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Archive for April, 2008

Well, the corn snake socks are finally finished! I feel like I’ve been working on them for. ev. er. But it was only a month. Exactly one month, in fact. Started them on March 25, finished them on April 25. And I’m still nearly a month early for Mela’s birthday. (I don’t think she’s found this blog yet… Mela, if you’ve found this and are reading, stop right here!)

Anyhoo… I really love this pattern. I love the overlay stitch. I think I want to make a pair for myself anyway. Probably using a more solid/semi-solid and not so stripey yarn (although these are subtle stripes). I will be writing up a pattern for this at some point, but I need to tweak it a bit for sizing first. I’ve signed up for Sock Wars III, so that will have to wait (we’ll see if I even get my first pair of Sock Wars socks made before getting annihilated).

Here are some details about the construction. These were made top-down on two circular needles. I started with US size 1 (2.25mm) for the 3×1 ribbed cuff, then switched to US size 2 (2.75mm) for the leg done in overlay stitch from The Complete Book of Knitting by Barbara Abbey. I continued with the US size 2 needles for the heel flap and heel turn, then switched back to US size 1 for the stockinette foot. The toe is tapered and finished off with kitchener stitch. (Go ahead and click on that photo on the left to see a close-up of the knitting.)

My original intent was to make these for myself, and if they turned out OK I would make a pair for Mela. Well, after I finished the first sock and discovered I’d made it too small for my own @#$% feet, I decided this pair would be for Mela.

With hindsight being 20/20 and all, of course there are things that I would do differently when making these socks again (and although I thought these would be once-and-done, I think I want to perfect them a bit more). Here’s what I’d do differently:

  • Stick with the size 2 needles for the foot because it got too tight around (but the ribbing will stay on size 1)
  • Definitely knit a longer heel flap — this one turned out to be too shallow (square heel flap is a goooood rule!)
  • Absolutely knit a longer foot before beginning the toe decreases — with the finer yarn and this particular pattern (and it may also have something to do with the heel flap being too short), beginning the decreases 2″ short of the total length didn’t make a long enough sock
  • Maybe increase the stitch count all around, but I’m not sure about that — the leg fits just fine
  • Possibly continue the overlay stitch pattern onto the top of the foot in some way, but it will take some figuring and swatching

I’ll need to get some rough outline of the pattern down on paper (or, rather, in a digital file) so that I don’t forget all the (k)nitty-gritty details of stitch count, etc., since it will be at least a little while till I can get back to it, with Sock Wars III and my Relay For Life knitting/weaving projects to tackle first.

Oh yeah, Sock Wars III… I kept telling the girls at Yarns R Us that I wasn’t going to do it. Didn’t have time with the charity projects to be done, didn’t want to be knitting under the pressure of a deadline, blah blah blah. Well this past week I just figured what the hell, it’s just a fun knitting thing (although there are some who I think may take it way too seriously) and at least I’ll get a pair of socks out of it! (And quickly, too, if I have a lightning-fast knitting assassin.) So I caved to the peer pressure and signed right up. I confessed my insanity to co-workers. They will have some fun laughing it up once I’m assassinated. I just hope Heidi (Ravelry link) doesn’t get me as a target… she would sooooo kick my ass! As I’m sure there are many, many other knitters who can and will kick my ass in this whole thing. I have a lot going on in May that I can’t put on hold for Sock Wars.

There’s quite a lot on the knitting horizon right now. I have a bit of a sock yarn stash developing, and a growing list of sock patterns in my queue. Plus I want to make up more of my own sock patterns. I have patterns queued on Ravelry to make for gifts, and I’ve even purchased the yarn for a few of them already. Plus there are those 12 hanks of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed (discontinued) I bought last week to make the Deep V Sweater (Ravelry link) from Classic Knits (for myself). Yikes. Better get off this blasted computer, then.

