Archive for the ‘Tales of Knitting Woe’ Category

Socktoberfest!

October 5, 2006

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?

I made my first pair of socks almost two years ago.  Up until that point, I thought they seemed like very fiddly things to make and I wasn’t having any of it. But I found a Learn to Knit Socks book at the craft store one day and jumped right into the process. I was immediately hooked.

It’s a REALLY great book for learning the basics and I highly recommend it if you are easily intimidated by the prospect of turning a heel.

What was your first pair? How have they “held up” over time?

My first pair was the basic sock from the Learn to Knit Socks book. I made it from the DMC Crochet Cotton, in a lovely greenish color. It was also my first time knitting with cotton. I made them on size 3 metal DPNs. They’ve held up really well. I still wear them. I still love them.

Of course, the first pair I ATTEMPTED…. That’s a different story. A friend and I decided we both wanted to give it a shot, so I bought some DPNs and we used a pattern her mother had written down for us. I knitted on that sock while waiting in line to see Revenge of the Sith. It was my Darth Sock. It was also acrylic, and maybe standing in line and looking at people’s costumes and answering Star Wars trivia questions are not the best activities to do at the same time as trying to learn to knit in the round and turn a heel.

What would you have done differently?

I think my first socks were a pretty ideal first sock experience!

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?

I’ve worked my Sock Wars socks in a DK-weight merino that I got from someone on Etsy on then dyed myself. It’s…. It’s like butter.  So, yeah.

And the Lisa Souza Sock! and Sock! Merino.

And the superwash merino from Over the Rainbow Yarns on ebay. I love that stuff.
Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?

The fabric that results from crochet is a little too knotty-feeling on the bottoms of my feet. Knit is a little smoother. And I am all the about the DPNs, baby. Metal DPNs so the yarn slides all over the place. I knit tightly, so I need that.How many pairs have you made?

You know, I have no idea. 12+, I think.

Bad Idea

September 27, 2006

So, rushing through a whole sock, even if it was in the delicious Lime and Violet colorway from Lisa Souza, even if it WAS knit on 2s, the other weekend was not a good idea. It was an especially bad idea to do that right before Sock Wars. It was an even more especially bad idea to do that right before Sock Wars and to still be swatching like mad for a very cool blanket idea I have.

My left elbow HURTS.

Also, if you like the Lime and Violet podcast and/or the Lime and Violet colorway in the Lisa Souza sock yarn that I have posted about in the recent past…. Join our knitalong!

L&VKAL

It really is going to totally rock. There’s no specific project, just the yarn as a common thread. Pun, totally intended. And there are prizes. Oh, yes, prizes.

More details as soon as my left elbow stops hurting!

This is how I feel about my Sock Wars Socks.

September 26, 2006

Lisa Souza Sock! Yarn

September 15, 2006

So, I listen to this great podcast, Lime & Violet. It’s a lot of fun and I like the people involved. So when they announced that they had partnered with Lisa Souza to produce a Lime & Violet colorway, I ordered it. They split the proceeds, which means I wind up supporting not just a small fiber business owner but the people who produce something (the podcast) which I greatly enjoy.

Lisa Souza has AWESOME customer service. I totally have to put that out there. I’ve bought a lot of yarn online and this was by far the best experience. Lots of personal communication and I came away with the feeling that if there was any problem she would do her personal best to fix it.

I had my skein of the Lime & Violet colorway delivered to my work address and it arrived yesterday. There was definitely muted (I am in a cubicle) squeeing.

I played with it throughout the day. When I got home, I handwound it into a ball, which took FOREVER because 450 yards (for $14) is a lot. *grin*

Then, I started knitting. Good times.

The wrapper suggests needles sized 1-2. I had 0s handy, so I swatched with those, just to see. Keep in mind, I’m something of a tight knitter with sock yarn, so your results might vary. The fabric that resulted from the 0s was VERY dense and a little stiff. The yarn is soft but not so soft as to overcome too-tightly-knitted fabric.

I ripped that out. Swatched with 1s. Much better. Good stitch definition and a pleasing fabric that was dense without being stiff.

So, I cast on for a pair of socks.

I have fat legs, so I cast on 80 stitches. I did the Latvian Twist edging and then started to work some ribbing.

That is when my problems began.

This is GREAT yarn, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think it’s a good yarn for socks on small needles with large stitch counts. Not for me anyway. The yarn is NOT striping. The color repeats are way too short for that, unless you’re working on 1s or 0s over a very small number of stitches.

What happens is that the two different sets of colors split and you get half a sock in lime and violet and the other half of the sock just in the party in the middle. *grin*

This picture sort of shows what I’m talking about:

It’s not pleasing.

