Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cow/Dog mini socks

Hello! Thank you for your interest in my mini sock patterns. These patterns were inspired by my participation in the Wee Mini Sock Swap group on Ravelry. January 2010's theme was literature. My partner listed 'Hank the Cow Dog' as her favorite book. So, really, what else could I do besides a cow dog & a cow?

Both mini socks begin with ....... tiny socks, of course. Only these socks are turned upside down.

You'll find most of my abbreviations are standard. The only exception is purling thru the back loops. I haven't seen any abbreviation for such a stitch as I've never used a pattern that used this stitch. I'm sure there are patterns out there that do it. I've just never happened across them. This is my substitute for attempting to purl thru the back loops. I find the maneuver awkward, but I want the slant it offers. Thus, my method of getting it is to slip the first 2 stitches from my left needle *as if to knit*, slide them back on the left needle, then purl them together in the normal fashion. Slipping the stitches first as if to knit changes the slant you will get with the finished stitch so the edges of the ears will slant properly.

Abbreviations used:
K - knit
P - purl
M1 - Make 1 stitch by picking up the loop from the next stitch in the previous row with the tip of your right needle. Knit this stitch.
K2tog - knit 2 together
K2tb - knit 2 together thru back loops
P2tog - Purl 2 together
P2tb- slip 2 stitches as if to knit, slide back to left needle, purl together
S1 - slip one stitch unworked from left needle to right needle - normally done as if to purl
psso - pass the slipped stitch over the just-worked stitch
sts - stitches

You'll need 2 eyes for each sock - I used very small half-ball buttons I found at my local WalMart.

Fiber - fingering weight yarn. Perl cotton, tapestry wool, Persian wool or embroidery floss could also be used. Embroidery floss is used with all 6 strands kept intact. I used embroidery floss because I didn't have any fingering yarn in the colors I wanted.

Size 0 needles - set of 4

Tapestry needle, small amount of polyfil stuffing

To make the dog, use any basic mini sock pattern with a short row heel. I used a cast on of 24 stitches. However, you could use any mini sock with no more than 24 sts. It's the ears & the nose that make this sock a dog. Make your sock first. The nose is embroidered on with duplicate stitch. I used the same color as my ears but any appropriate color is fine. I covered only the top of the toe.

Ears for dog (make 2 per sock):
Cast on 3 stitches, leaving a long tail to sew the ear to the sock later.
Row 1: knit
Row 2: purl
Row 3: K1, M1, K1, M1, K1 (5 sts)
Row 4: purl
Row 5: K1, M1, K3, M1, K1 (7 sts)
Row 6: purl
Row 7: K1, M1, K5, M1, K1 (9 sts)
Row 8: purl
Row 9: knit
Row 10: purl
Row 11: K2tb, K5, K2tog (7 sts)
Row 12: P2tb, P3, P2tog (5 sts)
Row 13: K2tb, K1, K2tog (3 sts)
Row 14: S1, P2tog, psso (1 st)
Cut yarn, thread tail on tapestry needle and pass it thru the last stitch. Tighten thread & weave in end on back of ear. Block if using wool yarn. Otherwise, iron gently with a steam iron to keep ears flat.

Using the cast on tail, sew the ear to the sock with the cast on end of the ear to the sock. For the dog, the cast on end is flat and is positioned so the edge of the ear just covers the end of the diagonal line created by the short-row heel. The top of the ear should be straight & I positioned mine just below the 'crown' of the head (heel). Ear placement is not 'written in stone' but should look appropriate. Weave in end after sewing in place.

Eyes are very small half-ball buttons I found at my local WalMart. You could use large french knots or even the very small 4-hole flat buttons if you can't find the half-ball buttons. Larger beads might work as well. Sew the eyes just in front of the ears. You'll need to decide for yourself just where yours will look best.

I very lightly stuffed my sock to make it look like a dog. This is optional.

The inspiration for my cow pattern came from here:
I used bits & pieces of the patterns to fit my stitch requirements.

For the sock itself, I used the basic pattern from here:

I did do one thing that I would avoid next time - I forgot that the top of the toe would also be the edges, not the center. I placed my patch of black only in the center of the toe. Next time, I'd make sure that at least one side of that patch touched the edge of the toe to carry the black up the face instead of only on the throat.

I printed out the chart for the cow pattern. Then I outlined the stitches I wanted to use for my cow's blotches. I knitted the sock as the pattern is written. I started the neck patch immediately after the edging rows and I used 2 separate pieces of 6-strand black floss to avoid carrying my black back and forth across the white. I knitted the first 2 rows of the toe section in white, then switched to pink to complete the toe.

Ears are done the same as the dog except skip rows 8 & 9 to shorten them.

To sew the ears in place, fold them in half with the cast on edge on the bottom of the ear. Sew one half of the ear along the slanted line created by the heel. Sew the half straight along a row of the heel/leg stitches. This creates an ear that looks like a cow's ear & sticks out from the cow's head.

Eyes are, again, very small half-ball buttons. Sew them just in front of the ears. Stuff lightly to help the cow keep her shape.