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June 09, 2007

Sidewinders: The Grand Finale

Today I bring you The Grand Finale -- the 6th and final installment -- of Sidewinders: A PerpenSOCKular Pattern.  If you need to get caught up, you can find the previous installments here: The Prologue, Act I, Act II, Act III and Act IV.

The Grand Finale requires you to close you eyes, take a cleansing breath, and conjure up all the bad feelings and emotions you have about grafting.  Imagine how hard grafting is and how confusing the front needle, back needle, knit-wise, purl-wise instructions are.  Got it?  Good.  Now open the door and sweep all those nasty images away.  Because today you're going to graft, and today you're going to realize it's not so hard, and today you're going to say to yourself, "I like grafting".   

Although grafting is not the least bit hard, it does take time, and it does take good light.  You'll probably need about an hour for the Grand Finale, so put the tea pot on, get the good chocolate out, and shoo the kids away.

It's now or never -- cleansing breath, positive thoughts, tea, and click... 

Sidewinders: The Grand Finale

The Long Vertical Graft

The stitches on the needle need to be grafted to the stitches left by the provisional cast on.  This long vertical graft will join your flat, crazy looking sock into a tube.

Prepare to Graft

  • Remove the provisional cast on and place the resulting live loops on another circular needle of comparable size.  Even if this other needle is a little larger or a little smaller than the needle you knit with your grafting will turn out fine.
  • Cut your working yarn leaving a 75 inch tail -- give or take -- and thread the tail on a blunt tapestry needle.

  • Fold your sock in half, wrong sides together, and bring the needles parallel to one another.  Hold the needles in your left hand -- you'll be working right to left -- with the tail connected to the first stitch on the front needle.

Poised to begin grafting!

Just Once, To Get Started

Front needle -- Go through the first stitch on the front needle -- from the center, out -- and leave the stitch on the needle.
Back needle -- Go through the first stitch on the back needle -- from the center, out -- and leave the stitch on the needle.

Repeat Over, and Over, and Over, and Over

Front Needle -- Go in toward the center & drop the stitch off the needle.
Front Needle -- Come out from the center & leave the stitch on the needle.
Back Needle -- Go in toward the center & drop the stitch off the needle.
Back Needle -- Come out from the center & leave the stitch on the needle.

Keep repeating these 4 steps over and over and over until you have only 1 stitch left on each needle:

  1. Front needle -- in toward the center -- drop stitch off
  2. Front needle -- out from the center -- leave stitch on
  3. Back needle -- in toward the center -- drop stitch off
  4. Back needle -- out from the center -- leave stitch on

Always keep the yarn under the knitting needles and try to keep an even tension -- pulling tight enough to close but not so tight that it puckers.  Don't worry, you'll find your rhythm.  In a nutshell, you're alternating needles and repeating, "In, Drop Off, Out, Leave On"

Just Once, To End

Once you're down to a single stitch on each needle, you simply need to "go in toward the middle & drop off the stitch" on each of the needles.  Weave your ends in and you are done!

The Short Horizontal Graft

Hopefully by now you and grafting are fast friends.  You have one more short horizontal graft to join the toe to the bottom of the foot.  If you were careful to work the slip stitch edge and place your pins as instructed, this horizontal graft should be a breeze!

Prepare to Graft

  • Turn the sock inside out and locate the edge stitches that run along the sides of the foot and toe.  These edge stitches look like interlocking "V"s.  You should have (18, 20, 23), [(18, 21, 23), (19, 22, 24), (20, 22, 25)] edge stitches on the foot between -- but not including -- the pins and the same number on the toe between -- and including -- the pins.
  • Start with the foot's edge stitches -- the stitches between, but not including, the pins. 

    • With one of your circular needles and the wrong side facing out, pick up the outer leg of the "V" -- the leg closest to you and farthest away from the opening -- of each edge stitch and place it on your needle.
    • When you pick up this leg and place it on your needle, the right half of the leg should be in the front of the needle and the left half of the leg should be in the back -- it should remind you of a typical stitch mount.

    • I found it easier to grab the leg first with my tapestry needle and then to transfer it onto the knitting needle.

  • Next, the toe's edge stitches -- the stitches between, and including, the pins. 

    • With your other circular needle and the wrong side facing out, pick up the outer leg of each edge stitch and place it on your needle.  Just like you did with the foot's edge stitches.
    • Remove the pins.

  • When finished you should have (18, 20, 23), [(18, 21, 23), (19, 22, 24), (20, 22, 25)] stitches on each of 2 circular needles.


Cut a piece of yarn about 30 inches long and thread it in your tapestry needle.  With wrongs sides facing out, graft these stitches together.  Weave in ends.

The End

And they all lived happily ever after -- Curtain Down -- The End.

June 9, 2007 in Project - Socks, Serial Patterns | Permalink


Oh oh,,, I am leaving it to the morning light!
Actually, I like grafting so I am going to have a blast! Thank you.

Posted by: Rachel | Jun 10, 2007 12:26:05 AM

Thanks so much for writing this pattern down. I love patterns that are different and challenge me to think outside the box :-)

Posted by: janine | Jun 10, 2007 2:29:26 AM

Thank you! For the great sock pattern (I didn't get to knit along, but it is next on my list!), and also a big thanks for the grafting lesson. I used your method and "chant" this morning to finish the toe of a slipper sock and it is the "most-perfect-est" looking toe ever! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Posted by: Lee Ann | Jun 10, 2007 5:20:18 AM

Wow! What an ending! I can't keep up, I'm still mid-Act III, but looking forward to it. I am not afraid of a little grafting so looks like it will be a great ending! Thank you!

