Tuesday, June 26, 2007


The top ribbing is done. Looks great, but the bind off is too tight. I can't even get it onto my foot! Grrrrrr!

I wanted to do a regular bind off for a nice tidy edge. The rest of the sock is knit on US4 (3.5mm) needles, so using US8 (5mm) to bind off should be loose enough, right? Wrong. Double grrrrrr. The next 30 minutes of my life will be spent carefully ripping out the bind off and redoing it in the stretchier, but less tidy, sewn bind off.

At least the yarn is still fun to work with. No pooling at 42 stitches to the round -- love!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mammoth Lakes

It's been a long time since I posted anything but Sockapalooza 4 activity, but I think my recent trip to Mammoth Lakes deserves a special viewing.

There is still snow on the mountains in June!

The six hour drive was made bearable by my iPod and the promise of knitting (that's yarn in the plastic bag). Podcasts of "This American Life" turn any long drive into a treat. I had six hour-long episodes loaded on my iPod and listened to them all! I love you, Ira Glass, you and your smug little liberal smart-mouth attitude and your radio show that makes me alternate between raucous giggles and pensive quiet.

The moments of pensive quiet did not last for long, thanks in part to this winner...

His mother must be so proud!

I was spoiled with a fruit smoothie upon arrival at my brother's campsite. My brother 1) likes toys with engines, and 2) does not believe in doing anything half-way. Here he is whipping up the smoothie using a gas-powered blender. Yes, those handles on the sides rev up the blender and make it go vroom vroom! I am pleasantly surprised to report that the gasoline power did not affect the smoothie taste one bit.

My future sister-in-law modeled another one of the toys with engines that they brought along.

After polishing off my smoothie, I opted for non-gasoline-powered fun: handknit socks and a pair of hiking shoes.

These socks were sort of my first pair ever. I made the first one as practice before launching into my first ever socks for Sockapalooza 3 last year. The second one came along after I finished my pal's pair.

My little hike took me up and over a small ridge. The view was spectacular. If you have never seen the Sierra Nevadas in real life, you must add this area to your list of places to visit before you die. It will be worth it. Promise!

I'm approaching the end of sock #1 for my Sock Pal. That means next post will be back to the Knitting Channel. Have a great week!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Goal: Matching Socks, Gusset and Heel

My Sockapalooza socks managed to survive their weekend alone, abandoned underneath my desk at work. Here is I how I found them on Monday, huddled against an empty cardboard box and near some old sneakers.

I leave the sneakers under m desk in case I decide to go for a walk on my breaks. But what do I end up doing on breaks instead? That's right, knitting. At least my brain and fingers are getting exercise.

Time to remember what craziness I did to cobble together a gusset and heel:

  • For the foot - Knit in pattern as established until time for gusset increases (19 eyelets from the toe, or 38 rows of the pattern after the toe).
  • For the gusset - Increase two stitches on alternate rows as follows: On first needle (instep side), knit row 1 of pattern, knit through the front and back (ktfb) of last stitch (the 3rd stitch in a set of 3 knit stitches). Increases done this way look like a knit and purl stitch next to one another. On the second needle (sole side), knit to the stitch that was the ending purl stitch on the prior row, ktfb of it. Gusset increases will always be when you do row 1 of the pattern on the instep.
  • Continue in this way until 16 stitches have been added (8 on each side of the instep).
  • Do one more non-increasing round after the last round of increases.
  • Knit in pattern across needle 1. On needle 2, purl 1.
  • Switch to contrast color. Make heel as described in this tutorial. Use 7 stitches for the heel flap, making 14 rows so that you get 7 stitches on each side to pick up for the back of the heel.
  • Follow heel tutorial until all of the gusset stitches have been incorporated into the heel.
  • NOTE: instead of ssk, do slip 1 knitwise slip 1 purlwise, slip both stitches back to the left needle, knit both stitches together through the back loops. Doing the decreases this way seems to make th stitches lie better than a regular ssk.
  • End heel with a wrong-side row (purling). Turn and pick up main color. Knit 2 together, knit along back side of the heel to the last 2 stitches, knit 2 together.
  • Continue to front of sock in pattern (this should be row 2 of pattern). On needle 2 (heel side), p3k3 across ending with p3.
  • Start using pattern all the way around sock to make the leg.
My sock pal's foot is a size smaller and quite a bit narrower than mine. These socks fit a uncomfortably tight on me so I think they should fit my sock pal perfectly. Ah, ribbed patterns are so forgiving!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Goal: Matching Socks

The unfortunate thing about knitting socks is that there are two of them. Two separately crafted objects, complete in themselves. My knitting often takes unexpected creative twists (aka, errors) that I might leave in as nods to the beauty of handmade goods or out of sheer laziness. But with socks, especially ones that will be given to others, those creative twists either need to be duplicated exactly or identified and corrected immediately. My addled brain and slow knitting speed do not lend themselves to simply noting the twists. I must record them, and diligently.

Since a blog is first and foremost a log, I think I'll use some posts to record in-progress pattern notes. Feel free to use them for yourself if you like.

  • Socks are knit on one circular needle using magic loop
  • Using contrast color, use magic cast on to put 11 stitches on each needle (22 stitches total)...so much magic in these socks!
  • First round was all knit stitches (knit through back loops of second needle), followed by an increase round (knit through the front and back of first stitch, knit the the second to the last stitch on the needle, knit through the front and back of the next stitch, then knit one...repeat on the second needle); repeat these two rounds until there are 21 stitches on each needle (42 stitches total)
  • End toe with one round of all knit stitches
  • Change to main color; knit all stitches of first needle (this will be the top of the foot); purl one, knit to the last stitch, purl one on the second needle (this will be the sole)
  • Launch into Roza's sock pattern on the first needle, continue on second needle as in the previous row
When I get through the heel, I'll post more notes on the gusset increases and the heel itself. Keep your fingers crossed for perfectly matched socks.

There would be a picture here of the socks in progress, but I left them at work! I think I am going to cry. They'll be safe until Monday, but I was so looking forward to working on them this weekend!

Saturday, June 2, 2007


Neither Hip Nor Funky has given me some inspiration for my Sockapalooza 4 socks. Check out her new socks in progress using two variegated yarns. I never would have thought of combining two variegated yarns together in a sock. Since I've only got one skein of of the Raspberry Chocolate, I want to make it go as far as possible.

I'm thinking leftovers from Mr. Hipp's Zen Yarn Garden socks, made last summer with a cable twist and short-row heel and toe pattern of my own design.

I'm thinking contrast heel and toe. I'm thinking a stretchy rib pattern to accommodate my Sock Pal's high arch. I'm thinking Grumperina's Roza's Socks from the Spring 2007 issue of Interweave Knits.

I'm thinking that I like it. I like it a lot.

I've adapted the pattern to be knit toe-up (gotta maximize that one skein of Raspberry Chocolate) and adjusted the stitch count down from from 60 to 42 since I am using a much thicker yarn than the pattern calls for.

Thing is, I'm pretty sure I am following the pattern correctly, but the originals look like they have two little "eyelets" per purl rib and mine only has one.

It may just be an illusion. It may just be that I am a knitting idiot and can't follow a pattern. Either way, I'm happy with the result. Let's just call it a design feature and let it be.