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SOCK CUSTOMISATION

Parts of a sock

CUFF

TYPES OF HEELS

➻ There are many styles of crocheted sock heels out there, but we’re just going to discuss the two main types:

LEG

HEEL FLAP AND GUSSET ➻ This heel shaping is probably the most widely used. It uses a rectangular “flap” that comes down from the leg of the sock and covers the back of the heel. At the bottom is the “heel turn” that will cup the heel of your foot. The gusset is a triangular wedge that forms when you complete the heel flap by picking up stitches around the flap and return to working in the round.

SHORT ROW HEELS ➻ Short row heels are created by leaving an unworked stitch at the end of each row of the “heel flap” to create” steps” on either side. Then as you work the underside of the heel, stitches are added back one row at a time until you have returned to your original stitch count and resume working in the round.

CUSTOMISING A PATTERN ➻ The next step is taking a sock pattern and making it fit your own foot.

THE INSTEP/FOOT ➻ A frequent issue with hand-made socks is when a person cannot get their foot in past the heel. Usually this is because the instep isn’t large enough. Your foot’s instep could be larger because of a high arch, an injury to the bone, or many other reasons. To make the instep on your sock larger, instead of decreasing (or increasing if working from the toe up) at the gusset on every row, decrease at a slower rate. Maybe every other row works for you, or possibly every third row. You just want to make sure that the gusset doesn’t end in the middle of your foot. Ideally the gusset ends in the first third of the foot from the heel. Using the decreases can also help with the circumference of the foot. You may need to lose 10 stitches because you have a narrow foot compared to that given in the pattern. Simply continue the gusset decreases until you reach the required stitch count, but be careful not to make the instep too long.

THE CUFF/LEG ➻ Let’s face it, no one has a foot that is the same circumference as their leg. Or maybe we should say that it is rare. Most sock patterns will have the foot circumference and the leg circumference the same. In knitting that might work because the stitches will

GUSSET TOE

HEEL FLAP

HEEL TURN FOOT

stretch more than they do in crochet. But as a crocheter, you will have to do a few more calculations. Using the formulae given above, you will know how many stitches you need for the cuff. Remember to subtract 0.5–1cm/¼– ½in from your actual measurement first to allow for negative ease. If the cuff needs more stitches than the pattern calls for, add those stitches to the starting chain. If you need less, just subtract the number of stitches called for. If the leg is patterned with cables or other stitch patterns, you will have to make adjustments. For example, if you need to add 4 stitches, and there are cables in the pattern, try adding 1 extra stitch between cables randomly around the sock.

That might seem like a lot of work, but it really isn’t! Once you know what the peculiarities of your own feet are, it makes customising your socks much easier. Every once in a while you might have trouble with a particular stitch pattern, but those should be few and far between. Don’t expect your first attempt at customisation to be perfect – you may even want to make one sample sock exactly as the pattern specifies before you begin. That way you will understand all the parts and construction of the sock. Then take the time to work at customising it.

If all else fails, Karen is always happy to help out when it comes to customisation. You can contact her at her website, www.krwknitwear.com.

SUPER SOCK PATTERNS You'll find the frilly Chamomile Socks in issue 44 (August 2013), and the Dowding Socks in issue 34 (October 2012). Turn to page 55 to order back issues. Alternatively, turn to page 70 for Rohn Strong's stylish new sock design, and get crochetin g straight away!

SOCKS ROCK! Crochet Rocks Socks KRW Knitwear Studio, £6.29 (www.amazon.co.uk) US terminology

➻ If you're excited by crocheted socks, grab Karen's book Crochet Rocks Socks and try some of her clever designs for yourself. This original book is a fabulously fun publication of seven designs all inspired by rock music.

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