Friday 7 February 2014

Socks, Socks, Socks and More Socks

Today I thought I was going to tell you about the most recent pair of hand knitted socks that I got onto my feet this last week.  I wanted to refer back to something I had started to work on in November and realised I haven't told you about any of my recent adventures in sock making!  This is a vast oversight because I have been on a bit of a journey in recent months, trying to find my perfect sock pattern.  It's time to tell my tale!

My journey began with the purchase of Big Foot Knits by Andi Smith. I have spent a long time playing with various sock designs but had not been completely happy with the fit that I came up with.  I bought this book to try and learn some new techniques in sock fitting.  As a result of working my way through this book, my first pair of socks were done in Twisted Limone Tangy Sock in the "Knock Your Socks Off" colourway. This pair of socks was the first I knit socks in hand-dyed yarn.  I have made a decision to start using my pretty sock hand-dyed yarn for socks, as hand washing using no-rinse soap is no hardship and this way I could use the yarn with nylon content, that is beautiful.  This way I can use up stash and feel pampered!

The reason the stripes don't match was due to deciding the leg of my first sock was too baggy, after putting in the afterthought heel.  I ripped back the leg and re-knit it leaving the stripes of the next sock in the wrong order.  I adore this yarn.  It's the first time I've knit with hand-dyed self-striping yarn.  I think it looks amazing. The best thing about these socks is the yarn.  The second best thing is the way the toes fit.  The feet have toes that are shaped left and right and they fit brilliantly.  The increases are worked a few stitches in from the sides of the sock to give depth to the toe shaping too.  I've never had such perfect fit in a toe. My toes are no pinched the way they usually are. This has become my default toe.  The other thing that stuck from this sock was the foot length.  My right foot is 1/2" longer than the left and as I am doing shaped toes, it seemed like a good idea to tailor the length to fit better, and it really makes a difference. However, the heel experiment did not work as well as I hoped.

The heel fit was ok at the start of the day and gradually got baggier.  I'm sure I could have fixed it if I'd tried, but instead I decided I wanted to try the fabulously popular Fish Lips Kiss Heel, that all the podcasters were talking about.  The thing that sold me on trying this heel was that you don't have to think much about turning the short row heel, which meant I wouldn't have to stop and think, while out and about.  Plus this method promised to avoid holes at the heel.  The pattern is only $1 so I thought it was worth looking at, considering how many people with different feet shapes and sizes had raved about it.  The pattern has LOTS of information about making socks that fit, but I was only interested in the heel part.  However, if you are looking at working out how to tailor your socks, cheaply, this would be a great investment.  To experiment, I decided to make a little test heel.

I LOVE the way this method does the turns on a short row.  I will always use this method in the future in all situations, it's so neat!  Doing this heel, I decided that at as my ankle is quite deep I would do increases before turning the heel.  It turned out that those increases left the heel too baggy!  It's the first heel I've ever tried that meant I didn't need to do increases before turning the heel.  This heel is turned whilst knitting the sock, so you don't need to do surgery to add an afterthought heel.  This method feels quicker, as well as the fit being good, it also means you can manage any striping more easily.

So taking the foot shaping, foot length and stitch count from the sock developed with Big Foot Knits and the heel turn from the Fish Lips Kiss Heel I decided to try another pair of pretty socks.

With these socks I decided to do 4" of leg, after the heel turn, before starting a 2" cuff.   It fit perfectly, and I didn't have to add any increases or decreases to shape, apart from the toe. I love the yarn, which is Penguin Soup, Tuxedo Glitz in the "Rainbow Dash" colourway.  I added a slip stitch to break up the flashing and pooling.  I was inspired by the Pin Striped Sock by Julia Swart but changed the repeats of the pattern to fit my leg and slipped the stitches by 2 rows because 1 row didn't break things up enough.

After the success of this new method of making socks, I cast on another pair of socks done in Twisted Limone Tangy Sock, this time in the "Pippin" colourway.  I knit a vanilla sock with my new methods.

I love this yarn so much, and these have become my favourite socks.  The yarn is beautifully smooth and the colours are great.  However, I decided that the leg of my new sock pattern is a little short, but to add length I would need to work out increases.  I cast on a pair of socks in some Regia Kaffe Fassett Design Line yarn in 04354 from stash.

The increases were done after knitting 4" of leg.  I added a stitch at the back of the leg, 6 stitches from either side of the sock.  I then knit 2 rounds before repeating the increase round.  In this way I did 4 sets of increases.  After the last increase round, 4 rounds were knit and then the ribbing knit for 2".  As always I implemented my usual Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.  This pattern produces my perfect fit socks. They are so comfortable, they don't bag as the day goes on, but they aren't tight.  I couldn't be happier with the fit of these socks and they used up a couple of skeins of stash.

Finally we come to the socks I wanted to talk about today, the socks knit in my perfected vanilla pattern. The yarn is Knitters Nightmare Boogieman Sock in the "Thank You For Being A Friend" colourway.  The yarn is 75% merino/25% nylon and it has a great smooth and tightly plied feel to it.  The stitch definition is great and the colour transitions are flawless.

Since finishing these socks, they have become my favourites.  They have a perfect fit and they yarn is beautiful.  I adored knitting these, and they are wonderful to wear.

This new pattern, I've developed for my feet and legs has made me so happy.  The socks have become my "easy" knitting.  I do them when I leave the house or when I'm reading.  I can't believe I have knit 4 pairs of socks since the beginning of December!  I now have a drive to replace my older hand knit socks with these new fit socks in gorgeous yarn.

I am linking up to Tami, for FO Friday.  To check out other finished projects, click the button.

FO Friday Button

PS Sorry for all the phone photos, the reason I waited so long to blog about these was I hadn't pretty photos.  I decided I couldn't wait any longer to blog about these so you have to make do with the mobile phone snaps.

PPS You have to the end of today to enter the giveaway to win a copy of Scrumptious Collection Volume 3, that I reviewed last week.


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