B’s Birthday Socks

I feel like a real sock knitter now I have knitted 4ply socks!

The yarn I used was Malebrigo sock yarn in the colour way Abril. I had squished this yarn before but I had never actually had a chance to knit with it. It is a lovely yarn, it doesn’t split too much even with fine needles. The pattern I used was Very Vanilla Socks which as the name suggests is a very basic plain sock pattern, perfect for beginners or if you just want simple socks. The size is an adult lady medium. I started these using a 2.25mm needle but they looked a little small. When I visited the Wool Inn I had these in my bag (30min train ride each way so I took knitting to do) The lady in the shop was like a yarn psychic she knew instantly what yarn I was using without me saying a word, I was seriously impressed. She suggested I used a 2.5mm needle as I am tight knitter. When I got home I restarted them again using the larger needle.

These were made as a birthday gift for my best friend, last year I got her to choose the yarn when we visited Purlwise which is the yarn shop minutes from her house so there were no surprises this year when she unwrapped her present. On my summer holidays I spent some time up at her place and I wanted her to try one sock on before I finished it so I was confident it would fit as it was my first time knitting 4ply socks. I had some knitting companions as I knitted away which was fun but no I am not turning into Crazy Cat Lady!

I continued knitting these on the train home (6 hour train ride each way so plenty of knitting time) I had gotten the solo seat on the train so I could be anti social with my earphones in my ears listening to my music and knit away. When it came to doing the Kitchener stitch on the toes I thought ok this part is scary take out your earphones and concentrate. Bad move that’s when the lady behind me stopped to chat as I was in the middle of it. Note to self next time just turn off the music but keep the earphones in! It wasn’t my neatest attempt but there are no holes.

I still have some yarn leftover from these. I finally got to use my pocket yarn scales that I purchased last year. Not sure what I will do with the rest of this, it will get used in something. I’m getting a collection of 4ply yarn leftovers now from various projects so will probably start a project using them all together once I get a bit more.

When I went to visit my friend I decided to give her my pumpkin socks. Due to the cast on I used they are a little tight for me around the cuff and I have only worn them once or twice. I did wash them before I gave them to her. Now it may sound strange to give someone used socks but I have been sharing secrets with her since 1993 so why not socks too! She needed socks, I had a pair I wasn’t using so win win, I decluttered and she got socks.

Cassiy

DIY Sock Blockers

Last weekend I went to purchase sock blockers but the shop didn’t have any stock of the size I needed, turns out sock blockers were popular that day as they sold out of the size I needed that morning. The shop assistant suggested perhaps I could make my own so I went online and found a free template. Maryann who made the template also has a tutorial on her blog that goes along with it but I didn’t follow the tutorial. I have made so many sewing patterns I was confident I could make the sock blockers myself with just the template.

As I was doing a clean up of my house I found some template plastic in my stash that you normally use to make template pieces for quilting and decided to use that to make my blockers. I just traced out the template twice to create a pair of blockers. In the comments on Maryann’s blog post about this others have also suggested beside the cardboard Maryann has used that you could make them from foam, old placemats or plastic tiles.

The size of the template is for a ladies small sock. I wanted medium sock blockers so I added about half an inch around the template as I traced it out. They are a bit short so I should have added more to the length if I want to use them for calf length socks but for ankle socks they will be fine.

I tried them out in a pair of socks that I wanted to photograph. Now I will be honest I won’t be using these for blocking but for photographing socks so that I can show them here on the blog. They will work if you wanted to use them for blocking but I have never actually blocked socks before. I am still going to buy a medium set of sock blockers when I can and actually use them to block a sock to see if it makes a difference but for the mean time these will do just fine. These didn’t cost me anything and took about 15 mins to make plus I decluttered some template plastic from my stash.

Cassiy

Finished Ankle Socks

I have a finished pair of ankle socks!!!

After all the trials and tribulations I went through starting these last week I finished my socks. Once I got over sock 1 I easily breezed through sock 2 knitting it within a matter of days I think or over a short period of time anyway. Writing my notes after sock 1 really helped. For sock 2 the only time I needed to consult YouTube was doing the kitchener stitch at the end. For sock 1 I did it from written instructions and got a little bit lost but there was only 4 stitches on each needle so not many to do. Looking at this picture I can’t tell which is sock 1 or 2 but for the 2nd one I decided to sit and watch YouTube, more to just familiarise myself with it again in visual terms as I am a visual learner.

Before I took this photo I did actually give my socks a good “testing” wearing them on a 35 deg day walking to gym then walking around a shopping centre. Now normally in regular socks by the end of all that I would be racing to get home to tear the socks off my feet as I get heat trigged eczema on the tops of my feet and my feet would be red and itchy. I wore these without any problem, not an itch. The yarn I used is by Twilleys of Stamford called Gorgeous DK and yes just my luck it is now discontinued. I found this out earlier this year and purchased most of the remaining stock that my yarn shop had of it so I know I will get a few pairs made. It is a bamboo / nylon mix. They have survived their first wash well although I haven’t put them back on. I must admit they look bulky but in my sneakers they were really comfortable. The yarn is a sport weight so a 5ply and gave a little bit of padding under my feet.

