Saturday, November 21, 2015

Socks will be the death of me

I don't know why I am having so much trouble knitting socks this season. I have reknit as much as I have knit. One plus of reknitting is, after ripping back one heel turn and two gussets, I decided to preserve the yarn striping from the foot to the leg by knitting a short row heel in a contrasting solid color. One of the worker bees at Simply Sock Yarn recommended the Silver Lining colorway, and I am quite pleased with it.

I'm using a set of square DPNs (by Kollage) that are adding to my misery. It's not the shape but the fact they are the sharpest needles I have ever worked with. They pierce the yarn plies, making the yarn seem splitty when it really isn't. The needles also pierce my finger tips on occasion. I'm sticking with them for this pair of socks because I'm afraid to change needles midstream.

Since I have another set of US1 DPNs, I started a second pair of socks for Big Foot, aka my son. I'm using Silver Lining for not only the heels but the toes and maybe some stripes on the leg if I seem to be running short on yardage. The first toe has been knit twice, but the second toe required only two rows of reknitting.

Maybe I am finally getting the hang of sock knitting? (Knock on wood.)

Monday, November 09, 2015

Two steps forward, three steps back

The xmas sock knitting efforts have not been going well. First, I thought I would knit plain ordinary socks with ribbing for the instep and leg. That just didn't seem to be going very well, so then I got the idea to knit Jaywalkers, a very good pattern for self-striping yarn, but toe up, so I didn't have to worry about running out of yarn. I ripped back to the toes, and the knitting went well, but the socks seemed HUGE. I kept telling myself that it would be okay, but after reaching the heels, I could lie to myself no longer. I ripped all the way back to the beginning, switched from US2 to US1 DPNs, and reverted to plain ordinary socks but without the instep ribbing; I plan to rib the legs.

I blame all this back and forth on Irish cottage knitting, aka lever knitting. A while back, I switched to this style from continental and was very pleased with the resulting fabric. However, initially my knitting was tighter than usual, so developed the habit of upsizing the needles. Well, my Irish cottage knitting must be more relaxed these days, as one needle size up is one needle size too far. I suspected this might be the case, as I knit the bathroom curtain on US6 needles because upsizing to US7 felt too floppy, but at the time I blamed the cotton yarn.

There is something hinky about gauge and my knitting, though. Sometimes my gauge is spot on, as with the Jaywalkers, but the resulting fabric feels unsatisfactorily loose. This is particularly troublesome with socks, where the fit should be snug and the fabric dense. I'm wondering if, instead of aiming for the pattern gauge, I should figure out what gauge produces the fabric I want, then work the pattern according to that. There is some sweater knitting in my future, so I may have to experiment with this idea.

And now I am also wondering if my dissatisfaction with continental knitting might have been resolved with a similar strategy. Hmmm.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

What to do with all that leftover yarn

I picked up a copy of Mini Skein Knits from the library as it looked interesting and useful. While I probably will not directly knit any of the patterns, they do give a knitter lots of ideas for small skeins and leftovers.

One oddity about the book is it provides instructions on how to make a knit stitch, a purl stitch, an increase, a decrease, how to cast on and bind off, etc. But nowhere are there instructions about colorwork, which abounds in the patterns. I don't find Fair Isle to be all that intuitive, but hey, maybe that is just me.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Don't do this at home

Knitting a curtain is about the dumbest thing I can think to make out of yarn. Blankets are larger, but at least they are cozy on cold winter nights. A curtain could be sewn from cloth in about an hour, max. This thing took *forever*. BUT it is an excellent stash buster of a project.

Pattern: My own concoction (using chart A from Hybrid Vigour Shawl on
Yarn: Dem-N-Nit Pure Indigo Cotton, about 9.5 skeins
Needles: US6

It shrank about two inches when washed, which I planned for (although the rod pocket is a bit tight). The indigo is kind of dark for my decor, but I expect it to fade as time goes by. I learned from another curtain project to make it wide enough, so it provides excellent coverage. All and all, I am satisfied. And *relieved* that it is finished.