Wednesday, February 02, 2011

More socks

I have been spending as much time as I can manage with the autoknitter. The basic operation is not too difficult, although I still have the occasional surprise non-knitting needle (pesky), dropped stitch (peskier) or totally jammed ribber (disastrous). But the real challenge, surprisingly, has been making a sock that fits my foot and that has a dense enough fabric to suit me. I like a nice firm sock fabric and a tight fitting sock; I think both of those make a sock last much longer. And getting the fabric I want from the autoknitter has been more difficult than I expected.

I've made a second pair of socks for myself, using the same yarn as the first, but in a different color. These were knit toe-up, which meant I could make the legs as long as the skein held out. In this case that's almost knee length -- not really high enough to stay up for sure, but warmer than the first pair.

This pair has a ribbed foot -- you can see how much narrower it is than the first, unribbed pair. I like the feeling of it quite a bit and it certainly does hug my high arches. The leg doesn't look much longer than the first pair's, although it's actually an additional 40 rows. Here's another view:

That's more like it. Here you can also see that the foot is longer -- oops. It sure didn't need to be, but I lost count of rows and then made the second sock to match rather than start over.

Both pairs of socks have been through the washer and drier a couple of times. The yarn has softened up and gotten kind of fuzzy but they haven't shrunk much at all. I know that's how they are designed but I would like it if they'd get a little smaller. Perhaps I need to investigate non-superwash yarns.

I've made a few non-sock items -- legwarmers for Charlotte out of thicker yarn, which my ribber didn't much care for, and wristwarmers for Charlotte out of sock yarn (these started out as my first experiments with the ribber). I don't intend to do much more, though, until I've got the sock fabric worked out. I'm just past the toe of a pair made out of Kroy, which I'm hoping will make a denser fabric as it is a thicker yarn. I couldn't face putting in the ribber needles this late at night, though, which is why I'm blogging instead of knitting.

My 30 slot dial arrived from New Zealand and turned out to be completely useless. The metal had swelled -- a known issue with the low-grade pot metal from which they are made -- and the slots are now too small to hold a needle. The seller is going to replace it but I am so disappointed; I was really looking forward to being able to do 1:1 rib. Why? Because it doesn't unravel, so you don't have to do anything to finish the edge. I'll be able to in time, I guess, but not for another few weeks while the crummy dial wends its way back to NZ and then a good one makes the return journey to me. I hope the 80 slot cylinder is in better shape! I'm counting on that to make a nice dense fabric out of regular sock yarns.

The children have been out of school for the past two days and my husband is working from home, all due to the storm that swept through here Monday night/Tuesday morning. They'll all be here tomorrow, too; the university has specifically told people like my husband that they are not allowed to come in even if they are perfectly comfortable driving on icy roads. "Work from home," he was told, which is easier said than done when you are Fun Dad and the kids are home, too.

When I imagine snow days they involve lots of yarn, a fire in the fireplace, and general cozy hanging out. In real life there are a lot more loads of laundry and washing of dishes. I still hope that tomorrow I can make those Kroy socks.


Caroline M said...

I just don't have that much patience when I know that there's another way of doing it that I have already mastered.

MaryB said...

Looks like you're doing a great job. Suggestion: read the ball band and adjust your tension until it matches the tension suggested by the manufacturer. Another suggestion: Knit a strand of Wooly Nylon (available at sewing shops) along with your yarn to make a firmer sock. You look like you've come a long way since purchasing this machine!