Footsteps

jenjoycedesign© Walking With Emma socks 1

I am revisiting  footsteps  ~  a journey of finished samples from my own sock patterns ~  this one being my favorite and most recent sock pattern, “Walking With Emma”, and which I submitted  two months ago today.

jenjoycedesign© Walking With Emma socks 3

In recent days it has been refreshingly cool, a sort of “eye in storm” of typical scorching heat of August,  so knitting up the second sock from the original stack of  ten-at-a-time  was quite pleasurable, and the perfect thing to be doing it seems, while the house rebuilding crawls through the summer months.

jenjoycedesign© Walking With Emma socks 4

socks slung over four-post bed frame, not yet set up in Loft.

Anyway, this was really fun self-striping Kroy yarn that I picked up at the local Michaels store, and I’m pretty sure this very pair is my favorite of the ten.  Must finish up more of these to keep my spirits up ~~ so watch this space! 

♣    ♣    ♣

Pattern: Walking With Emma in the 2-stitch cable variation.

Yarn: Kroy Socks

Details: on Ravelry HERE. 

jenjoycedesign© Walking With Emma socks 6

Yarn Tasting

I’ve been pattern-writing furiously, and it’s been raining furiously, everything around here has been a bit excessive, and so, just before noon I needed a break. I got in my car and drove down the mountain into town, to the , um…Local Yarn Shop. I brought home two new sock yarn brands to add to my existing sock yarn stash, so that now I have a bit of a selection for some serious sock yarn tasting !

Lets start with perhaps the top names in sock yarn, Madelinetosh’s ‘Tosh Sock’.
jenjoycedesign©Madelinetosh-Tosh Sock Label says: 100% superwash merino wool fingering weight -395 yards, color Ginger. Hand-dyed in USA , from South Africa.

Next, Shibui Sock.
jenjoycedesign©Shibui sock Label says: 100% superwash merino 191 yards, color Wasabi. Made in Peru.

Next, Sweet Georgia ‘Tough Love Sock’.
jenjoycedesign©Sweetgeorgia sock Label says: 80% superwash merino / 20% nylon, 425 yards, color Cayenne. Hand-dyed in Canada, doesn’t say if it comes from elsewhere originally.

Last in this line-up, is perhaps my favorite, Malabrigo Sock.jenjoycedesign©Malabrigo sock Label says: 100% superwash merino, 440 yards, color Impressionist Sky. Made in Peru.

I am very attracted to Malabrigo for some reason, the skein is stout and heavy and has so much yarn, and it is also the finest/thinnest of all I’ve seen yet, which to me is a real lovely thing… cuz I am smitten with ultra-fine knitting. I designed my Pretty Little Things gloves with it and I’m sure I’ll not stop there.

I am loving the feel and visual texture of all four of these leading brands (well, from the LYS at least) and though there are more brands, I figured, I’d start with these. I will let the knitting and the knitted fabric & feel of the finished sock be the judge, as I am challenging myself to a bit of a sock-fest, reasoning thus far undisclosed, but expect some posts about it coming up in the next few weeks.

Have you tried any of these brands ? What do you think?

Socks For Dale

jenjoycedesign©finished-socks

It was a race to the end . . .

A couple of days before we were to travel to Vancouver in the honor of Dale’s ninetieth birthday , I decided I wanted to knit him a pair of socks.

jenjoycedesign©socks-peggy (1)

But I did it, I finished them, with only one minute to spare !

I had a half hour after the last cast-off stitch , to weave in all ends, steam-block in a hurry (in front of Dale, who watched in amazement how they transformed from a lumpy bumpy wad into a lovely flat pair of socks) , and then photograph.

Here they are with the adorable mascot Peggy.

jenjoycedesign©socks-peggy (2)

In my opinion, it was a bit of entertainment for all to see me knitting at every spare moment, while walking, dining out, while sat at the table in conversation . . . you name it, and then like a magic trick, while the second hand was ticking, they were finished and given to Dale with a hug (before having to rush off to a dance performance).

