Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Knit In Progress: Ulti.knit Socks
The past few weeks my family and I have been trying to get back into the "usual" fall (and back to school!) routine. Ok, fine. More like I am trying to get back into the routine. I'm a big time night owl and this early morning, lunch making, have to walk the Kiddo to school stuff is killing me. Granted, I was sort of spoiled last week since the Mister was still on vacation and was able to do all the drop offs and pick ups (I still made the lunches but at least I was able to stay in my pyjamas!), but now the Mister is back at work and it's time for me to get my act together again. Finally, I can actually get stuff done around here without the Mister and Kiddo constantly in my hair. Seriously, how do kids know the second you need to put together a sentence/email/thought even though they were happily having quiet solo time for the last five, ten minutes??
It's also nice that the activity in the house in general has also died down a bit too. The past four weeks or so our door has been a revolving one, welcoming family and friends for visits, festivals, and "one more summer hurrah"s. Aside from enjoying time with family and friends, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed having such a tidy house. Not once in those weeks did I step on a piece of Lego, I didn't have to rummage through every single basket to find a particular skein/project/needle (note to self: no more baskets are allowed in the house!), and if anything this clean house made us actually purge some of the unwanted and unused stuff that's been sitting in closets just waiting to get the heave-ho. Of course, there's only one drawback of not being able to see exactly how many knitting projects you have on the go...
Which brings me to the newest project that I had cast on last week. Even though I still have a sock WIP on the needles, and even though I have several projects that I should really finished, I felt utterly compelled to cast on another pair of socks. You see, all summer long I was waitlisted for Ann Budd's newest book, New Directions in Sock Knitting. When I was finally able to check it out, I was immediately drawn to the Mirror Socks pattern by Kate Atherley. The construction os the socks really intrigued me and I couldn't stop thinking about them. A few days later I found myself winding yarn and before you know it, I was trying my hand at the Old Norwegian Cast-On (no pun intended). I did watch a quick Youtube video (made by Webs) about this cast-on but I'm pretty happy to report that I had it down pat from the get-go and didn't have to do more than one attempt! Success!!
Since double knitting is new to me, I had actually read through the entire pattern before casting on - even all the notes. The pattern instructions seemed intimidating to me at first but I'm happy to report that once I started knitting, the pattern turned out to be quite easy. Super fiddly and needs proper attention, but easy. But then ask me again when I get to the heels!
So what makes these socks so special? Get this: they're mirrored images of each other because one is knitted inside out from the other!! That's right, you're knitting both socks at the same time on one set of needles!! Crazy, right? When you're finished the toes, you simply pull the socks apart and voilà! You've got yourself a pair of socks in the time it takes to knit just one sock. No Second Sock Syndrome here! It's seriously magic.
I'm also glad that I didn't go nuts and try to make a matching pair of socks because I can now fully understand the need to have two different coloured yarns as you're working this pattern up. Even though these are basically plain vanilla socks in the end, the very careful double knitting has you switching from one sock to the other with every stitch. I think I would've driven myself bonkers on the ribbing had I tried to pull off an identical pair, I wouldn't have been able to tell which stitch belonged to which sock and even with the different yarns I had to go back a stitch from time to time to get my working yarns into their proper "home position".
The deets thus far: I'm using two skeins of SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock, one in a club colourway (Indian Wedding) that I've been dying to knit up since I got it over five years ago, and the other colour (Lemon Curd) that I had reserved for a pullover for the Kiddo but happened to have a lot of.
The first few rounds I had knit in my usual style due to the stitches being a little on the tight side, but then I tried to continue on knitting and found that it was too time consuming having to drop and pick up each individual strand of yarn. So I got the hang of holding and knitting a working yarn in each hand, and surprisingly the knitting of the ribbing went by quicker than I thought it would. Although next time (and yes, I do plan on knitting this pattern at least one more time...and soon!) I might go down a needle size for the ribbing. I'm pretty sure it'll resolve itself once I wash and wear these socks, but as it stands now the ribbing sort of billows out slightly from the plain stockinette. I'm not really a fan of that look and find that the ribbing tends to get too slouchy for my liking. But like I said, I'll have to see once these socks have been washed a few times.
As of this post I'm currently an inch into the stockinette portion of the leg, and find that the knitting is working up even faster than the ribbing. My left hand is knitting Continental - luckily only the knit stitch from here on out! - and is knitting up one sock (with a yellow leg); and the right hand is knitting Portuguese style and is knitting the other sock (with a pink/orange variegated leg). Again, the Universe is on my side and I have to purl, Portuguese knitting style, which is much easier and quicker to do than the knit stitch.
So far I've noticed that my Continental knitting is producing a much tighter gauge that I think is causing a difference by two rounds. Depending on how much yarn I have leftover of the Indian Wedding, I feel like I should knit another pair of socks the exactly same way so that I could end up with two pairs of matching socks. I'm absolutely loving these bold, bright colours and am honestly addicted to knitting with these two styles simultaneously, and can't imagine getting bored with this project any time soon. A part of me wishes I could knit even faster because the anticipation of the magic of separating the socks is making me incredibly giddy!
I'm a knit nerd, I know!! Wouldn't you be??