FO: Paper Moon Socks

I’ve been on a finishing kick lately, churning out the knits like crazy! I just haven’t been as good at blogging about those finished knits. First up in the queue, my Paper Moon Socks, designed by AnneLena Mattison last year for Knitty.

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I cast on for the first sock in the airport on the way to Paris, and worked fairly steady on this sock during my vacation. I will always think of rainy Paris evenings spent in a hotel room with my friend Erin, watching DanceNationTV (it’s a REAL THING!) and listening to the babble of voices from the street below when I wear these socks.

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I knit the entire second sock in two days of a work thing. So that should tell you how quick and easy this pattern is. These socks were my first adventure with a toe-up gusset and heel flap sock, and I really liked the way the heels turned out. Not that I have any photos of them. That would be too sensical.

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The pattern is easy to customize, both in terms of width (even though it comes with three patterns—I knit the smallest width) and length (again, three options for length, and I ended up knitting the middle number of repeats—I have long feet, but they’re fairly average-to-slightly-narrow for width). Not too shabby for a free pattern, but then, Knitty is pretty stellar.

The only “problem” I had with this pattern is that the heel flap instructions state that you should knit the heel flap in the ribbing pattern as established… with no ribbing pattern having been established. So I just worked an eye of partridge heel flap, which is my go-to stitch for heel flaps if a pattern is not otherwise stated. Sure, I could have figured out the ribbing bit, but whatever.

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Confession: I still haven’t woven in the ends of these. I’m a rebel.

FO: Skew socks

Hey, hey, I actually finished something this month!

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Too bad they don’t actually fit my feet all that well and so are going to live with someone else who has slightly shorter feet than me. Skew (from Knitty Winter 2009) is toe up and incredibly clever, but I think perhaps, when knitting this, one should knit the foot just a hair longer than you normally would. I stopped knitting the foot at the point where I stop knitting for most toe-up socks, but the rather genius heel shaping of this pattern I think worked against me in this instance.

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(It’s rather difficult to photograph one’s heels.)

I love this yarn and I think it worked so well in this pattern and I would knit this all over again with a slightly longer foot.

(This FO post is short and sweet because my brain is done for this evening after meeting two deadlines, and I have a date with a waffle truck and a bottle of Scotch. If you want any more info about this FO, ask away in the comments, I’ll respond when I’ve regained coherency.)

EJB pointed out that I forgot to tell you about the yarn, which is the lovely Roman Hills Slope base, and the colorway is “Thar be Dragons.” The yarn is delicious and has a very subtle sheen to it.

FO: Cusp

My knitting mojo is sort of fitful this month. I’ve got some small baby-oriented projects to work on that are just dragging. They’re for babies. Teacup humans, if you will. These things should not take nearly as long as they are. But I opted to read a book this weekend instead of knit in my spare time (there was some knitting, and then some ripping, because said knitting was not the right size, which could be contributing to my lack of enthusiasm).

Last month, though, I was all about the finishing things, and simply didn’t have time to post about some of the finished things. Like my Cusp socks, knit for the Apothecary Yarns KAL on Ravelry.

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This was my first time using Apothecary Yarns. I’d been staring at their yarns longingly, and then they came out with the “Pick Your Poison” line, and I just loved all of them. I settled on three—Arsenic, Hemlock, and Strychnine, which is what I used for these socks. This base, their Superwash Merino Sock, is delightful to knit with and very comfortable to wear. The ply is nice, and really helped the stitches stand out in this pattern.

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As with all Cookie A patterns, it’s really best if you, you know, read the instructions and follow the chart the first time through. I neglected to do that on the first sock, so there are some bumps that shouldn’t be there. However, I was totally locked into the second sock and did most of it from memory, so from this we can deduce that one can learn from doing something while watching TV, one just may have to screw up a bit at first.

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I enjoy the wide, swirling stripes, and having knit this pair of socks makes me itchy to knit the other skeins I have (I’ve lined up Hemlock with In and Out and Arsenic with Bex, both Cookie A patterns, and Sugar Plums with Fiori Di Zucca), but I really really really need to get some other projects of the needles first. Sigh.

Almost there!

Our Amy Christoffers Knitalong is about to start. The official cast on date is February 1, and we’ll go with whatever time zone you’re in, so as long as it’s sometime after 12:01 AM in your country, you can get knitting! Though I suggest sleeping, myself.

If you’re interested in joining, or already joined in via the previous blog post, please let me know if I may link to your blog, so we can have a running tally of everyone’s progress. Also, we do have a good discussion going on in the Sweater Odyssey Amy Christoffers Knitalong thread on Ravelry, so feel free to join in there!

I swatched for my Larch cardigan, and washed my swatch, though I didn’t block it much at all. Since there’s no lace pattern or anything that needs to open up, I decided to simply let the swatch dry and see how the yarn changed as a result of a simple dip in water. Well… it didn’t change at all. I don’t know what that means, but as my stitch gauge is really very close to the suggested gauge (24 stitches instead of 23 stitches), I think I’m just going to go with it. My row gauge a bit more off, 31 stitches instead of 29 stitches, but in this particular pattern, row gauge is a little less important than in others.

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In the meantime, I’ve been working on my stripey socks, and I’ve discovered that I kind of hate knitting socks two at a time. While the appeal of knitting socks simultaneously is certainly present, the actual process becomes, for me, an exercise if tedium and fussiness. And since I’m planning to knit these until I run out of yarn, I’m afraid that the socks will become heavy on the single cable, as the sock that’s “on-deck” weighs down the entire cable while I’m trying to knit the other.

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I tested out knitting two at a time on two-circular needles. I’d ever tried the two-circular method before, but here’s to adventure and learning and all that. This method was distributing the weight a little more evenly, but it’s fussy in a different way.

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So as of last night I split the socks onto two different circular needles and am just busy working away on one sock at a time. If the process isn’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

Sock Status Sunday: DONE!

Putting my Chambourcin on hold to block and try on the body meant I had a lot of free time on Wednesday evening. Free time plus a disc of Criminal Minds season 6 meant a second finished sock for a complete pair of Nutkins.

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As I mentioned last Sunday, I opted to mirror the pattern on the second sock, and I’m really happy with that decision.

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Another easy pattern to knit, I didn’t realize that the patterning would make the socks twist like crazy. They’re relatively straight in the photographs, but that’s because I had to fight with them every time I shifted positions. I only mention this so that if you plan on knitting this pattern and then wearing them with a skirt or short/pegged pants, this might be something that drives you crazy.

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I love the yarn; this is the first time I’ve knit with any Madelinetosh yarn, I think, and I’m glad that I have some more in my stash. I’m sad that the color (Skinnamarink) was a limited edition, as I would totally buy more. The way the colors shift and play together in the pattern is so pretty.

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After I finished these, I started working on two different baby projects, so hopefully there will be some more FOs to share soon. And now I’m off to rip back a sweater front. Wish me luck!

Book Review: The Knitter’s Book of Socks

If you’ve been around this blog for longer than a minute, you’ve probably noticed that I enjoy knitting socks. Unlike Allyson. And I also really like yarn (Allyson does too, and it’s quite likely that you do too; if not, I’m a bit curious as to why you’re at a knitting blog, but welcome nonetheless). So I really, really like Clara Parkes’s new book, The Knitter’s Book of Socks.

Knitter's Book of Socks Clara Parks sock knittingIf you’ve read either of Clara’s first books, The Knitter’s Book of Yarn or The Knitter’s Book of Wool, you know the level of detail to which Clara describes yarn in all it’s glory. The Knitter’s Book of Socks begins in much the same way as The Knitter’s Book of Yarn, by discussing the different types of fibers, twists, and constructions that make up a skein of yarn. The difference in this book, obviously, is that it relates all of that information specifically to the knitting of socks. This should be a go-to guide for anyone interested in learning about the best yarn for sock knitting, as well as anyone with aspirations to design sock patterns.

And of course, there are the patterns. Clara contributes a pattern herself (and you can download her Stepping Stones socks, worked in a DK yarn, for free at Knitter’s Review), and enlists Cookie A, Cat Bordhi, Sivia Harding, Nancy Bush, Jared Flood, and more to contribute patterns to the book. This is a fantastic book to add to anyone’s sock book collection, whether you consider yourself a sock novice or master sock knitter.

Sock Status Sunday

I have finished the first of my Nutkins! I really like the way the colors play in the patterning—almost like an oil slick.

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I had a little trouble with my SSKs, in that I kept getting ladders between the last knit stitch and the SSK stitch. So I did some finagling and came up with a solution. I worked an SKP to get that left-leaning decrease, and it seemed to snug up the ladders between stitches pretty well. Hopefully once they’re blocked, the yarn will fill in some of the holes.

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There’s not really too much to be said for one sock on its own, is there?