Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fresh Off The Needles: Socks, Socks, Socks!!

Operation Sock Drawer

"Operation Sock Drawer" is definitely in full swing around here!  Although admittedly the sock knitting steam train that I was on has calmed down a fair bit and I'm not churning out a pair a week like I was at the beginning of the year.  But I'm super happy to report that I've at least been keeping up with the daily sock knitting - even if it is just a few rounds here and there throughout the day.  That was the whole point of the Socks With Sarah KAL though, right?  To dedicate a little time each day to knit a bit on a sock?  Which reminds me, I should really make a post about the sock that's currently on the needles.  

In the meantime, I thought I would at least show you a few of the sock that I've finished (and that you've most likely seen snippets of on Instagram) and should blog about now before I completely forget...and before you think I'm full of it and start to think that I never finish a project (cause really, when was the last time I made a Fresh Off The Needles post?).  The original plan was to make separate posts about each sock but then it became quite clear to me that that was never going to happen since typing up 5 different posts would take away from my knitting time.  You understand, right?  It's not like I didn't try though.  I made several attempts to write a post about the first sock but then got distracted with the project that was sitting on the corner of my desk, which made me stop typing so that I could knit a few stitches.  Before you know it those few stitches became a few rows, and those few rows became a few inches, and then like that I abandoned the blog post and was full on knitting on the couch.  I seriously have the attention span of a goldfish when there's so many knitting projects lying around!

Anyhoo, and so I give you one giant post about all the socks that I have completed within the last few months.  I'll say sorry now for both the lack of good, quality photos (if you follow me on Instagram then you'll totally recognize all these, minus the one above - that one I actually took with a camera and not my phone), and the lack of detail shots.  I suck at taking photos of my own feet and I have no idea where I had placed my sock blockers.  I couldn't pin down the Mister long enough to take proper photos and when I could the lighting was crap.  I think I'm going to have to come up with a way to take decent photos that doesn't involve a second person, or either find my sock blockers or track down some nicer looking ones (I have the plain boring blue ones from Knit Picks that aren't really photogenic).  Oh well, at least I have some photographic evidence that these socks actually do exist.

So without further ado, I give you the first (and hopefully not last!) sock FO parade of the year:

:: CLIMB ::


I was mega lucky to be able to test knit these classic work sock inspired socks for Jane Richmond back in September before her newest book, Journey, hit the shelves (the follow-up to Island - both of which she collaborated on with her partner in crime, Shannon Cook of Very Shannon).

These socks were a joy to knit and are oh so comfy to wear.  The pattern, which is Climb, in case you didn't catch that, is simple and easy and I even learned a new technique, the Turkish Cast On (I usually do Judy's Magic Cast On).  You might not believe me when I say that these socks knit up pretty darn fast considering that I can whip up a pair of socks relatively quite, so I'll just tell you that even other knitters - novice and advanced alike - have also commented on how quick these babies are.  I think the only time consuming part of these socks is deciding on what colour combination to use!

I'm pretty used to knitting my socks on 2.25mm (US 1) needles and sticking to a 64-stitch range, so it was a little weird for me to knit with a pair of 2.75mm (US 2) on this project.  But trust Jane and the pattern and know that due to the gauge and the number of stitches being used (which was much less than I'm used to), your sock is going to look a little like a pair of sock monkey legs - in that you'll end up with a pair of really long yet skinny socks.  Don't be alarmed.  And don't think you'll need to frog back a few inches either.  That length will get eaten up as it stretches around your foot and help accommodate for the skinniness of the sock width.  The gauge and stretchiness of the sock make for a comfortable, breathable, AND light sock that I can actually wear with my normal shoes (for those who don't knit socks: hand knit socks are generally thicker than commercial, store bought socks and I find that I can't really wear my hand knit socks with most of my shoes unless I want to walk around with tight feeling feet.  So just my roomier boots, like my wellies, can be worn with hand knit socks).

