Tag Archives: Koigu

Slightly odd socks

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iPhoto tells me this was taken July 5.

iPhoto tells me this was taken July 5.

It turns out that maybe the best way to finish a pair of plain socks is to cast on an intricately cabled sweater. These socks have been on my needles since April. They were my backup knitting: something I could knit a few rows on here and there when I needed a break from whatever else I was working on, or we were spending an afternoon with friends, or I thought I might finish my book on my way home from work and maybe I should tuck my knitting into my bag just in case. And they were perfect.

The first sock languished at the toe decreases for a while (they’re easy, but not totally mindless) and then I finished it up and cast on the second sock back in June, when I thought I might need a stretch of plain stockinette. And then the second sock just sat there with two inches knit until my recent cabling issues. I wasn’t in any rush to finish them, but then after turning the heel on the weekend, I decided I was pretty close to done should maybe just buckle down and finish them off.

After the weekend.

After the weekend.

There has been a twinge of fall in the air here this week, and it has been getting decidedly cool at night, two things that should make me want to finish a big sweater, but instead drove me to knit socks. I can’t explain it.

The two skeins knit up really differently. The first sock barely pooled at all (except around the gusset, which is to be expected), but the second sock flashed like crazy. This is why hand painted yarns are fun.

The two skeins knit up really differently. The first sock barely pooled at all (except around the gusset, which is to be expected), but the second sock flashed like crazy. This is why hand painted yarns are fun.

What I can explain, though, is why they don’t quite match. This goes back to casting on when I needed something plain. I had most of two skeins of this Koigu KPPPM (#P123), so I went for it. Two skeins of Koigu will make me a pair of plain socks almost exactly (that is, minimal leftovers). I knit these socks at 9 sts to the inch, because without the benefit of nylon the tighter knit makes them last longer, so they’re dense, and I have big feet, but one skein per foot is perfect. I, however, did not have one full skein per foot, and instead of altering my standard sock pattern – say, knitting a 5-inch leg instead of my normal 6 inches – I just went on autopilot and then ran out of the first skein just before the toe of the first sock, and then ran out of the second skein in almost exactly the same spot in the second sock.

I had some leftover Koigu (colourway number forgotten) kicking around, so I just used that. They don’t quite match, but I don’t mind so much. I have a soft spot for surprise toes (toes of a different colour, whether just one or both) and when the yarn is this wild and not-matching anyway, I don’t mind at all.

koigusocks4

Details
Pattern: Basic 68-stitch cuff-down socks
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM #P123
Needles: 2.25mm
Mods: Besides the toe, none. These are knit more tightly than my normal socks, which is why there are more stitches. Notes are here on Ravelry (thank goodness, because I couldn’t remember the exact numbers of things by the time I got to the second sock!)

Oh, and yes, even though I meant to go right back to Burrard, I may have slipped accidentally and cast on for more socks. Simple Skyp Socks have been popping up all over the place and now I know why.

Knit in Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock in the Admiral Benbow colourway.

Super addicting. (Knit in Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock in the Admiral Benbow colourway.)

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The week that was

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Plain socks, knit in Koigu KPPPM #P123

Plain socks, knit in Koigu KPPPM #P123. Apparently these colours are not out of my system yet.

I can hardly believe it’s Monday, because I’m still in recovery mode from last week (also because I worked yesterday). Last week my section of the paper went live with a new program that totally changes our workflow and, in small ways, everything about how we do our jobs. The basics of the job (design news pages, edit stories, write headlines, etc.) is the same, but the way we do it has changed, and like any big change, this one has been hard. It’s new technology, with fewer people in-house, and last week was a bit chaotic. The paper made it out close to on time every night, so it was okay, but I got home every night totally wiped (and late, since new systems tend to take longer, at least at the beginning).

It was one of those weeks that makes you glad you’re a knitter. Every knitter I know has, at some point or another, talked up the stress-relief of knitting, and I really needed that last week. Of course, as is often the case, I didn’t really have time to knit. I did pick up my needles and work a few stitches here and there, but there wasn’t time for more.

Hunter St. Cowl. Lace always looks bad before it's blocked, but I am loving this pattern (and this colour). I think I managed to knit four rows on this last week. Part of me thought it would be done by now.

Hunter St. Cowl. Lace always looks bad before it’s blocked, but I am loving this pattern (and this colour). I think I managed to knit four rows on this last week. Part of me thought it would be done by now.

By the end of the week, I realized (in part) why that was: I didn’t have anything plain on the needles. Everything I was knitting had a chart of some sort, and even an easy to memorize chart like the one for the Hunter St. cowl requires just enough counting to not be mindless. Often, I enjoy charted knitting when I’m stressed. For one, it makes me feel a little clever, even when I’m just executing the same set of rows over and over, but it also forces me to stop thinking about whatever is on my mind (last week, page layouts – I actually dreamt about nothing but page layouts two nights in a row) and focus on something else. When I have the time, this is awesome, when I only have time for a row or two, it’s not the same.

The second Hummingbird sock, which I'm knitting Hedgehog Fibres sock, which might just be my new favourite sock yarn.

The second Hummingbird sock, which I’m knitting Hedgehog Fibres sock, which might just be my new favourite sock yarn.

It took me the entire week to realize this, so on Saturday, after running around for most of the day, I finally fished some fun Koigu out of my stash cast on a pair of plain socks (at the top of the post). Sometimes stockinette bores me to tears and sometimes it feels like magic. These are magic socks. I knit most of them while we hosted friends for dinner on Saturday, and a little more last night, and I’m going to try and squeeze in a few rows before I go to work.

