Today’s non-fiction writing contest entry was written by B
We live in an era of disposable socks. It’s possible to buy socks for less than $1.00 a pair but the catch is that they are pretty much all made in far away places and aren’t very durable. Relying on this sock source could spell disaster (and cold feet) in a SHTF world. I could stockpile enough socks for myself and 7 kids but that would take up a whole lot of space. I can sew underwear to outerwear on my sewing machine but socks are different. Where I live, it is not unusual to see snow at least seven out of every twelve months. We need socks – warm socks.
Since December, I have been doggedly determined to pull this survival skill from dream to reality. I would like to share what I have learned.
The instructions below are for knitted socks that can be made using only 2 needles. Reading an actual knitting pattern or using 4 or 5 needles is WAAAAYYY too complicated for me so I watched knitting videos and just kept experimenting. There is a side seam that needs to be stitched by hand after the sock has been completed. I thought this seam would be bothersome when wearing the socks but it’s not.
The pattern is one that I adapted from one I found on youtube. My version is “toe up” – which means you knit the toe first, then the body of the sock, then the heel and finally the ankle portion.
If you know how to cast on, knit, purl and cast off, and are willing to learn one very simple new stitch called a european double stitch, you are ready to give this a try.
Step 1 measure the instep of the foot to be “socked” (mine was about 9 inches)
Step 2 with the wool and needles you intend to use, make a sample a few inches square (knit one row, purl one row) and figure out how many stitches you need to comfortably go around your foot. Round up or down to an even number. (mine was 48 stitches) Through the whole sock, you will always knit one row, purl the next to get the “garter” stitch that will be smooth on the knit side and sort of bumpy on the purl side.
Step 3 Cast on your stitches turn your work. Knit the first row to half the stitches (24 for me). The other 24 stitches will simply hang out all skimpy and alone on the end of that needle for the next while. It might help to put a little marker to visually see where to divide the two halves.
Step 4 Turn your work. (The instructions below are for a “european double stitch” and there are several clear tutorials on youtube to watch.
*If you are now looking at the knit side, your yarn will be at the back. Bring it to the front and then move the first stitch from the left needle to the right one. Gently pull the yard to make this stitch tight.
*If you are now looking at the purl side, your yarn will already be in the front and you will move that first stitch from the left needle to the right one. Pull the yarn over the right needle so that you finish with the yarn in front again.
Now ignore this “double stitch” and begin to knit (or purl) your way back to the end
Step 5 Turn your work and start this row with a double stitch then continue to knit (purl) until you find your way back to that first double stitch you did on the previous row. Do not mess with this double stitch.
Step 6 Turn your work and continue knitting up to the double stitch and then turning. What you are doing is making the top of the toe which has started wide (half of your original stitches) and is now getting one stitch narrower with each row of knitting.
Step 7 Stop when you have 1/6th of your stitches as double stitches, 1/6 th normal stitches, 1/6th double stitches (and half of the stitches that are still looking all skimpy and alone on the end of one needle. For me this looks like 8 double stitches, 8 regular stitches, 8 double stitches and 24 waiting patiently on the end of my needle. Don’t worry if you have started with say 40 stitches, used 20 to do the toe and can’t for the life of you divide those 20 stitches into 3 equal parts – just keep the double stitches even on each side and aim for perhaps 7 ds – 6 regular – 7 ds instead.
Step 8 Now continue knitting all the way across the full length of your work. Turn your work and go back again so that every old stitch now has 2 rows of new stitching on top of it. This step creates some room for your toes to wiggle when you wear the sock.
Step 9 Now that we have made the top of the toe area narrower and made some wiggle room, we need to expand the toe “pocket back out. Here’s how to do it.
Knit (purl) one stitch past where those normal stitches at the end of the toe are (for me, Starting at the end of the toe side of my work, I would count the first 8 that were my double stitches, second 8 that were my normal stitches plus one more stitch which would be stitch # 17. Turn your work and then slip that #17 over to your right needle and make it a double stitch. Continue your row back to where the other group of double stitches were. Knit (purl) one stitch past (for me, this would mean stitch #7 if I counted stitches from the edge of the toe side)
Step 10 Turn your work and make that last stitch (the one that was #7 for me) a double stitch and continue happily on your way knitting or purling until you reach that first double stitch that you did on the last row (that was my #17). Knit (purl) the double stitch and then one more stitch.
Step 11 Turn your work. Make your first stitch a double stitch (that would be my #18) and continue on to one stitch past the double stitch on this row (that would be my #6).
Continue this way starting each row with a double stitch and stitching one past the double stitch at the end of the row. Your double stitches started close to the end of your toe and are working their way outward with each new row of stitching.
Step 12 When you have no more double stitches to deal with, continue on to knit(purl) the full length of your work. At this time, you should be able to poke your real toes into the fancy toe of your sock!
Step 13 Continue to knit (purl) until you can tell that it is time to begin making the heel. What I do is slip the toe pocket of my sock onto the heel of my foot and mark with a pencil on my foot where this little pocket ends. Then I put my toes in the right part of the sock and smooth it gently towards my heel. I know I have done enough rows when the flat part of my sock reaches the little pencil line on my foot.
Step 14 Go back to step 3 to begin making the heel pocket narrower the same way you made the toe pocket narrower- knit across the the row for half the stitches (24 in my case), turn your work, make the first stitch a double stitch, continue to the end of the row, turn your work, make the first stitch a double stitch, continue until you bump into that first double stitch, leave it alone, turn your work, make a double stitch and continue to the end of the row – you get the picture. When you have 1/6th double stitches, 1/6th normal stitches, 1/6th double stitches (and the other 1/2 of your original stitches just hanging out at the end of your needle, it’s time to do the two full rows as in step 8. Continue on to step 9-12
Step 15 Try on your “almost” sock. your toe and heel part should fit your foot with the flat/flappy thing that you will eventually sew together as your last step.
Step 16 continue to knit(purl) the full length of your work for as many rows as you like, creating the height you want. To finish the top edge, you can knit 2, purl 2 to make ribbing, knit several rows or just continue the knit a row/purl a row.
Step 17 Cast off.
Step 18 turn your sock so that it is inside out and stitch the top of the toe and the side seam.
Step 19 Turn right side out and keep one foot warm while you knit the second sock!
Prizes for this round (ends April 23 2015 ) in our non fiction writing contest include… Please send your articles now!
- First place winner will receive – A case of six (6) #10 cans of Freeze Dried Military Pork Chops a $300 value courtesy of MRE Depot, and a WonderMix Bread Mixer courtesy of FoodPrepper.com a $300 value and five bottles of the new Berkey BioFilm Drops a $150 value courtesy of LPC Survival – total prize value of over $750.
- Second place winner will receive – A gift a gift certificate for $150 off of Federal Ammunition courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo.
- Third Place winner will receive – A copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of TheSurvivalistBlog.net and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.