Since these were for a test knit, I wanted to use the same or similar yarn that Jane used for her socks (which were Knit Picks Stroll and Bare), and yeah, I was aiming for a similar colour combination too.  Lucky for me I have a fair amount of Knit Picks sock yarn in the stash and from there I was able to come up with the same colour combo.  But in tweed.  Mmm...tweed...I love tweed.  Both hanks of yarn that I used were yarns that I had acquired through swaps on Ravelry.  At the time, both yarns were discontinued and therefore were a little on the rare side, I had no idea that Knit Picks brought back the tweed sock yarn and re-added it to their regular yarn line up.  How happy was I to find this info out?  Now I can use my precious KP tweed stash!

I had to cheat a little though as I didn't have any red tweed on hand, and not only did I really not want to have to buy a ball for the little amount that was called for in the pattern, but I also didn't want to have to wait for it to arrive in the mail.  So, armed with a few packets of Cherry Kool-Aid, I had wound off 15g of the Bare Tweed and dyed it using the microwave method.  I was absolutely thrilled with how the yarn turned out.  It was perfect!  And the socks themselves are utterly fabulous, if I do say so myself!  I still have a fair amount of KP tweed in the stash, as well as a couple more hanks of Bare that I just might have to knit a few more pairs to add to my sock drawer.  But first, I think I should stop by a grocery store pick up some more packets of Kool-Aid in a variety of flavours...that way I can have some fun with the contrast stripes!

:: Details ::
Pattern: Climb by Jane Richmond

Yarn: Knit Picks Bare in Superwash Tweed and Knit Picks Essential Tweed
Colours: Bare, Bare dyed with Kool-Aid, and Ash
Needles: Knit Picks Nickel Plated Circulars in 2.75mm (US 2)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Climb



As I had mentioned in this post, Aquaphobia and I just couldn't get along.  My first attempt at this pattern was a total bust.  Now that I have more sock knitting experience under my belt 
I decided to give this pattern another go.  To avoid another sock fail I thought a clean slate would be best, so I switched out the yarn and even the needles and went at it.  


Well, they're knit up and they're done.  To me, that's a success.  The fabric of these socks aren't stretchy at all and I feel like they are just a smidge too big.  I prefer my socks to be a little on the snug side since over the course of the day socks generally loosen up and stretch out a little.  So these bad boys will definitely sag big time.  Oh well.  I guess I'll just have to wear them and find out.  

I absolutely love the look of these socks though.  The mix of the gauge and the stitch pattern has made the yarn look somewhat self-striping and almost fair isle-like.  And they're almost match-y too!  Right down to the purple "strap" across the ankle.  But I feel that the little 2-stitch cables that run down both sides of the leg are lost within the bold colourway of this yarn.  I've seen other socks knit up using a loud colourway too and the cables were still able to stand out, but then again the colours on those socks were broken up enough that it didn't take away from the cables.

I didn't do any mods to these socks as I didn't want to ruin my chances of sock success.  But if I were to knit them again I would definitely either go down a needle size or do the math to use less stitches (the pattern gives you only 1 size option).  I would also change the heel flap a little to contain less stitches as I really like how the stitch pattern continues onto the heel flap.  Or just use an entirely different heel that will accommodate my abnormally narrow heels.  But truthfully, I don't think I'll knit this pattern again.  It was an enjoyable knit, don't get me wrong, but it's one of those patterns that just doesn't like me.  Still, I say Aquaphobia, I owned you!

End of story.

:: Details ::
Pattern: Aquaphobia Socks by Crystal Flanagan
Yarn: Tausendschön Handgefärbte Sockenwolle
Colour: I have no clue since the label is all in German
Needles: Hiya Hiya Sharps in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Aquaphobia Revisited


Hermione's Everyday

Next up, the yarn that was originally used to become Aquaphobia but turned out it was better suited as anything other than Aquaphobia.  I was extremely determined to use this yarn, simply because it was the very first skein of yarn I've ever received from being in a sock club.  I combed through all the sock patterns on Ravelry hoping to find something that would work well with the colourway and finally decided on the ever popular Hermione's Everyday Socks.  It seems I'm the last person on Earth to knit a pair and probably the only knitter who doesn't have at least 3 pairs of these in their sock drawer.  I can now see why this pattern is so popular amongst sock knitters - it's easy peasy (think of it as a step above plain stockinette), it knits up quick, and the stitch pattern breaks up highly variegated colours quite nicely.

