Thursday Sock-Along: WTF, Stripes? Done!

I am pleased as punch (where did that saying come from?) to report that my WTF, Stripes? socks are officially done! They were such a rewarding project because of both the amount I learned and the awesome finished product. I’m going to do this a little differently than my usual FO spotlight format as this project has a rather complicated timeline.

The Beginning

For this pair of socks, I wanted to continue with my overall sock knitting goals: learn new techniques and sock constructions and get closer to finding a sock pattern that fits me well. This pattern was given to me by Carol at just the right time: I was done with my last pair and needed something new, and it incorporated new-to-me techniques. Plus, it just looked really cool! So I picked out my yarn, Regia 4-fädig Mini Ringel Color, and got started. Because the pattern was a gift and I used yarn from my freecycle score, this project cost me only my time.

The pattern, Susan B. Anderson‘s Smooth Operator Socks, is designed to make cuff-down socks with self-striping yarn. The pattern incorporates a modified afterthought heel which allows the stripe sequence to continue uninterrupted through the ankle and instep. The heel modifications allow for a better fit as apparently afterthought heels are often too shallow. I had already decided I wanted my next pair to be toe-up. However, this pattern was easily modified so that didn’t present any problems. I also wanted to do them TAAT. When I do them one at a time, I tend to knit the second sock much tighter. Doing them at the same time would help me keep my gauge more consistent.

I learned from my last pair of socks that I don’t always get 8 sts/” on US1s. For this pair, I went up to US2s and checked my gauge early on. I got around 8.5 sts/”, which was fine. I chose to knit the 72 st size. I used Judy’s Magic Cast On for the toes and got going. Since I was using a pattern specifically designed to show off stripes, I figured I’d try to make my socks match. I started each at (what I thought was) the exact same spot in the color sequence. I actually kind of prefer fraternal twin socks, but I wanted to learn new things!

The Process

Since I was doing toe-up instead of cuff-down, I needed to choose an increase to use for the toes. I initially did left and right raised increases, but I didn’t like the way they looked. I ripped them out and restarted, using m1r and m1l instead. I liked that much better. I wasn’t sure how long to knit the foot before adding waste yarn for the heel. I estimated two inches less than my foot length. After knitting about an inch past the waste yarn, I went back and did the heels…then tried the socks on. And, they were just too big…by about an inch!

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Note the extra length at both the toe and the heel. And the Ms. Potato Head in the background.

I deliberated for a bit, but ultimately ripped out the inch or so of leg, the heels, and an inch and a half of the foot. I re-added my waste yarn and kept going. This time, after I did the heels, the fit was perfect! So, I learned that leaving about 3.5″ for the afterthought heel works well for me.

I made a couple of modifications to the heels the second time around. I started the decreases one round sooner and didn’t decrease as much. I only decreased to 40 sts instead of 28. I decided on this just by trying the sock on every few rows. I guess my heel isn’t as pointy as most! After those modifications, I was much happier with the fit.

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Better, right?

Another thing I did differently on the heels the second time around has to do with how I picked up stitches on the corners of the heel openings. It’s a long story but, suffice it to say, I got much smaller/nonexistent holes. What little gap remained I was able to close up while weaving in the ends.

If you look closely at the two pics above, you’ll notice that they are not identical twins. Even though I started at identical spots in the yarn’s stripe sequence, they didn’t stay identical for long! They each started out with two stripes each of orange, yellow, red and pink. Then, things got a little random. So much for planning! In any case, I just carried on knitting the leg and cuff. I kept going as long as I could in an attempt to use up as much yarn as possible. Interestingly enough, the stripes started matching up again at the top! So they start and end with two stripes each of orange, yellow, red and pink. The only difference at the end was the very last stripe, which made an appearance halfway through each bind off. One was yellow and the other orange. I actually ran out of yarn while binding off one of the socks, so I russian joined some yarn on. I didn’t want to pull a row out and redo it! I like having the extra pop of color on the bind off and, since I used JSSBO, it would have been really irritating to undo.

