Monday, August 30, 2010

Yoga Socks

First of all, my apologies.  This is one of my feet.  Yes, I desperately need a pedicure and a paraffin dip.  This is what gardeners' feet look like at the end of the season.  [Hangs head.]

OK, now, on to the project:  this is one of my new pair of yoga socks. 

I mentioned this spring that I was teaching myself to knit.  Let me tell you a little bit about myself as a crafter.  I am not someone who uses my crafts to challenge myself.  When I embroider, I do not want to do it on 24-count Aida cloth in 37 very similar shades of green.  I will not be knitting Fair Isle patterns.  I will not be crocheting from patterns at all.

I craft to soothe myself, primarily, which means that the project must be 1) repetitive and 2) practical.  I embraced red work embroidery because I don't need to pay enough attention to change colors.  I like to crochet a rib stitch that I use on almost everything.  And with knitting, I like repetitive rectangles that I can create while watching TV, reading, walking around the house (yes, my new skill), or sitting at my computer thinking about a thorny work problem.

Yoga socks are the perfect project for this.  All you do is create a rectangle from sock weight yarn (although I have had good luck with worsted weight cotton as well), sew up the area under the arch and behind the leg, and wear.  They are ideal for yoga class, when you need contact with the floor for traction but still want to keep warm.  I have gotten rave reviews wearing them to belly dance class, especially from the American Tribal fans who love hand-crafted pom-poms, tassels, and other costume decorations.  And, they are great in the fall and spring when you really want to go barefoot but need a little something to keep cozy. 

(Note:  I write knit and crochet patterns in plain English, too.)
Cast on 50 stitches of sock weight yarn on size 3 needles.  This fits my size 6 foot well; you may need to add or subtract accordingly.

Knit to your heart's content, or until you have the length you desire.  Remember, you are going from the base of the ball of your foot to a bit up your calf, so this will be shorter than a standard sock.  I just knitted; you can add cables or intarsia designs or anything else you want.  Heck, this can be your swatch to test the gauge for your next sweater, if you like.

Bind off.  Turn wrong side out to sew.  Sew with mattress stitch about three inches of sock to form a tube; this will go under your arch.  Leave a three inch gap, and sew the rest up.

Turn right side out and go hit the mat!

The Analysis

Fast:  These are not a sit-down-and-do-them project.  These are the kind of thing you knit in spare moments while you are waiting for your family to be ready to leave the house, while you are watching TV, while you are standing at the bus stop with your kids or are on the train on the way to work.  These thrive on stolen moments.

Cheap:  These take less than a skein of sock yarn, so use up your yarn ends this way.  And don't feel limited to matching; what would be more fun than a crazy pair of yoga socks made of leftovers?  That means free!

Good:  These are a blessing in cold yoga studios or on cold dance floors.  They also make that transition from fall to winter a little easier to take.
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