Almost a year of socks

Last year, I decided to knit a pair of socks a month for three very good reasons. One, hand knit socks are awesome. Enough said. Two, it usually takes me a month to knit a pair of socks anyway. Three, I had a lot of sock yarn. While I only managed to knit ten pairs and probably have more sock yarn now then I did a year ago, I’d call it a good year.

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From left to right:

January: Center Stage | ravelry | download |

February: Konnichiwa by Judy Summer | ravelry

March: Gentleman’s Fancy Socks by Nancy Bush | ravelry

April: Alternates | ravelry | download |

May: Diamond Gansey Socks by Wendy Johnson | ravelry

June: Harris Tweed Socks by Ali Green | ravelry

July: Two Toes Tabi

August: Alternates.V2

September: Charade by Sandra Park | ravelry |

Three of the patterns - Center Stage, Alternates, and Two Toes Tabi - are my own designs which makes me really happy. Center Stage and Alternates are freely available here. Two Toes is still in prototype form. Hopefully not for too much longer though. 

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Birthday Socks

Yarn: Cascade Sassy Stripes - 715 (discontinued)

Needles: 2.25 mm

Date: Sept 27, 2010 - Jan 5, 2011

My last pair of the year, which I actually finished this year (but don’t tell anyone), was supposed to be a birthday present in October. I mixed up my usual sock pattern a little bit and then added a 3x2 rib. With self striping yarn, you don’t have to do anything more than that. With a little work, I even managed to get the stripes to match. Besides from that, I really liked this yarn and the Bearded One does too. They’re his socks after all so he’d better like them.

My three reasons for knitting a pair of socks a month in 2010 still seems totally reasonable and I’m in for another year. Maybe I’ll knit 12 pairs and put a dent in my stash. Maybe not but it’ll be fun all the same. Here’s to a new year of socks!

Settling In

Yeesh! Has it really been 2 weeks since I lasted posted? Shame on me. 

Anyway, thanks for all the advice and commiseration with the last post. It's nice to know that I'm not to only one trying to keep up with the day to day.

Being the list maker that I am, I wrote down everything important that I wanted to do. This list included everything from spending time with family and friends, to blogging, playing with the cat, and relaxing with video games. At first, this was just supposed to be my wild wishful list. I thought I'd take a second look at it and cross a few items off later; however, everything seems totally doable and I don't want to cut a thing. Fortunately, I've settled into my ever changing schedule and I'm actually getting things done without falling behind too much. My wild list doesn't seem so wild now.

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It should be no surprise that knitting is on my wild list of priorities. One of my many current projects is this pair of socks. They were supposed to be a birthday present almost a month ago. I didn't meet that deadline or finish this pair for my Sock-A-Month challenge. At this point, I think it's safe to say that that challenge bit the dust. Still, I'm slogging through them and, since I'm working on the cuffs right now, they shouldn't take too much longer.

Blogging is on my wild list too. You should be seeing a bit more of me around here.

September Socks

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Pattern: Charade Socks by Sandra Park |

Ravelry

|

Yarn: Lion Brand Sock-Ease - Lemon Drop

Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm) DPN's

Date: Sept 3 - 27, 2010

@Ravelry (public link)

Back when I lived in New Jersey, school always started right after Labor Day and I came to think of September 1st as the start of Fall. Who goes to school in the summer anyway? It wasn't until I moved south and school started in early August that I did. Even after years of heading back to school in August, August is still summer and September is still Fall. So, I happily contented myself with casting on for a pair of woolly socks with the mistaken thought that cooler weather would soon arrive. How wrong I was. It wasn't until the Equinox, September 22, that the temps weren't in the triple digits. Today, my thermometer read 67 degrees which feels almost chilly. Maybe woolly Fall socks weren't a bad idea after all.

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Besides from being woolly, these socks are YELLOW. They're so yellow that they practically give off their own light. If I hung one from each of my shoulders, I could probably read by the light they give off. They are that yellow. The photos make the yellow less apparent. Do not believe them.  They lie. As for the pattern, I used Charade which works wonderfully well with all that yellow. Plus, I've wanted a pair ever since I made the boy some. Woolly, yellow, Fall socks for the win.

P.S. I found that the easiest and fastest way to fix a missed yarn over in this pattern is, on the next row, to knit into the front and back of the stitch where the yo should have been. Once the pattern is worked on the next row, no one will be able to tell the difference. 

