Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Proven Pudding.

My Turquoise socks are finished!

Look how they fit.
No stretched bit on the top of the instep.

A nice smooth line of cables at the side.

No bagginess at the back of the ankles.

(Harder to see because of the ribbing at the back of the heel—but the stripe pattern continues in order down the back of the sock, into the heel.)

Note all of this—because-- off the foot—theses are a strange looking pair of socks!

They seem to fold wrong—The heel looks—well nothing like what you’d expect--especially when the socks get folded in half! (see here and below!)

Even the sole of the sock is not quite normal--but bulges out in a strange way.

Every way you look at them--they look stranger and stranger--and OFF the foot--it doesn't seem like they would fit an normal looking foot!

(and NO they do not fit on standard sock blockers either!)

One reason I like the small gussets –the ones I now always include in almost all my after thought heels—on the INSTEP (vs, (as in this case) the sole side) is the socks end up looking more normal finished socks.

But –strange as they look—they fit fine! All the strange wonkiness disappears once they go on the foot!

The proof of the pudding is in the eating—and these socks are proof that strange looking off the foot can still result in quite normal looking on the foot—and not just normal looking but good fitting too!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Toes Closed—

Heels open.

So-- as I thought—the commute home was just long enough to finish the toes of the Turquoise socks. I only had 1 round to work at home before finishing them.

Then after dinner—I grafted the remaining stitches—(and some how in the process, misplaced my favorite tapestry needle!) Toes completed, I undid the waste yarn that marked the heel placement, and picked up the live stitches--42 per side—a grand total of 84—and started to work my way to the finished sock.

I started the heel with a black stripe—both to echo the black cast on, and to gloss over the slight difference in the stripe pattern. This yarn like most self striping yarns is close—but no cigar—by the time I reached the heel the pattern was off by a round. Look at the finished toes and the difference is more noticeable! (see image below)

Fortunately I don’t have many open toe shoes (I do have a few pairs of clogs, and some sneakers with open backs—so heels matter more than toes in my world!)

For the heels, I am once again starting at the same point in the color pattern for both heels--close to--but not exacty matching the stripe pattern of the instep.

I could have done more work on them –and started the self striping yarn last night—but--these are my subway socks and while I won’t finish them tonight on the way home—(unless there are exceptional delays)I will likely go to my LICKnits group and work on them tonight at knit night. I might have them finished tonight!

But the worst cast is being stuck on a subway with NO knitting!--and the rain (rain? I think the north east US is developing a monsoon season!) has been known to cause flooding and delays in the subway.

Instead I un-did some knitting. I frogged the half done (for over 2 years now) pair of socks I had started with this yarn. I like the yarn, and I like the pattern I was working—but not that pattern with this yarn. I knew I was never going to finish—so better to undo and start again with a better match of pattern to yarn.

Right now—(but that is almost meaningless) I am leaning to SKEW—one of those rare sock patterns that has caught my interest—very definitely a different pattern!

But when I actually get around to knitting this yarn--Who knows! Maybe something else will have caught my fancy--or I’ll just do a simple top down or toe up sock and let the yarn shine. The color way is called Jewel Tone—and I like them mix of colors—and there are enough different colors—(and enough of blue) that they will be a good “go with” a lot of different clothes.

And I cast on for another pair of plain jane self striping socks—More Kroy—(I could do a showcase of all the socks I have knit with Kroy yarn!) several shades of light and dark blues—Good go with denim colors!

I think these newest self striping socks are going to be a simple rib--a strong vertical element to contrast with the horizontal stripes of the yarn –maybe a 5X 1 rib—and some eyelets in the purl column—Well time will tell! But plain jane socks knit up fast--(just look at how fast the Turquoises socks have been knit up!) --and utilitarian socks that match clothing (vs creative socks--that look lovely and rarely get worn!) are what are needed right now.

And I’ll have too—at some point-- get back to having an at home project to work on—I haven’t really been knitting much at home—a month ago—I caught a cold—and when it was over—a sinus infection (that is 99% gone—but my sinuses remain slight enflamed—just enough to create a post nasal drip—that keeps my coughing and from sleeping well.

But enough—that last paragraph bordered on TMI—I like to focus on my good health—(knock wood!—she says and she raps on her skull!) since more of me works and works well(a litany of minor aliments --like unrequited love—is a bore!)

Monday, March 29, 2010


Already toes? Yes—it hardly seems possible—but I did the math.
(no photo’s today—you’ll have to wait till tomorrow!)

I need a foot that is 9 inches long (Parse that!) –and I know, from previous experience, my ‘standard' (any of several versions of a flat or French toe) is about 2 inches long.

