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Socks: when to reinforce heels and toes?
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Jun 17, 2013 16:19:43   #
Maureenhn
 
Is there a rule of thumb for using reinforcement thread depending on the yarn's fiber content? I'm making a pair now that is 52% bamboo, 43% super wash merino wool, and 5% combed silk. I'm using wool reinforcement thread and it's making the heels and toes look bulky. I don't like the look. Do you think this yarn didn't need reinforcing? What yarn would?


 
Jun 17, 2013 16:26:46   #
Sherry1
 
What I have read here on KP is that the sock wool should contain about 20% nylon for durability and that's what I look for.
I wish I knew about the durability of silk and bamboo but someone will know here on KP.
Jun 17, 2013 16:47:17   #
mopgenorth
 
I use "wooly nylon" to reinforce my heels and toes if I think they are going to get particularly heavy wear. It's very thin, but very strong and if you get it in a neutral/coordinating color you will never know it's there.

Another alternative would be to do an "afterthought heel" which you do last after knitting the entire sock which can be later replaced if it wears out.

Here's a great video for an easy way to fix wear and tear in your knitting should it occur: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXD3TdbpDbM
Jun 17, 2013 17:40:29   #
5mmdpns
 
If you are using pure wool or pure alpaca yarn, then yes, you need to add a reinforcing yarn to the heels and toes. Zoe :D
Jun 17, 2013 19:44:00   #
Linda6885 (a regular here)
 
Silk and bamboo are very strong fibers. I wouldn't think you would need extra reinforcement. most 'sock' yarns have a percentage of nylon to make the fibers longer wearing, but i think the silk and the bamboo would be strong enough. Any animal fiber without nylon, acrylic, or another strong fiber needs an extra reinforcing thread.
Jun 17, 2013 19:48:15   #
Mireillebc
 
I have bought bamboo socks (already made from store) and they are at least 3 times less durable than in wool.
 
Jun 18, 2013 08:28:24   #
Catarry
 
Here's one source,

http://www.kyarns.com/product/lang-yarns-sock-reinforcing-yarn

here's another source for same stuff that's 25 cents cheaper.

http://tinyurl.com/kyweswy

Another option is to use wooly nylon serger thread.
Jun 18, 2013 08:34:12   #
kmckinstry77
 
It looks kind of cute, actually. :)
I think bamboo has been listed as a "needs reinforcement" yarn, but I think nylon & acrylic blended with bamboo makes it not need reinforcement? I do know that bamboo tends to be "splitty", so you need to be careful.
Jun 18, 2013 08:38:01   #
Catarry
 
If you're using a yarn that has no nylon blended into it, you can add a nylon reinforcing thread to heels and toes.
I'm not entirely certain about the reinforcing value of the silk. It's a very strong fiber and may do the job.
You might check one of the sock knitters' groups on Ravelry for further advice.
Jun 18, 2013 08:40:31   #
kmckinstry77
 
Catarry wrote:
If you're using a yarn that has no nylon blended into it, you can add a nylon reinforcing thread to heels and toes.
I'm not entirely certain about the reinforcing value of the silk. It's a very strong fiber and may do the job.
You might check one of the sock knitters' groups on Ravelry for further advice.


Good point - silk is a very strong fiber. I have sweaters that are silk/cashmere lends & they have lasted for years & many washings.
Jun 18, 2013 13:17:12   #
JTM (a regular here)
 
Maureenhn wrote:
Is there a rule of thumb for using reinforcement thread depending on the yarn's fiber content? I'm making a pair now that is 52% bamboo, 43% super wash merino wool, and 5% combed silk. I'm using wool reinforcement thread and it's making the heels and toes look bulky. I don't like the look. Do you think this yarn didn't need reinforcing? What yarn would?


I knit toe up (2 at a time) socks...and when casting on, I always make sure that my "long tail" is extra long so I can knit in that long tail in the first few rounds of the toe... that takes care of the tail as well as reinforcing the toe area. Have not done any reinforcing for heels as yet.
Jane
 
Jun 18, 2013 15:23:40   #
Palenque1978
 
Unless the purchased yarn comes with reinforcing thread, I never reinforce the heels of my sock. I've never had complaints about the heels or toes coming undone or getting holes.
Jun 18, 2013 23:44:19   #
Maureenhn
 
Jane do you know of a pattern for toe-up socks that would be easy to learn? I've never done them that way, or on circular needles two at a time either. I'd like to learn.
Jun 19, 2013 00:20:49   #
JTM (a regular here)
 
Maureenhn wrote:
Jane do you know of a pattern for toe-up socks that would be easy to learn? I've never done them that way, or on circular needles two at a time either. I'd like to learn.


The first pattern I used was called: Toe Up Raggi Sock found through Ravelry.com/ It is a pattern calling for worsted weight yarn and a size 5 needle. The thickness of the yarn and the rather large (compared to what I now use) size needle made it fairly easy to learn the process.
Watching the video on YouTube for Jenny's Magic Cast On was great for learning that cast on for toe up socks.
I also watched several videos on working two at a time.
I must admit...working only one sock for starters...it turned out way too big ... didn't take into consideration that socks should have negative ease. Ripped that one out completely and started working two at a time. Have done two at a time ever since. Did 3 pairs in about a month (while o n vacation) in heavier weight yarn with size 5 needle. Then bought true sock yarn and had to get some size 2 needles ... bought ChiaoGoo size 2 interchangeable bamboo needles and 40" Cable (prefer the red Twist cable to the Spin {mono-filament}...cables should be the S style with size 2 through 8 needles)
Favorite heel found in the Lifestyle Toe Up Sock (also at Ravelry) and for the finish... Judy's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off

Just Google the names... Jenny's Magic Cast On, Lifestyle Toe Up Sock, and Judy's Surprisingly Stretchy BindOff along with the simple crew type sock pattern Toe Up Raggi Sock.

Today I still use that basic way to knit socks... just alter number of stitches (lifestyle toe up sock for heel) and the jssbo for bind off. And I am not sure how many socks I have done... somewhere over 30 pairs since January I am sure.

Good luck... you may just find that socks are addictive as i have learned.
Jane
Jun 19, 2013 02:16:10   #
Maureenhn
 
Thanks so much!
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