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A brief update on the Sock Project [May. 25th, 2014|09:46 pm]
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8-pr-on-a-line048
The first eight pairs: now I'm working on #25
In addition to these colors, (the two blues are different--one is dark teal and the other a medium blue) I now have two purple pairs in two different purples, a light mottled blue, and of course...stripes...
2-yrs-socks124

2-pr-striped-shorty159
"Sporty Shorty" socks w/ yarn from earlier pairs. 

These short top socks are my own pattern, inspired by a picture in a sock-knitting book that has gone momentarily AWOL in the house.  The rolled top, and short ribbing were in the picture, but I didn't like the yarn weight (fingering), the type of ribbing, the color, the heel, or the toe.  So...I like these.  I'm making more of them.  More pictures will come.  The first pair of "shorties" were made of red yarn with a single blue stripe (the ribbing)  because red leftovers were the most I had.  That was last summer.  It took yarn from two pairs of full-size red socks to make one pair of short socks.  On the second pair, the green ones on the left, I experimented with using four colors.  The newest pair (not yet photographed) has more than that.
Isle-of-Sky-socks-on099
One of only 2 worsted-weight self-striping yarns I've liked so far.

This is Cascade 220 "Isle of Sky", a discontinued hand-painted yarn I would have bought more of if it had been available.  I have another of the handpainted ones, in a light blue/lavender/aqua combination, not yet photographed as socks, and its leftover it going to be striped with plain turquoise.   I haven't yet used the "Isle of Sky" leftovers in shorties.
red-blue-socks-final
Regular-top striped socks

After making three pairs of the shorties, I decided to commit yarn to making full-height (5 inches of ribbed cuff) socks with stripes.  This is in Ella rae Classic, the red I like best so far and a royal blue.  The blue were not leftovers, so I'm not sure I've got enough of it left for a full pair of royal blue socks.  If necessary, they may have red toes.  The Isle of Sky socks and the red/blue were both knitted last year, in the second year of sock-knitting.  I make my socks with "anatomical" toes--mine are long and pointy, and a left and right sock are as much more comfortable as having left and right shoes.  The first socks are beginning to wear out; they last about 100 wearings, on average.  I need to learn to darn.

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[User Picture]From: galeni
2014-05-26 03:37 am (UTC)

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Gorgeously artistic striping. I love them. Awed.
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2014-05-26 12:31 pm (UTC)

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Thanks. Once I decided not to try matching the stripes on both socks, it was easier and also more fun. I use about the same amount of a color on both, but can try out wider here and thinner there. To give a feel of design--not completely random-the sock feet use the same color on heel and toe, and the same color contrast one-row-stripe on the toe. The red/blue regular pair has matched stripes on the ribbed cuff, but the feet are clearly not matched. For my feet and legs, a 5 inch cuff allows me to fold it down if I want, and I placed the striped on the cuff so that when it's folded it forms the contrasting color stripe to the section below the cuff.

The shorties have the primary color (that's going to be on heel and toe) at the top and below the ribbing, and the rest is...fanciful. We are hoping for rain today and it is cloudy, so I doubt I'll get pictures of the latest and wildest of the shortie pairs. I discovered (on the shorties) that yarn from different manufacturers can mix well on the stripes...not sure all can, but Ella rae Classic and Plymouth Yarns Galway Nep certainly have. The pair I'm on now mixes turquoise Ella rae with the light blue/lavender/aqua Cascade 220 handpainted. (The regular socks of that Cascade 220 yarn appear to wash up about the same as the Ella rae.) The wildest pair have red Ella rae, medium blue Ella rae, purple Plymouth Galway Nep, and three new yarns I wanted to get a feel for quickly, from Mountain Colors, a bit lighter than the other two. They're seriously expensive hand-painted yarns, so I wanted to see if I could get more out of them by using them as stripes, even though the gauge is slightly different. Looks good; haven't washed those yet because the ends aren't woven in. I've decided Mountain Colors "Bitterroot Rainbow" (which looks pastelish in their catalog but isn't) will be a wonderful "small stripe" addition to many other colors of striped sock. "Indian Paintbrush" isn't contrasty enough to use against red, but should work against purple or green, and "Ruby River" did OK against red but would show more of its variations against another color.
[User Picture]From: fair_witness
2014-05-26 11:14 am (UTC)

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Nicely done!
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2014-05-26 12:32 pm (UTC)

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Thank you. I'm still learning...and someday I need to learn how to work from knitting directions. That's if I want to do anything but socks and plain flat things.
[User Picture]From: redvixen
2014-05-26 12:38 pm (UTC)

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YouTube has tons of videos to show you how to make things. I find that once I know how something goes together I can figure out the actual structure myself.
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2014-05-26 03:45 pm (UTC)

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I used YOuTube a lot when re-learning knitting. You're right, it's very helpful. Some of those knitting tutorials are amazing.
[User Picture]From: fair_witness
2014-05-26 12:51 pm (UTC)

