Tuesday, 18 May 2010

It's so cute! Strippy Baby Sock

I visited the newly reopened galleries at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford on Saturday. This sock was on display in the Textiles Gallery - from the Fayum in Egypt c.AD300 - 400:

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Knitting a Coptic Sock: The Practical Bit

The Pattern

Materials: 100 g Jacobs Fleece Wool, 1 darning needle, scissors

Size 7/8

Tension is based on 10 stitches = 5cm and 3 rows =1cm

Big Toe
Create 18 stitches
Row 1: Stitch the 18 stitches from left to right
Round 2: Join stitch 18 to stitch 1 and start knitting in the round
Continue to knit in the round until
Round 12: Knit every other stitch (9 stitches)
Knit in the round until
Round 15: Knit one stitch and then knit very other stitch (5 stitches remain)
Round 17: Knit every other stitch until 2 stitches remain
Round 18: Knit the remaining stitches together to close the hole

Other toes
Create 36 stitches
Row 1: Stitch the 36 stitches from left to right
Round 2: Join stitch 36 to stitch 1 and start knitting in the round
Continue to knit in the round until
Round 12: Knit 3 stitches then skip 1; repeat until to end (27 stitches)
Knit in the round until
Round 15: Knit one stitch and then knit very other for the next 10 stitches, knit every stitch end to end (22 stitches remain)
Round 16: Knit one stitch and then knit very other for the next 10 stitches, knit every stitch end to end (17 stitches remain)
Round 17: Knit one stitch and then knit very other for the next 10 stitches, knit every stitch end to end (12 stitches remain)
Round 18: Knit every stitch
Round 19: Knit the remaining stitches together to close the hole

Place both completed toes alongside each other so the open ends are aligned. (You may find it easier to pin them together). Using the stitches along this bottom edge, knit 54 stitches in the round joining the two toes together.
Continue knitting in the round until the foot both reaches your ankle and the underside can be pulled to the back of your foot/heel.
To get the right size and fit, keep trying the the sock on.

Create 60 stitches
Round 1 – Foundation chain of 60 stitches
Round 2 – Join stitch 60 to stitch 1
Continue to knit in the round until
Round 5: Knit 5 stitches then skip a stitch, then 5 stitches and skip a stitch again until you reduce the stitches to 50.
Continue to knit in the round until it measure 6 cm or the length required from the top of the sock to top of the foot.

Heel Flap
When the Ankle reaches the top of the foot part of the sock stop knitting in the round.
Count 17 stitches in from the first stitch and pick up 16 stitches centrally from the ankle piece to create the heel flap – there should be 17 stitches on either side of the flap.
Knit these 16 stitches backwards and forwards until the flap measures 8 cm or reaches to the base of the foot.

Then you need to knit a rectangular piece, 17 stitches wide, which reaches from the bottom of right hand side of the ankle of the sock under your foot and round to the bottom on the left hand side of the ankle.
This can either be knitted separately and stitched to the sock at the end or it can be knitted onto the bottom of the ankle by the heel flap and grafted to the sole of the sock before being joined to the other side of the ankle. Again, keep trying on the ankle part to check it fits!

You now have a two-toed Coptic sock

Note: Remember that you need a left and a right pair, so which way round you stitch the foot part to the ankle part of the sock is very important when making your second sock!

If you get small holes across the sock just back fill them with the same stitch.

Pattern for Coptic Socks by Barbara

Pattern for Coptic Socks by Ann

Patterns for Making a Coptic Sock

The previous 6 or so posts are patterns for making a two-toed Coptic Sock based on those in the Petrie Museum by the U3A group. This group have been meeting at the museum every 2 weeks since October and have enthusiastically thrown all their creative resources at the project.

Their patterns offer different approaches to the one Charlotte and I put together so please try them out!



To be used in conjunction with Design Chart below.

I am making two socks. One light and one dark colour, to show the difference the shade makes to each attempt. Light colours behave in different ways from dark ones. The light colours are softer and produce looser tensions. The dark dyes affect yarn making it appear thicker and the stitches seem tighter. Darker colours are harder to work with. Stitches are more difficult to see and one needs to work with really good light conditions. Lighter colours are not such a strain on the eyes, so counting stitches and rows prove much easier.

Tension Swatch = light colour: 4 stitches and 7 rows = 1 inch
dark colour: the same but knits tighter and
appears thicker with slubs created by pulling
yarn in needle back and forth through stitches.

Tubular section from front of heel to beginning of toe = 6 inches
Approximate measurement around instep = 10 inches
Make cast on chain of 38 stitches
Work approximately 40 rounds.
Toes : One slightly larger than the other.
Flatten tube (making sure which side you want to be top and bottom of sock)
19 stitches on top layer. Smaller toe: Count 8 stitches from edge and stitch through tube and secure 16 stitches. Continue working in round = 16 passes. Decrease every 3rd stitch. Pull yarn through remaining stitches and pull up.
Repeat for larger toe, this time using remaining 11 stitches.
Work approximately 12 passes. Then, decrease by missing every 3rd stitch around until tube has closed. Darn in remaining long tail of yarn.

