Monday, January 12, 2009

Sock surgery

A couple of months ago, having discovered how comfy my Tiger socks were, I was pondering the ways I could fix some of my other socks, which were rather tight round the cast-on and didn't 'give' enough to fit my little fat legs. I tried unpicking one, to cast it off more loosely, but trying to unpick slightly-felted sock wool from the cast-on down, rather than the cast-off up, is something guaranteed to bring madness and bad language, so I abandoned that idea.

Next I tried simply cutting a chunk off, unravelling it, picking up the live stitches round the top of the sock and reworking the ribbing and cast-off. This worked pretty well, but I soon discovered that I am hopeless at cutting in a straight line, and thus wasted some yarn in little runs of stitches where the scissors had wavered. However, the principle was a sound one, and the re-knitting went smoothly. The socks were once more wearable, and it didn't take much time to do, either. Here they are before:


and after:


Quite a bit of yarn lost, but you can see how much floppier the tops are.

Next I dropped the slash-and-rip technique, and went for precision. I snipped one stitch in the row I wanted to start from, and carefully unpicked it all the way round to separate the top from the rest of the sock. This worked much better - much less loss of yarn, and a much quicker and tidier job. I went from these two:



to these:



I used this cast-off, which is stretchy to the point of ruffling, and so is ideal for uses like this where I really need them not to dig into my leg:

Slip first stitch of round onto a crochet hook. Hook round yarn, pull through. *Hook through next stitch, pull through. Pull this stitch through the first one on the hook. Hook round yarn, pull through. Rpt from * to end. Pull yarn all the way through the last stitch on the hook and sew in end.

You can adjust how often you hook though the yarn to make it more or less ruffled.

In future I shall use the garter-stitch cuff I used with the tiger socks, but I was pleased with how these turned out as a quick fix.

Of course, as it's me, there is a funny story attached. My tiger socks were on the drying rack, and the top pair of socks was on my over-bed table, one whole and one with the top removed, ready for picking up stitches. After my shower, I asked my carer to fetch the tiger socks from the rack. She brought them back and put them on me, and then fastened my slippers over them. I thought they felt odd, but it was first thing in the morning and I wasn't really with it.

I wore them till lunchtime, when I went back to bed, kicking off socks and slippers together as I climbed in. I couldn't find the pair I had been working on - and then I looked down. They were in my slippers, the half-sock trailing yarn halfway down the hall....

You can't get the staff, you know ;)

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