Sock Knitting Master Class

Half-Stranded Sock–Top of Foot

Staying up late, I finished the top of the foot, or the instep, of Anna Zilboorg’s Half-Stranded Socks.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I knit much tighter than I purl. So much so that I use a larger needle for knit rows than purl rows. For these socks, I’m using a 2.75mm needle for right-side rows and a 2.50mm needle for wrong-side rows. This keeps my stockinette looking even. (When I work with interchangeable circular needles, I put different size tips on each end of the cable.)

You might want to try this trick if you find your stockinette has a stripy appearance from the stitches being different sizes on alternate rows.

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Terpander Socks–A Finished Pair

I found myself completely alone this weekend–our eldest son has flown the nest, the twins are away being camp counselors, and my husband went to his 40th high-school reunion. I took advantage of not having to cook, clean, or do other daily chores and spent the weekend knitting. It’s been a while since I’ve devoted so much time to knitting and it was pure bliss.

After what seems like ages, I finished Melissa Morgan-Oakes Terpander socks from Sock Knitting Master Class (page 144), ending with very little yarn left over.

Knitted from the toe up, these socks include ribs, cables, and a little bit of lace. The originals are knitted with a luxurious blend of merino, cashmere, and nylon called Classy Sox from Dye Dreams. Sadly, Dye Dreams closed before the book came out, but I happened to have some of their yarn in my stash–Luster Sox, which is 100% superwash bluefaced Leicester.

The biggest adjustment I made is that I didn’t knit these two at a time on one longer circular needle. I can’t help it — I get so annoyed with the way the balls of yarn get tangled that I just can’t do it. I used my very pointy Signature double-point needles instead. They make quick work of decreases and cabling without a cable needle.
The yarn I used is a bit thinner than the Classy Sox recommended so I added a couple k1, p1 ribs at each side of the leg, working the foot on 80 stitches instead of the specified 72 stitches. I wanted to make sure the socks would fit my big feet (and they do!).
I increased the gussets to 120 stitches (instead of 108) and worked the heel flap until 78 stitches remained. This eliminated the k2 panel that Melissa had along each side of the leg. I worked these stitches in k1, p1 rib instead.
To make the leg a tad longer, I finished the chart on Row 3.
For a little more interest in the ribbing at the top of the leg, I continued the 4-stitch cable/lace patterns all the way to the bind-off edge.

Next up are Anna Zilboorg’s Half-Stranded Socks.

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Catching Up

I am currently backed up against a number of deadlines, and as Murphy would have it, every time I open my inbox, there’s at least one message that requires some action and puts me further behind. I bet most of you can relate.

For example, I recently got a message that there was a typo in my last blog entry (dated around July 2) about the complete and corrected version of The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweater e-book now being available. Instead of correcting the error, I managed to delete the entire entry. (Here’s the link if you want to order a copy for immediate download). I finally gave up on trying recover it and was so fearful of deleting anything else that I’ve been hesitant to post another entry. Hence, the long gap since I last wrote.

But I have made some progress on the Terpander socks from Sock Knitting Master Class. I’m about halfway up the leg and plan to finish the first sock this weekend (really!).

When I announced that I was going to knit every pair of socks in the book, I expected to complete them all by the one-year anniversary of the book’s publication. Given that the anniversary is just a couple of weeks away and there are three more pairs (as well as the mate to this one) left to knit, you can be sure that this day will come and go without fanfare.

In the good news department, I’ve received an advance copy of the book version of The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters. And in the really good news department, the slow boat from China docked and the shipment is due to arrive at Interweave on Monday (July 17), a couple of weeks ahead of schedule!

Just for the record, I do NOT plan to blog about knitting every sweater in that book!


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Terpander–Getting Started

I finally got back to Sock Knitting Master Class this weekend and started the Terpander socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. These socks are a lesson in working two socks at a time (from the toe up) on two circular needles. You get a pretty great cable pattern, too.

For the socks in the book, Melissa used Dye Dreams Classy Sox, which is a luscious blend of 80% merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon. Sadly, Dye Dreams closed down last year and this particular yarn is no longer available. But, I happen to have some Dye Dreams Luster Sox (100% Blue-Face Leicester) in my stash, so I decided to at least stay with the same company for my version.

Now, I have a confession to make. I detest working with two circular needles and I detest working two socks at a time–too many needles and strands of yarn flopping around and getting tangled. It slows me down, takes the fun out of knitting, and makes me grumpy. So, I decided to follow Melissa’s most excellent pattern, but work the socks one at a time on my cherished Signature double-point needles. These needles make quick work of stitch manipulations, such as decreases and cables without a cable needle. To avoid the “second-sock syndrome,” I’m going to knit the second sock first ;-).