I wound up ripping all of that back and starting over. Fewer stiches, same needles. Same result.

I fussed around for a while and found that 64 stitches on size 2s will give me the size I need.

The fabric is a little loose, so I would not recommend size 2s for anyone who knits in a loose or relaxed fashion. I THINK I’m going to be okay, but I’m still a little worried. But the randomness of the colorway is really showing off nicely.

This is 64 stitches on size 2s:

So. Much. Better.

Overall, this is not the softest superwash with which I have ever knit (the Sock! Merino is probably softer). But the colors and the stitch definition are awesome. And it held up to repeated swatching and frogging REALLY well, so I have high hopes for how these socks are going to wear. I will definitely buy more yarn from Lisa Souza.

The Urge

September 6, 2006

Do you ever go more than a few days without knitting (if you don’t, you might not have any idea what I’m talking about here)? You’re doing other projects and you get distracted by sewing or beading or whatnot. You work late and come home too tired to focus your eyes. You spend a holiday weekend with someone you don’t get to see very often and you both run around doing a hundred differen things that do not involve sitting down and working on ANYTHING.

And all of a sudden it’s been two weeks since you picked up the knitting needles.

Now there aren’t enough knitting podcasts or knitting blogs in the world to satisfy you. Lime & Violet only broadcast once a week and you’ve listened to the new episode already. Grumperina is on vacation.

This is when I turn to ebay. I search for sock yarns and drool over the yarn that I cannot afford to buy right now. I do a search just for Lorna’s Laces and try to decide if I really want to give the yarn a try, even though the colors don’t really thrill me. I’ve heard so much about this yarn, you know.

And, really, all I want is to head home and pick up some knitting. My fingers are itching for it now.

Knitting really IS like crack!

In a galaxy far, far away….

August 19, 2006

Hells, yeah.

Are YOU ready for Sock Wars?

I’ve sent in my info and I can’t wait for this to begin. Better get at least one of my own sock projects wrapped up before hand so I won’t feel guilty casting on for yet another pair!

I am a liar.

August 15, 2006

I am in love.

Seriously, you know how yesterday I said I didn’t knit to relax, that I’m a tense knitter, that my stitches are all mad tight?

That pink and red yarn that I bought on ebay? The big, lovely hank from Over the Rainbow Yarns? It has changed my life, if I’m lyin’ I’m dyin’.

Okay, maybe it hasn’t changed my entire life, but it is SO wonderful and SO amazing that everything I said about being a stressed out knitter does not apply when I am knitting with this yarn.

People, I use metal DPNs because I break the wooden ones in that size. My DPNs are all bent from how tightly I grip them.

But that isn’t a problem here. No, this yarn is soft, it is squooshy, it is lofty, and it is a sheer pleasure to knit.

Obviously, I didn’t get any work done on the Honeycomb Sock. See, I was just going to swatch….

And then I had to wind the whole thing into a ball. And, then, well, I don’t really have any excuse. Just the wonderful rhythm of relaxed stitches gliding across my needles.

Is it time for me to go home and knit some more?

Because Nothing Can Be Simple

August 14, 2006

So, Friday I left work with my yarn and my needles and my good intentions. I was just going to knit a simple sock to try out the Widdershins heel. Nothing complicated. Maybe a bit of ribbing to keep things from getting too dull.

And then I sat down with my lovely round toe and lost my ever-lovin’ mind.

That is the delicious texture of a honeycomb cable pattern. It’s pretty simple; it’s kind of fiddly. It also slows down the knitting by a LOT. There are three plain rows in between each cable row and it’s pretty amazing how fast those three rows go.

That is the bottom of the foot. With perfectly serviceable stripes provided by the self-striping yarn I’m using. What’s wrong with those stripes? Absolutely nothing? Why couldn’t I be satisfied with just those stripes? I have no idea.

You know, I’m complaining, but I’m really only complaining every fourth row. I’m using 5 DPNs to make these and throwing a cable needle in the mix just…. *sigh* Too many needles!

The other thing…. You know how people talk about knitting as a relaxing thing that they do? I don’t knit for relaxation. I knit because it gives me something to focus on other than all the OTHER stuff swirling around in my head. The knitting yells more loudly than the other things over which I find myself obsessing.

This does not make for relaxed knitting. Indeed, one could say, my stitches are kind of tight. Particularly when on a small scale such as, oh, say, SOCKS. So here I have 80 tiny stitches on size 1 DPNs with a cable needle tangling up in things and now I have to cross stitches over each other to form the texture?

What WAS I thinking?

I was thinking that it’s just the coolest, squishy texture ever and it draws the sock up nicely so that it fits wonderfully over all the different planes and angles and curves of my foot. I was thinking that the honeycombs line up almost perfectly with the predetermined length of the stripes. I was thinking that at least I wouldn’t get bored with knitting tons and tons of 4×2 ribbing.

