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Breaking radio silence with actual content: Socks - Confessions of a Craft Addict

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June 17th, 2008


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04:10 pm - Breaking radio silence with actual content: Socks
First off, if you haven't read it yet, go read Franklin Habit's "A Reminder for All of Us". It really resonated with me, especially today, as I've been feeling very vaguely out of sorts and out of place, but with friends feeling even more like what he describes. It touched me, and I want to share.



That wasn't what I was going to post about, though. I was going to post a 'hellooooo', and I know it's been forever since I posted (four months!) but there hasn't been much to report. I've come to grips recently with the fact that my desire to knit far outstrips my capacity to do so, so although I want to be working on about ten different projects right now, I can feasibly only work on two at a time (although I consider myself at four right now. No one said I was 100% logical).

But! One of the things that had been preventing me from posting was that I'd been dilly-dallying about uploading photos. I don't know why this seems like such an AWESOME CHORE to me, but it usually does (right up until the time I do it. And then I remember that it's not. Then promptly forget again.)

What I have for you today is part one of two of "What I've been up to since last I posted": the Sock Edition.

(Some of this is copy-and-pasted out of my Ravelry notes. Unlike some crafters, I'm not going to expect everyone has a Ravelry account, though. :)

(IMAGE HEAVY UNDER THE CUTS)

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Finished SockCuff close-up


Project: Thraven Toe-Up Lenore
Pattern: Based on Lenore, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (yarnharlot), originally a 2007 Blue Moon Rocking Sock Club offering
Yarn: Blue Moon Socks that Rock Lightweight, colorway "Thraven"
Needles: US:1 DPNs
Pattern notes:
This was the second time I knit this pattern (the first time was using the original RSC yarn, in the 'Lenore' colorway--no photos). The pattern is written for a cuff-down sock. I improvised and turned it toe up.

With the help of chloesparkle_fd, the skein was split evenly into two balls, so I could knit until the yarn ran out.

Cuff: This was actually knit first. I'd found another person on Ravelry who had also converted to toe-up, who'd noted that this pattern is, in fact, unidirectional. Her suggestion? Graft it onto the rest of the sock. Seeing the reason in this, I knit the cuff as written in the pattern, then transferred it to a piece of waste yarn *before* the last plain knit row. The rationale for this is that the grafting will become the plain knit row.

Toe: Short row toe, as I learned from Wendy Johnson's generic toe-up sock pattern

Foot: In pattern for Lenore.

Gussets & heel: As written from Wendy Johnson's Fingering Weight, Toe-up Socks with Gusset Heel pattern, retaining the Lenore lace pattern on the in-step.

I wasn't entirely happy with how this heel looked after it was done; it felt backwards to me, or perhaps rotated 90-degrees from where I thought it should be. Rather than have the U-shaped curve of the heel turning on the bottom of the foot in the cuff-down socks I was accustomed to, that U-shape was situated on the back of the heel, over the Achilles tendon.

It bothered me, but I didn't have the bandwidth or the desire to figure out how to fix it to be the way that I wanted it to be, so I continued on.

Calf: In pattern for Lenore.

Grafting: When I was just about out of yarn, but had adjudged I had at least 36" of yarn left (i.e., greater than 4 * 8"--the circumference of the leg), I used the Kitchener stitch to graft the cuff to the rest of the sock.

Now, I've grafted many things together: toes of socks, shoulder seams of sweaters, Shetland lace. But I'd never grafted anything in the round before.

What I discovered after the first sock is that if I just do it like normal (front stich #1, back stitch #1, fs #1, drop fs #1 off needle, bs #1, drop bs #1...) it leaves a hole in the fabric between stitch #1 and the last stitch. To correct this, on the second sock, instead of dropping fs #1 and bs #1, I actually transferred those over to the *end* of the circular row (becoming, in effect, the last stitches). I continued grafting around, then included them in the grafting again--essentially grafting them a second time. This served to close up the hole.

Verdict:
I love these socks at an unholy level. The pattern was pretty good (so good, I knit two pairs in a row--something I almost never do), and I love love love the colorway of the yarn. Thanks, esmerel!