Part of a pocket for my Woodstove Season cardigan. After wearing it a few times without pockets, I'm actually reconsidering my plan, so I might put these away for now. They can always go on later if I change my mind.

Part of a pocket for my Woodstove Season cardigan. After wearing it a few times without pockets, I’m actually reconsidering my plan, so I might put these away for now. They can always go on later if I change my mind.

L sometimes teases me about how much yarn we have in the house, but honestly, this is what my stash is for. I definitely did not have time to go to the yarn shop this weekend, but luckily I had already planned for such a moment and had what I needed at home. These socks will likely sit on my needles for a while since stockinette socks are nice to have around but rarely hold my attention long enough to be a primary project. That’s okay, though, because they’ll be there when I need them.

Edited to add: After a couple of people asked about the needles I’m using for my socks, I thought I’d post a link. I treated myself to some Signature Needles after Christmas and holy, they are awesome. They are a bit of a splurge, but when you think of how often you use your needles, and factor in that good metal ones will last forever, I decided it was worth it. I bought three sets (2.25mm, 2.5mm, and 2.75mm) and am seriously considering getting another set in 3.25mm (for worsted-weight socks).

The year in knitting

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I’m just popping in quickly because L and I are hosting a New Year’s dinner party tonight and I’ve been instructed to take a break. So far our main course is chilling in the fridge, the soup is half-finished (the other half all has to happen mere moments before serving) and the cake is in the oven. I am no feeling so confident that I’m blogging instead of getting dressed (I have showered, though).

Anyway, it’s Dec. 31 and that means it’s time for some sort of end-of-year list. I’m not going to rehash everything, but here’s how 2012 played out for me knitting-wise:

So summery. So soft. So stripy.

My Colour Affection is probably my most commented-on knit. I am seriously contemplating knitting another one (maybe in laceweight) because it gets so much mileage.

Hats: 5 (two were for babies)
Pairs of socks: 9 (that is way more socks than I realized)
Pairs of Mittens: 7 (three were fingerless)
Shawls/scarves: 4
Baby Sweaters: 2
Tea cozies: 2

That makes 27 finished projects, assuming I’m not forgetting something – I wasn’t so good at Ravelry this time last year. In fact, this time last year I was just finishing my second pair of socks and had never attempted a cable or lace or fair isle, which makes 2012 a pretty huge learning year for me. This was the year that I went from muddling through little projects on my own to throwing myself at new things with confident abandon. I taught myself cables, lace, and fair isle, then started actually teaching knitting, and amassed a rather unwieldy stash. I am also a much quicker knitter now, which isn’t something I realized was happening, but considering I went from needing a month to knit a pair of socks to knitting my Cranberry Biscotti socks in a week, I’d say I picked up speed.

These were my first cables, and considering I designed the socks myself, I'd say they worked out pretty well. They are probably my most-worn pair, and I love everything about them.

These took me a month to knit and were my first cables. Considering I designed the socks myself, I’d say they worked out pretty well. They are probably my most-worn pair, and I love everything about them.

(So, people started arriving and I had to go get dressed and whatnot and didn’t manage to finish on time. Rather than rewriting the top, I’m just going to keep going… Happy New Year!)

I didn’t manage to finish everything I started last year, but I’m not doing too badly. The Seafoam socks are half finished, and I’ll wrap those up pretty soon. My Lonely Tree Shawl is also pretty close to finished, and I still like both the pattern and the yarn, and am starting to feel a lace itch coming on, so I suspect that won’t take long to finish either. I ripped out my Woodstove Cardigan (as you know) and then got distracted by Christmas and didn’t get back to it until Saturday. It’s moving along now, though, and I’m guessing it’ll be finished sometime in February (there are a few knits due to various people in the meantime that will take priority). My albatross, though, is Buckwheat. It only needs a sleeve and a half, but it’s been languishing because all the plain stockinette made me want to poke my eyes out. I do want it finished, though, so I’m going to buckle down in the next few months and get it done.

My last finished project of 2012 was my Cranberry Biscotti Socks, and since they didn’t get a post of their own, I’m going to add those details here. I read through some other pattern notes before starting and people mentioned that the stitch pattern wasn’t very stretchy, so I decided to go with a 2.5 mm needle and not change the stitch count. Honestly, I could easily have both decreased the stitch count and gone down a needle size, but oh well, they fit and they’re comfortable and warm, so I’m not really complaining.

cranberrysocks3

Matchy matchy, and I like it that way.

Details
Pattern: Cranberry Biscotti by Elizabeth Sullivan
Yarn: Koigu KPM in #1180 (red), #2403 (grey), and #1305 (brown)
Needle: 2.5 mm dpns
Modifications: No major ones. I misread the pattern at the top of my first sock (only one wide band of grey) and then repeated that on the second sock so they would match. I also changed my last pattern repeat slightly so I wouldn’t end up with the last four inches of the sock all in red, and then repeated that on the second sock so they match. In a way, this pattern is kind of like knitting with a self-patterning yarn, except you do all the work. It was a great knit though, and because it takes relatively small amount of each colour (the secondary colours used about 30 grams each and the main colour used only about 70 grams) it’s a good pattern for using fingering weight yarn that might be leftover after a shawl or something. It would have been perfect, for example, for my Colour Affection leftovers.

I kind of wish I'd gone with white instead of grey (I waffled on it in the shop), but maybe the grey makes them less Christmasy?

I kind of wish I’d gone with white instead of grey (I waffled on it in the shop), but maybe the grey makes them less Christmasy? Also, I think it’s weird how the slipped stitch texture makes them look like chenille instead of wool. Weird, right?