18 May 2009

Interlocking Leaves Success

I haven't knit much for myself over the past several months. So it felt really good to work on these. And it feels really good to finish them, even if they are autumn/winter knee socks and we're about to head into high summer. I discussed these socks previously in this post back in March. The pattern is from Knitty Fall 2008. I used 2.4 skeins of Plymouth Happy Feet in colorway 4. I was working both socks at the same time magic-loop style on a 47-inch Knit Picks circular needle, size 2.50 mm. At the time, I had worked past the heel turn. The rest of leg was mostly uneventful. I worked the 22-row lace pattern over and over. At the end of the row repeat, I'd try on the stockings to see how they stretched over my calves. For the most part, they seemed to be fitting pretty well.

If you've made knee socks or stockings, you know that the danger is in getting enough stretch through the calf. I am fortunate to have fairly narrow legs -- truth be told, long and narrow is pretty much my morphology all over. For a broader calf, increases in pattern might be necessary. On Ravelry, smrjunior has knee-high interlocking leaves socks and the graphs (here & here) for the increases. I was able to avoid the extra graphs and merely go up needle sizes. In the picture at right, the green arrows indicate where the dental floss lifelines were inserted. The lower lifeline is where I changed from a 2.50 mm needle to a 2.75 mm needle. I worked one full 22-row repeat. Then I changed from 2.75 mm to 3.00 mm and worked most of another repeat. (I'll note here that one of the things I find attractive about the Knit Picks needles is the metric sizing. The 0.25 mm jumps in the small sizes are quite appropriate. I wouldn't mind seeing Skacel offer a set of Addi lace tips in the 47-inch or 60-inch length with the metric sizing for magic loop socks.)

At this point, I was nearly past the widest point in my calves. I had a pretty good sense of how much length 22-rows would give me, so I decided it was time to move to the ribbing. The pattern calls for ending the lace after round 19 of the pattern, so that's what I did. I inserted a lifeline. Note: I should have been more generous in the length on the lifelines, because they popped when I later tried on the socks. At least enough was left that I could easily measure the length of the ribbing. Then I dropped back to the 2.50 mm needle and worked the ribbing as written in pattern. I did make my ribbing a little longer than the pattern specifies, but that's partly because the proportion is better on the longer stocking. I bound off somewhat loosely in pattern.

A note on the this ribbing. While I like the way the pattern and the ribbing coordinate, this is not the most elastic ribbing. Also, I had trouble with the purl stitch to the right of the twisted knit being much bigger than the purl on the left side. If I had to do it again, I'd work that right purl using combination knitting - wrapping it the wrong way to make it smaller. And my bind off is simply loose in pattern. I would prefer a tubular bind-off, but that's not really an option in a pattern with a 5-stitch repeat. So for this ribbing, aesthetics = A, functionality = B- or C+. We'll see how well the stockings behave when I wear them this autumn.

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