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Posts Tagged ‘socks’

I want to share a video I found that is extremely helpful in dealing with mistakes in lace knitting. It’s by JenACKnitwear and it shows how to fix a mistake without ripping out rows and rows of knitting. It really is worth the look.

In the meantime I have been working on the Infernal Socks and have just ended the gusset portion and begun the foot. Please let it be over soon.

In other news, Yarn Rascal has embraced corriedale yarn. Up to last week he wanted nothing to do with corriedale and heaven forbid a ball of corriedale got mixed in with his collection of merino. Since the sock stealing episode his opinion of corriedale seems to have changed. Last night he moved the left over corriedale yarn I had in my bin to his bin of merino. Corriedale is a cross breed of Lincoln Long Wool and Merino sheep. It is longer wearing than merino yet still soft enough for next to skin wear. It is absolutely great for socks as it doesn’t pill and wear out as fast as merino.

In addition to knitting the Infernal Socks I have been spinning my corriedale fiber on my Tibetan Spindle. It took a bit to understand what the yarn wanted versus what I thought I wanted. Once I listened to the yarn the spinning has been going great. I am quite pleased with it.

Hopefully by the next post I will have a picture of the completed Infernal Socks. Please let this be true.

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Last we left the Infernal Sock Yarn Rascal had snapped the yarn and I was looking for a place in the pattern where I could join the yarn. Well that is done. Today I thought I’d talk about symmetrical yarn overs because they are all over this sock.

Symmetrical yarn overs means getting the yarn over between a knit and a purl stitch to match the yarn over between two knit stitches. Usually the yarn over between a knit and a purl stitch tends to be larger because the yarn is wrapped completely around the needle. This causes more yarn to be used in making the yarn over and thus a larger yarn over.

Here’s what to do if you want symmetrical yarn overs.

First, do not wrap the yarn around the needle after the knit stitch. Leave the yarn in the back as if you were going to knit the next stitch.

1 knitted lace

Second, insert your needle purlwise into the next stitch and lay the yarn over the top of the working needle.

2 knitted lace

Third, purl the stitch as usual catching the yarn laid on top.

3 knitted lace

At the end, it looks like this.

4 lace knitting

The purl stitch and yarn over are made. Because the amount of yarn in making the yarn over nearly equals the amount of yarn made in a yarn over between two knit stitches the holes will be the same size.

When working the next round after making the yarn over between the knit and purl stitch you will need to reseat the yarn over so it sits nicely like all the other stitches and work it according to what is called for in the pattern.

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Good Sock Yarns

I’ve been down my rabbit hole lately researching different breeds of sheep and the wool they produce. I’ve been reading The Fleece and Fiber Source Book. It contains information on over 200 breeds of sheep and their wool. You see, I’ve discovered that the much heralded merino wool is not good sturdy yarn for socks even if it is blended with nylon. In short, it doesn’t wear well. It is not suited to the job. Then why, you might ask, do all fingering and sock yarns feature merino. That’s business ladies and gentlemen. The manufacturers sell you on what they know to be not up to the task so that it wears out quickly and SURPRISE you have to come back for more. Built in obsolescence.

I spend a lot of time knitting socks, especially for The Skipper. I hate it when I spend that much time on a project for it to last barely one season. Thus my search for better sock yarns.

I found that socks fall into three categories. The durable and hard wearing that are worn with boots or hiking shoes, the everyday ones worn with regular shoes, and luxury ones usually reserved for bed or times when you need comforting in your soul. Merino fits the last category and while it is often blended with nylon, nylon does not wear as well or as long as silk. So if it is a luxury sock that will be lightly worn go for a merino silk blend.

The softer the fiber the more pilling and wear will occur. In short it is more fragile. Merino falls into this category. I won’t bore you with micron counts or staple lengths or amount of crimp. But all three factors affect the sturdiness of a yarn.

If you are going for a boot sock Romney may be your best bet but with a few caveats. First, it easily felts. Second, it is not highly elastic. Third, the yarn is not super lofty. But for durability it is great.

Thinking of an every day sock? You have a number of choices: Bluefaced Leicester, Wensleydale, Leicester Longwool, Columbia, Polwarth, Corriedale, and Cheviot. Look for a tight twist with at least 3 plys. The tighter the twist the more durable the yarn.