Pattern: Alternates.V2

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Pattern: Alternates.V2 | download | Ravelry |

Yarn: Knit Picks Telemark - Cream and Tidepool Heather

Needles: US 3 (3.25mm)

Date: Aug 1-20, 2010

@Ravelry

I'm going to miss August even if it did bring along 100+ degree temperatures. It's the end of summer and the last hoorah before Fall which always seemed to bring a bit more work. I wanted one last chance to be lazy and relax with my knitting before I turned into a knitting machine for the holidays. These socks were the perfect vacation. They knit up fast in sport weight yarn and, a plus, I'd already come up with the pattern

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Continuing with the lazy, relaxing theme, I followed the pattern to the letter...for the first couple of inches anyway. What I found so interesting with the first pair was how different the socks became when I knit the toes in different colors. With this pair, the green toe was just so much more appealing (also, the white toe definitely wouldn't stay white). So, I ripped out and started over with green. It wasn't until I reached the cuff that I realized how much this changed the socks. Instead of hanging out mid-calf, these socks were almost knee highs - even with my generous calfs. Such a happy accident and I adore this pair of socks. 

Course, I can't keep the knee high love to myself. So, I've updated the original pattern and it's now available to download.  Maybe in the next few months, I'll have to update this pattern again since I have enough yarn for another pair that should go over my knees. 

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Two July Socks

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Pattern: Prototype

Yarn: Plymouth Sockotta - Black and Red

Needles: 2.5 mm and 2.25 mm

Date: July 3 - August 5, 2010

@Ravelry

If you've been following this blog for a bit, it should come as no surprise that I love socks. I love knitting them. I love wearing them. I love browsing sites for socks I'd never knit. My sock drawer is actually 2 drawers, well, 3, if you count the one dedicated to the socks I've made. What's more, I have a great love/obsession with every kind of toe sock. Tabi socks, where the big toe is separate from the rest, are a personal favorite. They're fun to wear and, even better, they're fun to knit. 

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I'm not the only one in the house who loves tabi socks and this pair is for him. The challenge of these socks wasn't their large size. The challenge was starting completely from scratch. Other toe up tabi patterns have hard seams between the toes or just sew up the gap. Neither of these techniques quite appealed to me. Plus, I needed a pattern that would fit a US 14 foot at a gauge of 9 sts/in. Didn't have much luck finding that. In order to get what I needed, I came up with my own pattern and it's a pretty good start. However, it's not quite ready to be released into the wild. Tweaking aside, the finished pair has gotten the official seal of approval and another pair isn't too far off. Just not this month.

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A July Sock

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July 31st has come and gone and there's still an unfinished sock on needles. I did manage to knit a gusset, turn a heel, work a heel flap, and knit 1.5" of ribbing; however, before all that, I also had to rip out most of a gusset, a heel turn, and a heel flap. Bah. Hopefully, I'll be less error prone on the second sock and finish it over the next few days.

Of course, all the ripping and the poor, lonely sock on the needles didn't stop me from casting on for another pair. It's only been a two days and I've already reached the cuff on a striped sock. Gotta love sport weight yarn.

50%

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Harris Tweed Socks by Ali Green (Ravelry)

Patons Kroy FX - Clover Colors

US 1 (2.25mm) needles

June 1 - July 2, 2010

@ravelry

At the end of last year, I took stock of of my yarn - specifically my sock yarn. The grand total: 36 pairs worth. I knew I had a lot but the number was still a bit shocking. So, in order to shrink the stash, I decided to knit a pair of socks each month in my own personal Sock-a-Month KAL.January saw a completed pair of socks and so did FebruaryMarchApril, and May. The Harris Tweed socks, or Hairy as I like to call them, are my pair for June. 

The pattern and the yarn turned out to be a perfect combination for the summer. My toe-up version of the Harris Tweed pattern was simple enough to knit while either enjoying air conditioning or venturing out to Vulcan for World Wide Knit in Public Day. The yarn also added enough interest to keep the 4 row repeat from getting boring. Even having to buy a third skein wasn't that bad since I could just make taller socks.

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So far, my Sock-a-Month plan has been going pretty well. I've knit 6 pairs of socks and pruned the stash a bit. Maybe, come the end of July, I'll even have a seventh pair to show off.

