Saturday, November 18, 2017

Mossy Cable Christmas Stockings


"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care..."

Okay, to be honest, we don't really have a chimney. We've hung our stockings beside a door frame and across the top of our french doors, depending on which room we've put the Christmas tree in. But there's something nice about having a set of matching stockings for the whole family lined up side by side, waiting to be filled on Christmas Eve, no matter where they're hung.

Last year, my sister-in-law approached me about making a matching set for their family. They had gotten one stocking at a time as each of the kids was born, and now that they're getting older, she wanted a set that they could keep as their own forever. She had seen these stockings from Land's End on Pinterest, and she liked almost everything about them, but they were discontinued. So I had her choose her yarn colors and got to work.


I had to frog the first one a couple of times before I got the gauge right, and the heel took three or four tries, but I like the final result. The stockings are knit ankle to toe, on circular needles, with a long cuff that folds over and a short-row heel with wrapped stitches (don't worry--there's a video for that). The whole stocking is done in moss stitch with one wide cable running down the ankle, and the toe is just simple k2togs. I didn’t line the stockings; I don’t think you need to, and I like letting them have some stretch for gifts. You could always line them if you prefer. 

We used Lion Brand Hometown USA yarn, a bulky (weight category 6) yarn. It worked up really quickly on size 11 needles. I love the colors my sister-in-law chose, which we could only find in Hometown USA, and it's really soft and squishy and fun to work with. But I have a few concerns about its longevity for Christmas stockings, and since I only made them this year, I won't be able to give an experiential report on this for a while. I'm afraid that it's too soft and not sturdy enough--that it'll fuzz too much if it gets washed, or that gifts or decorations will get caught on it and pull strands. An alternative yarn you could try would be Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick, which was actually my first choice for the stockings, except that we couldn't find the right color palette for what my sister-in-law was envisioning.


A couple of extra notes before we get to the pattern: I did not block the stockings before taking photos. I also did not attach strings for hanging. My sister-in-law was considering getting them professionally embroidered, so I gave them to her as-is with instructions where/how to attach strings. The cuffs in the photos look a lot tighter than they would if they were blocked, and they'll stretch out a lot once there are presents inside. The cables will stretch out a bit too.

If you prefer a printable PDF of the pattern, without ads and with photos arranged on a separate page so they're not distracting from the pattern itself, I'll be putting an inexpensive one on Ravelry shortly.






You will need:

Skills you need:


Gauge: 10.5 stitches = 4 inches

Abbreviations:
K = knit
P = purl
Sl = slip
Cn = cable needle
Yf = yarn front
Yb = yarn back
Ln = left needle
Sm = slip marker


Cast on 40 sts. Join into a circle; place marker to mark beginning of round.

Cuff:
The cuff will fold over on itself so that the cast on edge will cover approximately rounds 1 & 2 of the leg section.
Rounds 1-20: k1, p1, repeat to end


Leg:
Rounds 1 & 2: p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k11, *p1, k1, repeat from * to end
Rounds 3 & 4: k1, p1, k1, p1, k10, *k1, p1, repeat from * to end
Repeat these 4 rounds.
Round 9: p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, sl5 onto cn and hold in back, k5, k5 from cn, k1, *p1, k1, repeat from * to end
Round 10:  p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k11, *p1, k1, repeat from * to end
Rounds 11 & 12: k1, p1, k1, p1, k10, *k1, p1, repeat from * to end
Rounds 13 & 14: p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k11, *p1, k1, repeat from * to end
Repeat rounds 11-14 again.
Round 19: k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, sl5 onto cn and hold in back, k5, k5 from cn, p1, *k1, p1, repeat from * to end
Round 20: k1, p1, k1, p1, k10, *k1, p1, repeat from * to end


Heel:
The heel is worked in short rows as though you were using straight needles, turning your work when directed.

If you've done wrapped stitches before, feel free to skip over the photos for creating the wraps. I tried to be as detailed as possible for anyone who's trying something new. (If you're following the photos, odd rows follow the photos for row 1, even rows follow the photos for row 2.) I didn't take photos of knitting the wraps; it was too hard to get a good shot. Follow the video for that part if the written instructions aren't enough.

