Turn It Up To 11 - MKAL - Week 1

Hello my lovely knitting friends. I hope you had a good time knitting up your gauge swatch... if that's possible. I know a lot of people hate them and see it as a waste of time and yarn but if it means an expensive project (either financially or time-wise) will fit it, seems worth it to me in the end.

Ok, so the toes! It finally feels like the MKAL has OFFICIALLY started now that we're actually casting on and doing some legit knitting. I couldn't wait to cast on and it makes my heart happy to see how excited you all are in the Ravelry discussion board. Seeing your yarn choices... EEEE! So fun!

So I chose to do an anatomical toe for my socks. I don't do this if I have vanilla socks since I then have to pick them up and check which way the toe is going before I put them on but, as a sneaky-peaky into the upcoming pattern, what I WILL tell you is that the pattern is somewhat directional, and mirrored on each sock, so that if you DO decide to do the anatomical toe, you'll easily be able to tell which sock is made for each foot.

If you haven't chosen which toe to do yet then here's a bit more information about the Anatomical Toe vs. the Standard Toe: the anatomical toe is longer (i.e.: it takes more rows to do your increases from your cast-on to your desired count of stitches).

Why is that? Because you're not increasing 2 stitches every increase round, you increase 2 stitches on the first increase round and then only 1 stitch on the next increase round.

Compare that to the Standard Toe where you are increasing 2 stitches EVERY increase round.

Well... now that I type this up I realize I'm thinking of only the front stitches. On every increase round for the Standard Toe you actually increase 4 stitches... are you confused yet?

Let's go back and look at this with a bit more clarity: The Anatomical Toes will increase a TOTAL of 6 stitches over 4 rounds whereas the Standard Toe will increase a TOTAL of 8 stitches over 4 rounds. I'm going to go into the math of it all here so you may either want to go get a cup of coffee so you can stimulate your mind and stay awake for this math, or, you may want to skip the next two paragraphs. Either way, you've been warned.

If you're not a math person or don't really care how it all works out, don't read this next section.

I'm going to use my sock numbers as an example. Obviously you would want to use your own numbers for this section.

As a reminder: I cast on 24 sts (12 sts on the front needle and 12 sts on the back needle) and am increasing to a total of 56 stitches (28 sts on the front needle and 28 sts on the back needle).

If I subtract 24 from 56 I get 32 stitches. So to complete my toe shaping I have to increase by 32 sts (16 on the front needle and 16 on the back needle). For a standard toe, I can divide 32 by 4 (since we increase 4 stitches on EACH increase row) and I get 8. We also have to factor in that, between each increase round, we have an all-knit round so we can double 8 to accommodate these knit rows. All said and done, it will take 16 rounds to increase for the toe. If I look at my row gauge, which was 42.5 sts over 4", that means my toe will be 1.5" tall (deep? long? how would you measure that distance?).

Now, compare that to an Anatomical Toe. The same math applies... kinda, sorta!

I still need to increase 32 stitches but we work our increases in 6's rather than 4's. If I divide 32 by 6 I don't get an even number; it's 5.33333 ad nauseum. So, I'll multiply 5 (since we want to round down to the nearest whole number) by 6 increased stitches and get 30 which leaves me 2 stitches short. And per the *Note* section in the pattern release for this week below the Anatomical Toe instructions, I'll work one more repeat of rounds 3 and 4 to increase those 2 extra stitches.

BUT! Those 32 stitch increases are worked over multiples of 4 Rounds rather than multiples of 2 Rounds. So 5 multiplied by 4 rows is 20 rows. Plus two more rows for the extra increases is 2 for a total of 22 rounds to reach my final stitch count of 56 stitches. 22 rounds is 2.07".

I realize it's a marginal difference, but if you want your pattern to start half an inch shorter, work the Standard Toe (even though the Anatomical Toe looks way cooler, IMO)!

Ok, back to the land of non-glazed over eyes.

The long and the short of it is that there's tons of math that CAN be done, or you can just knit along without worrying about the math and just enjoy the process.

But by the end of this week you'll have what I lovingly refer to as Toe Nubbins. However... there's a caveat. If you're ALSO going to call them that when you say "Toe Nubbins" in your head you have to say it like "TOOOOOOOOOOOE NUBBINNNNNNNNNS" - and kind of sing it. It makes everything better.


If you look REALLY closely you can see the increases on the left side of the toe in this bottom picture are every 4 rows rather than every other so theres some subtle toe shaping for the Anatomical Toe.

Ok, I'm not sure what else to write about this week's work. I think I've fired enough math at you for one week. There's just a TINY bit more next week but mostly it's all fun and knitting games. 

As always, if you have questions or are just downright lost (but hopefully not frustrated because I want you to love these socks) please ask questions here on the blog, on Raverly in our discussion group (or private message me, I'm SoCalMeaghan), and of course you can come harass me on Instagram where I'm also @socalmeaghan.

If you're posting on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter please use #unapologeticknitter, #tuksockmkal and/or #turnitupto11mkal so I can find you and see all your fabulous work. I'm so excited to be knitting with you all and look forward to seeing your toe nubbins crop up on social media!

Happy Knitting, lovelies!!!