Thursday, January 03, 2008

Sock Project update

I have finally finished my first pair of handspun socks. I discussed the yarn here; as you can see I decided to make one pair of socks from the three ply.

The shape looks a little wonky -- they have not been blocked -- but they look nice enough on:

I followed the suggestions in a recent Spin Off article (too lazy to go look it up, ask if you want details) to spin one ply with slow color changes and another with quick color changes, to get a sort of fractal color change. I think I did two slow plies and one fast, but it might have been one slow, one fast, and one random. I like the effect, so I might try to do it in a more controlled way next time.

The socks were knit in an odd order. I wanted to knit toe up, but had to just Get Started (maybe I was heading to the park? or my husband was waiting to watch a movie?) so instead of doing a short row toe, I just cast on provisionally and knit for a while, then made a heel. That gave me some trouble until Caroline suggested a gusseted short row heel. That worked a treat. Then I continued up the leg until it seemed time for some calf increases; I kept increasing and knitting until it looked like yarn might be running low.

Then I used the purple end of the second ball to pick up the provisional cast on and knit a toe. I used a star toe just because I never had before; I probably never will again because I think it looks like my socks are on crooked (see lower foot in picture above).

I couldn't figure out how to start at the toe and still make the second sock match, so I cast on provisionally, knit a star toe, and then picked up the provisional cast on and knit up towards the heel. Then I made the heel, etc, until my second sock matched the first (still on the needles).

At this point I weighed the remaining yarn. I had 4 g. left on one sock and 9 g. on the other, so I ribbed until I used up the 4 g., switched socks, ribbed to match, did a few more rows, and cast off. I took the remaining yarn, went back to the 4 g. sock, added the same few more rows, and cast off there. In the top picture you can see the tiny ball I have left for repairs or whatever.

I think the picture makes it look like the socks are knee length, but they are not. They come to the middle of my calf, not the most practical length. They are very cosy, though, and I guess if the ribbing won't keep them up, they'll just be slouchy socks. I used Elizabeth Zimmerman's brillian sewn bind-off for the first but certainly not the last time, so the cast off edge won't cut into my calves.

(Excuse me, I have to turn down the music my daughter's computer, which is playing the theme song for Maisy's Playhouse over and over and over and over and over again .... I know from bitter experience that it will never stop without intervention.)

SO .... some six months ago I started spinning yarn that is now socks which are on my feet. Nice, but not exactly efficient. Way back in April I announced that I was going to try and knit a dozen pairs of socks for this winter. How have I done? It's January, and I have knitted seven pairs, six of them short. That's not really good enough.

Fortunately, I found Sock Dreams. Their $10 O Woolies are warm and comfortable (to me; some might find them itchy) and looooong. I don't think they will be durable; the cast on is provisional over elastic, which stretches very nicely but will probably break at some point. But they are getting me through the winter with warm feet and right now that's all I ask.

I'm going to keep knitting socks, but I don't have the same desperate urge that I did last spring. And that's just as well.

A toast to the new year: may your feet be warm and your fingers busy! Happy knitting!

-- Cynthia


mikelynn said...

The socks look great. I really love the color of that yarn. As a toe-up girl I love the sewn bind off.

jessie said...

Congratulations! Handspun, handknit socks are a huge accomplishment, and these look great.