Monday, June 18, 2007

a sock-filled monday

What is it about socks? First, Jessica sent me some Cascade 220 sock yarn in the mail. Next, I went to my local yarn store and discovered a whole new section of sock yarn, including some Scheepjes. The very next day I found myself checking out both Knitting on the Road and Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush from the library. At that point there was no hope for me.
The Cascade 220 sock yarn looks very misleading. Each ball is oly about the size of a kiwi, but I was able to get a sock out of each ball, with enough left over to add maybe two inches of ribbing to another pair of socks. When purchased, the yarn looks horrible - twice the diameter of sock yarn, and really nubbly. As you knit, however, your tension will stretch the yarn so that it becomes the typical weight, and is very smooth in the sock. Some people hate having to tension the yarn to make it do this, so if you're thinking of trying it out you might want to only buy one ball to experiment with. I didn't find it a problem, but it did hurt my hand more than knitting with wool.

I chose Child's First Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks. This was my first time knitting a Nancy Bush pattern, and wow - absolutely the best sock pattern I have ever followed. I actually don't think I changed anything in the pattern, which is a first for me. If I were to knit these again, I would, however, probably change the heel flap. I don't think it covers enough of the back of the heel in order to help with wear and tear, but who knows, I could be wrong.
The stitch pattern looks complicated, but once you get going, it's very easy to follow. I was expecting charts and was a little surprised to see that the pattern was only written out, but it's only 10 rows, so if you really want a chart it would not be a big deal to do it yourself. I found it was intuitive enough that after one repeat, I didn't need to even look at the instructions, much less chart them out.

And the Scheepjes...oh Lord, the Scheepjes. This is the best sock yarn I think I have ever used in my life. It's very easy to knit, frogs like a champ (trust me), becomes even softer after being washed, and blooms nicely while keeping its stitch definition. It's also one of the cheaper sock yarns that I've seen, which is always nice, and it comes in plenty of solid colors. I've never really gotten behind the whole variegated sock yarn thing.

I used the New England pattern from Knitting on the Road. For some reason, it took me about twice as long to knit these than it usually does, but it was well worth it. It's funny, because if you were to ask me to describe a sock based on New England I would never have come up with this, but after it was completed I realized that it is exactly like my perceptions of New England. The traditional, yet slightly antiqued quality of the off-white; the slight fussiness of the lace ribbing down the sides; the strong, simple, yet graceful diamonds down the front. I just love them.

New England sock tries to escape into a lobster trap from Massachusetts

And finally, a bit of a cheat. I realized that I'd never really photographed the Buds and Blossoms socks by Katherine Misegades, so I took some quick pictures. The pattern is from a booklet I bought at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival, called The Tongue River Farm Sock Collection. All of the patterns use stranded colorwork and are really lovely. I have plans to knit all of them some day, but will probably hold off until the weather cools down.

I used some of the last bits of the cranberry yarn from the Crichton cardigan, along with some of the white (the white will never die - I still have a bag full of it). I followed the pattern exactly, since this was the first time for me doing this type of heel. As far as I know, Katherine Misegades invented it, which is pretty cool - I certainly couldn't have done it! It fits nicely on the foot, but for me it was so hard to execute that I think I might try a different heel on the next pair of socks I make from this booklet. Katherine was so nice and helpful in her emails to me that I feel bad after giving up after just one pair, but believe me, short rows are just not my friend. They really do flow into the pattern nicely, though.

If you do knit these socks, don't be shocked when you've finished. They look really strange when laid flat - the short row heel seems to not even exist. It all works out once they're on your foot, I promise.

Stay tuned for an update on my Poetry in Stitches cardigan. Don't worry, it's not frogged, nor does it need to be - I'm just mad because it turns out that sweaters go really slowly when they're knit with a gauge of nearly 9 stitches per inch. Who would have thought?

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Blogger Rebekkah said...

Oh, beauteous socks!

The colorwork sock heel may be simliar to the Mamluke one. Quite deceiving, but pretty neat.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

The Child's Sock in Shell Pattern and New England are my two most favorite sock patterns. Yours all came out beautifully.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Carrie K said...

I'll have to check out Scheepjes, I'm not too fond of variegated yarn either.

Those socks all look so tempting! Must. Knit. More. Socks......

2:23 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Such eye candy!

6:18 AM  
Anonymous Beth S. said...

Fabulous socks, all of them! But especially the New Englands. I really love that pattern. :-)

11:13 AM  
Blogger rebecca said...

Hot damn, you made a pair from the Tongue River book. They look great!

7:53 PM  

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