Baby Steps! Adventures in Knitwear “Design”

I don’t really feel qualified to say I’m designing something, but I bet Lisa would say otherwise and praise me for trying to create something (for the most part) without a pattern.

My New Year’s Resolution for 2015 is to design a pattern and submit it to Knitty for publication; though I doubt I can design something smart enough to get published, the important thing for me is the attempt. I also have this grand idea to try knitting for a set period of time without using patterns, perhaps six months or a year, to see what I can come up with. And as I’m mulling over some ideas about what I think I could produce if I actually start being creative in this way, I’m working on these socks, the cuff of which…drum roll, please!…I’m “designing” myself! Small steps, people, small steps! I gotta start somewhere, and the cuffs of a pair of socks seems like a good place to me.

Now, I need to give credit where credit is due; I haven’t designed the foot of this sock at all. I’m using the amazing Wendy D. Johnson “Toe Up Socks With a Difference” pattern, which features a hidden gusset on the bottom of the foot. It makes for a wonderfully clean sock, and for me it’s easier and quicker than the standard gusset heel. I’m using Misti Alpaca Tonos Carnavale in Desert Sunset, and the socks are being worked toe-up on size 0 circular needles using Judy’s Magic Cast-On.

The socks are turning out nicely, though I think they’re a little tight for me. I’m hoping they’ll stretch out. You can see the way the fabric stretches as my foot widens near the ankle (below). The Wendy D pattern is for a medium women’s sock only, so I up-sized the pattern but probably could have stood to add a few more stitches than I did. Still! These things generally stretch slightly with wear, so I’m hoping they’ll end up being perfect.

The slouchy cuff is what I’m “designing” myself, although perhaps a better word is “constructing” since I don’t feel like it’s a particularly involved effort or a particularly novel idea. Slouch socks have been done before and done well, it’s true, and what’s more I’m using stockinette; it’s not complicated. Just a few increases and the job is done. I have been getting 11-12 stitches per inch or so (oddly enough I don’t have a tape measurer, though eyeballing isn’t my usual habit…I didn’t bring one with me to Indonesia and have been too lazy, for some lazy reason, I’m sure, to buy one) and figured increasing the cuff diameter by a couple/few inches would create sufficient negative ease to achieve the desired slouchiness.

Starting after the ankle to make sure the slouch sock had some stability after the heel (and wouldn’t, therefore, slouch right off my foot), I increased 10 stitches per inch of cuff, so far increasing 30 stitches total over three inches. I used the make one increase and spaced them out as evenly as I could, staggering successive increases against those of the previous increase rows. I think I’ve created enough negative ease so that the socks will slouch, and I’m excited to beef up the cuff and see the result. I actually charted things out on graph paper and keep notes about what I’m doing…perhaps there’s a sock recipe “publication” for my Ravelry account in the near future! Lisa will be so proud; her knitting notebook is a thing of beauty, and I can only aspire to fill my new design notebook with such magic. To finish the slouch socks, I plan to decrease near the top of the cuff in the same fashion as I increased—10 stitches per inch for a few inches—and do some kind of ribbing for an inch or two before finishing these bad boys off.

I can’t wait to see how they turn out. I hope the result gives me a confidence boost to on my way to designing something neat once I get back to my stash and all my knitting supplies in the US!

Thanks for reading, and please share any purls of wisdom you have for me as a beginning designer!

Big knitty love,


2 thoughts on “Baby Steps! Adventures in Knitwear “Design”

  1. You’re off to a good start! I like to keep a notebook on hand so every time I get an idea, I immediately sketch it down (one design idea came to me last night in fact and the moment I woke up, I began drawing it out) I’m also thinking of submitting to Knitty as well later this year.


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