And my heel? Well 42 (84) stitches reduced to 10 is 32 stitch decreases—at 2 decreases every other row—that is a 32 row (actually 34—the first round doesn’t have any decreases; then a pattern of Decrease round/no decrease) and the final ‘round’ is the row created by grafting.) That is (and I confirmed this by checking my gauge the already knit leg portion of the socks) 3.25 inches for the heel.

So 3 (.25) Plus, 2 equals 5—and all I need is 4 inches of foot (4+5=9)—and I am there!

So today—the toe—(I’ll finish knitting the toes on the subway) and tonight, at home, grafting them. While I am at it, I’ll undo the waste yarn and pick up the stitches for the heel (not a really a task best performed on the subway) and by the end of the month—3 days from now!--I’ll have a new pair of socks!

Speaking of socks—you do know how it is with the cobblers children (with run down heels) or the plumbers family (leaky faucets)?—Well yesterday, wonder of wonder—the Tsock Tsarina (normally sock less) actually was wearing a pair of socks (her own design—naturally!) a completed pair—

Have you thought about designers? –especially small indy designers?
Lisa has to design (knit and document) and have ‘samples’ at the ready—for display at places like Rhinebeck—and other fiber fairs.

For her to have a pair of socks for her self, she has to knit a second pair!She knits and knits and knits socks and she knits lovely socks as gifts, too so she rarely has a spare pair for herself! It’s a wonder she has any!

But then, yesterday was a wild and crazy day at Panera's—there was a big turn out. Including a guest from Glasgow—Chalyn-- who brought masses and masses of UK candy—which resulted in some pretty strange behavior in and of its self—(see the candy debris—we were like kids let loose in candy store—and there was enough sugar in the air to get a contact high!) and some resulting craziness! Like Amy climbing up on the bench to get just the right view of the mess!

PS—Robin—the metal things you see are the heads of T pins—I used them to hold the knitting in place! (the afterthought heel is marked with a strand (hard to see) of waste yarn. I pinned the knitting to stretch out the little gussets. With out pins, they are nigh on impossible to see (except when being worn, and even then—you have to look for them!)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Little Gussets

Big Difference!

Some times when sock knitters who are familiar with the “standard” gusset of a Flap/Turned/Gusseted (f/t/g) heels hear about my little gussets for after thought heels—they are confused.

Gussets, or at least sock gussets, to them have a singular meaning.
Fact is-- gussets are common to both knitting and sewing—and come in all sorts of sizes and shapes (and generally function to create ease)

MOST gussets are triangular in shape—but sometimes gussets are paired to make diamond shapes (most frequently in the under arm)—and even simple triangles shapes can be paired.

I liken my little gussets to a jodhpur shape—a bit of extra ease that looks silly or strange when seen like this.

But that does wonders for the fit and feel of the heel and instep!

They are simple enough to make—about 1 inch before heel placement, INCREASE- 1 stitch, each ‘side seam’, (2 total) every other row.

10 rows or so later, you’ll have added 10 stitches to the width of the sock.
If you are working at a pretty standard gauge of 8 stitches to the inch—10 stitches are 1.25 inches of added ease--about 15%!

Most often I add this ease in the instep—and make the heel with ½ of the total stitches minus the gusset (that is, 30 stitches for heel – ½ of the basic 60—even if at the point when I make the heel, I momentarily have 70 (10 extra gussets stitches) for the sock.

I like these little gussets, too, because the increases number of stitches only slightly interferes with the self striping pattern—and one of the reasons I go with afterthought (vs. F/T/G heels) is to maintain the stripe pattern.

These socks—what with the cable design on the front (at the ‘side seams’) have the gusset on the back (heel) side of the work—working the gussets on the back changes things—(the shape more than the fit) too.

So the 10 extra stitches will go into the heel. What kind of difference will that make to the heel?

Well do the math! An average 60 stitch sock (and this sock is slightly larger, 64 stitches) Plus 10 extra stitches means the heel gets worked (in the round with
30 (plus 10 on back of heel) and 30 (plus 10) on sole of heel—or 40 plus 40—80 stitches in the heel! That’s almost a 30% increase! If the heel is worked, shaping it similar to a French or flat toe (as I most often do) –the 20 extra stitches means 10 extra rounds--If I decrease 4 stitches –every other round.
10 rounds? A 3.5 inch heel –not a 2.5 inch heel. An extra inch of heel!
A heel that is bigger to start, longer in the end, and still has a ‘flat’ grafted bottom (of about 8 to 10 stitches)-- If you prefer short row heels, the gussets work about the same--more stitches to start--result in a wider and deeper short row heel.

Lots of sock knitters don’t like after thought heels (to shallow, to snug) but these little gussets—blips!--make a huge difference.