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Well, I was able to finish the second Camo Rib Sock on Thursday night at the Yarns R Us knit-in and anniversary/birthday party. (Today, April 19th, is the official third anniversary of the day Kim opened her shop — congrats Kim!) These were super-easy to make, knitted from the toe up on one 40-inch-long size US1 circular needle (“magic loop” method). I didn’t have a pattern, exactly — just followed the basic instructions written up by my knitting friend Donna for the toe-up sock class I took with her, and came up with my own stitch count for the toe, heel, ribbing, etc. The sole of the foot is a nice smooth stockinette, and the instep and leg are done in a 4×2 ribbing (very, very stretchy). The heel is done in short rows, and the cuff is finished with a sewn bind-off. The yarn is Lana Grossa Cool Wool Merino 2000 Print, color number 742. I started these on April 1 (no fooling, haha) and finished on April 17. Washed ’em Friday night and wore them this morning so I could show them off to my cousins and Mom at breakfast.

And about that yarn… I mentioned this before in an earlier post, but it bears repeating. You can wash this stuff in the washing machine. No kidding. And would you also believe you can put it in the dryer? Yup, on low heat. And the socks didn’t shrink on me. (It’s worth noting that I washed them in cold water, in a mesh lingerie bag, and I have a frontloader washing machine. Took them out of the lingerie bag for the dryer. And the yarn is labeled “non-felting”.)

Wanna see a closeup? Click on the photo to the right.

I still have the second Corn Snake Sock to finish up — I just have a little ways to go till I get to the heel, but with three hours of riding in the car tomorrow, I think I should get past that point and maybe into the gusset.

Up next is some charity knitting for Relay for Life and church.

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I haven’t yet experienced Second Sock Syndrome — probably because once I get one sock done, I want to get the second one done FAST so I can wear them. And I’m not the kind to wear two different pattern socks in the same yarn (yet), so I don’t really mind knitting the same sock twice.

 

 

So, with that said, here are my current second socks. I’m focusing on the Camo Rib Socks first because I want to wear them this weekend — so I can show them to my crocheting and knitting cousin when she visits. I think I should be able to get a bunch done at knit-in tomorrow night and finish it up on Friday in time to throw them in with the last load of laundry before bed.

 

 

I’m giving myself a little more time to work on the Corn Snake Socks. I’ll elaborate more on that later (as in next month later, not later in this post). But I’ll probably be able to get past the heel sometime Sunday, since I’ll have 3 hours worth of riding in the car during which to work on it.

After that, I have some charity projects to work on… but then it’s back to more socks!

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…unfortunately, they’re not from the same pair!

I finished up the first Camo Rib Sock on Monday, and the first Corn Snake Sock on Thursday. I cast on for the second Camo Rib Sock on Friday over my lunch hour, and between a short time knitting last night and a few hours of knitting at Yarns R Us this morning, I’m a little more than halfway done with the foot. I’ll have to get the second Corn Snake Sock started this weekend and keep both going at the same time so I don’t forget how I made the first ones (the only notes I took were regarding how many stitches to start with for the toe of the Camo Rib Sock — fortunately, the Corn Snake Sock ends up with the same number of toe stitches before grafting).

Next, I really need to get working on some dishcloths-potholders-hotpads for my Relay For Life team. Oh, and I have a lapghan to weave for the Relay For Life raffle, too. So I probably won’t be going quite as fast and furious on the sock knitting for a little while.

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Just a wee break for something not necessarily knitting related… On my drive home from work today, there was a brief incident that totally pissed me off. As I began my usual berating of the object of my anger for the next several blocks (yes, out loud, and no, the object of my anger was long gone) it occurred to me that it was such a waste of my time and energy to be angry about it. Then later on, I read Crazy Aunt Purl’s blog post for today which bore some eerie similarities to my own realization on the drive home. And shortly after, I read this very wise post by Anne Hanson on Knitspot.

Wow. What great reminders to calm down and think before we act, and to be mindful of how our words and deeds affect others.

Y’know, I sure do love my technology. And maybe it’s an overstated concept, but I honestly do believe that technology has a significant impact on how many people behave today. Yes, I know there are still tons of good people out there — even ones you meet online. It just seems it’s much easier to meet more of the rude ones these days. I sure do sound like an old fart, don’t I?

The older I get, the more impatient I become. One thing I love about knitting, it forces me to be patient, at least for a little while. Playing around in Photoshop is fun, but I enjoy the satisfaction of creating something with my own two hands out of a ball of string and some sticks far, far more. And I get much more than a pair of socks or a scarf or whatever out of the experience.

