Trekking to Taos

Once I completed my green socks, socknitting fever was in full swing. I've had this ball of Trekking yarn in my stash for years, and now was the time for it to become a pair of socks. I planned and cast on this pair of socks on a recent family car-trip to Taos, hence the name.

I've had a fondness for traveling stitches ever since knitting a pair of socks for Anastasia. I don't like the look of traveling stitches which are twisted - I don't know why - I just really don't. Most traveling stitch patterns ask you to twist the stitches - experiment with them twisted and untwisted and see how you like them the best.

I cast on using Cat Bordhi's Whirlpool Cast On - and used her SideStream Construction for the general idea of the sock. Both methods can be found in her book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters.

The Whirlpool Cast on is perfect. I doubt if I'll ever use another cast on - ever. It's quick, easy, intuitive, and eliminates those hated "ears." You can adjust your rate of increase so that your sock's toe will match the shape of your own toes. I love love LOVE it. In fact, I'm probably going to use it for any center-out cast on that comes my way - I'm thinking how wonderful it would be to have a from-the-center-out shawl which begins this way, instead of with that oh too cute little belly button.

Cat Bordhi is such a genius. Her amazingly creative solutions to knitting problems just leave me speechless. This book took my breath away.

Anyway, I settled on the SideStream construction. I was a little panicky at one point because it looked like there was simply NO WAY that this was going to work. The only thing that kept me going was that Cat had never let me down, and so I forged ahead. You know what? It worked! It worked soooooo beautifully!

I started the "pattern" so that, at the first, it was running up the outside of the toe. If I had used the more standard sock construction, this pattern would have ended up running up the outside of the sock. However, since I was using Sidestream Construction, it gently shifted the pattern so that now, it runs up the exact center of the sock, right up my shinbone.I was able to put another pattern panel in the wedge created by the Sidestream, and voila, this pattern runs up the exact center of the outside of the sock. This was one of those Happy Accidents. I thought that it would end up more to the center, but no, it couldn't have been any more perfectly placed if I had planned it. In fact, I'm done planning. From now on, I'm going to use the "Choose Your Own Adventure" method, as it's fun and seems to work very well, heh heh heh.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to take pictures of socks which are on your feet? I can't do it very well, as you can plainly see.

I played with some graph paper and decided on this simple waving pattern. This one pattern is the only one used - up the sides of each sock, the waving pattern appears by itself. Up the front of the socks, the waving pattern is represented twice - on one sock the patterns are balanced so that each goes out and returns to the center at the same time. On the other sock, one curve follows the other so that it sort of looks like DNA, in a way, kinda.

I used the starred options for the fronts of the socks -The plain wave is seen on the far right.

The braids up the back of the sock - I used one pattern for one sock, the other pattern for the other sock. It made me tired, lol.
For some reason, this one was hard for me, and for the first 20+ rows I just kept screwing up, and a big problem is that I didn't notice that I screwed up until long after I had cast off. I know, I'm a special breed of stupid.

Anyway, water under the bridge. It's a good knitter who knows how to repair mistakes, and repairing mistakes doesn't always mean ripping out. In my little corner of knit-dom, it rarely means ripping out. It means repairing.

It was so simple to fix - I simply embroidered over the mistakes and voila - perfection!

Here you can see that I completely forgot what I was doing, and there's a gap in the braid. No problem, just hook the new to the old.
Here is a bigger problem - I crossed the braid incorrectly, twice in a row. The "fix" is shown in the collage - click for big. You'll be able to see how I fixed it.

It's really easy to do - just a chain embroidery stitch.

I also bought some new sock blockers which are great for taking photos of socks. Here are a few photos -

Detail of the pattern on the left sock-

Detail of the right sock-



whirlpool toe - this is a fantastic toe - look ma, no ears! (I hate squared-off toes and those little ear flaps.)
Nice and round. You can adjust how round by adjusting the number of "wedges" and therefore, the number of increases . If you want a more narrow, pointy toe, use fewer wedges. If you want a wide, round toe, use more wedges. I used 6 and placed my increases every other row. I really like this toe, and doubt that I'll ever use another.
detail of the braid up the back of the sock-

I had fun with these patterns! I had fun knitting these socks. Check out Cat's new book - I tell ya, the woman is a GENIUS!!!


Trekking XXL yarn- one ball
0 US needles
Created - April, 2009.
Toe up socks, whirlpool toe, sidestream construction, two at a time, magic loop - one knit picks circular, 24 inch (I think it is 24 inches long - I really hate to use long needles.)
Ideas from Cat Bordhi, New Pathways for Sock Knitters

Calling all fans of Tammy Rizzo's Navajo Ply on the Fly technique!

I've been doing a lot of spinning here lately - and I've come up with some pretty significant changes in the way I do Tammy Rizzo's Navajo Ply on the Fly.

It now works soooooo well - please, visit my original post and read through today's edit - marked EDIT - July 11, 2009, and see how you like it.

I've left the original post intact, and I've left intact the edit of April 2009, and added a new round of edits, today. I've left everything alone so that you can work through the three different ways, and see how you like it. I really like the newest method, but maybe one of the older methods would appeal to you?

Try it! I love LOVE this method of spinning and plying.
Navajo ply
NOTE ADDED SEPTEMBER 2010 - view my new and improved video!  I think you'll like it.
ply on the fly
plying on the fly
navajo plying

Green Knee Socks

My first knee socks.
I made these out of Paton's Stretch - nice yarn. I doubt that it'll be very durable, but I made these for art's sake, not for actually, you know, wearing. I think that I used size 00 double points. Maybe they were 0's? Anyway, they were tiny - my favorite for sock knitting.

