Another Finished Object Friday

Friday is here, and it’s time to unveil another finished object on FO Friday. Today’s FO–Emily’s Boot Socks.

The finished socks

These are my very first attempt at knitting knee socks, so I went with plain vanilla. The only difference between knitting regular socks and knee socks, besides the obvious fact that the leg of a knee socks is much longer than the leg of a regular sock, is that the knitter has to change the number of stitches to shape the leg of the sock to fit the contours of the calf.

An aside–the picture above is a very good illustration of what happens to handpainted and patterned yarns when the stitch count changes. There’s a name for the effect that occurs in the middle of the calf that looks kind of like oak wood grain, but I cannot remember it for the life of me. I think it starts with an eff. No, not that f-word, although I would imagine the effect has elicited an f-bomb or two from many a knitter who is unhappy that the pricey hand painted yarn she bought that looked so gorgeous in the skein looks like shit when knitted up.

When I started this project, I gave a lot of thought to how I should proceed. I decided toe up was the better method to use for this project because getting the leg to fit properly was the challenge here. I’ve knitted more than one pair of socks for Emily, so I have a pretty good handle of fitting her feet. If any adjustments would be needed, it would be in the calf-shaping and/or the length of the leg. It would be much easier to add a few rounds to the leg or add more increases if I just have to rip back a few rows. So toe up it is! I cast on my usual 20 stitches using Judy’s Magic Cast On and two 2.5mm Chiao Goo Lace circular needles and worked Chrissy Gardiner’s shaped round toe (from her book Toe Up!) until I had increased up to 72 stitches.

I continued to work the sock just like any other toe-up, short-row-heel sock until the leg was 4 inches long. Then I started doing the leg increases for the calf-shaping following a formula that I found in a knee sock pattern on the Internet. I did two increases every 10 rounds using M1R and M1L until I had completed 8 increase rounds. After all the increases were done, I had 72 + 16 = 88 stitches. I worked plain for another 40 rounds (about 3 inches), did 24 rounds of 2 x 2 rib, then cast off using the sewn bind off. If Emily decided she wants a fold-over cuff, I can undo the bind-off and just knit more ribbing.

Emily’s Boot Socks modeled by yours truly as viewed from the front

And viewed from the back

When I was ready to start this project, I purchased some Clover elastic thread which I thought I would either knit into the top ribbing or add after the knitting was done, but I think the ribbing is sufficiently stretchy that the socks will stay up without it, so I left it out. If, after wearing the socks, Emily decides the top needs some elastic, I can always add it. These aren’t those knee socks I remember from grade school and high school. The tops stretched out of shape and didn’t go back, and we used to put rubber bands around the cuffs to hold the socks up and fold the cuffs over the rubber bands to hide them. At the end of the school day, there’d be a groove around the leg just under the knee where the rubber band had been. The socks I knitted are Merino wool and nylon. Wool has memory. It will retain its shape. The ribbing will hug the leg without being too tight, and it will never lose its elasticity, even after repeated washings. Wool. Nature’s wonder fiber. 😀

The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Tonal sock yarn in the colorway Blue Yonder. It’s a substantial fingering weight yarn that gives a firm but stretchy fabric when worked at a gauge of 9 stitches per inch, which is my preferred gauge for socks in fingering weight yarn. The 4 plies of the yarn don’t tend to separate when you are knitting, so there is no splitting, and the yarn is very round, which is a great quality for a sock yarn because it helps the stitches to pack together smoothly and evenly when knitted so that you get a nice, dense fabric that should wear well. I bought two skeins of the yarn because I knew that one skein, while plenty for a pair of regular socks, would not be enough for two knee socks. I started with 200 grams of yarn, and there are 78 grams left, enough that I could knit a pair of socks with a shorter-than-usual leg, or a pair of socks for someone who has a very small foot. Or any number of other sorts of things that combine this yarn with a contrasting or coordinating color. What possibilities!

Another WIP Wednesday–Part 1

I have a lot of WIP to show you, so I’m doing two posts, one for knitting and one for spinning. I’ll keep my yakking short and sweet and let the captions and pictures tell the story. Here’s wishing a happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Usanians. And here’s wishing peace and happiness to everyone, everywhere. We are all on this ride together; we should make the most of it for everyone.

Em’s Boot Socks sock #2 is nearing completion.

All the leg increases are done.

A close-up shot of the lovely eyelets formed by not picking up and knitting the wraps.

The sole of the sock–the heel is on the left, the toe on the right.

 

 

 

 

Solace In Socks

It wasn’t the best of weekends for my favorite football teams, but at least I can look back and see all the progress I made on my socks. I love to knit while watching football–and also hockey, but I don’t want to go there–so weekends in the fall are very productive knitting time for me. And here’s proof:

I worked a bit on the Vanilla Candy Corn Sock #2.

