Monday, June 24, 2013

K'done: Chicane Socks

Playing catch up here - these socks were round 2 of TdS 2013, finished last week, but I had no time to blog them because round 3 was starting!



Pattern: Chicane Socks, by Debbie O'Neill
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, in Blue Violet, with a little Eggplant (not tonal) for the colourwork
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1



Captain Obvious says there are a lot of cables in these socks.

If you're like me and enjoy cabling, then that's good news. If you're cable averse, you may wish to avoid these socks. They're not the sorts of cables that require a cable needle (though I must admit I am becoming increasingly convinced that one does not ever need a cable needle) - they're just little two-stitch twists. Much as I like twists, I did find that they slowed my knitting down, which started to grate on my nerves simply because I was in a race. Also? The Stroll worked against me in the twists.

Now, don't get me wrong. I like Stroll, and I think there will always be some in my sock yarn stash. It's machine wash and tumble dry, which makes it super easy care, it comes in a nice, fairly wide range of pleasing colours, it's mostly merino and is thus pleasantly soft, and the nylon content in it makes it wear fairly well. The price isn't outrageous, so it appeals to the thrifty person in me, and the price gets even better if you wait for a sale - which I do. In fact, I just bought some more Stroll in the past few weeks - I picked up a knee-high sock kit that bundled 13 50g balls of Stroll together for $40 USD on clearance.

The downside of Stroll, though, is that it is pretty loosely plied - or, well, maybe someone who knows something about spinning can correct me there, but the plies separate really easily, which means it's easy to inadvertently split the yarn as you knit - instead of picking up the entire strand of yarn, your working needle pierces through the strand, grabbing only a portion of the leg of the stitch to be worked. Now, I've used Stroll for many socks now, and I've never been overly bothered by this splitty tendency, but for these socks? Working all those twists? The splitting became a real nuisance.

Take home message: choose your yarn wisely.



These socks also mark my first foray into stranded knitting. Since they were worked over a whopping 72 stitches, I didn't go up a needle size for the colourwork, I just turned the work inside out and paid attention to my floats. Clearly, they fit - those are my feet in the pictures - but there is a rather dramatic decrease in the stretchiness of the fabric over the stranded portion. I think a small bump in needle size - like, a 2.5 mm - is called for in future stranded knitting worked over a similarly large number of stitches. (I went up as far as 2.75 mm for my Lebowski socks, because those were worked over only 66 stitches.)

All in all, I am very happy with how these socks turned out, and I'm also extremely pleased that they were done in time! During this round of the Tour, I lost nearly three days as we rented a car and drove from Calgary to Vancouver (Friday - it's a 10 hour drive!) to attend a wedding reception (Saturday evening and night), and then drive back to Calgary (Sunday). My initial plan had been to finish the socks before we left, but the newness of stranded knitting and the decreased pace due to the twists, along with other errands that needed to be done before embarking on a road trip made that impossible. I took the socks with me, but being the driver, found very little time to work on them. I managed to get maybe an inch of foot, a toe, and then an inch of leg done over the entire weekend. I wasn't worried, though, because I still had time - my head told me that the cutoff time was 5 AM local time on the Thursday, so as long as I finished on Wednesday, I'd be fine. Then, on Tuesday afternoon, I double-checked, and the cutoff time was actually 5 AM local time on Wednesday, which meant I needed to finish that night. I was into the foot of the second sock at that point, so it seemed doable. Even though I had dinner plans for that evening that couldn't be changed.

I sent off my finished pictures to the Tour Director at 2:17 AM local time.

So these were a bit of a squeaker. So much for not letting the Tour disrupt my life!

Like I said, though. These are done. I like them. I am happy.

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