Eeeeeelaasticity

It’s winter in California. This means that flip flops and sandals must give way to something a bit more substantial. I bought some really cute ankle boots for fall & winter.

Unfortunately, one of the pairs did not play nicely with socks. Even though I bought wide, the shoe is still snug across the bridge. This leaves little to no room for socks — stockings/tights, yes, but not socks.

The tops of the ankle boots were rubbing. Without the protection of socks, my ankles were very uncomfortable by the end of the day.

To solve the problem, I thought I’d make a pair of boot cuffs. I tested the idea out by using a pair of long wristlets I had laying around. The idea had merit, but the cuff kept riding up, rendering it worthless from the the ankle protection perspective.

L: German Long Tail Cast On, Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Cast Off, Cabled Cast On, and Zimmerman’s Sewn Bind Off
R: Jeny’s Slip Knot Cast On, Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Cast Off

Then I remembered that 80s fashion wear — stirrup pants (remember those??). I set about to knitting a pair of stirruped ankle cuffs.

The wristlets were also tighter on one edge than the other — cast on or bind off edge — I can’t remember. But they were not even. And that bothered me. That will never do.

I pulled out some leftover Malabrigo Sock and set out to make some cuffs using elastic cast on and bind off. First stop, Jeny’s Slip Knot Cast On and Surprisingly Stretchy Cast Off at the heel and Zimmerman’s Sewn Bind Off at the top. (right cuff)

Heel detail

I wasn’t happy. The slip knot cast on had a very tidy edge, but it didn’t match the cast off edge. The cast off was all ruffly and stretched out. The cast on edge in the heel (row after I casted off for the heel) was more refined (slip knot cast on).

Top: Zimmerman’s Sewn Bind Off
Bottom: Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Cast Off

So, when it was time to cast off at the top, I chose Zimmerman’s sewn bind off. Yuck! It was all ruffly in a bad way. It didn’t follow the 2×2 rib as closely as I would like (not unexpected, but I didn’t expect it to be this ugly.)

So, onto the second cuff. I decided to use the German Long Tail to start. It matched the cast off edge a bit better.

All streeeeeeeetched out!
Top: Slip Knot Cast On
Bottom: German Long Tail

But how did the elasticity differ? Actually, not very much at all.

Confession: I attempted to take a picture of the stretched bound off edges at the top. It wasn’t until I started writing this post that I realized that I have photo of a top and bottom, not top to top. Oh well.
(Click on link if you want to see. As you can see, the stretch is fairly consistent cast on/bind off edges.)

Forget all that technical stuff, did the cuffs do the job????

Yes and no.

Yes, the cuffs are keeping my ankles from getting chaffed.

No, the stirrups are … dare I say it? too stretchy. The stirrup on my right foot kept sliding out from under foot and up the back of my foot. Did it have something to do with the cast off/cast on at the ankles? I switched the cuff/feet part way through the day to check, but the right stirrup is still slipping off.

It has something to do with how my right foot moves when I walk.

In any case, the 2×2 ribbing under the arch is too loose. I can do one of 2 things: (1) less stitches at the stirrup, or (2) something other than ribbing; something not as stretchy width wise — perhaps garter stitch.

Of course, by the time I finish with all my experiments and have the perfect stirrup cuff pattern down, the boots may stretch out enough to wear regular socks.

Stay tuned.

P.S. I just had a thought. I am a knitter, damn it!! I can knit the feet with finer yarn at a smaller gauge then switch it up to thicker yarn/gauge for the cuff when I get there. The question remains, though, do I really want to knit fine gauge socks (finer than my usual 8-9 sts/in)? I think I already know the answer to that questions.