Since I took the photo’s (early this AM) I have knit another inch on the socks—(I am at work today--and knit the inch on my AM commute. Chance are, I’ll get a few rounds done at work—and more done on the way home, this PM.
These socks are racing to completion!

Friday, March 26, 2010

More—of the same

I am almost at the second completed color way repeat—and rapidly approaching the heel.

For theses socks, the heel will be an after though (or really a before thought—since I will be working a row of waste yarn for the heel placement) –I really like this sort of heel for a self striping yarn—it allows the striping pattern to consistent on the instep—and with a small effort, total matching down the back of the leg.

Normally, I do a small gusset on the front of socks but with the cable pattern running down the side-- the gusset has to be on the heel side of the cable. So for these socks, I’ve been increasing on the heel side—and will incorporate the extra stitches into the heel—making it a bit deeper than average.

The socks are being worked with 64 stitches—(4 more than I would normally use) to create a bit of ease for the cables. Before I started increasing for the gusset, I started working some ribbing in the back –I like socks that are snug at the back of the heel—contrary elements—increasing for ease and at the same time, ribbing for a snug fit!

I haven’t decided (yet) if I will continue the ribbing all the way into the back of the heel—or if I will switch over to heel stitch when I get to the heel proper.

Yesterday, Evelyn asked if this was a new or old Kroy color way—
The answer is new—or at least new to the local ACMoore’s stores in the NY area.

A quick check to the Patons web page confirms—both that the color is new, and that I use Patons Kroy frequently!

My City socks (December ’09) were done in the Slate jacquard color way, and I have the Tangerine Jacquard in the line up! The tangerine color way seem more coral than a pure orange—and coral is a color that works for me. --And that’s just page 1 of 4 pages of color ways—I don’t have them all –but wish I did. I like every one! Lucky (or unlucky?) for me—I don’t think every color is available locally!

My City Socks (November ’09) and my Cascading Water socks (October ’09--a pattern for the same is available for sale on Ravelry—see the button in left hand column) were done in Kroy’s Fx. The Clover color way (forest green and other colors!) is also on deck for this year—I think I also like every color way in this line.

I don’t remember exactly where/which store I bought any of these Kroy yarns in—there are several ACMoore’s in my ‘route”—one in Queen’s (next to the Stop and Shop) one in Westbury—a quick on and off the parkway when traveling through Nassau county—another on 107 and Hempstead (also Nassau county) —an alternate route from the south shore (Babylon) and the LIE (I-495) and home.

Some times when there is a good sale (a coupon sale!) I will stop at all 3—40% off make money goes a lot further when you can get it 3 times! And most often, the stores are supplied by the same warehouse stock—and will often have the same dye lots!

Kroy is very reasonable at $4.95 a skein—but its better still at $2.95! $6 or so for a pair of socks!—and it’s sales like that-- 40% off-- that have my stash of sock yarn growing faster than I can knit! But I do have a goal this year of some gift socks—(as well as all the socks I plan to knit for my self!)—and maybe I’ll knit more than I buy –at least for this year—but somehow I doubt it.

Out side my door (at work) the forsythia is blooming—inside—my yellow daisy is dead—it lasted a full week—so I really have nothing to complain about—even if the weather has changed from balmy 60° to a more seasonal 45°.

When I went closer to photograph the forsythia—I also saw that there are daffodils scattered here and about in the mall too.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Comment Replies—

A few recent comments to my blog have prompted me to explain my thinking.

About Matching Sock (to outfits—and to each other!)

I have this theory—4F’s is not just total unfit for military duty—4F is social unacceptable.

The 4 F’s?
Fat—Ok there are other words—but I am ok with fat. And I am fat. I am, right now, less fat (about 50 pounds worth!) than I was less year, and I hope by next year to less fat still. But I am fat—and that’s my first F.

40/50 –I no longer claim to be 47—I am 51 (don’t do the math!) and it’s really true—You can get a way with youthful exuberance for a long time but once you reach a certain age.. (Be it 40 or 50) you’re just expected to grow up and behave. (Being thinner and looking younger extends the years you can act with youthful child like behavior—but over time, as you get older, it’s harder and harder to get away with some behaviors—I find I pick and chose.
So being 51 is my second F.

Female—Yes, things are better than they were, but women are still judged harsher in our society than men. Just wearing socks (vs. stockings!) is one of those areas where females are judge harshly. I am female.

Funky—wearing mismatch socks or shoes, or purple hair, or tattoos, or any number of things, can be considered funky… and Funky is the 4th F.

And 4 F’s? Well then you have strayed into the area of the socially marginalized.
You become one of those people that are, at first glance, given wide berth. Yes, once people get to know you, and realize you are not just some crazy old woman, (and friends who already know you) you are less marginalized. But life is hard enough with out becoming thought of as a CRAZY.