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Project: Basic Ribbed Toe-up Socks in Parade
Pattern: Improvised, but based heavily on Wendy Johnson's Fingering Weight, Toe-up Socks with Gusset Heel
Yarn: KnitPicks.com Parade (discontinued), in colorway 'Blues' (75% wool/25% nylon), sportweight, one of the yarns I received during Secret Pal 6
Needles: US:3 circulars
Pattern notes:
These were my first foray into socks on two-circular needles. I started out trying to knit this on US:1 needles, but a combination of reaching the ankle of the sock and nearly running out of yarn in the first of only two skeins I had and an unhappiness with the tight, coarse feeling fabric resulted in me frogging and re-starting these on US:3's.

I am much happier with them now, and as you can see from the lovely model on Ezzy's leg, they reach to about mid-calf.

The toe was knit from the toe-seam up similar to the Magic Cast-on method, although the actual method followed was documented in the Knee High to a Grasshopper (RSC 2007 #2) pattern. I did it this way rather than the short-row cast-on method in order to retain the self-striping pattern of the yarn. (Next time, I'm going to use the magic cast-on because it is the shit, now that I've done it for another project).

The rest of the sock was knit based loosely on the Wendy Johnson pattern, but as this was a sport weight yarn, I had to improvise a little. Instead, I kept in mind a factoid kiyowaramiyuki had relayed to me from Cat Bordhi, that the important thing was to increase 50% of the stitches in the gusset when you're doing the heel. Based on that, I was able to "make shit up" and I think it worked out fine.

The instep of the foot and all the way around the calf is a simple 2x2 ribbing, with a sewn bind-off (scroll down to the end of that page for a description of how to do it), that I learned how to do with one of the other Rockin' Sock Club Socks last year.

Verdict:
I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out, once I managed to nail down the correct needles and figured out the heel all by myself. They're a gift for someone so they'll have to tell me what they think of them to be certain.

Also? Really dig two-circ method of sock knitting. I'm a convert, although I haven't yet drunk the kool-aid.

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Project: Panda Cotton Lace Sock
Pattern: Improvised again, but again based on Wendy Johnson's Fingering Weight, Toe-up Socks with Gusset Heel
Yarn: Crystal Palace Panda Cotton, in colorway "Night Lights" (Fingering weight, 59% bamboo/25% cotton/16% elastic nylon)
Needles: US:2 circulars
Pattern notes:

The only kind of socks I've been in the mood for since the Thraven Lenore has been ones that have simple (to my brain) patterns. This one fit the bill, plus the yarn made me so happy I just had to start knitting it the day I bought it.

The toe again was cast-on using the modified Magic Cast-on method. The foot was knit in stockinette to 4" short of the heel, rather than the 3" of Wendy's pattern. I did the gusset rows as normal, which was another 3" of the foot--leaving 1" left.

In that 1", I finally tackled the problem I had with Wendy's heel shaping to try to duplicate the U-shaped heel turn on the bottom of the heel, rather than the back. It helped that I got a chance to discuss it with kiyowaramiyuki before I launched into it, confirming my logic behind it.

  • I had a foot that was 60 stitches around. After the 30 rows of gusset increases, I had 30 stitches on the instep needle and 60 stitches (+50%) on the heel needle.
  • I knit in 40 stitches on the heel needle, then turned, using those middle 20 stitches (20 unworked stitches each on the right and left side) to knit 10 short rows, doing a wrap and turn (w&t) for each one, leaving one stitch unworked on on the end of each row, down to 10 stitches. This was the remaining 1" of the foot.
  • I then knit around, picking up the w&t's, back to the beginning of the heel needle.
  • To turn the heel, I knit in 16 stitches and began a slip-stitch heel, decreasing the gusset stitches on each row with a ssk (RS) or p2tog (WS) on each end of the row while always maintaining the same pattern/number of stitches in the heel itself. It worked out perfectly to be the correct number of rows (28-30) for a 2 1/2-2 3/4" heel and gave me the heel type I like.

    I then decreased down to 56 stitches for the calf, and did a 2x2 lacy rib that I'm sure is not original but I made up without looking in a book:

    Row 1 (pattern row): (p2, yo, k2tog) * 14 repeats
    Row 2-4: (p2, k2) * 14 repeats

    I finished on Row 2, then did a picot bind-off, except that mine doesn't look nearly as good as the one demonstrated in that link because I didn't follow those directions. Next time, I will.

    Verdict:
    I should've decreased the stitches on the calf a little more--it's still a little loose.

