Tag Archives: knit socks

April fugit

April is flying away from me, but I finally managed to cast on Star Athena’s April Fool’s sock before the month evaporated entirely.

beginning

This is Fly Designs Monarch sport weight yarn; the color is called Sailing. I’ve used this yarn before, for my Seafoam Socks. I’m reminded how much I like knitting with it; it’s quite bouncy! The sock is cast on at the toe, worked up through the cuff with a waste yarn bit before continuing to the other cuff, down the leg, and to the second toe. I love the elegance of Judy’s Magic Cast On. So simple, so tidy, so perfect.

jmco

Rather than a plain vanilla stockinette sock, I’ve added ribbing because I like snugger fit of a ribbed sock. I add a baby cable twist every 6th row, so I can see my progress, and it makes it easier to count rows and see if the second sock is the same length. I’ve decided against the short row heel; I’m going to knit my standard flap and gusset heel. I like how it fits my foot, and I know how many rows this takes me on this many stitches, so I know how long the flap will be, which means I know how long to knit the foot before I start the heel! No surprises, please.

Do you think I’ll be done before these are gone?

lilacs

April Foolishness

We were spoiled by a spectacular early March; warm and sunny. I could get used to that. Alas, March went out like a lion, with lots of wind and rain. It’s still cold in April. But even the cold doesn’t make me want to finish my Heather Hoodie right now. I don’t want to knit with bulky yarn; it makes my hands tired. What’s a girl to do?

blues

Ummm, cast on a new project? Sure! This is a shawl using Knitted Wit‘s fingering weight merino wool. Lorajean calls this color Blue Sky. It’s a cheery color, and knits like a dream. I love it! I started this project with an idea that’s been percolating in my mind for quite a while. I had several false starts, but it’s finally working out the way I want it to. I’ll show you what it really looks like, later.

The other bit of April fun comes from Star Athena. It’s her Socks for All Seasons Pattern Club. The club runs for 12 months, and you can choose to buy each month separately, or sign on for 3, 6, 9, or 12 months. I’m in for three months of fun. I used to say that I’m not a sock knitter, but apparently that’s not true since I have a lot of hand knit socks. Not as many as Shannon at Twisted (50 pairs, oh my!), but enough that I don’t wear store bought socks very often. I just don’t knit socks with fingering weight yarn; I’m too impatient!

april fool

This month’s pattern is written for four different gauges, so it’s perfect for me. I happen to have a ball of Fly Designs Monarch sport weight in Sailing (see how I love these blues?). The pattern is called April Fool, and it’s simple yet crazy. The socks are knit in one piece, the first one toe up, with a bit of waste yarn in between at the edge of the cuffs, and then the second one top down. No second sock syndrome here! This will be my simple project when I’m not knitting the shawl, which requires some counting.

Happy spring!

I feel lucky…

And I am! I’ve won two contests in the past week, and am now the happy owner of two new sock patterns. The first is Zoom Zoom, by Samantha Roshak at KnitQuest.

zoomzoom

The other is Cotty, by Carrie Sullivan at IrishgirlieKnits.

These both look like fun knits. I have Socks that Rock Mediumweight in Alley-Oop, and I think that will work for Cotty. I’ll have to buy (twist my arm) fingering weight yarn for Zoom Zoom. but I’ll probably wait for the market at Sock Summit.

Thank you, Sam and Carrie, for the patterns, and for permission to use your pictures, too!

For someone who wasn’t a sock knitter, isn’t it funny that I have sock patterns, sock yarn, and am going to Sock Summit in August? Never say never!

Weekend at Menucha

Not a lot of knitting time last week. I was prepping for our annual women’s retreat at Menucha. The retreat was this past weekend, and we had a great time. No snow this year! But we did have an awesome thunderstorm on Saturday afternoon. The sky was very dark, right about the time we were working on quilt squares, and trying to thread needles in the gloom.

The labyrinth was finished last summer. It’s in a rose garden; it will be gorgeous in June, but right now it’s a little spare. Which is beautiful in its own way.

center flower

This was my favorite stone.

lichen

Sunday morning was sunny and perfect, so I abandoned my planned program, and we walked the labyrinth instead. I’ve walked labyrinths before, and I always find it very meditative. Sunday’s walk was no exception. It’s interesting how the walk is an individual experience, even when walked in a group. Just like life.

labyrinth 1

There’s a sculpture garden behind the labyrinth. This piece reminded me of the Venus of Willendorf.

venus

What little knitting I did this past week and weekend was on Ishbel. Once I became accustomed to knitting with really skinny yarn on medium sized needles, it started to flow. But it’s still not my favorite kind of knitting. I do think the effort will be worth it, though. It’s like gossamer. So lovely. No picture yet.