If you find short-row heels intimidating, or if you simply prefer video instructions, feel free to follow along with the video here. I apologize for my less than stellar setup—I’m knitting sideways half the time and I leave the screen occasionally—but at least you get to walk through the whole heel in real time with me. (And yes, I knit four stockings, so I took photos of one and a video of another.)


Row 1: k6, yf, sl1, yb, sl1 to ln, turn work

k6

yf

sl1

yb

sl1 to ln


turn work
Row 2: p6, sm, p6, sl1, yb, sl1 to ln, turn work

This is the first purl stitch after you've turned your work. The wrap is around the second stitch on the right needle in the picture. Be careful not to pull this first purl stitch too snug or the wrap will be too tight and difficult to knit later.

p6

sl1

yb

sl1 to ln

turn work

yb (this is the start of row 3)


This is the first knit stitch in row 3. The arrow is pointing to the wrap around the stitch.

Row 3: yb, k6, sm, k5, yf, sl1, yb, sl1 to ln, turn work
Row 4: p5, sm, p5, sl1, yb, sl1 to ln, turn work
Row 5: yb, k5, sm, k4, yf, sl1, yb, sl1 to ln, turn work
Row 6: p4, sm, p4, sl1, yb, sl1 to ln, turn work
Row 7: yb, k4, sm, k3, yf, sl1, yb, sl1 to ln, turn work
Row 8: p3, sm, p3, sl1, yb, sl1 to ln, turn work
Row 9: yb, k3, sm, k3, pick up front loop of wrap and knit with st, yf, sl1, yb, sl1 to ln, turn work
Row 10: p4, sm, p3, pick up back loop of wrap and purl with st, sl1, yb, sl1 to ln, turn work
Row 11: yb, k4, sm, k4, pick up front loops of wrap and knit with st, yf, sl1, yb, sl1 to ln, turn work
Row 12: p5, sm, p4, pick up back loops of wrap and purl with st, sl1, yb, sl1 to ln, turn work
Row 13: yb, k5, sm, k5, pick up front loops of wrap and knit with st, yf, sl1, yb, sl1 to ln, turn work
Row 14: p6, sm, p5, pick up back loops of wrap and purl with st, sl1, yb, sl1 to ln, turn work




This is where we start to knit in the round again, finishing the heel while picking up the pattern of the stocking again as well:

Round 1: yb, k6, sm, k6, pick up front loops of wrap and knit with st, *p1, k1, repeat from * to 7 from marker, pick up front loops of wrap and knit with st, k6
Round 2: k7, *p1, k1, repeat from * to 7 from marker, k7
Rounds 3 & 4: p1, k1, repeat to end
Rounds 5 & 6: k1, p1, repeat to end
Rounds 7 & 8: p1, k1, repeat to end
Rounds 9 & 10: k1, p1, repeat to end
Rounds 11 & 12: p1, k1, repeat to end
Rounds 13 & 14: k1, p1, repeat to end
Rounds 15 & 16: p1, k1, repeat to end
Rounds 17 & 18: k1, p1, repeat to end
Rounds 19 & 20: p1, k1, repeat to end
Rounds 21 & 22: k1, p1, repeat to end


Toe:
You can switch to double-pointed needles to knit the toes as soon as it starts to get too tight on your circular needles. I didn’t have dpns the right size, so I just wrestled with my circulars and made it work somehow.

Round 1: k2, k2tog, repeat to end (30 sts remaining)
Round 2: knit
Round 3: k1, k2tog, repeat to end (20 sts remaining)
Round 4: knit
Round 5: k2tog, repeat to end (10 sts remaining)
Round 6: k2tog, repeat to end

Cut a 9” tail and sew it through the remaining 5 sts, pull tight. Sew all ends under.


Fold cuff in half so that cast on edge is just covering the beginning of leg cable. Cut a ribbon or piece of yarn long enough to hang the stocking wherever you want it. Thread the tie through the fold in the cuff so that it's looped through at least 3-4 stitches (remember the weight of whatever gifts are in the stocking will be held up by this point). Hang it by the mantle, the stair rail, the doorway, or wherever you like!

What's your favorite family Christmas tradition?



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