Category Archives: finished object: socks

A good old sock

At the tail end of 2009 I managed to cram in several finished objects in quick succession, so I suppose it is only fitting that the first finished objects of 2010 have been rather slow to reel in. I finished my Noro striped scarf and have been wearing it happily, but a week ago I finally finished the first pair of socks I’ve cast on this year. It’s actually been a few months since I’ve had a new pair of socks to add to my drawer, and they are pleasantly comfy.


These are the ‘Charade’ socks (pattern is currently, as far as I can tell, only available as a free Ravelry download – original web page seems to be non-existent), done up in Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight in one of her new variegated colourways. This one is ‘rhythm’, and is suitably modest enough to go with my everyday wardrobe, which is what I was going for.


It’s a pretty easy pattern, and one that would look decent with either semi-solids or variegateds. The stitch pattern is slightly more snug than normal stockinette, so apply your knowledge of gauge and foot size accordingly. I do find, though, that while it’s an easy pattern and I like the way it looks, and I’ll probably knit it again at some time, it’s one of those sorts of patterns that requires just enough brain energy to make me weary of it after a while. So for my next in-the-handbag sock I’ve pulled a skein of Socks That Rock from the stash for a plain old 3×1 ribbed sock. (My standby sock approach, in the absence of Lorna’s Laces knitted into Jaywalkers, as is my want).


Me and Socks that Rock, though, we always have the pooling. It’s almost comforting, that I can count on that happening every time. Swooshy colourful socks, here we come.

Happy weekend knitting!


Filed under finished object: socks

There’s No Place Like Home

The first thing I have to say is this; If you go back and comment on my last post and are not a Canadian, then I’ll put your name into a hat to win a free copy of the Canadian Living December 2009 issue with my Mulled Wine Mitts in them. Comment and tell me where you’re from and what your favourite thing to knit for winter is. 3 winners will be chosen. That’s right, 3! Share the warmth, baby. Comments accepted until Saturday morning at 10 am EST.

(If you’re not in Canada your only recourse is to phone up your – possibly long-lost – friends and relations here to the North and bribe them to send you a copy of the magazine, as the knitting pattern in it is currently available only in that print copy. If and when this changes I’ll let you know. But seriously folks, the cover price for the whole magazine is only $4. It’s worth it for the shortbread recipes alone.)

The second thing I have to say is…Okay, so remember back in September when I said I was going to have a few designs to talk about in the next couple of months? Well lo and behold I’ve already managed to reveal 4 of them, but I have at least one more to tell you about, which is sort-of-new-but-not-really. (I promise to the highest stashly heavens that I’ll return to regular blogging posts soon and this won’t just be an all pattern-reveals-all-the-time, I swear…It is too bizarre how these things coalesce some times…)

So anyhow…Remember back in the summer when I knitted my pair of Wicked knee-highs? Well, as it turns out, so did Michelle from the Sweet Sheep, who dyed the yarn that I used for them. She chatted me up at Sock Summit and was all, “sooo, wanna sell me the pattern and I could totally kit that up so other people could knit it?” And I was all, “absitively, but you know what else we need…we need another colourway.”

And since the first colourway of purple, green, black, is now known as ‘Wicked’, well…I’ll give you three guesses about the second one, and the first two guesses don’t count.


This, my friends, is the ‘Yellow Brick Road’ colourway. Michelle is currently furiously dye-ing away yarn for both of these colourways (there may be a third one in the works…go on, I dare you to guess). And, if you go on over to her blog right now you could win one of these sock kits for free if you leave a comment over there, too. I mean, who could pass up the chance for a free knitting kit, I ask you?


Sweet Sheep Tight Twist

I just love these, I really do. Michelle dyes a wonderful fingering weight – it is a unique base yarn, sort of in between Louet Gems and Socks That Rock, if I were to describe it – and her colours have a very nice mottled quality that really work well knitted up in stripes.

