Friday, December 30, 2016

Vintage Christmas Socks

These were my supposed to be my Christmas socks, but I didn't finish them until several days after Christmas, which was totally fine since I have been wearing running shorts and t-shirts this week.  But when it get's cold, these will definitely get some wear.

If they look wonky, it's because I hadn't actually blocked them yet when I took the photos, so the ladder where my needles changed is still pretty obvious.  But, people!  I knit 12 pair before the end of the year!

They were my last combination of sock techniques to want to try for the BoxoSox KAL.  And, had I knit them cuff-down, they'd be my best fitting pair.  But, I have to learn somehow.

And what I've learned with this pair is that I like cuff-down socks better.  The cuff looks neat whether I'm wearing them or not.  I always wondered why anyone would prefer cuff-down when you can try them on as you go easier when working toe-up.  Well, there you go- that's the reason.

I am spitting out this post as quickly as possible before my son's soccer game.  So, I'll include details about this pair, for now.  Later, though, I'm going to post about my new-found personal sock recipe.  And that's more for me than you, unless you're interested.

Details: Again with the Smooth Operator Sock pattern, by Susan B. Anderson.  I think it will be my constant for stockinette socks from here on out.

I used size 0 Karbonz and Herbstblatt Regina's Oak Sock base in the Vintage Christmas Ornaments colorway.  And look at how correct those colors are.

I made this wreath of vintage-like ornaments, and a few truly vintage ones, a few Christmases ago and Regina's yarn fits right in.

I adored the colors in this yarn.  Stockinette was certainly a good way to show them off.  I do regret my not so gorgeous toe-up cuff, but oh, well.

I used Kitchener stitch to close both toes and heels for this pair and did the no-gap trick again.

I also made them exactly the same length as my Ragnar socks, because I think that's the most comfortable size for me.   Of course, the whole reason I cast on for toe-up was to make them really long, but I felt I was running out of time and probably would wear them more if they were shorter.  I am anxious to see how Cassondra, of Rizza Knits, will work her increases for knee socks.  I know I'll want to try it one day.  One day far in the future.  Because, folks, I'm tired of socks.

(more on ravelry, kollabora, instagram, and flickr)

Shield Maiden Socks

As I watched the first episode of the new season of Vikings, Season 5, I decided to cast on Herbstblatt Regina's Ragnar colorway for my 11th pair of sock for the year.

I'm sure the Ragnar colorway is meant to reflect Ragnar's shield design, not blood and guts, but it cracks me up to knit a pair of socks named after a Viking carrying a dripping axe.

(image via Pinterest)

So, are you guys keeping up with Vikings?  For some reason, I feel a little less into it this season.  It felt a little more "real" when I watched the first few seasons, then something changed.  I still like it, but it definitely feels like tv to me.   I find that I say that a lot as I get a few seasons into any series.   I began to wonder if I was just spoiled to so many entertainment choices.

Now I'm thinking it is the fact that I usually watch the first season or two, after a show is established, on netflix or On-Demand, with little commercial interruption.  When I begin to watch current seasons on network tv, with a bazillion commercials every ten minutes, it drains any fantasy-like mood the show had tried to build up ten minutes prior.  Anyway, I am still very interested to see what will become of Ivar, Ragnar, and Rollo this season.  Also, my husband likes to watch this show with me, so that's a plus.  Of course, he doesn't mind watching any of "my shows."  He even got into the original Gilmore Girls series.  The only thing he has no interest in is re-watching The Closer  (which I have watched all the way through until the last two seasons many times) with me and knitting podcasts.  (He does take a peek at Bobbin occasionally- because who can resist?)

This yarn is from Herbstblatt Regina's Vikings colorways.  I'm thinking I have them all.

Floki's colorway, which I'd like to use for a Sockhead Hat:

Rollo's, which will probably be socks:

and Lagertha's, which I'd like to combine with Regina's Wisdom colorway for a two-color shawl.  I think Regina did a good job reproducing Lagertha's shield colors, too.

(image via Pinterest)

You know how I said I prefer sport weight yarn for socks?  Well, I've found Regina's Oak sock base  a close second.  It's fingering weight, but feels plump in my hands and comfortable to wear.

I also like the almost striping effect of a "half and half" skein.

Details:  I used US size 0 Karbonz and Herbstblatt Regina's Oak Sock base in the Ragnar colorway to knit these Smooth Operator Socks, two at a time.

These socks are also my third attempt at Susan B. Anderson's Smooth Operator sock pattern.  Each time I knit it, I try a different tweak, most of which are included in the pattern as options.  This time around I worked cuff-down, afterthought heels, and the no-Kitchener toe closure.

I don't think it was because of the closure, but instead because I closed them in a dark room, that I ended up dropping a stitch that wasn't noticed until after blocking... in both socks... grr.

