Archive for the 'socks' Category


Knitting updates

p6131272socks.jpgAfter cranking through one pair of toddler socks, I felt like I was on a roll. So I decided to knit another pair—this set for the soon-to-be one-year-old son of a friend. I used Wildfoote (in Master Grey), which was just lovely to work with. I knit the legs extra long, because socks almost never stay on babies’ feet once they are mobile (I used to find Sylvia’s little socks scattered throughout the house). Also, an extra-long leg can help prevent the “gap-itis” (particularly unpleasant in the winter, when it’s cold) that occurs when pant legs get scrunched up. These took just eight days to knit. I think I have toddler socks out of my system for now, though. My next sock project will be something for a grownup.

p6131271sweater.jpgFirst, though I’m going to work on this sweater. I knit this a few years ago out of Baby Cashmerino left over from Sylvia’s baby blanket. I followed the Simple Boatneck pattern in Baby Knits for Beginners by Debbie Bliss.

Sylvia loves this sweater. She can put it on and take it off all by herself, and it has purple in it. Originally, the arms were way too long, but now they’re just right…and the body of the sweater is way too short. So I’m going to add some length to it by picking up stitches and knitting downward. It doesn’t have to look perfect (have you seen the seaming job I did on this thing?). Luckily, my friend Beth just happened to have two balls of Baby Cashmerino in a color that looks very much like one I used in the sweater!


Toddler socks

p6041112sylviasocks.jpgI received a lot of wonderful comments to my post about which sock yarn to knit up first. (Thanks, everyone!) The suggestions were great, and I agreed with them all—even when they didn’t agree with each other!

I decided to start with the Trampoline yarn. This was given to me as a gift, and it definitely falls into the “these are so not my colors” category. But Sylvia really liked the yarn, so I set out to knit a pair of socks for her.

I followed the Ann Norling pattern for baby and kids socks. This pattern is written for three different gauges and is clear enough that even a sock n00b like me had no trouble following it (until I got to the Kitchener stitch instructions at the end, which made no sense to me, so I looked them up elsewhere).

These socks knit up pretty quickly, and I really enjoyed working on them! The best part? Sylvia is excited to wear them—as soon as her feet grow a little more and the weather cools. I think they’ll be just right for her this winter.

And now…on to the next pair of socks!


Decisions, decisions

p5150527sockyarn.jpgI have a bit of sock yarn in my stash.

To date, I’ve knit only three socks. I don’t have anything against socks—I just haven’t gotten around to starting a new pair. Considering the amount of sock yarn in my stash, though, my current non-sock-knitter status is getting to be embarrassing. (In all fairness, I should point out that about 90% of the yarn you see here was given to me by swap partners and friends.) So I’ve decided to cast on for some socks soon. The problem is, which yarn should I use?

I’m thinking of going with toe-up socks, knit in simple stockinette with ribbing at the top. So I don’t want to use yarn for this that would be better suited for a different, perhaps more dramatic stitch pattern (because one day, I will try my hand at one of those!).

Click on the photo to embiggen it (and my shoes in the bottom of the frame—I was standing on Sylvia’s picnic table when I took the picture) and let me know which yarn you think I should use. If you want more info on what any of the yarns are, just holler and I’ll tell you.


I won something!

Way back in the fall, I told you all about KnitMap, a new website with user-generated content (including reviews) of local yarn shops throughout the country. It’s a terrific site, and I encourage all of you to plug in info about your own favorite (and even not-so-favorite) yarn shops.

p2039163str.jpgKnitMap recently ran a contest to encourage users to submit “what I’d like to see at KnitMap” suggestions, and I was one of the two winners. Golly gee! Stacy at KnitMap contacted me for my address last week, and my prize arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon (that was quick!): a skein of Socks That Rock in the algae colorway. I’ve heard about this stuff (usually in reverential tones) but have never seen it in person. Now that I have a skein of it for my very own, I feel like I’ve joined an exclusive club. I wonder if there’s a secret handshake?