When the kits are available for official pre-order both Michelle and I will be sure to make the announcement. They will have sizing instructions for shaping to fit legs of 12-17 inches in calf circumference, and tips on how to achieve the best fit for your leg. And best of all, they’ll have all 3 awesome colours that you need.


So, that’s plenty of me for another day, I’d say. Go on over and see if you can win yourself a free knee sock kit! And have an awesome Wednesday.


Filed under design, finished object: socks, knee socks

14 Karat

Here they are, folks, my latest sock pattern here at Knitting to Stay Sane and, if I may say, some darned pretty ones at that. I’ve had these done up for a few months now and it gives me great pleasure to finally set them out into the world to seek their fortune be knitted by other people.


If you’re a sock knitter, or even a person who just hangs out in yarn shops a lot (or maybe stalks a lot of yarn online…not that I’d know about that)…you eventually start to develop an appreciation for sock yarns. Now that I’ve started to make knitting a part of my tourism plan when I visit other cities or as a reason to travel in the first place (Rhinebeck, anyone?) I’ve also started to develop a fondness for sock yarns because they are so easy to collect and bring home with you. This is very much the genesis of the 14 Karat socks.

Last year I came home with a skein of ‘Amethyst’ Flock Sock yarn from Holiday Yarns (formerly VanCalcar Acres). Jennifer dyes some awesome yarn over there. I brought home my lone skein of Amethyst and stared at it all winter. And then at some point something in my brain started turning over the depth of the semi-solid colour, and the whole amethyst thing, and I started thinking about how to make that into a whole sock – something with the same elegance and delicacy of gemstones, but not without some symmetry and a few hard edges, just like gems and jewelry tend to have. After a few attempts, the socks you see here were born. The second pair came easily with a ‘Garnet’ skein of Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight, and Voila! 14-Karat style.

The pattern is currently available through my Ravelry store only, at a cost of $5.00, but I will be sure to notify you as a print copy sales location becomes available.


This pattern combines a variety of stitch patterns in one – I have a fondnes for twisted stitches, it’s true, but there is also just the tiniest hint of lace and cables. The socks have a lot of long lines which elongate the leg and foot for a very fitted and elegant look. Elements of this pattern are extended into the heel and toe. The instructions do indicate cables through cable needle use, but if you are familiar with cabling-without-a-cable-needle technique you will be able to make use of that here quite well.

Because the instructions rely on a single main chart (repeated over the front and back of the leg), the number of stitches remains consistent for all sizes, achieving sizing instead through changing gauge. I used 2.5 mm needles (gauge of 8.5 sts/inch) for the smaller, ‘Amethyst’ sample, which is shown on a foot/ankle circumference of 8 ins around. The ‘Garnet’, medium sample, is shown on my own feet which have a 9 ins circumference and used a 2.75mm needle (8 sts/inch). Pattern instructions include gauge indications to identify based on your own preferences.


I have written the pattern from the cuff down or ‘top down’ as is my preference, however skilled toe-up knitters will be able to modify this without too much difficulty provided you maintain the integrity of the pattern through the heel and toe. The heel and toe extend elements of the main chart. Additionally, I have indicated instructions for both Magic Loop and DPN (double-pointed knitters). As for myself, I bridge fairly easily now between Magic Loop and DPNs, and enjoy using these in combination on sock patterns that use symmetrical stitch patterns like this. When I worked these I actually used the Magic Loop technique through the heel and then switched back to DPNs for the foot. Suit yourself, dear knitter!


So I think once you’ve finished your own pair of 14 Karat socks and feel the elegance and decadence befitting a sock knitter of your expertise, you should end the festivities with champagne, yes? I mean, once you’ve indulged yourself this far…(and I do mean yourself…save the gift knitting for the second pair, my friends ;) )

I’ll also give a shout-out to my friend Patricia, who received and modelled the smaller ‘Amethyst’ pair and dressed to match for the photo shoot. Those are her sparkly-toed shoes in the cover photo, and doesn’t she look dapper? I could only aspire to such elegance.


