Toe-ectomy (or a tale of knitterly denial and remorse)

Well, having finished the green socks and then wearing them around yesterday, I decided they were definitely too big.

At first I contemplated just giving Dad a bonus pair of socks as they would probably fit him but then I wondered if he would actually wear two tone green socks. Plus said socks were knitted for me because I need more nice warm handknitted socks.

So, being a virgo, I went and did some investigating on Rav about other people’s experiences knitting these socks. At first I thought the heel was too big (ie I needed to wrap a diff number of wraps next time or something) but then someone had mentioned that they got that problem when the foot was too long on their sock. Sure enough, when I pulled the sock forward so the heel fit nicely on my foot, the foot itself was suddenly revealed to be about an inch or more too long on both feet.

*HEADDESK* Don’t ask me how I got a foot that much too long. A combination of swatching row gauge instead of using the toe plus somehow managing to think that round a 10.2 inch foot up to 10.5 made sense (rather than rounding down to 10, if not 9.5 as a sensible person who knows stuff like negative ease is required for socks (WHICH I DO) would do). Le sigh. Maths skills and logic were apparently taking the day off when I was setting up the socks.

Also, because of the construction of these socks, you can’t really judge the fit until you’ve finished the heel and at that point I was in knitterly denial about the fit and just kept blithely on (next pair, there will be a life line before the heel and frogging if the same thing happens). Knitterly denial is a wonderful thing. Granted I wanted them as house socks but I didn’t need house canoes.

Anyway, too long socks were the problem. As I knitted them toe up, it wasn’t as if they were going to unravel nicely from the toe. But I was trying them on (still vaguely hopeful the problem would disappear like magic…knitterly denial again), I suddenly thought, well, Mel, if you threaded a lifeline through the row that hits your little toe where the toe would usually finish and snipped a stitch and then unravelled the toe, you could just start again from there and knit a top down style toe back on from that point.

And then I had to go have a fit of the vapours at the thought of CUTTING knitting. Scary stuff. But when I consulted with Melissa, the knitting guru, she seemed to think it was a perfectly sensible plan. And suggested just threading the circ back through rather than a lifeline. I will note that she has been knitting many more years than me and knows what she’s doing with stuff like picking up stitches rather than winging it with much internet assistance like I do. But with confirmation that my plan wasn’t complete lunacy, I had no excuse to back out and try plan B (which may have involved hot water and a tumble dryer).

So, I steeled my knitterly nerve and decided to try a toe-ectomy on one of the socks. With the cunning fallback plan of knowing that Melissa was coming to visit next week and could probably save my butt if I stuffed it up too badly. So I tried the sock on, worked out where my litte toe hit, reloaded the stitches, checked that I had 30 on each needle (my number after finishing the original toe ie I was starting at a point before I’d started the increase rounds for the sock), then snipped a single stitch below the reloaded row and started to unravel.

Which looked like this.

And then turned into this. Eeek! Toe-ectomy. (sorry blurry pic, was overcome with the vapours again)

I invite you to look closely at the bit I removed…see how much there is with straight sides after the curved bit…that’s how much too long the sock was. Just to prove my knitterly denial.

At which point I had either just invented socks for pedicures or those weird toeless boots that are around this season or I had to carry on and re-knit the toe…okay, a more patient knitter than I might have skeined and washed the frogged yarn to unkink it at this stage but I figured waiting for it to dry might make me lose my nerve, so I skipped that bit. Given I have only attempted kitchener stitch twice in my life and didn’t think I wanted to add that into the experience, I decided to kind of reverse engineer the star toe I’d just knitted for my new pair of socks, so that I could finish by just threading the tail through the last six stitches and pulling the toe tight. And lo and behold, it worked. I had a sock that now fits reasonably, if still a little wide given my assumed drift in stitch and row gauge. But definitely now wearable without vast pouches of excess fabric at my heel which were just going to remind me of my knitting fail every time I wore them.

So then I turned around and did it again on the other sock. Knitterly redemption! And lessons learned (plus now the cutting my knitting bit I have to do in the new pair of socks is far less scary).

A final pic of new improved green socks. Go me. I’m hoping the new socks are less traumatic.

