Ribbed for his pleasure

fiddlehead-3These socks have been languishing on the needles since mid-February, but they are now finished!  The yarn is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in the colorway Fiddlehead.  I used most of the ball, but I have about 17.5 grams left–enough to make Z some matching socks if I choose.  Matt would prefer I use the entire ball, each time, to have the tallest socks possible, but I get bored with the yarn and the socks sometimes and I’d rather just move on to something else.  I’m comfortable calling it good when I hit at least a 6 inch cuff or taller when working toe-up.  fiddlehead-2

I went with my usual recipe, toe-up with a heel flap, two-at-a-time, using magic loop.  Check out my sock patterns for the general recipe.  I did a 1×1 rib on this version, because Matt often has problems with sock sag.  I love doing mostly stockinette for the speed, but I like the look of the 1×1 rib as well.  fiddleheadShepherd Sock is moderately durable.  I made him another pair of socks out of this yarn and they’re holding up pretty well, but we don’t machine wash and dry them.  I’ve also found that this yarn has some odd pooling at smaller sock circumferences.  The first pair I made for him out of this yarn was going to be mine until I discovered the pooling was bad at 64 sts, but disappeared at 72, so they became socks for Matt.  Lucky guy.

Socktober Sale!

I just released my Girl with the Purled Toes pattern on Ravelry!

GWPT finished-6It’s a pretty basic toe-up sock, with heel flaps, done two at a time using magic loop. The purled toe gives a roomier feel to the toe, and adds a little contrast to the rest of the sock.

This is the first time I’ve included some photo tutorial elements, showing the order for picking up the gussets when you work two socks at a time, since this seems to be the most confusing part for those new to toe-up two-at-a-time techniques. Doing socks two at a time from the toe up lets me use all but the last bits of yarn. For this pair, I knit the cuff until I had 6 grams left in each ball, then I started the ribbing.

GWPT finished-3To celebrate Socktober, my sock patterns will all be 30% off until the 16th of the month. Use the code SOCKTOBER when you checkout to apply the discount. This applies to Girl with the Purled Toes, Prufrock, and TuxedoGWPT finishedFor this pair I used Koigu KPPPM in color P140. I love the way it striped. Colinette Jitterbug usually gives me a similar effect when I use their striped colorways.

If you’re feeling the sock love, go and buy a pattern here. Happy Socktober! I still have to decide what I’m casting on, but there’s still plenty of time.

Brain exhaustion

I made it through my dissertation proposal! I can begin my somewhat altered study. Phew. Thank goodness. My brain is tired and I’d like to send it on vacation for a little while. Stockinette usually helps with this, so I think a few rows of that might do the trick.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my mom’s socks were patiently waiting for a photo moment.

moms socksThe yarn is Zauberball Crazy in color 1537 Orange, Red, Teal, Black. It pretty much does all the talking.

moms socks-2Even though my cats live outside, we are somehow never free of little cat hairs. Never.

moms socks-3I used most of the yarn. I think I probably have about 5 grams left, because sometimes you just need to bind off and be done. It was fun to watch the patterns emerge. That is all.

Albatross Socks

These socks lived on my needles for a looooong time. They felt like quite the albatross around my neck at times. This yarn started out as Copper Penny Socks, but when I picked them up to work on them again there was a tiny hole in the toe area and I wasn’t even to the heel flap yet. I explained this more fully in this post. I cut those socks off from the ball and started anew as stockinette.

I believe the yarn from this particular Etsy vendor was weakened before I got it, since the Monkey Socks I made with her yarn also developed a hole within two wears. I believed this more and more as I was working to finish these socks. I had to repair at least four weak spots. By this I mean that I came to several areas that were frayed down to a tiny strand. I cut these parts out and Russian joined the ends together. This was incredibly frustrating, especially the one that was two rows before I planned to bind off. I don’t know if these socks will hold up at all, but I was determined to finish them anyway. I’m not sure if this is moth damage or just a poor yarn base. I am so terrified of moths. Most of my stash is inside bags inside a plastic container, which also contains little satchets of lavender flowers for good measure. I have little hunters (aka cats) that take down moths on a regular basis as well.

Well, at least they’re done. I still love the colors. I wish I knew they were going to be sturdy.

Jaywalking in the park

I’m definitely a fan of the Jaywalker socks, as you can see here and here. I made them with Koigu two other times, which was wonderful and delightfully soft. This version is made from Vesper Sock in the colorway Astro.

When helping me pack up my yarn room for my impending doom (I mean move), my friend Missy saw this yarn and remarked on its beauty. It had been sitting in my stash (wound even) for at least 4 years. I decided it was time to make it into something. I have habit of buying a lot of self striping or variegated yarns because I love them, even though they mostly lend themselves to a lot of plain stockinette. I first started knitting these in the Charade pattern, but I wasn’t in love with it, so I started over and made the Jaywalkers to give those colors and stripes the glory they deserved.

Vesper sock yarn comes in some amazing colors. It seems like this colorway is not currently available. I’ve heard she dyes in small batches and they’re snapped up quickly, so if you like the yarn, keep your eyes on the site or subscribe to their mailing list. I was a bit confused by the label. The yarn is 100 percent superwash merino, yet recommends hand washing. I checked with Missy to see if she would be amenable to caring for socks like that, and she said yes with no hesitation, so I forged ahead. If anyone has machine washed Vesper sock with luck, please let me know. Koigu is another yarn is superwash merino, and though the label doesn’t say it is safe to machine wash, I’ve had lots of success doing so. I don’t know Vesper sock well enough to risk it.

