Sunday, March 11, 2018

Year of Projects 7: Week 37

March came in like a lion with two snowstorms in the first week. The snow was quite heavy at times and the driving treacherous, so that kept me housebound with lots of (knitting) time on my hands.

No surprise then that my Leyburn socks are done. The pattern is simple and it's easy enough to see where you are in the pattern while knitting, so it all goes very quickly. I knit these toe-up as written so that I could use every last yard of yarn for the longest possible legs. Although I prefer to knit socks cuff down - perhaps because I prefer the look and fit of heel flaps and gussets? -  I have to admit that knitting toe-up is a great way to maximize yarn usage.

I worked an FLK heel, which has quickly become my go-to heel for toe-up socks. There are a few reasons why I really like it...

• it's easily memorized; no need to reference the pattern
• it fits really well, especially when I add 4 stitches evenly across the sole before starting the heel to accommodate my pointy heel and high instep
• there are no stitches to pick up, no wraps to fiddle with and there are no holes

The yarn is from Songbird Yarns & Fibres and it's quite lovely. The colours are really bright, clean and saturated, and very much reminiscent of a Blue Jay's colouring. We get flocks of Blue Jays in the yard the minute we put peanuts out in the feeder, so I can certainly vouch for that. It's a bit of a heavier fingering with a very sheep-y feel to it. It's not overly soft but not rough either. It reminded me very much of Mineville Wool Project sock yarn. I was worried that the skein might be a bit short on yardage given the heavier weight but I did pretty well with leg length in the end.

With nothing else on my needles I turned my attention back to Gschnitztal Socks. Remember that I first attempted these socks with dark purple yarn and 2.25 mm dark carbon fibre needles - too difficult to see the stitches and too small to fit over my heel. So I tried again with light red-orange yarn and 2.5mm steel needles - much easier to work the pattern, but still too small to stretch over my heel. If at first you don't succeed.... so now I've tried for a third time still with the light red-orange yarn and the 2.5mm steel needles, but with an added pattern repeat for a primary stitch count of 78sts instead of 65sts ... and success, the third time is the charm!

The Leyburn socks were knit on 2.25mm HiyaHiya Sharp needles. The Gschnitztal Socks are being knit on 2.5mm HiyaHiya Sharp needles. And I suspect that these are now my preferred needles. They are reasonably lightweight, strong and not prone to bending, and boy oh boy are they SHARP! Those pointy points are making the twisted stitches of Gschnitztal so much easier!

There is another sock project on needles here, but I'm not too sure about its future. I signed up for a MKAL on Ravelry, and no sooner than receiving the first clue for the toes I was reminded why I don't like MKALs.

• not knowing what the final socks look like makes yarn selection challenging. I've decided to go with stash yarn that I'm not overly fond of because I'm not prepared to invest $$$ (or nice stash yarn) without seeing where this is going.

• there are two toe options but both appear to have been designed to make them novel in terms of techniques used and appearance. Novel, but perhaps not practical, attractive or even well-fitting.

Option 1 is a "garter stitch toe" wherein you cast on then knit a flat garter stitch rectangle, pick up stitches through the garter ridges to encircle the rectangle and thereby create a toe. The end result does not look like it's going to fit terribly well, although the designers assure us that the garter section will easily stretch to fit. Umm, yeah, well... maybe not my feet with my long pointy toes. Besides, it looks more like a Phentex slipper from the 1970s than a sock I'd want to wear in my shoes. sigh

Option 2 is a "spiral toe" wherein you cast on a small number of stitches and the increases spiral out form a narrow point. Of course casting on a small number of stitches in sock yarn and sock needles is terribly fiddly, and besides, does anyone like this kind of toe? Won't the increases spiral across the top of my toes? Isn't there going to be a weird pointy bit at the end of my foot? sigh

• the next clue comes out on Friday, so with 2 toes done I have to set this aside and do something else.

My current thinking is that I will knit a left sock with option 1 and a right sock with option 2, and see where it goes. If I hate the finished socks, I'll rip them out and repurpose the yarn. At least I'll have tried some new techniques and learned some new things. Maybe one day I'll learn not to sign up for MKALs?


Gracey is not my name.... said...

Yeah I stopped signing up for MKALs....I have strange toes and it's hard to fit my socks to feet kind of come to an actual point because of bunions....but I keep trying...and there is a heel that have the decreases on the bottom of the foot and I've never tried it because I know it'll be too uncomfortable for me....

Marsha said...

Leyburn is going to be my next cast on sock. I love the way it breaks up the variegated pattern.

I hope your Gschniztal work out this time. It is such a lovely pattern.

Mkal's kind of worry me for all the reasons you just mentioned. Good luck!

Becki said...

Your Leyburn socks are just stunning. That stitch pattern really works well with the yarn.

Peanuts for bluejays? Huh. I didn't know. Hubby likes to feed the squirrels peanuts, but I much prefer to attract bluejays with them. I can just imagine the squirrel frenzy we'd have if we put out an open container of peanuts (in the shell, I presume - these would not fit in our birdfeeders). Or maybe you put out shelled peanuts. Those could possibly go in my birdfeeders. Please tell. I'm really wanting to know. :)

Caffeine Girl said...

I have the exact same issues with mystery knits. I spent a lot of last summer on a shawl that was fun to knit but not terribly wearable. In fact, I have not worn it once!

Stefanie said...

Interesting toe options. I'm looking forward to reading and seeing how they come out. I bought the FLK pattern and will have to try it one of these days, maybe on the teenager's Slytherin's once I finish Harry.

Sam I Am...... said...

Great sock patterns and yarn! I don't even sign up for KAls at all. Third time is they say! I need to try the FLK heel and so many other techniques

Lucy Bowen said...

The Leyburn socks are gorgeous. I do like the flk heel for the same reasons. I must try a few new techniques this year.