23 March 2009

But I'm not a sock knitter

Really. I'm not a sock knitter. I know people who are. You know them too. They always have a sock in progress. And their sock yarn stashes take up a whole closet. I understand the appeal, too. Socks are not too expensive. There are lots of fabulous sock yarns to choose from -- great colors and dye patterns that do amazing things even if you only knit stockinette in the round. And for more advanced knitters, a pair of socks can be a great place for playing with patterns and trying new techniques.

Mostly I'm not a sock knitter because I'm not a sock wearer. About the only time you'll see me in pants is when I am doing something grungy and have to wear jeans and a sweatshirt. Otherwise, I'm wearing silk skirts with beads, cute tops, fabulous wraps, and coordinating jewelry. Generally, socks don't go with the silk skirt look. But, I could use a pair or two of nice knee socks for winter wear with the wool skirts.

In this case, I chose Interlocking Leaves by Kelly Porpiglia from the Fall 2008 Knitty. Nice lace. Nice texture. Not too many holes for socks, pleasantly feminine, and interesting. Now, ya'all know by now that it is almost impossible for me to follow somebody else's pattern. In this case, I started out with the cast-on and increases for the toe. And I knit the lace pattern, beginning at row 7 so that it grows nicely from the stockinette toe to row 22, which is the end of the lace repeat. But I didn't like the heel turn as written. Too much solid fabric showing. I only wanted stockinette where it really has to be for wear -- sole, toe tip, heel turn. I wanted more lace.

I decided to give this sock the Cat Bordhi treatment. Foxglove architecture from New Pathways for Sock Knitters. Toe up, and put those increases wherever you want them. In this case, I put the increases at the sides of the instep and I kept them in pattern with the lace. As I went into my first full repeat of the lace, I increased on rows 1, 4, 7, etcetera. With this architecture, you increase two stitches every third row. I worked all the way through those 22 rows and then through another 22 rows. By that point, I'd increased 30 stitches total, 15 on each side of the instep. I had 61 stitches all in the lace pattern on the instep and 29 stockinette stitches on the sole.

I like Cat Bordhi's heel turn. The problem here is that a full sideways repeat of the lace is 11, 21, or 31 stitches -- i.e. 10 stitches plus 1. The sole on this sock is 29 stitches, and after the Cat Bordhi heel turn, there are only 27 stitches. (She has you decrease one at each end to clean up the heel turn.) I did try knitting the heel and keeping it in pattern, but missing those four stitches made it unnecessarily tricky. Here's my solution.

On that last row 22, add one stitch to each side of the sole. Now the sole has 31 stitches not 29. Rearrange the wing stitches (15 each side, 30 total) so that they are on the heel needle now. (Cat Bordhi has you rearrange them after the heel turn.) Treat this new arrangement as 14 wing stitches, 33 heel stitches, 14 wing stitches. In other words, you're stealing a stitch from each wing.

Knit row 1 of the lace pattern across the 31 original instep stitches. (If you change how long to knit the body of the sock, do be sure to knit an odd-numbered row going into your heel turn. If not, you'll have to work the business side of the lace heel on wrong-side rows, and where's the fun in that?) Continue the lace across the 14 wing stitches. Now work the heel turn over those center 33 stitches as written in the book, pp. 122-123. I worked 9 wraps on each side. When you work the two conceal wrap rows, you'll decrease at each end. Now you have 31 stitches for the heel. The lace pattern fits on 31 stitches. Glee!

I knit the heel back and forth in stockinette, decreasing one wing stitch at the end of each row, until I had 8 wing stitches remaining on each side. At this point, I changed the heel to the lace pattern, beginning at row 7, just as I had on the toe. I kept working in lace until all the wing stitches were decreased. (Cat Bordhi has you knit until 1 wing stitch remains on each side. I kept going.)

At that point, my yarn was at the beginning of the heel. There were 31 stitches on the heel and 31 stitches on the instep, 62 stitches total. But I needed to get back to only 60 stitches so the pattern would join in the round. Row 1 of the lace pattern was the most recent row across the instep. Row 22 was the most recent row across the heel. I worked row 1 across the heel and, as I got to that last stitch, worked it together with the first stitch on the instep. Now I was at the beginning of a round. I worked across the instep on row 2 of the lace pattern. When I reached the end of the instep, I worked that last stitch together with the first stitch of the heel. Now I had 60 stitches total. I worked row 2 of the lace pattern across the back. Voila! Ready to work row 3 and onward of the lace pattern in the round. Up the leg I go!

16 March 2009

Killer App

I was just over on Amazon, birthday shopping for the Cuddly Hubby. They have up the advertisements for the Kindle 2. I used to enjoying reading. I did. But I can't read and knit and blog and run a knitting guild and keep house and amuse the Cuddly Hubby all in the same day. There weren't enough hours in the week, and the reading got cut, as those folks in the Friday morning Knit Lit group know. (I am always behind where everybody else is.) Then I go over to Amazon today and there's the Kindle 2 with this new feature:
Read-to-Me: With the new text-to-speech feature, Kindle can read every newspaper, magazine, blog, and book out loud to you, unless the book is disabled by the rights holder
I did not need to know this.

Edit: It just got worse. Mrs. Beeton's Book of Needlework. If you listen to Cast-on podcast with Brenda Dayne, you know who Mrs. Beeton is.

13 March 2009


I got a call today from Stitches South registration. Not enough people signed up for the Japanese Innovators fashion show on Sunday morning. Sigh. So, my schedule needed to be amended. Here's my new Stitches South schedule:

Thursday afternoon: Challenging Stitches from Japanese Designs with Gayle Roehm
Friday all day: Lapland Hand Garments with Susanna Hansson
Saturday all day: Set-in Sleeves Simplified with Joan Schrouder
Sunday morning: Exotic Estonian 'Patent' Stitches with Merike Saarniit
Sunday afternoon: No Wrong Side -- Reversible Fabrics with Gwen Bortner

I've exchanged Japanese Innovation for Exotic Estonian ideas. I am hoping that since I am taking the Thursday class with Gayle Roehm, that maybe she will have slides or the trunk show with her. I am eager to see these ideas even if other knitters are not yet enlightened.

Only a little more than a month to go. Glee!