Now, I can’t fix 50 or Female—(and I am working on Fat) but I can’t pull of both Fat and Funky at my age! If I want to be Funky—and a bit wild—well then I need to lose some more weight!

Right now, I can get away with socks—and not hose with my skirts—even some pretty wild socks—if they more or less match the rest of my outfit.

A Brown skirt, a gold top (a T or proper blouse) and brown shoes, and my mast socks (browns and gold and russets tones) is a matched set—Sure, socks (plain socks!) are a bit uncommon and wild socks are definitely uncommon—but as a more or less matched set—they come across as slightly eccentric—or personal style.

But the same outfit (brown skirts/gold top/brown shoes) and mis-matched or socks of lime green/creamy orange/Pale purple (Knit Picks sock yarn in color way Snapdragon) –crosses over the line! I love the colors in the socks knit with the Snapdragon color way. But--they really don't match anything I own! I wear them (with mint green, or coral (not creamy orange) or with purple (not light purple) and they marginal match--but they are risky!

On Turquoise—and other colors

I love color—and my wardrobe has lots of it--Ok some colors end up being more common
(Like olive and other drab greens—I have a rosy complexion—and greens—especial drab greens tend to tone down my skin tone. Drab greens aren’t one of my favorite colors—but I do tend to garner comments when I wear them—they look good on me. )

I actually have 2 pairs of socks that are turquoise—but one pair is double thick color work—pretty—warm, and so thick I can only wear them with a single pair of shoes. Another pair has color work just in the heels and toes—and theses fit into more shoes—but I have several skirts, and 2 (identical!) jumpers, (American use of Jumper—an open necked, sleeveless dress (worn with a shirt underneath)) shorts and pants that are solidly, or predominately turquoise. 2 pairs of socks just don’t cut it!

On Stripes—

It always make me sad when new knitter skip over the use of stripes when they first decide to do ‘color work’. I love stripes—(and my collection of sock made with, and my stash of self striping sock yarn bear witness to this!) –and I have made spiral striped socks, and red and white striped socks (2 pairs! These, and similar pair that I gifte to my sister a few years ago) -- Yes weaving in all the ends can be a bother.

But unless the stripes are wide—well I just carry the yarn. And I make it a habit of weaving in the ends as I go—(note the image of my current Turquoise socks—the Cast on (black) the white stripe and the black stripe ends have all been finished already!)

There are a few sets of striped socks in my mental queue—one set of simple striped socks—(red, white, then 3 shade of grey, then black--I don't plan on carrying the stripes into the foot) and one set of Roy B BIV socks –with perhaps a grey or taupe between the stripes.

I want to make (or rather remake!) a pair of stripes socks like these for myself too—I made these for a swap—and hated parting with them. I have a lot of this yarn (Laine Calzetteria—a bargain sock yarn that I bought (more than a dozen skeins!)for as little as $1.50 a skein!)—I don’t always like short colors repeats –but I love how they look when combined with a solids stripe.

Socks for Swap

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Turquoise Expresses Itself

I’ve now done one full ‘repeat’ of the color way. The cuff started with the few rows of turquoise, followed by light blue—and I am now back to the light blue--these are definitely mostly turquoise. (The toothpick is my ‘cable needle'!)

Needs—(I just can’t afford $20 a skein sock yarns!)—requires me to buy economical sock yarn (well, needs because I obsessively knit socks!).

There are some lovely socks yarns out there—Hand-painted and custom crafted color ways. And I‘ve knit socks with some (Cherry Tree Hill for one, if I think of the other brand—I’ll add it.) but I haven’t been over awed by the results. It's not that I don’t like the results—it’s just the results aren’t so spectacular that I see these yarns as worth the extra expense.

My knitting friends “Ooh” and “Ahh” over some of my socks—and time and time again, when they ask “What yarn?”—They are surprised (again and again!) when I say “Lion Brand” or “Kroy”, or “Heart and Sole” (or even “Calzeteria”—a heavy (a DK weight really) yarn that is a bargain $3 a skein (and I’ve bought a dozen skeins when it was on sale—50% off!)

They are surprised by the color-ways, by the hand, by the overall result. You’d think by now, they would get it. Great sock yarn doesn’t have to be expensive. And great socks are the result of workmanship—not just fancy yarns.

I’ve made self striping yarn into dead plain socks—used the same yarn from the cast on to the toe. Knit a cuff and then worked in stocking knit (or ribbing, or some other simple stitch)—except for the heel--from tip to toe. But more often than not, I like to add a detail or two.

And while I own a half dozen books of socks patterns, aside from Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks—and Anne Zilboorg’s Simply Socks—I almost never knit a sock from a pattern –though I will admit, I do get ideas from some of the other books.