The End

All told, I used 395 yards of yarn. The legs/cuffs are about 8.5″ long. I like the yarn a lot–the stripes and colors are awesome, and it’s not too coarse for sock yarn. I will give them a wash and a soak and they will probably soften up a bit. I cast on with US1s for a neater toe and switched to US2s on the second or third round. I used Addi Sock Rockets with 40″ cables and knitted them on magic loop.

As for the pattern? I would highly recommend it for first time sock knitters and 100th time sock knitters. There are a number of little tips and tricks included that really make the socks turn out smooth and streamlined, including a modified Kitchener stitch and sleek decreases. Susan posted on her rav group recently that she’s actually come up with some more tricks to make the pattern even better, and she’ll be releasing them sometime next week. The pattern has many clear and detailed pictures and includes links to video tutorials for more information. In particular, there’s a neat trick for picking up gusset corner stitches that I will probably use any time I need to pick up heel or gusset stitches. If you’re at all on the fence, the pattern is still discounted and her KAL is still going on.

Last, but not least:

The Pretty

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Sorry (not sorry) for the giant pics. I couldn’t help myself.

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Afterthought heels look funny! They’re really just extra toes.

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Look, Ma! No holes!

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Pretty, pretty toes!

Get ready for even more pic spam!!!

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Image copyright Callandra S. Cook

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Image copyright Callandra S. Cook

Clearly, I love pretty much everything about these socks!

Are you doing any sock knitting? Feel free to post about it 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:

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Thursday Sock-Along: “Yarn Ramen” Edition

I’ve had some serious sock drama over the past week, let me tell you! The background info, in case you’re just tuning in, is I’m knitting Susan B. Anderson’s Smooth Operator Socks. There’s a KAL for this pattern happening now in her ravelry group, and the pattern is currently discounted. If you’re at all interested, it’s worth checking out: you don’t even have to finish your socks to qualify for prizes! Just get them on the needles. Also, there’s some great sock eye candy showing up.

So. My socks. I was cruising along, going toe-up, TAAT. Since the pattern is written cuff-down, I had to guess at how long to knit the foot before adding waste yarn for the afterthought heel. Based on what I saw in other patterns and the advice I got on rav, I went with 2″ less than my foot length. I put the waste yarn in at 8.5″, knitted about another 1.5″ of the leg, then went back to do the heels.

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Aaaaaughhhh! Giant foot!!!

Note the extra length at the heel and toe. All told, they were a full inch longer than my feet! I thought for a bit that I could just pull them up higher, so that the heel hit the back of my ankle, but quickly realized that wouldn’t work. They would end up in the back of my sock drawer, never to be worn. Okay, maybe I’d layer them over other socks in the extreme dead of winter, but probably not. Plus, who wants to put so much work into socks with awesome stripes in awesome colors, just to wear them once a year? Not this guy.

So, I frogged. I pulled out the couple of inches of leg. I pulled out the finished and Kitchenered heels. I ripped the foot back to about 7″ long. It hurt me, knitters. It really hurt me.

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Waaaaaaahhhh!

And I got going again. I re-added the waste yarn for the heels, and carried on with the leg. It’s about time now to tackle the heels again. I will probably graft them a little bit earlier than I did the last time.

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Despite all the challenges these socks have given me, I really love them. Interestingly enough, I got the same comment about them from two different people the other day: They look like Harry Potter socks. Works for me! If only I could rig up some magic knitting needles like Molly Weasley, maybe I could finally Knit All The Things!

Are you doing any sock knitting? Feel free to post about it 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!

Thursday Sock-Along: WTF, Stripes?

I renamed my Smooth Operator sock project to WTF, Stripes? on ravelry. You might remember from my sock post last week that I decided to make these socks identical twins instead of the fraternal twins I usually make. I figured since the pattern is specifically geared toward having an uninterrupted stripe pattern, I might as well go for it. Also, one of my main goals in sock knitting is to try something new with each project. So I painstakingly went through the yarn (which conveniently is in two separate skeins) and found what I thought were identical spots in the color sequence, and cast on.

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Look! Matchy matchy!

Everything went swimmingly for about the first dozen stripes. There were two stripes each of orange, yellow, red and then pink. Silly me, I thought that sequence would just repeat itself. Well, next thing I knew, one sock had three stripes of orange and the other had three stripes of yellow. And then it just devolved from there! One sock went back to two stripes per color, but in a different order, and the other sock went to one red stripe, three pink stripes, then pairs again. So I guess I’ll get fraternal twins after all.

