Tag Archive | handknit socks

Striped Socks

This week’s FO is my newest pair of socks, and I’m in love! This was my first adventure with self-striping sock yarn, as well as my first adventure with a contrast cuff/heel/toe. Can you say “Obsession”? OMG I get it now, like, I really really understand all those sock addicts now. I put these socks on to take photos this morning and didn’t want to take them off, ever!

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It helped that I have figured out how to make them fit the way I like. I like snug socks with negative ease, so I use size 1 needles regardless of what the pattern says. I make the foot shorter than the pattern usually calls for (about 7.5″ for my size 9 1/2 foot). I also like shorter socks, so I knit 6.25″ of cuff. I think I might do around 5″ next time.

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The pattern is Vanilla Latte Socks and I really enjoyed knitting it. It was perfect for my lunchtime knitting, given how much I like knitting ribbing. I adore the contrasting bits, even if it did mean struggling a bit with the stripe pattern and weaving in more ends.

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And I LOVED this yarn and will absolutely be getting more. It’s Aurora Fingering Weight by Tumbleweed Yarn. This colorway is called Confetti, and it was a kit with the mini-skein of purple. I bought mine at Loopy Ewe.

I immediately cast on for my next pair of socks, this time grabbing some Serenity Sock Weight from my stash in a color called Paprika. This time I’m trying a pattern called Petty Harbor and so far both yarn and pattern are delightful.

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But alas, I must now set aside the sock knitting for a short time! I need gifts for a baby shower by next Friday, for someone having TWINS. Yes. Two babies. ACK. I’m only slightly panicking and wishing I’d planned better. But I’m not going to get too crazy here; my current mental state just won’t stand for that. I’ve got fun colors of cotton in my stash so I’m going to knit as many washcloths as I can, and wrap them up with some baby soap, and call it good for now. I will have many opportunities to knit these babies hats when the weather actually calls for things like hats, and I know how much I love my knitted washcloths. Wish me luck! How many washcloths do you think I can knit in six days??

Disappearing Act

No, YOU ran off and disappeared for a month!!

Okay, yes, it was me. And while I realize most of you probably didn’t notice my lack of posting, I did. I missed writing; I just got caught up in the spring madness of band and choir contest, concerts, finals, junior prom, ACT/SAT, plus work and knitting and reading, oh my! I guess that’s my way of saying life got in the way, and today I’m pushing all that aside to make time for writing again.

Maybe it’s because that I’ve got a little seed of a story that’s trying to get out. I’ve been working on it here and there, and it’s new and exciting and that’s kind of all I’m going to say about it right now. But I think writing leads to more writing, you know? And every time I come back to it, I remember how much I love it. I went and saw Andrew McCarthy recently as he toured for his new YA novel, and he talked about how when he started writing, he had this little epiphany, “OH! There I am!” And that’s me, when I write. Lately I’ve been feeling sort of lost, because I didn’t have the wholly creative life I was living before I went back to work. I’ve been feeling like I’d let got of a big part of myself, and I want to try to get it back. I don’t regret going back to work, really: I love my co-workers and have found some wonderful new friends, and to be honest, the salary is very helpful given our old-house/almost-senior-year-kid life. But I want to try harder to find the balance, to bring back that creative energy that filled my days before. So! Long-winded way to say, I’m back!

First, I have to show off just one photo of my gorgeous girl from her junior prom. Like most prom experiences, the actual event didn’t quite live up to the expectations and there were a couple of hitches, but they looked stunning and had a good time, and that’s good enough, I think.

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I’ve been gone too long to talk about everything I’ve knit in the past month, but my focus has been socks. Yes, I’ve become a sock knitter, I admit it. I have three completed pairs and have figured out how to make a sock that fits the way I like. I joined my first KAL, with Raveler FluffyK (from the blog The Corner of Knit & Tea). My goal is to complete two pairs of socks, and I’m pretty close to finishing the first.

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This is my first foray into socks with a contrast heel/toe/cuff and I’m pretty much in love with it. My only problem is figuring out when to break for the heel to ensure good contrast, but that’ll come in time. And did I mention how much I adore self-striping yarn?? OMG that’s a reason to knit socks right there! It’s just so magical. I knit these at work during lunch, and non-knitters’ eyes get big when they see what the yarn is doing. “But how does it make the stripes??” Magic, my friends. Magic. This yarn is Aurora Fingering Weight from Tumbleweed Yarns and it’s a joy to knit with. Soft but not limp, great stitch definition, and super-saturated colors. Oh yeah, self-striping sock yarn is going to be my new obsession. For fall I’m totally going to make some fingerless gloves too. Anyway, this sock is ready for the heel, so I’ll get that all done this weekend so the foot will be ready for mindless lunch break knitting next week. This pattern is Vanilla Latte and it’s fantastic (assuming you enjoy ribbing).