As always happy knitting – and go out and get yerself some sock yarn!


Filed under finished object: socks, socks

A time and place for tedium

The thing about the Jaywalker socks, and why they work so well for me, is partly because I have managed to happen upon a combination of pattern, needle size, and yarn that produces really great socks for my feet. I love that they fit so well and that I can wear them when I want socks that look just a little bit dressier than normal, and that they’re sturdy enough to wear week after week. Me and the Lorna’s Laces and the Jaywalkers, we are friends.


However, the other reason that I have managed to keep on knitting this pattern eight times now (the 1st pair didn’t fit, the 2nd pair was in a different yarn, and the last 6 pairs, well, you know how the rest of that story ends), is that they have managed to be really great travel knitting. I have started to get into the habit of casting on a pair before I leave on a trip, and that becomes my dedicated knitting in buses, subways, airport waiting rooms, airplanes, cafes, and pretty much where ever I feel like pulling them out. The same repetitive 2-row repeat that felt tedious and boring and unbearable when I started with the pattern suddenly becomes a lot more manageable – dare I say it even enjoyable – when I’m struggling for patience in various forms of transit or periods of waiting largely beyond my control.

Then, of course, what inevitably happens is that I finish the first sock on my trip, start the second one, and when I’m at home again the second sock which should really only take a week or so of knitting ends up taking a month, and I start to despair of ever having another sock knitting project in my handbag, ever.

And then I get over myself and just finish it already. This pair – in two beautiful skeins of ‘Mixed Berries’ Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock – came off the needles on Friday and then I took all weekend to getting around to sewing up the toes. (Have I mentioned that me and kitchener stitch are not friends?)


One interesting fallout from knitting the same sock over and over again is that I care a lot less when I make mistakes. On pair #1 or #2, a glaring error like this in the middle of the sock probably would have driven me nuts. By pair #8, I just keep on knitting. It becomes a unique “design element”, making this pair in some way different from all those that have come before and those that are yet to come. Totally cool with it.


I’m not sure which colourway I’ll pick next – probably around the time I leave for Rhinebeck in October – but judging from this little collection of leftovers, I’d say I’ll probably try to steer away from the pinks and blues and try something a bit different. So many colourways to choose from, so little time.

At least until the next pair.


Filed under finished object: socks, socks

Pretty Wicked Stockings

After having several projects in progress for the last little while, it feels very good to be reeling in a few finished ones. These knee-high stockings are finished after a few weeks’ work and I’m glad I decided to do them. They’ll be coming with me to the Sock Summit and likely be my Ravelry party-wear. Because where else would you wear a wicked pair of socks like these but to a gathering of knitters?


Cast On: July 11, 2009
Cast Off: August 1, 2009
Needles: 2.5mm DPNs
Yarn: The Sweet Sheep‘s own fingering weight, in incarnations from 2007 (shamrock green) and 2008 (joker purple), and Malabrigo Sock (black). (Incidentally, the Sweet Sheep will also be a vendor at the Sock Summit this week, and Michelle is just about the nicest person ever.) I worked the stripes in rows of 2-4-2-4 (black-purple-black-green) on repeat, and chose to keep the purple for the heel and toe since Michelle’s earlier blend (in the green) did not have nylon in it but her later one (purple) did, and I wanted to preserve the strength of the nylon blend at those points of abrasion.


Pattern: There is no specific pattern for this, just math and gauge. I started with my known gauge for this yarn, multiplied that by the number of inches around at my upper calf, and then subtracted 2.5 inches’ worth. This gave me the # of stitches for the upper calf. I subtracted about a dozen stitches from this number to work the ribbing, then increased immediately.

I worked the upper-calf # of stitches for 5 inches, then worked pairs of decreases at the middle of the back of the leg every 4 rows, until I reached 64 sts. From there I continued even until I was at the length I needed to cover my whole leg (making sure to try this on for verification), and from this point on it became just a plain sock with a heel flap and gussets and wedge toe.

