Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Entrelac Socks

While preparing another post, I realized I had never posted about these socks. Not even that I didn't post when they were finished, but I didn't post when there were started or any of the middle either.

These socks were the result of two things coming together: I decided I was going to use the sock yarn I had purchased in Iceland and a sock idea taken from a fellow Raveler.

User carolkimball regularly shows off her entrelac socks with replaceable soles in our "Unravelers" group and I decided to try it for myself. Entrelac results in knitting on the bias which results in stretchy fabric for a comfortably snug fit.

I found a pattern for an entrelac sock to get me started and would make the rest up from there. I started at the cuff and knit them top down. The yarn changed colours gradually,
and since the squares are built up in horizontal rows,
by the time you work your way around the sock, the colour has changed for the next row.
Which gives a really delightful effect that looks far more difficult than it is. (It also makes for some rather addictive knitting. Entrelac itself is bad enough since you do it in tiny chunks (one square at a time), but add changing colours and you don't have a chance of resisting "just one more"...)

Once the leg was done, I left the pattern completely and started my version of a replaceable sole. A picture of the parts might help:
When the leg was done, I cast off half the stitches, which would become the top of the heel. (In the picture above, the leg is on the right and the cast off can be seen to the left of the dark blue squares.) I then cast on the total number of gusset stitches at each end of the remaining live stitches. (This is the long flat side of the triangle wing parts.)

I worked back and forth on these stitches, decreasing the extra stitches I cast on as I would for any gusset until I had the original number of stitches again. Then I knit straight (this is the top of the foot) until it was time for the toe.

I debated whether the toe should be part of the main sock or part of the replaceable sole. I think most people would put it with the sole because the toes wear out quickly as well. But I've never had a toe wear out--I get most of my wear on the heel and balls of my feet. So I put it on the main sock. I did a short row toe so it flowed over the front of the foot to the back. (Seen on the left in the picture above.)
For the sole, I cast on half the total stitches for the leg (which is the same number as for the straight part of the top) and worked back and forth. I started with the heel flap. In this case I used a slip stitch variation. I did twice as many rows as the number of stitches cast on for each gusset and then did some short rows to turn the heel.

All that was left was to knit straight until the length reached from the heel to the start of the toe. In the picture above, the sole pieces look like flat rectangles, but there is a bump in there for the heel shape; you just can't really see it. (It's most apparent on the left sole--you can see some wrinkles where the red changes to purple.)

Once my pieces were blocked, I sewed them together. I decided on a whip stitch (also called an overcast stitch, I think). It's visible, but it's also very flat which is important for comfort.

Deciding to add the toe to the top of the sock instead of the sole meant the seam was on the bottom. I debated about this for a white because that doesn't sound like a good idea. But the seam really is flat enough I don't notice it.
I used a different sock yarn for the seaming. I wanted to make sure that it wouldn't felt in with the sock and become impossible to pull out. The main yarn was fuzzy and very feltable so I went with a smoother yarn. (It may not even be all wool.)
The colours were similar but it matches in some spots (below) better than others (above).
But that's hard to avoid pretty much no matter what you do when you're working with a yarn that changes colours!
The changing colours that make the entrelac so pretty also really emphasize the way the sock is constructed. It's hard to miss the fact that the sole and top of the sock were knit separately.
Project Stats
: 2 Apr '19
Finished: 15 May '19
Pattern: Started with buttercupia: Noro Entrelac Socks by Jamie Fritz
Materials: Hjertegarn Kunstgarn (colour 07)
Ravelry project page: Memento of Iceland - Entrelac socks

Now I only have to wear them long enough to wear out the sole and then I can let you know how easy or difficult it is to replace the sole with a newly knit one!

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