Thursday Sock-Along: An FO and a Smooth Operator Snag

I finished my In Search of Vanilla socks! Since I’ve covered them here in detail already, I won’t go too crazy with my rundown. The basic idea is that I used the free Petty Harbour sock pattern by Rayna Curtis. I made the 72 stitch version, but as I got over 9.5 sts/”, they didn’t turn out the size large that I had anticipated! They’re closer to a medium and I’m hoping they’ll fit my mom. I used 372 yards of ONline Supersocke 100 Savanne Color that I got from my freecycle score. So, the only cost for this project was the time I put in!

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This was a cuff-down pattern that I knit on US1 dpns (apparently very tightly). There’s a subtle broken rib-type pattern that gives the socks some interest and breaks up the colors a little bit. The heel is a standard heel flap style and the toe is standard, as well. I used Tillybuddy’s very stretchy cast on to start and Kitchener stitch to finish. The only modification I made to the pattern was to pick up one extra stitch per heel flap edge and then add one extra decrease round. I found that made for a much nicer and hole-free gusset.

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The socks aren’t exactly identical, but they’re close. That’s just sheer chance, really–I wasn’t going for matching. These are definitely my best socks so far. I didn’t think I wanted to do another pair of cuff-down heel-flap socks, but I’m glad that I did! I still haven’t found the right pattern and gauge to make a pair that will actually fit me well, but I have some more ideas percolating.

So next up: new socks! Like Paula and Carol and many others, I’m making a pair of Smooth Operators by Susan B. Anderson. If you want to make some too, be sure to hop over to her ravelry group, itty bitty knits. There’s going to be an informal KAL! There’s no thread set up yet, but there isn’t an official start date or anything. So, cast on and join up! I poked through my sock yarn and decided to use these two skeins of Regia, also from my freecycle score:

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Since the pattern is written specifically to accommodate self-striping yarn, I figured I’d try to make them identical. I actually quite like fraternal twin socks, but it’s also nice to learn new things! Since I always seem to need to do things a bit differently, I decided to do these toe-up instead of cuff-down. I cast on a couple of days ago and got going. I chose to use left and right raised increases for the toes. Well, I got almost all the way through the toe increases and then decided to rip them out and start over. I think some combination of my magic loop technique (still in its infancy) and the raised increases led to holes on one edge of each sock.

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good edge

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bad edge

It wasn’t awful, but I could tell it was going to bother me. So, I ripped back and started over. I’m only a few rows in now, but I’m using m1r and m1l instead. So far, so good!

One mini rant: I tend to knit pretty tightly anyway, and with these I’m trying to keep the joins snug. So, doing a m1r one stitch in tends to be pretty tricky. I find it really hard to get the tip of the needle cleanly into the new stitch as it’s really tight, even with my Addi Sock Rockets! Anyone else have this problem? Anyone have a favorite increase to use for toe-up socks?

So far I love how the colorway is working up! I’m definitely sensing a theme: every pair of socks I’ve made so far has had either yellow or orange or both. I guess I like bright socks!

How are your sock explorations coming? Feel free to post about them on Thursdays and link up with the group! Also, you can share your projects on Instagram with the tag #thursdaysockalong. Check out my fellow Thursday sock knitters here:

Happy sock knitting!

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Thursday Sock-Along: Kidlet Socks and Planning Ahead

Welcome to Thursday’s sock post! Someone (my esteemed mother) recently asked me, “Why socks? Why Thursdays?” So, here’s a little history to answer both of those questions. A few, or maybe several, months ago, my blogging friend Maggie at Project(s) in Progress decided she wanted to tackle the sometimes daunting world of sock knitting. She got some other bloggers interested, myself included, and we started a bit of a casual sock KAL. Unfortunately Mags had a serious injury a bit ago and hasn’t been up for blogging, but hopefully she will feel better soon. There aren’t really any hard and fast rules, and anyone can participate, whether it’s for a week here and there or over the course of several weeks or months. All you need to do to join in is knit some socks, or think about knitting some socks, and post about it on Thursdays. There’s no special significance to Thursdays…we just needed to pick a day! If you do join in, please consider linking your post to the other participants’ blogs (see the end of this post for a list). Maybe someday I’ll put together an icon of some sort, but let’s not get overly ambitious!