 He seemed very happy indeed !

jenjoycedesign©socks-for-Dale

Apologies Dale, for the hurried & back-lit photo xx

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Notes: If you look back on  this post  before I left to Vancouver, you’ll see that I was experimenting with a provisional cast-on just above the heel, which I knit down to the toe, and then after which I picked up the live stitches and knit upwards for the leg. Inside-out works quite well and I’d say undetectable if one is knitting stockinette stitch , but in this case with the 2×2 ribbing, the direction change was noticeable.  Hardly a reason to have done it differently, but just saying. It seems as I originally suspected (but which isn’t noticeable in a patternless fabric as stocking stitch, the ‘join’ so to speak, is off-set by a half-stitch it appears.  But this is not at all a problem, and ‘inside-out’ knitting is a technique I am going to explore more in the future !

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Details on Ravelry HERE

Sock News


I am sort of taking a break from any projects which require  a lot of creativity, for a spell.   Sometimes I want to just defrag and knit a basic project, and contemplate more logical ideas.

For instance, sock knitting. Very basic sock knitting, I’ve decided, is extremely under-rated. I want to cultivate the utilitarian-ness of basic-sock-knitting, and I can’t really see myself ever becoming very decorative about them.   Just two knit/two purl rib sock knitting , where the numbers are multiples of 8, and really, for the adults and teens I know and love and knit for, and using fingering or even sport weight yarn, I’m figuring there are likely going to be two common sets of numbers to work from ~ total stitches being 56, or total stitches being 64.   Sport weight yarn with 64 or 56 stitches,  on #3 needles will be a large-ish sock, maybe a little snugger on size#2 needles (like for Kilt Hose !) , and I’m seeing that fingering weight yarn with 64 or 56 stitches and size#0 – #2 needles is a good variation of size range too. I’m knitting my second pair of Regular Ol’ Socks and  keeping very vigilently to #2 needles ~ this time careful to not accidentally knit with the #3 needles.

(Question: How can one so easily and so often mix them up? Answer: too many needles heeped in a cigar box, unlabelled).

I knit very snugly, and these stitches are super duper fine and …. well these puppies are tight! Imagine what I could do with fine fingering weight, my tight knitting, and size #0 needles !!! I could change the world ! Or… at least… I could knit some very fine, very nice socks for my wee hoofish feet, using 64 stitches, or even introduce a new number of 68 or 72 stitches… just imagine…knee-highs…with delicious rib decreases…and even increases !  I’m salivating !

So here is another observation I’m making : Using two 16in circular needles (a pain, yes, and having to adjust needles every half row is high-maintenance knitting for me, but must be done, because the 56-stitch socks in fine fingering weight yarn, stretched around one 9in circular needle is a job wrestling the whole way, pushing stitches along at their widest possible girth is also high maintenance.

Here we have progress with two 16in circular needles…


And here is progress with one 9in circular needle…

I must admit that I prefer low maintenance for something as ‘easy’ and ‘simple’ as a Regular Ol’ Classic Sock.  I’m thinking that streamlining the two 16″circular needle method is the best bet for a sock that’s not big (like for gent)… but for my feet, which are more like wee hooves of a baby burro… but   I still am sleuthing out the best method.

Edit In : Okay, for the second time , on the second pair of socks, I’ve decided a set of 4 double-pointed needles are actually the least bit fussy and least maintenance.  Suprising, since I have to switch out 3 times in one row !  Most importantly the yarn loops don’t get stressed when getting pushed between the fine cable and over the needle join.. where I’m constantly having to really pull and that I’ve decided , is the agitating ‘fiddly bit’ I can do without.  DPNS are IN.

Speedy(er)

I am struggling with the perpetually fussy and tedious switching between needles in the 2-needle method of knitting socks ~ which I love by the way, as there’s just no way can I stand poking and catching and detangling of yarn using traditional set of four straight double-pointed needles, I’m just not that talented. Or rather, not that patient.  But it slows the knitting rhythm down quite a bit to have to adjust and switch out, (as on any style: 1 needle ‘magic loop’,  2 needle style, and 4 straight dpns)… but I have discovered just now that the 9″ length circular needle I had bought a few years ago and never used, is perfect for the socks !!!  Especially the straight-a-way stockinette section in these …  So yes, I do love the two-circular-needle-method through all the rib and the heel flap & turn, but folks, when it’s time to knit the long foot section of stockinette with microscopic yarn at a gazillion stitches per inch, when no attention is really needed for stitch pattern,  I have just discovered ~finally~ that these little 9 inch circulars work like a dandy !

