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.

Alpaca in August

matt's socks finished-3Matt’s birthday socks are finished, just over 2 months late…. Oops. Who wears alpaca socks in the summer anyway? Knowing him and his intense love of hand knit socks, I’m sure he could find a way.matt's socks finished-4I’ve never known another person that has gotten so excited over knitted socks. Maybe this poet would, but I don’t know many recipients that declare this much love for socks. It’s probably part of the reason I’ll adorn his feet with socks until we reach a crazy point of sock saturation in his drawers. And then I’ll keep going. I love this man so much. He tells everyone that “hand knit socks can change your life.” Wouldn’t you knit him pair after pair too? matt's socks finished-2The sock pattern is my basic toe-up recipe. You can find it on Summer Slice  or Early Bird for free. I also sell Tuxedo and Prufrock using this method. I’ve never written up the plain pattern by itself because there are gobs and gobs of basic sock patterns available. This one is my basic recipe, but I alternate a K1, p1 rib with plain knit rows. It’s slightly more interesting than 1×1 ribbing, and has a rest row (just knitting) between the ribbed rows to make it go faster. I alternated those rows until I thought I should start the top ribbing only section, then I just did 1×1 ribbing for the last inch or so. I don’t think he’ll have any sock sagging issues with this pair, but the ribbing does make it seem thicker than usual. I used Alpacas d’Auxvasse Alpaca Sock Yarn.

Maybe I’ll write it up one of these days. My plan this week, or next, depending on how much time I can squeeze from other activities, is to finish writing up the pattern for Z’s linen tunic.

Gemini is flying by so far! I’m almost through my 3rd (out of 5) ball of yarn. I’m making a few mods and taking notes about them. Beatnik, my SSKAL project is hanging out on the needles, just past the armhole decreases on the back. I will return to her and definitely try my best to complete it by September 24th. I still have well over a month. I just got sidetracked by the promise of one more sweater I can wear this year…

Self-striping socks, I never tire of you.

Say what? More self-striping socks? What a shock. I bought this yarn back in December, intending to make Matt another pair of socks. They’ve been hiding out on the needles, moving at a glacial pace for a few months. I keep putting them down for something more interesting, but I thought I should haul them out and make note of them so they don’t fall into a UFO (unfinished object) black hole in my closet. I don’t consider something a true UFO in hiding until it’s been stuck in a drawer for about 6 months or more without me remembering that it exists. The blog keeps me accountable.

matt opal socks

The yarn is Opal Sport in color 5103. It’s 60% wool, 15% nylon, and 25% polypropylene. The polypropylene is supposed to provide temperature and moisture control. I thought it might be a nice feature.

This time I did make the socks match. After winding the skein into two balls I only had to remove about a yard of yarn to make the repeats match up. Too easy to resist.

I knit a LOT of plain stockinette socks from the toe-up. I have so many self-striping or patterned yarns in my stash (or I go looking for them) that I usually have one or more pairs going at a time. I know there are patterns that work with variegated yarns pretty well, but I have to have some project going that I could work on without looking at all times. I’ll save the patterns for some luscious Malabrigo I have hiding in my stash.

I don’t get to the movies as often as I would like, but I try to make sure I have at least one stockinette project going in case I need to take it to the movies. Optimistic, right? Really, I will fidget like a maniac and be antsy for the end of the movie, no matter how brilliant it is, unless I am able to knit on something while I watch it. I know I’m not the only one out there that feels this way.

If you want to know the basic recipe for my stockinette socks, take any of my sock patterns, subtract the lace or cables, and knit away. My Earlybird socks on Knitty even have the heel short rows written out line-by-line, which is something I don’t typically do on my sock patterns. You can do them both at once, or one at a time. Most of my patterns are written to do both at once. The trickiest part is the heel turn and gusset pickup, where I urge you to read, and reread, and then read carefully as you knit. That’s also the most interesting part of a plain sock, in my opinion.

I really want to finish this pair or these  before I start new socks. I never used to hesitate to have four or five pairs of socks on the needles at a time, but realistically, neither pair are getting worked on because they’re too simple, they’re both for other people, and I’d rather finish up my Citron or Matt’s sweater. Casting on another pair right now won’t move these any faster. I probably need a break from vanilla socks. I think when I get myself to finish one pair, I’ll cast on some Ivy Trellis Socks. At least I’m doing these pairs two at a time, because I’d definitely be experiencing some second sock syndrome otherwise.