I really love the colors in this yarn. I can hardly wait to start some socks with it!


Sock it to me, matey!

I just came across these knitted pirate socks–far too late for last month’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, obviously. But if I get started on them soon, maybe I’ll have them ready for next year…

It’s a beautiful design, with the pirate motif going around the leg part and the rest of the sock being pretty straightforward–not too “busy” looking. And I love that they’re knit in eminently affordable KnitPicks sock yarn. Hip hip hooray! (Via Craft)


Travel knitting

Here’s the knitting I accomplished during my three-day trip to Illinois earlier this month.

pa137910travelknit.jpgExcept for weaving in the ends, the baby hat was started and completing during the pre-flight wait at the airport and during the flight itself. I used one skein of an Australian worsted wool (I forgot the name and can’t find the ball band) that my very first upstream secret pal (way back in SP8) sent to me.

I cast on for a pair of socks for Jan in Wildfoote (my first time using this yarn–I love it!). I hadn’t packed my 12″ Addi Turbos with me, though, so after I finished all the increases and did several plain rounds on DPNs, I set this sock aside until I got home. (And when I got home I immediately put this sock on the 12″ Addis, and wow, let me tell you, it is a world of difference! I’ve knit socks only on DPNs before this, and after seeing some friends use 12″ Addis for socks, I just had to give it a try. No ladders! No poking myself with the needle points that stick out everywhere! No stitches falling off needles! I’m never looking back…)

So I started on a ball-band washcloth from Mason-Dixon Knitting. Most of this knitting was done on the airplane during our return trip. I am, shall we say, a less-than-confident flyer. And when I’m nervous I tend to knit faster than usual.

So when we’re cruising down the runway at St. Louis, going faster and faster and just about at the point where the plane lifts off from the ground, leaving your stomach behind…and the pilots slams on the brakes and I’m trying very hard not to listen to that “we’re all gonna die” voice in my head…yeah, my knitting needles probably broke the sound barrier right about then.

And when, during the approach to Philadelphia, we hit the worst turbulence I’ve ever experienced in my life (and keep in mind that I’ve flown in tiny, propeller-driven puddle-jumpers, over Oregon’s Coast Range and over the Pacific Ocean, when winter storms and winds were creating fifty-foot swells right off the shorteand the plane was bouncing merrifly along)…yeah, my needles were just a hummingbird’s blur.

But we landed (and I resisted the urge to do the pope thing and kiss the ground), and I immediately thought, “Wow, with all the plane time and travel delays we’ve had on this trip, I should have brought a sweater to work on. I probably would’ve finished it!”


Sock update

I did it! Earlier this month, I finished my first pair of socks! I used Simple Stripes from KnitPicks–a yarn that they’ve discontinued, which is unfortunate because I think it has a beautiful pattern. These were done in the toe-up pattern that my friend Pat taught me. (She is blogless but really ought to get blogging, because she knows a lot about knitting and is a a great photographer. She’s knitting a pair of socks each month this year–among other projects–and you can see her progress here.)

Aside from a little wonkiness on one heel flap (I somehow picked up ten extra stitches on the first sock, but everything came out perfectly on the second), I think these turned out nicely. Well, except for one thing. Look closely. See the complete and utter lack of ribbing on the top of the sock? Yup. Once I got past the heel, I was so relieved that I just kept knitting merrily along. I should, in my defense, point out that most of this ribless knitting took place among fellow knitters who didn’t say a word to me about it. Not that I’m trying to blame them. I just think it’s funny that about ten of us failed to notice or realize what I was doing until I had bound off both socks.

The socks are a little “slouchier” than ideal. And, as it turns out, they are also a little big for my feet. So, as much as I’d like to keep them for myself (I love this colorway…and they are my first socks), I’ll be giving them to someone else.

