Note: A week or so back, I published two rather cryptic posts. Basically, Flickr had changed its interface to the point where I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to get photos from There to Here. My experiment photo was a photo of my Monkey Socks, hence the titles and the monkeys and so on.
I have now figured out how to make Flickr and WordPress play more or less nicely, so I can now proceed with what I was trying to blog about before the monkeys invaded. Thank you. You’re welcome.
Darn those whole-y socks!
Every year, I face the same dilemma: It takes me X hours to knit a sock, usually out of yarn that was special to me for some reason, three Rhinebecks ago or two LYS visits back in days of yore.
I adore my handknit socks. However, they don’t always like me, mostly because I seem to have razors attached to heel and sole of foot. I get these jagged, ginourmous, instant holes in my socks and poof! Sock is no longer useful.
Earlier this fall, as I was going through the sock bin seeing how many had holes in them and how many didn’t, I realized something: if I was going to wait until I actually darned the dratted feet covers, then I would have a huge pile of to-be-darned socks waiting to entertain me when I am 97 and in the nursing home.
And Realization #2: I know how to darn socks, sure I do. I might even have written a tutorial on darning socks at some point in time, I can’t quite remember. But my new sock heels and soles come out thick and clunky as though they’d spent the weekend wandering the wrong end of Narnia.
Anyway, #3: I don’t like darning socks.
However, #4: I really love my socks, and I hate throwing them away.
This past month, I came up with (“unvented”) a little idea, and so many folks have raved about it that I thought I’d share the love. (I’m sure this has occurred to other knitters out there, I’m just putting this out there for those who may not have come up with it yet.)
Socks to Wristlets, Socks to Anklets
I knit a pair of Monkey socks, back when everyone was knitting a Monkey sock.
(See? Here are where the Monkeys come in.)
The yarn was from one of my first wool shows, and I had bought new bamboo needles to try out instead of the metal ones I’d been using. (I felt so adventurous! Bamboo needles! Knitting on the wild side…)
However, I loved the finished socks to death. The soles and heel sported holes big enough so that my foot would often go through the holes, rather than into the toe.
I LOVED those socks, and couldn’t bear to take the YarnHarlot‘s brave approach to darning, loss and grief. (Walk over to the nearest trash bin, throw the socks into it whilst wailing DARN IT at the top of your lungs.)
Resurrecting Your Socks
I have been working on a step-by-step photo Cufflet Tutorial (to be linked on the Tutorials index page at a future date) so that if I don’t explain it quite clearly enough here, you will be able to see the whole process unfold before you.
However, the process is quite easy, and the tutorial isn’t finished yet, so I’m going to give a brief overview here, enough so that most knitters will Get The Idea and go off and do it any way they please.
By the way, if you have a really smashing way of doing any of this, would you mind sharing, either via emailing me or via the comments? If y’all are amenable, I can incorporate these smashing techniques into the Cufflets Tutorial, giving folks full credit, with maybe even a photo of each of you with your finished Cufflet. Shared community knowledge!
The above are my beloved Denmark socks, or more accurately, the cuffs and leg section of my beloved Denmarks. They were the first socks I dared knit out of “luxury yarn”. The yarn was the first Merino/Cashmere/Nylon yarn I’d ever bought, and that “cashmere” bit on the label had me trembling when I cast on. Cashmere! For socks! Surely this was madness.
I took loving photos of my progress, cleverly stretching the cuffs-in-progress over just the right shape of drinking glass so that the wonderful stitches and subtle dappling of the colours could be viewed.
One morning I woke up and reached for my Denmarks, only to find that they now looked like this.
I realized that what I really liked about them was the pattern and the yarn. Sooooo…
I decided to engage the Clever Knitter part of my brain.
In the photo above, I had previously cut the foot off just above the hole in the heel. However, I wanted to get to the place in the sock where the rounds are continuous. The rounds stop being continuous in the back-and-forth of the heel flap (or the cup of a short-row heel), so I trimmed the sock back to the point at the base of the heel flap and gusset (to the left of the comb).
Then, I ravelled back until I found a continuous round and a single end of yarn.
Note that the process of picking out all the stray bits and pieces of yarn is messy. Note that you’ll want to do the ravelling over a towel or a large piece of paper. Note that you do not want to do the ravelling over your white pashmina stole, even if you aren’t certain that there are actual pashminas out in the world somewhere.
The yarn end will be curly. That’s OK, unless it drives you crazy. If it drives you crazy, steam or wet the yarn and let it dry laid flat.
I ravelled back about an inch, inch and a half from the base of the heel, so that I could (a) add a bit more patterning; (b) do just a little ribbing; and (c) have enough yarn left to bind off. Yes, the patterning may be in the opposite direction depending on how you knit the cuff in the first place. If this is the case and it bothers you, ravel back an inch and just do a bit of ribbing before you bind off.
After you ravel, carefully put the stitches back on the needles, paying attention to stitch mount and whatever else needs attention. Knit the cufflet back up until you have enough yarn to reach around the cuff opening 2-3 times (depends on your gauge and so on). Then, bind off LOOSELY, preferably with a needle one size larger so you are forced to do it LOOSELY.
Weave in the end, steam into shape, repeat for the other sock, and voila! Cufflets.
I wear my cufflets either on my wrists as wristwarmers, or on my ankles as mini legwarmers. I find the having my ankles covered really helps keep my feet warm in the winter.
Plus, if I don’t have socks that match what I am wearing, chances are that I might have a pair of cufflets that do match and can cover up whatever else I am wearing.
Also: I can save my beloved socks in a way worthy of all the work I initially put into them.
This is amazing: A gifted pianist was studying Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous sketchbook, and realized that Da Vinci had drawn up plans for an instrument, an instrument that had never been made. Gift Pianist Dude helped make the instrument a reality–a fully playable reality. It’s called the Viola Organista, and you really need to see its unusual insides (about 9:10 in the video linked above, or close thereafter) and hear its haunting sound.
Heartwarming story about a joyous reunion in the wake of a tornado.
Bouncing Lambs. You’re quite welcome.
Finally: The World’s Oldest String, AKA Why The Neanderthals Were Cool.
Next post: Project Updates! And Misbehaving Quilt Squares.
Good stuff, gooood stuff.
See you then. May compassion and peace light your way.