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I mentioned in my last post that I’m having issues with tension in a Fair Isle sock pattern I’m in the process of designing. In specific: I’m having troubles with the way the tension interacts with the geometry of feet. My ankles aren’t huge, and if I knit a sock that fits them nicely without falling down, my big-ass feet can’t make it through the bend of the sock without a lot of stretch.

If it’s possible to work this stretch into Fair Isle, someone please tell me how, because I can’t work it out.

I didn’t discover this problem (of course) until the first sock was knit and finished, and the promise of these socks has been hanging over my head for two year. I didn’t want to start over…so I got creative. I decided to steek the back of the sock and apply a frilled i-cord edging that I could use to lace ribbons up the back.

Newer knitters than me: steeking is knitting’s most terrifying skill. You take a piece of finished knitting and cut it. Experienced knitters who read my blog primarily for the schadenfreude: I’m working in superwash wool / nylon blend and the internet is my only easily-accessible and more experienced knitting friend.

Broomstick sock - steeked with applied i-cord

It could have been worse. I think with some fusible webbing and grosgrain ribbon, I can prevent further damage on the parts where I accidentally cut through my stabilizing stitches.

Steeking Lessons this Rookie Learned

  • I will use this KnitPicks video tutorial, not that “for dummies” one. The 15 minute review will save me time in the long run.
  • I will work my reinforcing stitches in the same fiber my piece is worked in.
  • I will write steek-specific stitches into the finished pattern.
  • I will do the math and count my rows to make sure my i-cord edge comes out evenly.

For those of you who look forward to my free patterns, this one will be coming out in the next month or so, and it will rock when I have worked out the kinks. As a hint of what to come: they will go nicely with Cho’s Magical Gryffindor Gloves, and it’s okay if they look like they were knit by a somewhat awkward house elf.

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