To make socks that have some chance of fitting my big feet, I’m working at at gauge of 18 sts/inch (rather than 19) on size 2.5 mm (about 1 1/2 in U.S. sizing) needles and I added 8 sts to the pattern–one k1, p1 rib at each side of the instep, and one k1, p1 rib at each side of the back of the leg (for the foot, I just added 4 sts to the stockinette-stitch sole). Consequently, I increased the toe to 80 sts (40 sts each for the instep and sole). So far, it seems to fit. I’ll just have to be careful not to make the foot too long.

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Stealth Argyles–A Finished Pair

I finished my version of Eunny Jang’s Stealth Argyles from Sock Knitting Master Class.

These socks were a lot of fun to knit–shadow knitting is really quite fascinating!
Here’s what I did differently from the instructions in the book:

  • I used Biggan Design 4 Ply Merino First Cross yarn (100% merino) in three colors.
  • I got gauge with size 2.75 mm Signature needles.
  • I started the heel after Row 31 of the second repeat of the charted pattern.
  • I worked Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ yarnover short-row heel (described on page 20 and used for the Bulgarian Blooms on page 130 and Toe-Up Travelers on page 166), working the first half until there were 8 unpaired stitches in the center, instead of Eunny’s wrap-and-turn method.
  • I stopped the argyle pattern when I had worked three full 56-row repeats.
  • I finished with the tubular bind-off (described on page 121) instead of the decrease method (described on page 120) that Eunny used.
Unfortunately, the feet are more than an inch too long for the snug fit I like. They measure a whopping 10 3/4″ long from the back of the heel to the tip of the toe, which is appropriate for a U.S. woman’s size 10 shoe. I’ll either have to give them to someone with big feet or rip out to a shorter foot length (about 10 rounds shorter) and reknit the heels and legs. This is what I get for not trying on the socks in progress!

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Stealth Argyles–First Sock Completed

Here’s my first sock of Eunny Jang’s Stealth Argyles from Sock Knitting Master Class.

I made the sock a little shorter–it measures just 8″ from the base of the heel instead of 13 1/2″–and I used a contrasting color for the toe, heel, and cuff (I can’t imagine an entire sock–or much of anything else–out of this acid green color).
I also deviated a bit on the short-row heel. Instead of following the wrap-and-turn method that Eunny used, I substituted Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ yarnover method that’s described on page 133 (for Priscilla’s Bulgarian Blooms).
And, instead of using the decrease bind-off specified in the pattern, I used the tubular method described on page 121.
On to the mate!

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Stealth Argyles–Making Progress

I’ve been traveling to teach workshops more that usual, which has definitely cut into my knitting time. But I am making progress on Eunny Jang’s Stealth Argyles.
I’ve just changed to larger needles for the upper leg. If I could focus on the sock, I could probably finish it in a day or two, but I expect that things will get in the way and it won’t be done until next week. Too bad. I really like working this pattern and I’m anxious to see how the argyle motifs look when I have them on my feet.


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Stealth Argyles, Making Progress

I’m cruising along on Eunny Jang’s Stealth Argyle socks. The argyle pattern is just beginning to show if I look down at the knitting at the right direction–there’s only a hint of it in this photo. The colors are a little jarring, but I think I’m going to like the overall effect.

I’m enjoying the two-row stripes but I don’t think I’ll every memorize the sequence of knits and purls that occur every other row. I have to watch the chart faithfully. Mistakes are not as evident as with other texture patterns and it’s possible that I might not notice one until the sock is completed. Good thing that the pattern repeat is only 16 stitches wide and is worked just twice across the instep; the sole is worked in plain old stockinette. I expect my progress will slow once I have to work four repeats around the leg.

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Stealth Argyles–getting started

The next pair of socks I’ll tackle in Sock Knitting Master Class is Eunny Jang’s Stealth Argyles (page 138).

Eunny used a method called shadow knitting to create an argyle pattern when viewed in one orientation and simple two-row stripes when viewed in others. It’s really an amazing technique.
Eunny chose Malabrigo Sock in teal and burgundy for her version. After searching through my stash, I think I’ll use Biggan Designs 4-Ply that the owner herself gave me at Knitting Lab 2011 in San Mateo (Biggan Designs was a sponsor of the event). Biggan (that’s her name) gave me three shades of green to experiment with. I’m thinking the socks could be interesting with the bright lime for the toes, heels, and cuffs, and the other two for the shadow knitting portion.

Of course, I’ll need to swatch a sample to make sure it will work. Stay tuned…

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