Sunday, December 29, 2013

Two Socks, One Week: Set Up and Work the Gusset

Baseline: Sock 1, Day 2 and Day 3  
Timeline: 105 minutes OR Steps 5 (Day 2) and 6 (Day 3)

(Note: I'm putting these concepts into one post, even though you may work them on different days, because they really do go together conceptually...)

For starters, um, what's a gusset? Just to clarify, before we get going, the gusset is the part of the sock that joins the flat-worked heel flap and turned heel to the top of the sock. Without it, you've got no tube. The gusset must also be shaped because your ankle is shaped! And that shaping is done with a bunch of decrease rounds. As with most sock steps, you need to set up the gusset before you can work it.

The Gusset Set Up, or Step 5, starts on the RS row. At this point you will begin to knit, and keep knitting, because we're back to working in the round from here on in.
  • Knit the first 8 of the 16 stitches of the heel. Place your green marker. From here on in, as the first technical diagram of the pattern shows you, on page 4, this will be the beginning of the round vis a vis working the stitches throughout the rest of the sock. While I didn't put the green marker on the needle before I shot this photo, it will go right between those two needles...
  • Knit the next 8 stitches.
  • Now start picking up 16 stitches from the first side of the heel flap. (This video shows how to do this, Continental style...) You may need to try this step a couple of times to ensure that the picked up stitches are evenly spaced. Note: you should be able to pick up one stitch for every slipped stitch on the heel flap, given the number of rows you knit on the heel flap, but don't get fussed. Just end up with 16 new stitches. When you're finished with this step, you'll once again start using those stitches that have been resting on the holder for so many rows.
It's tricky to show the picked up stitches along the heel flap. The video referenced in the bullet, above, gives a better sense of it...
Note: I go through both legs of each slipped heel flap stitches. But you can go through one (as I've sometimes done) if getting through both seems impossible.
  • Now place the first of your orange markers... There will be 24 stitches between the green and orange markers.
See the orange marker hanging out on the right needle?
  • At this point, the needle holding your just-picked up stitches (the right) will become the back needle. Pull that needle out till the picked up stitches are held on the cable (just like the old days, though not shown in the photo above) and start knitting the stitches on your left needle, the one that has been holding those stitches for all those rows. (It's closure!)
  • Before you start picking up the heel flap stitches on the second side, place another orange marker. There will be 28 stitches between the 2 orange markers.
  • Now pick up the next 16 stitches from the other side of the heel flap. When you finish this, go back to the 28 stitch section and count back approximately 10 stitches from the third orange marker. Pull the cable out at this point (so as to once again enact a magic loop FROM THE BACK NEEDLE, carefully ensuring that you don't pull out any stitches inadvertently). This will provide you with adequate slack.
  • Then pull the back needle out again (maintaining the first loop, you just made) and knit the final 8 stitches to the green marker, beginning of round.
  • Knit to 4 stitches after the green marker and pull the cable again to enclose the marker.
I'm showing this from the wrong side, even though you will be knitting on the right side, to indicate how all of the stitches are joined between the markers.
If you're following our KAL, that's all for day 2 of Sock 1... Tomorrow you'll return to this post to reference the section that follows:

Step 6 - Make the Gusset (Read on Dec. 29, Day 2 of the KAL, work Dec. 30, Day 3)

You will now begin to make the gusset - which involves decreases. Word of warning: It's a fussy next row because you need to make the decreases where they're indicated, at the same time as you sort out the magic loop and ensure that you enclose all required markers.

Don't worry though, you'll be just fine! Take it slow. First read through the entirety of Step 6 carefully. Understand that the goal is to have 38 stitches on each side of the cable (or a total of 76 stitches) as of the first row, after the set up, of the new gusset. On the second row, you'll have decreased 2 stitches so you'll have 37 stitches on each side of the needles (or a total of 74 stitches). Enclosing the markers is useful, but not necessary, so feel free to leave that for a row or 2 as you get this section established.
  • Ensure for the next round, Round 1, that you understand how the markers delineate the places where the decreases will happen: at the end of N1 and the beginning of N3. N2 is knit plain at this time.*
  • Round 2 is knit plain. Make sure you mark off these rounds, on the chart, as you work them.
Every other round, you'll decrease 2 stitches until, eventually, there will be 14 stitches in N1, 28 stitches in N2 and 14 stitches in N3. The total stitch count at the end of the gusset will be 56 stitches.

Here's what it looks like part way through making the gusset:

And here's what it looks like when the full gusset is made:

Once you finish this, Step 6, on day 3, you will immediately start on Step 7: Working the Foot... This is an easy part! That'll be up later on day 3.

*Arguably, my notable value-add, when it comes to having documented this sock pattern, is that I describe how to use markers as delineators in lieu of multiple needles. Understanding this, you should be able to take any sock pattern, devised for DPNs, and easily adjust it for magic loop in the future. Of course, I'm not suggesting I have made up this technique. But I did come up with it on my own, not from any pre-existing pattern I've reviewed.


  1. Mine isn't turning out too badly - but I'm starting to wish I had gone out to get really nice yarn instead of making do with what I had!

    1. Don't worry! You can go out and get more yarn! :-)

  2. Concerning decrease/gusset: on your post here it states 2 decreases every other round, but on the downloaded pattern, it states 4 decreases every other round. Maybe this should be clairified? Thanks!

    1. Hey SS: Just looked at step 6 of the pattern against this post and, unless I'm crazy, they both indicate decreasing 2 stitches every other round. The 4 stitches every other round comes at Step 8, Making the Toe. Am I missing something? Maybe I've looked at everything too often and it's all starting to blend in my brain?

  3. Ugh...(face palm!) I was skimming the wrong page!!! So sorry!! I was just knitting away and looked at the wrong page; then looked at the post. Of course, they didn't match...oh has got to be Monday!

  4. Hey - I'm glad it's you and not me! :-) That would be bad news for my KALers! It does happen to be Monday. Drink a glass of wine and call it a wash.