Tuesday, May 23, 2006

How I Knit Socks

Here follows a detailed description of "my standard sock pattern." I cobbled it together from a lot of sources, using the heel and toe that I like best and the measurements that fit my foot and leg. These particular instructions describe my Soda Shoppe Socks, and so include instructions for the picot edge bind-off. More usually, I either do a couple inches of K2P2 ribbing and then use Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind-off, or I do K4P2 ribbing all the way up the leg and then use the sewn bind-off.

I knit my Soda Shoppe Socks using my own standard toe-up pattern. I use two circular needles, size 2.25 mm.

To cast on, I make a slip knot and put it around one needle. Then I wrap it around both needles, held together, twelve times. Then I pull one needle through the wraps, so it is hanging by the flexible part. With the other needle, I knit into those twelve loops. Turn the work, and using the other needle, knit into the twelve loops again. This is a version of the Figure-8 Cast On described on Wendyknits.net's toe-up sock tutorial, available on her own website and on Knitty. This method was also described in Interweave Knits sometime in the last year, and called the Turkish or Eastern European cast-on. If you do it Wendy's way, with a figure-8 instead of just straight wraps, you have to knit into the backs of the loops on one needle. If you just wrap the yarn around both needles, you don't.

I now have twelve stitches on each of my two circular needles. I begin to knit around, making one stitch (Elizabeth Zimmerman's way--the backward hitch) on each side of each needle, one stitch in, every row, until I have 24 stitches on each needle. So, on each needle, K1, M1, knit till last stitch, M1, K1.

When I have 24 stitches on each needle, I begin to do increase rows only every other row. This rounds the toe very nicely. I do the increase rows every other row until I have 32 stitches on each needle.

Now, I just knit the foot. For the Soda Shoppe Socks, I was very careful with how I handled the striping. I cast on the toes at the very beginning of a pink-and-white section--the one that comes right after the caramel-colored section. The toe increases took up the whole pink-and-white section and most of the dark brown section that follows it. I then knit the foot in the round past the next caramel-colored section and to the end of the plain white section that comes some time after it.

Then, I work the short-row heel on one needle, 32 stitches. I short-row down to 14 stitches, then work back up. At my tension, this took up a dark brown section, a pink-and-white section, and part of a plain white section.

When I am done with the short rows, I begin to knit in the round again, picking up one stitch at the beginning of each needle in order to close the holes that tend to form at the corners of the heels. I now have 33 stitches on each needle, 66 stitches total.

I then knit the leg through two more caramel-colored sections and the pink-and-white section right after, and one round in the dark brown section after that. To make the picots, I YO, K2tog around one round (to make this come out even, I transfer one stitch from one needle to the other, so I have 34 stitches on one and 32 on the other). Then continue knitting as normal, through the rest of the dark brown section and the pink one that comes after it.

Then, I bound off using a Chibi needle. I would sew through one stitch, sew through a stitch on the sock (count how many rows you have knit plain after the picot row; sew the stitch down to the row that is that many + 1 or 2 from the picot), and then sew through the stitch before that one, also on the sock. Then move on to the next, picking up the stitch from the knitting needle, sewing through its corresponding stitch on the sock, and then sewing through the previous stitch you sewed down. Doing this makes the sewing yarn loop around, which works extra length into it and makes the bind-off stretchy.
Am re-reading At Bertram's Hotel, for the parts where Miss Marple shops. On page 84, "Window shopping in the general sense did not interest Miss Marple, but she had a splendid time rounding up knitting patterns, new varieties of knitting wool, and suchlike delights."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I am so tired. Travel. Fear of flying. Fear of other people's driving. Fear of crazy big-city roads. Pathological difficulty sleeping with strange noises. Ergo, reliance on Tylenol PM. Tylenol PM hangovers. Long meetings. Late hours. Had 11 stitches taken out of my side this morning. Am glued together now, instead. Wash, rinse, repeat tomorrow. Today, a boring visitor who had to be handled. Car can't be fixed without replacing the computer. So I'm living without antilock brakes. Snatching a few precious, quiet moments at home to photograph two recent dye jobs:

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Left: Rose Pink and Kelly Green, very tiny amounts. Anemic? Maybe, but the colors also have a poisonous, chemical quality that intrigues me.
Right: I guess it was supposed to look like a garden. Purple flowers, green leaves, brown dirt. A success? Not really.

I'm crawling into bed now. Thank you for kind comments! The turquoise/tan/brown colorway is my personal favorite, so far.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Almost Warhol-esque... each skein of KnitPicks dye-your-own sock yarn re-wound to a larger diameter, then immersion-dyed in three jars. In most cases, the yarn was redistributed partway through so there wouldn't be white spots in between colors. RIT dye.

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1: Dark brown, fuchsia, and rose pink. Yarn not redistributed.
2: Cocoa brown, rose pink, turquoise.
3: Cocoa brown, turquoise, tan
4: Cocoa brown with some fuchsia, rose pink with some tan, and a tiny touch of tan.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I am dyeing more yarn, tee hee hee. I'm so naughty. I bought some RIT dye, so I am working with "real" colors this time. Today's hard lesson: the colors do lighten a bit after the yarn dries. Still, I'm getting some unspeakably precious results.

So here's my problem. I'm using KnitPicks dye-your-own sock yarn. It's 100% merino and knits into a really delicious, buttery fabric--that is totally NOT strong enough to use for socks. I've knit two pairs with Sock Garden yarn, and they pill something dreadful.

So, what can I do with 100g of hand-dyed, fingering-weight merino yarn? Lace scarves come to mind, as do gloves and maybe, if I could find a good pattern, baby sweaters. Anyone have a better idea?

And Skylar, yes the socks fit perfectly, and the extra yarn you sent me weighs 50g... hmm... sounds like a pair of footies, to me...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hey! Hey! Hey Hey Hey!
I've got two socks! I've got two socks!

My Sockapaloooza socks arrived in the mail! They're lacy, and they have picot edges, eeeee! See?

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SEE? I've got socks! Mine are from KnitKatGirl in sunny SoCal. Thank you so much! I love them!
Uh oh. Something very exciting is happening at SweetGeorgiaYarns. There was supposed to be a shop update this afternoon, and instead the website has been offline all afternoon. Poo. I wanted to try to snag some of the sock yarn. I suspect it exceeded its bandwidth... with the right marketing, those beautiful colorways could be as successful as Lorna's Laces, in my own opinion.

So I consoled myself by finishing a pair of socks:

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Yarn: Trekking XXL #107
Needles: 2.25mm
Pattern: Toe-up, Turkish cast on, Yo short-rown heels, plain vanilla except a bit of ribbing at the top.

I'm now starting another pair out of the Koigu I bought at PurlSoho in March. I already have a name for them. They're going to be soooooo wunnerful.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ohmygod! Waitaminute! I'm going to get socks out of this whole thing, too!

that hadn't occured to me, somehow...