I also finally tried the no-gap heel tip that I've heard so many knitters rave about (added in a pattern update) and they were totally right! There are no gaps, no weird weaving in an end to make a gap less apparent.  This will be my new heel of choice.

Combine the yarn, the familiarity of the pattern, and the perfect fit of cuff-down socks and these are some of my best fitting socks to date.   I think I find a lower cuff easier to wear, too.
These are such a great fit and so good looking, I'm going to use the same pattern for my last pair of socks for the year, only knit them toe up.

(image via Pinterest)

(more on ravelry, kollabora, instagram, and flickr)

I'm posting my 12th pair later today, too. Whew!  

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Speckled Space Socks

I finished this pair of Speckled Space Socks that make me think of Viper Pilots' Wings about a week ago, then immediately cast on for pairs 11 and 12.  On a deadline here for Box o Sox.  So let me tell you about them, because I know all of the internet can't wait to read about a pair of socks.

I used the Speckled Space Socks pattern by Amanda Stephens.  She made the pattern for colorful, speckled yarn.  It's not too busy, but busy enough.  And I think it looks good with the yarn I chose.  However, I think it would be killer with a semi-solid yarn.  To get an idea of how that would look, check out Candace's socks.

Don't they show off the stitch pattern much better.  You can see in the photo below how this colorway would knit up in stockinette.  Nice. Mine are fine, as is.  I wanted to use this exact skein in the Stellar colorway with a stitch pattern that was also space themed for the Socks in Space KAL.  Goal achieved.

I really love all of these bright speckles.  It's Red Sock Blue Sock Yarn's discontinued Basic Sock base.  I think I bought it over a year ago, but have been holding onto it for something special.  Though it knit up nicely, I do prefer their new Comfort Sock base, which I used for my Wildflowers and Honeycomb socks.  It's a little fuller and maybe more elastic.  Not really sure on that since I was knitting a cabled pattern on size 0 needles.  It's possible they're not as squishy because I yanked the heck out of my yarn.

I think sometimes the topics of my blog posts sound like product placement, a not-so-lucrative form of product placement.  I can't help but tell what I love, and I love Red Sock Blue Sock Yarn.  I try to branch out and try yarns from all the dyers I follow on instagram, an ever-growing number, but I still have a special place in my heart for some.  RSBSY is one of those.  They're having a big 20% off sale today only and I am restraining myself.  Sigh.  I have spent all my free cash on Christmas and need to exercise self-control.  My self-control basically involves waiting a couple of weeks until my birthday.

This was a toe up pattern, which leaves me with a less neat cuff.  What's the secret, friends?  How can I bind off with a stretchy bind off that doesn't leave me with a stretched out, floppy cuff.  A regular ribbed bind-off isn't stretchy enough.  I mean, it's not bad now, but I'm thinking it might be really loose eventually.  Whereas, I love my cuff-down cuffs.  They're tidy looking, whether I am wearing them or not.  Is this a common issue?

Okay, so details:  I used US size 0 Karbonz and the discontinued Basic Sock yarn from RSBSY to knit one- at-a-time, toe-up socks.  I cast on for the 56 stitch size and knit about 6.5" before starting the gussets.  I repeated the stitch pattern a total of 5.5 times.

These were knit along with the Socks in Space KAL, hosted by Candace of the Pinfeathers and Purls Podcast and Robyn and Merry from the Cherry Purls Podcast (which I haven't seen yet).  Here are some more finished pairs on Ravelry.

They're also pair number 10 for my #boxosoxkal, a hashtag that feels more sinister ever time I type it.

(more on ravelry, kollabora, instagram, and flickr)

Here's my other post about these socks.

Friday, December 23, 2016

So Many Socks

I fought the urge to add a blech to the post title because I wouldn't want to make it seem as though there was anything wrong with the pattern or yarn I used.  They are completely perfect, really.  I love Gynx Yarns self-striping.  She is a self-striping sensei as far as I'm concerned and Susan B. Anderson is the  da Vinci of sock design.  I had the best of tools to work with here, but..yeah, it's just the whole tired of socks thing.

Let me tell you all about them because everything I have to say is very positive.

First up, I think sport weight is my sock yarn weight of choice.  Knitting on this pair of socks is when I realized the weight, my tension, and tiny needles all sync up better than ever.  The planets aligned, and I knit the perfect pair.

I also know what everyone is talking about when they say that Karbonz have an uneven needle tip that pulls at the stitches as you adjust them across the needles, but I don't really care.  I like the drag of the shaft that helps tighten up my loose tension too much to try another type of needle right now.  It also doesn't seems to happen on my other Karbonz needles, just 0s and 1s.

The Smooth Operator pattern is incredible.  This is my second time to knit it and I will be going back to it again and again.  I do want to try the method she added in the addendum to the pattern for knitting afterthought heels with even less of a gap.  (Edit: I have tried the gap-less method and will post about it soon.)  But I've had pretty good success with the method in the first part of the pattern.  In fact, they are the neatest heels I've ever done.