Sunday was apparently pink sock day. Joanne was wearing her Oriel socks from Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks, and I was wearing my Shur’tugals.

pink socks

Here are a few more pictures from the weekend:

tree

vista house 3

vista house

Can you see Vista House out on Crown Point? This is the view from the swimming pool (it’s not pool season yet, though). The swimming pool is right by this fireplace. The fireplace has ovens, and a huge tank on the back for heating water. Clever! JM stands for Julius Meier, of Meier and Frank (Oregon department store, now part of Macy’s). Menucha is the old Julius Meier estate.

fireplace

I hope your weekend was as nice as mine!

Knit-picky

I started the second Kai-Mei/Lai-Wah sock. And it’s just a little bit different. Can you see what I changed?

cuffs

I shifted the ribbing over by one stitch, so the K2 would flow out of the center of each 4 stitch twist at the top of the cuff. I like how it looks more symmetrical with the twist, instead of coming out of one half of the twist. That’s how knit-picky I am! Here’s the new cuff.

cuff 2

And here’s the first cuff for reference:

cuff 1

Oh, I bought these sock blockers at Twisted. I decided that it might be easier to photograph socks on blockers than to do the contortionist thing that I usually do. But I think I’ll still be doing that sometimes, too. These blockers were made by Twisted co-owner Shannon’s parents, and they’re really nice.

blockers

Kai-Mei meets Lai-Wah

The first Kai-Mei is done, but I’ve named my version Lai-Wah for Ravelry project purposes. The pattern is still essentially Cookie A’s Kai-Mei, but I’ve put my personal stamp on it, so why not give mine my Chinese name?

ribby

I love the stitch definition knitting with Louet Gems Sport. The ribs and twists really pop! I chose a different lace for the foot; this is fishtail lace from my 365 Knitting Stitches a Year Perpetual Calendar. (I don’t love this calendar; it only has written instructions, no charts. It was shrink-wrapped when I bought it; how’s a knitter to know? I need a good stitch dictionary; do you have one that you love?)

lai wah right

I think I like Cookie A’s lace panel better; it has a more dramatic holey-ness. This one is more subdued than I anticipated, but once I figured out the panel placement, there was no going back. I think this lace would look more open at a normal sport weight gauge, but I like my socks to be pretty densely knit for better wear, and that made the lace more dense, too.

toe pic

I love how the lace angles across the foot. It’s a little disconcerting that the toe is angled, too, but it’s perfectly comfortable. One down and one to go! It will be close; the first sock weighs 53 grams (love that new kitchen/yarn scale). The skein of yarn is supposed to be 100 grams, but there are 53 grams left. Which means I’ll just make it. Or I won’t…it’s an adventure!

Where did my week go? (knitting content, eventually)

Well, that was a busy week! Easter on Easter, a Passover Seder on Tuesday, flew to LA on Wednesday to see Springsteen, home on Thursday, 16 crafty moms celebrating spring birthdays Friday, worked a high school fund-raiser event on Saturday. Sunday starts all over again…

LA is different from the Pacific Northwet. They have flowers like these growing in hotel parking lots.

bird of paradise

And funny looking trees.

palms

The last time we saw Springsteen in LA, it was in 1985 with 90,000 of our nearest and dearest, here.

coliseum

This time it was at the LA Sports Arena, right next door, with 20,000 of our closest friends. Here’s the obligatory crappy cell phone pic. We were to the right of the stage, pretty high up, but the venue is small enough that it didn’t feel like we were on Mars. Bruce was stupendous, as usual. Three hours of fun; the man knows how to put on a show.

bruce

lai wah

I did take my knitting! I had just finished my Shur’tugal socks, and didn’t have any good airplane knitting on the needles. Although I want to knit with beads, and do Chrissy Gardner’s toe-up sock from Twisted’s Single Skein Club, both require either attention or charts or tiny things that don’t make for good airplane knitting. What’s a knitter to do? Cookie A to the rescue!

I love the Kai-Mei pattern in her new book, Sock Innovation. It’s written for fingering weight yarn, and I only had Louet Gems sport in my tiny stash. No problem; I adapt things all the time. But something about this pattern made me want to completely play with it and make it my own. Here’s the process so far.