    Also, I'm kind of disappointed in the yarn colorway. Since it's cotton and bamboo, I went ahead and threw them into the washer and dryer, using cold water and low heat--and the black seems to have bled considerably and muted the ultrabright colors. The photo I linked to above shows the sock after two washes next to a third skein of the yarn I bought (same dye lot), and I think it illustrates the contrast between the original yarn and the post-washing yarn. I'd been drawn to the yarn because of that vivid contrast, and I've lost that in the sock. Meh.

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    Project: Chocolate Cherry Feather & Fan Socks
    Pattern: Wendy Johnson's Generic Toe-Up Feather and Fan Sock
    Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Fingering, in the "Chocolate Cherry" colorway (Dye Lot: 1)
    Needles: US:1 DPNs to start, switched to US: 1 circulars to finish
    Pattern notes:
    This was technically my first foray into toe-up socks. Most of the first sock was completed during a weekend of knitting in March 2007, before I dove into the Rocking Sock Club and did the "Inside Out" (RSC 2007 #1) socks.

    For the record, I hate those socks. Among other things, it was a major factor leading me to an erroneous belief that a short-row heel wasn't compatible with my foot shape (high arch). Given this fact and that the RSC sucked up my sock knitting time, the feather&fan socks were put into hibernation for 15 months, because I couldn't bring myself to frog them.

    Fast-forward to a couple of weeks ago. I was going on a short trip (long weekend), and was just about done with the Panda Cotton socks. I knew I needed another pair of socks to work on, and this yarn, which I loved, called to me, wanting to finally be knit up. I dragged them out and started to frog them--actually probably ripped out about 15-20 rows of the cuff before I thought "Wait a minute. I should actually see if they don't fit me or not." I'd initially been working them on DPNs, and couldn't try them on.

    I pulled the sock on, and it fit just fine.

    Cursing good-naturedly while at the same time cheering like crazy, I carefully picked up the stitches (somehow, I had stopped frogging right after a pattern row, meaning I was picking up Row 3 of 3 of stockinette knitting--convenient!) on the DPNs, went out and invested in some US:1 circulars, and gleefully continued knitting on the first sock after the Panda Cotton socks were completed.

    I deviated from the pattern somewhat to do 12 rows of 3x3 ribbing at the top instead of taking the feather&fan pattern all the way up, and once again did a sewn bind-off.

    Technically, these aren't completed yet, as have about 20 rows left on the second sock, but they should be done by tomorrow at the lastest.

    Verdict:
    The yarn itself is good, but what drives me over the moon for this is the colorway. These are so my colors, and I love the combination of cherry red and milk chocolate brown.

    The pattern itself is pretty easy to memorize, so it made a good "brainless" but interesting looking sock for me to work on right now.



    Tomorrow: Everything else I've been working on.
     
  • (8 comments | Leave a comment)

    Comments:


    [User Picture]
    From:bekscilla
    Date:June 18th, 2008 03:26 am (UTC)
    (Link)
    I'm so impressed with your efforts. I'd looooove to learn socks, but the gusset and heel are doing my head in (plus, i think the pattern i've got is slightly off), and i'm just so unsure about it :(
    [User Picture]
    From:tersacrafts
    Date:June 18th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
    (Link)
    *hugs*

    I'd recommend one of the Wendy patterns I linked to above. She goes over and above the amount of detail that a lot of sock pattern writers do, and they're easy to follow.
    [User Picture]
    From:chamois_shimi
    Date:June 18th, 2008 04:01 am (UTC)
    (Link)
    Ravelry! Of course! I don't know why it didn't occur to me that you'd have an account there, but well, duh, of course you do. I'm Patch. ;)
    [User Picture]
    From:tersacrafts
    Date:June 18th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
    (Link)
    Hah! :) If you didn't see, I added you back. :)
    [User Picture]
    From:esmerel
    Date:June 18th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC)
    (Link)
    it helps that I saw the yarn and it went OOO BUY ME SHE WILL LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE ME SHE WILL


    also, totally forgotten that was my leg
    [User Picture]
    From:tersa
    Date:June 18th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
    (Link)
    And you were RIGHT.

    Your leg is now forever immortalized on the Intraweb. Which is better than your boob.
    [User Picture]
    From:tyee
    Date:June 18th, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)

    cannot...resist...

    (Link)
    Thraven Toe-Up Lenore

    NEVERMORE!
    [User Picture]
    From:tersa
    Date:June 18th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC)

    Re: cannot...resist...

    (Link)
    Quoth Thraven!

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