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Perhaps it would help to try working on a sock pattern? Something where you're already familiar with the general structure of the finished garment. (And yes, I do have a particular sock pattern in mind - it's the first one I tried after I'd gotten comfortable with my basic sock recipe.)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2014-05-26 03:50 pm (UTC)

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For right now, I'm knitting socks so I can get sufficient backlog and then have time to do other things--which means I'm doing socks I've designed for my particular feet. I did vary the pattern when making a pair for a friend (but it's really hard to fit someone else's feet when they are miles away and you see them at most once a week. I finally corralled my friend at church and fitted the toes on her while I had her. So now I've done "front ribbing" over the top of the instep to snug up a sock for someone's high arch. Did it on one pair for myself and decided that although my arches are high, it's not worth it for me when time is of the essence. Later, maybe, like padding the ball of the foot.

I have seen a sock pattern that looks pretty interesting (the Log Cabin sock)--but until I get my sock numbers up to where they won't wear out as fast, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing.

[User Picture]From: fair_witness
2014-05-26 04:51 pm (UTC)

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What you're doing so far is looking great. :)
[User Picture]From: redvixen
2014-05-26 12:34 pm (UTC)

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Nice work.

You've already found that yarn weights from the same brand work best together but the trick to making different brands work together is to compare them without worrying about the type they are supposed to be. One company's sport weight might match closer to another company's worsted weight. Or two strands together might match best.

When I mix yarns I go for texture not type. I make sample swatches to see how the yarns mix. It doesn't take that long to make a square and can save me work when the yarns don't mix well.

Another thing you can consider is using the thicker yarns for the toes and heels and the thinner yarns for the rest of the foot and the leg. That's colour blocking instead of striping but you could mix some stripes through the blocks.
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2014-05-26 03:55 pm (UTC)

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If there's not too much difference in the yardage per 100 g., they do OK. The Cascade 220 Superwash, though, goes all flimsy and floppy when washed, so I won't be mixing it with other socks (and that part of my stash will wait until I've had my eyes worked on, then I'll try it with smaller needles than I use for the others.

My other "odd" yarn is Herdwick, that I bought from Crookabeck Farm Store in the the UK. Those socks are amazing--they're "hairy" looking, and the yarn is almost like string at first feel, but they're also amazingly warm and comfortable. (They're in the top right corner of the picture of socks on the table.) I can stand on my COLD kitchen floor on a subfreezing day, in sock feet in those socks and not feel the cold. I'm going to order more of it.
From: sheff_dogs
2014-05-28 03:02 pm (UTC)

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I was going to say matching metres per 100g is the thing to look out for when trying to match yarns, but you have realised that. It is also worth keeping in mind when looking at patterns from a particular manufacturer that you want to make up in someone else's wool, when you get to looking at patterns, because it will happen.

You have created a lovely selection of socks.

[User Picture]From: Emily Munro
2014-05-27 06:12 pm (UTC)

Darning

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I've found this site has wonderful instructions on learning to darn and many different techniques.
http://tomofholland.com/
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2014-06-02 01:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Darning

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Thanks! I've watched at least half a dozen YouTube videos on darning, some of which make sense while I'm watching, but not when I have a sock in one hand and a threaded needle in the other.
[User Picture]From: thistlethorn
2014-05-29 03:36 am (UTC)

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I am so envious of and impressed by your gorgeous sock collection. :-) They are beautiful.
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2014-06-02 01:58 pm (UTC)

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Thanks. It took me years to get past the barrier of "My mother knits socks; I'm not good enough." Too many years. Knitting socks is harder than knitting a flat thing--a garter-stitch scarf, for instance--but it's not impossibly hard, or--as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (YarnHarlot) keeps pointing out--children in past generations couldn't have learned to do it. So if you really want hand-knit socks...I'll bet you can knit socks too. Accept mistakes generously on the first pairs...all a sock really has to do is fit over your foot and feel good. For the heel turn, the best advice I've found is from the McPhee's book _Knitting Rules_. Simple, straightforward, works the first time. (Well, it did for me.)

If the sock-fit comes upon you, start right then--the night I suddenly decided I would try to make socks, I'm sure if I had delayed until the next day, I'd have found a reason not to start at all.
From: geekmerc
2014-06-01 11:03 pm (UTC)

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Okay, that last statement is hysterical given that I've just finished your last book. :)

Thank you for the story. I look forward to another.

And as always, your skill at knitting socks is amazing.
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2014-06-02 01:37 pm (UTC)

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My mother could darn. As a child, I was not interested in the darning egg I was given (and now can't find) because I wasn't good at sewing. Now that I'm knitting socks, and they're thinning at the wear points, I have started watching videos about darning. I'm still not getting it. (I also mess up Kitchener Stitch because I can't SEE which loop to snug down first. If I could do grafting, I could probably darn, but I spent two hours trying to graft the toe of my first sock--it was finally done, but ye gods--what an ordeal.

So the darning is...something I think about, but haven't yet done myself. Paks is being the cheerful voice on YouTube explaining and demonstrating how easy (not!) it is.