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Monday, July 14, 2008

First Pair of Toe-Ups

Yay! So I finished my FIRST ever pair of toe-up socks this week. Took me four more days to coordinate the camera and the socks and the weather but.....drum roll they are!

They are way too big for me - I miscounted when I did the first one. When I realized they were so big I decided they would be perfect for my friend Sailor-Girl's birthday next month and just kept going. She's got big "boat" feet (and really is a sailor to boot) so it's perfect. And I didn't have to tink back at all. So yay for that too.
They are done in Patons Kroy Socks yarn in "Winter Eclipse" - oh pretty. I had only just looked at the label now. I like that. It will suit her well. Must be fate.
I started these socks as practice. I have always followed a pretty basic sock pattern - the one by Debbie Macomber for knitting socks on two circulars, with a little of Cat Bordhi thrown in for good measure. I'm a HUGE fan of circulars as I used to knit on the subway and found that I lost the double-pointed ones far too easily. I've always wanted to try toe-up because leftover yarn annoys me (I am of Scottish ancestry) but couldn't find a pattern that was clearly laid out. I tried a few times to come up with my own pattern but I coulndn't figure out how to turn the heel. Plus, I'm lazy.
In the end, I used Presbytera's notes on the Harlot's blog to start. I really love the little square at the toe by the way. I knit plain until I thought the foot was big enough, and then dilligently followed Cosmicpluto's tutorial on short-row heels. I went round and round in plain for a little longer then switched to 2x2 ribbing and cast off with Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn cast off (from Knitting Without Tears) so that it would be nice and stretchy (as recommended, again, by the Harlot). I did adapt everything to work on my two circulars and for the most part I think they turned out fine.
Thing I love about these socks:

That's all that is left. And annoyingally it's almost ALL from one ball of yarn. There was quite the discrepancy (two whole inches of knitting worth! Yes, I had to frog back) between one ball and the other - made me a little crazy to be honest. But it's way less than I usually have left over so I'm happy about that.
I'm not sure I like the stretchy cast-off. It looks fine when the socks are on but it looks sloppy when they are off and I'm worried they may stretch and not hold up properly. Fortunately, if these socks aren't felted or lost overboard within the first months of living with their intended recipient I will consdier them lucky regardless of cuff issues.

The other thing I'm not sure about is the heels. I followed the tutorial SO carefully - step by step by step. One side turned out fine:

But the other one not so much.
Also, there was no option to "thicken" the heel. I'm sure there is a way to do this. I just haven't quite figured it out that. But the only person I usually knit socks for is my mother, and she wears through them pretty quickly. I must find a way to thicken them before/when I make her next pair.
So, on to my next project. The whole reason for learning/teaching myself how to make toe-up socks is so I can use this....
This is Dorothy's "Johnny Jump Up" yarn that I won two summers ago in a dishcloth draw. I love the colours and want to be sure that I don't waste the tiniest little bit. I carefully weighed them on my kitchen/diet scale and tried to make them as close in size as possible. Even if the socks have short cuffs (though I suspect there may be more here than I realise) I think they are going to be very pretty.
I'll report back once I get going on them.

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