So, on to the socks! I have another FO to share! Yesterday, I finished up a quick pair of socks for my daughter. Here are the details:

The rundown

Pattern: Basic Child’s Gradiance Sock in Foot Prints by Laura Lough, free off-ravelry download.

Yarn: Knit Picks Parade, 110 yards. Each skein has about 137 yards, so I was easily able to get a pair out of one ball. It’s a self striping yarn but it’s sport weight instead of fingering, so the socks worked up super quickly. I got this yarn in my giant freecycle haul.

Size made: 2-4y. The pattern also includes directions for size 4-8y.

Needles: US3 dpns

Modifications: I picked up one extra stitch on each side of the heel flaps.

Techniques used: Cuff down construction, standard heel and toe (as written in pattern). I used Tillybuddy’s very stretchy cast on. I finished the toes with Kitchener stitch.

Difficulty: Reasonably easy. This wouldn’t be a pattern I’d recommend for a first-time sock knitter unless I provided a little clarification, but anyone who’s made at least one pair of standard socks wouldn’t have any trouble.

Ravelled: here.

The Pretty

I’m really happy with them and, more importantly, so is my daughter! The look on her face when I gave them to her was to die for, it was that cute. Her eyes just lit up and she started smiling like crazy.

They seem to fit well, although they look like they’d be too big. They have a little room to grow so they should fit her for a couple of years or so. It’s funny…with heavier weight yarns, I tend to knit more snugly than typical. I often have to go up a needle size to get gauge. Socks? Not so much. For sock yarn, I mostly have to use US1s or even US0s sometimes to get 8 sts/”. For this sport weight yarn, I didn’t bother checking gauge. They were such a quick knit that I would have just ripped the first sock out if it was dramatically off. The pattern gauge for these is 7 sts/” and I think I came in closer to 6. Next time, I would use US2s. I definitely wouldn’t expect these to fit a two year old, like the pattern says.

Other stuff I would change if I made socks from this pattern again: I would add two or three rows of stockinette between the cuff ribbing and the start of the heel flap. The 2×2 rib doesn’t line up with the sl1 k1 heel flap so I’d rather have a little buffer between them.

One thing I specifically like about this pattern is the toe decrease. You decrease every other round for the first several rounds, then the last two decrease rounds are done consecutively. I think it gives the sock a nicer rounded toe instead of a slightly pointy, angular one.

In all, this is a handy, quick pattern to have in my sock arsenal, and there’s a good chance I’d make them again. Best part? It’s a free pattern! Between that and getting the yarn for free, this was quite the economical pair of socks!

So, what’s next on the sock horizon, you ask? Well, if you saw my last post, you know that I have some non-sock projects I need to focus on. However, there are still ideas fermenting and plans being made! Here are my goals in a nutshell:

  • Find a good “vanilla” sock pattern that fits me well. I want to have a go-to pattern that I can just cast on and work on without having to think too much.
  • Make more socks for the kidlet! They’re really quick and gratifying, not to mention cute as stink.
  • Learn how to do an afterthought heel, short row heel, Fish Lips Kiss heel and TAAT (two at a time) socks*.
  • Make socks as gifts for two people who have expressed interest.

In order to explore my options, I started looking through some of my sock resources. I might have a few knitting books tucked away (cough, cough) so I pulled out the ones just about socks. I looked through three different books for ideas and direction, and now I have so many socks I want to make, it’s a little ridiculous. From The Joy of Sox**, I want to make Hot Waves, Warm Up Socks, and Royal Flush. From Op-Art Socks: Creative Effects in Sock Knitting***, I want to make Crest and Victor, and most of the rest of the book, too. From Toe-Up Socks for Every Body, I want to make Bob and Weave Socks, Critter Socks (with foxes), and Dainty Anklets. Clearly, I have my work cut out for me! I also have a copy of Socks by Vogue Knitting on the Go somewhere, but I’m not sure where I put it.

