Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fresh Off The Needles: A Tale of Two Socks

It's Socktober!! So what better way to kickstart the month of sock knitting than to post about a few sock FOs? Both of these socks were knit throughout the months of August and September, just in time to free up some needles to cast on even more socks in October. YES!!

Ok, let's get back to the subjects of this post: the two new pairs of socks that have been added to my sock drawer. While both of these socks were knitted up using plain vanilla sock recipes, they are actually quite different from the other. How so? One was knit using the Portuguese style of knitting while the other was knit in my usual English "throwing" style. One is toe-up and the other is cuff-down. One has a traditional heel flap and the other an updated version of a short-row heel. And although the colourways look vastly different, they are actually both rainbows. Well, according to the labels, they are; one is a neon rainbow and the other is your typical rainbow. 

I can honestly say that I was not bored even once while having these two socks simultaneously on the needles! With the amount of sock WIPs that I seem to always have in my knitting basket and handbag, and the amount of sock yarn that I have in the stash, I'm considering switching up my knitting from time to time by making a conscious effort to cast on a cuff-down sock. I generally knit my socks toe-up because I'm never sure how long I want the leg to be at the time of casting on, especially when it comes to self-striping yarns.

Anyhoo, while I ponder the directional orientation of my sock knitting, take a look at my rainbow-esque socks:


I call this pair 'Portuguese Rainbow'. Named after both the knitting style and the fact that Regia named this colourway "Neon Rainbow" (from their Fluormania Color collection). This pair of socks were the very first pair that I've cast on this year. So crazy, I know! For the first half of the year I was dying to knit on socks but due to my CTS I just couldn't. I would try from time to time but a few stitches in my hands would protest. Not wanting to cause any further damage to my hands I just stopped sock knitting altogether. Then at the start of August my hands felt good enough to give sock knitting another go, after all, I was doing fine knitting with fingering weight yarns (albeit on bigger needles). A huge part of me was understandably quite nervous though, cause who likes having their hopes get dashed over and over again? So as a precaution I searched for different ways to hold your knitting and discovered the Portuguese style of knitting, 
which I talked more about in this post. I was so obsessed taken with this new technique that I decided to try my hand at knitting a pair of socks entirely in this style. I have to say I'm pretty pleased with the end results!

I opted to do my usual toe-up plain vanilla sock formula for this pair, as the put-up for the skein is a generous 420m (460 yds) and I wasn't sure if I could eek out a pair of knee-highs. In the end I went with a mid-calf height because I didn't think I had enough yarn to go any taller due to how tight my gauge was. I knew going into these socks that Portuguese knitting yields a tighter gauge and I kid you not, these socks are seriously dense. We're talking bulletproof here. So tight that I had to add a few increases in the back before starting the cuff. I have a strong feeling that these socks will not only take a while to stretch out between washes, but they'll also be around for a very long time!

Due to the much tighter gauge, there wasn't much of a stretch to the fabric so I had to knit the foot a little longer than normal before knitting a Fish Lips Kiss heel, which was beyond easy and so quick to knit up in the Portuguese style. And the cuff? Oh my...yes!! Even if I was knitting English style, I would switch over to Portuguese for the ribbing. Once I got into a rhythm, knitting the cuff was so.insanely.easy. that I just kept going. I had to stop when I realized that the cuff was a little over 6cm (2.5 inches) tall!

I wasn't planning on making these socks completely identical, I was going to knit however the colours came out of the skein. The first sock, I started with the yarn straight off the skein and for the second I noticed that there was a few metres of lime green before it switched to a deep hot pink. So I cut out the lime and cast on for the second sock in the pink. Amazingly the pair came out quite matchy-matchy with absolutely no effort. This colourway is so eye-searing that my camera had a really, really hard time capturing the colours correctly, but trust me when I say that there's a deep pink that blends into red before the orange. 

Even though I didn't have enough yarn to make these knee-high socks, I still ended up with a good amount leftover, about 70m (78 yds). I love this yarn so much that I'm definitely keeping the leftovers with the idea of either using it in conjunction with black to make a stripe-y pair of socks or as the accent to a pair of Squircle. Whichever route I go with, I'm pretty sure I'll be happy anyways. I absolutely love these socks! They'll definitely be perfect for those dreary, dark winter days!

:: Toe-Up Sock Details ::
Pattern: My own plain vanilla toe-up sock recipe

Yarn: Schachenmayr Regia Fluormania
Colours: Neon Rainbow
Needles: HiyaHiya Sharps Fixed Circulars in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Portuguese Rainbow


Confession time: I didn't set out to knit a pair rainbow stripe-y socks. I had actually found this random rainbow tube-like WIP in my knitting basket. I have no idea when I had cast it on or what it was suppose to be. It looked like the beginnings of a sock as it was on my usual needle size that I use for socks and it had 64 stitches to it. I usually prefer toe-up for self-striping yarns but this started with an inch of 
ribbing and then had about two inches of plain stockinette knitted up. What was I thinking when I had cast this on? I could've just ripped out the tube but decided to just turn it into a sock anyways. Why waste the knitting that has already been put into it?

Again, I wasn't planning on making these identical but they turned out that way in the end. I love it when that happens! For the first sock when I got to the heel I simply used the other end of the ball to start a standard heel flap and once I got to the point where I could go back to knitting in the round again I continued on with the end I was originally knitting with. I didn't use the entire ball of yarn for the first sock so when I cast on the second sock where the first sock left off and the stripe just happen to already be at green, just like the first. When I got to the heel, I literally grabbed the second ball and it was already at green. Totally awesome! It's like the planets had aligned just to make this happen. The magic of sock knitting...it always keeps me coming back for more!

So, aside from that confessional tidbit, there's not much more to say about these plain vanilla socks and I really don't want to rant for the sake of creating filler or to make this post long. So I won't.

:: Leg-Down Sock Details ::
Pattern: My own plain vanilla sock cuff-down recipe

Yarn: Knit Picks Felici
Colours: Rainbow
Needles: HiyaHiya Sharps Fixed Circulars in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Reading Rainbow Socks


  1. You've got me intrigued about Portugese knitting. I'll be reading up on that today. Great outcomes here. I love the zippy colourways.

    1. Thanks Stefanie! I'm usually outfitted in monotone colours and go crazy with the socks. I like to think it makes life balanced ;)

      I've become quite the fan of Portuguese knitting and highly recommend giving it a try at least to every knitter. Even if you don't take to it immediately, it's just nice to know a different method and have that in your bag of tricks. I've found purling in Portuguese especially easy.

  2. Those are so cute! I love bright socks so much :)

  3. I love both of these colorways, they are fabulous indeed! I've never heard of Portuguese knitting (it amazes me at how many different kinds there are!), but dense fabric is so cozy sounding! Having brightly rainbow colored socks would make me want to do nothing but stare at my feet all day xD

    1. Bright, colourful socks are a MUST for dreary grey winter days! It amazes me as well as to how many different kinds of knitting styles there are out there, and it was really fun to learn the Portuguese style!

  4. Love them both! So nice and bright and they look super cozy too!

  5. Such fabulous socks, both pairs! that's interesting to hear how the Portuguese style yields a much denser knitted fabric, but hooray for more durable socks!

    1. I've been knitting Portuguese style for years now - and am 'hooked', especially when doing ribbing or lace knitting. I now work in an area about the size of a marshmallow, instead of an orange - a lot less work and stress on my hands and wrists! As for PKing creating a more dense fabric....I think that is only the result of having smaller ndls than the suggested ndl size - or that the knitter is knitting tighter in PKing. Just changing your style of knitting - per se - won't change the fabric.


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