?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Knitting: Revelation & New Project - MoonScape [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
e_moon60

[ website | My Website ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Knitting: Revelation & New Project [Jan. 28th, 2012|10:35 pm]
e_moon60
[Tags|, ]
[Current Mood |accomplished]

Friday night I realized that my reluctance to start a new project, specifically a sock, was due as much to my mother's knitting as to my own (and my desire for some hand-knitted socks.)   She knit everything (socks, mittens, hats, slacks, amazingly complex sweaters) but scarves.  I have knit only scarves except for one baby hat years ago.   Other knitting, in my mind, had become like "her kitchen" (where everything was done her way) rather than "my kitchen" (where I'm free to do things my way OR her way.)   She died in 1990, and yet...I was afraid to start a sock because I might mess it up and it might not be as good as her socks.  (All her knitting was very, very good.)

(The sock, started)
In the moment of clarity, I realized I needed to start a sock right away (never mind how late it was, or how busy today, Saturday, was going to be...it was that moment of breakthrough.)   I had bought yarn to make socks, but hadn't started any.   Of course one should start with a gauge patch.  But that, I knew, would delay me and put off starting the actual sock.   So I decided that one bad sock would not ruin my life, grabbed the ball of red yarn (a cheerful and confident color)  and dove in, knowing it was likely (certain, some would say) that the resulting sock wouldn't fit quite right, would look funny, etc.  But when you're breaking a self-imposed curse, the main thing is momentum.   Above is how it looks right now.   The ribbing is just getting past the stage at which it looks like a ruffle. 

The yarn is "Ella rae" worsted-weight 100% wool, a firm yarn that I think will make good hiking socks.   If, that is, the sock remotely resembles a sock when it's done, and fits.  If it's loose, I'll call it a bed-sock.   I have no idea if I have enough for one sock, two socks, or a dozen, but for a learner sock I think it's great.  For stretchiness, did a long-tail cast-on with US size 6, then switched to 5*s,   And had to look on YouTube to re-learn how to join up the tube. **  Then one row of knit, and then 2 x 2 ribbing.   I got it as far as the first row of ribbing last night (after midnight) and worked on it a little more today (in between the other stuff, about another six rows.)   I did not take it to the funeral (friend's father) we attended, figuring that knitting on a bright red sock (with clicky metal needles) was probably not the most courteous thing to do.   I'm still not smooth with the double-pointed needles (and yes, I know there's a way to do socks on circulars--I cast on, on a big circular and then transferred to the dpns.   For one thing I don't have any size 5 points for my cables--6 is the smallest--and I needed to start right away--and for another thing my cables aren't short cables.)  

So...on to the new adventure of sock-knitting.   I'll be fine until I get down to the known complication of sock-knitting: turning the heel.  But there are directions and also videos online.  A heel will be turned.  

* I usually knit with 7s and up.  All the way to the size 35 I used last fall on big fat yarn and it was FUN.  However, big fat yarn doesn't make good socks, and big needles make looser stitches, so I was fairly firmly counseled that the conventional size 5 needles for worsted-weight when making thick socks was just about perfect.  Books and personal communication both. 

** YouTube knitting videos are incredibly useful for kniitters like me, who sortakinda remember how to do things but not quite (after a 40 year hiatus in knitting.)  I understand from a friend who crochets that the crochet videos aren't as useful because they go so fast.   I actually *had* knitted with double-points in the round years ago, but had forgotten how to join after casting on.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: fair_witness
2012-01-29 12:25 pm (UTC)
If one of your cables is 40 inches long, that's a good length for two socks at a time knitting via magic loop:

http://www.cometosilver.com/socks/2mlsocks_start.htm

Personally, I prefer DPNs. But one of these days I plan on learning magic loop.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-01-29 02:40 pm (UTC)
I do have a 40 inch cable, but I'm making headway with Sock One on the dpns. Only I think I'll want another set of dpns the same size, because if I lose one of these 5s, I'm cooked until I get to a source. So very, very sad that I need to visit the yarn store...poor, poor, pitiful me. The only real advantage I see of using a cable would be that it might squush up smaller to carry around.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fair_witness
2012-01-29 02:57 pm (UTC)
There's a trick to bundling up a WIP sock on DPNs, but it works better once you've got a decent amount of sock on the needles. I'm not sure I can describe it properly ... perhaps the best way to get you started is to point out that with a sock on DPNs, you've basically got a hinged structure that will collapse quite tidily.