I remember the lady at the yarn store giving me attitude when I wanted to order them (they were not in stock) and she said ” I don’t know why anybody would want to use them…”.  Okay, well, one of the few physical blessings I guess I was born with, is small hands and feet, and thus I can knit a sock with 9″ circulars.

Mainly, I am trying to learn habits which will allow me to knit in a more speedy fashion, just little time-saving tricks such as this. Now I can do other things while knitting… um… like reading knitting blogs. 

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Edit in :  Okay, I’ve changed my mind,  I think I can actually knit nearly the whole (adult) sock (excluding the toe section)  using 9inch needles !  Which is exactly what I will do with my next pair coming up.

Edit in 2:   Evidently I don’t know what the heck I’m doing when I say one method is better than another . Eating my words about now , how with socks I prefer two, or one circular needle method, and never double-pointed needles (they tangle so…and stab…ouch ! ) Here I am in the toe sections of the grey socks, and I happen to have a set of four #2 dpns,  yes, I do, and the tips are sooo pointy…(I think they’re Addi stainless steel)…  and those tips decrease soooo efficiently!!!  I am not only deciding that…wow…the dpns  really *do* make a difference, but, dang it if I don’t really like the super pointy needles (since trying to knit faster is my *thing* right now.  Please pass the salt and pepper…

Amusing


Okay folks,  I really blew it.  So badly in fact, that I’m embarrassed to admit it, but come to think of it, I’m positive it’s a mistake common enough among knitters, but it is quite amusing. Still. I knit merrily along on the first sock using two 16″ circular needles ~ five inches of 2/2 rib in fact ~ and I realized something funny about it when I wanted to start up the second, to catch up to the first. Don’t you know…I had two different sized needles on the sock.  Yup the correct size #3 and then for the second needle, a #2.  Yes, I admit to you total brainlessness, but at this point I’m really laughing because:

I thought I’d start ribbing on sock #2 with the suggested size needles for the pattern , #3’s, and see if they are really all that different.  Either my karma is for me , or against me, hard to tell, because after knitting knit 1.5 inches on second sock, I noticed I did the very same thing, used both a #2 and a #3 in the ribbing…. again !!!! How can this be? I have a needle size measuring tool ! Ha ha…

I suppose it’s better this way, making the two ribbed sections the same. Blow off knitting over, I’m going to just repeat my mistake.  In fact, I’ve fashioned this neat method of knitting 3/4’s of the round with one needle, then switching, knitting 3/4’s of a round again, and so on, thus rotating the different sizes around the sock pretty swiftly. My guess is that is will jsut look like homespun.  Oh, and I will make for dang sure I switch to *both* needles #3 when I begin the foot section next.

I have successfully knit both socks to the end of the rib, but I’m noticing my left thumb hurting a bit. (drat). I am ready to knit the heel flaps !!!!  Last time I did this was the one pair of kilt hose, when Morrie coached me through the eye-of-partridge-stitch last year about this time. This pattern does not call for any particular stitch for the heel, just has knitting pattern instruction… just ” Add reinforcing yarn if desired.” Um…  I need Morrie ! (Morrie, do you have Nancy Bush’s “Folk Socks”? ( Pg.59) And Lizzi ! And Sarah !

Okay though, seriously, my thumb is killing me, and I’ve got to stop knitting. I believe it is from playing a 4hr gig on Sunday which has inflamed the tendons, and now this frantic sock knitting has made it quite sore. Going to put the needles down for the rest of the day.

Heel Flap & Turn !


My first , very first HEEL FLAP & HEEL TURN ! Spent the good part of a day at my girlfriend Morrie’s house yesterday as we knit, drank yerbe matte, and laughed a lot (we watched some silly YouTube vids of hillarious Scottish comedy, apropo for a spell of turning a heel on Kilt Hose.) By her generous and patient nature, I managed to learn a new stitch pattern used for this particular Kilt Hose, called “Eye of Partridge” stitch, and shaped the heel flap, then managed to stay with the pattern as well as possible, through the turn. Thanks Morrie !

Kilt Hose project journey starts here.