I am a child of the 80s. As such, “Choose Your Own Adventure” books play an alarming role my memories of my distant youth. The writing was contrived, the illustrations dreadful, and yet they still filled me with an unreasonable fascination. In honor of their (doubtless unsavory) influence, I’m letting you choose your next knitting adventure.
I have two patterns ready to go, Graupel (on the left) and Caprice (on the right). Click on either to see gigantic versions if you’re so inclined. One will be released in February and the other in March. You pick. I will take it as a given that they are both lovely and eagerly anticipated. I promise I won’t feel slighted on behalf of the one that doesn’t win. Leave a comment saying which you prefer, and the one with the most votes by Friday or so will be the next pattern I release.
So the weekend bit didn’t work out. It was cold and rainy. I am valiant enough to hang about in the snow to get pictures, but not the rain. The snow came back today, so I dashed out for a quick snap, just to prove that they really are done. Alas, this is not a pattern-worthy photo, so I still have to wait a bit before I can start wearing them full time. It is, however, enough to tease you with. See?
- January 23, 2010
- tags: Graupel
Graupel are done, and they are taunting me. There they lay…finished…blocked…totally ready to go. And yet, they are not on my feet. That’s because I don’t have good pictures of them, and the rule is ‘no wearing the socks till they’re photographed.’ At least it’s a weekend, which increases the number of people around during daylight hours, and thus dramatically increases the chances of getting photos. With any luck at all I’ll be wearing them tomorrow and I’ll have finished sock photos to post some time shortly after that.
- January 20, 2010
- tags: repairs
You have to darn them too…
I mentioned the other day that three pairs of socks had worn thin in the heels. I considered just chucking them, but The Boy professed a fondness for his, and I (grudgingly) acknowledged that it was far less work to darn them than to make new pairs. It’s true it was less work, but it wasn’t exactly a quick process. Let’s have a little before and after.
First, the damaged sock:
You can click on the picture to see an alarmingly massive version of it if you really care. The sock is stretched over the bottom of a vitamin bottle, which made a perfectly-sized if rather noisy darning egg. You can see that the fabric is generally quite thin and that there is a spot (a little to the right of center) where the strands between the stitches are almost totally gone. There wasn’t an actual hole just yet, but there would have been if I’d worn them another few times.
You can also see that I used to twist my stitches when I worked in the round. Notice that the stitches in the heel turn (up at the top) are untwisted and the stitches in the rest of the foot are twisted. I won’t tell you how long I did this, all the while thinking ‘huh…those two bits look different…oh well’ and carrying blindly on. It’s a bit embarrassing really. However, this does bring up a small point. I’ve often seen people suggest that working twisted stitches on the heel of a sock will result in a sturdier fabric. My experience would seem to indicate otherwise. The fabric of the twisted section is far more worn than the fabric of the untwisted section. This has been the case in all of the socks I made in this fashion. I would not recommend using twisted stitches in high-wear areas.
And now for the (partially) repaired sock:
Again, a giant version awaits your click. This shows my progress about 2/3 of the way through. It’s not perfect, and it doesn’t need to be. I ended up working about 6 more rows of darning before I decided I had gone far enough. I snipped off the ends close to the sock and didn’t bother to weave them in. After a wash or two they’ll just sort of disappear.
The final verdict? Ehh…mixed. It looks ok, and it definitely thickened up the heel. The socks will certainly last much longer now. On the other hand, the process is fiddly and slow, and the darned spot feels just a tiny bit different under foot. I’m thinking that may go away after a few wearings, in which case I’ll elevate the verdict to moderate success. It just felt more like a chore than like something fun, and knitting is supposed to be fun.
I think in future I’ll hold a strand of the wooly nylon along with my yarn when I knit the heel. The stuff I ordered came, and it seems like an interesting product. It’s quite thin, but strong enough that I can’t break it no matter how hard I pull on it. I may also try running it through the soles of my existing socks to see if it makes a difference. I’ll report back as I experiment with it, but it seems promising so far.
As promised, new socks! May I introduce Elfrida?
You may have noticed that these don’t follow the same naming convention as the rest of my socks. That’s because they are part of Penny Rose Yarns’ Wicked Women sock club. They are named for a real live wicked woman, and you can read about her on the socks’ pattern page.
Ruth, the mastermind behind Penny Rose Yarns, has been kind enough to let me release the pattern to everyone at the same time club members get it. Alas, club members are the only ones who get the beautiful purple yarn I used. I have a sneaking suspicion that many of Ruth’s other yarns would work equally well though. Ruth generally does one-of-a-kind colors, so if you see something you like, grab it before it’s gone!
As you can likely tell by the shocking lack of snow in that picture, I finished these quite a while ago. I’ve been fighting my natural instincts and keeping quiet about them for more than a month. I have also been wearing them as often as hygiene allows during that month. This means I can say with absolute certainty that Ruth’s yarn holds up beautifully to the standard sock wear and tear.
Here’s another pic to make up for the uncharacteristic discretion that marked the creation of these socks!
One more small note. From now until the end of the month, I’m donating 50% of my pattern sales to Doctors Without Borders. If there is something you’ve been thinking about getting, this would be a great time to do it. Doctors Without Borders is a fabulous organization (the esteemed Harlot vouches for them), and they’ve got a lot of work to do.