A couple of years ago, there was a very cool article in Knitty about knitting your socks two at a time. And not just the usual two at a time, but double knitting your socks. Otherwise known as knitting two socks inside each other using two balls of yarn and alternating which set of stitches you're working on. I was intrigued by the idea, and even had some yarn that I'd mentally tagged for some socks for myself knit this way, but never got around to doing anything about it.
Over the holiday, I realized that Devil was sorely lacking in the handknit sock department. We picked through the bags of scraps I've got for the SYB, and she pulled out several that appealed to her (distinguishing characteristic: pink). I wound each scrap into two balls, and set off.
To simplify things, I knit the cuffs separately so I didn't have to worry about purling in double knit, and then put all the stitches onto one US 1/2.25 mm circular needle. After a few rows, the double knitting seemed pretty straightforward - this was greatly assisted by the fact that I didn't try to match the repeats on the yarn (which was a mix of variegated and self striping), so the two sets of stitches were largely different colors.
I made sure to check every couple of rows to make sure I hadn't totally screwed up and knit the two socks together. There were a couple of bobbles, but nothing too dramatic or messy.
Then I reached the heel. I must admit to having a mental block at the idea of trying to double knit the heels, so I took a page from Elizabeth Zimmerman's book and decided to do an afterthought heel.
Instead of cutting the knitting after picking up the stitches, I knit in a piece of scrap yarn, similar to the way the stitches for a mitten thumb are set aside. It's hard to see in the picture, but the scrap yarn for the heel is there (click for note). I knit a bit past that point, and realized that in order to get the foot length right, I really needed to put the heels in now. I picked up stitches on either side of the scrap yarn in the outside sock,
and started knitting again with the heel yarn.
I did decreases at the edge of the heel every other row until I had about 16 stitches left,
and then I grafted the remaining stitches together. Ta da!
Then I did the inside sock. Each heel added about 1.75 inches to the length of the foot, so I now know how far I have to go before I can start the toes. Of course, with the advent of the massive sampling/swatching project of the last week, these poor things have been neglected in my bag for a while. Hopefully I'll get them done before half-term so Dev has some cozy socks to wear.