Finally, the very last thing you should do with any hand knit sock is walk around the house in it without some kind of footwear on. Walking only in your socks causes greater wear and tear on the fabric than wearing them with shoes. Who knew?

 

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I don’t mean to grouse but I am going to do just a little of that. I’m knitting the neck of the Carbeth sweater when all of a sudden a hole appears to the right of the final two decreases. A whopper of a hole. I try everything to get the decrease to play nice with the stitch before it. I even drop the stitch before it down and crochet it back up to tighten it a bit. No go. To make it even worse, I was following the instructions to remove the markers as the final decreases are made. Now I am faced with ripping back two rows to below where the yarn is making a hole while I try to get the now unmarked decreases in the right places. Why is it that even the simple things don’t go right?

Since this project is coming to an end I am in need of a new one. To that end, I put aside the Carbeth and decided to have a peek in the bins and boxes that hold WIPS. Naturally, the Security Guard of All Yarn knit up or not was right by my side. Yarn Rascal loves going through the bins and boxes because we never know what we’ll find.

This time I came up with a sock and a sweater that I started five years ago at the time of my breast cancer.  I started the sweater just after my mastectomy. Not a good time to start that kind of project because my brain was not fully working what with learning to accept the mastectomy, the cancer medications and the radiation treatment I had what they call brain fog. Because of the mastectomy I thought that everything I wore from then on had to be extremely oversized. Don’t get me wrong, I love loose fitting clothing. But there is loose fit and then there is wow that’s kind of big. Well the sweater fell into the latter category. The body is knit and unfortunately it is so large that I can’t see ever wearing it. The yarn is good yarn and I’d hate to waste it even though it is black. I never knit with black yarn so you can tell what kind of mindset I was in when I got this project going.

Along with Yarn Rascal, I decided if we locate the pattern I was using (another example of how my mind was not working. I usually keep all patterns attached to their wips) I will attempt to undo the whole sweater and start again. Unfortunately it is not a pattern I bought through Ravelry so it is not in my library there. I am looking in all the places the pattern might be without any luck so far. Again, I need to remind myself my brain wasn’t really functioning at the time.

As for the sock we uncovered it was just that: a sock that was three-quarters done. I recognized the pattern as one I have in a book on knitted socks, but as for the yarn…well we can’t find it. I have no idea why I snipped the unfinished sock off the ball of yarn or where I would have put the ball of yarn after doing so. Usually an unfinished sock goes in a see-through project bag with the pattern and with needles and yarn attached. Believe me, Yarn Rascal did a thorough search of all yarn balls and couldn’t find it. So I ordered the yarn and will start the sock all over again.

Of course first I have to finish Carbeth. If the knitting gods don’t throw me another curve it is possible that I could block the sweater this weekend. I can only hope.

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I was sitting in my oncologist’s waiting room knitting. I just started a toe-up sock so not much of it was done. The waiting room was quite crowded.

An older woman who had been watching me walked across the waiting room and took the seat next to me. I wasn’t alarmed as she didn’t look like a serial killer. The low chatter that was going on in the room gave way to silence when she sat down. As I said, I was knitting toe-up, had just completed the short-row toe and joined for working in the round on small US 1 (2.25 mm) 9 inch (22 cm) circular needles. The woman leaned over to me in the hushed waiting room and said, “Are you knitting a penis cover?” I could feel everyone’s eyes slide toward me. My heart started palpating funny and my breathing sort of stopped. When I realized the floor was not going to open up and swallow me I replied “No” loud enough for everyone to hear. “It’s a sock. See, like the ones I’m wearing.” I always wear a pair of hand knitted socks to the oncologist’s office. They are my good luck charm and armor.

The woman looked at me curiously and said she had never seen anyone knit a sock like this. I explained to her, and the rest of the waiting room, she was used to seeing cuff-down construction and this was toe-up. I don’t really know if anyone in that room believed me.

These are the penis cover socks I was knitting.

corridale knit socks

The socks are the Corriedale yarn from Bumblebee Acres Farm. I love it. The Corriedale has nice stitch definition. It is not as silky as Merino but it is sturdy. The best part is that unlike Merino which tends to grow when you wash it, Corriedale does not. It maintains it’s shape and size. So if you are having problems with socks that come out of the bath bigger than when they went in, try Corriedale.

