So I got a little carefree in May, and didn’t cast on my Antirrhinum socks til the end of the month. The pattern is by Rachel Coopey, taken from A Year of Techniques, and uses her Socks Yeah! yarn in 2 colours. I opted to use a lavender shade called Kunzite for the MC, and Malachite as the contrast – a combination which actually reminds me of lavender plants. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed this yarn back when I made my Dave socks at the start of the year. It has a pleasing toughness, handles smoothly with no splitting, and the colours knit up to a subtle semi-solid shade. The pattern itself is clearly laid out, with the option of charts or written instruction for the lace. It is, or should be, an easy pattern to memorise, but I have gone astray a few times through inattention (in my defense, I insisted on continuing to knit these through a horrendous cold). I also set them aside to knit the Maytham shawl, so my tension ended up a bit iffy and the second sock came out a touch looser – which taught me that patterned socks are less forgiving of that sort of thing.
I have mixed feelings about this one. The pattern is interesting, and one I’ll be comfortable wearing (and have I mentioned how much I love Socks Yeah!?), but I can see all the little mistakes, so it will take me a while not to put them on with a tinge of disappointment.
It’s possible that I’ll come back to this pattern, but I suspect with a feeling of wanting to conquer it, rather than because I really loved knitting it.
The initial plan was to move on to the second, Guardians of the Galaxy-inspired, installment from the Nerd Sock Club. Some postal mishaps meant that the yarn only just reached me, and I’m struggling to choose a pattern – I want to do it justice, but I also feel like I just want an easy knit. I may use the leftover Kunzite and Malachite to whip up a quick pair of Dave socks. Or I could raid my stash and The Knitter magazine back catalogue of sock patterns to take part in the Perth Festival of Yarn KAL.
I got the Double-stripe socks cast on as a travel knitting project for my birthday day out, expecting to then put them aside, and concentrate on my other WIPs. But I fell out with my other WIPs, so I ended up knitting these almost monogamously, and finished them in the space of a week. The yarn is a fairly standard 75% merino/25% nylon sock weight, which was pleasant to knit with. What makes it so special is the way it’s been dyed. The main yarn has been layered with black, blue and purple which create a wonderful effect somewhere between speckled and variegated. As you knit, the yarn ranges through black, grey, aubergine, purple, teal, lilac, sky blue and white. The pop colour has a similar effect, meandering through red, coral, fuchsia, pale pink, and primrose. The two skeins look beautiful together. The pattern is a simple one, mostly twisted rib, with a heel flap and turn, and definitely a good choice for showcasing this special yarn.
I made the medium size, and find it a little tight to squeeze my foot into as the twisted rib has less stretch than regular rib, though they are comfortable enough once they’re on. If I make these again I’ll increase the stitch count for a slightly looser fit. I’ll also make the cuff longer. Overall, I’m happy with how these turned out: they really fit my perception of Jessica Jones, and I’m looking forward to wearing them on days when I need to feel like a badass superhero.
This time last year I was still relatively new to knitting, and wound skeins into balls as soon as I got them, whether I planned to knit them or not. I’ve since learned that doing the latter puts unnecessary stress on the yarn, and decided that a simple way to choose my next few projects would be to use the yarns sat ready to knit first. Which in sock terms meant some Coopknits Socks Yeah! in Kunzite and Malachite that I wound last summer. I’d planned to knit the Antirrhinum socks from A Year of Techniques anyway, albeit in different colours, so this is kind of a no-brainer. I’ve got my project bag set up, but I’ll wait till I’ve wrangled those other WIPs into submission before I cast on.
I had this mad idea that I would rush these and get them finished in March, but, between other WIPs and being ill, my BOB socks proceeded in fits and starts, mostly on bus and car journeys (socks are such a good travel project). This is a great pattern: simple, straightforward, but with options and suggestions that allow you to customise it a little. The short row heel instructions are easy to follow, and I think this might be my favourite kind of heel – I can knit it as I go, and don’t have to pick up stitches. I knit the first sock with bamboo circulars, and did struggle to pick up the wraps with the blunter tips, so I moved to metal sharps for the second socks, which made life much easier, and I think will be my sock needles of choice going forward.
Though you can’t tell from the photo, the second sock ended up noticeably bigger than the other – a pointed lesson in why not to change needle type partway through a project. I’m not going to reknit, however, because the socks are for me, both of them fit, and you can’t really tell once they’re on.
I enjoyed working with the Squirm Sock. It’s an 80/20 blend of merino and nylon, and I was surprised by how much softer that ratio was compared to 75/25 blends of sock weight I’ve used before. I adore this colourway, and am plotting what I might make with a sweater quantity of it.