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Really, stripes? Really?

That is, of course, totally fine by me. I was just surprised! Otherwise things are going well. My gauge is a lot better than on my last pair (about 8 sts/” instead of over 9.5), so I think they will actually fit me. If anything, they’ll be a smidge large in the foot, but that’s okay. As long as they fit my ankle and calf! I like the toe increases I ended up with (m1r and m1l) and I’m nearly ready to add the waste yarn for the afterthought heel.

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If you would like to make your own Smooth Operator Socks, matching or not, then head over to Susan B. Anderson’s ravelry group, itty bitty knits. In the next couple of days, she’s starting up an informal KAL. Come join in the fun!

Are you doing any sock knitting? Feel free to post about it 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!

 

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!

Thursday Sock-Along: Sock Karma!

I am so excited for today’s sock post! I’m getting close to finishing my Petty Harbour socks as I’ve turned the second heel and finished the gusset decreases. All I have now is the foot and toe, and they tend to go pretty quickly. Last night, I was knitting away on my socks, thinking about what pair to cast on next, when knitting karma struck again! My friend Carol of knit equals joy unexpectedly gifted me a sock pattern. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Carol, thank you for your thoughtfulness!

The pattern is Susan B. Anderson’s Smooth Operator Socks. It’s a top-down pattern with an afterthought heel and a few special details that give them an extra sleek look. The pattern is an amazing 14 pages long and gives directions for both dpns and magic loop. It’s very well written. There are actually two versions of the pattern: a detailed description of all the steps and a more streamlined, at a glance version. Pretty cool! I have the needles now to do them TAAT so all I have to do is pick out some yarn!

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Copyright susan b. anderson, via ravelry

The pattern is designed to create uninterrupted stripes when using a self-striping yarn. I think it looks really cool! Also, the pattern offers four different sizes in fingering weight yarn as well as one size in worsted weight. You all know how I love a versatile knitting pattern, right?

I’m really loving how my Petty Harbour socks are turning out! I love the colors and, as I mentioned, I’m really happy with the way the gussets turned out.

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Check out what my fellow Thursday sock knitters are doing! It’s turning into quite a group, so I will list them:

Also, I’d recommend checking out Wolfberryknits’ post on her Australiana Socks–they’re masterfully done, from start to finish! If you want to join up, just post and link up. Leave a comment and I’ll link back to your blog. Also, I started the tag #thursdaysockalong on IG if you want to post there, too.

Happy sock knitting!

Thursday Sock-Along: My Best Gussets Yet

Oh blog, I’ve missed you! I was out of town for the weekend and then was down for the count for a couple of days with a GI thingy we really don’t need to discuss. I’m finally feeling up to tackling life and knitting and blogging again! What better way to tackle it all than with a post on socks?

So, my Petty Harbour socks continue. More accurately, sock, as I haven’t finished the first one yet. I did however turn the heel and am cruising down the foot, so it shouldn’t be long now.

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My progress as of late this afternoon

I had a few minutes to stop by my LYS and knock out a handful of rounds. You can’t tell from this picture, but the gussets on this little beauty are my finest to date. Usually I get a little hole on one end of the heel flap or the other where the picked up stitches just aren’t quite right. On most of my other socks, I’ve picked up one or two more stitches than called for. These aren’t different in that respect as I picked up one extra on each side. What is different is how I handled that extra stitch. Previously, I have decreased them out of existence on the next row. This time, I just added one more decrease row. Voila–no hole!

While I’m waiting for these to be finished*, I can now start to plot my next pair. I had some credit and a free shipping code at jimmy beans that was set to expire today. While I was still sick, I browsed around for some yarn to use it on. You know I really wasn’t feeling well because I just couldn’t get excited about anything! Well, a day later I got the bright idea to use it on needles for TAAT toe up socks. So, I expect to soon receive two sets of 47″ Addi rockets, US0 and US1. That giant batch of yarn I got from freecycle recently included a ton of sock yarn, and I’m determined to work my way through as much of it as I can!