If you get more deeply addicted to sock knitting, I have (as you probably guessed!) a couple recommendations:

http://www.knitpicks.com/needles/6_Nickel_Plated_Double_Pointed_Knitting_Needle_Set__D90298.html - These are my main sock knitting DPNs.

This is a very dangerous place:

http://www.simplysockyarn.com/servlet/StoreFront

It's also a good place to learn about the different brands of sock yarn. Personally I'm rather fond of Opal. Good yarn that isn't as expensive as Noro, and they have some rather nifty colorways:

Photobucket

(Harry Potter colorway, now sadly discontinued.)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-01-29 03:18 pm (UTC)
Those are pretty! I do wish yarn companies would not discontinue colors I like in favor of colors I don't like.



(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fair_witness
2012-01-29 03:22 pm (UTC)
It was a limited-edition movie tie-in, as I recall.

They're doing a Van Gogh line now:

http://www.simplysockyarn.com/servlet/Categories?category=SOCK+YARN%3AOpal,+Van+Gogh

I'm wondering if I can justify getting the Starry Night colorway.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: hugh_mannity
2012-01-29 03:41 pm (UTC)
If you knit your sock on 5 needles rather than 4 -- with an equal distribution of stitches across them it's easier to collapse the square the needles make. I use the 5th needle spiked through the fabric to hold the work flat then shove the sock in progress, yarn and any other accessories (tape measure, pattern, crochet hook for emergencies, et al.) into a small bag I made for the purpose.

I've made quite a few pairs of socks. Perhaps because my mother never knit socks. She was an excellent knitter (as was her mother) and specialised in complex colour work. I knit socks and cables (aran or gansey style sweaters).

From Knitting and stuff
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-01-29 04:18 pm (UTC)
Those socks are beautiful, but in prowling through your knitting & stuff, I found those softly-variegated green with the interlacement sort of pattern up the cuff...where the gorgeousness is not the yarn, but the subtlety and intricacy of the pattern. WOW. I liked the color, too, but...WOW.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: hugh_mannity
2012-01-29 04:38 pm (UTC)
These ones:
From Knitting and stuff


The yarn is Patons Kroy Socks FX. It's a very nice, inexpensive yarn that knits up easily and seems to wear well. I knit the socks toe up, and the cable pattern running up the top of the foot and up the leg (back and front) is one I picked from a pattern dictionary.

Getting a good match between a stitch pattern and a variegated yarn can be difficult, but I'm very pleased with the way these came out.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: redvixen
2012-01-29 01:56 pm (UTC)
I've taught a few people how to crochet over the years and I've heard exactly what you're saying (about comparing yourself to your mother's skill level) from them. They see what I can do and then how poor their work is in comparison. I tell them that my first attempts were just as bad and that their work will be just as good or even better than mine once they have some experience behind them.

This advice falls into the category of "common sense things we know but don't think about". You know yourself that our first attempts have flaws. I'm sure you can look back at the first stories you wrote and wince at all the mistakes you made. But...they were your first attempts and you learned from each and every one of them, refining and polishing your work with each story. So, too, will it be with your knitting.

Yes, your mother was an excellent knitter. That doesn't mean you can't be as well. You know that. That's why you started your first sock. When you make a pair of socks you can be proud of, you'll know also that your mother would be proud of you - for both trying something new and achieving it.

We never lose that feeling of being not as good as our parents, of not being able to measure up to their standards and achievements. However, we need to learn that we can match them and feel a sense of accomplishment without feeling guilty or as if we are making them less somehow. After all, they felt that way about their parents and our children feel that way about us.

Besides, as I tell everyone who is still new to any craft, the fact that handmade items have flaws adds to their character and makes them unique. Doesn't mean I or they won't keep striving to make things without flaws but there's no need to stress out over the little mistakes we all can make. :)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-01-29 02:41 pm (UTC)
Sock One has a flaw right now that's going to require my ripping out about 10 stitches. I should not try to knit late at night when I'm tired and lying in bed with the project on my chest.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: redvixen
2012-01-30 01:03 am (UTC)
*grins* Ten stitches is better than ten rows. Which is close to what I had to undo one time when I was working on a project late at night with inadequate lighting. Oh well, it was a learning experience and I've never made the same mistake as far as lighting goes. I still make mistakes, lol.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-01-30 04:20 am (UTC)
Ten ROWS??? (At least Sock One doesn't have ten rows on it yet. But still...ouch!)