What about you? Do you have socks on the needles? What’s your favorite heel technique? I’d love to hear about it! Also, check out what Paula at Spin A Yarn and Hannah at unsophisticated + jejune are up to this week!

Happy sock knitting!

 

* Lots of people want to do TAAT to avoid second sock syndrome. I don’t seem to suffer from that, but I do have a hard time making both socks exactly the same, despite detailed note taking and trying really hard. Part of it is that by the second sock, I’m more confident and my gauge gets tighter. I think doing them TAAT will help.

**I actually have two copies of The Joy of Sox. If anyone wants the extra one, it’s yours for the cost of shipping.

***I got my copy of this book at Tuesday Morning for about $3! Thrifty knitting rocks!

Coolest New (to Me) Technique EVER

I am so stoked because I just did the coolest thing ever. You know how I had resurrected my ability to graft, right? And you know I’m doing a test knit, right? Well, those two things combined have created one of my very proudest knitting moments so far. Ready? Wait for it….

I grafted in pattern.

Yeah. That’s right! I grafted in pattern. The test knit I’m doing is a toque. It has a long cabled panel that is supposed to be seamed together on the short ends to make a loop that forms the sides of the hat. Well, I hate seaming so I did a provisional cast on thinking I would just graft the two edges together instead. When the time came to do just that, I realized it wouldn’t look right to do it in stockinette since, duh, the two edges were in pattern. My google-fu was good tonight because the second option I clicked on for “grafting in pattern” was pure gold. It was a little fiddly and it took a while, but it wasn’t really hard.

The icing on the cake? I left enough yarn for four times the length to be grafted and ran out about two thirds of the way through. So I did a freakin’ Russian join on the yarn I was grafting with. I hope someone else is as excited about all this as I am because there’s no one awake right now I can brag to. I keep trying to tell the cats how awesome I am but they are characteristically underwhelmed.

Can you see the grafted row?

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No? I’ll give you a hint. It’s the one with the string of yarn trailing out of it on the left. Yep, that one. Pretty cool, huh? I did make two mistakes, but they’re so minor that I don’t think even I will ever see them (especially because I plan to be wearing the hat, not looking at it). Not worth attempting to fix at all.

So, yeah. I’m pretty thrilled. Here are the kitties who are completely failing to recognize my prowess:

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Project Limbo

I’m at a frustrating point between projects. None of the UFFOs are getting finished, and nothing new is really coalescing. I have one dishcloth on the needles that I actually had to frog and restart. I’m not a completely perfectionist knitter, but I try not to leave mistakes that I am aware of or make really obvious fudges. However, my tolerance of dishcloth errors is pretty high, particularly in this case: I don’t love the yarn, so I’m not going to gift it to anyone. I just want it to be knitted into a functional item. But, when tightening the grafting on the two edges, I must have pulled on a YO instead of on the graft. The whole thing got completely out of whack, and I ended up just pulling it out. In retrospect, I realize what I must have done. One mod I made to the Cherry Pie Washcloth pattern was to use a crochet chain cast on. Well, I usually would knit the first row after the cast on to make sure there was a solid row of stitches to work off, but I must have forgotten that this time. I restarted it yesterday and hopefully this time it will go better!

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One cool thing about restarting it yesterday was that I remembered the cast on without having to look it up, and was able to knock it out really quickly. Also, I’m attempting a Russian join for the first time. Since I’m not giving the dishcloth away, I’ll be able to see how well it wears over time.