In the meantime, I’ve started my second pair of socks. And you’ll see that no only did I remember the ribbing, but I started it (on the instep only) right after the toe increases. Gotta make up for all that ribbing I left out of the last socks…


A week of knitting

Last night my local knitting ground met at a coffee shop for our first-Tuesday-of-the-month not-at-the-community-center get-together. (On the third Thursday of the month, we are at the community center.) I had finished the heel flaps on both of my toe-up socks, so I was all ready for Pat to help me through the next step: picked up stitches on the sides of the heel flap and making the ninety-degree turn that makes sock knitting so freaky and mysterious. It went quite well…or so I thought. When I came home, I finished up one sock and discovered that I’d picked up about ten more stitches than I should have. Oops. I sent Pat a “oh crap, what do I do now?” e-mail about it this morning, and fortunately she was able to tell me how to fix it by decreasing before I start knitting the round top part. I’ll have to be extra-careful when I do the heel on my second sock, now that I know that my subconscious wants to pick up way more stitches than are good for me. These socks aren’t going to be a perfectly matched pair…but hey, they are my first real socks, and besides, all of these “idiosyncracies” are what make handknits so charming, right? Right?

Yesterday I also finished up the front of the pullover vest I’m knitting for a baby that’s due in mid-June. The top part looks kind of weird to me…like a halter top gone bad or something. I’m supposed to block it before seaming, and I’m wondering if blocking will smooth out the profile a bit. But I’m also wondering if I should rip it down to the base of the v and try again, this time modifying the pattern a bit to get wider “straps” up the sides. (I followed the pattern exactly as written this time.) What do you think? Any suggestions?


SP10 just launched…

…and look what’s already happened!

A few days ago, my SP10 sent me an e-mail warning me to watch my mail. When yesterday’s mail arrived, I could see why: she sent me a package!

Yes, that’s right–sock yarn! Her accompanying note reads “I love making socks, so I thought I’d encourage your new foray into knitting them as well!” Along with two skeins of Cascade yarns Sassy Stripes superwash (in an oh-so-fun blue-green colorway) she included a great toe-up sock pattern. (Question to my Secret Pal: did you send this pattern because I’m learning toe-up socks now or because it’s one you like a lot? Just wondering…)

Thank you, SP10!



Last Thursday my local knitting group had its monthly non-coffee-shop meeting, and one member taught the rest of us how to knit toe-up socks.

I have been looking forward to learning this technique for quite some time. I knit my first one-and-a-half socks last winter using the top-down technique in The Purl Stitch by Sally Melville. Melville’s instructions (and accompanying photographs) are usually quite clear and easy to understand, but for some reason the sock section didn’t quite “click” with me. For me, at least, it seems that this was something I needed to learn in person, so I could ask questions and work out my trouble spots before they become bad habits.

So here’s what I’ve done so far! I’m using some Simple Stripes yarn from KnitPicks that I bought on clearance last year. I’m really loving the colorway here: brown, mauve, tan…it’s right up my alley. As you can see, I’m knitting both socks at the same time. Pat, the person who taught this technique and a walking encyclopedia of knitting knowledge, very strongly suggested that everyone do this–partly to ensure that you don’t run out of yarn, partly so you don’t forget the little tweaks you do en route but never write down (what I learned in graduate school to call “headnotes”), and partly so you maintain momentum finish a whole pair of socks and don’t end up with One Sock Syndrome (or, in my case, One-and-a-Half Socks Syndrome).

As it turns out, another one of the group’s walking enclopedias of knitting (we are blessed with several!), Elizabeth, gave out sock yarn to everyone during the meeting. She has one of those yarn stashes that’s the stuff of legend and decided to take this opportunity to reduce it a bit (presumably to pave the way for future yarn purchases–heh!). I came home with this lovely ball of predominantly blue-gray-green Opal yarn, which I am looking forward to turning into a pair of socks…as soon as I finish this pair!

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