episode 1

 

Arizona Flip Flop Socks - Pattern by Catherine J. Hall

 

 

I moved to Arizona two years ago with crates full of shoes - heels, sneakers, boots.  They all remain in the back of my closet, untouched and unloved.  I do occasionally bring out the black cotton Mary Janes or shiny embroidered Chinese slippers, but usually I blend in with the rest of my new neighbors.  Flip flops (a.k.a. thongs or house shoes, depending on where you live) are as basic and as necessary as sunblock and dark sunglasses in Arizona.  For men and women alike, flip flops are acceptable, expected footwear in ninety percent of the social situations in the desert.  Unless you are heading to the golf course, an executive board meeting, or to work in a restaurant kitchen, you are probably sliding on your current favorite pair of flip flops as you head out the door.

 

For the most part, I like this laid back, practical approach.  I could do without seeing my children’s grimy feet, however.  Lily especially has a way of attracting more than her fair share of Valley dust, and I outfit her in black flip flops when I can.  Any other color is likely to turn black in the course of a single afternoon, anyway.  The other thing that bothers me is our recent discovery of an environmentally based adaptation worthy of Darwin’s attention.  Lucy showed me this wonder of nature first, and I almost fainted (feet freak me out, more than a little).  Both of my children now have what they call “Flip Flop Feet”.  Apparently wearing these sandals for two years straight during a time of rapid growth (right now the girls, ages 9 and 11, wear the same shoe size that I do.  By winter they will have outgrown my shoes) has actually changed the shape of their feet.  When they are barefoot, their big toes stick out, separate from their four sibling toes.  There is also a marked indentation between the big toe and the next largest.  It looks like a square-shaped notch, waiting for the “stem” on the flip flop strap to fill it.  When the girls start school again this fall, I am thinking of conducting a survey of other children’s feet, especially native “Scottsdaliens”, as Lucy calls them.

 

Because we wear flip flops year-round, we sometimes need socks.  Desert nights, especially in January, can be cold.  As knitters, we are able to make adjustments to handknit socks to make them flip flop friendly.  We knit separate toes, or leave off the toe section entirely. 

 

It occurred to me that the most basic version is not only practical, but can actually be a perfect first sock for a timid knitter.  Even knitters new to dpn’s (double pointed needles) needn’t worry about the “scary” parts of sock knitting – toe finishing and turning that dreaded heel.  My own pattern uses stretchy Cascade “Fixation” yarn, so exact sizing isn’t as critical as usual sock knitting either.  And, “Fixation” is a thicker yarn than most sock yarn, so the knitting is fast and easy.  I use less than half a skein for each pair, making this project VERY economical (less than $3 and 2 hours work).  The cotton yarn is perfect for flip flop weather, especially as the mercury rises and wool becomes unthinkable.

 

SIZE/MEASUREMENTS

3.5 inches by 3.5 inches.  My sock is 7 inches around, unstretched.  This sock fits a large child to a medium woman, up to a shoe size of 7.5 or 8, depending on the foot, of course.  To change the size, just leave out or add two or three stitches on each round.

 

MATERIALS

Yarn – Cascade “Fixation”, 98.3% cotton/1.7% elastic, 100 yards/50 grams.

            I used less than half a skein for one pair.

 

Needles – Double pointed needles (dpn’s) to fit gauge*.

 

Notions – Tapestry needle

            Stitch marker

            Stitch holder or safety pins.

 

GAUGE

20 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette stitch, unstretched.

 

PATTERN NOTES

*Choose needles that are comfortable with this yarn for YOU, and give you a slightly tighter gauge than you would expect on yarn of this weight.  I used size #1US needles, but tend to knit very loosely…you may need to go up one or more sizes.  The best thing to do is to knit a gauge swatch, but because this is such a small project, you may want to choose a needle size that “feels right” with the yarn and dive in to the actual knitting.  You should have yarn to spare, and by the time you would have finished a swatch, you could have most of one sock finished.  Even if your first choice isn’t right, the resulting sock is bound to fit someone, and there is yarn left to make the second in that size, as well as a pair in your size.  Try size #3, or even #5, US dpn’s if you tend to be a tight knitter, and try the sock on as you go.

 

K = knit                       Ktbl = knit one st through back loop

P = purl                        K2tog = knit two sts together

CO = cast on               BO = bind off

st(s) = stitch(es)            tog = together

 

 

PATTERN

CO 34 sts.

 

Divide sts among dpn’s and join, being careful not to twist.  Place marker to mark the beginning of the round.

 

Rounds 1-10 - *Ktbl, P1* rib, repeat from * to marker.

Rounds 11-40 – K even.

Round 41A – Shape toes.  K11 sts, CO 3 additional sts, place next 12 sts on holders

            (safety pins work well for this), K remaining 11 sts back to beginning of round.

            You should now have 25 live sts divided on your dpn’s.

Rounds 42A-45A – K these 25 sts even.

Rounds 46A-50A – P1,*Ktbl, P1* rib, repeat from * to marker.

            BO these sts loosely.

Round 41B – Shape big toe.  Work by knitting across the 12 sts on holders, and on

            3 additional sts that you CO next to the 3 sts that you made in 41A.  Place marker.

Rounds 42B-45B – K these 15 sts even.

Round 46 B – K2tog, P1, *Ktbl, P1* rib, repeat from * to marker (14 sts remain).

Rounds 47 B-50B - *Ktbl, P1* rib, repeat from * to marker.

BO these 14 sts loosely.

 

Repeat for second sock.

 

Finishing

Use tapestry needle to weave in ends, using these ends to darn (fill in) any holes that you may see.  If you weave in the ends neatly along the edges, the socks can be worn inside out, too.  The variegated skeins of “Fixation” look especially good on the purl side.

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