Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Jupiter Blue


What be Red Dwarf you say? Hop on board here.

Another FO for May! These are the ever-so-fabulous Red Dwarf Socks designed by the ever-so-fabulous turtlegirl.

Heeere fishy, fishy...
This was such a fun pattern to knit! I got all squee-y when the first fish scale come together! It's interesting but easy to memorize, and they go by fast, even for socks - probably because of the short row heel (which I'll get into later). It's not difficult to adjust according to your size/gauge, either - as she notes in the pattern, just add stitches to either side of the chart, outside the stitch markers.

Since I was using a lighter weight yarn and smaller needles, I did just that with no problems. I had to email Cristi a couple of times for help with the heel, which she was more than happy to provide.
Does this pattern make my back look phat?

As you can see, there's a different but complementary pattern on the back of the leg, which is just. too. cool! I found it helped to use two row counters once I got to this point to keep track of where I was. Because let's face it, sometimes I forget whether or not I just washed my hair. While I'm standing in the shower.

A few random notes: First, my SSKs are a little tighter than my PSSOs, so I switched to those after the first two repeats of the foot. Second, I think I started the back of the leg a row early because I reached the 7th row of the front after the 5th repeat of the back (instead of the 6th). I continued on to the 6th repeat anyway, and it just means there are two knit rows on the back before the cuff begins instead of one. Third, my k2tog bindoff was a little too tight, but they go over my ankles just fine.

Things that make you go hmmm
I held the yarn more loosely than normal to account for the elastic content of the yarn, but must have overcompensated because the sock isn't quite as snug as I'd like. Next time, I'll probably go down to size 1s or just knit with my usual vise grip.

Now you'd think going toe up would ensure a perfect fit, wouldn't you? Apparently not for me. Did I overcompensate when I tried them on, too? Hmmm, will have to think about that one.

Hi ho, hi ho...wait, wrong dwarf.

Twice as nice
Magic loop got to first base on the Twin Rib Socks, but rounded into second with these - my first foray into two at once on the same circ. Like most firsts, it was a little awkward in the beginning, there was a lot of fumbling, and man, balls were flying eeeeeverywhere! But once we hit a rhythm, oooo, baby. Shiver me tingles!

The trick for me was to a) keep the two skeins of yarn on separate sides of me, b) untwist them at the end of every row, and c) only keep the strands long enough to knit one or two rows. It also helped to knit these while Hubster was in bed or out golfing. But don't tell him that.

I don't think one sock's gonna do it for me anymore. On separate sets of dpns, on separate circs, on the same circ, I am now a converted two-fer for life!

Yo, gimboid
And now kids, we get to the smeghead portion of our story - the terror of the short row heel. The last time I attempted one of these was on hell heel night back in October. Sadly, experience didn't improve matters any this time around.

At first, I couldn't figure out how to do a YO at the end of the row, then turn and purl that yarnover. Of course, I realized you're supposed to purl the stitch next to the YO, not the YO itself. After slapping myself on the back of the head, I moved on. Or I should say, I tried to move on, but couldn't seem to purl the stitch next to the YO either. I got the Gumby hands.

After a few feeble attempts, I switched the YO to the beginning of the row instead of the end (turn your work, then YO and go about your merry way) and that seemed to do the trick. Smooth sailing after that, right? Ha!

Short...er...vertically challenged rows...

Three full, complete passes on the heel of the first sock went to the frog pond due to huge gaping holes that strangely, only appeared on the knit side of the heel (must be all those atmospheric gravity pulls one gets in space).
On the fourth attempt, I discovered that my YOs on the knit side were already seated correctly, so knitting them through the back loops was actually emphasizing the hole. D'oh! I switched the tbls to straight K2togs and that closed 'em right up.

My YO short rows aren't great, so there's still a teeny hole at each turn, but they're not really noticeable. And wow, they went by SO much faster without the gusset (well, minus the frog time anyway)! I love the look and fit of the heel flap, but will run from short row heels no more!

Yaaarn
Crystal Palace Panda Cotton is a blend of bamboo, cotton, and elastic nylon. It's incredibly soft and smooshy, the color is deep and rich, and the yarn feels WONderful sliding through your fingers.

There was minimal bleeding in the wash (yay!). Since they were a tad loose, I decided to toss them in the dryer on low thinking the cotton would tighten 'em up a bit, but there was no shrinkage whatsoever. After the first wash and wear, there's almost no fuzzing, either.

It's not you...okay, it is you.


There is one downside, though - this stuff is splitty as hell. It is froggable (*cough* see heel above), just frog slowly. And if you're say, going toe-up using magic cast-on, those first few rows can be a little hairy. But otherwise, it's really not much of an issue.

Unless, of course, you encounter a yarn barf like the one above. Trust me, there's no way out of this one. Just cut and move on. That same skein also had a knot in it about a quarter of the way through (GRRRRRR), but since the other skein was fine, we'll just chalk that one up to a blip in the QC.

I wore the socks all day yesterday and they actually seemed to keep my feet cooler than if they were bare! They're really comfy and soft, so if you can get past the splittiness, this would be a fantastic yarn for summer or sheep-free socks.

That's a wrap
I so dig these socks! Lookit the fish scales! Lookit the fish tails! Lookit the arch effect on the heel! Lookit how funky cool it is to have a different pattern on the back than the front! Dontcha want a pair of your own? Resistance is futile!

Red Dwarf Socks
Pattern: Free and fab from turtlegirl
Yarn: Crystal Palace Panda Cotton in Blueberry Grape
Needles: Addi Lace 1.5, 47"
Mods: Additional stitches, ssk over psso, k2togs on the short row heel
Lesson learned: Sometimes, a girl just needs a little variety.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Ann said...

Very pretty! I hadn't seen that pattern before and it's definitely going on the list.

5:36 AM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

Oh. My. God! They look fan-freakin'-tastic! Love 'em love 'em love 'em!

9:07 AM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Yeehaw! I do like your SSK's/PSSO better as mine are a bit bumpy...oh well! I see you had YOSRHeck for a bit too!! Your yarn shows the detail much better than mine does...sigh...

Fabulous job there! :)

9:55 AM  
Blogger Batty said...

Wow, those look amazing! Blue fishy socks. Must knit a pair. Can't resist. Resistance really is futile.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Bezzie said...

Very cool! Love that color!

I too have been known to shampoo twice by mistake.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

They look great! Love the color. I thought Neptune was blue! ;P

5:16 PM  
Blogger pixieriot said...

IT's such a great pattern... I'm going to have to try it out with one of the handpaints I did this week.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Eve said...

I've always wanted a big 'H' on my forehead.

Why do they call it Red Dwarf?

Ah, the fish thing. I always thought it was because they were red.

7:24 AM  
Blogger wendy said...

Ah, so it's not just me having trouble with the YO's on the heel. Thanks for outlining your struggle, I'm off to give it another go....

4:43 PM  

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