Sometimes, because I like a design—I’ll copy elements. Other times, because I hate the design—and think that it could be done BETTER—and that I am the knitter to do it better I will ‘reinvent’ someone else’s design.

Meanwhile, back to the current socks! I am not sure—but I think the white is too bright on the cuff. It might get over-dyed with a very light blue or grey when I am finished knitting. There is a small amount of creamy white in the color way—but there is neither enough of it --and it’s not bright enough to make the white look like it fits in.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Simple Socks

You got to love simple socks-- Cast on, make a cuff, and then miles of simple stocking knit--a bit of shaping for the heel, a few decreases and more stocking knit.

Self striping yarn is perfect for simple socks. The stripes and patterning make things interesting all by themselves. I find I alternate between fancy stitch work, and simple socks.

The current socks are almost simple. Just a little bit of falderal.
1—The Cast On and Cuff.
The cast on is a tubular cast on—one of my frequent choices for socks—especially because I tend to like 1 X 1 ribbing.
A tubular cast on can be used for 2 X 2 ribbing.. but it’s a PITA—and there are other cast ons, that are just as stretchy, and just as attractive, and better suited to 2 X 2 ribbing.

After the cast on, I worked 3 rows of simple double knitting (K1, S1) and then joined into a round. At that point—I switched to white. A half dozen or so rounds latter--8 to be precise!--a black stripe, and then finally the self striping yarn.

I did 3 rounds of ribbing with the self striping—I tend to like my sock cuffs to be 1.5 inches—I dunno why—I just do.
Still just a bit of simple stripes elevate the cuff from plain to a bit fancy.

2—In theory, if these are simple socks, there is nothing more to say. I should just be working on 6 or so inches of leg in plain stocking knit—and letting all the design be what ever the jacquard yarn turns out to be.
BUT—(you knew there was a but, right?) sometimes, a simple sock looks nicer with a small detail.

These socks have a small (2 over 2) cable and column of twisted stitches, (set of by columns of purls) just a 5 (or if you count the purl, 7 stitch detail.)
The cables are paired (the right side cable crosses to the left, the left side cable crosses to the right!) –and the column of twisted stitches are on the inside (not the edge.) --

The cables are on the front of the sock (the back of the sock is plain.)
They will continue down past the heel and into the instep –by placing them on the front of the sock, the heel (likely to be an after thought heel) won’t interfere with the smooth line of the cable.

For some reason—these little cables are being difficult—and I’ve not be successful working them with out a cable needle. Maybe it was a mistake to include them. But they are there for now!

Right now, the socks don’t look too turquoise—but that’s just were I started in the color/stripe pattern. You can see in the ball—turquoise is a dominant color!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Set A and Set B

If you made a set of the colors of the clothing in my wardrobe, (call it Set A) and made a second set of the colors of the socks I knit,(call that Set B) you’d find that while there is about 50% overlap, (good!) it's not quite as good as it looks.

Yes, there are some green socks (the new Hyacinths!)—but the greens in my wardrobe tend to be sage, or light olive, or dark (forest) greens. The greens in my socks? Lime. Even the pretty hyacinths don’t really match much—pretty as they are!

Colors that predominate in my socks (reds!) are just a small portion of my clothes.
Some colors that predominate in my wardrobe (corals) have 0% corresponding socks. (I have some sock yarn in my stash that is sort of coral—its really orange and pinks and some other colors—so soon there will be something.)

I am making a conscious effort to resolve this disparity.

Today—I'll be casting on some simple, simple socks.

A bit of ‘fancy’ at the cast on—a tubular cast on in black, followed by a white cuff, and then Patons Kroy Jacquards will take over—color way turquoise.

A bright turquoise, and some soft sage/light green, black and some soft grayish blue.

I have LOTS of turquoise (from soft water colors to deep teals) clothes. One pair of socks won’t balance the Set A and Set B—but like the black and white subway socks, it will help.

And these lovelies have got me thinking too—wouldn’t socks with a daffodil theme be lovely?—How can I do that? (I’m thinking!) –I have a some yellow clothes—and no yellow socks.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Eye Candy

For no reason what ever, I was given this on Friday. Ain't I the lucky one?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Flowers--at the ready!

Done and finished.. (now what do I do on the ride home?)

Miss Represent

Or maybe, misrepresent.

When I last spoke of (or for that matter DID) any actually knitting, I said I was at the end of the green yarn.

This is half true. One skein of green yarn was nearing an end— but the other skein –since they had not been divided evenly-- was still big enough to be a coherent ball.

This morning –after 7 full hours of uninterrupted sleep!—I am finally after 2 weeks-- beginning to feel human and alive. So pick up the hyacinths, and went to work.