Speaking of FluffyK, my other main WIP right now is a cowl pattern I’m test-knitting for her. I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say, but I will say I’m enjoying the knit and so far the lace pattern is turning out beautifully. The pattern calls for around 450-500 yards of DK, and I was so good that I shopped from my stash! I’m using Berroco Fiora in a gray color called Tybee, and I think this will be the perfect spring/fall lightweight cowl.

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I’ll keep you updated and show you the FO as soon as I can, and you can watch her Ravelry design page for release info. The pattern is called Wood Sorrel.

Okay, well, I didn’t really plan this out to be a FluffyK-themed post, but the other thing I wanted to show off is the new yarn I got in April. Yes, she spins yarn too, and because I begged pathetically she’s my friend, she spun a skein especially for me. It was the only skein of yarn I purchased in April, and it was totally worth it.

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Isn’t it stunning?? The colorway is named Sinister Foxy and it’s all wound and ready for me to cast on, as soon as I have the time! If you’re jealous, you can check out her Etsy shop here. She’s also a tech editor and prolific knitter, so she doesn’t have a ton, but it’s all OOAK and beautiful. And heck, while I’m at it: find her on Instagram as fluffykira. She posts lots of pretty things!

This was fun! Thanks for being patient with me, friends. I’ll be back soon, because I do want to share the progress on my Harvest cardigan. But for now, it’s a beautiful morning and I have much housework knitting to do. Happy Saturday!

Socks and Scarves

Time to show off the FOs from our road trip last weekend! The first I actually finished on the way to Colorado, which was perfect because then I could wear it! Apparently Colorado weather is just as unpredictable as Missouri weather, and as we drove into Denver we saw signs warning us of an impending bout of heavy snow. Swell! Thankfully we avoided all the snow, but we did have strong, cold winds to contend with and we all forgot our coats. I couldn’t believe it: here I was with the perfect opportunity to put all my handknits to good use, and I’d left them all at home! But at least I  had my new little Copper Boom, lightweight and airy though it was, and that provided a bit of comfort.

fullsizeoutput_aa5fullsizeoutput_aa7fullsizeoutput_aa6The yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in colorway Night Hawk, and it’s the best Madtosh yarn I’ve used. I find their yarns splitty, but didn’t have that issue with this yarn. I love all the colors; they’re all colors I wear frequently so I think I’ll get a lot of use out of it. The pattern is Copper Boom and it comes in two versions, the eyelet one that I made, and a solid pattern. It’s very simple but not boring, and my only minor caveat is that one edge comes out a bit tight so the ends curl even after blocking. Still, I love it!

My other FO is my first pair of sock yarn socks! Yes, I finished my Hermione’s Everyday Socks and they are perfect!

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Okay, not really perfect because they’re a tad too big, but they’re wearable and now I know to make the foot portion shorter. I love the feel of the fabric, the density of the tiny stitches, and the magic of turning the heel. So, FINE, yes, I agree: making socks is fun. In fact, I’ve already got a new pair on my needles.

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This time I’m using Kate Atherley’s Basic Ribbed Socks because I love ribbing and I love snug socks. And ribbed socks out of rainbow yarn are extra perfect. I just wish the yarn had kept up with the striping instead of starting to pool.

The socks are my lunch break knitting at work; my new at-home knitting is a scarf in yarn from my stash. (Gasp! I’m using stash yarn, not new? Crazy, I know!) I wanted a versatile ivory scarf and this more than fits the bill. It’s Manos del Uruguay Fino, which is a merino/silk blend that is just delicious to knit with. It feels good in my hands while I knit with it, and it feels good in the scarf. Every day, I look forward to going home so I can knit with this yarn. I’m going to want more Fino for sure.

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The pattern is Frisson and I love how it’s knitting up. But I’m not crazy about the way it’s written. My main peeve is that each section has several lines like “knit to 8 stitches before YO in previous RS row”. I mean, I understand the directions, but it’s just kind of a pain to have to watch for that YO two rows below each time. A stitch marker would probably help, and this far into it, I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting it quickly, but it’s still a bit annoying. Maybe I’ve gotten spoiled by patterns that tell me when to place/slip a marker, or how many stitches to knit before doing something different, so that now when I pay $4 for a pattern, I expect that kind of work to already be done for me. What can I say, I’m a lazy knitter, I guess! Anyway, like I said, it’s turning out beautifully and I imagine I’ll wear the heck out of it.

That’s my week of knitting; hope you all got plenty of knitting time too!