As this is my learning sock, I'm not being...entirely...perfectionist about other things. The unintended "How the dickens did I get an extra stitch on this needle and why does it look like a rat-nest?" was dealt with using an intentional knit-two-together on the next time around. Back to 21 stitches, WHEW. That part of the sock will be under my jeans anyway.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: redvixen
2012-01-30 04:29 pm (UTC)
*grins wryly and shrugs* It was actually eight rows. I was making a sweater and didn't notice that I wasn't getting the last stitch in on every second row until I laid it out to check on the progress. I was watching a movie and not counting my stitches. Oh well.

A simple enough error of an extra stitch and the knit-two can be passed off as a design element. Having the side of a sweater curve in meant tearing out stitches and redoing the work.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: xrian
2012-01-29 08:17 pm (UTC)
There are fancy-equipment ways to do this, but a cheap way that works is to "collapse" your knitting (I agree it's easier on 4 needles than 3; many DPNs do come in sets of 5 now) and then wind a rubber band around the collected needle tips at each end. Fairly secure for putting knitting away or shoving it into your purse.

If you have problems with a slightly loose stitch at the point where you start a new needle, pull the first *two* stitches of each needle very snug. This works better than just pulling the first stitch snug (thanks to Deb Robson for this tip).

Sock heels are very weird and mysterious when you're new to them. Find a good set of directions and follow them even when they don't seem to make a lot of sense and it will work. Eventually you will begin to understand why it works. (For me the hard part was understanding that when the instructions said "TURN" they actually _did_ mean "turn around and start knitting in the other direction even though you have not come to the end of the row yet.")

If I may (modestly) recommend a very simple and easy-to-understand heel (and it's really quite comfortable despite its looks): Pre-Literate Stockings. This is a historical heel and rather different from most modern heels, but I teach it because it's easy to see how it works to make a knitted tube turn a right angle (which is rather a nifty trick).
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: mrs_redboots
2012-01-29 09:02 pm (UTC)
I don't knit socks often because I'm not particularly fond of hand-knitted socks - too thick in my shoes. But I can do them, and have done them. I actually like turning the heel - it's far and away the most interesting bit of the sock! Just follow the instructions stitch by stitch - it will feel very random at first, and then suddenly you'll see exactly what you're doing, and it will be easy.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-01-29 09:33 pm (UTC)
Opposite feet, we have. I love thick socks, and don't like thin ones. Not enough cushioning.

Well, I need to get the cuff long enough before I can start on the heel.

E.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: mrs_redboots
2012-01-30 07:40 pm (UTC)
I suspect it's due to being a skater, where thinner socks - or even bare feet - work better inside ice skates than thick ones do. And also being a skater I end up with thick calves, so thick socks inside Wellies don't work for me, either!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: xrian
2012-01-30 03:46 pm (UTC)
Most of the patterns that fuel the current sock fashions (there is sock-mania going on in the knitting industry, if you don't know) are in fingering weight wool at about 8 stitches to the inch -- much thinner than the worsted-weight yarn Elizabeth's using. If you're used to wearing ordinary store-bought socks then these should fit into the same shoes.

They do take somewhat longer to knit than worsted-weight socks, however. (Assuming you feel like knitting some, of course. No one is obliged to knit anything they don't want to. ;)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: mrs_redboots
2012-01-30 07:38 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't have the patience to make those - not when I can buy 5 pairs for £2.00 in the supermarkets. Although there are some lovely patterns out there.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2012-01-30 06:08 am (UTC)

Challenge Accepted!

I decided, after reading this, that I need more creation in my life. I don't write a lot. I have oodles of odd chores that need doing. I have children to keep raising (and one just hit "teen," yay). But I need to do this. I need to *MAKE* something. And my reasons for not making were similar... I crochet, and several people I know do it very, very well.
It's stopped me every time I tried to do more than a scarf or a dolly blanket. I got a little further this past holiday season, trying a hat out of nothing (I know all of 3 stitches). Lo and behold, it WORKED. I made two more scarf-hat sets. Now I want to do mittens and socks. I must do this. I will do this. Thank you for the added focus. And that sock ruff looks darn good to me!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-01-30 02:30 pm (UTC)

Re: Challenge Accepted!

Have fun with it. And since I like having a name to put with a post (the only "face" I can visualize for Anonymous is a blank mask)...could you please let us know who you are?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)