Archive for the “sock” Category

I’ve had the idea for these cabled socks in my notebook for a while, and with the imminent completion of the Textured Socks, I wanted to start something new. I sketched out the overs and unders, decided which round would be the first one, and had a moment of pride for remembering that cables take up some of the fabric and make the socks fit more tightly. The general rule is to look at the row or round with the most cable crossovers, and add one stitch per crossover to the total amount. Since my usual socks are knit at 64 stitches, and these will have one round with eight crosses, I decided to start with 72.

Step One: Cast on 72 stitches, using the stretchy slipknot cast-on. Discover that the yarn is frayed to breaking. Slide 72 stitches off the needle; discard yarn.

Step Two: Grumble a little.

Step Three: Cast on 57 stitches before discovering another frayed spot. Slide 57 stitches off the needle; discard yarn. Inspect frayed end and decide that it doesn’t look nibbled, at least.

Step Four: Grumble a little more, using slightly stronger language. Ponder the options of either throwing the ball of yarn across the room, or bringing it home so that it can be rewound into a centre-pull ball, looking for more frayed spots along the way.

Step Five: Decide to try it once again. Cast on 72 stitches. Slide the next ten yards of yarn through fingers. Determine that there are no further frayed spots, and that the ball of yarn must have gotten pinched in a tote or something.

Step Six: Knit twenty rounds of k2, p2 ribbing. (Take some time, twelve rounds in, to wonder if a 1×1 twisted rib might not look better with the planned 3×1 ribbing for the sock. Decide that 2×2 is stretchier, anyway. Keep going.)

Step Seven: Ask boyfriend to mix a drink that matches the sock.

Step Eight: Choose a name for the new design. (It’s “Cabled Violets” for the moment, but it won’t stay that way forever. Suggestions are welcome!)

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A very kind Raveler sent me a bit of their leftover yarn so that I could finish the Textured Socks. So finally, almost a year after I started them, they are done! Hooray!

I used the free Stanton pattern and just over one skein of Socks that Rock Lightweight in the Smokey Mountain Morn colourway. The pattern was well-written and easy to follow, though I made a few adjustments: lengthening the toe slightly and widening the heel turn. I chose to keep the stitch pattern down the back of the heel flap, but slipped the first stitch on every row to make picking up the gusset easier. The stitch pattern is quickly memorized, and gives a good all-over texture that adds interest to the spirals of this variegated yarn. It draws in a bit like ribbing, so these socks should fit snugly.

Apparently Socks that Rock Lightweight now comes in a larger skein than when I bought this yarn – 405 yards instead of 360. The price has gone up to match, but at least if I decide to use the yarn again, I’ll have a better chance of getting a whole pair of socks out of one skein.

One of the older, smaller skeins is still in my stash, in the “Moss Agate” colourway. If anyone wants to buy it from me, I’ll send it on. $23 includes shipping anywhere in the continental United States; I’ll have to do the math on postage to other countries. It’s quite pretty but now I know from experience that it just won’t make socks big enough for me.

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Ten years ago on a motorcycle ride through the countryside with my ex, we stopped at a little yarn shop called Needles in the Haymarket, and I bought a ball of pink and gray Austermann Step yarn. I didn’t know, then, that less than a year after that ride I would be moving to Haymarket, and that shop would become my LYS for years!

Four years ago I cast on for another pair of Jaywalkers. I liked the yarn well enough, but for some reason I never felt the urge to knit on the socks. I’d take the project out from time to time and put a few rounds onto it, but didn’t fall in love with it. When I was traveling last fall, I thought of bringing it – but no, I started something else instead.

At the end of the weekend I said to myself, “Self, it’s time to finish that sock. Or something.” So I tried it on to see how much more I’d need to knit before the toe and… it didn’t fit. My feet have grown. I’ve put on some muscle in my legs since I started biking and running. And this sock is never going to fit.

Farewell, Pink Jaywalker. It was nice almost knowing you.

Hello, Austermann Step in pinks and grays. What kind of sock do you think you’d like to be?

