I have this horrible curse of knitting three heels every time I make a pair of socks. This go round I actually knit three whole socks to get a pair. But the good news is it only took me 6 months to knit a pair of socks instead of my usual 12 months.
Pattern: Go With the Flow Socks by Evelyn A. Clark from Favorite Socks
warning: despite being a republished pattern my copy still had errata (the number of stitches for the heel – which meant, yup I knit four heels)
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Solids in white – the final two socks weigh in at 62 grams total.
I started these socks this spring after my mom requested handknit socks she could wear with her sneakers. Of course I did a gauge swatch and determined I needed to find a pattern that used 60 stitches around instead of 64. I actually started knitting Hedera first, but for the second time it wasn’t working for me, then I settled on this pattern. It has a super simple repeat (4 rows and 6 stitches). The first sock knit up quickly and I actually thought these could become a mother’s day gift. Ha.
Can you see what went wrong? I hated knitting these socks with 4 dpns so after I finished the first sock I bought a new set of needles and cast on for the second sock. But it took forever for me to get ahold of another pair of 2.0 mm needles. I eventually settled on a set of KP Harmony dpns. Finally in July I kitchenered the second toe. I had been counting rows like crazy to make sure the socks would be the same size. One seemed a bit smaller, I counted again and my numbers matched so I figured it block out. I tried the socks on and then I knew there was no way these socks made a pair – one was significantly smaller than the other! It took me over two weeks to realize that the difference between Clover bamboo 2.0 mm dpns and KP Harmony 2.0 mm dpns were the culprit. And then I couldn’t find the Clover dpns, I had managed to loose them in my house, and none of the stores near me carried them. Eventually I found a pair across town. And eventually I knit the third sock. And it matched the first! (Also I learned if I’m monogamous with my knitting, and pick it up everyday I can knit a sock in less than a month.)
According to my Ravelry project page I started these Charade Socks in August 2007. Yikes. That said, socks are my whenever-on-going-travel project and so do not get high priority in the knitting queue most of the time. And I had to knit about 2.3 socks to get 2 socks (I had to rip out 3 to 4" of the first sock because it was too small and dense). Also, I am very happy to learn that when I mostly knit on a sock it only takes me about 1 month, I cast on sock number two on June 19 and managed to get a measly 2 inches (if that) done during my six hour flight. Anyway, I plugged away, knitting just a few rows a day here and there. Last weekend when we went camping I was just starting the gusset and somehow during those 4 days managed to knit up to the toe. Wow! I actually needed to tink back 6 rows due to knot believing I'd get anywhere near that much knit and not bringing the needed info (sock #1 foot length and the toe shaping instructions). So I finished up the toe earlier this week and just wove in my ends today.
I hate weaving in ends. I'm also pretty crappy at doing so, but muddled through it. I do have to say it was a lot easier when I stopped using the large blue plastic tapestry needle and started using the smaller, bent tip Chibi needle. For some reason sock #2's stitch pattern has a lot more definition than sock #1. Hopefully it will even out once I wash and wear them.
needles: 5" size 2 dpns (the 5" needles are great, except when all the gusset stitches have been picked up)
yarn: Crystal Palace Panda Wool (46% bamboo, 43% wool, 11% nylon) in color 9628 Periwinkle – 2 balls
Remember these socks? How could you, have I written about knitting anything else?
They've been sitting around my house like that since the beginning of May. I stalled at the kitchener stitch. I had never done it before and so I looked at my handy Vogue Knitting Quick Reference. It walked me through the first two steps, but on step 3 it through me in the middle of the work. Agh. I checked other knitting references; FantasyLibrarian sent me copies of the pages from her knitting go-to book, but I still was stuck at the same point, "when do the stitches come off the needles and where do I insert the needle on step 3?". I looked at Knittinghelp.com's video of kitchener, which was better, she finally mentioned that the first stitches on either needle are not treated quite the same as the rest of the stitches, but it went so fast that I couldn't keep it straight or remember how to do it once I picked up my needles. I let the project linger and moved on.