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More socks

It must be sock finishing week as, lo, I have managed to finish another pair.

These are the Riverbed master pattern from New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One by Cat Bordhi. Knitted in nice cushy 8ply Merino in various shades of New Greens and Blues by Stranded In Oz. I was worried about running out of the darker one so swapped to the lighter shade for the legs but I think, looking at how much yarn I used of the lighter, I might have almost made it (I’m hopeless at eyeballing how much yarn I have left). But I think they kind of look like the feet are wet, as though you stepped into a river, which is fitting given the name.

I found the pattern really easy to follow and fast to knit (yay for thicker socks), and even though these are a little big (purely due to me stuffing up somewhere in the calculations and nothing else), I’ll definitely be making Riverbed socks again. They seem to fit my high instep very nicely and the heel is very easy to do. I could’ve frogged these back a bit and fixed them but I just wanted a nice warm pair for wearing with slippers round the house and they’ll do that nicely. Plus I practiced cabling without a cable needle on the leg (which having just looked at this tutorial again, I realised I did a little bit wrong but hey, it still worked).

But next up, sockwise, I’m moving onto Cat’s other book…Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters: Book Two in the New Pathways for Sock Knitters Series and trying that method out. Which involves….eeeek……cutting the knitting at one point! It may yet require alcohol.

For those I have this lovely stuff:

Which is the new Mitey Sock by Stranded In Oz. The colourway is KDO serendipity, one of Melissa’s random mixes…it makes me think of an underwater garden somehow.

Victory!

The demon socks are finally done! I would have finished them in the US but stupidly did not take the first sock or make notes on where I changed colour for the leg after finishing the heel. But they are done now. And if I ever knit socks for my dad again, they’re going to be 8ply. Men have big feet.

But yay, they are done so I can turn back to my other projects without guilt. Including some socks for me, given how cold Melbourne’s winter is being.

And here is the proof. The pattern is Diamond Gansey from Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy Johnson. It’s a nice easy pattern. I subbed in her gusset heel as I prefer those and I knitted these as 78 stitches, so added a stitch or two to the lace pattern. The leg is a 3×3 rib, so I increased another stitch each side in the middle of the row when I wanted to start ribbing.

Sad knitter

Or dumb knitter. Or both.

The first demon/devil sock is done! Hurrah!

The second sock is started which would also rate a hurrah! but observe, if you please, the size of the red yarn ball.

I am thinking that is not enough to knit the whole foot of the second sock. D’oh and damn and blast. Of course, the yarn is discontinued (it is Elann Sock It To Me in Red/Burgundy (I think it’s 7319) just in case anyone has a ball they would be willing to sell a dopey aussie knitter). Which means I either need to find a very close match here in Oz and offer Dad either that, or overdyeing them. And no, ripping and restarting is not an option, his feet are big! I would have to cry.

So I have posted of Ravelry that I am ISO of yarn and, in the mean time and because I need to knit something on slightly bigger needles and don’t have the brain power for lace while I’m trying to also churn out many words on the wip, I started these.

Gorgeous cushy 8ply premium merino from Stranded In Oz I have 2 50 g balls which should be enough and I am going to knit both at the same time (not two at a time on the same needle) but work on one for a bit, then the other for a bit. That way if I get to a certain point and feel like I don’t have enough yarn, I’m sure Melissa will have something else pretty in 8ply that will go nicely and I can do different coloured legs or something. I will defeat the evil yarn demons! The socks are my first attempt at a sock from Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I’m doing the Riverbed architecture in probably a plain vanilla sock with ribbed leg. Hopefully I do not screw them up! The toe of the first may have a little boo boo in increases but as they are for me, I just fixed it how I wanted and moved on.

Sock saga

I am a bad crafter lately, or maybe an absent crafter. Am officially running out of hours in the day. My spinning has progressed to half the Dark Matter.

