And they’re done. Finally. The two color socks that have taken forever to finish are in the finished pile.
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces, in Rainbow and Bold Red.
Pattern: Sensational Knitted Socks, by Charlene Schurch. It’s one of the Four-Stitch Reticulated Patterns, using a solid color combined with a multicolored yarn.
Started: Way back in January. These went on hold while I did a simple stocking stitch pair during Wintergrass, then have languished a bit, as I got bored with them.
Finished: June 25th, 2006
Needles: Lantern Moon ebony, size 1. I used a pair of size 0 bamboos for the ribbing.
What I learned: Lots of things. Two color knitting is denser than one color (duh). If I did these again, I’d do a gauge swatch and try bigger needles and fewer stitches. These practically will stand up by themselves. I also learned that it does make a difference which color goes in which hand. I held the red (background color) in my right hand, and the multi in the left. This seemed to make the background color pop a bit more. When I did it the other way, the red stood out more. I also got to practice two-handed knitting, with one color in each hand.
I also learned that two color socks take more yarn. I used about three quarters of the skein of the Rainbow, and about one and a third skeins of the solid color. Because I hadn’t planned on this, the dye lot of the Bold Red is different in the two skeins. I used the different dye lot in the two color part of the second sock, where it’s camoflauged by the busy nature of the pattern, and saved the tail end of the first dye lot to match the toes, where it would show more. You can tell the difference, but not so much when they’re on your feet. I’m not sure I’d do these again but it was fun to practice the two color thing.
Now that those are done, I immediately started on a new pair of socks. I have been jonesing to start a pair from Socks That Rock, as I have a bunch in the stash. This is the Rainforest Jasper color, which was the first skein sent out in the Rockin’ Sock Club. I’m not doing the pattern that came with the yarn, as I’m not in the mood to follow directions. I’m doing what’s developing into Lorette’s Famous Sock Pattern, which will be unveiled as this thing goes along. This is being fine tuned by taking bits and pieces of many sock patterns that I’ve seen and tried.
First step; Cast on. For this sock, I’m doing a picot hem, just because I love those little spikes on the top. They remind me of the points on a queenly crown. (My family will be well aware that this motif fits.) The cast on is a long tail cast on, because it will be turned under and won’t be seen. When I’m doing a plain ribbed-topped sock, I use the German Twisted Cast On, described here.
Here it is in the process of being hemmed.
How-to: cast on 64 stitches on size 2 mm needles, divide between four needles, knit seven rounds. Next round: YO, knit 2 together all the way around. Switch to 2.25mm needles. Knit seven more rounds. On the next round, fold up the hem along the yo-k2tog row, and knit each live stitch together with its corresponding cast on stitch. This is fidgety, and takes a little time to make sure the rows line up, but makes a nice hem. You’ll need to weave in the end of the yarn from the cast on edge before you hem it up. Use a stitch marker to mark where the round starts, if you care about that sort of thing.
Note that this is still a little experimental. I tend to just wade in with sock yarn instead of doing gauge swatches, so the stitch count may get revised if it looks too big even for Bigfoot (me). If you are going to follow along, you need to figure out how many stitches you need for your own foot. The official way to do this is to knit a gauge swatch, then measure your foot around the ball of your foot. Multiply the two numbers. So if you get 8 stitches per inch, and your foot measures 8 inches, you cast on 64 stitches. Or something like that. I prefer the trial and error method, as I hate doing gauge swatches with sock weight yarn.
Also note that my needles coordinate with the yarn. These are my Pony Pearls, some of my favorite sock knitting needles.
So far my verdict on the STR yarn: Wow. The colors are intense, and the yarn very nicely spun. I can see why everybody loves this stuff. I’m using the lightweight variety, and it feels just a bit heavier than the Lorna’s Laces or Opal.
And just because I know you guys count on me to point out stuff that you need to buy, here’s something more:
My very own Emergency Sock Knitting Kit, made by Cassie.
What’s inside, you might ask?
Extra needles, a ruler, a tiny crochet hook, scissors, darning needle pinned to the fabric, and a stitch marker pinned to the fabric.Of course, you are responsible for loading up your own kit. It doesn’t come with all that loot.
And what’s on the card, you might ask?
My instructions for kitchener grafting, for the toes. Because I can never remember how to do it.