Saturday, September 2, 2017

Seeking rainbows

A friend from a very warm part of the world just started a new job in Massachusetts. She is very excited about the institution and the job itself, but NOT the climate. As we parted last spring, she said “I need some of those warm, wool socks you are always knitting!” IMG_6670

That’s just the kind of request I love. We consulted a bit on color (she likes all of them) and ultimately, I decided to knit her a classic, ROYGBIV rainbow. I settled on this skein of Vesper Sock Yarn from Knitterly Things: IMG_6669

We have talked before about how appealing an afterthought heel is when you don’t want to interrupt a stripe sequence. I have knit many afterthought heels using the structure of a toe. It works, but that heel doesn’t fit me nearly as well as a flap heel. So I thought I’d try the Procrastinatrix pattern, which features an afterthought heel worked without picking up gusset stitches and in the style of the flap.

But this pattern…is pretty terrible! First it calls for an “open provisional cast on” at the heel, which is terminology not used in exactly that way in any of the references I consulted. The designer made a video to demonstrate the technique, but the video has no sound. I finally decided to use whatever provisional cast on I wanted (I only needed 9 stitches at each end of the heel)… so I made this thing (waste yarn is gray): IMG-4363

But when I worked the next round with the working yarn, it left the most terrible ladders despite my yanking and pulling. I pulled it out and decided to try again, but with the extra stitches in the middle of each circular needle instead of at the edges of one. While the sock was in time out, I read more about how to attach the heel later. It sounded like that was even more fiddly than the provisional bit in the middle. I finally determined that just because you can make a sock in a new way doesn’t mean it’s a better way. IMG-4401

You can see that I returned to my tried-and-true, top-down, heel flap ways. And I think the stripes look pretty good! I cut the yarn to achieve this look, though. First, I worked the leg until I had finished a purple stripe and just started blue (only enough blue to finish the needle). Then I worked the heel flap and turn. When I was ready to pick up stitches and rejoin in the round, I skipped ahead to the very beginning of a blue section. So when you look down at the top of the sock, the stripes continue in order… they just get a little skinnier because there are 22 extra stitches there. Every other round, there are 2 fewer stitches… until we are back at 64 total and each stripe is about 3.5 rounds wide. Of course, the stripes get thicker as I decrease stitches for the toe.

I rather like that the sock begins and ends with yellow, but that was just luck.

On to #2!


  1. Sometimes the old way does turn out to be the best way. I spent several hours this afternoon looking for bright rainbow yarn, and you've knit sock #1 with it - just the rainbow I was seeking. Your friend and her warm feet will love them!

  2. These colors are striking! Just gorgeous! Good for you for changing things iuk rather than banging your head against a wall. Life's too short.