Summer of Socks...or not

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Harris Tweed Socks by Ali Green | Ravelry |

The Summer of Socks Knit-Along started up today. During previous years, this was a day that deserved a count down. This year though...meh. After all what is a summer of socks compared to a year of socks? I've been having my own private sock knit along since January and it's been going rather well. By the end of June, I'll have 5.5 pairs of socks. Maybe I'll tackle that other .5 in July. Pair number 7 is still undecided but I have a few ideas plus a few prior obligations. All the same, anyone have a suggestion or two to tempt me?

Second Sock Syndrome

Have you ever knit a project that was just wonderful? The yarn is a joy. The pattern is spectacular. It's a perfect match; however, the whole thing is so boring that you can't be bothered to pick up the needles and actually finish the thing. For me it was a pair of socks, a toe up version of the Little Child's Sock, knit with Ultra Alpaca Fine. The first sock is finished but I haven't even cast on for the second sock. Shame on me. Anyway, in hopes of getting my second sock mojo back, I decided to knit a new pair.

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Diamond Gansey Socks by Wendy Johnson | Ravelry |

Just like the other pair, the yarn and pattern are great but I've actually managed to finish both of them. It was almost an obsession really. They were so quick to knit too. I had hoped that the break these socks provided would give me a rediscovered love for my single sock. That didn't work so well since I've already cast on for another, different pair of socks. Maybe after this pair?

Not Knitting

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For once, I don't feel like knitting. The reason: I've been doing it all day long. It was a perfect storm of a twisted ankle and the many hours spent waiting for my car to be fixed. The sock I'm working on saw a lot of progress but now I'd rather do anything - even laundry - rather than knit. I want to walk and move around but the ankle and a raging storm put a stop to that. Guess I'll just have to catch up on my reading instead.

Pretty Things

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I like pretty things, beautiful things, and elegant things; however, I also like useful things. A useful object doesn't have to be pretty but a pretty object does has to be useful. So when I realized these socks were too small, they were turned back into yarn (pretty and useful). After all, pretty socks won't do you much good if you can't wear them.

Leftovers

It was a day like any other day when I noticed the boyfriend's socks were wearing thin. Before the problem could get any worse, they were off his feet and and waiting for repair. Thankfully, there wasn't a hole - yet - and I still had a bit of yarn leftover. I did eventually fix them with a bit of duplicate stitch. Plus, from all reports, the socks are good as new and, to a casual glance, look that way too.

So, that story had a happy ending but what happens to that next pair of well loved but holey socks? It depends. On leftovers. I sit quite firmly in the camp of toe-up socks which means that I can use up every last little bit of yarn. I've taken advantage of that little gem too. After that darning incident, though, I began to wonder about my socks that don't have a bit of backup waiting in the wings. I'm still going to wear them and, when they get a hole, I'll just have to mend them with different yarn. After all, there's no way I'm going to trash a pair of hand knit socks because of one hole (or even two). Maybe using up every bit of yarn just to use every bit of yarn isn't so great.

I was thinking about leftovers during my last pair of socks and made sure to leave several grams for repairs. I've also revised my thoughts about toe-up socks. They're not about using up every yard but using every yard wisely. If that means leaving a bit for later, I'm all for it.

Alternates

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Alternate | ravelry | download |

Sometimes simple, mindless knits are the best and these socks are no exception. Originally, my yellow and gray yarn was going to become a pair of these. I spent a day knitting and frogging only to discover that what I really liked about the pattern were the stripes on the bottom of the foot. After that, I didn't waste any time and the socks just seemed to fly off the needles. By the time I bound off I had tall, cozy socks with plenty of calf increases.

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The scary thing about these wonderful socks is that I want to make so many more in so many different colors. Blue and white, green and orange, purple and blue... Plus, with a little more yarn, I could make knee highs. Now that's a good idea. Anyway, it seemed a shame to keep the pattern to myself so I'm posting it here. These sport weight socks are toe up with a gusset and heel flap and calf increases to get the most out of the yarn. Have fun knitting your own pair.

