Can We Talk?

A few years ago, when I hosted my blog on the now-defunct dotMac/MobileMe site, I wrote a post explaining that I have a tendency to cuss. A lot. I know that some people think that cussing is an indication of a limited vocabulary, but I disagree. I have a very large vocabulary that just happens to include a plethora of cuss words.

Cussing doesn’t offend me under most circumstances, but I know it offends a lot of people, and because I want to share my knitting with any and every interested knitter, I avoid using words that some people might find objectionable, offensive, or off-putting. But that doesn’t mean that my knitting (and spinning) isn’t often accompanied by a whole heap of cuss words.

Some kinds of knitting are just conducive to f-bombs and other obscenities, for example, knitting socks from the toe up. Some sock knitters love knitting socks toe up and think it’s really the only sensible way to knit a sock. They are wrong, of course, but I believe in live and let live. 😉 There are circumstances under which knitting socks toe up is the better choice, but unless the situation dictates toe-up knitting, I knit socks cuff down. So I’m sitting here not a little confused as to why I decided to knit my Vanilla Candy Corn Socks from the toe up. My intention from the start was to knit a plain vanilla sock, with maybe some ribbing on the instep as well as on the cuff, so I’m baffled as to why I started sock #1 at the toe. I have no explanation. I just don’t know.

Vanilla Candy Corn Socks sock #1

But I do know one thing. Had I started this sock with the cuff, it would be finished right now. Instead, I still have 2 or 3 inches left to work on the leg and cuff because I had to knit and reknit the <insert your favorite expletive> heel a total of five times. That’s not a typo. I knitted the freaking heel five times. Five. Times. And trust me, the cuss words flew each time. Lots and lots of cuss words. Lots.

The first time, after I had completed the heel,  I then tried the sock on. The foot was too long. The biggest difficulty I have with toe-up socks is knowing when to start the heel. I’ve tried all the tricks of the trade, but I still have a hard time getting it right. No biggie. It’s just a heel. I ripped the heel out, ripped back a few rounds of the foot, and knit the heel again. I tried it on and guess what. No, the foot wasn’t too short this time, it was still too long. Rip, rip, rip. Knit, knit, knit. This time the length was fine, but I messed up the short rows. Rip again, knit again, but this time my stitch count was off. I had dropped a stitch. Rip again, knit again, and I finally got it right.

Short row heel finally made the Goldilocks zone.

Because I didn’t want to disrupt the striping of the yarn, when I got to the heel, I dropped the working yarn and attached yarn from the other end of the ball to knit the heel. That way, when I started knitting the cuff, the pattern of the yarn colors continued to flow as though they were never interrupted by a heel. Because they weren’t. 😀 The ugly loose stitched circled in black is where I dropped the yarn for the heel and picked up the working yarn again. Once I weave in the end, that loop will disappear.

The cuff of the sock is just good old garter rib, which is one of my very favorite stitches to use for socks. It’s simple, works with almost any yarn, and fits really well because it is very stretchy. You just alternate rounds of 2 x 2 rib with rounds of plain stocking stitch. But don’t do it with Kollage square dpns. They are just awful to work with. I hate them. Hate. Them. Note to self: buy some Chiao Goo sock needles in 2.25mm.




WIP Wednesday–What I’m Working On

I’ve been a very busy girl. Just how busy? You’ll find out on FO Friday, but this is WIP Wednesday, so here’s what I’m working on.

I cast on a plain vanilla sock using Trekking XXL. The toe reminds me of candy corn,

Judy’s Magic Cast On begun with 20 stitches and increased to 80 stitches using Chrissy Gardiner’s shaped round toe.

so I decided to call the socks Vanilla Candy Corn Socks. I’ve knitted more of the foot since I took this picture, and the colorway doesn’t look at all like candy corn when it’s knitted on 80 stitches at 10 stitches per inch on 2.25mm needles, but I’m keeping the name. 🙂

I’ll knit the leg of the sock in ribbing for a good fit, but I love the way this colorway is knitting up in plain stocking stitch so I decided to keep the foot plain. Trekking XXL sock yarn is one of my very favorite sock yarns. It is beautifully dyed, wears like iron, and knits up really nice. It’s a fairly light fingering weight, so I prefer to knit it at a gauge of 10 stitches per inch instead of my usual 9 stitches per inch for sock yarn. I’m using the Kollage square DPNs (double-pointed needles, for the uninitiated) that the DH bought me for Christmas a couple of years ago. The stitches are very nicely formed and even. These are not my favorite needles, but I have to admit that I get excellent results when I use them.

My spindles have been busy, too. I’m spinning some fiber for the Ravelry Spindlers November challenge, “Life Is a Carnival,” and the Louet Northern Lights in the Cotton Candy colorway is spinning up very nicely.

Luscious Cotton Candy

I think I’ll end up doing a 3-ply sock yarn with this fiber. It’s a medium grade Corriedale, and although it doesn’t have any Nylon in it, it should make a sturdy sock yarn because I am spinning it very tightly, and I’ll ply it tightly, too. I am really enjoying spinning this fiber. It drafts easily and smoothly, and the color changes are fun to watch. I also love the Golding Ringspindles (Micros) that I’m using to spin this fiber. The more I use them, the more I love my Goldings.

My Golding spindles have been busy for sure, but so has my Ladybug. I bought some lovely Falkland from Unwind Yarn Company in a colorway called Flirt that is mostly white with red and pink splotches on it. It is spinning up into very lovely singles.

Unwind Yarn’s Flirt fiber and singles

Once again, I plan to do a 3-ply and use the yarn for socks. I have a pattern picked out, but you’ll have to wait a while for the unveiling. 😀

Speaking of socks, I think my sock mojo is returning. I’m working on 2 pairs right now, the Vanilla Candy Corn Socks I shared at the beginning of this post, and a pair of knee socks that I am making for my oh-so-sock-worthy future DIL.

I took this picture before I cast off the sock.

Sock #1 is finished and has been tried on by its intended recipient to check for fit. Much to my amazement, it fit! YAY! I have never knitted knee socks before, and I wanted to make sure the first sock fits before casting on the second sock. I’m using a basic knee sock pattern that I found on the Internet via Ravelry, and it is absolutely excellent. The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in the Wild Blue Yonder colorway. (I going from memory. I hope I got the right name for the color.) I thought plain vanilla toe-up knee socks would be über boring to knit, but much to my surprise, I have really enjoyed knitting this sock, even on two circular needles. And I now have 6 or 7 different sock patterns and yarns awaiting cast-on. Some of those yarns are my handspun, so I am definitely getting knitting inspiration from spinning. And vice versa. Socks, how I have missed you!