I was thinking that this would make a really neat patternf or the back of the heel flap….

And, really, all my complaints aside, it works up more quickly than I expected. I can’t work on it for too long in one sitting because wrestling the tight stitches leaves dents in my fingers and a suspicious ache between the bones in my hands, but those three magic plain rows make it easy to convince myself to do just one more repeat.

And now I’m at the point where I can begin increasing for my gusset. Now things get even more interesting! I keep reading over the pattern and I think I have a handle on the method of construction, but there’s nothing like actually sitting down and KNITTING it to really see how it works. And I’m already pretty sure that I want to change a few things. I don’t like the make1 increase, so I’ll probaby use a k1f&b, which would be in keeping with the increases on my round toe as well. I like that sort of thing.

So, who knows, this might be a much faster knit than I think!

Of course, I haven’t gotten to the leg portion yet….

The Toes What Knows

August 11, 2006

I started my sock last night. I used a modified round toe.

See, my feet are silly. They are smallish, but wide. And my toes…. My toes are kind of short and stubby. My first toe is longer than my big toe. The rest of my toes aren’t straight across, but they aren’t a nice sharp angle either. I would show you a picture of my toes, but my toenail polish is chipped. And, well, it’s not that I’m obsessive. Or compulsive. Honest. It’s just that chipped toenail polish really bothers me on a fundamental personal level. Okay, maybe I AM a little OCD about it. So, pointy-toed socks? They do not get my love.

Doesn’t it look like a delicious little hat?
Well, it isn’t! It’s a toe! Ha!

The classic round toe calls for you to cast on 8 stitches over 4 needles and then work a plain round. Then you k1f&b in each stitch. Then you work a plain round. Then, because 16 stitches does not make a sock, you k1 and k1f&b, then knit two plain rounds. Then it’s k2 and k1f&b and three plain rounds, and so on from there until you have the number of stitches for which you are aiming.

It’s really pretty.

It’s really pointy.

I, because I fiddle with things, figured out that if I cast on 6 stitches over 3 needles and then limited my number of plain rounds (I use one plain round the first go ’round and then two plain rounds every time thereafter), I could use the same pattern of increases while creating a MUCH roomier toe. It’s still pretty, though not as swirly in texture as the classic round toe, and I just like the rhythm of it.

You might observe that there’s a little ring at the top/center of the sock. That is true. It’s from casting on and knitting a plain round. You can eliminate it by going immediately into your increases, but it doesn’t bother me, so I leave it. For some reason, I think it’s kind of silly and charming. Casting on 6 instead of 8 means I don’t have the little hole that exists in the center of 8 stitches and it means I can increase up to 80 stitches (well, 81, but I leave one increase off and it’s perfect) without really thinking about it.

Yeah, 80 stitches. I have been making socks on 1s and 0s and my foot is really wide. This is one reason I am kind of dreading the leg portion of knee socks. I’m STARTING with 80 stitches and while Grumperina refers to her shapely calves, if she’s complaining about 108 stitches then I’m going to be in for a world of hurt. My legs are fat, people.

Ah, well. Dreams of knee socks carry a stiff penalty of knitting, I suppose.

Not that these are going to be kneesocks. I’ll save that special torture for the pirate socks. I imagine I’ll knit on these until I get tired of them, and then bind off and call it a success. Given that they are going to be (more than likely) a pretty simple ribbed pattern, I’m guessing that I’ll have yarn left over.

At least with toe-up socks, and this new Widdershins heel, I can get the foot out of the way first. The foot of socks is the bane of my sock knitting existence. The leg gets all the fun! While the foot, poor foot, seems like a mile-long slog through the snow.

Not that I’ve ever slogged through snow. I grew up in Atlanta, moved to Thailand, and then moved to Florida where I’ve pretty much lived ever since (except for a few brief Atlanta interludes).

Anyway. The sock, it is calling to me, and I must answer.

Sock it to me.

August 10, 2006

I’ve totally ripped the pirate socks and I’m sitting down and doing something I hate. Math. Well, I don’t hate math, not really, but I hate trying to make numbers work with knitting. Grrr.

In the meantime, I’m going to practice that Widdershins toe-up heel flap. See, I have yarn and everything!

Of course, I haven’t BEGUN the sock yet. But I will do that tonight. The shawl is continuing apace, but I really feel like making socks. Maybe because of the sock yarn I bought on ebay?

Man, that stuff is like a Valentine’s Love Letter to my toes. I can’t wait!

Ahem.

But, seriously, check out these colors!

Now I just have to do the math to make my preferred number of stitches work with the generic Widdershins pattern….