I started with 48 stitches, because most of my sport weight socks are 48-52 stitches around. I decided on a 2×2 rib instead of the 3×3 in the pattern, because I like to put twists in my ribs so I can use them to count rows. My first attempt had a right twist on every rib every 6 rows, but that was boring. I decided to alternate columns of right twists with columns of left twists, and offset them so the right twists and left twists were 4 rounds apart. I used the twisted cast on edging that I used on my Leyburns, because I thought the twists would complement the twisted rib.

48 stretch

I was cruising along on the plane and later in the hotel, when I heard the 1 a.m. tiny voice say, “ribbing sucks in a lot. Sure that will go around your leg, but it would look prettier if it wasn’t stretched to the max…” Right-o. Let’s try 56 stitches instead.

Since I was ripping it all out anyway, I thought I’d play with the twisted cast on. What if I used stockinette stitch instead of garter stitch for those first four rows before the twist? I could take advantage of stockinette’s natural tendency to curl, and hopefully get a tighter, tidier edge. I like it better, and I like the not as stretched out ribbing better, too.

56 stretch

Here’s a better look. Garter edge first:

garter top

Stockinette edge:

stockinette top

Side by side! Garter on left, stockinette on right:

twists

What do you think?

Almost done with the first sock; more soon!

Warm woolies, happy feet

I finished my Ukrainian Socks last night. Here they are, unblocked.

sox2

I used an afterthought heel, so the heel is basically another toe. It fits well. It should, because it took three tries to get it right.

sox1

Feet are the best sock blockers!

sox3

And I have happy feet. I wore these to work today, in snow boots.

sox4

Worsted weight socks, adapted from Ukrainian Socks in Folk Socks by Nancy Bush. Knit from stash yarn, KnitPicks Wool of the Andes, and US size 5 dpns.

I really like how these turned out. But there were a million ends to weave in! So my next socks will have fewer colors. I’m considering the Finnish Socks from the same book, adapted again for worsted weight yarn. Did I just say “next socks?” Me, the non-sock knitter? Hey, it’s cold out there!

treelights

monoliths

bird bath

What’s wrong with this bird bath?

Warm socks

Well, they will be, when I get them done. I’m knitting them with worsted weight yarn, KnitPicks Wool of the Andes.

worsted

Yes, that’s an insane number of needles in that sock. Eight, to be precise. The sock is based on the Ukrainian Socks in Folk Socks by Nancy Bush. I love the color pattern on those socks. Since the stitch count is different, I had to choose different stitch patterns that would fit into a 10 stitch repeat instead of a 16 stitch repeat. I’m keeping the peasant heel, sometimes called an afterthought heel, but messing around with it a bit. I’ll do a plain blue toe, no pattern on it for me. I don’t want them to be too bulky.

worstedclose

I didn’t want to go all the way to the toe and find out that the sock would be too long or too short, so I’m doing the afterthought heel before I finish the toe. I put the heel stitches on my short dpns before I took out the waste yarn, because I like the security of having the stitches accounted for before pulling the waste yarn.

worstedclosest

Enough needles for ya?

We’re snowed in here in PDX, and are having freezing rain on top of that. There’s a crunchy crust of ice on top of the snow, but it’s not so hard that I can’t crunch through and walk somewhere. It’s just a lot of work. I’m hoping it all thaws gracefully when it should. I’m glad we played in it yesterday before it got crusty. I was glad to have these.

norge

These are the Selbu Mittens from Folk Mittens by Marcia Lewandowski. I made them years ago, but they’re still in great shape. They were a bit big when I made them, so I felted/fulled them a bit in the sink. This made them fairly wind-proof, too. Perfect!

I think the birds are hungry. I threw some seed down on the snow/ice under the bird feeder. There have been birds all day, and Mookie has been enjoying the view.

bird3

“Hey, it’s me!”

bird4

“Here, under the bird bath.”

bird

“Wanna come out and play?”

Still not really a sock knitter…

But last Wednesday Michelle showed me Judy’s Magic Cast On, so I can try toe-up socks. This cast on was just featured by Cat Bordhi (sock goddess) in Knitter’s magazine. Judy is a fellow PDX Knit Blogger, and she’s becoming very famous!

Later that evening, I bought some gorgeous sock yarn from Lorajean. She brought it to knit nite, looking for input on new labels. This won’t be the new label, but I love the new yarn!

KW

There’s a blue undertone to the whole colorway, even in the pink and purple. And you know how I love blue.

KW 2

I guess I’ll be knitting some socks, soon!