Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Give Me a "J"

Hey Chrissy, here are my January Socks! And they are the first FO of 2006. I have to be honest, I have something else that is almost finished, but I wanted these to be my first FO of the year. I loved everything about making these socks, except for the toe seams.

Pattern: Rib and Cable Socks by Nancy Bush (Interweave Knits, Fall 2005)
Yarn: Handpainted sock yarn from A Piece of Vermont. I think the colorway was called Blue Skies.
Needles: 3 mm (US 2) Addi Turbo 40 inch circular
Gauge: 7 sts per inch in st st
Modifications: Did short row heels and toes. Shortened the plain ribbing at the cuff a bit. Toe seam fiasco (see below).

I could go on and on. First, this pattern is great. The redoubtable Carola has made many pair of these, so I figured the pattern must be a winner. And it is. The rib is soothing but not boring. The cables are fun. I can see this becoming a standard basic sock pattern for me.

And the yarn. Well. Jessie makes bee-yoo-tee-ful handpainted yarn. I don't know the first thing about the dyeing process, but it seems to me she must be genius at this. I have noticed a few things about handpainted yarns: (1) some of them pool; (2) sometimes this looks good; but(3) often people don't like it. This yarn has ZERO pooling. Knitted up, there is this gorgeous dappled effect of blues, pinks, white, lavenders. It is PERFECT. Soft, soft, soft too. And I think the yarn and pattern were a very good match. Thanks, Jessie!

About the toe seams. As I mentioned recently, I hate grafting. I just cannot get the hang of it. Grafting the toe on the first sock ended up with a row of purl bumps on the right side. (WTF!?!) So when I saw that Kris -- a far more talented knitter than I -- uses the three-needle bindoff for toes instead of grafting, I decided I had found my solution. I think it looks pretty good, and the seam on the inside is not bulky or annoying. I tried to rip the toe seam from sock #1 and redo it, but I could see Impending Disaster on the horizon, so I stopped. The toe seams don't match, but who's really going to see them? Anyhow, I love these socks! Yay!


Blogger Laura said...

I hate grafting too. I just don't get it. Using pictures is better than reading directions for me, but I still end up redoing grafts multiple times before getting it right.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Mintyfresh said...

I'm actually about 3/4 of the way through one sock using this pattern as well! I'm so not a sock knitter, though, and my enthusiasm has waned considerably. Seeing your finished objects makes me want to get back to them, though!

10:51 AM  
Blogger christine said...

Laura - they look wonderful! Love that yarn........I'm gonna have to get me some of that beautious stuff....congrats on your first 2006 FO!

10:56 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

They look super comfy! Did you do a short row toe and bind off across the top?

11:01 AM  
Blogger msubulldog said...

Those are fabulous! I've got that pattern on my horizon, too. It's lingering in my pattern notebook until I get these Falling Leaves done! :)

Glad you found an alternative to grafting that you like. And I may have to check out that yarn. . . .

11:27 AM  
Blogger Glaistig said...

I love the beautiful handpainted color and the classic cables. Lovely!

11:30 AM  
Blogger Sonya said...

Oooh, I never thought about 3-needle bind off for socks. Hmm...may have to try that. Your socks turned out beautifully. I love the subtle changes in the yarn colors. I'm adding this pattern to my must knit list.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Olga said...

Look at your cute little feet! And those socks look so delish! I may try that pattern for the sock yarn that Ashley sent me for winning her "first snow" contest. I haven't really done cables yet, so this might be fun.

Hey! I saw your sidebar thingy about the Decemberists (how funny about the Hardy comparison...LOL!). Aren't they great? I saw them live a couple of years ago and was totally swept off my feet. My boyfriend (at the time) and I agreed that their lyrics were very "writerly." Beautiful and dreamy.

I did get some yarn for Backyard Leaves, but forgot to post a picture of it. It's Cascade Sierra, and I'm having some doubts about it b/c why would you want a cotton scarf? But it was on the cheap side and it does have some wool in it, and it's a beautiful pink orchid color. I haven't wound it into balls yet, but I think I'll do that today and cast on. Can't wait!

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely heavenly socks! I love that colour! I love grafting, now that I've conquered it. The big thing for me was figuring out what "as if to knit" and "as if to purl" meant. Wha? Only that you point your needle towards you to purl and away to knit (and they're assuming inserting the needle in the front (nearest you) stitch. Apparently I knit wierd - Mom taught me to knit Continental, only always into the back of the loop. My first attempt at socks were spiraled b/c all the stitches were twisted! Here's an interesting thing I found: sock toe chimneys -
I never used it, just finally figured things out by practice (stubborn me) making lots of little Red Heart child-size socks.
Cheers! :) -meg (inch)

12:33 PM  
Blogger Lolly said...

I think they look smasing, Laura! Love them ;) I may need to try this pattern - since both you and Carola recommend it!

1:50 PM  
Blogger candsmom said...

Laura, your socks are bee-yoo-tee-ful indeed!! SO gorgeous and that yarn is so incredibly beautiful. It looks wonderful in that rib and cable pattern! I made a pair of rib and cable socks, but in a nasty variegated yarn, so the effect was totally lost. Looking at your fantastic pair makes me want to give it another go-around. And now you've got me totally coveting Jessie's gorgeous yarn. Mind you, this is NOT good for a ghetto knitter! ;-) (I will not click the link! I will not click the link!) And I'd never thought about a 3-needle bind-off- great idea! I kind of like the whole choral chanting effect I get with the kids when I start Kitchenering, but I may borrow that 3-needle bind-off idea. Awesome job and take care! :-)

1:59 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I've knit that pattern too - they're some of my favorite handknits. And the yarn is perfect for them!

4:22 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

They are gorgeous! Stick with practicing Kitchener. When done it makes a lovely nonbulky seam.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

They look great! Another one for my never-ending list. :)

5:56 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Very pretty socks. Cables are my favorite, and I'm a big fan of Nancy Bush. I'm one of the weird ones who actually likes grafting. Congrats on your first FO of 2006.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Erica said...

Those are gorgeous! I had to check out A Piece of Vermont's site. Wow!

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Erica said...

They look great -- so comfy and pretty at the same time. I hope you never have to cover them with shoes, because that would be a crying shame.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Carola said...

*Blush* You knit them because I recommended the pattern... well, I'm relieved then that you like them!
Yours are indeed beautiful! And look how elegant they are in this subtle variegated yarn. Thanks for the link to 'Vermont', this is definitely a nice hangout place to brood over some stash enhancement. (Which I SHOULDN'T do!)
I had problems with the grafting, too but failed even worse with the three-needle bind off and was forced to master grafting in the end as the easier choice. Well done, the three-needle BO looks very professional. Congratulations on your first FO 2006!

10:49 AM  
Blogger Acornbud said...

Very beautiful socks!
I always get out the picture when I graft...the process just doesn't stick in my mind.

12:02 PM  

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