Why do you call these socks “solefull”?

Because the sole is knitted in full first, before any of the rest of the sock. Also because I like the play on the word “soulful!”

How do you get the sole to be a different color than the top?

By knitting the sole by itself without having to knit the top at the same time.

In what other way are they different?

They are neither top-down nor toe-up. You cast on at the center of the sole, knit in the round outward to the perimeter of the sole, then just keep knitting in the round upward. Your knitting progresses very intuitively, like warm water rising gently up your foot and leg when you step into a bath. That comfortingly logical knitting direction doesn’t make you turn corners, so you always know where you are.

What sizes are they?

Fifteen of the eighteen patterns in Solefull Socks are designed for three sizes — small, medium, and large — with these measurements:
small (S) – sole about 8.75” (22cm) long, for women’s US shoe size 5-6, Eur size 35/36
medium (M) – sole about 9.5” (24cm) long, for women’s US shoe size 7-8, Eur size 37/38
large (L) – sole about 10.25” (26cm) long, for women’s US shoe size 9-10, Eur size 39/40
One design had to be sized for medium and large, and two designs for medium only. Keep in mind, though, that knitting is flexible and that negative ease is desirable in a sock. So each size will comfortably fit quite a large range of feet.

Why did you start knitting socks this way?

Because the only place my handknitted socks used to develop holes was on the sole — most often at the ball of the foot and sometimes at the bottom of the heel. With either top-down or toe-up construction, it was difficult to carry along reinforcement yarn in those places.

What are the advantages of knitting socks solefully?

  • You can carry reinforcement yarn and sock yarn together on the whole sole. That way you avoid the annoyance of having holes form right where the reinforcement yarn ends. Also, you don’t waste any reinforcement yarn on the top of the toe where it isn’t needed anyway.
  • You can make the sole thicker, warmer, and more cushioned than the top if you want to.
  • You don’t have to pick up stitches anywhere, so you don’t risk getting those loose stitches at the sides of the heel flap.
  • The whole sock is knitted in the round except for a short row at the toe area of the sole, involving less than 50 stitches.
  • Stitch patterns can cover the whole top of the sock including the toes. See the photo at the top of this page? Notice how the stitch patterns don’t stop at the toe. On the contrary; the toes and foot tops — exactly the parts that you, the wearer, see the most — are the most interesting parts! That happens because of the way simple decreases shape the toes and foot tops.
  • You can make your socks as tall or short as your yarn quantity allows, because the cuff is last.
  • Stitch designs can merge, diverge, and arc on the sock top in beautiful and intriguing ways, which adds to the enjoyment of both the knitter and the wearer.

What kind of heel do they have; flap or short-row or what?

None of those; the heel is an integral part of the sock top with no special construction necessary. You can, of course, use any of the usual heel reinforcement stitches on the heel area if you like. 

The toe construction on your Leopard Spot Socks was pretty difficult; are these like that?

Nope, not at all. In fact, the reason this book came into being is because I devised a much easier way — after the SOX contest, unfortunately — to shape the sock top. And happily, the new easier way also opened up many intriguing design possibilities.

Where can I buy the book?

Your favorite local yarn store should have it before long; if not, please ask them for it. And it is available on Amazon: Solefull Socks.

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14 responses »

  1. I am trying to contact you regarding distributing your book.
    Please contact me:
    Gail Campbell
    R&M West Coast Enterprises
    847-741-4132
    http://www.wholesale-cooks-crafts.com

  2. Mary hawkins says:

    Amazon in the UK does not seem to be carrying this book currently. Will it be released over here as well?

    • Your question is very timely, because I’m just now finalizing arrangements for my book to be distributed in the UK by Search Press. That should get it into many bookstores and yarn shops. I’m not sure what would be involved for Amazon UK to handle it directly, but I’ll investigate. Thanks for asking!

  3. Marilyn says:

    I am having a difficult time understanding the instructions for the FOOT toe shaping. Can you restate what happens at the beginning of the row where I knit 12 (one before the marker) then do the CDD. Do I slip the marker before I do the CDD?, etc.

    • Marilyn, if you have put a marker on the needle just before the stitch (the one that will be the center of the centered double decrease (CDD), you will indeed need to move the marker before each CDD, to get it out of the way of the CDD, then replace it afterwards. It can certainly be done that way, but I find it troublesome. Instead, I prefer to mark that stitch which will be the center of the CDD with a locking marker (pin-type) right ON the stitch itself, not on the needle. That way I don’t have to take it off the needle and replace it each time I do a CDD, because it’s already out of the way. Some people like to move the pin/locking marker a little higher every few rounds, but after even a few rounds most folks find that the line of CDDs is quite visible even with no marker.

      Let me know if this doesn’t help, and we’ll find another way to come at it. I think you’re quite close to that “aha” moment!

  4. Ana says:

    Enter your comment here…Does the book have charts or written instructions? I’m blind and can’t scan charts. Thanks.

  5. Lisa P says:

    I am having trouble with the Semi Aran sock pattern. I am making the size M and when I get to end 15 on the sole the numbers do not come out correctly. After completing the (k26, M1F) 5 times, I only have 13 stitches to the BOR marker, not 21, to complete the k21. I have 172 stitches at the end of rnd 14. What am I doing wrong.

    • Hi Lisa,

      I’m glad you’re making Semi Aran; it’s just about my favorite design in the book.

      I’m also glad to say that you are doing nothing wrong — you have discovered an error, one of the very few! That “29” in the size M Rnd 15 instruction should have been a “21.” I will post that correction here and in the Ravelry group. Thank you for finding that and asking about it; I’m sure it will help others.

      If you don’t want to go back to the beginning of Rnd 15 you really could just leave it the way it is, with 13 sts to the BOR marker after the last increase. There won’t be any ill effect from doing that because the exact spacing of those increases is not critical in this case. Their only purpose is to get the stitch count up to the number needed to start the pattern motifs.

      All best wishes and please let me know if any more questions come up,
      Betty

  6. Where do I find the magic cast on you mention in the book, I am working on my socks but had to pull it out cause I dropped a bunch of stiches and I am away from my book at work.
    I did print out the pattern I’m working.
    The semi aran. Thank you. Please send me the link for the jmco cast on. P.s. I love the solefull sock book.

    • I sent you some links by email, Kaulean, so I’ll just add here that if you are making size M of Semi Aran, be sure to read the reply to Lisa P below regarding an error. Come to think of it, I’ll copy it in here to be sure you see it: That “29” [refers to a stitch count in one section] in the size M Rnd 15 instruction should have been a “21.” I posted that correction here and in the Ravelry group.

  7. Keith Godbout says:

    These look great!! I love knitting socks. Men’s sizes please??

    • Thanks for your interest in solefull socks! Men’s sizes were published in Interweave Knits magazine’s Summer 2014 issue; maybe you have that issue or know someone who does. If not, here is a link to that design on my Ravelry page: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/forester-socks. There are links there for purchasing the pattern.

      Also, the solefull sizes in general tend to run a wee bit large, so the women’s size large will fit many men as well. And of course, if you are an adventurous knitter or have access to a mentor, you could use a women’s size as a starting point to calculate how many additional cast on stitches and rounds you would need to end up with the size you want. Here’s a link to a solefull sock design (women’s sizes) published in Knitty in 2014, if you want to experiment with it: http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEff14/PATTsolefully/PATTsolefully.php

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