FO: Plain old socks

Nothing like a pair of good, plain, stockingette socks. They are the kind that you can take in your bag with you anywhere, knit in cafes, bars, restaurants, on the bus, while having a conversations. After I finished these, I found that I was missing having something for my hands to do in all of these situations! I will need to start a new pair of plain socks ASAP… I was a bit silly and lost the bands for the wool that I used. I do remember that it is an NZ wool, bought in two separate 50g balls – on sale at a shop in Tauranga. A mix of wool and nylon, the usual for sock wool. It feels tough and a little scratchy on my feet, but I think that they will soften up with washing and wearing. 

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 I always knit my socks toe-up, and I cast on 26 stitches instead of the smaller number that the pattern (All the Math) suggests. I don’t like having flappy little pointy toes! I’ve knitted so many pairs of socks using this pattern now, that I hardly actually refer to it. Sometimes I just need a reminder when it comes to turning the heel to get the exact counts of stitches. I used a new (to me) kind of increase in these socks, as you can see in the picture above, and I am in love with it. It’s a Lifted Increase: LLI and RLI are the codes for the left and right leaning versions. It’s a bit complicated to get your head around, but once your head is all wrapped around it, it’s easy and makes a lovely looking increase. If you want to try it, there is a pretty clear tutorial here

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The heels are reinforced with a slip one knit one on all of the right side rows. It makes such a thick, cushy heel, and I haven’t had a pair like this wear through yet. I have, however, had a couple of holes in the bottom part of the heel, which is not reinforced. 

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I also changed the ribbing on the top of the cuff to a ‘knit through back loop, purl one’ style, because I think it looks a lot tidier than the regular K1P1 or K2P2 ribbing. I bind off using Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, as always. Image

 

Toasty. 

 

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Learning

Learning

I forgot to post this photo after I took it….

It’s my Mum, learning how to knit socks on DPNs, from the toe up. It’s her first ever pair of socks, and the first time knitting in the round, and she’s doing awesomely!

Just before I left to come back to Wellington, we did the short rows to turn the heel of one sock. She is knitting two socks at (nearly) one time, on two sets of DPNs. This is especially good for a learner, and anyone really, because it means that, for example, you don’t knit all of one sock, then come back to the toe of the other and go ‘How do I do that again?!’.

We chose some Opal self-patterning yarn, which is also fantastic, because it means that although the sock is plain stockingette, there is something interesting and exciting going on in terms of the pattern, too.

Good luck for the next heel turn, Mum!

Leftovers

Leftover sock yarn? Yes. Now, a pair of baby booties for my boyfriend’s sister’s soon-to-be new baby! I really have no idea how big babies’ feet are, so I hope that these fit her little girl by the time the weather gets colder in Iran.

 

 

 

 

I used the pattern Christine’s Stay-on Baby Booties (Ravelry link), but with a few modifications for using the sock wool. You can find the Ravelry project that I used for the sizing here (though I didn’t use the ribbed cuffs).

I also played with slipping some stitches to make things tidier/easier… I slipped stitches (purlwise) at the beginning of each row when working the garter stitch sole (to make it easier to pick the stitches up later). I also slipped the first stitch of each row (knit and purl) when working the top of the boot – I think it makes them tidier.

The yarn I used was TouchYarns Magic Merino Sock Yarn in the colourway Little Valley. The colours here are gorgeous, purple, pink and blue with a pop of bright limey green. I also just loooove knitting with the “magic” merino sock yarn, and equally looooooove the feel of it when I get to wear my socks! It feels like hot butter on my feet. There is always plenty of yarn leftover from the 100g balls, so these booties are the perfect little project to use some of it up!

For the tie, I twisted some strands of the wool together. Somehow I didn’t quite like the look of the i-cord that I see on a lot of these booties – it seems to overwhelm them! To twist the wool, cut a length 3 x longer than what you need. Fold it in half, and blutack one of the ends to a desk. Twist, twist, twist, until the wool starts to curl up into itself. Unstick the end from the desk, then carefully fold the length in half again. This time it will automatically twist up into itself, so you just have to smooth it out a bit. Tie both ends. Tada!