On the way in to work this AM I got a dozen or so rounds worked.

The END of the green? There was enough for 2 full rounds.(the yarn was twisted and coiled, and obviously there was more there than I realized!

Then I took the other end of the small (and now, smaller still!) green ball, and I am now working from both ends. The little ball is now shrinking at twice the rate!

Except; with every other round, there are fewer stitches, (I started with 62 and I am now down 26—so it take less yarn to complete each round.

Will I have enough? I dunno! But I think so. The foot is about 8.75 inches long—and I need 9 inches (and maybe a little more) I think I have enough to work a half dozen more rounds, and to graft the toe closed.

I am stopping now to knit--and maybe before I head home—I’ll have a photo of completed socks!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

No, not dead.

Though at times in the past 10 days, I have wished it!

A cold –nothing special--But enough to knock the wind out of my sails..
Followed by a sinus infection. Again nothing special.. but enough to interfere with my breathing and leave me bone tired—the fevers didn’t help much either.

No knitting in the past 10 days. The hyacinths are completed to the toe (where I ran out of green yarn) and I haven’t dyed anything to finish them.

I am breathing better today (and the pain of the swollen sinuses is gone) but there are lots of other minor associated ills –chapped lips from breathing through my mouth, and tender nose from all tissues…

I might even knit today.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


About 6 inches of the foot is complete—(of about 9 expected inches!)

But I am rapidly running out of green yarn—a few more rounds and I’ll be completely out!

The toes will require me to dye some more yarn green—or perhaps dye some yarn brown (for dirt!)

I am likely to take the partial skeins of white (from the top) and dye each –one green and one brown and see which I like best!

The green is just food coloring –so it shouldn’t be to hard to get the same colors—more or less. I don’t were open toed shoes that often, so slightly darker/slightly lighter won’t matter much.

The brown is a more of an issue.. it’s a commercial dye—and it has a big skull and cross bones—the stuff is toxic. So it will require a bit of care.. (rubber gloves and the like!)

I sort of like the idea of having brown/dirt for the toes.

Still the deciding factor will be what get done (and when!) the weather has been warm this past 5 days (about 10° warmer than expected) but I have been nursing a cold (a cold, not the flu) stuff nose, and tired, but not bone weary and fever!

I drag myself to work—and go home and sleep.. after a few hours, some soup, and more sleep! I am not sure I am up to the effort of skeining up some yarn, and nuking it for 5 minutes!

It’s pretty pathetic—I seem to be moaning and groaning all the time about being tired—but it’s true,I always am tired! But tired is a side effect (of arthritis, of fibromyalgia, of bad habits (staying up too late!)) Things could be worse—(I am not dead yet!)

Monday, March 08, 2010

Growth Sprurt.

The gussets are not quite finished-- but close (the marker is there to mark the center of the sole).

The gusset stitches were picked up on the sole (under side of the sock) but the gusset decreases were made on the Instep (top) of the sock.

This meant I was repositioning stitches ever row—a bit of PITA to do when working 2 on 2 For the ‘center stitches’ I tend to just slip a few stitches onto a stitch marker, (un knit) and then on the second half of the round, these stitches are put on the needle and knit.

If I were methodical, I would move 1 stitch per round—and keep careful track.
But I am not methodical! Some rounds I forget, some rounds I move 4 stitches at a go (catching up and getting ahead of my self at the same time!)—I am currently just 1 or 2 stitches away from having the correct number on the sole of the sock.

But the instep still has too many stitches. The gusset won’t be finished until the garter stitches in the center front have been ‘decreases away’.

I might continue decreasing on the top (and start increasing on the bottom!) for a shaped sole/fitted arch—I haven’t yet decided! but it is my current plan (so much so, I've left 33 (not 30) stitches on the sole--the extra stitches will be needed if i go with a shaped sole.

The whole heel (flap, turn and gusset are slightly oversized. The stitch pattern is less stretchy (than average) definately less stretchy than stocking knit, so there were 9 extra stitches in the sock top(the cuff and leg--69 stitches, not my usual 60)

The flap was half the stitches (36+1) –and I really couldn’t decrease because I wanted the leaf tips to attached in the last 5 stitches of the hyacinth group--(the leg back had a center group of 2o stitches, plus 6 (the purl 'ditch' stitches) +10 (5 stitches ) from the flower head group either side. The leaves (both the back and front ones) are positioned on those first/last 5 stitches of the flower head.

I did sneek in a single stitch decrease to make the flap 35 stitches, not 36--but that is still 5 stitches (over .5 of an inch!) bigger than I would normally make.