The plan was to knit my A Year of TechniquesAntirrhinum socks next, as I’ve had the yarn sat waiting for ages, but I was seduced away by the arrival of the first Nerd Sock Club parcel from easyknits. The theme was Jessica Jones:
I’ve chosen a pattern called Double Stripe Socks, which calls for 2 colours. I’m excited to get started on these, but have learned my lesson and won’t try to predict when I’ll finish 😂
My second project was Katya Frankel’s Brixham sock pattern, which I snagged from an old copy of The Knitter magazine, designed in Eden Cottage Yarns Oakworth DK. I had the specified yarn in the Lichen colourway, and I used magic loop for the first sock, as I didn’t have small circulars in the right size, but caved and ordered them in time to knit sock two as I just find it a smoother and quicker method. Being DK, they sped along nicely, and I turned my full attention to sock two in the week running up to EYF, so that I could wear them to the festival (which turned out to be an excellent plan as it snowed on us). The cuff transitions from rib to a gansey-inspired knit and purl pattern, which I wasn’t too sure about, but looks great when the socks are worn. The pattern calls for a traditional turned heel (my first experience of that), and was clear enough that I didn’t feel the need to resort to my copy of A Year of Techniques. I stuffed up the slipped stitch heel flap on the first one, somehow, and I’m not picking up the stitches as neatly as I’d like when turning the heel, but I think I’ve done quite well for a first attempt.
The Oakworth DK was dreamy to knit with, and I really loved the luminosity of this particular green. This yarn has been in short supply on the Eden Cottage Yarns online shop, and hasn’t featured in an update for a while, so I did speak to Victoria at EYF to ask if it had been discontinued. I was assured that it is on the list to dye again, but they have a wide range of bases, and dye in small batches, so it can take time to get around them all. Certainly a yarn I’ll be keeping an eye out for in future updates from them.
The Brixham socks are a good fit, in terms of length and heel, but I dislike the pointed toe. I think when I knit these again (I do have another cheeky skein of Oakworth tucked away 😄), I’ll decrease at the sides and then graft the toe as I did with last month’s Dave Socks.
I picked up a gorgeous skein of Undercover Otter‘s Squirm Sock at EYF, colourway Pieces, and will be casting on Louise Tilbrook’s BOB socks with it. The pattern uses the wrap and turn method for the heel, and is well suited to speckled colourways, so I’m looking forward to the result. I may even finish these before the end of March 😱
I took the full month to work on these socks as I wanted to finish my Threipmuir sweater, and Rattan shawl. Then I was seduced into casting on my Lanes cardigan. With the 28th looming I set all other projects aside and pushed myself to finish, so that I could cast on my next pair of socks in February. The stop-start progress on the project means that stocking stitch of the first sock is a little scrappy, but I was aiming for my first finished pair of socks, so decided perfection could wait. I pressed on with the second sock so that I could do both heels together at the end. The second sock and heels took 2-3 days, which suggests I could have made these in the space of a week had I not been distracted earlier in the month. This was a lovely straightforward pattern, which I know I will knit again.
It turns out that my sock blockers aren’t ideal for this particular heel (the decreases spiral in toward a central point, so the heel is pointier as a result), but I did try my finished socks on before blocking and the fit is excellent. I want to try a couple of other patterns, and heel constructions, but Dave is already a strong contender as my go-to plain sock pattern.
February’s sock (I’m casting on today; it counts) is a DK weight in the hope that they’ll knit up faster, and I can catch up to hit my target of knitting 12 pairs of socks in 2018. The wool is Eden Cottage Yarns Oakworth DK, in the Lichen colourway, bought from Gorgeous Yarns last autumn. This is a heel flap construction, so I’ll probably refer to A Year of Techniques when I come to turn my first heel. Results to follow in next month’s update.
One of my knitting goals for 2017 was to knit my first pair of socks. As the year wore on, and the gift knitting began, it became increasingly unlikely that I’d succeed. So I began plotting to focus on socks in 2018: I prepared for my ‘Year of Socks’ by collecting patterns, sock yarn, and smaller sizes of needle. As it turns out, I did sneak in a pair of socks: my Christmas Eve cast on was a pair of slipper socks, made using Alafoss Lettlopi. It was a quick knit, but very satisfying, and definitely whet my appetite for more socks.
The plan was to cast on much earlier in the month, but I when realised that the first Neighbo(u)rhood Sheep Society parcel would be a sock pattern and yarn, I decided to wait and see whether it was something I thought I could tackle. It’s beautiful yarn, which I wound into balls and swatched with, but a couple of reads of the pattern, Blairdenon, convinced me that I didn’t have the required skills just yet.
Instead, I’ve decided to start with something simple: Rachel Coopey’s Dave socks, knit in 2 colours of her Socks Yeah! yarn, using an afterthought heel. Afterthought heels are covered in both A Year of Techniques, and Sock Anatomy (a Christmas gift) so I feel confident that I have plenty of reference material if I do get stuck.
I’ve only just snuck the cast-on into January, so most of the actual knitting will happen next month. I hope to have a finished object to show you in February’s update, and to be working on my next pair.