Thursday, June 21, 2018

K'done: Leyburn(ish) socks

I'm still not really sure how I feel about these socks.

Pattern: Leyburn Socks (sort of), by MintyFresh
Yarn: Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock, in Humminbird
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

I swing back and forth between thinking they're completely awesome and thinking they're so eye-searingly wild that the stitch motif doesn't really show. I'm pretty sure this yarn was going to give me singed retinas no matter what I did with it, and I ended up with sort of vague stripes that have blurred edges thanks to the faux quilting, which is close to my probably insane and unrealistic goal of having the colours scattered together throughout the socks, so I think that's supposed to count as a win?

Despite my apparent ambivalence, I really am pleased with how they turned out, and will be happily wearing them - well, probably not for several weeks, really, since it's now sandal season, but you know, maybe sooner rather then later if it gets rainy again.

It should be noted that these socks should not be used to gauge how one feels about the Leyburn pattern, because I didn't follow it - I just yoinked the quilted stitch motif from it. I plonked the quilted stitch in as panels worked over the front and back of the leg, with plain stockinette in between, and because I didn't think things through I didn't properly centre those panels - I should have split the leg into front and back so that there was an odd number of stitches on each, and then I would have been able to truly centre the quilted panels. I also used my own stitch counts, working the legs over 68 sts, and the feet over 64 sts, and I worked these top down, whereas the pattern would have you do them bottom up.

I've knit the pattern in the past, a very long time ago, and had completely forgotten that it's a pretty fun one to work up, and it seems to just fly by. There is some compression of row gauge thanks to the slipped stitch rounds, but you only do that once every four rounds (as opposed to the every other round system typical of slipped stitch patterns), so I didn't get the major pooching out of the sole of the foot that apparently offends my sensibilities. There is a slight rippling of the stockinette panels at the sides of the legs due to the difference in row gauge, but it's entirely possible that blocking will smooth that out.

There may be a plan in the back of my head to make more of these. Like I said, it's fun.

Tech specs: I started with an Italian tubular CO, slammed in an eye of partridge heel flap worked over half the stitches, and finished it off with a rounded wedge toe (decrease every other round six times, then decrease every round five times) and grafted the toes shut with Kitchener stitch, with the two edge stitches on both sides worked together.

In other news - 11 days until TdS 2018!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Screeching halt

This morning, I did a tiny bit of work, and then to reward myself I figured I'd put in a few rounds on my crazy Leyburn socks before moving on to some more work.

I'm nearly done the second sock now, and I picked it up to cruise along a bit. Often I will sort of mentally count off stitches in my head as I go with socks - it's definitely not a careful count, and there are lots of times where I'll be one short or have one extra in my count because I apparently don't count that well if I'm not really paying close attention. If I'm working a motif that could have gone awry in a way that would show up in stitch counts (missed increases or decreases), then I'll quickly double check to make sure that the problem isn't something beyond my casual counting carelessness. If I'm working a motif that is all 'straight' knitting (no increases or decreases needed), then I usually just chalk the wonky numbers up to careless counting and continue motoring along, but start paying a little more attention, and if the same counting error pops up again on the same needle in next round (or, um, the one after), then I'll check more carefully.

Today I got suspicious about a short count on one needle, and investigation revealed I'd dropped a stitch two rounds prior. I briefly considered taking a picture, but then figured no one cares about the fix, which was just to ladder up the dropped stitch. Turned out the fix was a little more complex, because it had happened on a round that involved picking up strands from below to create the quilting effect of the stitch motif, and when I dropped the stitch, that shifted the rest of the pick up points on that needle. (There were three of them.) At that point, however, I had already fixed the dropped stitch, so I just corrected the rest of them with no photographic evidence, and then carried on.

A little while later, it occurred to me that maybe I should check how many pattern repeats I'd done.

I'm not sure how well you can see in that picture, but the answer is (very nearly) seven. The next question is how many repeats were on the foot of sock #1, and the answer there is six. That round that I needed to fix was the second last round I needed to work before starting the toe decreases.

Once I'd ripped back to the right spot, I realized that it's now probably too late for me to be able to finish the work stuff I was going to do (and it's the sort of thing that I like to do all in one shot, to help keep me consistent) before I have to walk out the door, so I guess I'll just get a start on those toe decreases instead.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

K'done: plain socks

Round and round I go.

Pattern: none, just stockinette socks worked over 68 sts
Yarn: Gauge Dye Works Merino Fingering: Classic, in small batch 014
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

I got this yarn as part of my Christmas 2017 present from my siblings, after dropping a flat-out request for self-striping yarn. My sister also picked up a couple of skeins for socks for her, which I actually knit up first, and these didn't find their way onto my needles until April.

I mad heart them, but truthfully, they didn't come out the way I was expecting - I thought they'd stripe the way the ones I'd made for my sister would stripe, in wide bands of about five rounds in a single colour, then a distinct changeover to a new colour. The bands of colour on these are really wide, and the colour transitions are blended together, with several shades present in a single band, and overlap of shades from one band to the next.

Tech specs: I did an Italian tubular caston, worked 12 rounds of 1x1 rib, then cruised along in plain stockinette until it was time to put in an eye of partridge heel flap, then returned to cruising along in stockinette for the rest of the sock.

I'd jump right on casting on another pair - except le Tour is coming, and I'm all signed up. I'm hoping for more sister-friendly patterns, but one never knows.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

So far, so good

The adjustment I made seems to have done the trick.