The yarn was an absolute pleasure to knit with.  It's SweetGeorgia Yarns BFL Sock and it felt SO silky soft as it slide through my fingers.  I was sad to have to graft the toes on the second sock, knowing that the project was over!  So you bet I used up every last inch and tried to knit as many hexipuffs as I could from the leftovers!  I now regret destashing the second skein to my friend Natalie (hi Nat!).  Ok, not really.  I know the yarn went to a very good home.  Natalie had knit up her skein way before I had knit up mine, and she had used it on a project that I know she wears a lot.  That second skein is very well loved.

Anyhoo, there's really not too much to say about these socks.  If you really want to know more about how I had knit them up you can check out my Ravelry project page (link in the details info below).  But I will say that if you plan on knitting this pattern and are still new to sock knitting, here's a tip: stop 2 inches before the desired length of the foot to start the toe decreases.  The pattern doesn't specify how long the toe treatment is and if you haven't developed a favourite toe method yet you wouldn't know when to start decreasing and therefore could end up with a long sock that you'll just have to frog back to fix.  Not a huge deal, but it could be the difference between being and hating sock knitting.

:: Details ::
Pattern: Hermione's Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Yarns BFL Sock
Colour: Heavy Traffic (September 2010 yarn club colour)
Needles: Hiya Hiya Sharps in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Hermione's Everyday Socks

:: KAI-MEI ::

Kai Mei

Ah, now here's my absolute favourite sock of the bunch.  Cookie A's Kai-Mei.  This pattern had been in my queue F-O-R-E-V-E-R!!  I don't know why I waited so freakin' long to finally get around to knitting them.  Maybe it's because I used to find Cookie A patterns a little intimidating?  Who knows?  But I'm glad I finally put my foot down and cast them on.  Not to toot my own horn but these babies are stunning!  And the fit.  Oh!  They are utterly perfect!!  So fabulously perfect!  This is a pattern that I definitely want to knit again!!  So much so that I re-queued it and already have a yarn in mind (I totally want a pair in hot pink)!!

Don't let the lace motif fool you into thinking that these are too intricate and tricky to knit.  It's actually fairly easy and because of the amount of ribbing, these socks can knit up pretty fast.  Once I got to the foot and the lace, I didn't want to stop knitting!  The knit nerd in me got really excited and I wanted to see how the lace pattern worked up and how it wraps from the gusset to the top of the foot.

I didn't think I would ever knit socks using a tonal colourway, since I have so much variegated yarns in the stash.  But I really didn't want to take away from the elegant simplicity of the socks and so a tonal was a must.  I've been lusting after Lisa Mutch's Northbound Knitting yarns for a while now and had even joined one of her 3-month yarn clubs.  This is my second time using her yarns (the first time I still have to blog about!) and like the first time, I loved it.  Sadly you can't really tell in the photo but there's just so much depth in this colourway that you have to see it in person to appreciate it.  I should also mention that this is a club colour, so I have no idea if it's available for purchase or if it will be added to the regular colour line up.  Sorry!

So many people have commented on how they have this pattern in their queue and/or that they've been wanting to knit this too.  I say do it!!  I HIGHLY recommend this pattern.  It was easy to follow and there was no guessing at what to do.  I didn't make a single mod.  Cookie A definitely knows her stuff!

:: Details ::
Pattern: Kai-Mei by Cookie A
Yarn: Northbound Knitting MCN Twist Fingering
Colour: Potion (April 2013 yarn club colour)
Needles: Hiya Hiya Sharps in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Kai-Mei


Swinging Peashoots

Last, but definitely not least, is another pattern that I've had in my queue forever, Sunday Swing.  Yay for slowly getting through the queue!!  And double yay for finally using some more older stash again!!  This is also the first sock to be cast on for the Socks With Sarah KAL.