I’ve got lots of blog material to catch up on. I’ve won two yarn prizes I haven’t shared with you yet, I got a blogging award I haven’t done anything with, and I haven’t finished my 30 day knitting challenge deal. I also haven’t finished knitting my sword. I will try to get everything covered in the near future! In the meantime, I’ve started actually using my Instagram account. I can’t promise I’ll post much, but you can find me there as alexandknits if you’d like!

Want to read more about sock knitting? Head over to Paula’s blog at Spin A Yarn and Hannah’s at unsophisticated + jejune to see what they’re up to. Also, take a look at Iseago, our newest Thursday Socketeer, at nursingandknitting! Edited to add: also check out fiberandsustenance’s great post on afterthought heels here. Want to share your sock knitting exploits, too? Just post on or around a Thursday and feel free to link up. Happy sock knitting!

*My mom has pointed out that there’s no hurry to finish these as it will continue to be unbearably hot in Georgia for approximately forever.

Thursday Sock-Along: In Search of Vanilla

Hi! I have socks to talk about! After a couple of weeks of no sock activity, I decided today that I needed to just cast something on. There are a few reasons I hadn’t done so sooner. Namely, I couldn’t quite decide on a yarn/pattern combo and I didn’t want to do another cuff down pair. I wanted to do two at a time, toe up, but that just didn’t work out. I don’t have a long enough circular needle in US0 or US1 for it, and my attempt to use a sport weight yarn just wasn’t working.

So, I had to let go of the TAAT deal for the time being (until I can get the right needles, which might be a bit). However, the socks must go on, so I decided I would just do some cuff downs on dpns and see what happened. Instead of modifying a size medium pattern to fit me better, I opted for a pattern with multiple sizes that also has a stretchy stitch pattern for the cuff. I ended up starting a 72 stitch (size large) version of Petty Harbor by Rayna Curtis, free on ravelry.

I think this pattern would work well with almost any kind of sock yarn, from solid to variegated. The subtle stitch pattern would help break up a busy yarn but it isn’t enough to obscure the stripes of a self-striping yarn. I chose to use ONline Supersocke 100, which has stripes of various different widths.

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Here’s what I’ve got so far:

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So far, I like how they’re turning out!

I am hoping that, through experimentation, I will stumble on the perfect “vanilla” sock pattern for me. It would be nice to have a go-to that I don’t have to think about or worry whether it will fit. Maybe this will be my perfect vanilla!

Want to read more about sock knitting? Head over to Paula’s blog at Spin A Yarn and Hannah’s at unsophisticated + jejune to see what they’re up to. Want to share your sock knitting exploits? Feel free to link up. Happy sock knitting!

My 30 Day Knitting Challenge series will continue tomorrow.

Thursday Sock-Along: Choices, Choices

I should have learned by now not to plan my knitting projects too far ahead. I (almost) never end up doing what I thought I would do. Something always comes up: the pattern is wrong for some reason, the yarn gauge isn’t what I thought it was, the yarn yardage isn’t what I thought it was, I get distracted by something shinier, etc. etc. So, in typical me fashion, the pattern and yarn for my next pair of socks aren’t at all what I’d planned. That said, I think they will be pretty cool anyway!

As I’ve been putting in serious time on my giant blue rectangle, and then rewarding myself with a few rows of shawl knitting, I haven’t cast on for said socks yet. I’ve got everything lined up, though: yarn, pattern, needles, approach. The only thing I haven’t decided on is what cast on to use, but I’m going to have to try a few out first. The plan is to knit toe-up, TAAT socks out of a vivid orange skein of Frog Tree Pediboo Sport that I got online a while back. The color is a little brighter and less yellow than in the pic, but you get the idea:

 

It’s a super soft 80% merino and 20% bamboo blend. Aaaaaand it’s sport weight. And it’s only 255 yards. Don’t panic, though, I’m going to make it work. They aren’t going to be knee highs, but so what? They’ll be orange! I’ll just knit until I run out of yarn and call it a day.

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Image copyright attimania via ravelry.

I had settled on using the pattern Lotta by Astrid Schramm (pictured above), but I’m a little worried that the gauge is too loose. From what I’ve read about the Pediboo, it can knit up like either a sport weight or a fingering weight. Since I’d rather err on the side of a snugger fabric, I may go with Little Minx (below) by Karen Scott Designs*. See? Two patterns that weren’t even in the running before!

