 or more inches in length.

Tension

30 stitches and 32 rows to 4 inches over pattern.

Size matters

Length from top to bottom of heel, top turned down, 5 inches; length of foot 9 inches (adjustable).

Abbreviations

N is main shade (navy).
C is contrast (pink).

m1: make one by picking up the loop between sts and knitting into the back of it

ssk/ssk2tog: (slip, slip, knit) - or (slip1, knit 1, pass the slipped stitch over). Effectively you are "knitting 2 together through back loops".

 

A Word
on the Wool.

The recommended wool was Patons Purple Heather Fingering, (which in this era was a pure wool 4 ply), in navy for the main shade and white for the contrast.

Example used Sunbeam St Ives Sock wool in navy and Jaeger Baby Merino 4 ply in pink (50g balls, each about 200yds) - almost all of one ball of the main, and about half of the contrast.
Both wools are now extinct I think but substitute 4ply sock wools are fairly easy to find.

Disclaimer
(well...almost)

In transposing any pattern it is always a risk that errors will be introduced, in spite of dedicated proof reading.
If you have any problems with this pattern, please and I will try and assist.

Original photo from Stitchcraft April 1950, constructed using a different pattern on 2 needles with seam under sole. Generally, seams in socks are avoided so they are more comfortable to wear; a seam right under the ball of the foot cannot be ideal as sportswear. I imagine these socks were for visual impact rather than practicality.

© Christina Coutts 2007

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