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The pillow form arrived during the first weekend of the Tour, and I used some leftover handspun Jacob in a medium gray shade to crochet the two sides together. I’m really pleased with the finished product! My original thought had been to make a felted pillow, but I liked the feel of the fabric – and the size – so I just left it alone. It’s heavy and squooshy and comfortable, and looks great on the black leather couch – though its final home will probably be on the futon in my office. This project was fun from start to finish; I got a lot better at longdraw spinning and then it was such a good feeling to knit a quick and easy project with my own handspun yarn on big needles.

The first week of the Tour went well, and then I crashed – but I’ll write about that next time. Meanwhile, I’m playing yarn chicken with the socks I started last fall, and I think it’s a losing game. I’d anticipated this, so when I grafted the first toe shut I didn’t pull the stitches tight. If I have to rip out that toe for the extra yarn I will, and then both socks will be given contrasting purple toes. Not what I’d hoped for, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

The safety pins on each sock are keeping the rows lined up, so I don’t have to count over and over again to get my socks the same length. This is Socks that Rock lightweight in the Smokey Mountain Morn colourway, and it’s the second STR pair I’ve made that isn’t going to cover my toes. (I made these shorter though! and with fewer stitches around! Hrmph.) I have one more skein of the yarn and I’ll remember next time to just make contrasting cuffs/heels/toes…

Meanwhile, I’ve been super busy! I bought a new (slightly used, but new to me) car and sold my old car last weekend, then started a new job on Monday, and I’m excited about both those things – but so drained from having two adventures in one week. Last night when it was still too early to go to bed, but I was too tired to do anything that required any mental effort, I pulled out some Lang Jawoll sock yarn that a friend sent me. She’d somehow made a tangled mess of the skeins without ever knitting any of it… but now they’re all detangled, wound into loose cakes, and added to my Ravelry stash.

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After ripping back my failed attempt at a sock heel flap, I wound up the loose pile of yarn to keep it from tangling, waited for a quiet moment, and got to work on re-knitting the work I’d torn out. (My camera didn’t appreciate that the ‘quiet moment’ was also a dark one, so this photo’s a bit grainy. Oops!)

When the heel was turned, the gusset stitches picked up, a few rounds knit, that extra little ball was all gone, and I was pulling from the main ball of yarn again, I knew I’d gotten caught up. As a side note: I’ve turned lots of heels, but it still seems like a magic trick to make a three-dimensional pocket in an otherwise flat piece of fabric. I’m fascinated every time I do it.

Instead of following the pattern exactly, I slipped the first stitch of every row in the heel flap to make a much smoother edge. Not only does it look much nicer, but it’ll be far more comfortable to wear. As annoyed as I was to have to redo the work, I’m a better knitter for making (and correcting) errors – whether the error was mine, or part of the pattern as written. I won’t make that mistake again, for certain.

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I mentioned in my last post that I knit the heel flap and turn of the textured sock. Well. About that… The pattern instructions were to knit the heel flap in pattern, so I did. It didn’t mention that the first row of flap should be a wrong side row, so when I got to the heel turn and the pattern said to purl the first row, I was confused for a moment. But hey, whatever, I just knit a heel from the outside. No problem. (I’ve always started my heel flaps on the outside of the sock, but there’s nothing wrong with starting them from the inside. Either way works just fine.)

The pattern also didn’t say anything about slipping the first stitch of each heel flap row, and that sent up a number of red flags. But, trusting the pattern, I knit on. I turned the heel and picked up stitches for the gusset, and I started to have a bad feeling about the edge of the heel flap. No one else’s project notes mentioned a problem, so I decided to knit a few rounds of sock foot and see what was what.

It looks fine on the outside, with the new gusset stitches snugged up against the heel flap:

20161204_textured_heel_outside

But on the inside, there’s a nasty ridge of stitches. It might not look too bad in the photo, but in person it is, and it would be a really uncomfortable line down the sides of the sock if I left it like this.