This is my first time using an afterthought heel. This kind of heel is mentioned all the time on the Knitmore Girls podcast, which I’ve been obsessed with lately. I didn’t want to interrupt the perfect little stripes in those Jaywalkers to make the heel flap. There are many different tutorials for afterthought heels available online if you’re interested in trying them. I think I will always love the heel flap for its inherent sturdiness a little more than the afterthought, but this heel was easy enough to execute, and it allowed for no color interruptions. It made a nice little bulls-eye with the colors.

Each pair of Jaywalkers I’ve made was knitted from the toe up so I could use the maximum amount of yarn. I find this especially important with yarns like Koigu that come in 175 yard skeins. I cranked these out in about a week. Now I’m on to some Staccato Socks for this week.

Faux argyle for the fella.

I finished the Sneaky Argyle Socks by Wendy D. Johnson. The yarn is ONLine Linie 33 Cosmo in colors 13 (Teal) and 10 (Black). The yarn feels wonderfully soft, and is 70% Merino, 5% Cashmere, and 25% Nylon.

I altered this pattern slightly by making the toes and heels teal. Matt wanted black socks, and was excited about the argyle, but I wanted to add a little more color to make the foot part interesting. These things flew by on the foot part. I think I got to the heel flap and heel turn in one day. I also did them both at the same time, using the magic loop method, so this was a pretty good feat on the feet. Wah wah wah…

The argyle part on the cuff is done using Fair Isle. There are some long floats (10+ stitches), and I was really surprised that the author didn’t mention weaving in the floats so toes don’t catch on them. I read and reread the pattern to make sure I wasn’t missing it, but it’s never mentioned. She recommends this as a good first project for colorwork, but with no mention of how to do floats, I’d disagree. I started learning colorwork with Endpaper Mitts and I think those were a bit easier to make.

Why weave in your floats? When you are doing Fair Isle and carrying one strand of yarn behind the other (aka the “float”), the longer that strand is, the messier the back can become and the more likely you can catch a finger or toe or miscellaneous body part on that strand as you’re putting the garment on. I designed a hat, called Zooey awhile back, and for that pattern it is also best to weave in floats. You can learn more about how to weave in floats here.

I also think that the cuff sizing has to be done very carefully to make sure it can be pulled over the heel. Luckily, Matt was available to me in person to try these on a few times. I ended up going up an extra needle size by the third repeat of argyle to make sure that it would fit over his heel after I read some of the project comments on Ravelry and noticed that many reported sizing struggles.

All in all, I liked that the pattern uses Fair Isle to make the argyle, because I have yet to attempt intarsia. I suppose this is the part that makes them “sneaky” or “faux” because argyle is usually done with intarsia. If you make this your first colorwork project, study up on weaving the floats first. Definitely try these on as you go when you get to the cuff to make sure they fit over the heels. If you want to know how I modified the heel, you can study my Summer Slice or Tuxedo pattern, since I did the heel exactly in the same way for these socks.

Weekend “work”

I appreciate all of the great input on the last post about ripping. I think I will ultimately finish it, and if I don’t want it perhaps it will become a gift or I’ll sell it to someone for the cost of the yarn. After switching to the Araucania, there was such a difference in the springiness of the yarn. I’m not sure if I really want to rip and knit anything else out of the Solemate after all. I’m only about 12 rows from being finished when I do pick it back up, so that seems like the better option in the long run. The Araucania Ishbel is finished and gorgeous. It has been blocked and I will post pictures soon, along with the finished Featherweight Cardigan. It’s been hard to find a time of the day to take pics with Matt (the fella) when it’s not sweltering and neither of us have other things going on. What I wouldn’t give for a cloudy 75 degree day right about now…

The socks you see above are what I did for most of the weekend. I’m pretty proud that I got about half done while knitting these just a bit on Friday, a good chunk of Saturday, and more on Sunday. I thought about switching to something else on the heel flap, because, as knitters that knit heel flaps may also attest, that goes so much more SLOWLY than any other part of the sock. I refuse to do short row heels, no matter how cute they look, because I just don’t think they would wear as well and I didn’t particularly enjoy them the one time I knit them. Matt says I was able to get so much done because I “have no life” but I wholeheartedly disagree. On Saturday I spent time hanging out (and sometimes knitting at the same time) with four different sets of friends at different times during the day. And I baked lavender cupcakes. So there.

These socks happen to be for Matt. They’re Wendy D. Johnson’s Sneaky Argyle Socks from Toe Up Socks for Every Body. I have two of her toe-up sock books and this is the first I’ve gotten around to making a pattern in one. I don’t make a lot of patterns from books, but I love owning them. Matt wanted black socks. I refused to make them that boring, and cables don’t have a lot of oomph in black socks. He was ecstatic about the argyle option. I added colored toes and heels to the sock to make them more interesting.

If you’re curious about the lavender cupcakes, I used this recipe, added some homemade lavender extract (1 cup vodka and 1 TBS dried lavender flowers in a jar for about a week), added 3 TBS dried lavender flowers to the batter, and used this recipe for the icing, subbing lavender extract and a little lemon extract too. My lavender extract was not nearly strong enough yet, so after I used some, I added 2 TBS more of dried flowers and I’m giving it more time. I’ll get it right eventually. I think they’re pretty good though, because we can’t stop eating them.