Friday, 29 May 2009

Lets talk about socks

My last post initiated a few comments about socks and the comments left by Kelebek and Metta, in particular, got me thinking about why I knit socks.

I thought back to when I first started to knit socks and realised that in fact I'm a relative newcomer to sock knitting. I've been knitting for about 35 years and it's really only in the last 8 or 9 years that I have been knitting socks. I knitted my first pair of socks for Bruce. He needed socks to go with his kilt and all these years later he is still wearing them.

I've always been willing to take the plunge when it comes to knitting. I figure if you can read a pattern you can knit anything. So with these first socks (knee highs mind you!) I simply went to a yarn shop, looked at the patterns, found a booklet by Patons, bought the required amount of yarn and some knitting-in elastic (yep, you read right!) and off I went. My mother-in-law had given me her old DPNs and fortunately they included the right side. I sat down and started knitting the cuffs with the knitting-in elastic (funnily enough I've never done that again) and a couple of weeks later I had completed my fist pair of socks.

I had some yarn left over and decided to knit myself a pair of anklet socks out of the same booklet. They were great and made me want to knit more but I had no yarn. I raided my stash (although the little yarn I had in those days hardly qualified as a stash) and found some acrylic baby yarn and promptly knitted two more pairs of anklets. I still wear them, they are amazingly tough.

By this stage I was hooked and as fate would have it self striping and fair isle sock yarn hit the market here in Australia and I was off knitting socks. Along came knitting blogs filled with pictures of beautiful yarns. This was followed by Ravelry and all the amazing sock patterns out there.

So why do I knit socks? Because:
- I have a desire to own a pair of hand knitted socks for every day of the month (and I'm talking 31 days here);
- Helen of Ripples Crafts entices me with beautiful hand dyed yarns;
- Kelebek inspired me by gifting me Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters;
- people like Metta are role models in terms of the quantity of socks they can produce;
- people like Val inspire me - she knits socks out of yarn she has spun and dyed herself and they look stunning;
- socks provide instant gratification;
- socks provide new knitting challenges;
- there are so many beautiful sock patterns and they just keep coming.

So why do you knit socks? And if you don't knit socks, well, what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

FO: Cables and Corrugations

Cat Bordhi does it again! Her sock patterns are a delight.

I knitted Cables and Corrugations on 2.5 circular needles (two at a time of course).

The yarn is Crystal Palace Maizy and has just the right springiness for this pattern.

The yarn does tend to be a bit splitty and doesn't take kindly to ripping back. At one stage while knitting the legs I discovered that I hadn't crossed a cable correctly a couple of pattern repeats earlier. So I put the one sock on a couple of stitch holders and ripped back to the error. Knitting the ripped yarn was a pain in the backside because the tendency to split was enhanced.

We are off to the tropics next week for a couple of weeks and so I've been deciding on appropriate projects for the trip. Last night I cast on the Featherweight Cardi. The yarn is Touch Yarns 2 ply lace (60% superfine kid Mohair 40% Merino). Love the yarn, love the colour but I don't like the way it knits with this pattern.

The yarn is puckering around the increases and even with blocking I think it will look pretty messy. So I think I shall frog this this afternoon and try and find either a different yarn or a different project.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

FO: Three Sisters Scarves #3

I have finished my Three Sisters Scarves #3 and I love it. But I have been battling to capture the beauty of this yarn and I have just not succeeded so you will have to use your imagination.

The yarn is Kaalund Enchanté in Magnolia. The pattern in the scarf highlights the colour variations in the yarn and it shimmers and shines as it catches the light.

I bought this yarn from WOW Wool on Wheels while we were in Armidale and now I have a lasting souvenir of the trip.

Saturday, 16 May 2009


This week a little bit of Spring turned up in the mail to brighten the Autumn gloom. A lovely skein of Primrose from Ripples Crafts. My May sock club yarn.

To me one of the major advantages of a sock yarn club is the fact that it forces me to branch out into colours I wouldn't ordinarily contemplate. Last month's green yarn, for example. I would never have bought green yarn but I love my green socks. And nor this months shades of yellow and green but I like it. Now the problem is which sock pattern to choose. Nothing has shouted to me yet. I've had a few whispers though: Escalator Socks, Elanor, Banana Blossom Lace Socks, Dunegrass Socks or Dragonfly Socks. Any other suggestions please?

In the meantime I have cast on for the SKA May sockdown. I'm knitting Cables and Corrugations using Maizy. The soft springiness of this yarn seemed to be ideal for the corrugations in the socks.

I've never done a Moccasin Toe before and it would have been quite simple had a not decided to knit socks two at a time. Rearranging the stitches on two circular needles for two socks is down right tricky. A bit of fudging went on but I can live with that.

This week has flown by and I can't believe it is already the weekend again. Yesterday I spent four hours at the hospital waiting for Bruce while he had a small skin cancer removed from his face. The long wait meant I got through most of my audiobook and finsished 5 and a half repeats of my Three Sisters Scarf. By the time Bruce was ready to go home he was extremely mellow from the sedative and thought that the experience was quite wonderful. Amazing how a bit of happy juice can change your outlook on life!

Monday, 11 May 2009

I'm back

We had a lovely time in Armidale. It s such a pretty town. And it was in all its autumn splendour while we were there. Each street vied to be more beautiful than the next.

And for water starved eyes such as mine, it was wonderful to see green lawns, flowing rivers and creeks and even glorious waterfalls!

I didn't get much time to knit. Partly because we were very busy looking around and partly because I got sick and spent a day in bed. Imagine a whole day in bed and unable to knit - what a waste.

Still, I did manage to knit this wide cabled headband. I have wanted a headband to keep my ears warm for sometime but have refrained from knitting one because most woolen things against my face makes me itch. I was bemoaning this fact to Spinneroo (on Ravelry) the other day and she very generously gave me some of her own handspun Finn to try.

Now I just need the time to take it on a walk.

While in Armidale I went into the fantastic WOW Wool on Wheels yarn store and indulged a wee bit. I bought a skein of Kaalund silk in Magnolia and I've already cast on for the Three Sisters Scarves #3.

Friday, 1 May 2009

FO: Bloomin' Socks & Little Leaf Lace Scarf

My Bloomin' Socks are done and I'm very happy with the way the yarn complimented the pattern. The subtle variation in the yarn served as highlights for the leaves and flowers. The yarn is Ripples Crafts Hand Dyed Yarns in Simply Green. I used 2.5 mm circular needles to knit these toe-up socks two at a time.

I made a couple of modifications. I realised that the pattern did not include a gusset so after studying the picture very closely I decided that without a gusset the socks would be awkward to put on and be a bit tight over the arch. So, which gusset to add? I turned to Bordhi and used her Fountain Architecture where she says that you can place your gusset increases on the sole - randomly if you wish. I took her at her word and placed my increases randomly and it worked a treat. I then knitted a short row heel and a reinforced heel flap gobbling up the gusset (or wings stitches as Bordhi calls them) as I went.

I also finished Sivia Harding's Little Leaf Lace Scarf which I knitted in Val's lovely homespun. This is the first scarf ever that I have knitted for myself!

I really like the way the yarn changed in colour tone as I knitted - it makes for a livelier looking pattern.

My only complaint is that I battled to pick up the subtleties of the colour changes with my camera.

This scarf is already packed to keep me warm on the cold Armidale nights. We are flying there tomorrow for a week so I will see you all again in a week's time.