I thought pretty assuredly that I was going to be the first person to complete my Heartgyle Socks. I was on course to finish them in five days, despite the fact that I had changed the cast on and restarted the toes more than once. …
In the list of words that strike fear into a good number of knitters, intarsia comes not too far after moths. Despite the dread, here we intrepid band of Boost Your Knitting adventurers go, headlong into knitting intarsia in the round [audible gasps ring out, a woman faints]. …
When July worked her way around I was waiting, needles poised, to cast on the latest project from A Year Of Techniques. I’d brought Talmadge to a sprint finish (though to this date it is still awaiting a pair of buttons) and was ready for a new challenge. The pattern was released: Rachel Coopey’s Antirrhinum socks with the accompanying skill of the heel turn (a handy set of knitting steps in a knitter’s repertoire if they hope to enhance the warmth of comfort of their feet). I cast on with the intention to change only the ribbing from a 1×2 rib to a 2×1 to flow into the main stitch pattern. No big change, no great need for concentration.
I worked the prescribed length of rib before settling into the main stitch pattern, which is absolutely ideal for socks. It’s a rib with interspersed occasional lace elements. The effect is delicate without losing it’s robustness. The fit of the ribbed sock would hug the foot without being restrictive, and is perfect for first time sock-knitters so that they may concentrate on the magic of the sock heel without sacrificing comfort. But boy do I hate knitting rib.
Ribbing is one of the most important elements of many knitting patterns. Where you need elasticity for comfort, form and fit, ribbing is your best friend. The knits and purls concertina in their stacked vertical columns to give a snug and soft stretch that cannot be matched by any other form of stitch. But, unfortunately, my fingers find it monotonous. Usually I see the ribbing as a necessity and look forwards to breaking away into the song and dance of lace or cables, or even the meditative repeat movements of stockinette, which lets some parts of my brain shut down for a bit of quiet whilst my hands go into autopilot. But this perfect stitch pattern that I was knitting away at is, at heart, ribbing.
When my hands did not move to something else, my mind did, and I started mentally planning other projects. I kept putting my knitting down to search for the perfect pattern because my little boy is growing out of his knitwear and needs some new things. Soon I found myself looking forwards to casting on new things once I could get past these socks. Then, without too much thought, I just unravelled.
I don’t know what made me do it. I didn’t even ‘decide’ so much as just went with the compulsion. This is such a perfect sock pattern, it’s just not my knitting. Not my knitting right now, anyway. In a few weeks, who knows? What I do know is that I have a Coopknits sock pattern that I really, really want to knit soon. I think I should have perhaps cast these Pennycress socks on instead of the Antirrhinums, as they have been on my ‘must knit soon’ list for a while. So, maybe this frizzle of Socks Yeah! yarn will become those Pennycress socks instead when I am ready to carry on with my socks. I say carry on as I didn’t unravel all of my knitting. Disliking knitting rib as I do, that would be sheer horror.
Mr Awesome’s socks are coming along in short spurts between feeds and changes, and the occasional long walk to town. The cuff and seven stripes for the legs have been knit, and the final dark teal colour has been reached, signalling the end of the …
Over the past few days I have felt a slight return to myself after the birth, and with the shock of a new routine not lead by me and all its demands slowly settling in I thought I might like to take up just a bit of knitting, to hopefully bring with it some return to my notion of self.
When I have decided to return to knitting after big occasion, either very busy, deliriously happy or in some occasions traumatic, I have usually had a good think about what kind of project I might best tackle for my current frame of mind, and so with busy days, many new tasks, a lot of noise and a decent amount of lost sleep, I thought some simple, vanilla socks would be just the ticket.
The only problem with stockinette socks is that they can sometimes feel a bit dull to knit. They are almost so far into the comfort zone that they become a little boring, and to counter this I often feel I need some semblance of surprise, which is why choosing good, fun yarn is absolutely key for me.
These socks are for Mr Awesome, so there is a lot of knitting involved as much like the rest of him, his feet are big. So, I decided that stripes were in order, but as I no more fancy fiddling around with lots of little balls of yarn than I do weaving in all of the ends, I managed to hunt down some of Regia’s Pairfect yarn. This yarn is supplied in 100g balls and promises a matching pair of socks each time. The ball can be knit from the centre for top-down socks, or from the outside if you wish to knit toe up. Each ball starts with a length of yellow ‘scrap’ yarn. You cast on from the point where this yellow yarn changes to the first of the colours for the cuff, and then knit the cuff and seven stripes of colour before knitting the heel, foot and toe in the solid colour.
Once the first sock is complete you wind any remaining yarn until reaching the second section of yellow scrap yarn and repeat the entire process until you have a perfectly matching pair of socks.
I have deviated from the instructions slightly to wind the skein into two smaller balls so that I can knit both socks simultaneously on on long circular via magic loop, which I really did because I did not trust myself not to get hit by a case of Second Sock Syndrome, where I might find myself presenting my husband with another orphan foot-covering.
As well as playing with a new form of yarn to reinstate my knitting mojo I am also enjoying the excitement of knitting with the new circular needle I treated myself to (because I am so very rock n’ roll): one of the Knitpro Kubics brass needles. I have knit with Knitpro Kubics before, though only in the larger sized wooden tips. The smaller metal needles are wonderfully comfortable for socks and the relaxed balanced grip and smooth surface has helped my stitches fly along in the rare quiet moment that I have to knit.
Hopefully the combination of needles and fun new yarn will help ensure that these socks do not languish unfinished as at the moment I am very much enjoying this simplest of knitting projects.