Sunday, January 28, 2018

Year of Projects 7: Week 31

Last week I rolled up my sleeves and opened my Hand Dye Sock Kit from Louet North America. The kit contained three 50gram skeins of natural Louet Gems fingering weight yarn, small jars of dye crystals labelled Silver Birch, Cornflower and Blueberry, a squeeze bottle and instructions.

First I soaked the undyed yarn for 40 minutes in warm water. Next I mixed the Silver Birch dye with hot water, then squeezed it onto the yarn skeins. I realized after the first colour that I should have untwisted the skeins from the very beginning, so I did that right away. I repeated the dye step with the Cornflower dye and the Blueberry dye, turning the skeins to make sure that all the yarn was dyed.  Next I wrapped the skeins in plastic wrap, bagged them in Freezer bags (unsealed) and microwaved them.  Being careful not to burn or scald myself, I unwrapped the skeins and hung them to dry overnight. And finally I rinsed the skeins in a SOAK bath to remove excess dye and hung them once more to dry.

I think they turned out beautifully! The three dye colours resulted in a nice tonal yarn with an overall denim-y effect. I'm so pleased with the yarn and highly recommend the kit. It was easy and fun!

I decided to knit Ringwood Socks from the yarn. It's a very simple traditional pattern that creates a nice texture which works well with variegated yarn.

Ringwood Pattern:
R1: K1P1
R2: Knit
R3: Knit

I knit them toe-up with an FLK heel, although with 3 skeins of yarn there was no chance of running short. As well, because I made the legs longish, I increased 8 stitches at the top of the leg before the cuff to accommodate the widening of my legs at the calf. That worked out great, I think.

The socks are great; and I'm not the only one who thinks so. Gavin keeps trying to steal them. That's a backhanded compliment, I'd say!

Now what to knit next? My Mystery Paper Bag for February is coming up in just a few days, so nothing too complicated. For my Gschnitztal Socks I've decided that I'd better work with metal 2.5mm needles - which I don't have so I've ordered them. I was thinking Mojo Socks, but there was a delay when I purchased the pattern from Ravelry. So now I'm knitting Plaid Socks... but more on that next week.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Year of Projects 7: Week 30

As expected, my Mad Mix Socks are done, and from the moment the last end was woven in these socks have been on my feet. They are my favourite socks at the moment - no contest. And I'm not even sure why; it's not like they're my favourite colour(s) or anything.

Besides, they don't even match! Can you see there on my right foot that I ran out of the most vibrant purple about an inch before finishing that section?! Not surprisingly I couldn't win every game of yarn chicken. That berry red above my ankle? I finished that section of sock two with mere inches of yarn left! Let's count that as super-efficient stash busting.

I will admit that the pattern I used in that section above the ankle was poorly chosen. It has very little stretch to it and ends up baggy during wear. I'm having to pull up these socks a lot. And of all the patterns incorporated, it's my least favourite - kind of meh really to look at.

The middle pattern on the leg is probably my favourite - it's Mad Colour Weave from the sock pattern of the same name. It's fun and easy, and would be a very good choice for a busy yarn, I'd think. I'm not sure it's got a lot of stretch either.

Never mind all that hindsight... they are what they are, they're done and I love them.

So what's next? As I was organizing cupboards I came across a boxed kit from Louet North America - a hand dye your own sock yarn kit. It was my last birthday present from my Mom before her passing, and I've been afraid to attempt it... afraid I'd wreck it, I suppose. But enough time has passed now that it just seems a shame to see it still in the box in the cupboard so I summoned up my courage and hand-dyed my yarn and cast on some Ringwood Socks. More on that next week!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Year of Projects 7: Week 29

  • Mad Mix Socks - 60%, using various stash yarn scraps 
  • Gschnitztal Socks - ripping and restarting in Tanis Purple Label Cashmere sock in papaya  
  • Mojo Socks - using stash yarn frogged from Gschnitztal

The other day I finished my Crenate socks, knit from Sydney Sock from Studio June yarn in a blue-grey colourway. It is a lovely pattern that looks beautiful knit up and is very nicely fitting. As mentioned last week I knit them smaller than fit my feet so that I can give them away. Personally I prefer my socks without lacy holes and with a longer leg.

And with that pair off the needles, I turned my undivided attention to my Mad Mix Socks. The first sock is done and I just love it. It's all I can do to keep myself from wearing that one finished sock while I work on the second. Isn't that great motivation to work away at sock two?! As for sock two, the cuff's done, the first two colour sections are done and I hope to be at the heel by end of day today. So far sock two is an identical twin despite a close call at yarn chicken at the end of the first colour section below the cuff. No new pictures again this week... after all, I fully expect to be able to present them to you as an FO next week.

Besides all that, I've been pondering what to do with Gschnitztal. Oh the thinks you can think! As I was considering which pattern to select for my birthday yarn - a very cheery orange Cashmere Sock yarn from Tanis Fiber Arts - I found myself eyeing the Mojo Socks pattern, but wondering whether the pattern wasn't a bit vanilla for this yarn. At the same time I was internally bemoaning the fact that the yarn for Gschnitztal wasn't as light and bright. Err, yeah... new plan. Rip out Gschnitztal from the purple yarn and restart it in the orange yarn. And while I'm at it, knit it toe-up on larger needles to maximize the leg length and add ease. And then knit Mojo socks from the purple yarn originally intended for Gschnitztal. Yup, I think this will all work out nicely!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Year of Projects 7: Week 28

I'm finally back to my Mad Mix Socks. I had trouble before the heel where I attempted a travelling pattern that was just too much work with dark yarn and blunt needles. I just kept dropping stitches when attempting the SSSKs and K3togs and finding them back in dark yarn was too frustrating. Eventually I ripped back and switched to a simpler pattern before the heel. That did the trick!

Not that I plan to let that pattern kick me in the *ss! I've just joined a light purple and will revisit the problem pattern on the instep. I'm guessing that I'll have an easier time of it now with a light coloured yarn and not having to worry about how the pattern travels around the leg. Also, I switched down a needle size at the heel, so I'm now knitting on pointy metal needles. Should do the trick!

The sock is odd looking, isn't it? When it's not on my foot, I'm not a fan; in fact, I've considered ripping out more than once. But as soon as I pull it onto my foot, I love it. Weird, huh? I guess I'd better plan to keep these for me. It is nice to knit through some of these oddments of sock yarn.  For sock number two I am planning to match sock one, but if I run out of any colour then I'll switch to the next and carry on. I haven't been very scientific about this. I didn't weigh the yarn before I started and I haven't been precise about how much I've used on sock one.

On New Year's Day I pulled my first mystery bag for my KAL: 2018 Paper Bag Project Year Long KAL/CAL. Inside was a skein of Sydney Sock from Studio June yarn in a blue-grey colourway. It's a very subtle tonal so I matched it up with Crenate pattern and cast on. As you can see, I've made good progress. I really like the pattern - the charts are simple enough for TV knitting, but involved enough to keep it interesting and there's enough ribbing to make for a good fit. Just two things I'm not so happy with: the pattern bulges at the top of the heel flap and the leg length is not easily adjustable. I generally prefer my sock legs longer. With that in mind, I'm going to knit these smaller than my foot and gift them to a friend with smaller feet (and shorter legs).

So the plan for the coming week is to make progress on both pairs of socks. Not sure I'll have time to finish either pair for the next update, but I guess we'll see. It looks like the extreme cold has finally lifted so I'm hoping to get outdoors a lot more in the coming days.