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Image copyright K M Scott via ravelry.

I’m excited about learning so many new-to-me sock techniques! I’m also excited to have a bright orange pair of socks. I love that, in large part due to this Thursday sock series, the prospect of trying so many new things really doesn’t seem daunting anymore. For my first pair of socks, I even used yarn I didn’t care too much about, just in case they didn’t turn out well. I’m no longer worried about “wasting” yarn on learning new things as I’m confident I’ll get the hang of it quickly.

If you haven’t checked out my fellow Thursday sock knitters, please do so! Paula blogs at Spin a Yarn and Hannah blogs at unsophisticated + jejune. If you’d like to join up with us, we’d love to have you. Just post and link up!

Happy sock knitting!

*Just to prove my first paragraph right, I paused while writing this blog post to go down the rabbit hole again to find my backup pattern. Which is quickly becoming my first choice pattern. And so it goes!

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!

Thursday Sock-Along: FO Spotlight!

I finished my Sock Experiment socks! Well, I haven’t blocked them…but I don’t think I’m going to. I’ll just wash them at some point after I get tired of wearing them. Considering that I’m not all that happy with several details about the socks, I’m surprisingly thrilled with them overall.

The rundown

Pattern: How I Make My Socks by Susan B. Anderson

Yarn: Knit Picks Simple Stripes, 356 yards. I like this yarn but don’t love it. The colors are fun and it seems like it will wear well, but it’s not all that soft. That doesn’t bother me much when the socks are on, but this isn’t going to be a sock yarn that I use for non-sock projects.

Size made: As written in pattern (64 sts)

Needles: US1 dpns

Modifications: I used Fisherman’s Rib instead of standard rib on the cuffs.

Techniques used: Cuff down construction, standard heel and toe (as written in pattern). I used Tillybuddy’s very stretchy cast on. Before starting the Fisherman’s Rib, I worked the first two rounds in standard single rib.

Difficulty: Reasonably easy. This pattern would be fine for a first-time sock adventurer.

Ravelled: here.

The Pretty

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They’re done! And they’re foot-shaped! I don’t mind having mismatched socks–in fact, I kind of like it–so I didn’t worry about getting the stripes to match up. I like how the cuffs and heels and toes all ended up a little different. On the next pair, I might knit the heel flap with the other end of the yarn so that the stripe pattern over the ankle isn’t interrupted, but then again I might not.

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I chose to use Fisherman’s Rib for the cuff because I wanted them to have a lot of stretch. They certainly do! After a few hours of wear, the cuffs start to scrunch down, but I expect that would be true of most any socks. I’m actually surprised at how long they stayed up. I imagine when I wash them the rib will shrink back up a bit.

Even though I made the standard size, and my gauge was pretty much on, the socks still fit me reasonably well. That’s surprising as my feet and calves are on the larger side. They’re a bit snug but once they’ve had a moment to loosen up they’re pretty comfortable. They do get very stretched with wear, though, as you can see in the pics above. The gusset and toe decreases show a lot of the stretch. For my next pair for me, I will try 68 sts and see if that’s a little better. I’ll also start the toe about an eighth of an inch later.

Some of my pics got photo bombed by the toddler!

I guess a little bit of the magic of making socks has started to reveal itself. I’m chipping away at the mystery and the hype and getting down to the actual process, and it’s very rewarding. I’m getting excited at the prospect of having a variety of fun colored, handmade, personalized socks to wear! This pair is a good step in that direction.

Next up on the sock front, I’m planning to make a quick pair for my 3 year old daughter. The next pair I make for myself will probably still be on the basic side, but I will try out a different heel and some different sizing. I’m on a quest to find my favorite “vanilla” sock recipe–one that fits me well, can be knitted more or less mindlessly, and can be customized easily depending on my mood.

Do you knit socks? If not, do you want to start? Join up and post about your sock exploits every Thursday! You can pop over to visit Paula at Spin a Yarn and Hannah at unsophisticated + jejune and see what socky mischief they are up to!

Happy (sock) knitting!