I started my second pair of socks shortly after the first ones were complete because I had a Christmas deadline for them. They were a present for my sister, DJ. I had heard really good things about Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn, so when I was in Madison in September and a yarn store had some, I purchased two skeins. The yarn is 80% superwash wool and 20% nylon. It was much softer than the first yarn I used. I picked a very bright colorway (104 uptown), hot pink, purple and bright blue. I don’t see the color on the Lorna’s Laces site, so it may be discontinued.

I had intended to make Child’s first socks from Knitting Vintage Socks, but the shell pattern was lost with the space dyed yarn. I had been reading in various blogs about Jaywalker’s (I think more than 400 had been made at the beginning of December and reported to Grumperina), so I thought I should give them a try. I wanted something that would work out easily and well and be special for DJ. Years back, when I was in London for a semester, she asked me to bring her back socks. I thought this was a really dumb request. She meant something like wool Argyle socks. Instead, I went to a sock store that seemed like it was on every corner and bought the tackiest socks I could find (100% nylon with a Union Jack on the side). I think she almost enjoyed wearing them because she always told people the story.

sock 2A

Pattern: Jaywalker
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, 104 uptown
Needles: size 1
Began: November 2006 ; Completed: December 2006
Modifications: none recorded

I have absolutely no notes on making DJ’s Jaywalkers, other than that I used 5 size 1 needles. I must have notes somewhere with at least her foot size (which would be helpful for the current pair I am making for her) but I don’t know where the notes are. I think the pattern worked really smoothly, which would account for the lack of notes, so it may not be entirely due to bad record keeping and sloppy house keeping.

sock 2CI believe this is the pair that I tried on two circular needles. Picking up the stitches was beyond me with this method, so I switched back to double points, which I like just fine. I watched a web video on knitting with two circular needles, and the instructions were quite good. After I had purchased a couple of Valley Fibers bamboo needles, I read Cat Bordhi’s Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles and saw that she says Addi turbos are pretty much a must with this method. Since much of my annoyance with the method was that the joins caught a bit, this probably would have made a difference. However, I rather like double points and I don’t think I will purchase still more needles just to try again.

sock 2BThe skeins were from the same dyelot, but the spacing of the colors was just a bit different. This made a difference on the socks. Also, jaywalkers have a fairly high number of stitches in them, so the color pooled quite a bit on the top. The number of stitches drops down on the foot (because half is in stockinette) and the spiral stripes look much better on the feet. It is too bad this part is hidden by shoes.

DJ liked the socks and says they fit well.

So now that I have blogged about the Jaywalker’s, I can get these added to the reader’s gallery.


WK’s first socks

OK, I’m jumping in and will start with a past project. My first pair of socks was made with yarn I received as a door prize at a regional fiber conference. I started them in September 2006 and completed them at Thanksgiving. This was the first time I made something that wasn’t a flat rectangle. I tried several patterns before I settled on one. Unlike JQ, I don’t seem to get things on the first try, which I guess is good for learning.

First I tried the pattern that came with the yarn, which was for toe up socks. I kept having trouble with the cast on and so abandoned that pattern. This was my first experience with double pointed needles, which added to my difficulties. I then tried the general sock instructions in the Yarn Harlot‘s Knitting Rules! which gave me a good understanding of sock construction. However, the heel wasn’t working out. I think I have narrow heels and I probably wasn’t following the instructions correctly. Whatever the reason, the heels definitely did not fit. And this included a couple of failed attempts to pick up the stitches. I found out later that the way I figured out how to do it matches the Grumperina‘s happy accident.

I finally settled on a basic pattern from Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks, which uses a Welsh heel and a star toe of three points.

sock 1A

Pattern: Lichen rib sock, Knitting Vintage Socks
Yarn: Sandy’s Palette (wool/nylon blend)
Needles: 0 (5 needles)
Began: September, 2006 ; Completed: November 2006

Modifications: cast on 64 and worked until the leg was about 5.25” (42 rows). I should have made them a bit longer, but I was concerned about the amount of yarn (plenty) and my mighty calves. I kept heel gusset as 31 stitches (leaving 33 for pattern). I picked up an extra stitch at the gusset where heel flap joins instep. I made the foot 7” before starting on the toe. I switched to 4 needles and arranged the stitches like this: 21 22 21. I then fiddled a bit with the first row to get 20 stitches on each needle (1st row where p1, change to p2 tog & toss in extra k2tog on top).

sock 1B

The socks fit well and I like the toe. It is so different from a commercial sock! However, I’m still not entirely convinced this style of heel yet (possibly the style, possibly the size I have made them).

I found that from one end of skein, colors did not spiral well and so I frogged that sock. I think I knit close to 4 socks if I add up all the false starts I made!