Birthday, Sweater, Sock

Last weekend was just too busy for blogging. The girl, MY girl, keeps growing up: we had a party to celebrate her 17th birthday!

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The weekend was full of grocery shopping, baking, cleaning, partying–and then recovering! So there was knitting, but no blogging. I don’t have any FOs to share, so it may not seem like I was productive, but I did make good progress on two big WIPs.

Let’s look at the sweater first. I’m done with all the increases in the body, so that’s great. It’s even better when you consider that I had to frog around four inches last weekend. See, after I did my last post, I saw a line in the sweater:

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It was subtle but undeniable: a lighter stripe right there in the middle, and once I saw it I couldn’t unsee it. I checked the dye lots on all my skeins and the skein that produced the lighter stripe was the only one like it. The rest were more purple. Stripe aside, I worried about what the sleeves would look like when I picked up the stitches with the other shade of yarn. I knew I needed another three skeins to finish the sweater, so I ordered those knowing the dye lots would be different, and set the sweater aside. (Obviously this is why one plans ahead and checks dye lots and buys sweater quantities all at once.)

When the yarn arrived, I was kind of relieved to see that it was more of the lighter version, because that would help me blend the shoulders into the sleeves. I couldn’t bring myself to frog the whole thing, but I also couldn’t live with the big stripe, so I frogged back to where I split for the sleeves and reknit, this time alternating the two shades every two rows. I still have a stripe but it’s smaller and mostly on the back, and the following section is nicely blended. I think I can live with it.

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It’s smooth sailing from here on out, I think. The biggest hurdle will be combating the boredom of 12 more inches of stockinette!

The sock reappeared while the sweater was in time-out. I’d gotten bored with the leg so I’d do a few rows and then set it aside.

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I finally got to the heel a few days ago and that really amped up my interest. The heel flap was fine — I was helped a lot by the notes on cstein’s project on Ravelry — but then came the heel turn. I knit the first six rows, then it said “Continue in this manner.” To me, that meant to repeat that section. I tried that three times, and the stitch count didn’t work, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Thankfully, my Knitting SIL has made these before so I texted her, and it turns out that “Continue in this manner” meant to progress with the increasing number of stitches you knit/purl in each row before the decrease and turn. I mean, yeah, okay, that’s not hard…but that’s not what the pattern said! Grr. Okay, with that information, the heel turned quickly and looked great.

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After that, foot went quickly and this morning I was doing Kitchener to close up the toe, and BAM I have a finished sock!

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IMG_3265Pretty little rounded Kitchener toe! I love it!

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Despite my frustration with some of the pattern (or may because of that?), this was a great learning project. The foot is just a hair too long, so I know to make that a little shorter in the future. And the leg feels too tall, so I’ll shorten that in future socks. Plus I learned a new heel, the Eye of Partridge heel, and got to practice my Kitchener. Now, how long will it take me to knit the second sock??

 

Stupid Sock

I’m sorry to say that my first foray into making socks with actual sock yarn did not start well. I mean, I thought it did. I cast on fine, knit the 20 rows of ribbing, thought, “Wow, that’s a really long ribbed section,” and moved on to the leg. It was going quicker than I expected, and while I did think it seemed like a loose fabric, I figured that was just how socks were. I thought for sure I’d found a new addiction: I would be a Sock Knitter, always with a half-knit sock in my purse, always with a drawer full of beautiful handknit socks.

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Monday afternoon, I had to pick up my daughter from the airport. (Lucky kid had been to Princeton for a choir competition. She even got to go into Manhattan. Ugh. So jealous.) I was happily waiting outside the gate, knitting away on my sock, and suddenly my eyes fell on the printing on the needle. I saw a number 3. That wasn’t right; I was knitting with size 1 needles…right? I checked the pattern: yep, it called for size 1. I checked the needles again: they were still size 3. I know I meant to grab the 1s. I thought I was using 1s. I still don’t have a clue how I ended up with 3s. In any case, I had just enough time to frog my half-knit sock before the plane landed.

That night I found the right needles and cast on again. These needles are like toothpicks. It’s ridiculous. Now I’m back to thinking socks will never be an obsession for me, but maybe that will change once these are done and I wear them. It’s just going to take a while, because these tiny needles make for much slower knitting!

Socks and a Sweater

The socks are done! I have my first pair of handknit socks!

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The second sock was a breeze, came off the needles quickly and without a hitch. I’m eager to do a pair in sock yarn now that I’ve got the gist. I’ve already chosen the pattern (Hermione’s Everyday Socks) and the yarn (Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi in a purple/gray color). My only little hiccup was that it’s a little loose where I picked up the stitches on the side of the heel flap. Any tips on preventing that?

