Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's socks!

By now, you've probably caught some of the buzz over the upcoming Sock Summit in August. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about this event! Yet in the midst of thinking about it, talking about it, and anticipating it, I realized I haven't finished a pair of socks in a while.

That, quite obviously, needed to be remedied!

So here's the first pair. I started these what seems like ages ago for my friend Margie. Got as far as being ready to turn the cuff on the second sock and fizzled out. Thereafter, they sat on my desk, taunting me until I couldn't take it anymore. Oh, did I mention how much I hated picking up stitches for that turned cuff? I'd say never again, but I know how these things go and I'd end up having to eat my words.

nutkin finiSpecs:
Nutkin by Beth LaPensee

Knit in Fleece Artist Merino Sock 2/6 in Purple (can't remember the correct name of the color)

US size 1 needles from KnitPicks

And yes, they twisted, despite the fact that I swear I picked up the stitches correctly. Oh well, I think the twist on the leg is kinda sexy anyway.

Hey, Margie? Your socks are finally finished! :)

So I had to turn around and start some for myself. I've recently discovered that all but one pair of my socks had holes in them. Horrors! In looking at them, I determined a couple of common issues. (1) All were made from 100% merino yarn -- no nylon or tencel or anything else added for strength. (2) all blew out on the bottom of my foot, either at the heel or the ball of the foot, and this was a result of the fabric becoming paper thin with wear, which means they weren't mendable.

So what's a girl to do? First, I need to make a pair with some nylon or tencel mixed with the wool and see if that adds some strength to the material. I guess I'm just hard on socks, and while I will continue to use 100% wool to make them, I'll add some yarn blends into the mix, too, and see if I can find a happy medium for long-lasting socks.

Second, I need to reinforce the bottom of the socks since that's where the most wear and tear is taking place.

Okay, so let's go! Off to the stash, where I came up with a ball of Trekking XXL, a 75% wook/25% nylon blend, in color104, which is pretty shades of blue. This yarn is fairly thin, so I grabbed a set of Addi Lace needles in size US0. Hmm, smaller needles, tighter stitches, this could be good. But this also means I need to add stitches to the sock to fit my rather large feet/ankles. Okay, fine, whatever.

Trekking Twisted Rib
So here's the start on the new pair. I cast on 80 stitches and started with a 2x2 rib. Then I realized that I didn't want to count rows to get the second sock to match, so I threw in a twisted stitch ever fourth row. That way, I can just count how many twists before the heel flap and toe decreases when doing the second sock.

They're coming along nicely and they're a rather mindless knitting experience, so that's perfect for when I want to relax or when I can catch a minute to knit here and there.

Trekking Twisted Rib2For the bottom of the foot issue, I decided to continue the heel stitch all the way to the toe. I don't think it shows up too well here, but the slip stitch used on the heel flap is continued between the markers. This should give me added strength and it certainly provides extra padding, too.

With 80 stitches for this sock, I had originally thought I might decrease a bit into the foot for a more secure fit (I need width in the ankles and length in the foot), but with the combination of the twisted rib and the slip stitch bottom of the foot, they seem to be fitting perfectly without the decrease.

Stay tuned as I keep working on them and, eventually, get to wear them. Hopefully the combination of yarn and stitch pattern will result in a sock that lasts me a bit longer than previous pairs!


Margie said...

Yay! My socks are done! They look great! :-)

pdxknitterati said...

Nutkins look great.

I throw those twists into ribbed socks, too, to save myself counting. Must be an automatic knitterly thing!

Sharon said...

Beautiful socks! Congratulations.

I love Trekking XXL. They make great looking socks and it's durable yarn. I also enjoy the planning and logic of your sock knitting, having just frogged half a cuff because I cast on too many stitches. I should have just read your blog post first, lol!

Suna said...

I love the idea of doing the heel stitch all the way to the toe. I might try that for manly socks I need to make. I am lucky in that I don't wear my own socks out too quickly.