I absolutely love this colourway (it's Peashoot by SweetGeorgia Yarns), and had actually bought it specifically for this pattern.  I had never noticed it until I started knitting with it, but this colourway has some beautiful bits of blue in it (which you can't tell from the photo.  Boo urns!).  And I love, love, LOVE how the colours striped in certain areas of the pattern.  It definitely made knitting these socks even more fun.

The pattern itself is another super easy peasy knit that is both memorizable after a single repeat and a cinch to read in your knitting.  With that said, I did make quite a few mods anyways.  Like knitting an Eye of Partridge heel for more stability and hopefully to add a longer life span to the socks since the pattern uses a simple stockinette heel flap.  I used my standard toe decrease method (so I had knit to 2 inches before the desired foot length rather than the 1.5 inches and had decreased every second round rather than every round) as I prefer a longer toe box.  I had also knit the second sock using a mirrored image chart because I wanted my socks to compliment each other (after all, I had knit the Kai-Mei socks before this pair).

My only qualms about this pattern is how short the leg is - even on my stubby little legs!  If I were to knit this again I would change the ribbing to the standard ribbing, since twisted rib doesn't have much stretch to it, and knit another repeat or 2 on the leg.  I think these slight changes would make the socks more wearable and would make the most of your yarn since I had so much yarn leftover (like less than half the skein!).  But they sure are pretty, don't you agree?

:: Details ::
Pattern: Sunday Swing Socks by Kristel Nyberg
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock
Colour: Peashoot
Needles: Hiya Hiya Sharps in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Swinging Peashoots

Ok, that's it for this sock parade.  Phew!!  But I'm sure there will be a few more throughout the year.  So stay tuned for that!  In the meantime, have any of you knit these patterns up?  And if you're doing the Socks With Sarah KAL too, how are you doing?  Man, I'm feeling really accomplished today!  Yay for sock knitting!


  1. How did I totally miss the fact that you dyed your Bare for the red stripes! Absolute genius!!!

    1. I thought I had mentioned it to you? I could have kept mum about it simply because I would be the only person on Earth who can't dye anything with Kool-Aid! :/ But now that it has worked out, I'm excited about the stripe possibilities of future pairs of Climb!

  2. Wow these are all fabulous! Wish I could be as prolific (so says the person who is trying to finish off a pair of socks for mom, started many months ago...) Really love your Kai-Meis too...

    1. Thanks Nina! ♥ I have to say, in your defense that sometime knitting for others can slow down your progress. I'm sure you would have been done those socks were they for you. Right? ;)

    2. Haha! Never looked at it that way. Next socks to get started will be from my dad though, so there's no telling when they'll get done... :( though really, I only have an inch or two left on the other ones. I find that because socks are a stuff-in-my-purse project, I don't tend to actually work on them much...

  3. Thanks for getting us all caught up on your recently finished socks! Always an inspiration and a reminder that I want to try some NBK yarn.

    1. Thanks Chantel! Sometimes I wonder if I'm just fooling myself in thinking people care about what I've been knitting. You should definitely try NBK yarn!! I'm absolutely horrible when it comes to converting EST to PST so I'm always missing out on the shop updates! :/ BUt I definitely would like to get my hands on more.

  4. Your sock selfies are awesome! I think you've nailed it. Awesome additions to your sock drawer, chipping away a bit every day really adds up to one lovely collection.

    1. Thanks Tanis! ♥ I'm hoping that this daily chipping away will result in a full sock drawer by the end of the year!

  5. Sock knitting is the best kind of knitting! Northbound Knitting club colorways are exclusive to club members for 6 months--after 6 months they can be custom ordered and will make appearances in shop updates--so anyone who wants some Potion can get their hands on it!

    1. Oh, thanks for letting me know!! Yarn dyers (regardless of how big they are) have different rules when it comes to their yarn club colours that I can never keep track. I'm also insanely horrible at converting time (especially EST to PST) and so I'm always missing out on the NBK shop updates so I never know if Potion has made it into the shop or not! :/ Hopefully whoever wants this colourway has read your comment and not miss out! :)


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