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And now that I’ve conquered my fear of socks, I’m moving on to my next knitting hurdle: a sweater! This hurdle has more to do with attention span than knitting. I have crocheted a cardigan, and I’ve begun a sweater in the past, so I feel confident that I CAN knit a sweater; I’m just afraid I’ll get bored with it halfway through and never finish it. But, like the socks, I’m ready to challenge myself. Plus I want more ways to wear my yarn. Plus I just want more sweaters.

First came the yarn. For Christmas, my mom gave me a cabled sweater from the Aran Sweater Market in Killarney, Ireland. It’s beautiful and so warm! With it I got a $20 coupon, so I browsed the sweaters but couldn’t commit. Then it hit me: Yarn! Yes, they sell yarn! I picked Charcoal and ordered 5 skeins.

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Next came the pattern. I had some in my library but they were either DK or bulky. After much searching, I found Harvest by TinCan Knits, one of my favorite designers. It’s top-down, no seaming, appropriate yardage, and has enough interesting bits to keep me from getting terribly bored with it. (I hope.)

Now I’ve got all my tools assembled and I just need to get going. My first gauge swatch (YES. I’m even making a gauge swatch!) showed that my gauge was too loose, even unblocked, so I reknit it in smaller needles. I think it’s still a bit loose but I’ve washed it and will measure again once it’s dry.

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I’m also hoping the Eucalan will soften it a bit. The yarn is…rustic, we’ll say, and not terribly soft. If Eucalan doesn’t help, I might try some hair conditioner. But even if it doesn’t soften as much as I’d like, it’s a cardigan and I’ll always be wearing something underneath it. It just remains to be seen whether that something will always have to be long-sleeved. And now, while I wait for my swatch to dry, I’m off to cast on a new project or two! Happy knitting, friends!

Is that…a SOCK?

I’m doing something new, something I said I didn’t want to do: I’m knitting socks! All along, I’ve resisted for a number of reasons: you have to make two of them, turning a heel sounded hard, you put them on your feet so they get dirty and sweaty, and they’ll wear out. Why spend ours on something just so you can wear holes in it?

But. I’ve been knitting longer now. I’m more willing and eager to learn new skills and techniques. Making one of a pair doesn’t take so long that a second one is discouraging. Turning a heel doesn’t scare me. I still don’t think I’ll want to spend hours making things to wear on my feet that might require mending, but who knows? So far this has been fun.

What brought this on? A couple of ladies in my knitting group at work have been wanting to learn to make socks, and we have a master knitter to be our sock guide. I resisted at first but finally gave in — I didn’t want to be the party pooper. Our guide suggested a pattern, a simple worsted weight top-down sock, and I sent out notes and tips for choosing the right yarn and needles and checking gauge. I happened to have just the right yarn in my stash: two skeins of Artyarns Supermerino in variegated pinks and purples. It’s listed as Aran but feels more like worsted to me.

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The beginning was easy, no different than starting a fingerless glove. It’s always fun for me to do ribbing and stockinette in the round, so I had my tube done quickly. It looked pretty but awfully small. Still, it had plenty of stretch and my gauge was right, so I trusted the pattern and kept knitting. (Confession time: I didn’t make a gauge swatch. Well, I used the sock as the swatch. I’m lucky enough to get gauge with the recommended yarn weight and needles 99% of the time, so I typically just go with it. I knew if my gauge was off I’d have to rip out and start over, but I was okay with it. And it worked out!)

Making the heel flap was simple too, just back and forth on one needle.

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Then with a few rows with well-placed SSKs and P2togs, I had turned my heel! I could see a hint of a sock!

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After that it was just a matter of picking up stitches along the sides of the heel flap and then I was knitting in the round again!

At that point I measured my foot: it was 10 1/4″ long, so I knit until the foot of the sock was 8 1/4″ (it was a little hard to measure that precisely but I think I got pretty close) and then I started shaping the toe with decreases. And then suddenly I had a finished sock! With a bit of trepidation I slipped it on…and it fit! And it was beautiful!

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I wore my new sock the rest of the evening, and here’s what I think so far: it wasn’t as snug as I like my socks. I like my socks to hug my feet (probably because that’s what I’ve gotten used to with store-bought socks) so these felt kind of loose. They stretched as I wore them, not so much as to be baggy, just…not tight. I’m sure they’ll go back when I wash them, but I think my next sock will be with sock yarn, negative ease, and more ribbing. Still, I had so much fun making this sock and watching it appear on my needles almost as if by magic, and I’ve already got the second started. In fact, I might even work on it today while I catch up on the Australian Open tennis finals!