Loop di loop
Not sure why this burning desire to try magic loop took hold of my knittiness. Random urge, I guess. Good one, too! After a couple of false starts, I got into the rhythm and socks were boppin' to the loop.
Magic loop - the Barry White of sock knitting?
I've been a dpn girl from the beginning. But the loop? The loop is pretty damn cool.
I used an Addi Turbo in size 1, 40". It's the perfect needle for ml - that smooth nickel surface glides along the stitches and its malleable cable slides like buttah.
Casting on without a Grand Canyon-esque ladder at the initial join took a little getting used to, so the first few tries took a swim in the frog pond. Laddernoia struck and I overcompensated down the cuff - I literally had to shove the rows onto the needle. After that, I tightened the second stitch instead of the first, which seemed to do the trick. No ladders, no shoving.
After some initial awkwardness, I fell into a groove and found the process itself rather smooth. Magic loop has a few advantages over dpns: first, knitting the gusset is SO much easier on a nice bendy cable than a stiff metal dpn. Second, you can slide all the stitches onto the cable and try the sock on as you go. Third, you knit half the stitches at a time, which is pretty sweet. This I think may have contributed to an increase in speed, because these socks just flew by. Of course, heavier weight yarn on slightly larger needles with fewer stitches than usual may have had some part in that as well.
I did have some gauge issues, though, as the second sock ended up slightly looser and a hair longer in the leg. Probably because I was adjusting to a new technique on the first sock. Hopefully this won't be a problem on my next pair.
Heel! Good sock.
I wanted some texture, so went with the Twin Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. Great knitty tip if you have this book (or any bound knitting book for that matter) - take it to Kinko's and have them spiral bind it for you. Flips open, lays flat, fun all around!
Two discoveries and a little mod:
Mod - First, I didn't like the look of the slip stitch heel in the book and chose to carry the Twin Rib down the flap instead.
Discovery #1 - When slipping stitches to create a selvedge (those loosey-goosey edge stitches you're going to pick up later for the gusset), make sure you knit those slipped stitches on the opposite side. So, for example, if you're purling straight across on the wrong side, knit the last stitch. This keeps them from going all garter-like and makes the stitches easier to pick up later.
Discovery #2 - Up to now, I've been stopping the foot right at the base of my big toe and throwing a few extra rows in to lengthen it out. This time, I knit the foot a bit longer and made the toe a bit shorter. Nicer look, better fit.
Look - even the feathers came out for a peek.
I was lucky enough to score this exclusive colorway after it sold out, thanks to the kindness of adamknits (now of Yarn Nerd). Now I'm normally not a white yarn kind of girl, but something about this particular album-inspired colorway really struck me.
The colors are rich without being heavy, strong without being obnoxious, and oh, they just mesh so well together. Adam's got quite the eye for dye, that's for sure! And I just love the way they knitted up, pooling more dramatically on one sock, more stripe-like on the other. The yarn bled a bit in the wash, but yippee!, retained its color afterwards.
It's labeled a sport weight, but for me, was better on Addi 1s - which are actually 1.5s - than 2s. It doesn't have the luscious sproingyness of STR, but the yarn mellowed into a lovely, silky softness post-Eucalan. I wore them all day today with happy feet.
One caveat - as you can see in the pics, it does have a tendency to fuzz. After a few false starts, I actually had to break the yarn and start over from a different point as it didn't take well to the frogging. Post wash (a gentle hand wash and air dry), it developed a halo more on par with a few wearings. That was a bit disappointing - especially considering I hadn't worn them yet.
That's a wrap
I'm not ready to abandon my beloved dpns just yet, but magic loop does have me enamored enough to try it again (so much so, that I added a size 0, 40" to my collection). Who knows - I may even give that two-socks-at-once thing a go, too.
Having tried ml early in my knitting life with dismal results, I wasn't expecting to adapt well to it now. Just goes to show - a little experience and low expectations can make all the difference in the world!
Twin Rib Socks
Pattern: Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: adamknits 1500 MHz in Snow Angels
Needle: Addi Turbo size 1, 40"
Lesson learned: I can't pull a rabbit out of my hat, but I can knit a sock on one needle!