Harris Tweed Socks

I’ve got some lovely West Yorkshire Spinners “Aire Valley” aran weight yarn which is suitable for sock knitting as it contains 75% wool and 25% polyamide.

Aire-Valley-Aran---870--Lilac-Mix-192x250The balls of yarn feels coarse to the touch yet I read somewhere that once washed it becomes beautiful and soft.  Well I clearly can’t wash a ball to test that particular statement so I’ve decided that as we’re having a Sock March this would be a good excuse to cast on a pair of socks.

Initially I was going for my old favourite top down but after a couple of rows of rib decided to go for toe up and see just how long I can make these socks using the 100g ball.  I’ve also decided that although this yarn is variegated I get bored easily and so have decided to add some knit/purl relief.  Sadly, by the time the foot was worked I realised that the number of stitches I had was making for a very wide foot.  So, a frogging I went again!

I prefer to knit my socks so I have a left and a right foot.  These may seem a bit of a pfaff but as long as you have a quick check before putting them on your feet it’s no problem.  The reason I knit them differently is because the longest toe is not in the middle but to one side and the smaller toes taper off.  This method gives a much for snug fit around the toes than making both socks the same.

Attempt number 3 and I’m going to cast on and take my stitches up to just 40.

The pattern used over the sock is called “Harris Tweed” and can be found in the Vogue Dictionary of Stitches by Anne Matthews (published in 1984 but no longer in print).

Harris Tweed Toe Up 1Materials

4mm circular needles (US size 6)

aran weight yarn (US worsted)

Abbreviations

k – knit    p – purl    m1 – make 1 by picking up the loop between the sts and knitting in to the back of the loop, this prevents a hole being made    st(s )- stitch(es)

LEFT FOOT

Toes

Cast on 8 sts (16 in total)on each needle using Judy’s Magic Cast On.

Row 1: needle 1 – k1, m1, k to last st, m1, k1, needle 2 – k1, m1, to last st, m1, k1

Row 2: needle 1 – k1, m1, to to end of needle, needle 2 – k to last st, m1, k1

Repeat these 2 rows three times more. (20sts on each needle, 40 in total)

Harris Tweed Toe Up 2Foot

Needle 1 will be the top of the foot and needle 2 will be the sole.  The pattern will only be on the foot, the sole will just be socking stitch.

Row 1: needle 1 – *k2, p2* to end of needle, needle 2 – k

Row 2: as row 1

Row 3 & 4: k

Row 5 & 6 as row 1

Row 7 & 8: needle 1 – purl, needle 2  – knit

Repeat these 8 rows

Continue to work straight in these 8 rows until your sock is the desired length.  To get a good fit socks must have negative ease.  This means that they are slightly shorter than your actual foot.  One way to measure this is to simply stand on a piece of card and place a mark at each end of your foot and then measure the distance between the marks.

Alternatively, create a sock template by standing on a piece of card and draw all around your foot.  Next, place the pen from your heel bone down to the card and make a mark at this point.  Draw a line across your card foot at this point.  Draw a further line across your card foot in line with the top of your small toe.  Cut out the card foot and put your name on it.  Finally, draw a line 1cm nearer the centre of your foot than both of these lines.  When knitting toe up socks you can simply place the card foot inside your sock, the inner heel line is the point at which you stop to turn the heel.  When knitting cuff down socks you can again place the card foot inside your sock but this time stop when you reach the inner toe line, this is the point at which you start to shape your toes.

Time to Turn the Heel

Harris Tweed FLK Heel TurnI like to use a method of short rows shown to me by a friend.  Once you’ve got the hang of the special stitches it’s quick and easy.  I’m afraid I’m not one for getting in a flap.  So here goes

As needle 1 has the pattern it is the top of your foot.  Work across those stitches and then we will be ignoring those whilst we work the heel on needle 2.  Just push them gently to the middle of your cable and we’ll continue with the heel.

Row 1: k to last 2 sts, pick up the st from the row below and place it back on your left needle keeping it separate from the original stitch.  Knit into the picked up stitch part leaving the original stitch on the left needle.  Now place the freshly worked stitch back onto the left needle.  You will now have 2 sts coming out of the same loop below.  This is a twin stitch and will count as 1 stitch from now on.  (It’s a bit like having twins but only 1 pregnancy).  Turn your work leaving the last stitch of the row and the twin stitch on their own.

Row 2: Leaving the unworked st and the twin stitch on the right needle (because you’ve turned your work) purl to the last 2 stitches.  Transfer the next st to the right needle, pick up the loop  of the stitch on the row below and place it on your left needle, purl into this so that it ends on the right needle.  Then transfer BOTH parts of the st back on to the left needle.  Another twin stitch has been formed.  Turn, leaving the purl twin stitch and the last stitch of the row on the other needle.

Repeat rows 1 & 2 until you have 1/3 of your stitches remaining in the middle, you should end on a purl row.  As I’m working with 20 stitches on the needle originally, I’ll work until I have 6 stitches left unworked in the middle, 6 twins at each side and 1 unworked st at each end of the row, ending with a purl row just worked.

You will now be 2/3rds of the way along a row.

Next, knit across to the end of the row working each twin as 1 stitch until you reach the final st.  Work the final stitch as a twin stitch and leave on the left needle.  Turn, leaving the twin on it’s own now on the right.  Purl right across the row, again working the twin stitches as single stitches, until you reach the final stitch.  Work this as a twin purl stitch and return it to the left needle.  Turn.

You will see your heel has now got a bump.  Next we’re going to work back up the heel by increasing the distance between twin stitches until we’ve got nearly all the stitches back in play.

Row 1: leaving the twin stitch on the right needle, k 12sts, work a knit twin stitch leaving the twin on the left needle along with the remaining 6 stitches. Turn

Row 2: purl 6sts, work a purl twin stitch and place it back on the left needle. Turn

Row 3: knit across the middle stitches PLUS the twin stitch (remember to knit it as 1 stitch) then work a knit twin stitch on the next stitch and return it to the left needle. Turn

Row 4: purl across the middle stitches and the twin stitch, then work the next stitch into a purl twin stitch, returning it to the left needle. Turn.

Repeat rows 3 & 4 until you have 2 twin stitches at each end of the row.  Now we will return to the stitches from the top of the foot.

You will now be working the Harris Tweed pattern across all stitches as you work up the leg of the sock.

Leaving 2 twin stitches on the right needle, knit across the heel, including BOTH twin stitches, next, work across the top of foot stitches, keeping pattern correct, complete the round.   The start of the next row will have 2 twin stitches, working the twin stitches as 1 and keeping the pattern correct complete row 2.

Continue to work the pattern over all stitches until you have the desired length.  End with 8 rows of K2, P2 rib.  Cast off VERY LOOSELY!

Sew in the ends and work the 2nd sock to match – remember to reverse the toe shaping.

RIGHT FOOT

Toes

Cast on 8 sts (16 in total)on each needle using Judy’s Magic Cast On.

Row 1: needle 1 – k1, m1, k to last st, m1, k1, needle 2 – k1, m1, to last st, m1, k1

Row 2: needle 1 – k to last st, m1, k1, needle 2 – k1 , m1, k to to end of needle

Repeat these 2 rows three times more. (20sts on each needle, 40 in total)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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