Tutorial: Sock Toe Chimneys
by Sandi Wiseheart
This is an easy, neat, and nifty way to finish off your sock toes if you just can't face the Kitchener Stitch that particular day.
I learned it from Lucy Neatby; she has her own tutorial with extended notes here.
Here are my Socks For Zombies to Knit in their natural, UFO state. Notice that the toe on the right sock is on a holder. It's been on that holder for nearly a year.
Once you have completed the toe and decreased down to the proper number of stitches, cut the main yarn, leaving an 8-inch tail. (You will not be working with this tail; you're leaving it long so you can weave it in later.)
Using waste yarn of a similar weight and type, but of a highly contrasting colour, knit about ten more rounds (or about an inch) on the toe stitches.
Result: Toe Chimney!
Pull the needles out (carefully). Cut the tail of the waste yarn to about 6 inches. Leave the stitches live on the top of the chimney.
Using your finger, poke the chimney back inside the toe opening, wrong sides together.
Poke the chimney all the way back in, using your fingers to ensure that there is only a little rim of the chimney showing around the edge of the opening. (Make sure the yarn tail is tucked inside as well.)
Pinch the opening together and mash it about until the stitches line up. I usually start at the corners, where I find the last stitch on each side of the round (hint: look at the decrease ridges) and make those two stitches face each other. After that, the others line up perfectly.
Cut a long (12-18 inch) piece of the sock yarn you used to knit the sock with. If you are using a multi-coloured yarn, and are picky about such things, you may want to choose a section of the yarn that matches the last round of stitches in the toe opening.
Thread the yarn onto a tapestry needle.
Beginning in the middle of the opening, insert your needle through the "legs" of one of the stitches of the final round.
Pull the yarn through, but stop so that half the length of the yarn is left hanging. (You'll use that half of the yarn to work the second half of the graft in a minute.)
See the red arrow? That's where I started, and the arrow is pointing to the first stitch
Working from the center outwards, find the corresponding stitch on the opposite side of the opening, and insert the needle under its two legs.
In the photo here, I am working from right to left, starting at the center. I have worked three stitches on top, and two on the bottom.
Here's a photo of the needle inserted into the next stitch in sequence from the photo above. The starting stitch in the center is indicated.
Here, I've drawn the thread path used in the photo in Step 4. Same photo–I just drew a line so you could follow where the stitching went more easily.
Half done! All stitches to the left of center have been grafted.
Leave the yarn tails hanging free on the outside of the sock for now.
Thread the other end of the yarn onto the tapestry needle, and working from the center outwards, graft the stitches on the right side. (I like to turn the work 180 degrees so the stitching direction is again going from right to left, but that's just me,)
Or are we?
The toe chimney is now stitched inside the toe. Leaving it there would make your toes very uncomfortable, so it has to come out.
Turn your sock inside out, and pull out the chimney to its fullest extent.
This is kind of the fun part. Cheap thrills 🙂
Unravel the entire toe chimney by pulling its tail.
Unravel it entirely, and remove the waste yarn completely from all the actual toe stitches on your sock.
Turn the sock right side out again.
Use your tapestry needle to gently pull the grafted stitches around, evening up the tension and making sure that they match the other stitches in size.
You should have three ends hanging free: Both ends of the grafting yarn, and the 8-inch end of the original working yarn.
Weave in each end on the wrong side of the sock. Be sure to check that as you weave in the ends, the corner stitches behave themselves.
What a pretty toe!