Monday, August 20, 2007

In search of the perfect purled sole

I have sensitive feet and I also have diabetes. Most socks that have stocking stitch on the sole bother my feet because of the purl bumps. So I have been on the lookout for a way to knit the perfect purled sole.

I started by purling all of the heel turn, gusset and sole stitches on this sock, Baby Cable Ribs from Sensational Knitted Socks. I used 2mm needles with the Socks That Rock lightweight yarn.
It worked but frankly, it was a pain. I got tired of substituting SSPs for the SSKs and P2togs for the K2togs. SSPs are fiddly.

So then I tried this.
I decided to purl the heel turn and then gradually increase the purl stitches on the sole of this Monkey sock while keeping the gusset decreases in stocking stitch. It works but it looks kind of odd. I think that I'll frog it. Poor Monkey sock and I have had our issues and this is not the first time it has been frogged. Yarn is Lisa Souza's Delft colorway, also knit on 2mm needles.

Then I discovered Lynn H.'s Fast Florida Footies pattern. (Cascade Fixation on 3mm needles.)
The heel turn continues the slip stitch heel pattern, then one row of knit stitches are used for picking up the gusset. All but four of the sole stitches are purled (two on each side of the sole). Lynn is obviously a very bright person! It looks neat, is easy on the feet, and the fiddly gusset decreases are done in knit stitches.

So now I have used Lynn's technique on this vanilla sock in Skacel Trampoline Stretch (leg knit on 2.5mm needles, foot on 2.0mm needles).
I didn't use Lynn's No Purl Heel Stitch, just a regular slip stitch heel flap, then continued it through the heel turn. You can see the start of the gusset. All but four of the sole stitches are purled, then there is a marker between the sole and gusset stitches. There's another marker between the gusset and the stocking stitch instep stitches so that it's easy to remember where to do the decreases.

It wasn't easy to find information to do this technique. Most references are casual and just say to purl the sole stitches. I was a sock knitting newbie when I started looking for help to do this and was frustrated by the lack of information. Hopefully this little tutorial will help someone else. Thank you to Lynn H. for publishing instructions for her FFF pattern!!


ColorJoy LynnH said...

Thank you, Susan, for the kind words. I'm delighted that my pattern could help you in your quest for the sock sole you prefer.

You are so kind. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

An excellent tutorial - thank you :-)

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed reading about the soles you have been trying. I've come to your blog from the Townsend Yahoo Group. I kept thinking I was the only person who had sensitive feet. But every now and then I hear someone, such as yourself, mention the fact that the purl bumps on the sole of the foot bothers them as well. I've been knitting socks with the purls on the outside of the sole for about 6 months. If you would like to see some of mine they are at:
I got the idea from Sensational Knitted Socks where the author references the "princess foot", which is what I call it now.
I have played around with it for a while and I'm very happy with the results. I purl the heel turn and the gusset, however, I knit into the back of the first and last stitches of the sole.
I find these socks to be wonderfully comfortable and I hope you do, too.

Unknown said...

Gosh, what wonderful socks and innovation.

Anonymous said...

This sounds - and seems! - amazingly interesting - and kudos to you for sticking through it and not giving up searching for the perfect sole pattern, and eventually finding it! I will definitely try that out too - some of the socks I'm knitting are for my aunt who has quite sensitive feet too due to illnesses, and this should bring her a bit of relief. Thank you so much for posting about that!