Here endeth our Deep Thoughts For The Day. We shall return to your regularly scheduled happy knitblog tomorrow with some quasi-FOs.

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Well, I took both socks (Corn Snake Sock and the Camo Rib Sock) along to Yarns R Us yesterday morning to work on, with every intention of doing a little work on each one while I was there and only staying for about an hour and a half. I ended up staying nearly three hours and worked exclusively on the Corn Snake Sock. But that’s not the brain fart.

I continued my knitting after dinner while hubby and I watched a movie. I progressed through the heel flap and by the end of the movie I was about 10 rows into the gusset decreases. Then I realized my brain fart. After knitting the heel flap, I proceeded to pick up the gusset stitches down the side, knit across the other needle, pick up gusset stitches up the other side of the heel flap and knit the 10 or so rows as mentioned above.

I had not turned the heel.

DUH.

After uttering several expletives I shall not repeat here, I pulled out my needles, inserted them carefully through the row of stitches I needed to rip back to, and frogged to my little heart’s content. After fixing a few dropped stitches in the row I ripped back to, I redid the tail end of the heel flap, turned the heel without incident and moved on to the gusset… again.

So anyway… the Corn Snake Sock is looking lovely (and, thanks to fixing my brain fart, like it will fit a human foot). I’m really liking the Trekking XXL yarn and I’m glad I picked up a few more balls of it in different colors last weekend. I’m pretty well set for sock yarn for several months now! (In addition to those two balls of Trekking XXL, I still have two untouched balls of Cool Wool, two hanks of Fearless Fibers fingering-weight sock yarn — Thoroughbred and Sublime colorways — that I just wound into balls yesterday, a hank of Wool in the Woods, and two balls of some other sock yarn I just bought last weekend, Life Style — made by the same company that makes Trekking XXL. Plus leftovers of the Kroy from my first pair of socks, plus some more I can’t really mention yet because they’re for gifts.) Whew!

Here’s a close-up of the stitch pattern on the leg of the Corn Snake Socks. You can see the subtle striping of the yarn here, too. The stitch is called Overlay Stitch, and I found it in the stitch pattern section of The Complete Book of Knitting by Barbara Abbey. This is the book I’ve mentioned before (not by name, though) that my mother-in-law gave me. The edition I have is from 1971 (I kept thinking it was older than that, but not by much).

There are far too many knitting ideas in my head and not enough time in the day to fit all of them in!

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I’m having a little knitting ADD this week. On April 1 (no fooling) I started a pair of camo rib socks (well, just the first one).

It’s just a very basic toe-up sock with a stockinette sole, short row heel and 4×2 ribbed instep and leg. I’m using what I learned in last Saturday’s knitting class and knitting the socks (one at a time) on a single 40″ US1 Addi Turbo needle. I’m really enjoying this technique!

The short row heel turned out well, although I did have to rip out all my short rows once, halfway through it. There don’t appear to be any ridiculously huge holes, either.

I’ll be heading to the LYS for a little while today to knit. I should really get back to work on the corn snake socks. But I have a feeling I will want to whip out the camo rib instead. Maybe what I need to do is a little of both!

I also completed a small swatch of knitting (just a plain stockinette tube) using some of the Lana Grossa Cool Wool leftover from the baby socks in the March 31 post below. Since I’ll be giving the baby socks to my SIL for my nephew, I wanted to test-wash a swatch first so I could give her proper care instructions. Now, the ball band on the yarn says “non-felting” so that was a good sign. But it doesn’t outright say it’s superwash or anything. It does, however, say that the yarn is 100% merino wool. I didn’t know what to expect, but after washing the swatch (cold water, front-load washer — no agitator, swatch placed in a mesh lingerie bag) and air-drying it on a towel, it did not shrink, felt, or otherwise show any damage or distress. What I totally did not expect was that after washing it a second time in the same manner, and then drying it in the dryer (low heat, along with other clothes, swatch removed from the lingerie bag), it STILL had not shrunk, felt, or otherwise showed any damage or distress! This is very good news for baby socks. And for my own, considering the camo rib socks are made from a different colorway of the exact same yarn.

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