Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Socktoberfest ist Wunderbar!

AKA, The Long-Assed Post


...became these, my first pair of Socktoberfest socks:


Pattern: Sock pattern by Nancy Bush for Renaissance Yarns.

Mods: Kitchenered toes

Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Magico, 80% wool, 20% polyamide

Needles: US 1 bamboo DPNs

Comments: A fun knit. The yarn thickness varied a bit with the different color sections, but not too badly. I'm pleased with the results and love those colors!

The Magic Stripes (aka Frankenstein Socks):

Pattern: Too many to remember. Pretty much ended up with the Easy Toe as explained by Wendy Johnson and her short row heel from her Toe-Up Sock Pattern.

Mods: Ha! See below.

Yarn: Lion Magic Stripes in Sea Blue

Needles: Clover US 1, bind off with Crystal Palace US 3 bamboo DPNs

Comments: I ripped and tinked these babies more times than I can count. A great learning experience. With all that was done to make the socks I can confidently recommend the yarn - Magic Stripes can in fact hold up to quite a lot of abuse. I ended up using a part of one pattern, part of another, etc. , thus the Frankenstein designation.

Roughly, my progress was:

  • Started out as cuff-down with heel flap ala Nancy Bush

  • Tried short-row toes

  • Tried easy toes

  • Tried an adaptation of the Strong heel by Lauri Bolland (note: original by Gerdine Strong, Knitter's K72, Fall 2003). Ripped them out because I was confused on the upside down heel turn (have since been reassured after reading Charlene Schurch). And I'm not the only one freaked out by the upside down heel turn (see Cara Davis).

  • Tried short-row heel

  • Tried the "forethought heel"

  • Tried a peasant heel (same as Elizabeth Zimmerman's afterthought heel, but with scrap yarn rather than snipping at the spot you intend to work the heel)

  • Back to the Strong heel, this time knitting along with Nomis Heel and Toe Yarn to reinforce the heel stitches. Didn't like the result - shiny shiny heels!

  • Tried short-row heels again. This time it took. I decided that the secret to them is getting the tension right on the wraps, something I'll have to practice.

Last but not least, Claudia Hand Painted:

Pattern: Broadripple Socks from Knitty.

Mods: Knit toe up, changed the purl rounds to knit (not a fan of any form of garter stitch), and used eye of partridge instead of heel stitch on heels.

Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted Sport in Stormy Day

Needles: Clover US 2, bind off with Crystal Palace US 3 bamboo DPNs

Comments: I love the way these turned out, from beginning...

... to end:

I thoroughly enjoyed Socktoberfest, and many thanks to Lolly!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

More Sock Goodness

Socktoberfest has begun over at Lolly's! To answer her questions:

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

A woman in attendance at an otherwise dull meeting was quietly knitting away on what turned out to be socks. As very much still a novice knitter, I plied her with questions. Her work was so impressive: tiny even stitches on DPNs in dark navy wool! But my first reaction was typical: who would want to spend that much time making socks when you can buy them so cheaply? What I didn't know then was that she'd hooked me. I kept thinking about those gorgeous socks! Finally one day at a LYS I broke down and bought a set of DPNs and a sock kit put out by Renaissance yarns that included two skeins of Froehlich Wolle Special Blauband, a card of reinforcing thread and a pattern by Nancy Bush. Armed with Nancy's pattern I manage to knit a rather respectable sock. This was over ten years ago, and the poor sock is still awaiting its mate.

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

I just finished my first actual pair, using the same Nancy Bush pattern. I love the way they turned out. It's too soon of course to know how they'll wear, but they were knit rather tightly on size 1 needles with heel stitch at the heels.

What would you have done differently?

I started working them toe-up but that proved to be an exercise in frustration. I just couldn't manage to dig into the double-wrapped stitches for short-row toes. The socks were frogged several times before I threw caution to the wind and cast on for cuff down socks. I'm still determined to learn how to work those short rows, though!

For the very first sock, I would have knit it using smaller needles. I may end up frogging it and reknitting the yarn at a tighter gauge.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?

I love the superwash Merino from Labadie Looms. Gorgeous hand-painted stuff. I've built up a small stash of sock yarn over the summer and I'm looking forward to knitting with Trekking XXL and some Claudia Hand-dyed yarn from All About Yarn in Columbia.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?

Love the DPNs. My favorite moment when knitting on DPNs was overhearing the comment from two co-workers passing by, "Wow, those look dangerous." Yes that's me, the dangerous sock knitter.

I learned the magic loop method from K. St. John's excellent tutorial. While I like the fact that I can knit two socks at the same time using this method it feels more comfortable with just one sock on the needles.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)

Heel flap, so far. I've tried Charlene Schurch's forethought heel and while I love the idea, mine didn't turn out so well and will have to be frogged (due to my mistakes, not Ms. Schurch's directions). I think I'll try afterthought heels on the socks I'm knitting now with Meilenweit Magic.

How many pairs have you made?

I've made exactly one and a half pair so far and am exceeding proud of them. They may not be perfect (far from it, in fact!) but they're mine. Now I just have to find the right shoes...