Posted by: Carrie | Jun 10, 2007 7:23:02 AM

I have loved reading this series. You are a brilliant knitter!

Posted by: nishanna | Jun 10, 2007 9:06:30 AM

Thanks for the great pattern and tutorial. I haven't started mine yet, but I'm going to give it a try. I've been frantically finishing a lace shawl for this weekend and I used your grafting epiphany instructions and found the whole grafting thing a breeze. I'm sure it will be just as easy to finish off the sidewinders.

Posted by: Brenda | Jun 10, 2007 9:17:21 AM

Wow! Those are incredible!! I'm trying your new found technique with my next socks.

Posted by: Beatknit | Jun 10, 2007 9:30:53 AM

Gor Blimey! You are all so fast. I'm still swatching. Really. Let me add my voice to the appreciation. Thank you 1,000x. I hope it has been and continues to be a fulfilling experience for you.

Posted by: Kathrows | Jun 10, 2007 11:40:20 AM

These are DEEELuxe!

Posted by: Cristina | Jun 10, 2007 2:46:41 PM

Just posted pictures of my Sidewinder.

Thank you for the fun pattern Nona! I love how it mixes up the colors. I have large feet, larger than color repeats are designed for and often suffer from pooling issues. This is a great alternative for handpainted yarns.

I am off to start the second sock. :-)

Posted by: Maia | Jun 10, 2007 6:54:00 PM

i totally blew the toe grafting because i read your instructions and then promptly ignored them. it's alright though because no one looks at the bottom of my feet! i'll post picture tomorrow of my finished sock. thanks again for the help with the numbers in the pattern, they were perfect!!

Posted by: kim | Jun 10, 2007 7:35:30 PM

You are so delightful to read, and clever too.
I had hoped to meet you but alas and alack, we are moving far away in all too soon a time.

Posted by: dharma | Jun 10, 2007 8:14:55 PM

I am SO making a pair of these! They look like a lot of fun, and certainly make a bit more sense than the SSS (though I do like that edging, I'll admit). Well done!

Posted by: Kathy | Jun 10, 2007 10:23:11 PM

I just posted my finished first Sidewinder and it fits too,YAY! What a great pattern and excellent very detailed instruction, a pleasure all and all.

Posted by: Rachel | Jun 10, 2007 11:16:11 PM

I, too, just finished and posted the first well fitting Sidewinder. The instructions were very well written, so although I haven't been knitting very long, they were easy to follow. I tought it was turning out snug but, alas, as it's just perfect :) The second sock has already been started!

Posted by: BerlinBat | Jun 11, 2007 2:21:41 AM

My finished sock photo is posted! It came out perfectly! I was very careful to follow your (perfect) instructions, - my stitch count was right on, so no problems with the "Grand Finale"!! I can't believe how well it fits. Totally amazing. Thanks SSSOOOOOO much for this terrific project. I have already started the second sock.

Posted by: Kathy in Iowa | Jun 11, 2007 3:50:02 AM

You are amazing ! I am saving these posts for when I can sit down in one place and knit 'em up. Geen-ee-us!

Posted by: gale (she shoots sheep shots) | Jun 11, 2007 7:09:19 AM

These are so freaking awesome and you are a genius! I have this pattern saved and the yarn picked out. Can't wait to get some time to try these out! Thank you for this very detailed and generous pattern.

Posted by: Jennifer | Jun 11, 2007 8:59:04 AM

Turns out I could not join you for the Sidewinders BUT my knitting group is thinking about doing a Sidewinders knit-along in July!

Posted by: Annie | Jun 11, 2007 10:23:28 AM

Way, way, way cool! You're amazing. I happen to love grafting so this just might be a sock for me.

Posted by: Patty | Jun 11, 2007 11:17:58 AM

Nona - I love the creativity and technical detail of the Sidewinders! We all owe you a great bit thanks for the extra effort you put in to the pattern for us. I can't wait to start my first pair. I think our upcoming camping trip would be perfect. Great quiet time for appreciating something so new.

Posted by: Laura | Jun 11, 2007 3:23:12 PM

Sock I is finished (pictures on the blog) and I love it. I also love the fact that I've been in at the start of something that's going to be a classic project: Nona, it's a wonderful pattern. Fits perfectly (6-7W, didn't need extra rows once I stopped racing :-) and looks fabulous in handpaint yarn.
Thank you so much!

Posted by: sarah | Jun 12, 2007 3:26:05 AM

I want to make these socks as soon as I finish my Sockapalooza 4 socks. My first socks were toe-up, my second socks are cuff down , and I think my third pair(if you don't count the practice Sockapalooza sock I am working on) of socks should be sidways. Thanks for, from what I have read, a wonderful pattern. I am excited to try it out. Your kitchener directions are great. I will be needing them tonight!

Posted by: Chelsea | Jun 12, 2007 11:24:19 AM

I've got it all ready to print, but I can't start until I have a few other things done. It will be great for Summer Of Socks.
Any chance you could provide a PDF eventually? It would be great to be able to print with the photos.

Posted by: Sarah | Jun 12, 2007 1:04:18 PM

Deep breath, deep breath -- no, I can't - I so dislike grafting. You did it! Socks look great.

Posted by: Asaknitter | Jun 12, 2007 4:59:26 PM

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