You never forget your first
Ahhh, in one of their favorite resting places. Now sit there and stop squirming while I take this picture.
They're done they're done they're done!!! My very first pair of socks came off the needles late Tuesday, and were washed, dried and initiated last night. Ahhhh.
Looking back, it would have been wise to knit the class sock in Sensational Knitted Socks. Or in knitty. Or done a simple pair just to get a feel for the construction. But I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Instead, I was obsessed, first with figuring out whether to do toe up or cuff down. Then which toe to cast on with. Then which stitch pattern to use. Then which heel to knit. Why, one wonders? Maybe because...
- They were my first pair and I wanted to make them special?
- They were my first pair and if I screwed them up I could blame all the flaming hoops of fire I was making myself jump through?
- They were my first pair and if I still loved knitting them after making myself jump through the flaming hoops of fire then I could succumb willingly to the socksession?
- I'm a mutant kook?
Yeah, I'd go with #4, too. So here's the story of how the Twisted Shades of Georgetown Socks came to be:
I decided to go toe-up instead of cuff down, figuring it would give me a better shot at having them fit (and because when I was ready to take on socks, I had to knit them RIGHT NOW, swatch be damned). The toe of choice - knitty's Magic Cast On. That first row can feel like you're wrestling a rabid porcupine on speed. In the dark. Especially when you do them on dpns. And forget to knit through the back loop on the second half. And have a husband who keeps interrupting you to ask, "Whatcha doin'?" Needless to say, it took a couple of frog starts, but after that, it was all good. I increased up, then followed a tip from the famous Grumperina, knitting an extra 6 rows for better toe coverage.
I searched high and low for a stitch pattern that spoke to me (or is that just the voices in my head again...). The hardest part was finding one that was divisible by the right number of stitches! I did a pass with supple rib, but it didn't seem to suit the weight of sock yarn, so that one got the tinker. Then I stumbled upon this stitch pattern and ding! Winner winner chicken dinner!
I introduce to you the fantabulous Melanie's Twist, created for Melanie by her Sockapalooza pal Regina earlier this year. It's an 8-stitch, 12-row repeat that is fun to knit, easy to remember, and really shows off the variegated colorway. And the increases add just a teeny touch of lacyness. Groovy, aye?
I could describe hell, oh, pardon me, heel night again, but I've since blocked it from my memory. Here's the original post if you'd like to laugh at my short row misery. Lauri B. came to my rescue with the heel in her Amy's Socks pattern.
It's a no-pick-up gusset heel that is created while continuing in the round, then goes back and forth through the heel turn, after which you join it together again and knit on up the leg. No wrapping, no yarnovers, and no short row headaches! And oh, but I woo...woo that lovely Eye of the Partridge stitch pattern.
Through every heel, turn, turn, turn...
I did hit a roadblock when I got to the turn. Reading through the instructions, I just couldn't visualize it (yeah, maybe shoulda knit that class sock, genius). And I couldn't face another major multifrog night. So I emailed Lauri B, who responded quickly and was happy to clarify things for this socknewbie with a more detailed explanation (are knitters just the nicest damn people in the world or what!).
Two tips: 1) there was a little hole on one side after the join, so I picked up that corner gusset stitch through the back loop and did a k2tog two rows later to seal 'er up, 2) for the heel turn, I clicked my kacha counter to the number of stitches I needed to knit before the decrease and turn rather than the row I was on. Made it easier to keep track of where I was.
Overall, it was a simple, easy heel to knit and the results are just lurvely. There are a couple of things I might do differently next time, however. See how it kind of peaks in the top corners like a U? I would knit a few rows of stockinette before picking up the stitch pattern through the back of the leg to straighten that out a bit, or simply skip the EoP on that portion altogether (both were suggested in the pattern). Also, the flap is shaped like an inverted triangle with the point at the bottom. It may need to be constructed that way, but I might play around with this a bit, try to make it a wider panel like a traditional flap.
After the heel, I simply continued on with Melanie's Twist all the way around until they were long enough to suit my fancy. I ended on row 7 of the repeat.
Okay, okay, I'm almost done. Just watch your baseball game, wouldya?
Tried a 2x2 rib, but it didn't seem to mesh well with the twist. I ended up going to 3x1 for 10 rows, then finished 'em off with a sewn bindoff. Haven't quite mastered this bindoff yet, so it's not the neatest - but it is nice and stretchy!
They're a leeetle bit big (gee, good thing I went toe up), not quite as snug as say, those cheapass white tube socks from Tarjay. They'd be a closer fit minus about 8 stitches or so. Next time, I'll definitely need to try them on more often during the knit. But they're so comfy and snuggly and pretty and I knitted them myself! Schweeee!!!!
I used Lantern Moons for the first time and am not completely sold on these. Something about the finish, it's too...too...varnished? Maybe I'm just spoiled by my babies, the Holz & Steins.
The yarn of choice: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Georgetown colorway. You already know I've got a jones for that LL, the look, the feel, the colors, it's my kind of fiber. (And it stands up to a good frogging, that's for sure!) I had a fair amount left after the first sock, but not wanting to run short mid #2, went ahead and used the second skein. It's the same colorway, but as you can clearly see, it's noticeably deeper in color.
Now I suppose I could have undone the bindoff on the first one and knitted the cuffs of both from opposite skeins. However, sheer, unadulterated terror of random mass unravelling and being left with a pile of yarn and a catatonic look on my face kept me from going there.
The anal-ocd side of me might normally be bothered by the mismatchy shades, but the creative side of me actually digs that they're so different! Is that weird? I could just be in denial.
So there you have it! The tale of my first pair. This has by FAR been my favorite thing to knit since falling headfirst into the world of sticks and fiber some five months ago. I absolutely loved every minute of this wip (yes, even when I was cursing the inventor of short rows with boils, pestilence, and dropped calls). And I understand now why socks are so addicting - with larger projects, it can take some time before you really see it coming together. But with socks, they just transform before your eyes. As you knit, the toe begins to form, then the foot develops, then heel comes together, then leg follows through, and it's all just gleeful, indescribable fun! Whoo hoo, on to the next pair!
Twisted Shades of Georgetown Socks
Toe Pattern: knitty's Magic Cast On
Stitch Pattern: Melanie's Twist
Heel Pattern: Amy's Socks
Special Thanks To: Grumperina, Melanie, Regina, and Lauri B
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Georgetown
Needles: Lantern Moon dpns, size 2
Mods: Culled together from three different patterns, the whole thing was pretty much one big mod.
Lesson learned: Socks are glorious. GLORIOUS. And I suck at short rows.