Friday, February 26, 2016

Some thoughts on socks

What's on my needles (week 102)

I am about to knit up another pair of socks for my husband.  He appreciates them very much and wears them year round.  
I am pondering which yarn to use and as I am looking at the socks I have knitted for him so far, I have a few thoughts I want to share with you.

  • Durability  If your hand-knitted socks end up in the wash every week as these do, you have to consider how well they wear.  There is a big difference if you use your sock yarn to knit up lacy shawls or sweaters etc or if you use it to knit up socks.  Some yarns don't hold up well being washed over and over even if they say "super-wash" and even if you wash them by hand.  Looking at these socks I found that the yarns which held up the best were 
  • Strauss Innovation Sock Wool (used in 2012)
  • Done Roving Yarns Frolicking Feet (used in 2013)
  • Adriafil Knitcol (used in 2015)
 The yarn which pills the most is the Cascade (used in 2013 for the grey pair and in 2014 for the red pair)

The Anzula Sebastian (blue pair knitted in 2014) is also a good choice, but the yarn is discontinued.
Lastly the Anzula Squishy (fawn colored) wears nicely, but he has been wearing them for only three months so far; they are incredibly soft and warm (10% cashmere).
And here is what Tony says about the feel of the socks:
"Compared to store bought socks all of these are better in feel.  Favorite ones are the blue, red and grey and gold colored."

  • Fit
The other important thing to consider when knitting socks is the fit, which pattern to use.
Here is a list of the patterns I used with links to my notes on ravelry:
2012- Basic Sock by Churchmouse :
2013- The Manly Aran by Antje Gillingham :
2013- Toe-Up Socks by Anne Berk : 
2014:- Fish Lips Kiss Heel by Sox Therapist:  
2014- Fish Lips Kiss Heel by Sox Therapist :
2015- Basic Socks A La Jeanne by Jeanne Schrader : 
2015- Elementary Watson Socks by Sherry Menton:

And here is what Tony says about the fit of his socks: 
" Again compared to store bought  socks all these fit better.  The best fitting ones are the blue, red, grey and gold.  Second best the two multi colored pairs and last the grey-white mottled pair (the first pair)."

Conclusion:  I was a little surprised by the answers.  Definitely the patterns which incorporate the FLK heel fit him best. And two of the pairs he likes for their feel are the ones knitted up in Cascade which I don't like as much because of the pilling, but they are easy on the budget.
I will most likely use another Cascade yarn (perhaps the one I just used for the shawl I finished last week "Wave") and will use the FLK construction.

My final decision on the next pair of socks:

I will use the Cascade Heritage Print and the Wildfoote for the toes and heels :)
I will use the FLK pattern for the heel construction and as this yarn is self-patterning I will do a simple stockinette stitch plus ribbing for the cuff.

Friday, February 19, 2016

My Diamonds in the Sky Shawl

What's on my needles (week 101)

I finished knitting the shawl I was working on during my vacation.  It came out really pretty!!!
The pattern is a free pattern by Skacel :
The yarn I used is Cascade Heritage Wave color Plume :)
Here are some of my pattern notes:
Lately I have been using a lot of BIG , WIDE, rectangular shawls. I totally fell in love with the pattern when I saw it in the Skacel vol. 8 2015/2016 booklet. The Cascade Wave with its long color run seems a good match and I was drawn to the gradient blue/ grey color scheme.
Since the yarn is heavier 200g for the 874 yards (two balls), and as I am a tight knitter I am using a needle size 6. The yarn is a little bit “splitty”, but not too bad so far.
I have to read more carefully before plunging into knitting! I misread row 9 and did “YO, k2tog ” all across the row, basically repeating row 5…I am going to restart over :(
Please note:  The repeats in the written instructions don’t match up the repeats in the chart.
Also in the chart for the middle sections of the beginning and ending borders, it should say “8 stitch repeat” NOT “6 stitch repeat”.
There is also a small errata to the numbering of the stitches in the Chart 2- Center Body& Borders. The left border should start with 64,65,66 etc (66 is missing and the left border is 20sts, the right border 21 sts and seven 6 stitch repeats in the center (21+6x7+20=83)

Just to be on the safe side in case my calculations were incorrect, I put in a lifeline before starting the last pattern repeat and upper border. I had used one skein for a little over 14 repeats and took out several yards of yarn on the second skein so I would finish with the blue color.
I did have enough to finish this with 28 pattern repeats for the center section.

About the yarnI wound the first skein blue to grey and the second skein grey to blue. After finishing I notice that the colors don’t repeat exactly the same way in each ball of yarn, much like the crazy Zauberball by Schoppel. I kind of like it even better this way rather than having an exact mirror image.
At 22" x80" the shawl is so big that I pinned down half of the shawl for blocking first

then I pinned down the second half on top of it.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Road Trip knitting

What's on my needles (week 100)

Home Again

I am home again from Florida.  It was nice to tank up on sun and warmth and enjoy the beautiful Florida Keys.
I would have perhaps enjoyed my time more with a yarn shop close by, but alas there was none!  There was one in Key West years ago, but that one closed down permanently :(
View from our hotel

Although I took a total of three projects with me, I mainly worked on the Ethereal Shawl.  It was the perfect choice as the color changes kept my interest while the 16 row pattern repeat was easy enough to follow while riding in the car and talking :)
I have come along quite far and think that it may be only another week or two to finish it.  
I only have to knit up four more pattern repeats and the edging :)
The finished measurement should be 22" x80"

Lessons and Classes

I will be offering classes starting in March and will have the schedule up soon.  
This is the time to let me know if there is anything specific you would like to see offered.  Two requests so far are for a two-at-the-time sock knitting class and a class on how to fix common mistakes.  
Meanwhile I am always available for one-on-one lessons addressing your specific needs.  Just e-mail or call me to set up a time.