Fancy (And A Socks That Rock Review)

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Pattern: Gentleman's Fancy Sock by Nancy Bush

Yarn: Socks that Rock Mediumweight - Tlingit

Needles: US 2 (2.75 mm)

Date: Feb 21 - March 8, 2010

@Ravelry

I like to knit lots of different things but every now and then I get stuck on something: socks, washcloths, toys, whatever. The last overriding object of my attention was socks (it's washcloths now but I'll save that for later). I'm not always sure what throws me over the edge but this particular sock knitting binge started when I was looking for the perfect pattern to go with a souvenir skein of Socks that Rock. Eventually, I picked Gentleman's Fancy Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks and I'd like to say it's a good pattern but, really, I have no idea since I modified it so much. Toe up with a reinforced heel flap and my own set of calf increases. Basically, I only kept the stitch pattern and what a glorious stitch pattern it is.

It wasn't just the stitch pattern that had me enthralled. The Socks that Rock did actually live up to the hype. The colors were beautiful (even if they did turn my needles and hands black), the yarn had a nice, tight twist, and the yardage was quite generous. I can't speak for its durability though because I managed to finish them right as Winter and the chance to wear tall, wool socks was fading out. I have high hopes for next Winter though.

Play

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Pattern: Konnichiwa by Judy Summer (

ravelry

)

Yarn: Cascade 220 - 

Ruby

Needles: US 6 (4mm) DPN’s

Date: Feb 1-13, 2010

@rav

March’s socks, Konnichiwa, were so much fun that I finished them in less than two weeks. They’re a combination of a good pattern, a good yarn, and a good technique. Those things aside, what made them really fun was that I didn’t hold myself to the pattern. My version is toe-up, a larger size, and has alternating cable crossings. In other words, I let myself play.

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I know play doesn’t seem like much. After all, shouldn’t I be working and productive? Shouldn’t I be doing something important? What I’ve come to realize, through knitting and architecture, is that play is very important. Play is the driving force behind serious work and focus. It is the motivator behind great work and great feats because it pushes people to keep experimenting and pushing limits. Without play, work (or anything else) becomes something to finish so you can get onto something you like. People can tell difference. So, don’t be afraid to play. You never know where it will take you.

Yarn takes Center Stage

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Pattern: Center Stage | ravelry | download |

Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks FX - Cascade Colors

Needles: 2.5 mm

Date: Jan 8 - 29, 2010

@Rav

I’m very happy to say that my January socks, the first of my personal Sock-A-Month KAL, are finished and on time too. That second week into 2010, I started these socks because the yarn was calling me and I was helpless to resist. Since the yarn was my main reason for casting on, I wanted it to be the center piece and the dominate the pattern; however, plain stockinette just sounded really, really boring. Plus, interesting sock constructions were still bouncing around in my head.

To meet all of my specifications, I added a simple rib detail and went from there. It definitely kept the socks interesting and let me play around with the gusset and the heel flap. All the experimentation and fiddling with details was really fun. Once the experiment was over, I had a pair of warm, comfy socks.  I’m also releasing the pattern here, so you can make a warm, comfy pair of socks too.

When I purchased this yarn, I was drawn to it because of its long stretches of color and I was not disappointed after knitting it up. The colors create wide stripes which move from light to dark. I did find it prone to a bit of splitting but not annoyingly so. The yarn is also a bit on the hairy side but I think that lends itself to the warm, cushy-ness of the finished fabric. Compared to Patons Kroy Sock 4-ply, the fabric is very similar even though I found the FX yarn to be slightly thinner. One of the downsides is that the socks look a bit different in spite of being the same dye lot. My other complaint is the smaller put-up (166 yds), which led to shorter socks, but I still liked the yarn enough to buy another pair’s worth.

These socks were a great way to start off 2010 and I’ve already made some good progress on February’s pair.  I hope your knitting resolutions (and the other ones too) are going as well as mine.

P.S. The winners of the Diagonal Sock pattern are Theresa and Barbara Wright. Email me at studiostrategos at gmail dot com 

Sock-A-Month 2010

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Several months ago, I came across this post on the Kelp!Knits blog about knitting a pair of socks for each month of 2008. The idea really appealled to me since, A, hand knit socks are awesome and, B, it usually takes me about a month to knit a pair of socks anyway. Also,C, I only have about 34 pairs worth of sock yarn.

So, on January 8th, I took the plunge and cast-on with some Patons Kroy FX. What first attracted me to this yarn was the graduated color changes and I haven’t been disappointed. In order to best display the long color repeats of the yarn, I came up with an uncomplicated but not boring pattern. So far the pair is coming along nicely and should be finished by the end of the month. I might even have the pattern up at the same time.

P.S. Diagonal is almost ready too.