I cast off Quicksilver the other day, but haven’t started weaving in ends yet. I want to do further research on that before I start. It may sound silly–I’ve woven in hundreds of ends on many different types of fibers–but I realized I don’t think I’ve woven in sock weight merino superwash ends before, and certainly not on a project of this scope. I really want it to be a completely secure and invisible finishing job, so I want to learn a little more about it. Basically, part of me just doesn’t believe that superwash ends will stay where I put them!

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I started sewing in the ends for my Old Shale blanket, but that is proving to be a monumental undertaking. I should probably put some time in on that.

I cast on for a new project last night, but I am going to pull it out. I’ve had my eye on Rivulet for a while and I have enough Noro Haniwa in my stash to make the medium width. So, I cast on 56 stitches and worked a few rows in 1×1 rib. For this pattern, ALL stitches are worked through the back loops. For knit stitches, no big deal–doesn’t take but an instant longer than a regular knit stitch. But for purl stitches? That was taking forever. I stuck with it for four or five rows, though, then started looking at the work with a more realistic eye. I didn’t swatch because typically a scarf’s gauge isn’t all that crucial. In this case, a scarf that was supposed to be about 8″ wide was easily 12″ and could stretch to 14″ in a pinch. So, I will be pulling that out and rethinking. It would probably look lovely, but would be out of proportion and I would run out of yarn at about 3′ long!

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A 14″ needle is included for scale!

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The yarn is so pretty. I can’t get the greens to show up right in the pics. they actually have a much more emerald shade.

I would still like to make that scarf, but don’t have the yardage required in another yarn. I don’t think it’s reasonable to go down several needle sizes to get gauge and still use the Haniwa–the fabric would end up being way too dense. That yarn was not meant to be crowded like that. I have another reversible cable scarf pattern that also calls for aran weight yarn, so I may try that. It’s the His/Hers Reversible Scarf in Cables Untangled: An Exploration of Cable Knitting by Melissa Leapman. I’ve used that pattern before and really liked it. If that doesn’t work out, I will have to go back to the drawing board completely. Or, I could start my test knit!

I do have one other thing percolating, but I don’t have the right yarn in my stash to start yet. I won a free pattern from Melanie Berg a couple of days ago (she designed the Quicksilver shawl). I posted on the weekly topic thread and got chosen at random! I chose Drachenfels, a pattern I had my eye on anyway. Pretty cool, right?

Show and Tell

Thanks to the wifey, I have some new pics of my recent FOs and WIPs. So, on with the pretty!

Here’s an updated, accurately colored, look at my Old Shale kid’s blanket:

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I started working on this again a couple of days ago as I finally got the last of the yarn in that I needed. I’ve knitted up a total of about 7.5 skeins and I have around 2.5 left to go.

Here’s a comparison of the two Flower Washcloths I made with slightly different finishing techniques. The first photo is the one I whip stitched and the second is the one I Kitchener stitched:

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On the first photo, the seam is around 8-9 o’clock. On the second the seam is…not really sure where!

Here’s a look at my third go at the same pattern. This one will be a dishcloth:

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The color in the first photo is probably the most accurate. The other two are a lot pinker than the actual thing. I used the same Cherry Pie Dishcloth pattern with the following mods:

  • used a provisional cast on
  • omitted last half of the final row 10 so that the stitches would line up correctly for grafting
  • used Kitchener stitch to graft edges
  • made 8 “slices” instead of 7–the gauge of this one turned out so that the extra one was needed for it to lie flat

I really like this pattern and will probably make it many times–at least until my kitchen cotton stash runs out!

So, for now, the Old Shale blanket is the only thing I have on the needles. I still have some things that need finishing/ends woven in, but nothing else that I’m actively knitting. I really want to power through the blanket and get it finished. I’m starting to feel like it’s hanging over my head a bit and I don’t want to cast on another main project until it’s done. But, once it is done, I have plenty of stuff simmering on the back burner!

Photo credit: all photos in this post except the first Flower Washcloth photo and the first Cherry Pie Dishcloth photo were taken by the wifey.

