Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sock Knitting

I've got a number of things on the needles that have just been ignored - a scarf started a year or two ago, a couple shawls started last spring, a couple more shawls started this year, the first of a pair of very detailed mitts I started this year, and yet I seem to have hit burn out on all those bigger, more detailed, more involved things that require more focus.  I'll get back to them - I know I will, so I'm not worried about that.  We've just had a bit more on our plate this spring, and I've been dealing with the aches and fatigue of the arthritis, so I think I dialed back to something that I can more easily pick up/put down when I want.  

In addition to that, I also recently discovered (re-discovered?) the Sockmatician's Toe-Ups pattern, which really intrigued me.  I really prefer toe-up socks over cuff-down - I get a better feel of how I'm using up the yarn, how much yarn I can use in one sock before binding off and still having enough for the second sock, etc.  For awhile I was knitting up what was basically a plain tube sock, then cutting in an afterthought heel - only it's a really generic heel.  Someone gifted me the Fish Lips Kiss Heel pattern, which I really want to try sometime, but haven't given it a go looks a bit more involved, although it's got rave reviews.

The Sockmatician's Toe-Ups are great - I don't actually have to know my gauge, and completely ignore the starting part of the pattern where you determine you starting number and then cast on the toes.  Instead I cast on the toes doing whatever feels/looks right, using Judy's Magic Cast On (which is creating the very tip of the toes), then increase every other round until the sock width seems good.  It's taken me a lot of trial and error to figure this out - and I've had a lot of really baggy socks, but they're ok - I like pulling them on over other socks when it's really cold out.

Now that I've knit a pair of socks where the width is just right for a great fit, I'm testing knitting other pairs of socks in different weights of yarn, and just increasing til they're the same width as the good fitting pair in a different weight yarn.  So far, all seems good!  Granted, I've now got three pairs of socks I'm working on, each at different stages (one just needs the ends woven in).  The trick to the Sockmatician's Toe Ups is just to have a stitch count in a multiple of 4 - that's easy enough!

The sock above is the second in a pair I'm knitting in Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Single, which is a fingering weight 75% Superwash Merino Wool, 15% Cashmere, 10% Silk.  I don't know that most people would use this yarn blend for socks - I don't know that it's supposed to be super durable, especially if worn in shoes.  But after I knit up a pair in my first Serenity Single a few years ago just because I was eager to see what the crazy yarn colors would look like (I call them my Princess Socks from the funky pink/lavender colors, and because they're so soft), and found I LOVE wearing them for sleeping more than anything else, I decided it was time to try knitting up another pair in the same yarn, but with a more snug fit.  The Princess Socks are a bit loose, and these new socks in the Tuxedo colorway are perfectly form fitting.

Somehow I DID goof the heel pattern, losing six stitches on the heel, but they're actually a really nice fit this way.  The trick will be to get the second sock (pictured above) to match the first.  Uh oh!

Oh, and I took the picture with the lavender and salvia freshly cut from the garden because I thought they paired well with the little bit of purple in the socks.  Odd that a colorway called Tuxedo is more browns and purples than blacks, but I'm ok with it!

And if you're reading this anytime soon....check out Mr Yarn's going out of business sale!  As I type this, she's got discounts up to 35% off, and let's just say I've bought enough Zen Yarn Garden to be well stocked for awhile!  ;-)  There's not much left - mostly one-of-a-kind experimental dye jobs, and most lean towards the pinky orange range, but they're still fun, and super soft.

The most recently started pair of socks (just finished the first sock last night!) is in Orange Flower Yarn, which is new to me.  This yarn is the worsted weight, but I'm mixing the superwash and non-superwash varieties - hoping it won't come back and bite me in the butt later.  This yarn is crazy soft - realllllly nice!!!  And I'm loving the pairing of the North Sea (blue, superwash) and Hyperion (grayish-tan) colors.  The worsted weight yarn lets me knit these socks up much faster than the fingering weight Serenity Single socks, so I get a faster sense of accomplishment.

Brett and I agree that the Sockmatician's instructions for adding in an alternate color for the toes and heels looks a little odd for the heel part - basically because the colored patch is just the back of the heel, rather than the back, sides and underside.  Not awful, and I've seen plenty of other hand knit socks that look like this....just different and unexpected.  Unlike how afterthought heels are supposed to be, if the underside of the heel wears out on these, I don't think it'll be easy to replace the yarn.

Doogie was just chilling out under the living room table in the pic above - I couldn't resist getting him in the pic as well!

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