I have started a 2nd pair over the last couple of days but today had to take them off my needles this morning to start again as on the instep decreases I decreased too much on one side and my stitch count was off (this will teach me for knitting socks after only 3hrs sleep) They had a couple of gaps in other sections where I didn’t pick up the stitch fully so I am not too worried about starting them again. They are a quick make so I know once I get started and actually watch what I am doing I will get another pair done in no time.

My sock knitting bug has bitten again!

Cassiy

Ankle Socks – Attempt?

I mentioned in my Rose City Rollers post that I was going away last week and wanted to take socks to work on. I searched Ravelry and came across the Super Stretchy Sport Socks by River City Yarns. The pattern looked perfect, it was using exact same ply that I was using, the design looked just like what I was after. In my mind I thought I could easily get ankle socks made in a weekend so I packed up all the supplies I needed included a darning needle and written instructions on how to do the kitchener stitch. Well things didn’t go to plan….

I cast on my first sock knitting the cuff without issue. I knit socks magic loop when I started my heel flap I knitted on the wrong needle so my heel flap stitches were on the outside of my sock not on the inside. Ok start again this time I managed the cuff, heel flap and even turned the heel then it came to picking up stitches. The pattern is written for both DPN’s (double pointed needles) and magic loop but when it came to picking up stitches I got a bit confused in the pattern as to when I was meant to pull my cord through and pick up the next needle. I had way too many stitches on my needle and then I got confused as to where to place my stitch markers. I was frustrated because I have a very long sock “To Knit” list yet I can’t manage to knit a pair of ankle socks even though I have knitted a full pair of socks within 2 weeks before when I made my Pumpkin socks. I pulled the sock off my needles and then worked on another yarn project for the weekend, luckily I had packed 2 projects so I wasn’t left with idle hands.

Ok so I think I am on attempt 3 of these particular socks. I have done a 2″ cuff as I want a longer sock that sits high on my ankle, on one of my other attempts I only did 1.5″ and I don’t think that will be high enough. When it came to the gusset I watched Very Pink Knits Learn To Knit Socks Magic Loop Part 4 tutorial. I love watching Stacie’s knitting tutorials, she explains things very clearly. Whenever I search YouTube for knitting tutorial I always check to see if she has done one first. After watching the clip I knew where to pull my cord through for the magic loop and where to place my stitch markers. She has her needles set up differently to what the pattern for these socks say (well that’s at least how I interpreted the pattern to say) Once you pick up your gusset stitches you rearrange your stitches to effectively split your heel and cuff in half so the stitch markers for your decreases are in the centre of your needles, this is how I have knitted socks before and I am comfortable with the set up. I can go on autopilot now knowing depending on what row I am on if I have to decrease when I come to a stitch marker or not.

I have gone a step further than what Stacie or the pattern says and have placed extra stitch markers so I know when to stop decreasing for my gusset. I read the pattern to see at what stitch count I needed to stop the decreases and counted them out on my needles so I know when I get to the green stitch markers it is time to stop the decreases and just knit until I get to the toe section. Just had a quick look at this picture and my knitting and have readjusted my stop stitch markers as they were wrong in this picture. Also just discovered I am down a stitch on one side so when it comes to doing my decreases the side that has 2 orange stitch markers I’ll skip a decrease on that side to get my stitch count even. The extra decrease stitch markers will help with my autopilot knitting which I like to do. I am actually enjoying knitting the sock now. When I get to the toe section I will watch the clip in Stacie’s clip on how to set up my needles for that.

I have been making myself notes along the way. Sometimes I need to write things in my own words for them to make sense to me. On this page I have my notes about the stitch markers, on the first page I have notes on how long I have made each section so when it comes to making my 2nd sock I make them the same. In my notes I have even reminded myself I took a picture for Instagram of my set up so I can refer back to it and of course now I will have this blog post too.

To recap for myself for sock 2

  • To measure for long tail cast on wrap yarn around the needle 8 times then measure that fold 7 times + tail yarn to cast on 56 stitches
  • Knit 2″ cuff (16 rows in total)
  • For gusset stitch markers need to be near cuff and not heel
  • Place first stitch marker after 1st set of picked up stitches
  • Place second stitch maker at start 2nd set picked up stitches
  • Divide sock in half from toe and cuff to knit magic loop
  • On row counter odd rows are decrease rows, even rows are knit stitches

Ok back to my knitting hopefully I will have sock 1 finished soon!