Vanilla Candy Corn Socks sock #2 in progress

As you can see, these socks are going to be fraternal rather than identical twins.

Socks #1 and #2 posing side by side

With self-striping yarns, I often go to the time and trouble of starting each sock at the same point in the colorway, keeping my fingers crossed that there are no knots in the yarn to throw the color sequence off, but the stripes this yarn produces are very small and the color changes are subtle, so I didn’t bother to make the socks match exactly. I like the variation between the two socks. 😀

Remember this sock?

I took this picture before cast off the sock.

It’s sock #1 of Em’s Boot Socks, which I finished a few weeks ago. I sent it to Em to try on via my private, personal couriers, i.e., my DH and the boy, and I got it back yesterday via the same method, although for the return trip, the DH got the sock directly from Em. Because I knew I would be getting the sock back on Sunday, I started working on the foot on Saturday and worked on it yesterday, too. As of last night, I had already completed the first increase round on the leg of the sock.

Sock #2 done to the first increase round

I want to have the sock finished by next Sunday so that I can give it to the boy to take back to the Burgh for Em to start wearing now that the weather is getting more on the wintry side.

If, dear reader, you are wondering why I had to wait until I got sock #1 back before knitting sock #2, it’s because I sent sock #1 for a fitting without having bothered to write down how many rounds there were between the toe increases and the beginning of the heel. I also hadn’t written down how many rounds I knitted between the end of the heel and the first increase round on the leg, or how many rounds between the last increase round and the beginning of the ribbing. I didn’t write down how many rounds of ribbing I did, either. So I needed sock #1 back because for some strange reason, I want sock #2 to be the same size as sock #1. Go figure. LOL

Em’s Boot Socks sock #1 and sock #2 side by side

I’ll admit it. Sometimes I’m not the sharpest needle in the case, but it will all work out in the end. 🙂

WIP Wednesday–What I’m Working On

I’ve been a very busy girl. Just how busy? You’ll find out on FO Friday, but this is WIP Wednesday, so here’s what I’m working on.

I cast on a plain vanilla sock using Trekking XXL. The toe reminds me of candy corn,

Judy’s Magic Cast On begun with 20 stitches and increased to 80 stitches using Chrissy Gardiner’s shaped round toe.

so I decided to call the socks Vanilla Candy Corn Socks. I’ve knitted more of the foot since I took this picture, and the colorway doesn’t look at all like candy corn when it’s knitted on 80 stitches at 10 stitches per inch on 2.25mm needles, but I’m keeping the name. 🙂

I’ll knit the leg of the sock in ribbing for a good fit, but I love the way this colorway is knitting up in plain stocking stitch so I decided to keep the foot plain. Trekking XXL sock yarn is one of my very favorite sock yarns. It is beautifully dyed, wears like iron, and knits up really nice. It’s a fairly light fingering weight, so I prefer to knit it at a gauge of 10 stitches per inch instead of my usual 9 stitches per inch for sock yarn. I’m using the Kollage square DPNs (double-pointed needles, for the uninitiated) that the DH bought me for Christmas a couple of years ago. The stitches are very nicely formed and even. These are not my favorite needles, but I have to admit that I get excellent results when I use them.

My spindles have been busy, too. I’m spinning some fiber for the Ravelry Spindlers November challenge, “Life Is a Carnival,” and the Louet Northern Lights in the Cotton Candy colorway is spinning up very nicely.

Luscious Cotton Candy

I think I’ll end up doing a 3-ply sock yarn with this fiber. It’s a medium grade Corriedale, and although it doesn’t have any Nylon in it, it should make a sturdy sock yarn because I am spinning it very tightly, and I’ll ply it tightly, too. I am really enjoying spinning this fiber. It drafts easily and smoothly, and the color changes are fun to watch. I also love the Golding Ringspindles (Micros) that I’m using to spin this fiber. The more I use them, the more I love my Goldings.

My Golding spindles have been busy for sure, but so has my Ladybug. I bought some lovely Falkland from Unwind Yarn Company in a colorway called Flirt that is mostly white with red and pink splotches on it. It is spinning up into very lovely singles.

Unwind Yarn’s Flirt fiber and singles

Once again, I plan to do a 3-ply and use the yarn for socks. I have a pattern picked out, but you’ll have to wait a while for the unveiling. 😀

Speaking of socks, I think my sock mojo is returning. I’m working on 2 pairs right now, the Vanilla Candy Corn Socks I shared at the beginning of this post, and a pair of knee socks that I am making for my oh-so-sock-worthy future DIL.

I took this picture before I cast off the sock.

