Wednesday, July 9, 2014

K'done: Dazzle Them from Behind Socks

Apologies for the radio silence on these. Things have been a bit hectic. But look! Another pair of complete socks!



Pattern: Dazzle Them from Behind, by Meagheen Ryan
Yarn: Invictus Yarns Master of My Feet, in Desire
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1
Bling: 128 8/0 Delica beads, in Garnet

Rank: #98

There is a questionable hairstyle that is sometimes described as business at the front, party at the back. These socks are a much better use for that phrase. From the front, you have demure, modest ribbed socks, with the tiniest bit of beadwork at the cuff and a cute picot trim.



From the back, however, all kinds of fancy things are going on. You've got some lace. Some cabling. Plus beading. Rock 'n roll.



This concept really appealed to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed knitting these. I just wish I had had the time to dedicate to them to get a better finishing rank on them - when I saw the pattern and how much of the sock was essentially plain ribbing, I was hopeful that I would meet my personal goal of better than 60th place on these. Life had other plans for me, however.



Ah, well. I still got a sweet pair of socks, and I finished before the stage deadline, so woot!

There were a few surprises in this pattern. I learned a new cast on - the picot edging is not like other picot edgings I've done, with a folded hem, and I like this one quite a bit, it's nice and stretchy. I learned that not all Delicas are made the same way - last year I successfully used a 1.3 mm crochet hook to add Delica beads to my Tour socks, so this year I pulled that same hook out to use again, and found it was a tad too big for some of the beads, and entirely too big for most. After fighting to add the first few beads, I dug out a smaller hook - 0.75 mm - and beading proceeded much more smoothly from that point on. (Boy was I ever glad I bought that smaller hook on a whim. Luck really does favour the prepared!) Truthfully, the smaller hook is probably a bit too fine for sock yarn - lots of separation of plies as I did the beading. No major headaches, though.



The pattern also had me work a longer heel flap than I usually do - I needed to pick up 19 gusset stitches on each side! (I usually do 16.) As is apparent in that last photo up there, this is probably more heel flap than I need. That could also be due to the pairing of the long heel flap with a riverbed gusset, with the decreases placed close together on the underside of the heel. I suspect my foot does better with gusset decreases placed further apart from each other - the heels on these are big, and I think the decrease placement encourages the fabric to fold where the decreases meet, which enhances the pouchiness of the heel.

Also, the pattern ate more yarn than I'm accustomed to, which really surprised me considering how much of these socks is plain ribbing (as opposed to, say, cables). I haven't weighed my remnants, but the little cakelets left behind are visibly smaller than what I usually have.

Still, I'll definitely do more of these, with different heel stylings. The ribbing on the foot does sort of get a bit tedious, but the end product is so worth it.

And who can't get behind the colour of this yarn? I need much more Invictus for future socks.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

TdS 2014: stage 4, days 1 & 2

Argh.

I've been out of the house and unable to knit for long stretches (i.e., hours at a time) since this leg began in the wee hours (5 AM local time!) two days ago. Day 1 saw me do this:



I had a bit of a technical issue when I grabbed the crochet hook I used for last year's socks - my 1.3 mm hook - because although these beads are Delicas, ordered when I ordered the ones I used last year, their holes are smaller. I guess I got a weird batch? Luckily, I did pick up a smaller hook - 0.75 mm - at some point in the past year, so after fighting unnecessarily with the first few beads, I switched, and the beading became much smoother.

Day 2 saw this:



Not much beyond day 1, because I only really got some time in the morning, and it wasn't super effective time - I kept stopping to do something or check something.

Today I really really want to finish the first sock and start in on the second. Plenty of folks are already done, and if I'm going to meet my goal of top 60, then I really need to bust a move. Maybe life will cooperate better today?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

K'done: Roll the Bones Socks

Presenting: my very first pair of truly stranded socks!



Pattern: Roll the Bones, by Kirsten Hall
Yarn: Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock, in Black Plum (dark) and Pomegranate (light)
Needles: 2.5 mm / US 1.5 for stranded sections, 2.25 mm / US 1 for cuff, heel, and toe

Rank: #77



I should really try to retake that first photo with better focus. But, lazy.

So, stranded socks. I've been aware of them and sort of thinking I'd like to try for a while now. A couple of things kept holding me back:

1) You need two different yarns to make stranded socks, which in my mind meant doubling the amount of yarn that went into a pair. That makes for a pretty hefty yarn bill for a pair of socks.

2) The resulting fabric would be doubly thick compared to socks knit with a single strand, which might make it a bit of a tight squeeze in shoes - or downright impossible, depending on how closely the shoes fit.

Leave it to the Tour to force me to try it out, despite my doubts.

And?

