Thursday, February 25, 2016

K'done: Bonus socks

These were done ages ago!

Pattern: none, I just winged it
Yarn: leftover Knit Picks Stroll, colourway names now long forgotten
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

No, seriously - according to my Rav project notes, I finished these at the end of October 2015. I just never got around to taking halfway decent pictures of them until today.

These socks were something of an experiment for me. See, my sock drawer is at this moment filled exclusively with handknit socks, made by me. Which I like rather a lot, certainly much more than I thought I would when I set out to knit my very first pair of socks, which have since shrunk and are no longer serviceable. But that's okay - obviously, I've made more since then. Back in 2008 (I think), I had managed to create a fairly decent collection for myself, but still needed to supplement the handknit socks with some commercially made ones to avoid needing to do laundry like clockwork every 7 days. So when an online store had a one-day sale on some SmartWool socks, I snagged three pair. I wore them a lot, and quite liked them, and as the months and years wore on, I found I was wearing them less and less as my sock drawer got increasingly comfortably full of handknit socks. Which was just as well, because the soles were starting to look a bit threadbare - no holes, but there are spots where the wool content is basically gone, and the sock's integrity is maintained by a mesh of the remaining nylon. It occurred to me that these perfectly serviceable but no longer visually appealing socks would be good to use as gym socks, and I made it so. When we moved, I kept the socks in the little bag I used to carry my stuff to and from the gym, to be sure that they wouldn't be separated from each other and thus ready to be pressed back into service after the move.

Well, now I can't find that bag. I haven't completely searched through the shocking volume of stuff that is down in the basement, but unpacking all the stuff that seemed to matter did not produce the little bag with those socks in them. I could have taken the easy way out and said, Oh no, I can't find my gym bag, guess I can't go to the gym! Instead, I rooted around a little and found an alternate bag to use as a gym bag, and started packing older pairs of handknit socks into it for use during my little elliptical bursts of activity.

Even though those socks were old, it still seemed somehow odd to be encasing my feet in cables or lace, and then ramming them into sneakers in the pursuit of exercise. My first thought was to knit some new, plain stockinette socks to use as gym socks, but it seemed somehow overly indulgent to use a precious stashed skein of sock yarn for socks that wouldn't get shown off.

And then I remembered my bag of remnant sock yarn - the leftovers from previous pairs. My feet aren't that big, so there's usually a fair bit of yarn left over at the end. Not enough to do a second pair of socks, unless I'm willing to accept leg-less socks, which I'm not. But what if I were to go through the remnant stash and pair some of those remnants together, working the socks up with stripes? So I went digging, and came out with three possible combinations - yarns that I wasn't terribly interested in using again for anything else, and decided to give it a try.

These socks are the result of the first pairing. The vivid green combined with the wildly variegated is a bit brighter than I would usually go for, but hey, I'm just using up leftovers to get some plainish socks that I won't feel bad about abusing slightly.

Tech specs: these were worked top-down over 64 stitches, starting with a double-knot CO. I worked 12 rounds of k2 p2 ribbing in my main colour (the variegated one), then switched to stockinette and added the contrast colour (the green). I then worked 4-round stripes until I had a leg length I was okay with - honestly, I'd be happier if they were a touch taller, but I wasn't sure how far my yarn would go, so I played it safe. After the last contrast colour stripe, I worked two rounds of main colour, then worked the heel flap with an eye-of-partridge slipped stitch pattern. After the heel turn, I worked two more rounds of main colour, picking up stitches from the heel flap along the way - thus making the main colour stripe on the foot 4 rounds wide - and then resumed working stripes with the contrast colour. The striping made it easy to count 'repeats' to make the leg and foot length match on both socks, but I misread my knitting from the first sock when setting up the heel turn for the second, so there's one less set of gusset decreases on the second sock. I placed my heel flap so that the carried yarns were positioned on the side of the leg and foot, so that I wouldn't need to cut, so there weren't that many ends to weave in - four in total per sock.

I am a little more than half way through a second pair of bonus socks, but I've sort of lost steam on the idea - maybe because I've stopped going to the gym this semester. Oh well. They'll get done, eventually.

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