Apparently January has become the official month of socks for me. To knit, to photograph, to talk about, and to blog about. I blame this on several things: my need to always have a sock WIP on the needles, my sock yarn stash that I like to keep on the corner of my desk...and on my dresser...and on my nightstand...which all then gives way to me wanting to cast on allll the socks all the time, and my new hand knit sock organizer that I got earlier this month that made my collection look a little weak (you can see it in my Instagram feed). Ok, weak to me. Ok, Ok, it's an excuse to knit more socks. OR, it could be because I had cast on a handful of socks back in
The newest pair I'm going to show you is my first FO of 2016, my Star Night Socks!! I fell in love with the yarn the second I saw it on Instagram. The yarn is Regia Design Line by Arne & Carlos. First off, let me just say that Regia is my favourite sock yarn. It's a fantastic workhorse sock yarn that not only wears, but washes, very well. Even when they're accidentally thrown into the washing machine and dryer... So I was ecstatic to learn that Star Night was made by Regia. I immediately went to my LYS to see if they had any in stock. They didn't. But they were expecting a shipment and so I put my name down on the to-call list for when it arrived.
I had cast on these socks in October and they became my designated "purse knitting" project. I made great progress on them from all the times I had arrived at the Kiddo's school for pick-up a little on the early side and before the month was even over I had the first sock almost completed. I had doubts about the sock w knitting of then I started the heel but chose to ignore my gut. I motored on, completed a gusset heel, and then proceeded to knit a good three to four inches of the leg before I stopped and realized that I really didn't like how the sock was looking. Something about the gauge and the heel was bugging me. So I did what any sane knitter would do, I shoved the sock back into its project bag and cast on a new project.
I didn't touch or even look at the sock for the longest time, but it did stay on my mind. I loved the yarn too much to let the project languish in the recesses of my knitting basket. I had to resurrect the socks somehow. The idea of using a contrasting toe/heel/cuff constantly came to mind. I was really hoping my LYS carried Regia in solid colourways because I have this weird thing about wanting my sock yarns to be made by the same company if I'm mixing and matching yarns to make a pair of socks. I'm hung up on this idea, probably because then I'm kind of guaranteed that the quality will be the same across the board and the yarns will look visually equal in fibre composition and hand (the look and feel of the final fabric). It was a sad ten minutes when I discovered that my LYS did not carry Regia solids. They did have the teeny tiny skeins of My First Regia (made for baby items) but not in the colours that were featured within the self-patterning yarn I had. It took a while, and several trips to my LYS, for me to let go of the notion of using a Regia solid and to find a matching substitute.
What did I find instead? Drops Fabel in a steely blue. It even had that same rustic, woolly look and feel as the Regia. Score!! But did I re-start my socks the second I got home with the contrasting yarn? Nope. Instead I finished my Zipping Along sock on Christmas Eve, finished my Zombie BBQ sock on Christmas Day, AND THEN on Boxing Day I decided it was time to revisit the Star Night socks. I took it out of its project bag and promptly frogged it without a second thought. I re-cast on the toe using the Drops Fabel and just before I switched yarns to start knitting the foot, I decided to weigh the ball of Star Night. I suddenly got this brilliant idea that I was going to try to eek out a pair of socks with just one small ball of the Regia (the put-up that I had was the 210m/230yd one, so essentially one sock). Based off of my personal sock knitting knowledge, I knew that the yardage I'd get from the Regia mixed with the Drops Fabel, I was bound to end up with a decent pair.
So did it work out? Well, once I hit the halfway mark with the Regia I measured the leg height. It was 5.25" from the waste yarn/afterthought heel placement line. I usually knit my sock legs to either 6" or 7" before I start the ribbing. I thought about continuing on simply to add another 3/4" of height, but decided not to since I'd have to break open the second skein and then I'd have a fair amount of leftover yarn. The whole point was to knit the one skein anyways. I could deal with a slightly shorter sock. Right? I thought about making up for the shortage by knitting the cuff longer than usual but nixed the idea. Once I saw how 2" of cuff looked, it was clear that anything bigger would just eclipse the sock and the lovely patterning of the yarn.
All in all I'm pretty happy with how the socks turned out. Yes, they are a smidge shorter than my other hand knit socks but I honestly can't tell the difference when I wear them. I definitely prefer the look of the contrasting toe/heel/cuff and think I'll do again for my other skeins of Design Line. I know someone will ask so I'll just say it now, the reason why I didn't like the look of the sock without the contrasting heel was because the patterning became wonky and looked obviously off at the area where I had to start knitting the heel. Every time I tried on the sock or took a look at my progress, all I could see was that uneven line of patterning. I tried to tell myself that I should stop looking so closely at my work cause that's when you start to notice stuff (like how, on one of the heels there's a gapping hole...crap! I better not keep looking it...). But it really bugged me and I just know that if it bothered me so much now, it will continue to do so each and every time I wear the socks. For the sake of my sanity, I couldn't leave that wonky line of pattern.
In my Zipping Along socks post I gave a tip on how I get clean, crisp stripes on the ribbing of my socks using self-striping yarns. Now here's my tip on how I get a clean transition from self-patterning (or self-striping) yarn to a solid/contrasting yarn: I simply knit one round with the solid/contrasting yarn in stockinette and then I start the ribbing. You don't see that solo knit round in the solid yarn at all and it prevents those randomly coloured purl bumps from appearing. Again, such a simple trick that yields a very polished end product. I'm sure this is a fairly old and commonly known tip but lately there have been a good amount of newbie sock knitters reading the blog, so I thought it would be a good idea to share it!
I still have one skein left of this colourway, since I had bought two to knit a pair. Unfortunately I don't have the receipt anymore so I can't return it (me?? Return yarn??). I'll think of something to do with it. Or put it back in the stash and when this pair is worn to strands of fibre, I can knit a replacement.
Hmmm...this kind of thinking...maybe this is why I have so much sock yarn in the stash?
:: Sock Details ::
Pattern: My own plain vanilla toe-up sock recipe with afterthought heel
Yarns: Regia Design Line by Arne & Carlos and Drops Fabel
Colours: Star Night (3653) and Grey Blue (103)
Needles: HiyaHiya Sharps Fixed Circulars in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Star Night Socks