As for knitting in public, I think I will always keep a pair of The Skipper’s socks on the needles as they are worked cuff-down and can’t be mistaken for anything other than a sock.

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What a difference a few weeks of temperatures of below 0 F / -17 C have had on The Skipper’s opinion of my yarn stash.

The man is a warm weather person. The hotter it is the more he likes it. 70 F / 21 C is what he considers cool. On the other hand, hot starts at those temps for me. I truly enjoy the cold, cold weather of winter.

So in the middle of the cold, cold spell he asked for some new socks. The man’s feet eat socks at a fast rate. Yarn Rascal and I went to the yarn vault and looked over what we had. The only yarn that seems to have endurance with the rough treatment The Skipper gives his socks is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock. Yarn Rascal picked out a nice deep blue/black from the left overs in the Shepherd Sock horde. I’m pretty sure the name of the colorway is Peacock. I didn’t have enough to make two socks without inserting a contrasting yarn for the heel flap, heel and toe.

The contrasting yarn is Miss Babs Yummy 2 ply in Oyster.

knitted sock lorna laces yarn

No sooner did they come off the needles than The Skipper whipped them onto his feet. I wanted to block them to allow the stitches and the fiber to relax. But no, he couldn’t wait.

He’s asked me for no less than four more pairs of socks. Preferably in colors that match new turtlenecks he bought. I told him I didn’t have those colors in my stash and that I would need to order them. “Order as much as you like” was his comment! Yarn Rascal and I just gaped at him. After all, this was the man who just a few months ago complained that the stash was too big and I should think of selling some of it off.

I’d like to thank winter for restoring the man to sanity.

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What I Am Knitting

First, it’s wonderfully cold here. 19 F / -7 C. With the wind chill it is 6 F / -14 C. I love the way it makes my bare skin sting. I am probably alone in this appreciation, but it is so much better than hot and humid. I’m sure I was a penguin in another life.

The other day The Skipper came out of his man cave to show me a pair of socks I had knit for him a few years ago. He was shy at first. Holding the pair up and looking like a six year old boy who did something really bad. At first I didn’t recognize what he was holding. Then I looked closer and realized it was socks.

“What did you do to them”, I asked. They were so misshapen and large, too large even for the Jolly Green Giant.

“They were always a bit large”, he said. To which I pulled out my laptop, booted it up, and showed him the pictures of the perfect fitting socks when they were first made and on his feet. “No they weren’t”, I said.

He looked chastened.

“I’ll have to look in the stash for some yarn,” I said, remembering all the complaints he had about the size of my stash. “Maybe Yarn Rascal and I can find something.”

It was at that moment I realized that I now thought of the stash as “ours”: mine and Yarn Rascal’s. It felt right. After all, Yarn Rascal is in the stash every night, making sure everything gets rotated.

Yarn Rascal came up with a dark, dark blue partially used skein of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock. Of the various sock yarns I’ve tried with The Skipper, Shepherd Sock holds up the best to the beating he gives them. The Skipper’s feet are rather large. I only used about 100 yards of the skein for a hat project which roughly leaves me with 300 yards. I wonder if it will be enough to make a pair of sock for him.

So I have interrupted knitting the scarf I was so enjoying to play yarn chicken while knitting a pair of socks. If my luck goes as it usually does, I’ll get one complete sock and two-thirds of the second done then run out of yarn. The yarn was bought years ago. I think the colorway was Peacock. I don’t know if they still produce the colorway or not. If they do the chances of it matching unobtrusively are minimal. I have that feeling this is a doomed project, which makes knitting on it less than enjoyable. Additionally, I like working toe-up socks, but The Skipper’s need to be worked cuff down because he needs the heel flap and gusset for it to fit him properly. Yes, I can knit a toe-up sock with gusset and heel flap, but for some reason it doesn’t fit as well as the cuff down.

If this works I hope The Skipper will show the proper appreciating for the stash in the future. I don’t ask him to love it the way Yarn Rascal and I do, but I would like him to realize it’s importance. Especially now that so much yarn is on sale everywhere and there will be packages and packages of yarn arriving in the mail for the New Year.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

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