Tag Archives: blocking

Knitting-fail: Sneaky Argyle Socks

Once more with feeling: my argyle sock, now in two pieces

My argyle sock, now in two pieces

When non-knitters and beginners tell me they’re intimidated by my finished objects, I try to tell them the truth: we all make mistakes. After all, I see what they don’t – the huge knitting-fails.  I was in love with these argyle socks by Wendy Johnson the moment I finished the first one: so beautiful, so perfect for my husband to wear to work, such a great use for leftover yarn…

And then I tried it on. The colourwork section didn’t fit over my foot; it wasn’t even close.  I tried blocking it over a soup can, but there was no improvement.  Of course, we can file this under avoidable mistakes:  the floats should have been looser, I should have tried the first few rows of colourwork over my foot, I should have done some research before attempting my first colourwork sock (one of the blogs I follow had a post detailing this exact problem, with this exact pattern). Woulda, coulda, shoulda – didn’t.

Once more with feeling, knitting the argyle section inside out

Once more with feeling, knitting the argyle section inside out

I didn’t want to lose the foot of this sock, nor did I want to waste all of that burgundy Dream in Color Smooshy (especially since my LYS stopped carrying it), so out came the scissors.  I’m going to take a second run at the argyle, but this time I’m switching to 2.5 mm needles for the argyle section and using this technique to keep the floats loose. I’ll keep you posted on how they turn out…

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My wedge socks are done

My third pair of holiday socks are done!  It is now looking increasingly likely that I will not finish the remaining three pairs before Christmas (and I may, gulp, have to brave the mall at the last minute), but I will perservere.  Overall, these socks (Wedge socks from knit. sock. love.) are clever and I love the way the short rows look in multi colour yarn like this.  The socks are worked in a series of short row (back and forth) wedges that give it the garter stitch sections.  The beginning of the row is rotated 180 degrees each time you repeat, so that the thin and thick ends of the wedges alternate.  I have no idea how Cookie A conceives of inventive ideas like this, but I really like it! It’s hard to find a pattern that works well for multicolour yarn, or one that is as co-ed as this one is.

Wedge socks in ONline Supersocke (1167)

Wedge socks in ONline Supersocke (1167)

I did encounter a couple of technical hiccups that I will avoid next time:

1. The garter stitch wedges are really stretchy.  I made these in medium and I’m a tight knitter, and they are easily the biggest socks I’ve ever made.  Make them at least 1 size smaller than you think you need.

2. When I got to the first toe, I was convinced that I had made a mistake, since the pattern made it seem as though the toe short rows should be worked off-center.  I checked ravelry and googled errata, and there is no mention of a typo or mistake in this pattern, so I will assume the mistake was mine.  I’m still not sure if the toe short rows are intentionally off-center here or if I made a mistake when rotating the rows (you mark a new beginning of the round at least 8 times in this pattern, so if you make one mistake, it will be translated all the way down).  Rather than make myself crazy searching for the source of the problem, I just lined the short rows up with sides of the toe (working the toe across the sole stitches) and they look great.  On the second socks, I was much more careful with couting the rotations, but still had the same problem.

3. They absolutely, positively must be blocked. They’re an absolute collapsing mess when they come off your needles.

Sock blocking and other “Monkey” business

My completed Monkey socks in madelinetosh

I have successfully finished my first cuff down socks! It felt a little like driving on the other side of the road, but I kind of liked it.  It turns out I have been avoiding cuff down socks for no reason. Although the socks required two of my most dreaded knitting skills: picking up stitches (along the side of the heel) and kitchener stitch (to join the opposite sides of the toe together), those were relatively easy hurdles to jump (with the help of some youtube tutorials and the very clear instructions at the back of knit. sock. love.)   I chose Monkey socks by Cookie A to start me off in this new direction for a number of reasons:

1. Of all the socks in knit. sock. love., they seemed the most approachable, and I’ve been anticipating actually using this book for months.

2. They are wildly popular (with over 16000 projects on Ravelry), and I presumed that that many people can’t be wrong.

3. They’re lacey enough to be pretty, but solid enough to be warm.

While I’m pretty happy with the results, I’m a little underwhelmed; their enormous popularity and the overall beauty of knit. sock. love.  set my expectations very, very high. They’re cute, but they’re not spectacular. To be fair, that may also have to do with the disappointing way that the colour was distributed in stripes in this yarn.

The Monkey socks, before and after blocking

They were also socks wildly in need of blocking, which launched me on a new adventure. I’m usually pretty lazy when it comes to details, so I tend to do as little blocking as possible.  It isn’t essential for everything. Many objects come off your needles looking great, but in general the more complicated the texture, the more you need to block (this is especially true for lace).  Blocking can give your knit objects shape, and can even rescue the odd stretched out or otherwise misshappen sweater (even if you picked it up at the mall).  Basically, you wet the knit garment and carefully stretch it into shape, leaving it that way to dry.

My homemade sock blockers (made from a dollar store Christmas placemat)

Previously, I have just dampened my socks and pinned them down, but these socks clearly demanded more discipline.  I looked online for sock blockers, but found this set of DIY instruction instead.  The suggestion to use a placemat was ingenious.  After a quick trip to the dollar store, I had these.  I traced the wooden sock holders at my local yarn store, and added a hook at the top, so that my socks could hang from the shower curtain rod as they dry.  Success!