Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pixie slippers morph into socklets

After making a bunch of pixie slippers for gifts (they are really quick to make), I found myself wondering if the basic concept couldn't be modified to make a little sock.  After all, I don't really need the flap at the top (which is just about a quarter of the square), and it would be nice to avoid the pointy toe for everyday use.  And it would be nice to use different pattern stitches, something smoother, more sock-like than garter or ridged single crochet.

And if you can get a real sock from one 50-gram ball of sock yarn, you'd get a pair of footlets out of the same amount of yarn, if you had a pattern that worked.

So that was the challenge.  First question:  What shape would I be making?  Well, if you make one pixie slipper,

Here's the basic pattern -- This doesn't look like a square!

But with a loose gauge it can stretch
Fold in a triangle, ws facing, stitch along the
bottom and halfway up a side ..




Turn outside out, fold down the top, and here you have a pixie slipper, with loose ends that need to be tucked in.
cut off the pointy toe and the flap at the top,
OMG! She cut the fabric!
Actually, it is starting to look like a bootie/socklet thing


and then take out the seam that held it all together, here's the shape that comes out:
And here is the shape to make ..

Second question:  What is the easiest way to make this shape?

Well, "easiest" can mean different things to different people.  For me, an intuitive shape is to stitch in the round (a coil) starting at the ankle, increase out to the toe, then join a little seam for the toe and along the bottom edge.  This photo shows a cut edge (bottom of photo) that is the top of the sock.  The two short straight sides going out on each side join to be the center back. The two long straight sides coming in are the center bottom.  The little dip at the top is going to get joined for a toe seam.  Should work.  Here's how:

1.  Choose a pattern stitch.  I chose chain-1 net stitch:  Setup row:  on a chain stitch foundation (even # of sts) the desired length, sc in the 2nd ch from the hook.  *ch1, sk1 ch, sc in next st.  Repeat from * across.  End the row with a sc.  To continue in a round, ch1, insert hook in the first ch sp of the row - that joins it in a round and starts the coil - and sc1.  There is a jog where the first row starts.  In finishing, use the starting tail to make a neat join and smooth that point.  Then, *ch1, sc in next ch space.  Repeat from * around.

Note:  the size I am describing here is to fit my foot, which is 9 ( ___ ) inches long.  Half that is 4.5 ( ___ ) inches, a relevant piece of information later on.  If the size you want to make is bigger or smaller, substitute your numbers in the ( ___ ) so the statements are true for you.

2. Start at the top of the sock, with a foundation row that is as long as my instep - because it has to slide over it.  The point where the end of the foundation row joins the beginning - to make a round - is the middle of the top front of the sock.

3.  Before continuing in a coil, take a moment to place a marker in the 2nd sc of the row just finished.  Increase 1 pattern stitch on either side of the marker in each round.  Each time you reach the marker, move it to the stitch above it in each round - it will alternate between a sc and a ch. To increase 1 pattern stitch:  (sc, ch1, sc) in the closest ch space on either side of the marker. In one row there will be just a ch1 between the increases.  In the next round there will be a (ch1, sc, ch1) between the increases.  Keep the increases close together at the center top of the piece.

4.  Continue in the pattern as set until the piece is as long as the foot.  By that, I mean that the measurement of the last round completed, when the piece is laid flat (2 layers), is as long as the foot.  So I stop increasing when the long edge is 9 ( ___ ) inches long.  Finish with a sc in the ch sp just before the next increase.

5.  From here on, continue in rows.  Ch2, turn.  Sc in next ch sp.  (ch1, sc in next ch sp) across, ending with a sc in the ch sp just before the next increase.

6.  Ch2, turn.  Sc in next ch sp.  (ch1, sc in next ch sp) across, ending with a sc in the ch2 turning chain at the beginning of the previous row.  Repeat this row until the piece measures 4.5 ( ___ ) inches from the foundation edge to the last finished row.  Remove marker.

The row ends make the toe. The last worked row will be joined as the bottom seam.  Here's how:

7.  (WS facing) After the last row, sl st to the ch2 at the beginning of the last row, joining the short toe end into a round.  Ch1.  Stitching across the row ends and point at the toe, sc in the same ch sp.  *ch 1, sk 1 row end, sc in next ch space. Repeat from * around, keeping in patt across the stitches at the toe point all the way across the other row ends, ending with sc in the sl st space where the toe end was joined into a round.  Fasten yarn, but do not cut.

8.  Lay the piece flat to join the toe seam, with the long open edge centered on top, looking at the two layers of the toe next to each other.

9.  Lay yarn along toe edge over to right side to start joining the short seam.  Draw up a loop in a ch sp at the corner.  Enclosing the yarn along the edge when convenient, sl st in the ch sp on one side then on the other, zigzagging across.  At the left edge of the toe, fasten yarn, but do not cut.

10.  To join the bottom seam:  Place marker in a sc on one side of long open edge, about 2/3 of the way to the heel (this does not have to be exact).  Insert hook in ch2 sp at the beginning of that last row, at the toe.  Draw up a loop, making sure the excess yarn is not held too tightly.  Since this excess yarn is short, on the inside of the toe, there's really no point in dealing with tucking it in or fussing with it -- it would take more trouble and fuss to cut it, start new, and have to tuck in both loose ends.  *Ch1.  Sl st in corresponding ch sp on opposite side.  Repeat from * back and forth, joining the seam, ending with a sl st in the ch just before the marker, with about 1/3 of the seam left open.  Move the marker to the last sl st made. Continue with the heel shaping.

Bottom seam including heel shaping
11.  The heel whorl:  Decreasing and continuing in a coil, *sc in next 2 sts.  Sk next st.  Rep from * around the remaining opening one time, ending with sc around the marked slip stitch .  Then, (sk next sc, sc in next sc) around and around until 6 sts remain.  Lay the piece flat, and slip st the remaining seam together, inserting hook through both layers.  Fasten off.

12.  Weave in the loose ends.
Finished socklet




This was made using Cascade Sateen worsted weight, for a quick bedsock, stitching with a 4.5mm hook.  This made a slightly loose gauge so the sock stretches to fit my foot neatly.  Normally, I would look at the recommended knitting needle size on the yarn label, and use that size hook.  If I didn't like how that gauge works out, I adjust the hook size to something I do like.

Next, the same thing in sock yarn, so I can wear it with real shoes.  Onward.

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