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Sockin' It to Myself: Far Past the Comfort Zone - MoonScape [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Sockin' It to Myself: Far Past the Comfort Zone [Mar. 30th, 2012|03:47 pm]
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Various upsetting things this week led to time spent having to wait in various situations--and I've learned to take the knitting bag along.   By Thursday night, the socks were (I thought) the right length to have their toes closed over.   Today (it was supposed to be "an hour or so this morning"  but it was all day) I worked on closing the toes "properly" (which is to say, with the Kitchener, or grafting, stitch.)

 It's obvious that the sock on the right has smoother and more symmetrical decreases than the sock on the left.  (L is SockOne, R is SockTwo--when I'd learned some things from SockOne.   The directions I was given didn't work for me as well as what I did on SockTwo.  Though I tried on the socks almost every row during the toe decreases, I still didn't get it quite right.

In preparation for grafting the toes, I watched several videos on the method, as well as looking at pictures in a book.   The videos were excellent in teaching me the sequence, which stitches come off when, etc.  The problems I had were not covered.  (Exactly how much yarn you need for closing the toe depends on variables not mentioned as significant--in fact one video didn't even mention that you do the grafting with the yarn you've been using for knitting...you cut it off the skein.    Finally, in midafternoon, I got both socks off the needles with their toes closed--one somewhat better looking than the other. 


They're very comfortable except for those "ears" on either end of the grafted part.  What I was trying to do was make a blunt end for my big and second toe (fairly long)  to be comfortable in, and I'm not sure why the grafting formed a "knob" on either end.   Figuring out a way avoid having knobs is on the list of things to do differently next time.    Others include tinkering with the stitch count in particular places,  lengthening the plain-knitting section below the cuff ribbing, figuring out a better place to start the toe decreases and so on. 

But as I said at the start of this adventure, it was more about breaking out of the self-defined limits than producing perfect socks and I gave myself permission to make mistakes (and boy, howdy, did I ever make them!  Including today.)    I am no longer a person who knits only flat things.  Round things, irregular things--anything--are now on my side of the invisible line.  I would like to knit perfect socks.  (I would like to knit, and have, lots of perfect hand-knit socks.   But right now, on this day, I have finished my first pair of hand-knit socks and they're on my feet.   YAY!!!


From: (Anonymous)
2012-03-30 09:53 pm (UTC)

Well done

They look fine to me. Next will be even better. I can guess it took more then a couple of socks before your mother became the master you admired.

Ed Bunyan
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-03-30 10:20 pm (UTC)

Re: Well done

Thanks! I'm going to give these a little swim in cold water (not me, just the socks!) and see what happens before making the final decision on how many stitches to cast on. I have some beautiful hand-spun natural-colored (shades of gray) wool that would make great socks.

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[User Picture]From: pensnest
2012-03-30 10:22 pm (UTC)
Have you looked at starting your socks from the toe? I discovered Judy's Magic Cast-on, and it is (a) amazing and (b) a heck of a lot easier than Kitchener stitch! That said, your socks are very cheerful and look cosy. I suspect socks are an obsession which sneaks up on most knitters...
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-03-31 02:02 am (UTC)
No, I really like working from the top down. Or rather, I want to do some more pairs from the top down before trying toe-up. Toe-up socks aren't knit with a heel flap (I understand) and I really like the feel of the heel flap instead.

Kitchener stitch itself isn't so bad...but the video that suggested leaving big loops to tighten up later meant over an hour of struggling with those *@!!*! loops that have to be tightened exactly in order.

Wish my tapestry needle hadn't taken a dive into the chair where I was working--knitting needles fall through and I find them on the floor, but the tapestry needle rolled off the seat cushion and disappeared into another dimension. We both looked, with flashlights--pulling off the seat cushion, peering into every crevice and on the floor beneath. I still have ends to weave in.
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[User Picture]From: carbonel
2012-03-30 10:32 pm (UTC)
I've knit a dozen or so pairs of socks, and I still get little ears when I graft the toes. If there's a secret for avoiding it, I haven't figured it out.

