She and I teamed up recently to test drive one of her new products, "Bunny Cuff" hand spun alpaca/angora yarn. I gave her hand-spun sample a test run and came up with Hearth Socks: You know, those warm snuggly socks you can't wait to put on at the end of a cold, rainy day when you just want to prop your feet up in front a roaring fire and relax. "Heather Foxy" graciously offered to participate in the project by donating fiber.
I knit up the cuff in "Bunny Cuff", and created the body of the sock with my hand painted Kathee's DK superwash, super soft merino, done here in Winterscape. We thought the blend of natural colors and the natural cuff fiber was a winning combination!
The Bunny Cuff yardage requirement was minimal, and the DK yarn requirement was less than 1 skein (Kathee's DK comes in 100G skeins). For a larger foot or taller sock, 1 skein would still be the maximum yardage requirement.
I decided as I was knitting up this sample that a more natural, rustic design would be best. I created the center design panel in a basic P5, 4-stitch cable, P5 pattern with a 6 row repeat, and a simple cuff down construction, on US 3 double points.
This was a fun 1 day project - and I'll definitely be making more of these as the Pacific Northwest heads into the rainy winter season.
Beacon Bend Alpacas will be at OFFF in Canby, Oregon this month, and you can see the Hearth Socks as well as purchase Bunny Cuff or fiber ready to spin, and Kathee's DK to create your own! Be sure to stop by!
Size 3 Double Point Needles (can also be done on 2 circulars)
Appx. 60 gms Kathee’s DK (superwash merino) from Kathee Nelson Art Yarn
Appx. 60 yds Bunny Cuff hand-spun DK from Beacon Bend Alpacas
These instructions fit a lady’s size 6-7 foot. You’ll need to make adjustments if you need a wider calf opening or larger foot; there are many free patterns on the web available for that purpose.
CABLE PANEL (6 row repeat):
Row 1: Purl 5, **slip 2 stitches to cable needle and hold in front of work, K2, K2 stitches from cable needle, Purl 5.
Row 2-6: Purl 5, K4, Purl 5.
**I do not use a cable needle unless I absolutely have to. With a 4 stitch cable in DK, you can simple slip the first 2 stitches off of your left hand needle and carefully put them to the front of your work, K2, pick up the 2 dropped stitches back onto your left hand needle, and knit them. (The tighter you knit, the more difficult this is.)
The Cable Panel is worked down the entire front of the sock until the toe decreases begin, with straight stockinette around the rest of the sock. “Work in Pattern” means work the cable panel when you come to it, and knit the other stitches in stockinette.
In “Bunny Cuff,” cast on 48 sts with a knitted cast; divide stitches between 3 needles, join round, taking care not to twist the stitches. Work 1 to 1-1/2 inches of K1, P1 rib.
Switch to Kathee’s DK/main color. Knit 1 row.
Establish cable pattern:
Work cable pattern rows followed by straight stockinette stitch until the leg of the sock, including the cuff, measures 6 inches (or desired height to ankle).
Setup: Place Marker (to divide top of sock from bottom half of sock). K5, work 14 stitches of panel pattern, K5. Place Marker. (Keep the markers in place until you complete the entire heel and are ready to knit straight again for the foot portion of the sock.)
Divide the 24 stitches just knit (top of sock/instep; (5 knitted stitches, 14 panel stitches, plus 5 knitted stitches = 24 total instep stitches) onto 2 needles.
Combine the remaining 24 stitches (bottom of sock) onto 1 needle (these stitches will now be worked back and forth to create the heel flap (“short rows”)).
Start the heel flap rows, working back and forth:
*S1 purlwise, K1; repeat from * to end of heel flap row. TURN.
Purl all WS stitches on Heel flap. TURN.
Repeat these 2 rows back and forth until you’ve completed 24 rows. Because you are slipping stitches, it will look like you’ve worked 12 rows when you counting the stitch rows on the right side. End at the beginning of a RS row.
This is the only tricky part to knitting socks. It’s actually quite easy, but doesn’t make sense until you watch the heel somehow miraculously turn and form a cup!