Base of heel: On underside of sock select approximately 14/16 stitches and work back and forth for about 2”

Ankle: Repeat chain cast on = 38 stitches and work in round for about 2” or as required. Select about 5 stitches in suitable place and pin to top of instep. Then continue working back and forth over remaining stitches (joining each end of every row to edge of main tube until work is level with base of heel. If happy with the way the pieces fit together, sew or continue in pattern stitch to join around base of heel. On completion, sew in ends to inside of sock. If ends of yarn ply is split before sewing, it will be less lumpy.

I made this pattern for sock to fit my foot. Socks to for shoe 5 or 6 (39 or 40). All of this is approximate because everyone will possibly achieve a different tension (stitches/rows = 1”). So, using these notes, together with the chart, reasonable success should be achieved. The chart can be altered to calculate socks for smaller or larger feet.

SYBIL KENTON - March 2010

Making a Coptic Sock by Rosemary

Two Toed Egyptian Sock from the Petrie Museum

REG NO UC.16766 and UC16767
These two socks in the Petrie Museum are delicious to look at and sophistically made. The instructions for the ‘look and made alike sock’ below is only a poor and simple immitation.

My tension in this wool: 8 stitches and 10 rows per 3 cm (tightly worked).
I suggest that measurements of the feet are taken, tension worked out and calculations of the right number of stitches are made along the sewing of the sock.

1. Start from the toes, which are made in two parts – the big toe and the other four toes. ( Look at the diagrams for help.) 8 stitches in a ring, tighten the ring (row 1/diagram 1). Sew 2 blanket stitches into each of the stitches in row 1 (row 2/diagram 2). There are now 16 stitches in the ring. Continue to sew in the circular the length of the big toe (diagram 3).
2. For the remaining four toes repeat rows 1 and 2 as above. Along the top of the toes and down along the edge of the little toe mark off two stitches as the work progresses. In the stitches on either side of these two stitches work 2 stitches round until the right number of stitches or length is reached. (2 and 3 may overlap)
3. Where the two parts join take care of two issues: a) leave a few stitches from both parts to join between the toes and b) increase with 1 stitch four times where the parts meet (to make it easy for the thong to fit between the toes.
4. Continue to sew until the instep is reached.
5. Identify the middle stitches on the sole of the sock (1/4 of the total number of stitches). Work forwards turn the work 180 degrees (right side of the sock facing you) and work backwards, At the end of each row add a blanket stitch for neat turning. If the wool is behind the needle on the forward row it must be in front of the needle on the return row in order to get an even surface.
6. While sewing pick up an appropriate number of stitches to get a smooth connection on the two sides of the heel flap. Continue to work in the flat as in 5. Instead of making a blanket stitch at the end of each row – graft the work into the edge of the body of the sock.
7. Work until the height is suitable (to below/middle of the ankle!).
8. There are two options now: a) continue to work in the round adding the remaining stitches from the top or the sock to length is reached, b) work in the flat creating a slit in the front, or c) a mixture of the two ways. (Watch that the top is not too tight and prevents you being able to pull the sock on). Lonny Prescott

Recreating a Coptic Egyptian Toe Toed Sock

Materials : 100 gm ball of Ashford Tekapo Pure New Zealand Wool (Double Knit 8 ply)
Blunt, large eyed needle – Milwards “Knitters Needles” are ideal

Size : To fit a size 5 (UK) shoe

Tension : 12 stitches and 10 rows over 1 inch – using “blanket stitch”

Note : The sock in constructed from the toes towards the instep. It might be useful to “try it on” as you go along

Step 1 – Big toe

Make a loop and work 7 blanket stitches into the loop
Tighten the loop by pulling the end thread
Work 1 row
Increase by working 2 stitches into every loop (14 stitches)
Work in the round until measuring 2¼ inches

Step 2 – Four Toe Section

Make a loop and work 13 blanket stitches into the loop
Tighten the loop by pulling the end thread
Work 1 row
Increase by working 2 stitches into every loop (26 stitches)
Work in the round until measuring 2¼ inches

Step 3 – Body of Sock

With the 2 toe sections side by side, slip stitch two stitches from each section
Work across the big toe to the join, pick up one of the stitches and then work across the four toe section and round until reaching the join on the other side, pick up one stitch and then continue working across the remainder of the big toe to complete the join

Work in the round on these stitches until work measures 5 inches from the toe joins

Step 4 – Under Heel Flap

Make a flap to go under the heel – identify the centre of the underside of the tube and joining thread work on 14 stitches, turn and work back and forth on these 14 stitches until flap measures 2 ½ inches

Step 5 – Ankle Section

Rejoin thread and pick up and work on 14 stitches down one side of the heel flap, 14 stitches across back of heel flap and 14 stitches down the last side of the flap.
Work back and forth on these stitches picking up one stitch from the instep at the beginning of each row
Work for 1½ inches
Work across the instep stitches and then continue working across the ankle section to work once again in the round
Continue in the round until ankle section measures 4 inches from the back of the heel
Fasten off

Carol Lathwell
March 2010

Replica Coptic Sock Pattern By Angela Easterling

Yarn: Jacob Black Aran 100% Wool. 3ply
Tension: 4 stitches per inch and 7 rows per inch. To fit size 5
Work throughout in Coptic stitch. This pattern should be used in conjunction with my “Diagrams for Construction of Egyptian Sock”

Instep to Toe Section

Stage One
Chain 32 stitches and join to fit comfortably around the instep. Work about 6 inches (about 42 rounds) working towards the toes.