I have started the second half on a new bobbin and hopefully one day it will be finished and plied. The weather is turning distinctly chilly which means the knitting yen is returning (I tend not to knit much in Australia over summer as it’s hot…also because this summer I learned to spin instead). But before I can make anything for myself I have to finish a pair of socks for my Dad and a shawl for someone else. Dad’s socks are one of those projects that just won’t grow, dammit, even though I don’t mind the pattern. The yarn is one that’s nicer once it’s washed, so a bit scratchy to knit plus men’s feet are loooooooooonnnnnnggggg, I keep managing to have needle disasters (aka slipping out of the wool or dropping stitches randomly which I don’t usually do), last night I failed the heel in the pattern completely and am now substituting a different heel and really, the thought of the second one waiting to be knitted is not that appealing. But we shall persevere! Hopefully my horrible suspicion that I may run out of the main yarn will turn out to be wrong….

But I am calling them the Devil socks in my head…see they even refuse to photograph nicely.

There are also discussions being had with the new cat over knitting etiquette. She’s pretty good with the spinning wheel, she watches it and occasionally tries to tap the yarn (especially if one stops and has a dangly bit) but mostly leaves it alone. But the knitting apparently is all Dangly! Wiggly! String! Mine! so we have extreme knitting with bonus random doses of cat pouncing at the moment. I’m hoping she’ll lose interest eventually, the other two never really thought it that fascinating…Tabasco mostly minded that I didn’t always let him sit in my lap while knitting. Anyone else got a project that just won’t die?

Socked again

Yay, another pair done. Next up, a pair for Dad (men have big feet!)

Pattern is Spring Forward from Knitty 2008, yarn is Stranded in Oz premium merino.

Socked

One UFO now finished! Inspired by the sudden cold snap in Melbourne which is making wool socks seem very appealing.

These are your basic toe-up sock based on Silver’s Sock Class sock. The yarn is Elann Sock It To Me fingering weight. They need to be blocked (waiting for the Loopy Ewe to have my size back in stock…sock blockers being hard to come by in Oz) and I need to learn to take better notes on what I’m doing in case of long pauses between one sock and another lol I think the heels are different sizes and one cuff seems longer even though I think I counted the rows right. And they’re possibly a bit big (didn’t quite figure out the negative ease bit right perhaps). Oh well, it’s just me wearing them and I don’t care! They shall keep the tootsies warm.

Now have to finish my Spring Forward toe ups. Then I think a pair for my Dad will be next on the needles. Tossing up whether to do something simple or try something more adventurous….

Experimenting

This is what I’m doing with the first of the wool I scored at Bendigo.

It’s the Spring Forward pattern but I’m doing it toe-up, so it’s my first go at converting a pattern. So far it’s coming along well. I’m actually further along than this photo, almost done with the first cuff. It’s my first lace sock and is turning out to be a quick knit. Nice easy to memorise lace pattern. Unlike the scarf I’m working on which is pretty but has a 10 row pattern in which five are lace and each of those is different. Not hard lace but not really memorisable so it gets worked on a bit at a time. The wool is prettier than in the picture, subtle mauve and pink and blue and grey…kind of like early dawn or something.

Hopefully I’ll get it done a bit more quickly now that I’m on vacation (woot!).

Up or down

One of my works in progress is learning to knit socks. (Yes, weird urge but follow the creative urges etc etc).

My first pair was made toe up on two circular needles. My second pair is in progress. It’s toe up on one circular (magic loop). Traditionally socks were knit cuff down on four double pointed needles. DPN’s just seemed like an invitation for me to drop stitches like a lunatic and possibly stab myself in the process. And toe up seemed logical (plus you get to avoid the dreaded heel flap/turn/pick up/gusset process that made my eyes cross when I looked at cuff down patterns).

But the other day I thought “I should try cuff down just to see”. (I think the sil was feeding me knitting germs with the food in Adelaide). I hadn’t gone completely insane, so I decided to do a little cuff down sock (the Class sock from Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks).

I’ve finished it now and can I just say I am VERY glad I started with toe-up. Cuff down is fiddly (of course, your mileage may vary and I accept it might be easier on a full size sock) and some of the instructions almost melted my brain. (I think I need to get the sil to demo some of it to me). But I did it. Turned a heel, picked up stitches, grafted a toe.

Here’s the wonky proof (sue me, I couldn’t be bothered knitting all the bits full length when I was interested in the how rather than the end result). Also, apologies for the slightly dark photo.

I doubt I’ll be knitting many cuff down socks but hey, at least I know how.