The extra stitches in the flap meant more stitches left over after the turning was complete.
Making the flap square (36 rows of flap) resulted in more stitches picked up for gussets.

I suppose I could have made the flap shorter—but I have a high instep and like a deep flap (as it is, it’s only 2.5 inches—not extra deep)

Well a stitch here, and stitch there, and I had over 90 stitches before I started the gusset! And since the foot is stocking knit (and 60 stitches are fine) the gussets are deep and long. So much so, I think I am going to run out of green yarn.

I have some options—
I can skein up some more yarn and dye another batch—I wouldn’t bother me if the toe(s) of sock is a different ‘dye lot’—
Or I can switch color yet again—and have some brown for the toes--dirt!

And I could be wrong—I might have enough yarn—(time will tell!) The extra long gussets changes everything! The sole is already 3.5 inches long—(of 9 inches) so I’ve already knit more of the foot than I would with another design.

For SURE—my next socks (maybe my next 2 or 3 socks!) are going to be simple ones!

If you subscribe to PieceWork (and interweave publications) you might not be interested in this special edition –but if you don’t—do think about picking it up. It is a fine collection of knitting patterns, history and techniques. Think of it as a soft cover book of patterns (there are enough sock patterns alone to justify the price!)

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Back to where I was—

And a round or two more.
So there are 2 leaf tips on –on the center font.

They were knit with some short rows, and had a diagonal bottom row.

Once incorporated—into body of the sock, they started to be knit to the center of the front hyacinths.

the 2 center front leave are moving to the side, the side leaves are moving to the center of each flower (\--/\--/) The outer leaves are (were) part of the heel flap and every other round they move to instep.

Round1—there was a single stitch between the center front leaves—now there are 5 stitches (next round 7!) the leaf tips that were added to the heel flap are moving to the front (this will be more evident in a few rounds.)

Ever other round, I decrease 4 times on the front of the sock.. and increase (center front) 2 times. The 2 net decreases are part of the gussets—which are reversed (on the instep) from the most common gusset design (which has gussets onto the sole side of the sock.)

Yes, there are (an all too common occurance!) some small coffee stains on them. But I drink black coffee—and with no sugar, and no milk.. there are no permanent stains. Plain black coffee washes out! (I bought an extra coffee this AM—I am-- as I do about once a month—filling in on the weekend and working. It was the take out coffee that spilled –how annoying!)

There is an attempt at a stem design too (twisted stitch, slipped stitch, twisted stitch(repeat) between the leaves.. but the semi solid green make this subtle detail just about invisible!

Maybe it will be evident when the sock is stretched slighty (as it will be when worn) maybe it won’t.

The leaves are set off with some purl stitches, so there are clearly evident now--Well maybe not now for you in the photographs--but clearly evident in person, and will be (more!) evident in a few more rounds.

OK that’s it. I am getting back to my knitting!

Friday, March 05, 2010

There and gone

(and no photographic record of it!)

The 4 new leaf tips got knit—and knit in place.. well almost knit in place..

Knit in place backwards!—that was Wednesday evening. It took me 3 rounds to notice. I really need to avoid anything that requires thought after 9PM.

I am most definitely a morning person (and now that the sun is up before me (just by a few minutes, but enough that I wake before the alarm, to sunlight (and not still dark day!) I am happy to get up.

But I really should go to bed at 9—(not after 11!) even afternoon naps (an all to common an occurrence) don’t help--with them I can stay awake (later)but I don't think well as the evening goes on.

I half thought to frog the 3 rounds yesterday.. but somehow, time got past me.. and it just didn’t get done--and then last night—An Adventure.

I was off to Brooklyn and the Park Slope Knitting Circle (at Sweet Melissa’s with yummy cupcakes and other sweets!). I broke my own rule—and didn’t take the highway (my general rule for getting round Brooklyn is: NEVER leave the highway!) but the highway (literally a highway—most of the BQE is an elevated roadway!) was bumper to bumper.. and even allowing extra time (1.30 hours for what took me less than 45 minutes going home)—It wasn’t going to work.

So with an incomplete map—and a bit of courage, I worked my way along a bunch of streets (Maurice (Queens) to Metropolitan (Queens into Brooklyn) to Union, to Flushing, to Vanderbuilt, to Prospect Park and finally 7th Avenue--(and did it in about 1 hour!)

The best part of the evening (from a very limited point of view!) was coming home to a perfect parking space! (Thursday and Fridays are alternate side of the street parking days in my neighborhood—and parking is always an issue!) Last night I had the choice of 3 spaces!—(I took the one closest to my back door!) normally it not uncommon for me to have to circle the block, (looking, hoping!) or wait 15 to 20 minutes for a space to open up--so finding a choice of spaces waiting for me was wonderful.

