Monday, October 27, 2008

Can we talk about my (sock) issues?

People, I need help with my sock issues. These are the Paca Peds harvest socks I've been working on for a while. Remember? I'm almost done with the first ball of yarn and here is what they look like:

Unfortunately, I think I'm going to have to rip back. Why? Lemme 'splain:
  1. The slipped-stitch pattern makes for a very dense fabric that will wear like iron but doesn't stretch much at all. The sock is tight.
  2. If the sock fit perfectly, that might not be a problem. But since I'm not ace at the toe-up short-row heel sock construction, I made the foot too long. My instructions said to knit the foot until it reaches the ankle bone. I stopped short of my ankle bone because the foot just seemed so long, but the food was still nearly an inch too long. So these became Sharon's socks (that's her foot pictured).
  3. Then I put on the short-row heel. I decided that I would not attempt to knit this in pattern but just do a plain stockinette short-row heel. But stockinette fabric seems so flimsy compared to the strength of the slipped stitch pattern (its official name is "faceted rib"), and the heel is the hardest wearing part of the sock, so I wanted to reinforce it. So I got some reinforcement thread (my LYS stocks Fortissima in 5 g packages and I bought the "pale brown" to blend in). I've never used this before. The mending yarn is much thinner than the sock yarn, but I didn't change needle sizes when I began double-stranding the heel. Consequently, the heel was really difficult to knit. What do you think about how the light brown blended in with the main sock yarn? (see photo below) I think it's less noticeable in person than in the photo.
  4. The sock is really difficult to get on. I think this is because (a) the fabric of the foot does not stretch, and (b) the foot of a toe-up short-row heel sock is the same circumference all the way to the heel. I've only knit this construction a few times, but I'm thinking that it is not for me. Human feet get bigger between the arch and the heel, and socks should do that, too. When I knit cuff-down socks, the decreases after the flap heel cover that part of the foot very nicely. There is no similar change in sock circumference when you knit the toe-up short-row heel sock. I switched to the next size needle (2.25 mm) at some point in the cuff to make it easier to get on, but it didn't help much.
  5. And finally, I'm almost out of yarn. I anticipated this would happen since the slipped stitch pattern eats up more yarn per linear inch than a regular one, and I figured I would have to finish the cuff in a contrasting yarn. I even picked one out of my stash. But now I'm not so excited about the look.

I think that covers my issues. I had such high hopes for these socks. I ripped them back once already to get them right, but I still haven't gotten them right. I think I'd better let these rest a bit.

In an attempt to recover my sock mojo, yesterday I cast on for Katie's birthday socks using some yarn that Kristina bought a couple years ago at MDSW. She brought it with her on her last trip in order to split one 100 g skein into 2 equal balls (using my scale). But I could tell that she wasn't excited about knitting it. Try as I might, I have not been successful in giving her the sock bug. I offered to knit socks for Katie out of the yarn. Her third birthday is coming up, and little girls often get socks from me for their 3rd birthdays. I'm doing the Coriolis sock from Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters, Book 1. It's a toe-up sock, but it has plenty of expansion rounds before the heel. Clearly I need to explore this type of construction more if I'm going to knit socks toe-up. [Side note: Have you seen Gretchen's Coriolis-in-progress? It looks gorgeous! Great yarn choice for that pattern.]

Kristina, is that Tess sock yarn? I'm not even sure! Photo coming next time...


  1. Yes, it is Tess'.

    I can't wait to see how the socks turn out.


  2. Hey! my first blog "shout out!" Thanks! I am quite pleased with how the coriolis is turning out for me.

    As for your (sock) issues... rip it. If you're not happy with it, no one will wear it. sleep on it for awhile, though, as you say! Love how the stitch looks in the yarn, but seems wearability is much more important here. Maybe the Tall Tibetan Coriolis could be your answer for this yarn? I do like this construction!