Middle-ish Dog, Old Tricks or Dishcloth Days

It’s been a productive and exceptionally busy week. I’ve been working on small projects as I’m between big things right now, and as I haven’t had a ton of knitting time lately. The other day the wifey and kiddo found a ball of white and green cotton yarn at Goodwill and brought it home for me. I asked Z (the kiddo) if she’d like me to make her a flower washcloth with it. She said yes so I tracked down a pattern and knocked it out. There ended up being just enough yarn for two.

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I used this Cherry Pie Dishcloth pattern. It was a fun knit, and went quickly. I hadn’t done anything with short rows for a while, so I ripped out my first attempt (I had only done a couple of sections, so not the end of the world) and redid it once I figured out where the pattern was going. For the second one, I made some modifications. The pattern doesn’t include directions for seaming the cast on and cast off edges, so I wasn’t sure how that was going to play out until the end. On the first one, i whip stitched the two edges together. It looks okay, but it’s a little bulky. If you look closely on the picture, you can see it around 8-9 o’clock. So, for the second one, I dredged up some techniques that I haven’t done in a loooong time: provisional cast on and Kitchener stitch grafting.

So, neither of these things are really that difficult ultimately. It’s just a question of muddling through the initial confusion until they start to make sense. I chose a provisional chain cast on which meant I had to remember how to crochet. Did I mention it had been a while? I wish I had a video of my initial attempts as it was pretty funny. I couldn’t figure out how to get the yarn back to the back of the work and kept pulling it around instead of just moving it back and over. It resulted in a horrendously twisted row of cast on stitches. I just kept pulling it out and trying again until it clicked–and it eventually did.

After knitting the washcloth, I had to remember how to do Kitchener stitch. I found this very helpful tutorial on knitty. Again, I fumbled through my first couple of attempts to follow the instructions, but then it all came together. It worked out really well! The join is nearly invisible, nicely stretchy, and not at all bulky. I omitted the last row of knitting on the pattern in order to get the edges to line up right. I have now somehow misplaced it, so I can’t post a picture. I blame the cats.

In the grand scheme of things, these may not be huge accomplishments. But, I’m still happy that I chose to try something a little trickier in order to get a nicer result, and that I kept at it even though it wasn’t intuitive at all. I cast on yesterday for a dishcloth from the same pattern, and I was able to knock out the provisional cast on in just a few moments:

IMG_3258I’m planning to make a handful of these to use, give away, and use up some of my less awesome stash.

My other FOs to share today are also dishcloths. I found six dishcloths in my long-unopened WIPs box (that box made it through several moves untouched) that just needed the ends woven in. I might have mentioned before that I hate finishing/weaving in ends. Well, these dishcloths date back to at LEAST 2007, and maybe earlier, so I decided it was time. Yesterday I sat down and finished them all:

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There’s one more that’s not pictured as it immediately got co-opted into use as soon as it was finished. These were all made out of your basic Lily Sugar’n Cream kitchen cotton. I made close to a million of them in nursing school. I knit through most of my lectures as it helped me concentrate better. It’s such a simple pattern that you can go completely on autopilot, so it was perfect for that context.

My list of planned projects keeps expanding. Here’s what I have in mind currently:

  • A bunch more dishcloths to use up some more stash
  • A twirly skirt for Z
  • Quicksilver for the wifey
  • Some sort of shawl or lap blanket for my MIL
  • An ice pack cozy (maybe?) for my FIL
  • A Rivulet scarf for me!!!
  • Preemie/kids hats to donate
  • A bunch of other stuff that hasn’t completely coalesced yet

Also, I got the rest of my Colinette Wigwam the other day, so I can start working on my Old Shale blanket again! And I may have picked up a few other new yarns here and there…man, I love yarn and I love bargains. When I find those two things combined, I have a really hard time resisting. I suppose I will justify it by doing some serious knitting!