Other than switching to toe-up socks, I suppose. I made one pair of toe-ups, but they were colorwork and too thick for most uses. I should try a more standard toe-up pattern one of these days.
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[User Picture]From: fair_witness
2012-03-30 10:47 pm (UTC)
I've always heard that the solution for avoiding the ears is "try toe-up socks." ;)

Congratulations on your first pair of socks, Elizabeth!
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From: (Anonymous)
2012-03-30 10:52 pm (UTC)
Lucy Neatby has a great DVD for that, using a sock chimney. Easy to follow.

I usually k2tog all around, and around again, until I have 8 stitches, then cut yarn and pass it through the loops, pull tight.

Those socks look great! Congrats -- it's a step to be proud of.

Hope the upsetting things start downsetting soon.

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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-03-31 02:09 am (UTC)
That sounds like it'd work! I may do that on the next pair.

Though in one of the videos, the demonstrating knitter *appeared* to produce socks with Kitchenered toes that had no ears. Can't tell on screen if they had palpable knobs.

One thing I'm tempted to do next time is shape the toe end more to my feet than the usual symmetrical shape. The front of my foot is not symmetrical: the two longest toes (and the second is as long as the big toe) are on the medial side. Why not have R and L socks? (Though my feet are very happy in these as house socks.)
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[User Picture]From: karalianne
2012-03-31 12:15 am (UTC)
Congratulations! :)
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-03-31 02:09 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: cdozo
2012-03-31 04:20 am (UTC)
Those look great. I am totally impressed. Well done!
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From: geekmerc
2012-03-31 05:53 am (UTC)
I showed the wife and she swears either her wrists won't do it, or her brain won't do it. She's not sure which. We both have a great appreciation for being able to knit so well.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-03-31 03:37 pm (UTC)
Well, then...guess it's up to you, huh?
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[User Picture]From: Barbara Buchanan
2012-03-31 05:54 am (UTC)


Kitchener stitch is difficult under most circumstances, and doing it at the fine gauge of sock toes is especially not easy, though as you noted, there are (now!) videos to show how to do it. You FINISHED a perfectly lovely pair of socks, and unless you wear only Birkenstocks or other sandals with your socks, no one but you will know that you've got a few beginner bits at the toes.

Hurrah! Brava!

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[User Picture]From: redvixen
2012-03-31 08:04 am (UTC)
Congrats. Those look comfy too.

I need to make my own socks. The store-bought ones wear out at the heels too easily.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-03-31 03:32 pm (UTC)
You can reinforce the heels of socks you make. Kind of like putting patches on the knees of your kids' jeans before they wear a hole in them.
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[User Picture]From: seitherin
2012-03-31 02:55 pm (UTC)
Congratulations! The sweet taste of success and a pair of socks. Things couldn't be better.
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[User Picture]From: mrs_redboots
2012-03-31 03:20 pm (UTC)
Yay, well done! Grafting the stitches together takes a bit of practice and a lot of frustration, but you'll find you use it all the time once you can do it - I very, very seldom actually cast off the shoulders of a sweater or cardigan these days, but leave the stitches on a length of wool (yarn, sorry - my British English vocabulary is showing and there are significant differences in knitting terms) and graft them together before doing the neck. Looks much better than a hard seam, and with an invisible seam up the side you hardly know how many pieces the thing's been knitted in!
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-04-01 12:00 am (UTC)
Socks finally came off my feet (feet said, "Oh no! Where'd the comfort go?") and got a quick gentle wash, a squeeze to get some of the water out, and then several hours laid over the line outside. Now they're inside, still damp (my feet want them back on, NOW.)

The plan to knit a proper gauge swatch/tension square before starting the second pair is foundering on my feet's desire to have MORE SOCKS RIGHT NOW. (I'm only one inch into the gauge swatch, but it seems to be in line with what I measured on the socks themselves while they were in progress. I do know that I knit tighter when I'm worried (about a sick family member), but that's not something a swatch will detect. And I think it varies by about half-a-stitch/inch, which, on a sock, isn't that much, as there aren't that many inches around.

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[User Picture]From: gifted
2012-04-02 03:33 am (UTC)
Yayy! They look wonderful (and super cozy) -- imperfections and all.
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