Tag Archives: knitting socks

Van socks up and running

I finished another pair of socks, the “van socks” I thought about in 2015started last spring, then re-started after dyeing one of the yarns, knocked out a few rows last summer, and finally set to finish up around the new year.

They sat for the last month or so just waiting for a bind-off and/or an end to the waffling I always go through nearing the end of a sock with yarn to spare – do I or don’t I increase a bit to go over the calf? But I don’t want to end mid-calf, and the amount of leftover yarn likely isn’t enough to reach the knee, so it is just a dumb loop I needlessly play.

The color of the socks isn’t really right in any of these photos – they’re mostly brown with a bit of orange, cranberry, and purple-brown.

And the walls are really yellow, but the floors aren’t, and my long johns are brown not purple, (but Rocco’s colors are almost right).

My socks look weird deflated, so I prefer to shoot them filled out, and I have no sock blockers or fake feet, so I have to make do.  And the light is weak indoors, and at the moment it’s icy outdoors, and let’s just get this done and move on to other things.

But the other thing at the moment are giant snowy ice bombs launching off the roof and slamming into the half-frozen hyacinths. It’s making Rocco equal parts scared and protective.

I can’t get a moment of free feet.

And I still can’t get the right color balance.

But they’re warm.

And done.

And the last for a bit – my sock drawer is officially full.

Edited to add:

Finally, the actual color – more muted.

And after a day, slouchy ankles too, but the ribbed part stays up, so note to self to reduce ankle stitches next time…

 

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Van socks in long term parking

My 1970s naval gazing continues…

I’ve been reading some fiction of the era…

van-book

This book in particular makes me think of lives I might have led if I were born a decade earlier and stuck with my circle of art friends – and the life feels more comfortable – there are missed telephone calls, visits when messages can’t be left, and letters written then received once feelings have already passed…

But it is not my life, nor anyone’s these days even if trying to shrug off social media and pocket phones as much as possible.

(And I have to admit, I picked up this book in the library booksale largely because of the woman draped in the beautiful textile on the cover…)

I started another pair of combo socks that I planned for a few months ago.

experiment-color balls

And I had to put them down.

van socks

They were starting to look way too much like 1970s vans.

And even though if I saw one, I’d be like “Whoa, check out that van!” in a somewhat admiring tone, I wouldn’t really like it, and I never did – they were creepy to me even back then.

Early in our relationship, N told me he sewed a van in a home ec class and I momentarily thought him a bit creepy for it too, but in the end more so endearing, though I can’t convince him to sew another now…

So they will sit for a bit – I don’t want to wear 1970s vans, but they make me smile thinking of N’s story, but then they creep me out…

The only other option for that offending yarn is to overdye it – it is alarmingly dominant in this project, and I could possibly get it to step back if I held it with a slightly larger yarn, but that still wouldn’t eradicate its browns with near neons and the smell of weed and coco butter and polyester with stale sweat wafting off of it…

spring socks

So I started another pair instead – with yarn made up of my favorite colors…

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It’s a froggy party

I’ve had to undo, rip, frog and re-knit too many things against my will in the last few months.

I made a mistake in one slow-going sweater that I thought I could live with because I am accepting and generous of flaws that make an item look handmade, but this one was big enough that it would be stupid to let something like that go in something that was still going to eat up a lot of my time, so now it is even slower-going and I’m just now back at the point where I was in the autumn.

The other problems in other projects were ones of poor focus, forgetfulness, inadequate lighting, and a desperate need for an updated eyeglasses prescription.

I rather like to unravel things, but the last few rows in a still-actively-knitting piece are quite nerve-wracking, and I hate putting the stitches back on the needles.

So after too much forced-frogging, I thought I’d cheer myself up with some empowered unraveling.

Remember this?

Baktus on rock

It wasn’t going anywhere – I hadn’t touched it for a couple of years and I knew it was developing problems – I spun the troublesome yarn much thicker toward the end, so I would have to go up a needle size or two when knitting it, which would have thrown the shape of the piece off too much (or I’d have to suffer through knitting something getting too stiff and loosing drape). So I’ll start again on a different shaped pattern that will allow the needles and gauge to grow (like a increasing-only triangle) or alternate balls of the thicker and thinner yarn throughout a piece. (I may need to wash the sand, dirt, and pine needles out of it first since it was knit mostly outdoors.)

An aside: I’m also currently not loving the way YOs look with handspun – a little too wonky – but I still love the lacy baktus, and love trucking away on my current one.

froggy-before

I had no regrets when I took it off the needles, so frogging was the right choice.

froggy-during

I love noodles from every continent, so yarn in this stage makes me hungry.

froggy after

And it is back to balls.

While mohair isn’t fun to frog, and I was seeking pleasure only, this wasn’t too bad after all, and I’ve got the satisfaction that I didn’t let it sit around too long. (Though it will be some time before I knit with it).

frog-fuzzy cakes

I can’t believe this was once an entire adult-sized sweater. The amount of yarn seems so tiny and weighs almost nothing – makes me wish I had the tolerance for knitting and wearing lace weight.