I think these might be my new favourite socks. Sure, I wasn't super fast with them - after all, limited experience with stranded knitting makes for slow, careful progress, especially when you're me and you stop frequently to futz about with the fabric, trying to assess how stretchy it is and checking that the floats are loose enough. (By the way - is it possible for floats to be too loose? There are some areas where if I didn't have floats behind keeping everything in check, I'd have crazy loose stitches and wild ladders. I'm guessing this will even out once I wash the socks, but I am wondering about it a little.) My speed did pick up with the second sock - in part because I knit that one right side out, and had a better time managing the DPNs. (I knit the first one inside out for better float management, and it messed with the way the needles wanted to position themselves, which made things a bit awkward and slowed me down.)

Now, admittedly, I haven't tried on shoes while wearing these, so that concern might still be valid. (But then again, I live in Canada, particularly in a part of Canada that sees a significant winter season with pretty significant snowfall, which means boots, which typically have a bit more room in them, and also, thicker socks in winter sounds like a good idea anyway.) But the yarn usage concern? I've learned it's not a problem. I have plenty of yarn left over in both colours that I used - 64 g of the darker colour, and 90 g (!!) of the lighter colour. Now, these were bigger skeins to begin with - Tough Love Sock comes in 115 g hanks - but still, I can absolutely get another pair of socks out of the light colour, and I think I could even do a pair in the darker colour.

I could especially do another pair of stranded, pairing the darker remnants with something else. Oh, the possibilities that opens!

So yes, I believe there will be more stranded socks in my future.



Particularly using this pattern. It was such a fun pattern to knit, and the concept behind it helps keep things fresh. (Unless you're getting sick of stranded knitting itself.) See those little cubes in that shot there? Those cubes are the stranded pattern. You roll them like dice - or, well, toss them around to randomize the sections - and then work a ten round repeat using whatever pattern you rolled. Then, you do it again to rerandomize the sections. The result is a swirly, unique colourwork pattern - a bit like a yarny fingerprint.

Want your socks to match precisely? Just keep track of what you rolled for the second sock, or work them concurrently.

Want non-random patterning? Fiddle with the dice until you get an arrangement you like, then use that.

This pattern provides so much fun flexibility. I'm sure I'll do it again. For one thing, my sister has expressed a desire to have some socks like this of her own. For another, I want to play with the possibilities. I want to see what happens if I flip the colours around - not as dramatically as a complete reversal, but I think it could be fun/interesting to flip the light and dark sections in the colourwork. I think it could be fun to have one of the colours be a really variegated one, or a gradient one, with the other being a solid neutral.

I'm sure there are other colour pairings in my sock stash that would be great for this pattern.

Will I ever knit another sock pattern?

Well, sure. There are three more stages left to the Tour, after all.

And the yarn? This is great stuff. I am totally buying more of this when I see it on sale. Or when I see it at a shop. Or just online. Must. Have. More.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

TdS 2014: stage 3, day 5

So, yesterday was not so much with the knitting time. I got this far:



There's a few gusset decreases left, then the foot and the toe. Think I can make it today?

Monday, June 23, 2014

TdS 2014: stage 3, days 3 & 4

You'd think I'd be able to squeeze more knitting time out of a weekend.

Day 3 saw me get to here:



Day 4 saw me get to here:



Unlikely that I'll finish today, but I'm thinking probably tomorrow!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

TdS 2014: stage 3, days 1 & 2

Oh man. I should have done some stranded stuff before this, to get some experience under my belt.

The pattern was released at 7 PM local time - right smack in my dinnertime - and I cast on a little before 8, I think. I managed to get probably 2 or 2.5 hours in before the lights were turned off for sleepytime, and I had this:



No, that's not very much.

Then yesterday, I probably managed to put in 7 or 8 hours total, spread throughout the day, never more than 2 hours continuous. That got me this far:



I'm hopeful that I'll get my first sock done today. But I wouldn't hold my breath, if I were you.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ready, make waiting

The next stage of the Tour de Sock starts tonight.

Right when I'll be eating dinner.

Today my plan is to do laundry like a crazy person - I've been procrastinating a bit, and there's a bit of a backlog that I should address. I'm about to get a crockpot dinner going soon, and then I'll nip out to the grocery store to pick up some things for the next few days. Once I figure out what our dinners over the next few days are going to be. I think one night I'll try a new soup recipe.

The weather is cold and dreary and drizzly here today - which might explain why I'm feeling keen on soup. That sweater I knit for my sister before the Tour kicked off is soaking in the sink as I type, and I'll lay it out to block. Then it will only need buttons.

I want tonight's pattern release to hurry up and come already, but there's a fair bit I should really do before it, so I guess it can take its time.