From a more realistic view—it was the company that made the evening! It was fun to see some friends I haven’t seen in along time. I wish it was easier to get to Park Slope (I could take the subway—and walk 8 blocks)—and maybe when the weather is nicer, I’ll do that once in a while--Driving --even when I am lucky enough to return to a glut of parking options--is just too much.

So this AM—on the subway!—I frogged (I had not just a seat, but a good seat!) and remounted the socks back on the needles—and will start again –and get the little leaves knit in place –correctly!

It won’t be long then—the foot of a sock –so much plain stocking knit is always fast work! Just wait till tomorrow—I‘ll take some photo’s tonight or early tomorrow and post my progress!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

We interrupt the knitting of this sock

To knit more leaf tips!

I was obviously experiencing a senior moment yesterday when I knit up four (4!) leaf tips. Four are nice, and worked for the moment…But I need four –per sock!—for a total of 8.

Well the first four have been knit in—the heel flaps have been knit (and one heel has been turned!)—the gusset shaping will be placed BELOW the leaf tips--a bit of change--but not really a radical one.

See how the stitches from the leaves move diagonally across the upper corners of the flap? That movement will continue –it’s pretty typical of hyacinths to have the leaves to come up and surround the base of the flower head--that is the effect I am trying to simulate.

The front tips will move too--and I think there will be a suggestion of a stem-- dead center of each flower—too.

The tips knit up fast (there are just 9 stitches across)—and I can work from the other end of the ball. I’ll need them before I can continue, and begin to work in the round.

While I was stalled –(yes, I know, I could have turned the other heel) I took the time to do some finishing. Notice the leaves have had the tails woven in and have been attached to the sock—and the side (well the off-centered side) seam of the top of the socks has been sewn up

There is still more finishing to do –isn’t there always? But I like getting some of the finishing started before the sock is finished. It seems like less work that way.

I did a different stitch on the heel flap too-- K1, S1—only I slipped the stitch with the yarn in front (not back) –no particular reason.. except I thought it looked better.

So today, at work, I’ll knit up 4 more leaf tips. And by tomorrow? Well I hope to have them knit into place—and the gussets started.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

No heel flaps—YET

But 4 little leaf tips have been made—ready to worked into the bottom of the sock (and has part of the heel flap!)

These leaves will continue (in pattern) in both the flap and instep—
--the tails will be woven in as part of finishing of socks.

Are you as excited as I am? It's almost as like spring!

Time to Go Green.

The top of the sock is now 6 inches—and its now time to make some leaf tips, incorporate them into the sock, and start the heel flap.

Here is the green—No leaf tips yet (I swatch one last night, but in a different yarn) but it’s balled up and divided and I have a spare needle ready to go.

That it!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Blossoms are blooming.

In my socks, if not under the still lingering (with threats of yet more!) snow.

About 5 inches now—a bit narrower, (and a bit shorter!—since they will be done in another inch) than the real thing, but almost as pretty!

I have to get the green yarn for the leaves (and heels and foot!) balled up—and divided—I’ll need it soon—likely tomorrow! At least for the leaf tips, if not for the flap—but the flap, and turning and gussets won’t be long in coming!

My Ravelympics shawl is sitting in the frog pond--I am one of the disqualified, not a metal winner.

I like the idea--and will, I think, re-knit it. The new revised shawl will have some minor improvements—but the same basic design. I had forgotten how much I like this yarn—and I love the color too. At first glance its blue; but look again,and its filled with specks of red, green, gold, silvery grey—its really beautiful.

I have worn more sweaters, shawls, scarves and hat this winter than I have worn in a long time. I am older, and my current job has me sitting near an open door—(in a draft) –I feel the cold more now than I ever have. I think i would find a use for this shawl too. (if i finish it!)

I am, in general knitting more (and reading less—thought reading did cut into my knitting time this month!) and wearing more knits.

I have a queue as long as my arm—and then some—and I am always adding to it—and won’t make any progress if I don’t knit!

I didn’t knit much this past snow weekend (a 3 day one, since Friday was a snow day!)—but I cooked! My freezer is filled with treats—and staples. Bean soup has joined the onion (3 pints remain!) –and so has macaroni and cheese (the homemade kind!) I even made some pretzels--they were from a pretzel kit—with pre-measured ingredients. Just add yeast and let rise—half of them are in the freezer too—since 8 big pretzels are more than a weeks worth. I have an urge to make bread too—and maybe I will (I don’t much eat bread—but I enjoy making it!) –I definitely will make some brown bread (soda bread) later in the month.

I love having a freezer full of precooked meals—it’s so much easier to grill, (or poach, or sauté) 6 chicken breasts ONCE—and have one pan to wash—and then reheat the cutlets one at time as needed.