Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Richter Family Christmas Stocking

"In Jim’s family, Jim’s grandmother and then his mother knit Christmas stockings with one’s name and year of birth. It has become a big family tradition with stockings for spouses and children. Unfortunately, Jim’s mother has some dementia and can no longer make these stockings. I was thinking that one for Jenn next year would be an additional sign of welcoming her to the family."

Jenn's stocking knit by me with the following pattern (left), Andy's stocking knit by his Grandmother or Great-grandmother (right.)

I felt so honored when I received the following email from the Richter family. They have been close to my husband's family for years (I met them the same day I met my now in-laws!) Both of my grandmothers have suffered from some form of dementia, so I can understand the effects this can have on a family. This makes it even more special for me to help keep this tradition alive.

Jenn's stocking knit by me with the following pattern (left), Andy's stocking knit by his Grandmother or Great-grandmother (right.)

I reverse designed this stocking based on the sample mailed to me. Although there are some things I may have done differently if I were designing this stocking from scratch, I am going to try to replicate the construction as authentically as possible.

  • Wool of the Andes Worsted Weight Yarn in White (9 g), Grass (Green; 35 g) and Red (35 g).
  • Size 3 knitting needles, both straight and double pointed needles are used in this project.
  • Yarn needle for weaving in loose ends
  • Gauge: 6 sts/inch; 8 rows/inch
  • Finished size: 4.5" wide, 12" cuff to heal, 9" heel to toe.
The Pattern - Please note that parts of this stocking are knit flat, and others are knit in the round.
  • Ribbed Cuff - Worked Flat
    • With Red yarn, cast on 52 stitches with a long tail CO onto straight needles
    • knit 12 rows of 1x1 ribbing (K1, P1 across)
  • Stocking Body - Worked Flat until the end of Santa. Last two plain green rows worked in the round.
    • Starting on a WS (wrong side) row. Begin working the chart starting from the bottom, purling on WS rows and Knitting on RS rows.
      • Note 1:WS rows follow the chart from left to right, RS rows follow the chart from right to left.
      • Note 2: I used stranded techniques for the name and Santa, Intarsia for the trees. I made 4 g "bobbins" for each color for the trees section.

        Open the chart in a new window for a larger view.
    • Continue working the chart until you finish the feet of the Santa figure - 58 rows, ending on a RS row.
    • Switch to double pointed needles (or your preferred method of working in the round) and knit the last two green rows but DON'T BREAK THE GREEN YARN YET. Make sure you mark the beginning of the round.
  • Shape Heel Flap - Worked flat on double pointed needles
    • With green yarn, K14, turn
    • Slip 1 stitch, purl 13 stitches, pass marker, p 14 sts (28 sts total for heel flap)
    • Break green yarn and join red.
    • Row 1: *S1, K1* repeat from * across the row. Turn
    • Row 2: S1, P27 sts. Turn
    • Repeat rows 1 and 2 until 13 times (26 rows total), ending after a Row 2.
  • Heel Turn - Worked flat on heel flap stitches
    • S1, K15, SSK, K1, turn (27 sts)
    • S1, P5, p2tog, P1, turn (26 sts)
    • S1, K6, SSK, K1, turn (25 sts)
    • S1, P7, p2tog, P1, turn (24 sts)
    • Continue pattern as established until 18 stitches remain.
    • Next Round: S1, K14, SSK, turn (17)
    • Next Round: S1, P14, P2tog (16)
  • Gussets - Worked in the round
    • Knit across 16 stitches of the heel, pick up and K 14 sts along the sides of the heel flap. K 24 stitches (the stitches set aside previously.) Pick and and knit 14 stitches from the other side of the heel flap. (68 sts).
    • K 8 stitches (half way across the heel flap) and place marker. From here on out, this is the beginning of the round.
    • Round 1: K20, K2tog, K 24, SSK, K20 (66 sts)
    • Round 2: K 24, K 16 stitches of the year chart (bottom to top, right to left), K24
    • Round 3: K19, K2tog, K4, K16 chart sts, K4, SSK, K19 (64 sts)
    • Round 4: K 24, Knit the 16 chart stitches, K 24
    • Continue pattern as established (decreasing on odd rounds, knitting across on even rounds) until 54 sts remain. (Note: the round where the chart is completed, there are 56 sts left. After this point just knit those 16 stitches.)
    • K 1 round red. Break red.
    • Switch to green yarn. K13, K2tog, K24, SSK, K13 (52 sts)
  • Stocking Foot - Worked in the round
    • Knit 36 rounds in green. (Note, if you count one green round from the gusset section then there are a total of 37 green rows.)
    • Break Green
  • Shape Toe - Worked in the round
    • Join White yarn,
    • Round 1: K 10, K2tog, K2, SSK, K20, k2tog, K2, SSK, K10 (48 sts)
    • Round 2: K across
    • Round 3: K9, K2tog, K2, SSK, K18, K2tog, K2, SSK, K9 (44 sts)
    • Round 4: K across
    • Continue pattern as established (alternating decrease rounds with K rounds) until 24 sts remain.
    • K 6 stitches and break yarn leaving a long tail.
  • Finishing
    • Graft the toe together using the Kitchener stitch.
    • Sew up the back of the stocking
    • Weave in all loose ends
    • Block the stocking. I soaked the stocking in water for 20 minutes and then laid it out wet. Allow the stocking to dry completely. Pins aren't really necessary to get the stocking to lay flat, but you can pin if necessary to get the desired dimensions.
    • Sew a ribbon onto the cuff of the stocking, hang and admire!

Pictures from the construction of Jenn's Stocking

The flat portion of the stocking. The name Jenn was knit using stranded colorwork methods, the Christmas trees and Santa were knit using intarsia techniques.

Checking the length of Jenn's stocking against Andy's stocking.

Working in the round to add Jenn's birth year.

The old (Andy; top) and new (Jenn; bottom) stockings. In the left photo, Jenn's stocking had not been sewn together yet, and in the right photo it still needs blocking.

The toe of the stocking, before and after it was grafted together.
Jenn's finished stocking (bottom) next to Andy's original stocking (top.) Do you think I did a good job recreating the stocking?

Pictures of Andy's Original Stocking

Andy's original stocking that was the model for this knitting pattern.

Some pictures of the details from the original (Andy's) stocking.

Abbreviations Used in this pattern:
WS - Wrong side of the fabric
RS - Right side of the fabric (the side of the project that you will see in the end)
S1 - slip one stitch purlwise
Kfb - increase by knitting into the front and back of a single stitch.
M1 (Make 1)- increase stitch by picking up yarn between two stitches, twisting and knitting.K - knit
P - purl
I-cord - knit stitches on dpn's without ever turning the needle (effectively knitting in the round with a small number of stitches.)
SSK - decrease by slipping two stitches then knitting them together. Alternatively, you could slip one stitch, knit one stitch and pass slipped stitch over.
K2tog - decrease by knitting two stitches together.
Kitchener stitch - a method of grafting live stitches together to make an invisible seam.

This knitting pattern was created by ChemKnits for your personal or charity use. You are not to distribute, sell or reprint this pattern without the permission of ChemKnits or the Richter Family. © 2012 ChemKnits