20161204_textured_heel_inside_fail

The right thing to do is rip back and knit it again, with slipped stitches this time. I should have known better. Trust the pattern, but also trust your gut when it tells you that something’s going to come out wrong. It’s a minor setback, but still… Hrmph.

knits_angrily

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I bought this skein of Socks That Rock lightweight in the “Smokey Mountain Morn” colourway at Maryland Sheep and Wool in 2012, and last week decided to wind it up for a new traveling sock. The pattern, I thought to myself, should have some texture to it but a relatively easy stitch pattern to memorize, and after searching through Ravelry for what seemed like days I finally settled on Stanton. There were some runners-up that went into my library for later, too: Menehune Cobblestone, the Harris Tweed socks, and the very-popular Hermione’s Everyday Socks.

socks-that-rock_smokey-mountain-morn

On Friday morning, Michael and I boarded a plane to Las Vegas for our friends’ wedding, and I cast on and began to knit. (I was very pleased with myself for remembering how to do a slip-stitch cast on without having to look it up, too!) On Saturday I sat by the pool with the girls and knit…

20160924_textured_sock

…and on Monday, when we had a five hour return trip on a plane without in-flight entertainment, I knit and knit and knit some more. The stitch pattern is fantastic. It was very easy to memorize (though I’m still figuring out how to ‘read’ it when I make the inevitable attention-wandering mistakes) and the texture works great with the spiraling colours. I’m just a few repeats away from the heel flap, which continues the textured pattern instead of going to the usual standard slip-stitch flap, and I’m excited to see how the colours will play out over the flap and gusset when the number of stitches changes.

I did feel a little guilty about starting a new sock when I have two already on the needles, but the Stripey Striped Sock is terrible for travel knitting as the yarn makes my hands ache, and I really didn’t like the idea of dropping a stitch of the Jaywalkers mid-flight. Both of those socks have been ongoing for way too long, though, and I really should buckle down and finish them.

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Hooray! I have a new pair of socks!

tiger_sock

I started the Tiger socks at the beginning of the year and now I’ve finished them just in time for fall. They’re a pretty standard 64-stitch sock, knit from Opal “Rainforest” yarn in the hard-to-find Tiger colourway. I bought two balls of it from a Raveler in Australia, if I remember correctly, way back in 2009! The white toes are knit with Valley Yarns Huntington that I bought at WEBS in January.

Usually, I try to make striped socks match each other. That just wasn’t possible in this case as the stripes were completely uneven – and towards the toe of the first sock, there’s a weird extra orange stripe in there. I don’t know how that happened; there wasn’t a knot or anything. But hey, real tigers aren’t always perfectly striped either.

Eventually, the other ball of Tiger yarn will become socks for Michael (though I think his will also have white cuffs, else we’ll never be able to tell our socks apart). There’s enough left over from the first ball to make a pair of fingerless gloves for myself, too!

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I started these socks back in January, and worked on them here and there without too much dedication. Although they came with me to many places, I neglected them in favour of other things. But then I had to attend a few long and boring meetings in an auditorium, and no one on the stage could see what I was doing, so I knit and knit and knit… and by late October I’d finished the first sock.

Then, I got a short-notice call that there would be a showing at my house, so I had to clear out for an hour. The yarn came with me, and I’d gotten halfway through the ribbing at the cuff before going home. A weekend of train rides followed, and with nothing else to do but knit, I charged through the leg of the second sock.

Several work-meetings and one long drive up to Vermont later, and I grafted the toe of the second sock just in time to get this project onto the 2015 list!

mindless_stockinette2

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I like to have a simple sock in progress that doesn’t take too much thought and is pretty impossible to mess up. Travel socks are great for knitting on the train or in the car on the way to ski areas, and I always have one with me just in case I get bored and need to kill time. I started this one last month on my way up to Hunter Mountain, and since taking this picture I’ve knit the heel flap and turn so it’ll be ready for my next train ride!

mindless_stockinette1

The yarn is Berroco Sox in the Mackintosh colourway, and I bought it last year when I went to Ottawa for Winterlude. I’m using a standard 64-stitch sock pattern that I’ve mushed together from a few other patterns: it has a 20-round cuff, a 32-row heel flap with a round heel turn that fits me well, and extra stitches picked up at the corner of the gussets to avoid the holes that often form there.

I’m not quite sure what I think of these colours together; do I like them even though they’re ugly, or do I like them because they’re ugly?

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