For last year’s Socktober KAL in The Sweater Collective Ravelry group I decided to knit a pair of Arabesque Socks, but then started running out of time to get them finished by the end of the month. “No worries!” I thought, feeling lazy, “I’ll just turn them into shortie socks!” In the end I couldn’t have been happier with how they turned out, and I think they’re the perfect warm weather accessory. Seeing as a lot of people are heading into spring and summer at the moment I thought I would explain how I did it so that your feet can enjoy the heat! 🙂
If you would like your socks to turn out exactly how mine did, you will need a copy of the Arabesque Socks pattern (and the recipe may make more sense with it in front of you), however you can also apply similar steps to other patterns. I’ll be specifically dealing with how to convert toe-up socks with a heel flap and gusset because they’re my favourite!
I began my socks just as I would normally, following the toe instructions as written and then starting on the foot. This is originally a mid-calf length design with patterning only on the front of the sock. Therefore, the knitter is allowed to choose what round of the lace chart to begin their gusset increases on as it won’t matter which round they resume with for the leg. However, I knew I wanted these socks to stop right after the heel, and didn’t want my patterning to end up being “cut off” at the top as I was finishing them. The Arabesque pattern is a 16-round chart, so I decided I wanted to be finishing the foot of the sock particularly on Round 8 or Round 16. Sometimes your pattern will specify which round of patterning you should start your gusset increases with, and if that’s the case you can skip this next step, or also feel free to skip if you don’t mind that potential “cutting off” of your patterning.
I drew up a guide like this, writing down first how many stitches I needed to have at the end of the gusset increases (this will depend on which size sock you are knitting), then which round of the chart I wanted to be finishing the increases with. From there I counted backwards to figure out which round to start the gusset increases on. There’s probably a more mathematical way to do it, but my brain works best with the visual aid! The Arabesque Socks pattern includes all the information on how to judge when you should think about beginning your gusset increases for the size sock you are knitting, and once I measured the sock on my foot I thought the fit would be best starting the increases closer to Round 11 than Round 3 of the chart.
Now that I had that information, I worked the pattern as written, starting the gusset increases with Round 11 of the chart, ending them with Round 7, and working my heel round with Round 8. I knit the heel turn and flap featured in the pattern, and once that was done rejoined my work in the round. I then worked 1 round of plain knitting which ensured there was a break between the lace and beginning of the cuff.
If you’ve knit my Day Off Socks pattern, you may know that I like an 8 round cuff for anklets/shorties, but if you’d prefer something longer or shorter feel free to work the cuff to your desired length. I think 8 rounds is perfect for hugging your ankles and preventing any gaping around the top of the sock, but if you have narrower or wider ankles you may need to adjust as necessary. I also like a 1 x 1 twisted rib for its neatness and stretchiness, so worked 8 rounds of *k1tbl, p1* to end. Lastly I worked my favourite bind off – Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off – and voila, a new pair of socks!
As I’ve said this recipe can be applied to basically any pattern – the essence of it is to start your choice of cuff just after after you’ve worked your heel. I hope these notes help you on your way to making a drawer full of shorter socks, and if you’re lucky, you’ll even be able to knit 2 pairs of short socks out of one 100g skein of sock weight yarn!
Please feel free to comment if you have any questions, and I wish you happy knitting!