The foot is not exactly like the leg, but whatever, I'm calling it close enough, and proceeding with the second sock. (As opposed to shredding the first sock into oblivion and trying to pretend it never happened while figuring out a new plan for the yarn.) Already I'm a bit apprehensive, as the pooling on the ribbing is not exactly like the first one was, though I didn't do anything like try to match the starting point to the first one, so perhaps it's no surprise that it's a bit different. Either way, I'm ready to start the fancy stitch now, which will really reveal all, but I'm due at the dentist in about 40 minutes for my ritual torture regular cleaning and checkup, so that will have to wait - I'm pretty sure I can't knit in the dentist's chair, what with being reclined so far I feel like my head is the lowest point, not being able to look at my work at all (can't glance down, can't raise up hands above my face because then I'd be blocking the big dental light), and being wildly distracted by the presence of other people's fingers and various tools and implements in my mouth.

No, I don't really like dental checkups. Mostly because they so often lead to dental work. Blech.

Monday, May 28, 2018


So the wild sock was coming together well, with the stitch pattern working with the yarn to form vague stripes. I know - I said I decided I didn't want stripes. I also said something about not wanting to do a slipped stitch motif, and yet here we are.

What's with the attitude against slipped stitch motifs? Honestly, it's a bit silly. Slipped stitch motifs will change your row gauge - they'll compress it. Notice when working a slipped stitch heel flap, the fabric you get is scrunched down vertically compared to an equal number of rows of stockinette, since the slipped stitches are being forced to cover the space of two rows, and they compromise by compressing those two rows in vertical space. My objection here is that if the sole of the sock is worked in stockinette, then the patterned portion won't work out to the same amount of fabric with a slipped stitch motif. Effectively, you end up with more sole fabric than you need, and it makes the sole pooch out when the sock isn't worn. Realistically, that's not a big deal - I'm not sure anyone else out there has opinions about the appearance of unworn socks - but it bothers me enough that I generally avoid it. The Leyburn motif is a bit different, though - you slip one of every four rows, instead of every other row, and I hoped that that would make enough difference to not set off my own persnicketiness. It's a bit early to be able to tell.

Yesterday I was cruising along down the foot, when I noticed something.

Do you see it? That giant bruise-like stretch of purples? After I finished the gusset decreases, the yarn stopped doing the vague striping thing, and started pooling miserably. I kept going, hoping the colours would start to shift, but to no avail. I got grumpy. Why was it doing this? I had the same number of stitches as I did on the leg - what happened?! Then I calmed down and thought things through a bit. Yes, I had the same number of stitches - but they're not the same stitches. On the leg I had that slipped stitch deal going on both the front and the back, and now suddenly it's just the front/top of the foot. The sole is stockinette. That means that when I do a slipped stitch row, I use up different amounts of yarn on the foot compared to on the leg, and that difference was throwing off the overall yarn consumption rate in a way that made the colours stack.

I ripped it out. I couldn't live with socks that pooled like that.

But. I didn't undo the whole thing. I wondered if the socks could be salvaged by doing a couple of extra gusset decreases. I was working these over 68 stitches, which fits, but knitted fabric is stretchy, and I wondered if I could get away with knocking four stitches out of the sole. I was sure the socks would still fit - I've knit socks over 64 stitches at this sort of gauge in the past and it's been fine - but would that be enough to get the vague stripes back?

Well. I need to put a bit more in before I can draw a firm conclusion. So far, though, it seems to have been a good adjustment.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Fine, be that way

Yesterday morning, I sat in quiet contemplation of what I'd managed to finagle on Tuesday:

I'd managed to get the yarn to stop Jekyll-and-Hyde-ing and start a sort of vague striping action, but I still felt unsatisfied.

I realized that what I really wanted to get was more mixing of the colours throughout the fabric.

So I gave up and started turning the yarn into a pair of Leyburns.

Well. A corrupted version of Leyburn - I'm knitting these top-down, and I've changed the pattern a bit too, in that the quilted pattern is worked over panels on the front and back, with a very narrow band of stockinette on each side. Because I've got the stitches divided evenly between the front and back, I wasn't able to perfectly centre the panels, but the side panels are so narrow - four stitches each - that I'm inclined to just keep going as is.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Possibly immovable

I am currently engaged in a battle of wills with some yarn.

Wait, that makes me sound deranged - how can yarn have a will when it's inanimate? Let me explain.

The yarn in question is this pretty that I scored in a mystery bag from Sweet Georgia Yarns:

That's their Tough Love Sock, in Hummingbird. As you can see, it's pretty, but it's one of those variegated skeins that have potential to be challenging in knitting, with the danger of pooling and flashing lurking in the skein. So I started thinking about how I might try to dissuade the yarn from that with stichery witchery.

Now, I know that there are some patterns out there that were designed by very clever individuals to help with precisely this goal. I didn't go looking for them. For one thing, many involve slipped stitches, which I specifically didn't want to use here. For another, I had a couple of ideas in my head that I wanted to try out.

My first attempt involved yarnovers that were then slipped for a couple of rows and then knit together with stitches further along in the fabric - the idea was to get the look of a slipped stitch, without actually slipping a stitch. It didn't work out the way I had in mind, so I ripped it (without taking a picture) but have sort of shelved the idea for later.

My second attempt involved throwing in some purl stitches, with the hope that the change in texture and the change in how the working yarn moves from stitch to stitch would help the colours mix together:

Yeah, not so much. Can you see what it's doing there? It's doing a sock impression of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - the pink and green are stacking up on one side, while the purples stack on the other, and the whole thing is very slowly twisting itself around as well. I have since pulled that out.

I have a couple other ideas to try, but we'll see. It may end up that the yarn's will is greater than mine. I should probably find a better way to phrase that.