Sunday, March 21, 2010

Long-Deferred Socks Complete At Last

I started knitting these socks as part of Sharon B's fiber arts community Take It Further Challenge, February 2008. My participation in her inspirational project fell by the wayside due to an unexpected work opportunity and the building of our new house, and the socks also stalled.

Originally, I planned to knit a dainty texture pattern on my smallest steel needles, with this machine knitting wool held double.

Unfortunately, fine yarn held double played the devil with all the twist-stitch patterns I tried. I couldn't keep from splitting the yarn, so I fell back to knitting this sort of wide, plain rib pattern:

Columbia Minerva sock pattern, 1947

It was slow going at this gauge, but after I'd knitted about four inches of the top, I knew something wasn't working well. It looked nice enough:

However, the stockingette stitch was rather loose, even with my tiniest needles, and I've found that loose-knitted socks are very uncomfortable inside shoes. You end up with a mesh pattern embedded in the soles of your feet. So, I unraveled again, and this time I knitted with four strands of yarn held together. This was bulkier than fingering weight, but finer than sport weight, and it produced a nice fabric. I chose a knit-purl design to make these fancy ribs, and I used a strand of wooly nylon to reinforce the heels and toes.


Unknown said...

A trick i just learned is Navaho plying.. its great for light weight yarn.. You con't have to spin the plys. Three ply (vs 4 ply) might not have been thick enough for your socks.. but i suspect it might have worked (and its not that much work to do one the fly.

Of course, i alway knit socks 2 on 2, so i'd have to wind up a jumbo ball.. but just 1--and work the other from the cone..

Rebecca Clayton said...

Thanks! I never thought of that. I'll have to try a swatch right away.