Want to pro­duce two iden­ti­cal socks when you knit with a self-strip­ing colour­way? Faye Per­riam-Reed shows us how

The Knitter - - Masterclass -

FOR SOME rea­son I don’t like self-strip­ing socks that don’t match up. I know it’s more eco­nom­i­cal to just keep go­ing with the ball and not to worry about it, but I like my stripes to match per­fectly on each sock!

I also like to use a nice stretchy cast-on method, such as the long-tail cast-on over two nee­dles, or the Ger­man twisted cast-on. Both of these can be tricky when you want to start a self-strip­ing ball in the same place, be­cause you won’t start the cast-on at the be­gin­ning of the yarn tail.

Over time, I’ve de­vel­oped a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent meth­ods which work for me. Both re­quire pay­ing at­ten­tion to where you start the first ball, so both socks will need to be worked with the same method. Note that the pat­terns I use for these socks are a stan­dard cuff-down sock with a heel flap; how­ever, any pat­tern should work so long as no cut­ting of the yarn is re­quired part-way through, and the same num­ber of stitches and rows are worked in the heel and the gus­set on both socks. THE MEA­SUR­ING METHOD 1 Cut the yarn at the be­gin­ning of a new colour change. 2 Hold­ing the cut end be­tween your left thumb and fore­fin­ger and keep­ing hold of the work­ing yarn in your right hand, reach your arm out as far as it will go to the left side, and bring the ball end of the yarn up to your shoul­der bone on the right side. This is where you will make a slip­knot for the first stitch. (Note that on me, this mea­sure­ment is ap­prox­i­mately 93cm and has been used to make many dif­fer­ent­sized socks for my fam­ily and friends.) THE LAZY METHOD 3 Re­cently I’ve found I’ve been us­ing this method - bear in mind, though, that the cast-on round will be a dif­fer­ent colour to the next round, and that might not be for ev­ery­one. If, how­ever, your yarn changes colour quite rapidly, you won’t no­tice this. 4 Find a colour change in the yarn where you want to be­gin the cuff - at least a me­tre away from the end of the yarn - and make the slip­knot for the first stitch here. 5 Use the two dif­fer­ent-coloured ends to work the long-tail or Ger­man twisted cast-on, mak­ing sure that the yarn go­ing over your thumb is the tail end, which will pro­duce the cast-on in a dif­fer­ent colour. MAK­ING THE FIRST SOCK Make the first sock as per the pat­tern, en­sur­ing you make every change in the pat­tern at the be­gin­ning of a new colour change - for ex­am­ple, when you stop work­ing the cuff and be­gin the leg ( 6), and when you stop the leg and be­gin the heel ( 7). Af­ter the heel you can’t be so ac­cu­rate, but pro­vid­ing you are fol­low­ing the same pat­tern and your ten­sion is the same for both socks, this shouldn’t be a prob­lem. 8 Start the toe shap­ing at the be­gin­ning of a new colour change, too, then com­plete the sock as you nor­mally would. MAK­ING THE SEC­OND SOCK When you come to make the sec­ond sock, look at where the colour pat­tern fin­ished in the first sock. Chances are, the stripes at the be­gin­ning of the toe are the same stripes as the ones at the be­gin­ning of the cuff, so you’ll need to un­wind some from the ball un­til you reach the be­gin­ning of the re­peat again. Go slowly, pay­ing at­ten­tion to each colour change to make sure it matches up with the pat­tern on the first sock, and cut the yarn ac­cord­ing to the method you used in the first sock so you be­gin in the same place. If you can’t re­mem­ber, just check the cast-on row of the first sock to see if it is a dif­fer­ent colour to the next row. If it is, you used the lazy method; if it isn’t, then you used the mea­sur­ing method.

Once you’ve de­ter­mined where to start in the ball, be­gin the cuff, dou­ble-check­ing as you go that it does in­deed match the first sock. (If it doesn’t, there should be plenty of yarn left in the ball to wind off to the be­gin­ning of the next colour re­peat, un­less you are us­ing balls smaller than 100g or are mak­ing par­tic­u­larly large socks.)

Keep check­ing against the first sock un­til the cuff is com­plete. You should be able to tell from the first sock at which colour change to be­gin the leg and heel flap. Once the heel has been turned and you are work­ing the gus­set, check ev­ery­thing is still cor­rect - it should be if your ten­sion matches! Then keep go­ing un­til the toe, chang­ing for the de­creases at the same colour change, and com­plet­ing as per the first sock.

About our ex­pert Faye Per­riam-Reed is a de­signer and tech­ni­cal editor of The Knit­ter. She en­joys ex­plor­ing how dif­fer­ent tech­niques can be used to achieve neater re­sults.

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