Almost two weeks ago I sat down to figure kitchener stitch again (it sort of made me feel a little better that Grumperina has to check her notes before sitting down with it as well). I watched Knittinghelp.com's video (scroll down to the section on finishing), taking notes and hitting pause and rewind many times. Then my friend J sent me the link to this Knitty article. Oh if only I had started there instead. I practiced a couple times on swatches I made just for that purpose (now what should I do with a 3" white square with one red stripe?). Oh, and for anyone who is interested in trying a "knitted" kitchener check out TECHknitter's instructions (it wasn't the needle that scared me off though I found this idea interesting).
Finally with the help of the following on a note card:
step 1: purl #1 front stitch
step 2: knit #1 back stitch
step 3: knit #1 front stitch, slip
step 4: purl #2 front stich
step 5: purl #1 back stitch, slip
step 6: knit #2 back stitch
repeat steps 3-6, the second stitch is now the first.
Muttering, "knit slip purl, purl slip knit" also helped a lot. Then to end it I used knitty article guidelines (when there is only 1 stitch on each needle you do step 3 and then step 5).
Of course today I sit down to finish these socks and can't find my handy-dandy note card, the knitty article came to the rescue. Now I have these socks almost all done (I hid the ends for picture-taking-in-daylight purposes). I finally finished my May UFO (or was it April).
Warning: this is probably in more detail than a non-knitter will be interested in, heck I'm not even sure if other knitters (successful sock knitters at least) will want to slog through this long post.
I have now knit 4 heel flaps and turned 2 heels*. I still don't have 1 sock to show for it. Yet a number of my friends who started knitting after me have successfully knitted socks. I'm sort of jealous.
Last May I went and bought my first skein of sock yarn and the LYS gave me a free pattern to go with it. She assured me that the pattern would work with the yarn so I didn't bother with a gauge swatch. Which might have been mistake #1 (but I figured, a sock will fit someone at some point). I started the leg band ribbing in May, I turned my heel some time last summer as well, but it felt so weird and I was pretty sure that I did something wrong. Then it sat waiting to be worked on during the fall, mistake #2. Then I borrowed the size 2 dpns for another project in December, mistake #3. So when I picked up the sock for the UFO Challenge I ripped out the heel and heel flap because I couldn't figure out how to pick-up the live stitches on the heel.
But the real downfall was the pattern. And my inability to read the pattern.
I re-knit the heel, and turned the heel with no problem. I started to pick-up the gusset stitches. This is where the pattern failed me.
So, frustrated I pull out my stitches and procede to make the Training Sock from Knitty. Other than a bit of laddering at the leg I had zero problems knitting this sock. Zero. The number of stitches at the side of the heel flap was exactly the number of stitches I need to pick up for the gussets.
Back to the original sock, why is this my fault? I messed up reading the heel instructions, I did *S1 purlwise, K1* across the right side rows and then *S1 purlwise, P1* across the wrong side rows. The pattern actually says to S1 purlwise, purl remaining sts on the row for wrongside rows. Doh. It also explains why I don't remembering having this issue last summer when I picked up the gusset stitches. Re-reading the Sock chapter in Knitting Rules helped me figure this out. I noticed that Stephanie Pearl-McPhee mentioned three types of heel flaps, I didn't knit any of them. So I looked at my pattern again and discovered it pretty much described the eye of the partridge heel. No wonder the stitches were so snug and hard to knit. No wonder it took SO many rows to get to 2".
But I figured this out after I knit 16 rows of heel flap #3. Which you might notice (photo below) is nowhere near 2" inches the pattern suggested. It is also not square which both Elizabeth Zimmerman (according to my Knitting Without Tears book) and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee say it should be. I'm glad I left in that life-line at the top edge of the heel, it made ripping out heel flap #3 slightly less painful. And I have a feeling that the 4th heelflap will be much easier to knit and everything will be downhill from here.