Stage Two
To Work Big Toe
Chain 3 at right angles to circle and join that to 12 stitches away to create a bridge. This forms the division between the toe sections.

Stage Three
Next create a small cylinder for the big toe. Work cylinder till the right length, and then decrease every stitch until all gone.

Stage Four
Go back to bridge and start creating cylinder for the larger 4 toe section. Work three rounds then decrease one stitch on outer edge on alternate rounds until 10 stitches left. Then decrease every stitch until down to none.

Stage Five
To continue sole to back of heel
Pick up 10 stitches on base of instep section work 7 rows flat. Then continue decreasing one stitch each row until 4 stitches remain.

Ankle to Heel Section
Stage Six
Chain 32 stitches and join to fit comfortably round the ankle. Work in a cylinder for about 10 rounds or until long enough.

Stage Seven
Work one row of 28 stitches. Turn and work flat for two rows. Continue, decreasing one stitch each end of each row until 20 remain. Work 2 more rows. Then continue 4 more rows increasing two stitches in the middle of each row to ease heel. Decrease one stitch at each end of final row.

Join using invisible stitches as shown in my Constructions of Egyptian Sock.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Socks Galore

Today I persuaded our U3A group to have a picture with their creations, which are rather magnificent!

Carol, the group leader.




Sally in her socks






Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Fashion faux pas?

I don't think so, not when it is still too cold to wear my Birkenstocks!

Completed Socks

The blog has been rather quiet as we have all been busy knitting and creating our final socks. these are just a few examples from Angela and Sylvia . . . more to come:

Monday, 1 February 2010

Sock it at the V&A

Last Wednesday the U3A group went along to the new Medieval Galleries at the V&A to look at a pair of their Coptic socks (Museum Number 2085-A-1900) and compare them to those at the Petrie Museum. A link to more information on the V&A socks is here.

The V&A socks have been conserved, padded out and put on display among other Coptic textiles. They are a striking red colour with some noticeable differences to those in the Petrie Museum, not least top of the sock, the way the different pieces have been put together and the slant of the stitch.

Mollie took some close up photographs:

The Conservation Department at the V&A had kindly let us take notes from their conservation report on the sock:

Description of Structure
Cross loop of knitting

At top of sock there is an opening at the front, beneath which the knitting is circular shaped to form the heel and the foot and divided at toe to accommodate big toe separately to others.

Left foot heel to toe: 23cm, division for big toe approx 5cm
Right foot heel to toe: 21 cm division for big toe approx 4cm

Bottom of heel to top of sock each 12 cm

Technique means that knitting started from the toe.

Stitch Count
Right Foot: Linear = 8, Rows = 9

Left Foot: Linear 8, Rows 9.5

Friday, 22 January 2010

Single Needle Knitting: Video and Information

The beautiful pair of Coptic socks, dated to 400-500 AD, are the centre of this experimental archaeology project at the Petrie Museum. This is our goal; the recreate a pair using ancient techniques.

To start off the single needle knitting – thread a needle with approximately a metre of wool and make a loop.

To make the first stitches pull the needle through the centre of the loop; this is one stitch. Repeat this step until you have the required number of stitches.
Then depending on whether you are knitting backwards and forwards or in the round wither straighten this foundation row into a straight line, or pull the short end until the stitches are in a tight circle.
Then pull the needle through each stitch creating a loop in the palm of your hand – the needle should go on top of the yarn creating something similar to a blanket stitch.

Continue doing this in the round until the knitting is long enough or if you are going back and forth knit to the end of your stitches and then turn the work and knit the other way.

Charlotte Booth

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Snow and Starting to Knit

Despite the snowy weather, a large number of the U3A group managed to make it into the Petrie Museum for the first session after the Christmas break. Charlotte Booth also came along to go through the main steps in Coptic knitting according to her research . . . watch this space for the first steps guide. In the mean time, this is a short (albeit blurry) film of Barbara doing it:

Over the break many members of the group had been busy knitting their own socks using 'normal' knitting techniques, as well as spinning their carded wool:

Working from home, Sybil sent some charts she had been working on of stitches for the Egyptian sock:

We had a brief distraction by examining Rosemary's crochet snow shoes, which she made to beat the icy weather. The crocheted top is fastened onto oven mesh as a base and then tied with a shoe lace over a pair of crocs and a kitchen bag with a bin liner over the top for aesthetic purposes. Rosemary says they are warm, keep out the wet and sturdy on the ice. They can then just be washed after use: