Sunday, August 30, 2015

Year of Projects 5: Week 9

KNIT. SOCK. LOVE. : BFF • Clandestine • Cusp • German Stockings • Gothic Spire • Hedera • In and Out • Lissajous • Marilinda • Mona • Monkey • Pointelle • Rhombus • Sake • Stalagmite • Stricken • Thelonious • Twisted Flower • Wedge

COOKIE A SOCK CLUB: June #1 • June #2 • August #1 • August #2 • October #1 • October #2 • December #1 • December #2

VANILLA SOCKS FOR CHARITY: July • August • September • October • November • December • January • February • March • April • May • June

This week's good news is that both my July and August Vanilla Socks for Charity are done - and each got their own post earlier this week. Which leaves us the second pattern from the August shipment of the Cookie A sock club to discuss...

... Darjeeling Socks. Well, I knew when I saw the pattern photos that the fit of these socks would be a challenge - they look ill-fitting, stretched in spots and baggy in others, even in those photos. The designer comments:

"The pattern on these socks biases a great deal and causes the sock to pull in horizontally, making for a tight fit. Try on for fit after each repeat. Use a larger size needle on the leg and transition to smaller needles on the foot if needed. The largest size is intentionally shorter for yarn usage and fit."

I tried going up a size but the large was ridiculously baggy. So I tried going up a needle size or two, but the stitching was loose and flimsy looking. So finally I decided to go with stretchy yarn - CoBaSi - with the hope that would help. I swatched with this a couple of different ways and found that working the YOs tbl (which I prefer to close up the holes) actually helped to reduce the puffiness in the leaf pattern and helped to reduce the biasing. Additionally I worked the ribbed cuff at the larger size and made it longer with the goal of reducing the stretch and distortion of the ribbing. I also decided to add stitches with lifted increases as the pattern approaches the section that pulls tight, and then decrease those added stitches back out as the pattern relaxes. And finally I decided to work the first half of the repeat twice rather than mirroring it around the leg hoping to mitigate the biasing still further.

As a result I have a finished pair of socks that I can put on and, with some pulling, twisting and tugging, I can make them look nice in a photo or two but the fit problems remain insurmountable. Despite adding 12 stitches to each round through the tightest sections of the pattern, the socks still bind at the end of each leaf and the beginning of the next. And no matter what I do the middle of the leaves still bulge out. Even with a bigger, deeper cuff, the ribbing is still pulled and distorted at the beginning of the pattern.

The good news? This yarn is awesome! I had heard good things about CoBaSi on Ravelry but until recently I wasn't able to find it locally. And when I saw it in person, I had my doubts; in the skein it's not soft and looks splitty. But it knits up surprisingly nicely, the stitch definition is awesome and the knitted fabric feels great. Add to that its relatively cheap price and I'll definitely be buying more of this. And you guessed it, I'll be frogging these socks to recover the yarn, because I've no use for a poorly fitting pair of socks. Time to move on!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

FO: August Ribbed Socks

Pattern: a very simple K4P2 ribbed sock with a slipped stitch heel flap

Yarn: 80/20 Merino from The Black Lamb

Comments: This was exactly the kind of mindless knitting I was in the mood for - cast on and start ribbing! And the ribbing pattern works really well with this very busy yarn colourway. The finished socks are almost metallic-looking. The foot is a little small for me, but the yarn yardage wasn't huge so there was little choice but to shorten them. No matter - there's a foot to fit every sock, right? And these are for charity.

One thing I did with these socks is work a set of decreases at the start of the heel flap and the start of the toe section, by working the P2s as P2togs. It's a nice way to even out the transition between the ribbing and flatter knitted fabric without any little bulges or puffs.

Don't be surprised if this same pattern repeats again later in this year. I've been looking through my yarn scraps and re-imagining the pattern knit in solid colour blocks.

Monday, August 24, 2015

FO: Vanilla Bean Striped Socks

Pattern: Vanilla Bean Striped Socks by Emily O'Grady

Yarn: Shelridge Farms 80/20 Fingering (white) plus sock yarn leftovers: Anzula Squishy (pink), Sokkusu O (orange, red), Manos Del Uruguay Alegria (red), Studio June Super Cash Sock (red, butterscotch, brown), Wandering Cat Alley Cat Sock (red barn, tea time, raspberry beret), Studio June Sock Luck (pink), Wandering Cat Top Cat (sandalwood, black orchid), Studio June Sydney Sock (red), Loopy Ewe Solid Series (yellow), Pagewood Farms Alyeska (red)

Needles: 2.00 mm

Modifications: Worked toe up, increasing to 70 sts with afterthought heel, with eight rounds per colour joined with Russian Joins. Next time I'll cast on more stitches to make toe less pointy and I'll skip the slipped stitches in the toe box.

Comments: These socks make me ridiculously happy; they're just so bright and colourful. It's always amazing to me that you can combine all these non-matching colours and it just works! And Gavin likes them too - which is really saying something. In fact, I've been directed to make a similar pair for him with shades of blue, green and grey accompanied by white stripes! Shouldn't be a problem - I'm in no danger of running out of sock yarn scraps! There's enough in the shoe box for probably a dozen more pairs of scrappy socks.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Year of Projects 5: Week 8

KNIT. SOCK. LOVE. : BFF • Clandestine • Cusp • German Stockings • Gothic Spire • Hedera • In and Out • Lissajous • Marilinda • Mona • Monkey • Pointelle • Rhombus • Sake • Stalagmite • Stricken • Thelonious • Twisted Flower • Wedge

COOKIE A SOCK CLUB: June #1 • June #2 • August #1 • August #2 • October #1 • October #2 • December #1 • December #2

VANILLA SOCKS FOR CHARITY: July • August • September • October • November • December • January • February • March • April • May • June

Yeah, despite my promise to finish the heels on my July Vanilla Bean Striped Socks, I still haven't got around to that. Apparently I need a kick in the pants! Oh well, I promise - cross my heart and hope to die - to do them today. Definitely!

At least I remembered to bring my August Wide Rib Socks home from work this week. As you can see from the photo, sock one is done and sock two is on the needles. I had a brief moment of panic when I suspected I was running short of yarn on sock one, but the admin office postal scale confirmed that I should get sock two done with a couple of grams to spare!

The jury is still out on the colourway. It's still loud but I don't hate it. Gavin says it reminds him of a stretchy metal watchband strap, which is kind of interesting. It's also interesting to see how the colourway settles down into wider stripes through the gusset where I have all those extra stitches in the round. I think I'd have preferred the whole sock like that, but it is what it is.

Much of my knitting time in the last week has been spent on the second pattern for the Cookie A Sock Club - Darjeeling Socks. Now that sock one is off the needles I'll admit to liking it more than I did before... or more accurately, disliking it less than I did before. I still don't think I like it enough not to frog them once they're done. The fit is really problematic! That's a discussion to be had and a decision to be made next week; sock two should be off the needles by then.

It's hard to believe that summer is almost over, but the CNE started this weekend and that's a sure sign! Gavin and I are thinking of going next weekend. I'd like to see a HorsePower Live show, might check out the Arts, Crafts & Hobbies Pavilion, the Gourmet Kitchen Pavilion, and grab an Ice Cream Waffle. And then just walk around and people watch!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Year of Projects Year 5 Week 7

KNIT. SOCK. LOVE. : BFF • Clandestine • Cusp • German Stockings • Gothic Spire • Hedera • In and Out • Lissajous • Marilinda • Mona • Monkey • Pointelle • Rhombus • Sake • Stalagmite • Stricken • Thelonious • Twisted Flower • Wedge

COOKIE A SOCK CLUB: June #1 • June #2 • August #1 • August #2 • October #1 • October #2 • December #1 • December #2

VANILLA SOCKS FOR CHARITY: July • August • September • October • November • December • January • February • March • April • May • June

Of course I did finish my Green Gable Socks ... and aren't they lovely? Although I didn't like the yarn's original "lemongrass" colourway, I'm pleased as punch with the kelly green I got after an immersion dye with Wilton Icing Color. So that's the first of two August Sock Club patterns done!

And my July Vanilla Bean Striped Socks are also off the needles, awaiting afterthought heels. I promise to get to these this week! These are knit entirely from scraps, with Russian joins at the colour changes, so there isn't much finishing to do except the heels.

I'm making good progress on my August Charity socks - vanilla ribbed socks. I'm just about to turn the heel on the first sock. You'll just have to take my word on this; I left this project in my desk drawer at work on Friday.

Last but not least I've made a start on the second of the August Club patterns, Darjeeling Socks. I've swatched, and I've ripped back three times, and enough's enough. These may end up being the most ill-fitting socks I've ever knit. Hopefully when I get the first sock of the needles I like it better on my foot. If not, I'll soldier on, post finished pics and then frog to reclaim the yarn. What an awful thought!

We've just got back from a weekend spent with friends at their Lake Erie cottage. I'm a little sunburnt, a little overtired, but getting out of the city somehow makes a weekend feel twice as long. Now I just need to get caught up on my chores!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Year of Projects 5 Week 6

destined to be ribbed socks
KNIT. SOCK. LOVE. : BFF • Clandestine • Cusp • German Stockings • Gothic Spire • Hedera • In and Out • Lissajous • Marilinda • Mona • Monkey • Pointelle • Rhombus • Sake • Stalagmite • Stricken • Thelonious • Twisted Flower • Wedge

COOKIE A SOCK CLUB: June #1 • June #2 • August #1 • August #2 • October #1 • October #2 • December #1 • December #2

VANILLA SOCKS FOR CHARITY: July • August • September • October • November • December • January • February • March • April • May • June

No finished socks yet, but soon. Progress on my July Vanilla Bean Striped socks is slow but steady. I'm about halfway through the second sock tube and then all's that left is the two afterthought heels. It remains to be seen how long I can avoid the finishing of those!

For my August charity socks there's a multicolour yarn in my stash that has fought every pattern I've ever attempted with them. Time to cry "uncle" and knit the yarn up as a pair of vanilla ribbed socks. A K4P2 rib I think - I'm got a hankering for some wide ribbing! The yarn cake looks busy and barf-y doesn't it? But I think it'll settle down nicely once knit. I'm looking forward to seeing how they come out.

After overdyeing the August club yarn I went ahead and cast on Gable Socks. It's a lovely pattern but it's uncomfortably similar to Alice Yu's Shur'tugal Socks. Honestly, I'm not very happy about being presented with the Gable Socks pattern as an "original" design available exclusively to paid club members! Not much I can do about it, so I'll just keep my head down and knit. Over the past week I've knit sock one entirely and knit well past the heel of sock two. Shouldn't be too much longer now.

The second pattern for the Cookie A sock club August shipment is Darjeeling. At the moment I'm considering knitting these with a couple of skeins of CoBaSi yarn that I picked up the other day. This pattern's going to be a challenging fit so an elastic yarn might help. The pattern photo clearly shows the sock pulled overly tight at the beginning of each "leaf" and puffing out at the end of each eyelet row and above the heel flap. I need to put my thinking cap on to see if there are any adjustments I can make to mitigate the fit issues.

It's another beautiful summer day in Toronto, so it's time for me to get outside and enjoy the weather. I can't believe it's August already! Where does the time go?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Year of Projects 5 Week 5

KNIT. SOCK. LOVE. : BFF • Clandestine • Cusp • German Stockings • Gothic Spire • Hedera • In and Out • Lissajous • Marilinda • Mona • Monkey • Pointelle • Rhombus • Sake • Stalagmite • Stricken • Thelonious • Twisted Flower • Wedge

COOKIE A SOCK CLUB: June #1 • June #2 • August #1 • August #2 • October #1 • October #2 • December #1 • December #2

VANILLA SOCKS FOR CHARITY: July • August • September • October • November • December • January • February • March • April • May • June

Realizing that I'd done the reverse yarn overs incorrectly was a set back last week. And no, they're not difficult, it was just a dumb mistake. Must Read All Instructions More Carefully!!! But finally these Revolution Socks are done. And just in the nick of time ahead of the release of the August Club patterns tomorrow. The pattern was a fun and interesting knit, but I'm not particularly fond of the finished socks. They are just too hole-y in my opinion. Maybe if my feet and legs were more tanned they'd look better?

The yarn - Socky-Talky by The Dye-Guy - was lovely to work with. It's soft, smoothy and pleasingly plump and springy. Hopefully it washes and wears well without pilling! And I'm very happy with the colour too - lots of subtle variations in the purples without any pooling. The yardage was extremely generous too! Although this pair of socks used 104 grams of yarn, I still have almost 30 grams left!

August club yarn arrived late last week and what a disappointment that was! It's yellow which is not good for me; I'm generally not a fan of most shades of yellow. But this is a particularly awful shade of yellow - a dull, dirty yellow with greenish overtones, sinus infection mucous colour. Another Raveler compared it to "Gastric Suction" ...... eeeeew!!

No sooner had I unwrapped it, I rewrapped it. It's just too ugly to see the light of day in my home. I tried posting it for sale or trade within the club but after reading the many posts from others with similar feelings about the yarn I quickly realized that there was little chance of finding a buyer. Besides making the arrangements and sorting out the shipping is a bit painful. So I deleted my sale or trade post and contemplated my next steps.

Why not overdye it? Gavin suggested. Good thinking! So that's exactly what I did yesterday evening. I googled this tutorial and followed it step-by-step exactly as demonstrated. When I overdyed the pink socks in February/March I used a microwave method, however I prefer this stove top method - I felt more confident and more in control, particularly as I was able to obsessively check and adjust the dye bath temperature with a meat thermometer. It certainly worked like a charm. The dye bath was completely exhausted and the overdid yarn rinses entirely clear. Thanks to a teal shade of Wilton Icing Color, the awful yellow yarn is now a much more palatable green. Admittedly the final green is brighter and yellower than I had hoped but at least I don't hate the colour now. Much better!

In the meantime I'm plugging away at my second Vanilla Beans Striped sock. With any luck I'll have another finished pair of socks to show you next week!