Sock #1 is finished and has been tried on by its intended recipient to check for fit. Much to my amazement, it fit! YAY! I have never knitted knee socks before, and I wanted to make sure the first sock fits before casting on the second sock. I’m using a basic knee sock pattern that I found on the Internet via Ravelry, and it is absolutely excellent. The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in the Wild Blue Yonder colorway. (I going from memory. I hope I got the right name for the color.) I thought plain vanilla toe-up knee socks would be über boring to knit, but much to my surprise, I have really enjoyed knitting this sock, even on two circular needles. And I now have 6 or 7 different sock patterns and yarns awaiting cast-on. Some of those yarns are my handspun, so I am definitely getting knitting inspiration from spinning. And vice versa. Socks, how I have missed you!

WIP Wednesday

Yes. WIP Wednesday is here again, and I have a lot to share with you.

As you know from reading my previous blog entry, I finally started a knitting project using some of my handspun yarn. The lovely 2-ply fingering weight yarn I spun from a 5-oz braid of BFL in the Cool Madras color way from Corgi Hill Farm is on its way to becoming a Clapotis scarf. It is knitting up very nicely, but it is quite misshapen and the sides want to curl up.

Cool Madras Clapotis Scarf in progress

As is, it looks pretty yucky. I wanted to see what the scarf would look like after blocking. Why do all that knitting only to end up with something that resembles yarn vomit? After all, the reason I didn’t jump on the Clapotis bandwagon back when every other knitter did is that the Clapotis pictured with the pattern in Knitty looks like hell. It’s just about the ugliest piece of knitting I’ve ever seen. It rivals the socks I knitted from Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Rainbow colorway, although I don’t think there is anything uglier than Lorna’s Laces Rainbow colorway knitted up into socks.

Ugly socks from Lorna’s Laces Rainbow, perhaps the ugliest sock colorway in existence.

Just in case you think it’s a fluke and only my socks in the Rainbow colorway are super ugly, take a look at this picture of socks knitted in this colorway for Arlo Guthrie. Or this picture (and these are the best looking Rainbow socks I can find). The yarn is gorgeous in the skein, but like so many Lorna’s Laces colorways, it knits up ugly.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the topic at hand, Clapotis. I really didn’t understand why any knitter would be all hot to trot to knit a Clapotis since the one pictured in the pattern is fugly beyond words. But thanks to the magic that is Ravelry, I was able to view Clapotis after Clapotis knitted in lovely yarns and properly dressed. It’s really a very lovely pattern, and once you get started, it’s pretty mindless knitting without being totally boring.

I wanted to be absolutely certain that my Clapotis scarf would look good when it’s finished, so I did the only thing I could possibly do to put an end to my doubts. I  put the live stitches on a holder, gave the scarf a good soaking, then pinned it out to dry.

Clapotis wet-blocked

The scarf looked really good pinned out. So far so good, but  will the scarf curl up once I remove the pins?

Clapotis unpinned after blocking

NO! It stayed flat. Yay!

Next step: What will happen if I pick it up?

Just look at how nicely it drapes.

Well, it has a lovely shape and beautiful drape, and the yarn is deliciously soft.

I love the effect of the diagonal stripes of the dropped stitches going in the opposite direction of the diagonal stripes of the colors.

I cannot help but get tickled pink when I am knitting along on this scarf and realize that I made the yarn myself. Knitting with your own handspun yarn is a kick! 🙂

I could stop right here. A Clapotis scarf in gorgeous handspun BFL is hard to top. But I have another project OTN to share, and it’s very striking, too. It is just a plain vanilla sock toe that is destined to become my very first knee sock, but just look at the color!

Plain vanilla toe-up knee sock in progress

The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll fingering weight in Blue Yonder Tonal. I don’t think I have ever seen a more beautiful blue yarn. It’s perfect for a plain vanilla sock because the color speaks for itself. And plain vanilla is perfect for this project because I can work the calf increases without having to figure out how to work the stitch pattern into the increases. When trying something new in knitting, it is usually better to start out simple, at least for me it is.

Both of these projects are intended for the boy’s sock-worthy GF. The knee socks are actually a special request from her, and there is little that knitters love more than knitting something for someone who specifically asks for it and really appreciates the time and effort that goes into creating a custom, hand-knit garment.

So far we have a scarf in progress and a knee sock in progress. How could our day get any better? Well, let’s add a spinning WIP. I’ve been working away on one of the braids of BFL/Sparkle that I bought from Woolgatherings.

Can you see the sparkle in this yarn?

I’m spinning this top very thin and plan to try my hand at making a 3-ply fingering weight yarn. I might end up chain-plying it instead. The way I’m spinning the fiber creates very long color repeats, so chain-plying would definitely give me a self-striping yarn. But even if I ply three singles together, the colors should stay separate for the most part because I simply divided the braid into thirds lengthwise, so the colors should match up pretty well with only small sections of barber pole. I’m thinking that a true 3-ply would be better for sock yarn than chain ply, but I’m such a newbie when it comes to spinning and knitting with handspun that I really don’t know whether it makes any difference.

So there you have it–three WIP. Three? Only three? Must. Cast. On. 🙂