Friday, November 5, 2010

Double Trouble

I’ve had some knitting setbacks as of late – involving Boy 2’s easy raglan sweater and Pam’s piquant socks.

First, remember the sweater that wouldn’t fit over Boy 2’s head?IMG_7523I executed Plan B: adding a neckline again, this time an applied i-cord edging on size 10 needles (the sweater itself was on 9s).  The result looked acceptable…IMG_7524 …but it still doesn’t go over his head.  So I’m going to rip that out.

My next plan (Plan C) is to do what everyone says can’t be done.  I’m going to run a cable or a lifeline or something through a round of stitches 3 or 4 rows below the edge, and then CUT the preceding rounds out.  I think I’ll still have live stitches, and I’ll try again with the i-cord edging.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll just unravel the entire thing and start again (that would be Plan D).  The way I see it, it can’t hurt to try the crazy Plan C if Plan D is your only remaining option.

As for Pam’s socks… I have knit the leg and am poised to begin the heel flap, and they are simply too tight.  S1 couldn’t get them on at all.  I can get them on my ankle, but I know from experience that once I put a heel on these babies, they won’t fit anymore.  So they are going to be completely frogged.  Here is what I have so far:IMG_7526 I have not knit on these for about a week as I consider my next step.  First, I need to do more reading about how to knit colorwork.  I think I’ve been catching the long floats all wrong, but I’m not yet 100% certain of that.  I read this long blog post on dealing with floats, and I’ve determined that I’m definitely catching them too frequently.  I was worried about the really long floats – like 9-11 stitches long – and I would catch the float every 3-4 stitches.  But some Ravelry forum browsing indicated that with fingering weight yarn, I really needn’t catch floats unless they are more than 7 stitches (which some of mine would be).  Catching the floats, especially the way I’m doing it, tightens up the fabric.  It makes it really durable, but not very flexible.

As much as I hate to step back from Pam’s socks, I think I need to get out of the deep end of the pool and go back to the shallow end.  I’m not in the baby pool anymore, but I’m feeling decidedly out of my element.  So I’m going to READ more before casting on again, and I’m also consider knitting the Mad for Plaid socks before Pam’s socks:PlaidBIGpurple

Mad for Plaid will give me a chance to practice stranded knitting but it’s an intermediate step, in terms of difficulty.

If anyone has recommendations for a good book or website about stranded knitting, I’m very open to suggestions!


  1. I've only tried stranded socks once, and I got so frustrated that I eventually gave up and duplicate stitched the design, so I don't have any good practical advice. I rely on this site quite a bit so maybe it will help: In paragraph 7, she recommends knitting the item inside out so the floats go around the outside instead of the inside, which certainly sounds logical. Good luck with your socks & sweater!

  2. I love the pattern and I love the colors but if I may be so bold: neither belong on a foot. I know that your stamina and tolerance for frustration might be far greater than mine, but I would make it into a scarf and find Pam a different pair of socks!

  3. The only stranded sock I've made (the ones that used Merike Saarniit's patent stitch) were snug, too. I don't know that I have any tips. I suppose you could try making a larger size.

    For catching floats, this video from Philosopher's Wool shows their technique. I use it to remember how to do it. They recommend catching any float that is 3 stitches or longer. A bit excessive, if you ask me. Ann Feitelson in The Art of Fair Isle Knitting (my go to book), doesn't recommend catching floats at all, unless knitting for infants.

    And you might get a bit of ease from blocking. But I wouldn't rely on that too much.

  4. Ooh -- and I like plan C! After you cut, are you going to head back up toward the neck any? It would be interesting to see how the increases, which in the new direction would be decreases, would match up. I like the applied I-cord collar. I say cut!

  5. Bonny - I finally sat down and really read the post you linked to, and it was really helpful!

    Steven - thanks for sending that video link. I've seen the Philosopher's Wool video mentioned before but the link was dead and I hadn't yet tried to track it down again.

    All - I think I will make a crazy colorwork felted bag next in order to practice some of these techniques. Mistakes won't show after it's felted. THEN I can return my attention to socks...

    (Kris - I'm not quite ready to let that pattern beat me!)