ROW 1: Knit 14 stitches (to middle of heel flap plus 2 stitches), SSK, K1. TURN.
ROW 2: S1 purlwise, P6, P2tog, P1. TURN.
*Tip: At this point, there should be 7 unworked stitches on either end of the center worked area on the heel flap.
ROW 3: S1 purlwise, K to 1 stitch before the gap created by the P2tog in the previous row, SSK, K1. TURN.
ROW 4: Slip 1 purlwise, P to 1 stitch before the gap created by the SSK in the previous row, P2 tog, P1, TURN.
Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all the stitches have been worked to the end of each side of the heel flap. Look! You turned a heel!
Note: You will now be working in the round again. The gusset rows connect the heel flap to the body of the sock, and create the triangle of stitches that is part of the side of your sock heel. At first, it will seem that you will have too many stitches, but once the gusset rows are done, you’ll be back to the 48 stitches you began your sock with. It’s a bit awkward to work these gusset rows and get the stitches onto the right needles. Experienced sock knitters do not all do these rows the same way. Just keep going, it will all come out right in the end. The first row is awkward, because you are moving stitches around onto needles, but it helps set up the gusset section and gets the stitches where you need them to be to work the rest of the gusset rows comfortably.
Gusset set up row:
NEEDLE 1: Place a marker in the center of the heel flap stitches. (If you ended up with an odd number of stitches after the turn rows, K2tog in the center of the heel flap when you knit those stitches.) Knit across heel flap. Continuing with Needle 1, pick up 12 stitches along the side of the heel flap by knitting into the back of the slip stitches (there should be 12 stitches to work into evenly spaced along the side of the flap). Pick-up two additional stitches in the space between the instep/top of sock and the heel flap with the left-hand needle; and then knit these 2 stitches together. (This helps to prevent a hole in your finished sock). At this point in time, using an extra needle, move all of the picked up stitches and half of the heel flap stitches to a separate needle. That becomes NEEDLE 1.
NEEDLE 2: Work in pattern across all of the instep stitches. (24 instep stitches are now all back on 1 needle.)
NEEDLE #3: Pick up 2 stitches in the space between the instep and 2nd side of the heel flap with the left hand needle, then knit those 2 stitches together. Pick up 12 stitches along the 2nd side of the heel flap as you did on the other side, and knit to the center of the heel flap. (You can now remove the marker at the center of the heel.)
Here’s what you should have on your needles now: Your working yarn should be in the middle of the heel stitches. Needle 1 should start in the center of the heel, contain all of the picked up gusset stitches on the left side of the heel. Needle 2 should contain all of the instep stitches. Needle 3 should contain all of the picked up stitches on the right side of the heel flap plus the other half of the heel stitches.
*Tip: As long as you keep all of the instep stitches on 1 needle, you no longer need the markers; if you want to adjust some of the instep stitches onto the other 2 needles for comfort as you work this section, be sure to place markers again so that you know where your instep stitches begin and end.
Begin Gusset Decreases:
Gusset Row 1:
Needle 1: Knit to last 3 sts, K2 tog, K1.
Needle 2: Knit across in pattern.
Needle 3: K1, SSK, knit to the end of the needle.
Gusset Row 2: Knit around.
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until your total stitch count is back to 48.
Knit in pattern until the length of the foot from the heel reaches the base of your big toe when stretched a bit (remember, when you put your socks on, they stretch onto your feet a bit; you don’t want to end up with a baggy sock.)
You will knit the rest of the sock in stockinette stitch. It’s nice to end your last pattern row with the cable twist row if possible.
Row 1: (Decrease round):
Needle 1: Knit to the last 3 stitches, K2 tog, K1.
Needle 2: K1, K2tog, knit to within last 3 stitches, SSK.
3rd needle: K1, SSK, knit to the end of the needle.
Row 2: Knit.
Notes: Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until there are 20 stitches left. If you have extra long toes, you may need to put a few extra Knit rows between the decrease rows.
Cut yarn leaving about 12 inches of yarn, and graft/sew toe stitches together using a kitchener stitch. (See the intranet for instructions and videos.)