These were a super quick and easy project, and they turned out beautifully. I hope their new owner likes them and doesn’t kick them off! Now I need more friends to have babies, so that I can use up the rest of my leftover sock yarn!

Lacey Toes

My sister requested a pair of ‘white’ socks. Before now, I have been knitting LOTS of socks (I promise, even though I have not been updating my blog, my hands have been busy knitting!). I must say, that I don’t quite understand how people get obsessed with knitting socks, but somehow I have become addicted too! I think that it is because they are so nicely portable, I can take them travelling, on the train, to a cafe – wherever. By this stage I don’t really need a pattern (except for some parts of the heel) and the rhythm is soothing.

So anyway, on to these lovely socks. I chose the Mermaidia pattern through Ravelry, and it really is lovely. I got a bit mixed up on coming out of the heel (oh, I should point out that I always knit from the toe up now – I tried it for my second pair of socks, and I will never ever ever go back to top down!) because I substituted a slip stitch heel for the one on the pattern.

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I sent them off to New Zealand, where it is wintry and cold now, unlike Germany where the weather swings from tropical one week, to dull and rainy the next (it has done this fairly consistently for over a month now!). However, the weather is always a bit too warm for toasty feet. I sent my mum and my sister a pile of hand knitted socks to see them through the winter, with the added benefit that now I positively NEED to knit another pile to keep my feet warm for the coming European winter.

Good to be back. I will try to update more often than once a year now!

Tastes and Toes

I’ve recently discovered the most amazing website.  I don’t know if you’ve heard the term “Food Porn”, but this site is definitely full of it.  It’s called TasteSpotting and collects photos and descriptions of food sent in by people (and edited by humans), which you can then click on to get the recipe via a blog or something.  It’s so delicious.  I haven’t been able to stop looking at it for the last two days, but luckily this turned out to be productive, because last night’s dinner (and today’s lunch – can’t wait!) came out of it!  This is my first ever risotto (I won’t count being the designated stirrer of my friend’s lovely mushroom risotto).  It’s not a hard recipe, but not one you’d want to cook in summertime, as it involves a lot of standing at the stove and stirring.

 

Lemon Risotto with Peas and Leeks from Kitchen Grrrls.

It’s also the first time I’ve cooked leeks.  I think they are nice because they give bulk and nutrition, and feel like onions, but don’t have a super distinct flavour, so they let the lemon flavour of the risotto come through.

 

Here is the finished product:

I have to say, risotto doesn’t photograph very well…  But it tastes delicious!  I can’t wait for my lunch!

Now for the toes part:

If you’re a sock knitter, you may know what that is.  That is a sock being knitted from the toe up.  I’m pretty darn excited about this, as my boyfriend the Pilot will attest to – I keep interrupting whatever he is doing to point and say “It’s a toe!  It’s a toe!”.  I’m pretty sure he understands how exciting it is… Hmm..

 

Anyway, after numerous failed attempts at various ways of casting on, I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On, which is indeed magic.  I tried two other ways, the Short Row Cast-On and the “Easy” Toe (not so easy for me), and the Magic Cast-On was definitely the easiest way to do it for me.

 

I decided to knit these socks toe up because Alice told me that the wool knits quite tightly, and also I want to use all of it!  I love the idea of toe up socks because of that – when I was knitting my last pair I just kept stressing out that I would run out of wool just before my toes or something!  So this method, because it starts right at the end of the toe means that I can keep increasing until the sock seems big enough around for me.

 

Right, back to work.