(Tolerance isn’t the right word for wearing – something more along the line of destructionlessness…)

frog-bag

And that partial sock became food for my latest sock.

frog-foot

(It did fit though, so at least I know I need 80 stitches for a sock on US 0 needles, not that I plan to make any any time soon…)

I usually prefer unraveling commercial sweaters in the warmer months so I can do it outside and reduce the fuzzy dust in the house. But with a few days at 70F in December, it was warmer outside than in (but now it is truly winter and cold as non-yarn balls).

frog-yellow

So I finished unraveling and washing a sweater of a good shade of yellow (wool with a pinch of nylon and a subtle tweed) that I’d like to turn into an open-front cardigan, much like an old commercial one I’ve got…

(And yes, I did start a Paulie too, but haven’t touched it in ages – I’m just not an enthusiastic fingering weight sweater knitter.)

froggy-round yellow

Though I’m not sure I have quite enough to make it as long and and roomy and butt-covering as I’d like – it’s a bit over 1,300 yards, so it should be enough for something mostly stockinette and without a generous collar. I’m still trying trying to figure out a good pattern for it – I don’t have the brain-power at the moment to significantly modify anything, so I’m looking for something top-down, probably on size US6 needles, but I still need to swatch so that could change.

And I also might change my mind about wanting it to button up or just flap around…

And I’ve got a bamboo yarn in my stash of a similar color that I was also planning on turning into a summery open front cardigan thingie… they’ll have to duke it out to see who comes first…

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A tiny experiment

While cleaning up the autumn yard messes recently, I gashed open my main knitting finger – the top joint just above the nail where the yarn slides over just before it becomes a stitch.

So I switched to spinning and sewing quilt hexes for a few days and pissed off my wrist again…

But none of these bodily harms could prevent me from continuing to unpack and organize our house…

but I really didn’t want to…

The main part of our house is smaller than the last, but has more storage space, sort of. We also have more storage furniture of sorts. But everything doesn’t have a space, and there’s not a space for everything… I’ve gotten rid of many things lately, and haven’t acquired much in the last few years, so I’m not sure what’s going on here…

And in the time that I procrastinated from further unpacking, and mulled over things to no viable solution, my finger healed enough to start fibering again.

The verdict is still out if I like the tiny circular needles, but I’m leaning heavily to not

sock experiment

I think my hands are too big for them and they get crampy pretty quickly, but they’re size US 0 and I’m not crazy about dpns in that size either. I thought the tiny circs would make knitting faster without the pause to change needles like with dpns, but the stitches don’t slide very well, so I’m actually spending more time shifting shoving them around. The greatest advantage however, is on the gusset – they eliminate the chance for laddering, so I would potentially use them just for this part of the sock and switch back to dpns for the rest. Oh, and another big minus for them is you can’t try the socks on as you go – a brief aside: I can’t understand why toe-up socks are lauded for their ability for being tried-on as you go when top-down are just as able?!?! And better, I think too – you can mush your heel around a bit and situate your foot in active poses to know exactly when to start the toe.

But I think the biggest problem is the size 0-ness of the tips. I don’t dislike the journey in making a sock, but I’m not joyful/delightfully challenged about it either – I like making plain socks because I make them when I can’t pay much attention and just want my hands to move, and then I get a bit of pleasure in seeing that bam! suddenly half the foot is done when I’m pissy about sitting around waiting somewhere and in turn, I got one quarter of a sock for my troubles.

These particular tiny needles are a tiny struggle with only a tiny result in a not-tiny amount of time.

experiment-balls

So a day late and a dollar short, I finally came to the realization that I should knit my skinnier sock yarn held double and get bigger, faster socks.

Perhaps I’ll get some bigger shorties to try out at some point, or magic loop some socks for shits and giggles.

(I also like that this will be a cheap pair of socks – the mostly white yarn came from a stall in the market in Sulmona – it was either 1 euro per ball, or for two; and the green was from the big box with a big coupon or big sale and acquired in my old days of stash building, or perhaps for an old now-dead desire for colorwork socks.)

experiment-swatch

And it also solves my problem of not loving certain colorways – blended together, almost anything is better.

And I wasn’t liking the too-white tiny sock above anyway – I don’t have a need for white socks in my life anymore.

I’m not sure when I did, and why I’ve had some in my drawer for too many years.

experiment-color balls

(The top ball is one of the greatest color disappointments in my online purchases – it was supposed to be a nice 1920-30s stripey combo in mustard, olive, dusty rose and medium brown – the medium brown is right, but the candy colors are disgusting… it was in my pile of things to overdye, but I’m thinking it might blend well with the burgundy, cranberry, orange on the bottom…)

Now I’ve just got to resist playing with all of the color combination possibilities and casting on for several pairs of socks before I finish the current in-progress ones…

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