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SOCKS Class:
Lesson Three

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OK...your sock leg is done, your heel is done, your foot is done...and all that's left is the toe.
In comparison to the heel, this is a snap!

These toe directions are for a wedge shape. There are other shapes out there, and just like individual heel preferences, there are individual toe shape preferences. Start here but be open to Other Toes. Count your stitches. You should have the same number as you cast on. 32 (36, 40, 44, 50, 54) sts. If you do the next round of your knitting, DECREASE evenly until you get to the next "size". This simply means k2tog (knit 2 stitches together as one stitch), evenly spaced around your sock until you have the right number of sts on your needle in one round. If you want to be very balanced about the decreases at the beginning, midpoint, and end stitches of that round.

Your pattern reads:

break out the double pointed needles. Knit sts evenly onto 2 double pointed needles. (or 1/2 on one needle, 1/4 on another needle and 1/4 on a third needle.)
Keep your beginning of the round marker (former RM) in place.""

Clear enough. Using 3 needles (or even 4!) to hold your stitches translates into easier knitting. Keep in mind that you should approach the directions thinking about all the stitches as divided into half.....what you do to one half of the stitches, you repeat with the other half.

For those of you who have lost track of your RM (hmmm), look up to the heel....follow the stitch from a "side corner" of the heel [which is where the line of diagonal decreases of the heel stops and there are 3 triangular groups of stitches coming together (there are was at the LM and one was at the RM)] down to the corresponding stitch on the needles. Put a marker at one of these stitches (it doesn't matter which one, really, unless you are doing a textured stitch pattern or color work that has to show on the top of the toe AND it doesn't matter if you are 1 or 2 sts off). IF YOU DON'T START THE TOE AT ONE OF THESE POINTS, you will be mightily surprised when the toe gets knitted on sideways. It's very entertaining.

OK...the decrease rounds are spaced at every other round. You decrease 4 sts total with each decrease round at the "sides of" the sock so that when you are wearing your socks and look down at your toes, you see straight knitting stitches but when you look at the knitted toe sideways, you will see a double line of decreases that starts at the base of the toe and points to the end of the toe.

""Round 1: *k1, k2 tog, k across to last 3 sts of needle, ssk, k1* ; repeat from * to * for 2nd needle.""

OK..those of you using more than one needle per set of sts...keep track of where you are.

Those of you who have never done an "ssk" decrease does the same thing (get rid of one st) but slants in the opposite directions of "k2tog". That's it. No mystery. If it comes out goofy looking, don't worry....just revert back to "k2tog" and knit on. It DOES make that toe line rather balanced, so do your best. It's also quite handy when doing raglan sweaters in the round (since you are ALWAYS looking at the sweater line when you look at works to not confuse the eye with disarray).

The ssk has a(n?) history. Originally, I used it after Elizabeth Zimmerman harked on it in KNITTING WITHOUT TEARS. Then she revised it and added a "slipped purlwise" addendum. That was even better. Why do knitters get excited over such small things? At any rate, the directions in the KEY tell you to:
""ssk = slip 1 st as if to k, slip 2nd st as if to purl, insert left hand needle into fronts of both sts and knit them together (1 st decreased)"" Remember that you will slip TWO sts from the left needle to the right needle, and you will do a BACKWARDS THING when you use your left needle point in the FRONTS of BOTH those sts.

So, the decrease round has you decreasing in 4 places, and the next round:

""Round 2: k around evenly""
is easy. So continue on...(you are knitting like gangbusters are almost done!)

""Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until 12(12,12,16,18,18)sts remain. Sew or graft these together.""

Here is where we have some final fun. Grafting makes the MOST INVISIBLE connection of sts you have ever seen in knitting.....that will be our last lesson, and then we'll do some chatting on fitting and sizing before we are through with this class.

This material ©2000 Claudia Krisniski