Here's the deets:  I used size US 0 needles and  Gynx Yarns' Strong Sport in her Gynx's Palette colorway.   I love her Strong Sport base for socks.  The darker, jewel-toned colors really are perfect for a namesake colorway.

I knit these two-at-a-time in the magic loop method.  It's my second time to cast on for two-at-a-time properly, instead of knitting the beginning of each sock, then placing them on the same long circular.  I have to say, doing adult things feels nice.

For this pair I planned ahead and, after winding up two balls that started at the same point in the the striping pattern, I removed enough for matching, self-striping heels from each.  (I believe I figured I'd need about 7 grams of contrasting yarn for just the heels, so I used my yarn scale to measure out 10 grams for each, just in case.)  I love the way they look!

And, now that I've knit about 12 pairs of socks, all of the cast on variations aren't as fiddly as they once were.  I even knit a little on these in a movie.  But I think it was Arrival, and that movie was incredible, so I tucked the knitting away almost as soon as it started.

Guys, I've got two more finished pairs to post about and am working on the last pair in a Christmas colorway for my Box o Sox!  So... many... socks...

I knit these while inhaling tea from a recent David's Teas order and marathoning This is Us, which means I cried quite a bit while knitting them.

What are you last minute marathoning/ knitting/ sobbing over before Christmas, friends?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Fireside Pullover and Almost Camping

Remember how I dealt with envy when reading Within?  Well, I now have part of the makings of an outdoorsy, campfire, cozy story of my own.  This is Jane Richmond's Fireside Pullover.  Love!

Once I had my sweater finished, I planned to wear it on a joint camping trip with my daughter and son-in-law, but severe thunderstorms put an end to that plan.  I was almost there!

Honestly, we planned to bring both of our dogs and a makeshift pen for when they aren't in the Pop-up or on the leash, so it may have been for the best that we stay home and chilled.  We've never brought our dogs camping and I'm sure it would be chaotic.  The new one, our Big Ethel, is a handful.  I just finished giving her an emergency bath because she ran and slid underneath the garage door as it was almost closed, ran to the neighbors drainage ditch and got into a dead possum, at least that's what I think it was.  So, I know what I'm saying when I say that new things aren't easy with the dogs in tow.  All talk of possum corpses aside, isn't this a lovely sweater?

So I've been knitting with the Within Knits group on Ravelry and Instagram and getting tons of inspiration.  When I saw Kelly's Fireside in her podcast, my resolve not to buy yarn until my birthday weakened and I bought some Cascade Eco in a Craftsy sale.  I already had one skein at home, so it was a really affordable knit, making a yarn purchase a wise thing... I said to myself as I clicked away with glee.  Then, I decided to get a few more to knit a Hudson shawl for my grandmother... and one for me.  So, not the beacon of frugality I intend to be, but can you blame me?  These patterns!!

Details:  I used size US 6 circulars to knit the 34" sweater.  I'm a 35" bust , so this had a bit of negative ease, like the model's in the book.  After looking at all of the finished versions, this was the fit I preferred.

The construction is unpredictable.  Knitting the collar made me think of the first time I turned a heel on a sock.  It was one thing, then suddenly it was another- like magic.  Really cool.

Being bulky, it knit up super fast.  I could've knit it in a week, easily.  I didn't , because of Christmas knitting and socks, socks, socks, but I could've.

I wasn't sure if I'd like it in a dark brown, but I already had that one skein in this color, so I got two more to go with it.  As I worked, I could see that the rib is chunky enough to be clear in any color of yarn.  Plus, if I'm going to knit in a dark color, I'd prefer it be a quick, interesting knit.

Strangely enough, I didn't use the third skein at all.

I love Cascade Eco.  I don't know if it's the most natural, fair trade yarn out there.  I'm not as knowledgable about those things as I'd like to be.  However, I do know that it's not been through the superwash process, is undyed, smells sheepy, and comes from Peru, a country dear to my heart, (Some of my mission photos are herehere and here.  I haven't posted on it much, but it's one of the best things I've ever been a part of.)

Eco Wool is also the kind of natural wool anyone can afford to knit with.  There is something to be said for a company that produces yarn within everyone's means.

So, I've already finished a Hudson, but would like to make another one for myself.  Hopefully I'll get some photos this weekend.  Then, I want to knit a Timber cardiganin stash yarn.  Have you guys queued up anything from Within?  Or maybe you've finished something.  Please link to it in your comment.  I'd love to see it!

Oh, and I just saw that the Grocery Girls are doing a Jane Richmond and Shannon Cook-themed knit-along, the BFF KAL, at the beginning of the year.  Guys, you should totally join.

My other post on this knit is here.