Fraternal twins.

I have had these socks on the needles since the beginning of December. I was perusing WEBS for some hard-wearing self-striping yarn for another pair of socks for Matt, and I stumbled upon (or went looking, rather) for more yarns for me, since the yarn I found for him was half price. That’s a reason to buy more, right?

photo (3)

This hasty phone pic doesn’t do the colors justice.

I had never knitted with Zauberball Crazy yarn before, but I’ve seen it in a few yarn stores and I’ve been tempted. When you see a whole page of gorgeous colors staring you in the face, it’s really hard not to resist. I got the skein for this pair of socks, and color 1660 (Brown, Green, Blue) as well.

This yarn has long stripe repeats. I intended on trying to make them match up when I wound the skein into two balls, but it seemed like I would have to cut out a large chunk to be able to do so. You can see from the picture that it would have been about 2 inches of knitting lost. The yarn has generous yardage (460 yds), but I just couldn’t bring myself to cut it down.

The socks are fraternal, rather than identical, twins. In a way, this is relieving and allows me to only think about the knitting (or not have to think about the knitting). Sometimes when I get really matchy matchy with the socks, like on this pair, I end up getting a wee bit obsessed about making them match perfectly and I end up thinking about the matching on almost every round, trying to knit a little looser or tighter on one sock to even out the colors. Yeah, I’m a little bit obsessive-compulsive sometimes.

I also decided that these should go to my mom, because I found out over Christmas break that she wore a hole in the heel of the first socks I ever gave her. They were out of some delicious Koigu yarn and had a short row heel. That was my first and last time to use a short row heel. I just don’t believe they will be strong enough. She repaired the socks, but I still felt like she ought to have another pair, so these will be hers. We are both size 9′s, so it’s easy to turn a pair for me into a pair for her. I’m mostly knitting these on the bus or in movie theaters, so it’s a bit slow going, but I’ll make her model them when I finish. That’s my price for gifted socks.

Staccato!

Another pair of socks? Why yes. Of course. I can’t stop knitting them these days. They are keeping me sane amidst the extensive reading and writing for my summer class, packing and moving all my belongings at 9 months prego (don’t worry…no lifting), and being now 9 months pregnant. The emphasis of a staccato note feels like an apt description of the kind of frenzy I’m feeling this week. I have been breaking down in tears on a nearly daily basis from the stress and losing sleep, which only compounds the situation. I know that this is a combination of hormones and the two fairly big life changes taking place, and that it is all temporary (at least the pregnancy and moving) The parenting part is a different story I will explore shortly. Even though we are moving to a teeny house, I think I’m unwilling to move again until we move to a place we want to own.

Uh, yes. So, the socks… They’re made from Plymouth Yarn Sockotta Limited in 9850 for the colorway. I’m not in love with this yarn, but that’s mostly because it is nearly half cotton. I think a cotton/wool blend would wear well for more seasons, but the yarn does not have the spring in its step when I’m knitting it, like so many of the merinos I covet. The pattern is Staccato Socks by Veronik Avery from the book Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn.

I gave these to my friend, Kathleen. I think the yarn wanted to be socks for her all along, but it wasn’t totally confirmed until I knit the heel flap just a bit too long for my size 9 feet and they perfectly fit her size 9.5 feet when she tried them on at knit night a week and a half ago. That sealed their fate. Kathleen said her feet are often too hot in socks, so I’m hoping the cotton blend is also perfectly appropriate for her. She’s a Wisconsin native, so not only are Arkansas winters mostly likely a joke to her, they’re also not always meriting wool socks.

I am still knitting on my Featherweight, and I’ve started a new pair of socks (of course). I’ll have more updates on those soon. I also have a favor to ask: If anyone knows a fella with size 13 feet, I could really really use a measurement for socks. I realize everyone could be slightly different, but I would love to know circumference at the ball of the foot, total toe to heel length while foot is flat on the ground, and toe to front of ankle length while the foot is flat. I really like foot measurements in centimeters for exactness. If anyone can provide this info, I’d be most grateful.