Archive for the “sock” Category

Michael and I visited friends earlier this month. We both worked on our socks on the plane, which was a good conversation starter with our seatmate (she crochets!). One of the flight attendants commented, “Whatever it is you’re making, I wear a size medium,” which was both funny and not at the same time. I know people mean that sort of thing as a joke, but it comes across as having no concept of the time and effort that goes into these things – probably because I get similar comments so often that I almost expect to hear “could you make me a–” or “you should knit this for me–” or even “you *need* to make me one.” Yikes.

It was warm when we got on the plane, but cold when we landed. I pulled on my Fleeps and immediately noticed that a crucial strand of yarn towards the top of one finger was dangerously thin. So thin, in fact, that it fell apart when I inspected it more closely. Fortunately, the local yarn shop was generous enough to give me the tail end of some green yarn they had lying around, and now my Fleeps look a little more battle-scarred. I could re-knit that finger… but I think I’ll just leave it like this. It looks kinda cool.

I also bought this lovely skein of Malabrigo Sock yarn in the Zarzamora colourway, because the people at the store were just so nice about everything. I posted a thank-you note to them in their Ravelry group, too!

One night it was a little too cold for me, and Michael let me wear his floppy hat. He posted this pic to his instagram with the caption, “[Pirate] often says she loves when people wear the things she knit for them. I knit this hat for myself, but it was cold out, and I know what she means now. ❤︎” Is that not the sweetest thing? Then we had duck confit ramen for dinner, which was exactly right for the weather and my mood.

Also I think I need to make a floppy hat for myself. Maybe a floppy stranded colourwork hat! With a pompom!

On the plane ride home, I got up to the heelflap of my current sock. I’m knitting my own Cakewalk pattern again, and realized that… um… it’s kind of confusing. Lots of people have made the pattern and no one’s said anything, so maybe it’s not so bad – but I’m going to update it so that it’s more clear. Heck, this is my fourth pair of Cakewalks and *I’ve* never noticed a problem before. Maybe I knew what I meant when I wrote it, but I sure didn’t this time!

Anyway, I’m quite pleased with the way these socks are coming out. The yarn is from last year’s vacation to Salt Lake City; it’s Cascade Heritage Paints in Teal Mix, some of my favourite colours of all time. I’m well into the gusset now and I’ve remembered why the pattern instructions are what they are, but I still think they need to be clarified in an update. Perhaps that will be tomorrow’s project.

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Almost two pattern repeats in, and I wasn’t really happy with that cabled sock design I started last summer and tossed aside in despair. I spent quite some time ignoring it, hoping it would somehow fix itself. (This never works.)

the first few repeats of the cable pattern on the purple sock, displayed on a sock blocker

It’s all too close together and the pattern isn’t really showing up very well. If it had more room between the cables, more of a purl background for them to stand out against, and more vertical space between the crossings, then it would be closer to the image I have in mind.

Ah well, live and learn – I’ll be re-working this so it comes out the way I want. (What’s the point in going on knitting a sock that I don’t like?) After a bunch of reading and research, I’ve got a new set of cables charted out, and I decided to knit a swatch in some heavier yarn to see if it looks right. It seems like it’s going to work this time!

a knitted swatch of cable pattern in worsted weight burgundy yarn

I think the pattern would make a nifty scarf or hat, too.

For 2018, Ravelry has started a “challenge” where you can set how many projects you want to finish in the year. Adding a deadline date on queued patterns or projects you’ve already started will make them show up on your challenge page! Mine is here if you want to see what else is on my list besides these cabled socks. (I’m not able to add it to the challenge, but part of my goal with these is to write the pattern up for sale!)

Do you have any knitting, crochet, spinning, or other artsy-crafts goals for 2018?

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I really wanted to get this pair off the needles before going on vacation, and here it is! Tiger-Striped Socks for Michael, which look exactly like mine except for the white trim at the cuff and the duplicate stitch “claws”.

I’d just started the toe when I noticed a split stitch quite a way down. It didn’t seem like it would be too troublesome to fix, so I got out my tiny crochet hook, dropped the stitch down to the split, caught it properly, and picked all the stitches up again. You can barely tell where the repair was made, and once the socks have been through the wash, any looseness remaining in that column will all work out.

A long column of dropped stitches

All the stitches have been picked up again with this crochet hook.

Then I miscounted on the toe stitches and had to rip back four rounds to start the toe over. Of course.

Figuring out how to duplicate stitch the “toes” was pretty easy, but figuring out the “claws” took me a little longer. Eventually I went for a slightly thicker yarn and embroidered them on, rather than duplicate stitching. Hopefully they aren’t too thick.

Embroidered 'claws' on the white toe of a tiger-striped sock

Now, here’s the weird thing. These are plain stockinette socks. The only purl stitches are in the cuff’s ribbing and in the heel. So what was I thinking here? What even happened?

A red circle shows a mistake of a purl stitch that should be a knit stitch.

Anyway, they’re done and they look really cool. Next up… a new pair for myself!

A pair of tiger-striped socks with white toes and embroidered claws, laid smoothly on a black leather couch

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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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