Overall, I’m pretty darned pleased. And as a bonus, I also finished up my pair of on-the-go socks I’ve had for a little over a month, in Socks That Rock Lightweight (I think the colourway is ‘rolling stone’, but can’t be completely sure because it was a mill end picked up at Rhinebeck). These are plain Knit 3-Purl 1 ribbing at 64 sts around, and I squeaked ’em out with just a teensy bit of yarn leftover. STR Lightweight’s yardage pushes my Size 11s to the very edge, but I can usually make it through on a single skein.


Socks, socks and more socks. What are the odds that in a couple of weeks I’ll have a sudden urge to cast on 7 new sweaters? I’m thinking…pretty darned strong. But I’ve got more sock knitting in me this week, which is a darned good thing.

Happy knitting today, folks!


Filed under finished object: socks, knee socks

Just another Jaywalker

I’ve done me a fair number of Jaywalker socks in my time. It’s one of the few patterns I’ve done multiple times. (I could tell you about that winter I knitted five Harry Potter scarves as gifts. Oie.) It works for me because when I take it with me on transit or travel, the monotony of the 2-row repeat is just soothing enough to chill me out but easy enough that my brain can still think thoughts if it wants to. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock has become my yarn of choice for the Jaywalkers since it’s lightweight enough to work on the 84-sts size I need (keep in mind that this pattern biases quite a bit), the yardage goes for days (did I mention I have Size 11 feet?) and the colourway options are just about endless. This is LL Jaywalker pair #5 for me, which puts me 2 pairs away from one for every day of the week.


I made this pair in the recently-released ‘Rockwell’ colourway, which allows me to cling to favourite shades of blue and purple while stepping a toe in the less familiar orange and olive directions. Perfect. Just another pair of Jaywalkers, yes? Well, take a look at what happens once we get to the feet:


I generally expect a bit of pooling on the feet since the stockinette soles change things up a bit, and I decrease a few extra stitches on the gussets to make things snug, and that changes the stitch count between leg and foot…But dudes, I have never had pooling quite like this. Check out that sock on the right. Completely blue/purple on the top…


And totally orange/green on the bottom. Wild. I can’t get mad at it. I mean, not only did the yarn pool so neatly but it had the courtesy to leave my favourite 2 shades of the 4 on the most visible portion of the sock. Thanks, Rockwell colourway. We can be buds.


And now, I get to start new socks. That’s the best part of finishing socks, am I right?

Happy knitting!


Filed under finished object: socks

Knitting as Lifeline, part 9,261

Things to do while procrastinating on mountain of grading and lecture-writing which has not gotten smaller nor is likely to get any smaller between now until the end of time:

1. Celebrate completion of Charade socks.


Congratulate self on perfect fit, pleasant bright colours, and lovely stitch execution. Ignore annoying pooling of Cherry Tree Hill at gusset.


2. Celebrate socks as first Finished Object in three weeks. (Bless me knitting goddess, for I have sinned, it has been three weeks since my last Finished Object). Contemplate other remaining projects and their states of 3/4 done-ness and ponder how fast it is reasonable to assume they will reach state of 100% done-ness.

3. Dump stash onto floor (subsection: Mission Falls 1824 wool). Mourn loss of Cloth & Clay LYS whose closing provided much of said stash.


4. Immediately start planning two sweaters, one scarf, and multiple hats. Ponder how many could be completed before Saturday departure for DC trip. Reduce plans to one scarf and one hat.

5. Ponder how soon is too soon to start planning Rhinebeck Sweater for 2009.

6. Recall Blackberry Cardigan still in state of 3/4 done-ness and curse self for not finishing old projects faster, in order to accommodate various whims and newfound stash affairs.

7. Finally face fact that starting five new projects will not, in fact, have side effect of getting any Real Work done. Grudgingly return to desk.

8. Keep ball of yarn nearby for clutching purposes. Just in case.

How’s your Monday?


Filed under finished object: socks, stash