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Flap-and-gusset socks

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My first pair of socks were toe-ups according to Wendy’s pattern:

Yeah, they look like a first pair of socks. I wasn’t fond of the provisional cast-on for the toes, and I really hated the short-row heels and toes – I always developed holes and the heels never really fit right – too tight around the ankles (hmm, there might be a way of correcting that…I’ll have to think about it.)

After two or three more pairs, I decided to try both Magic Loop and the Magic Cast-on for the toes, and never looked back – no crocheted chain (although I did learn to crochet the chain right on the needle, which makes life a bit easier), no picking up live stitches and no holes in the toe. And Magic Loop turned out to be totally intuitive.

As you can see, though, the heel was still giving me problems.

So, I decided the time had come to try flap-and-gusset socks. And since those are traditionally done top down, that meant I had to knit a pair of top-down socks. So, I did. I finished them about two weeks ago.

These are the Garter Ladder socks from Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks, following the directions for two circulars, which work out identically for Magic Loop – just think “side” rather than “needle” and you’re set. I made them out of Koigu, with an absolutely gorgeous colorway.

Here’s a better detail:

Notice: NO HOLES. They fit very comfortably – more so than any other sock I have ever known. And they were fun – I very much enjoyed picking up the stitches along the heel flap, for example.

As a nod to tradition, I actually began these socks with 5 dpns, but the socks were way too large and I broke one (Brittany Birch – second time I’ve done that), so when I started again, I picked up my Addi size 0 40″ circular. And I’m getting much better at grafting toes.

I can’t wait until it’s cool enough to wear these.

The second pair I call Sherbet socks because that’s what the colorway looks like.

These are a gift for my housekeeper, who is from Ecuador and is always cold in the winter. She chose the colorway herself. I used Schurch’s Garter Rib (which I also used for the green socks above because I love it – it’s wonderful for variegated and self-striping yarn) *but* I made one major change:

These are toe-up. I used the toe-up flap-and-gusset heels from Schurch’s book, only adapting it to my stitch count (hers is used for her 12-stitch lace, so the stitch counts are for even multiples of twelve; these had 64 stitches.) It came out very nicely, although next time I do this (and there will be a next time) I’ll extend the heel-stitch to either sides so the gusset meets the pattern in a pretty angle.

I gave them to her this morning. She loves them.

I did have leftover yarn, though, so I finally filled a long-standing request by a young friend of mine – socks for her American Girl doll. I used Judy Gibson’s pattern, modifying it only for Magic Loop, and they were fun, and fast (an hour, tops, per sock) and so, so, SO adorable.

Can you see the tiny little gusset? My friend is just eleven now – I think if I waited much longer, she wouldn’t be playing with dolls anymore anyway. Interesting, also, how stitch count affects things. Not only are these stripes more defined, the socks themselves are *brighter* than the larger ones. I’m not sure if that’s clear from the pictures. Plus – the grafting really looks good.

I’m certainly not saying I’m giving up on short-row heels, but right now, I’m in love with flap-and-gusset. And I’m even doing another top-down now – a fun cable from Nancy Bush’s Knitting on the Road.

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