Sunday, January 18, 2009

Some Socks

I've been on another sock knitting kick for the past 8 or 9 days. It started because I had a skein of Mountain Colors Bear Foot that I had been dying to use, and I finally decided it was time.

Unfortunately I am just not too thrilled with the resulting socks. The yarn label called for a gauge of 5-6 sts/inch on size 3 or 4 needles. So I knit the yarn up at 6 sts/inch on size 3 needles, and I really feel that the resulting fabric is just too loose for socks.

I was also not so thrilled with the pattern I used. It was Cat Bordhi's Jeweled Steps from New Pathways. This is a sock made with her sidestream architecture. The shaping is actually rather cool, with the arch expansion worked across the inside of the foot. It's the Jewel part that I didn't care for. The pattern is supposed to highlight the colour changes in hand painted yarns, and it uses groups of 3 stitches wrapped 2x with the yarn before being knit. It seemed to me that while doing this if I wrapped the stitches too tight they were pushed together leaving little holes around them, and if I wrapped them too loosely the surrounding stitches pulled up the slack, and caused little holes. There did seems to be a happy medium in there, but it was so difficult to attain that I would never bother to try again.

These socks also represent the 2nd time Cat's master numbers did not work out, and created socks that were way too long for my foot. I checked and rechecked my numbers, and I do not understand why it didn't work out, when it has so many other times. The last time this happened I frogged and forgot about socks for a bit- this time I restarted the sock several times, until I got it right.

There were two good things that came out of making these socks:

  • I taught myself the magic loop while making them, and I really liked it (I thought I would hate it)
  • I've discovered that this is the warmest sock yarn ever, and I must go get more to knit up on smaller needles.
  • When I finished up that pair of socks I decided I wanted to try a pair with an after thought heel. This pair is made with Lion Brand Fisherman's wool that I dyed with Kool Aid a long time ago.

Again worked at 6 sts/inch on size 3 needles with the magic loop. I'm not following a pattern of any kind for these, I'm just winging it. The after thought heel really does seem to make the sock move more quickly, and I think if I had to supply an active family with all of their socks I would definitely use this method all the time. However, they look totally bizarre when they are not being worn.

Since they were only intended to be an exercise I didn't really pay attention to gauge or size until the first sock was done, and I decided I like it a lot. Now I wish I had made them a bit larger, but as you can see they will stretch just enough to fit my feet.

13 comments:

Knitnut,Karen said...

I like your color choices for the socks. I'm kinda in a rut with socks, having difficulty with a pattern. I've got one done an can't make myself finish the other. I frogged it twice and just can't get back into it. But I like yours!

Deb said...

Both socks look great! I haven't attempted an after-thought heel yet. I would need very detailed instructions & for some reason the after-thought heel seems like a lot more work, but perhaps I'm wrong because I haven't tried them yet? Do you have a free pattern to recommend?

I have Bordhi's book Socks Soar on 2-Cirs. Her designs are unique & beautiful, but in my opinion, I think that she thins outside the box when it comes to socks. Sometimes.....I need a lot of help w/her patterns. Magic Loop is fun & a nice change of pace. I'm glad that you tried it. My hands cramp, but I was using a 32" cable, so maybe I need to try the ML on a longer cable?

Joansie said...

So glad you like Magic Loop. I love it and find it faster. However, some patterns work better on dp's, depending on the pattern repeat.

I have a problem with Cat's patterns also and I love her designs (sigh).

Lynne said...

I can't tell you how many single socks I have sitting in bags because the pattern wasn't working for me.

One of these days I am going to have to frog them.

hakucho said...

Your socks sure look good. Fitting socks isn't always so easy until you find a pattern or method that is perfect for your foot. Once I found mine I've been hesitant to try another one. I keep adapting it to other patterns.

happy knitting :)

Anita O said...

Nice socks. I like the hand dyed. I must get some barefoot yarn. I'm still not adventurous enough to try anything to fancy. I know I don't like magic loop and I am a very loose knitter. I just read that you should go down a needle size on the ballband to get the right fabric for socks, but I don't do gauge swatches, so I don't know. Anyway, your socks look great!

Dave said...

Good on you for trying new techniques, but too bad they didn't work out the way you wanted. The colours in that Bearfoot are very nice, so it's good to hear that it's warm. I haven't done an afterthough heel yet; it's on my list of things to do ... some day.

Dave said...

Oh, and I'll echo the suggestion to go down a needle size or two from what's indicated on the ball band, even for so-called sock yarn. I usually try to aim for an extra stitch per inch than what they indicate.

Maureen said...

Love the new socks! Your dyed pair is fun! I am closing in on the toe of my current so hopefully I can cast on a new project soon... tonight?

DEEDALOOS said...

i can totally see how your pattern reviews must help so many. i can't believe how vivid those colors are in the socks you dyed w/ koolaid (or i guess the yarn) as always, such an inspiration to all! kim

vtknitboy said...

i had the same problems with cat's numbers, and moreso, just her writing style! i'd edit out lots of it! check out my blog for pics of the jewelled steps and others i did. it did take a couple tries to get the steps to come out not too tight or too loose! i too have taken a couple of her techniques but just make up my own socks now. have not done the afterthought heel yet. do short rows.

and, ALL socks are better on 2 circs or ML! i will NEVER go back to DPN's or cuff down socks! woot! enjoy!
vtknitboy.blogspot.com

Unraveling Sophia said...

I love your two colour socks - so cute! Thanks for the notes about the Bordhi directions - I've beenw anting to try her books and will check my sizes carefully now.

BTW - I've given you a Kreativ Blogger award...because you're so Creative!! You can pick up the award icon on my blog. :) and thanks for such enjoyable reading...

LDSVenus said...

I love the color of those sock that you weren't thrilled with, they look great. Sorry that they were a bit loose tho. When I found a pair of my favorite socks stretched a bit after a long time wearing them, I got a rubber band and put it just above the top and folded the top down over it, worked for me ;P. What cute socks with the after thought heel, I like the two tone, very cute!!! I'm gonna have to try the circ method as I really hate the double pointed circular knitting ;P. It's too slow ;P.