Wednesday, November 15, 2006

blue socks, gray day

Nova Scotian Seascape Socks
Fleece Artist Merino Sock

Elizabeth Zimmerman's sock pattern with conventional heel from Knitting Without Tears

Sock is 2x2 ribbing, with stockinette sole. Started with 52 stitches.

Needles: Brittany 5 in birch dps, size 1.5 (US)

Nothing like some electric blue socks to brighten up a gray day!!

(Not that you can tell just how electric these are, but I promise that I did my best to capture all available natural light on this November morning. I'm sure my neighbors enjoyed the show of my feet out the window).

These socks make me HAPPY! They're beautiful and memory-evoking. The lovely, lovely yarn is shown off to its advantage with simple stitchwork, with the garter stitch details on the heel adding a bit of zip. My understanding is that this garter stitch heel border is unique to Zimmerman's sock patterns.
It's been a learning experience for me, since I know woefully little about knititng socks. There is, however, a bit of irony here: my only previous socks were a pair of Jaywalkers, which fit like a dream without any swatching, sizing, or cognition on my part. These socks, for which I carefully swatched and thought hard, are a little off. The leg is too short (I was trying to be conservative to avoid running out of yarn); heel a little too tight, toes a little constricting.

But please don't take this for complaining - I'm genuinely happy with these socks and just trying to lay the groundwork for figuring out what I learned from them. I will surely try this pattern again, and I now know that I should: 1. cast on a few more stitches, 2. anticipate that the top will shorten once they socks are on and the fabric is stretched out, 3. turn the heel with the method from the Jaywalker socks, and 4. maybe - just maybe - increase a stitch or two when it gets to the widest part of my toes (seen below).

I do need advice on one thing, though. For those of you with greater sock knitting experience, what would you recommend for lengthening the leg of the sock once they're finished? Would crochet be elastic enough? How weird would it look to pick up the cast-on and then knit upwards? Can I unpick the cast-on edge?

I can already feel myself being pulled into the gravity of sock knitting....


Kathy in DC said...

Hi!, I couldn't make the link work to get here from your Zimmermania post. So I "tracked you down", LOL. I, too , know very little about making socks. But I desperately want to learn. Thanks for posting all the info on these two socks you've made. To me, your socks look great. you should be proud. Please post/comment back and tell me where the Jaywalker sock pattern/instructions can be found. I can't remember where I've seen that before. Thanks, and happy knitting.

maryb said...

Are you a Great Big Sea fan? I'm guessing that's where the title for the Zimmermainia post came from. They're one of my favorite bands! Either way, Great Socks! :)

Anonymous said...

You can pick up from the cast-on, sure. It leaves a visible feature in the knitting but if you make some kind of fancy edging, it will be a positive feature, if you decide it is. You just have to figure out a way to pick up consistently so it looks like you did it on purpose. You can also unpick the cast-on stitch by stitch and knit the other way. This is a horrible task but you can certainly do it. Based on my experience I recommend you run a length of yarn through each stitch in the row you want to pick back to so you don't drop any stitches. Trust me, you don't want to go there ...Everything will be half a stitch off but it isn't very conspicuous,especially if you change patterns at that point. The real problem is casting off when you've added the extra length, since the cast off will tend to be too tight no matter what you do. I read in some knitting book how to fix this, in k2p2 ribbing: k1, m1, p2 around, then cast off in k3, p2. It doesn't change the look of the ribbing very much at all and it gives a much more comfortable fit. When the sock is off, the expanded ribbing will flare out a little but the difference is hardly noticeable when the sock is on.