A while back, I decided that I'll never make another pair of exact copies again. From now on, my socks will be different from each other.
This project taught me a valuable lesson - if you want your "differerent" socks to LOOK different, then pick a yarn in a solid colorway.

You have to look really closely at these socks to see that they are different. Can you even see it?
The sock on the Right Leg is mostly a k2 p2 rib, and it has this exceedingly creative and excruciatingly mathematically correct method of adding ribs to as to make room for the calf......and you can't even see the stinkin' ribs! The sock on the left leg is mostly stockinette, with a band of ribs up the front and the back. I tell you, the play between the stockinette and the band of ribbing is fetching. Too bad that you can't see it.
You can see a bit of difference if you look, really closely, at the tops of the feet. (These are Grace's feet - thanks Grace!) The sock on the left foot (on the right of the photo) is mostly stockinette, with the rib band peeling out of a sort of a vee - too bad that you can't see it. The ribs on the right foot begin near the toe, too bad that you can't see it, and they don't just all start at once, oh no, the beginning of the ribs forms a vee shape, too. Awfully too bad that you can't see it... sigh.

On the other hand, I really do like this colorway. It reminds me of hiking in the fall.

I knitted these from the toe up, with a beginning which was a little bit of a challenge, and I'm not sure it was worth it. I doubt that I'll repeat it, but here's what I did. I cast on 5 or 6 stitches and knit back and forth, making a rectangle, for approx 15 rows, ending with the completion of a knit side. Then, I picked up across the 15 rows, picked up the provisional cast on, picked up across the sole (15 rows), and then proceeded to knit in the round, slowly adding in more stitches, to widen the toe. It made a nice shape - rather blunt, which is how I like them. There are absolutely no "ears" - something that I hate and despise - those little corner thingies - urgh - I hate those little ears. This cast on method cured the ear problem, but it was so tetchy. (I'll soon show you a different pair of socks with a different cast on and THAT one is perfect.)

Knitting from the toe up makes so much sense to me. One of the best parts is that I can try on the socks as I go along. This was my first project on double points. I used a set of 5 to knit the sock, but I'd knit off onto 8 or 9 needles so as to be able to try them on. It worked great.

I used a sort of a modified Fleegle Heel (2 links)- but here's the trick - if you add short rows, here and there, you'll add area and curves to your sock and then it will fit... perfectly.

When you knit short rows on a tubular item, you stop knitting in the round,knit for some number of stitches, turn, work in the other direction, turn, and return to knitting in the round. If you only add one short row, where you knit to a designated point, turn and knit back to the opposite point on the sock, turn, and then commence knitting in the round once again, you've added a little wedge to the tube.

If you make your short row go a little past the middle-side-line, on each side of the sock, then you've added a nice, long wedge.

I put, I think, 3 wedges in the area from the arch to the actual heel , and then 3 above the heel. These short row bits were very spaced apart - they were not one on top of the other. Also, the turn of each short row was at a different point, so that the whole thing sort of blended in.

The short row areas were spaced apart from each other - I threw in a short row, then knitted, say, 10 rows, then another short row, then knitted another 10 or so rows - get it?

I was able to figure out where to put them by constantly trying on the sock. I wanted the heel turn to occur where the front of the sock was at the actual bend of my ankle, and the short row heel to be on the actual point of my heel. If you just knit round and round, then when it's time for the heel turn, the front of the sock is past the bend of the ankle. So, by adding a few short rows, I was able to add length to the back/underside of the sock without adding length to the front of the sock. I have really large heels, so this is necessary for a proper fit.

These socks practically POP when they slide onto my feet. Oh My Gosh, there's nothing at all like tailor-made socks!!! The sock's heels are where my heels are! Oh, glorious day!

Then, later on, when I got to the part of the leg where the calf swells - same problem. The calf is getting bigger around, but the vertical gain is greater in the back than in the front, since there's a curve there, right? Add a few short rows here and there, and this problem will be solved! The socks get wider and longer in the back. The best part is - - no more falling down knee socks!!! Try it! I guarantee that you'll like it.

I knitted and knitted until I felt like I needed to cast off before I ran out of yarn. I used my Best Stretchy Cast Off, and not a moment too soon. I had a tail of approximately 12 inches long on each sock. Whew! That cast off is a pain to rip out, so I was sweating it there for a few minutes!
All in all, a wonderful project. I enjoyed every minute, and can't wait for cooler weather so that I can actually wear them!
knee socks
paton stretch sock yarn
toe up socks
knit from the toe up
socks that don't match
knee socks short rows fleegle heel paton's stretch

Olimpia's sweater

Surprise Surprise! Actual knitting content on a knitting blog! I'm just a little late in posting pictures. I really do knit. Really, I do.
I knitted this cute little sweater for our baby friend, Olimpia. She was born in February, and she wore the sweater to her very first party, back in March. Her mama says that she was the Belle of the Ball!I used the yarn, Candy, and I can't remember whether I used 2 or 3 balls. It feels like you are knitting with string, but it softens up so nicely in the first machine wash/dry cycle. I can only imagine that it continues to soften.

I wanted to knit it at 5sts/in, which is a nice gauge for this yarn, so I had to recalculate the pattern, as it is written for 6sts/in for an infant. I was thrilled with the outcome!

I finished with an applied I-cord with ties, instead of buttons. I also make a pair of Christine's Baby Booties, but I forgot about taking a picture of them. These booties were so much fun to knit! They came out so cute, too.

I love the Baby Surprise Jacket. It takes about 2 sessions of dedicated knitting, and comes out so darned cute!!!


Baby surprise
artful yarns
christine's baby booties