Update: Instead of skipping a decrease stitch on one side I did KFB in the cuff section on that needle to get my stitch count correct in that section

Cassiy

Rose City Roller Socks

I started these socks back in April after seeing a friend make them a few times. I was looking for an ankle sock pattern so I thought I would give it a try. The pattern is Rose City Rollers and is free on Ravelry.

The pattern has 3 sizes to choose from. I first cast on the largest size then decided it was too big so I took it off my needles and tried again. The second time I did them I messed up a row in the heel pattern and didn’t pick up enough stitches when I did the heel turn leaving a gap which I wasn’t happy with. I thought third time lucky and cast them on again. That was back in May and to be honest I haven’t touched them since. I think the reason is that I am not really liking the style. I have been analysing my socks over the last few months (yes I do random stuff like that) and I have come to realise with my store brought ankle socks the ones I was wearing the most were the ones that were fitted around the ankle with a cuff. In this pattern there is no cuff it is just stockinette stitch that rolls over on itself, it is very lose around the ankle. My sneakers eat all my older socks where the cuff is stretched out and not snug around the ankle.

I’m going away later this week and I am looking at what craft projects to take as I am going to have a lot of time on my hands including a 6hr train ride home. I was going to take these socks but the more I think about it the more I know I am not going to like the finished product so I have decided to take these off my needles and know the pattern isn’t for me. The reason I wanted to make ankle socks is last year I did a 14 kilometre fun run/walk and I got really bad blisters on toes from the toe seam in my sock. With knitted socks I won’t have that toe seam but I need socks that are fitted around the ankle so they don’t move down into my sneakers causing me to keep pulling them back up.

I’m glad that I at least tried to knit these socks. They weren’t a waste of time as it made me think more about my feet and what my needs are. I want to make things I am actually going to wear so its ok to try thing and find out they are not for you.

Cassiy

Sock Knitting – Top Down Class

Sock knitting has been on my to learn list for years and I have now finally done a class to learn how at Skein Sisters.

Ok so I am calling my finished piece a hoof and not a sock. It has all the basics of a sock with a few errors thrown in too. It was a 3 hour class and I really enjoyed it even though I had a few mishap hence why I ended up with a hoof not a sock. Everything was completely new to me, up until that morning I had not done magic looping correctly (was frantically learning on youtube that morning) There was 6 of us in the class which was a really nice number of people as the teacher could spend time with us all.

My ribbing was a little off whack. I have knitted ribbing before but not in the round. Instead of continuing the pattern around as I switched needles I somehow managed to stuff it up so on the sides instead of having a knit column and a purl column I have 2 knit columns next to each other on each side. Because I was a little bit slow we stopped my ribbing short so I could move on to the cuff section. This is what we ended up having to do through the entire class so I could get through learning everything in the short time frame, another girl must have been knitting at the same pace as me as we seemed to be up to the same number of stitches each time so she ended up with a hoof as well at the end.

On my cuff I accidentally increased each row. I’m proud of myself because I actually worked out how once it was pointed out that I had. Doing the magic loop I would sometimes get a random strand of yarn on my needles at the end of a row and I was knitting it as a stitch, I didn’t know that you didn’t knit that bit. When I practiced magic loop at the morning the same thing happened. I was also struggling on where the working yarn should be as you swap your needles around, should it go in front or behind the needles.

I am very proud of my heel flap and turn. It wasn’t as scary as I thought. I didn’t really have any issues here other than I was slower the teacher had me cheat and I decreased more to catch up. I had no problem picking up the stitches for the gusset. Once I got the pattern in the my head of where I needed to do the decreases it was very easy to remember. The best thing was I wasn’t increasing that extra stitch as I was magic looping as I was conscious of it and not knitting that stitch it. Once again we stopped the foot early so I could get on to the toe.

The toe I did struggle with a bit. My biggest problem was I hadn’t gotten the pattern in my head so I wasn’t remembering to decrease on both sides. Had I fully gotten my head around it I’m sure I would have been fine. My Kitchener stitch wasn’t too bad for a first attempt (well I think so) Turns out I was pulling it too tight. I was worried it would be too loose.

Sock knitting was something I knew once I tried it would be something I either loved or hated. I haven’t fallen in love with it yet but I don’t hate it. It is very different to what I have ever done but it isn’t as complicated as it seems. One thing that will determine if I develop a love for it or not is if I can even wear knitted socks. I get eczema on my feet and I don’t know how my feet will react to socks. My feet react to even cotton socks, on the train on the way home from the class I could feel my feet flare up due to the heat of my socks in my sneakers. I can knit with wool fibres and don’t get any reaction to that and I have worn my Virus shawl which is again wool without irritation but it will be interesting on how my feet go. I have yarn to try a pair for me so the sock jury is out until those get made and worn.

Cassiy