 

Upcoming Wooly Projects

Last night was the first night in a long time that I had no knitting projects on the go (well, I do have one, but it’s a secret project and I can’t knit it when a certain someone is around!).  So it’s definitely time to start on my next projects.  The other day at the Waipuna Hospice shop, I found the most gorgeous tea pot for $6.  It’s a lovely lemony yellow colour, and it’s also very large – I’d say at least tea for three!  It has a strainer inside it (like a little net basket) so it’s easy to make “real tea”.  The only thing it needs is a cosy to keep it nice and warm…

 

I’m thinking of making a tea cosy like Alice’s Spring Explosion one, I think it would go wonderfully with the bright yellow! I’ll have to go through my wool stash and find some colours for flowers.  Then there is just the small matter of learning how to crochet…

But I am also going to start another pair of socks (I can’t just have one pair, because what would I do when my other socks are in the wash?!?).  I have this loooooovely Magic Merino For Socks By Touch Yarns for my next pair.  It feels soooo soft and warm, I can’t wait for it to be on my feet…

It’s 80% merino wool with 20% nylon thrown in for good measure, and is made here in New Zealand, which is brilliant.  The shade is Remarkables, and it’s actually a little more pinky purple and darker than the photograph shows, I still have to work on getting my exposures right…

Anyway, as you can see I have balled it up (I split it into two parts, making sure they were even by weighing them on the kitchen scales!).  I don’t have a yarn winder, but I did have help:

This is Paris – she’s feeling a little camera shy, probably because I kept telling her off for messing with my wool!  In the end she sat very patiently just watching the yarn appear from the inside of the ball as I wound it up.  She was transfixed!  Maybe I will get a better picture of her later – she likes anything I do related to Wool or Spoons!

There is one more project I want to start (once I have finished the secret project!), but I’ll tell you about that later so I can put up some photos of the ingredients (6 balls of ingredients!).

Here are my socks…

Here are my socks.   The pattern I used is roughly from the Big Book of Socks, with some alterations.  I increased the number of stitches to cast on from 60 to 64, since I was using smaller needles.  I also quit using the pattern once I got down to decreasing for the toes, because it didn’t make sense to me (see my socks’ soles for why).

Here are my socks, touched by a rainbow as they are drying themselves by the fire.  They are 64 stitches around, and they fit me perfectly once they had been washed, blocked and dried.

Here are my socks’ stripes.  They are knitted in a 2 ply yarn that I bought aaaages ago on sale from Spotlight.  I’ll check the brand next time I am there, but I have lost the label, unfortunately.  My socks are pretty in pink and purple.

Here are my socks’ heels.  They are knitted in the Flap and Gusset style, and are reinforced by doing S1, K1 across the flap.

Here are my socks’ soles.  They are enjoying the sunset.  The pattern said to knit for 5 inches before starting to decrease for the heel, but my feet are 10 inches long, and that would have made some mighty tight socks.  So I knitted until the sole of the socks reached just beyond my little toe.  See below for why I shouldn’t have knitted quite so far.

 

Here are my socks’ toes.  They are knitted in the Star Toe style, which looks a little funny on my foot, but I don’t mind.  I wanted to do a Star Toe, because the name reminded me of a Star Nosed Mole.   I also did a Kitchener Stitch on the toe (yay!) thanks to help from this video, which Alice recommended in her post.   Star Toes don’t usually have a Kitchener Stitch, they just gather up the last eight stitches, but I realised that if I knitted down to eight stitches, my socks would be too long for my feet.

Here are my socks.

Socks Set Up

I’m neeeeeearly there!  Every night this week, and most of Saturday I have been working on my very first pair of socks, and I’m nearly there!  I shall have some photos of the finished product for you soon, doing their job keeping my toes nice and warm (and just in time too, it’s getting chilly here!).  But for now, here is a work in progress photo:

As you can see, I have my set up set up…  2 socks on the go, my pattern at the ready, notebook and pen for recording details, crochet hook for catching dropped stitches, laptop with a tutorial of how to pick up the slipped stitches along the gusset (you can find it here, I recommend it!), my iPod with a nifty little row counting application, and of course, a cup of tea…

Hopefully I’ll find some time for knitting tonight, and have a picture of the finished objects soon!  I can’t wait to have them on my feet!