WIP: First free-sole socks

I’m trying out Anna Zilboorg’s new sock construction: free-sole. In case you haven’t heard of it yet, the instep and the sole are knit flat and attached at the sides by a toe band. The purpose is so you can detach a section of the sole if and when it wears out and easily reknit it.

My yarn for the project is a lambswool/angora blend that I liberated from a thrift-store sweater and dyed with food coloring. The color work is stranded and knit two-fisted, so to speak (the soles and heel will be plain ol’ stockinette in brown). Instead of purling and getting yarn balls all twisty, I’m knitting backwards. I’m about 5 inches into the instep (knitting 2AAT, toe up) and already in love. :inlove:

How cool!!

That is cool. I’ve wondered: where the sole and instep are attached do you end up with a ridge or something? Like your colors.

No, there won’t be a ridge. There’s a toe band that goes around the toes, and it has selvedge sts along each edge. The instep and the sole are attached to the toe band by picking up sts, so that’s a smooth way of joining. Where you see what could be a ridge on the end of the toe, that’s just the toe band curling under a little because it’s stockinette.

Thanks, glad you like the colors. I dyed the blue as a gradient, so the color is going to get lighter as I go up the sock toward the cuff. I’m really having fun with this project. And I love working with recycled yarn. The cost of materials for these socks is about $1.70.

And those thrift store sweaters are happy to be put to this beautiful use! This really does look like a fun project and I like the idea of knitting backwards instead of purl rows. Should be warm and comfy socks too. Very nicely done, indeed.

Very nice socks! And I love the idea of replaceable parts . . . . and recycled yarn (wish I could find such a deal, but all I found was an acrylic hand-knit sweater–so sad to see it in a Goodwill store).

Now where are those posters whose husbands wear hand-knit socks out in a matter of hours?

Thanks. Finding good yarn to recycle is hit or miss. Some days I find several sweaters I can use, other days I get nothing. FWIW, I seem to wear socks out fast, too. I suspect it’s because I like to walk around the house in my socks, on carpet. I think all that friction wears 'em out fast. Nowadays when I knit socks I reinforce the toe, sole, and heel with a strand of woolly nylon.

I don’t see it on Ravelry. It’s it called Free Sole?

Free sole is the name of a technique not a specific pattern. Here’s the one AZ has on Ravelry. It’s available in a couple of books, both of which you can probably get at your library.

Instead of purling and getting yarn balls all twisty, I’m knitting backwards.

I’m trying to do this. Interesting to say the least. I think I’m starting to get the hang of it!

Oh I see, thanks!

Good to hear. Backwards knitting comes in very handy sometimes. E.g., for entrelac.

Very interesting and cool looking socks

Those are very cool looking socks and I like that you’re re purposing wool too… but backwards knitting!! That must be like trying to learn something with your eyes shut! Or at least it would for me! :wink:

:teehee: I’ve been working on this and the problem is, it’s all backwards! :roflhard: I can do it now but I’m not comfortable with it yet. Tensioning the yarn is proving to be a challenge. I still have to concentrate on it too much to be able to do it effectively so for now I switched back to turning and purling my heels.

LOL. Knitting without looking is fun, too.

It definitely takes some practice, like anything new. If this were just plain stockinette, I’d certainly turn my work and purl. But I’m finding it a lot easier to do flat Fair Isle by knitting backwards. Once I have my tensioning worked out, I don’t even have to reposition the yarn between rows.

Well, Carol, your skills are certainly beyond mine. I really :heart: learning from you and others here. Nobody has that I’m-better-than-you-are attitude. Right now I’m pretty pleased that I turned a short row heel and had no holes to fix. I’ll work on the backwards knitting again soon, my main hang up was seeing how to yank the yarn when I did my German short rows turn w/o turning. That makes sense to me, does it to you?

Awww, thanks. I keep working on my skills to improve them, but you shoulda seen my first pair of socks! My puppy did me a favor by chewing them up.

I’m not sure what German short rows are or why that would involve yanking the yarn. I use the STH (Sweet Tomato Heel) invented by Cat Bordhi.

I’ve flipped one sock over so y’all can see how the sole is constructed. On the left is the instep, a stranded windowpane design, and on the right is about 3 inches of sole so far.