Falling Down MKAL - Week 3 - End of Foot & Toes

Let's check out some HEELS! I'm loving how excited you are about the heels. One of you is so excited you managed to get BOTH feet into the socks that are stuck together. I LOVE it!

Photo caveat: just because your photos aren't up here, doesn't mean you aren't doing a killer job. I just click on the #fallingdownmkal on Instagram and choose the first few that pop up!

Front and back of some lovely heels from @bcrlmom

Look at those blocks fall away on @christelleb78's socks

And the intrepid (and death-defying) @samandramones getting right into her socks!

It's so good to see folks surviving the 2aat gusset heels. The first time I tried them I *might* have used a few bad words and thrown the lot across the room. Might... not saying it actually happend but it miiiiiiight have. 

So this week we're going to finish the feet and the toes and well... the socks! It should be way less crazy than the heels. Finishing off the feet is pretty similar to working the legs with the minor difference of working the pattern across the top of the foot only and working in stockinette across the bottom. How much faster is it, right? I love designs and making beautiful patterns but getting to the foot part rocks - I love the simplicity of the sole. 

Anyway, I digress. Let's talk a bit about how to plan for the toe decreases. In the week 1 clue release on the last page I talked about how long to make your foot from the back of the heel to the tip of the toe. This is where that math now comes into play. I'm going to use MY numbers as examples but let's look at how to best work the rest of your foot and your toe decreases. 

My foot is 9" long from the tippy tip of my big toe (cuz my second toe is actually shorter than my long toe - I know this isn't the case for everyone so take the measurement from the longest digit) to the back of my heel. I like a 10% negative ease on the length of my foot so that the sock still fits nice and snug at the end of the day. So at 8.1" (90% of 9") and my row gauge of 42.5 sts / 4" I need 86 rows for the sole of my foot. 

NOTE: I do NOT count the bind off of the toes in this measurement. 

So, since we start the heel on row 71, I count that as Row 1 of my foot row counts. And since I was very nice when designing this sock, I made each pattern repeat 10 rows. As a result, counting my completed rows of foot length is super easy. 

But - if you weren't working this pattern and you wanted to count your rows, here's a little trick I like to use. I place a marker after each 10 rows completed so that I just have to count the markers up. Also - feel free to poke fun at the fact that I'm completely obsessed with alternating my markers. Always. I dunno why. 

Getting back to the maths for the foot: my overall row count is 86. Knowing that, I need to look at how many rows of decreases I'm going to do for my toe shaping. So here's a little bit of math for YOU to do for yourself (again - substitute your numbers here):

Overall foot row requirement: 86 rows
Overall foot st count: 56 sts (28 sts on front needle and 28 sts on back needles)
Desired finished toe width: 1.5" (which works out to 12 sts on each needle based on my stitch gauge)

28 sts minus 12 sts = 16 sts
Working the toe shaping per the pattern I know it will therefore take me 16 rows to complete my decreases.

86 rows total desired minus 16 rows for the decrease = 70 rows of foot before starting the decreases.

Lucky for me (truly... I PROMISE I didn't plan this) my even knitting ends on an even row. If that were not the case, I would have the choice of continuing to knit in pattern right up to the point where I need to start decreasing, or I could work in pattern to the last 10 repeat and then knit even in stockinette until I need to start decreasing. The choice is yours. 

So now you've sorted out your decreases, you've WORKED the decreases and now you have to work the Kitchener Stitch. Let's get our yarn cut and find our tapestry needle. I usually leave about 10 inches of working yarn for the Kitchener finish.

Folks don't seem to like the Kitchener Stitch. If you're one of those who LOVES it like me - welcome to the club, new bestie! 

I think the reason folks have trouble with the Kitchener is they don't see the pattern in it. At least that's what I'm guessing. I'm not sure why otherwise. But basically what I always remember is that each stitch has to be worked twice - once knitwise and once purlwise and the "bind off", aka: the direction by which you remove the stitch from the marker can be chalked up to whether it's "Right" of "Wrong".

Say what?

Stay with me on this. 

When you're working in stockinette, there's a Right Side and a Wrong Side. The Right Side is when the "V's" are facing you, the Wrong Side is when the worms are facing you (yes, I call the back side of stockinette "worms" - I think that's what they look like). 

When you're removing the stitch from the front needle, with the RIGHT SIDE facing you, you're going to remove the stitch knitwise (which is conveniently the side of the fabric that is facing you when you would be working a knit stitch). 

Conversely, when you're removing the stitch from the back needle, the WRONG SIDE of the inside of the sock is "facing" you. I know, it's kind of a loose theory since you're not necessarily looking into the sock but I think you know what I mean. So in this case, you'd remove the stitch purlwise since you're looking at the wrong side of the work. 

Clear as mud?

If not, that's not unexpected. I've watchted the following video about a dozen times in the past. Thankfully I now know how to Kitchener without it, but one last time I'm going to refer you to the guru, Knit Purl Hunter, and her awesome Kitchener tutorial:

Also - did you notice she says knit WAYS and purl WAYS instead of WISE? Have I been saying it wrong all this time?! Now I doubt myself. 

One more thing before I let you go for the week. Let's talk about sock blocking. Some folks use Sock Blockers. I am not one of those people. Why? 'Cuz I figure socks are socks, right?! Do they really need to be shaped to a foot? Some folks love them. I have no personal disdain for them - I just haven't bothered investing in one. 

Does that mean I don't block my socks?! HECK NO! I always block my socks. But it's a simple process for me. 

I grab a bowl, my SOAK Wool Wash (my favorite smell is Yuzu), my socks, and some cool water. 

I squeeze about a teaspoon of soak onto my socks and then run the water over them until it's all nice and foamy and good smelling.

Then I walk away for about two hours 'cuz I forget the socks are there in the water. 

When I finally remember about them I run back upstairs, squeeze out all the water (you don't need to rinse them of any leftover suds) and then simply lay them out on a blocking mat.

And that will about do it! If you're like me and you block under a fan, you'll have new socks to wear in about 8 hours. GO YOU!

Can you believe we've knit socks in 3 weeks?! WOW! Way to go all of you. I'm so honored to have had the chance to knit with you, and I look forward to the chance to do it again (think "Sweater"... it's gonna happen in early 2015). 

And don't worry - I haven't forgotten about the prizes. We've got some coming your way - I think I'll post them NEXT Thursday so I can share some more photos of your excellent work. Speaking of photos, keep sharing them! Please! I love to see your progress!

Tag me on Instagram: http://instagram.com/socalmeaghan and use #fallingdownmkal, #unapologeticknitter and/or #tuksockmkal

And by all means, if you have questions, email me at meaghan@unapologeticknitter.com or message me on Rav (http://www.ravelry.com/people/SoCalMeaghan), leave a comment here, or leave questions in the Discussion board for the MKAL on Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/the-unapologetic-knitter/3013583/1-25#23). 

There have been issues with me seeing questions on Ravelry in the past because, despite me being the owner of the discussion board, I don't get notified when people comment; I'm only notified if I'm tagged. So,  if it's urgent, please be sure to ear burn me. 

To do this enter my username in square brackets and follow it by tying the word "person" in parenthesis: 

Lastly, a friendly reminder about our prizes: to be entered to win make sure to submit your photos to me via email, Instagram (being sure to tag @socalmeaghan) or in our Ravelry MKAL discussion NO LATER than 11:59pm PST on Thursday, October 30th.

Happy Knitting!!!