Soon you will have a complete sock! We just need to shape the toe and then graft the toe stitches together, also known as kitchener stitch.
First, I want to stress one more time that if this is your first sock, don't rely on the written sock pattern for everything you need to know. These blog posts and the linked ones from Ann at Knitting Fever are essential to understanding how to follow the written pattern. For instance, the written pattern says to knit even until the foot measured 6". Well, if you are following the blog instructions you will find that 6" is IN GENERAL. Since socks can be customized, you should try your sock on and knit to within 2" of the end of your foot. Everyone's foot is different! The written pattern gives you the general length in case you are making them for someone else. But this first pair is for you, right?
As you begin the toe shaping, you can see how keeping your stitches organized on 4 needles is essential to following the instructions - we now refer to needles as 1, 2, 3, and 4. If you haven't done this, you can redistribute your stitches with 14 stitches per needle, and the beginning of the round at the center of the sole. This will allow the toe decreases to happen at the sides of the toes.
Once again, Ann gives a great explanation of all this on the Knitting Fever blog: http://knittingfever.com/blog/sock-knit-along-toes/
I also like this video for kitchener stitch: http://www.knittinghelp.com/video/play/kitchener-stitch
Be sure to note that the written pattern does not explain how to set up your toe to get ready for kitchener - it assumes you know how to do this. Ann provides some explanation, but here's one more try to explain this. When you get done with the last toe shaping round, your working yarn is at the bottom of your sole (the beginning of your rounds). But, you need to kitchener the toe together from side to side not bottom to top - so, your working yarn needs to be at one side. The simplest way to do this is to knit 6 more stitches. Now your working yarn is at the side and you can place 12 stitches on one needle and 12 on another, and you're ready to kitchener. If your sock was on your foot and you were looking straight down at it, it would look like this:
Kitchener is probably the most dreaded stitch by knitters - that is, until you finally understand it! If this is your first time doing kitchener, just watch the video over and over a few times, then get your yarn ready to try it yourself. Play the video through the first step and pause, do the first step - play the video through the next step and pause, do the next step - and so on. Take it one step at a time. If I haven't done kitchener in a while, I'll even watch the video again as a reminder of the steps.
And of course, if you need moral support in navigating this stop by the shop - we're always ready to help!
One final word of advice - cast on your second sock immediately! It is so easy to finish the first sock, breathe a sigh of relief and set it all aside with good intentions to cast on the second soon. If you cast on now and knit a couple rounds, the second one is started and much harder to ignore.
Hurray, you are now a sock knitter!
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