Friday, 25 May 2012

Just quickly -

If you have printed out a copy of my 64 Stitch Sock, please be aware that there were some errors.  That's what happens when I hurry....

I have made some corrections, and hopefully the pattern is now error-free.   But if you spot a mistake, please let me know!   We will not have net access until we get back home, so if you don't hear back from me, that will be  why.

Off out the door now!

Wrap Cardigan

Here is my black Wrap Cardigan.

This pattern is from the book Sarah Dallas Knitting.  I made the medium size, and I needed 12 balls of Rowan Wool Cotton in the main colour, plus of course a single ball in the contrast colour.  It is a good thing that I always buy extra yarn - the pattern says 11 balls of the main colour for the size I made.

I am pleased with the finished result, which certainly isn't going to get much wear for a little while - it is still very warm and humid here.  I like layering, and this is exactly the sort of thing that works beautifully.

The nature of this garment is that the cast-on and cast-off edges tend to roll, and the moss stitch borders along the front tend to flip.   There is very little shaping, and there are no fastenings.   The collar is wide and soft, and drapes well. And yes, the contrast stripe is only worked on one of the front sections. Because of this, the whole thing is visually assymetric.  Overall it is very casual, very easy to wear, very good for layering.

We are going off on the boat again very soon.  We can only go in one direction at the moment - west - because the canal is closed just east of our home mooring, and is likely to remain closed for some weeks yet.   Apparently a culvert has been leaking, and when they began the repair it was realised that things were much worse than had been thought.  British Waterways have had to completely drain a large section of the canal to do the work, and are being somewhat vague about when we can expect the canal to re-open.  For the time being, it remains closed.

This has caused great disappointment for lots of people who had been planning to be on the Thames when the Jubilee procession went through - certainly it will be something that will not happen again in our lifetime, and would have been a wonderful experience.  We had thought of doing this ourselves, but alas it is no longer an option.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

64 Stitch Socks

This post is a revised version of one I wrote in 2007.

This is my basic sock pattern, arrived at by trial and error over numerous pairs of socks, and it is the pattern that I invariably use for my husband's socks. It fits me too, if I change the needle size.

We all have our own sock patterns, I am sure.   In my knitting notebook this particular pattern is a few lines and some numbers, with a fair amount of crossing out and different things put instead.  Mostly it is just in my head, so it is probably high time that I wrote it down.  There are a few little details included here that make the difference with regard to fit and finish.  Anyway, here it is. 

64 Stitch Socks

You need 100 grams of ordinary sock yarn - Opal, Regia, Trekking XXL or possibly Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock  - whatever you like.

This pattern will fit womens UK shoe size 6   (men's UK shoe size 9) - easily adjusted for women's size 5 or 7, or for men's size 8 or 10.

Needle size 2.25mm (2.5mm) - you can use either 4 or 5 dpns, two circs, or magic loop as you please.   I prefer 5 dpns, but that's just me.

Tension 8sts and 11 rds = 1" (7.5sts and 10 rds). Do check this - if your tension is different, then the finished sock won't be the same size as mine.

Helpful links - for instructions on working in the round - look here - small diameter circular knitting is what you want. And for instructions on grafting, aka Kitchener stitch - look here. For weaving in ends - this is what you want.  For ssk - look here.  (You want to look at the English video if you hold the yarn in your right hand, the Continental video if you hold the yarn in your left hand.  And if you hold the yarn in your teeth, you're on your own.)

Cast on 64 sts. Join for working in the round, taking care not to twist the cast-on. I use a set of 5 dpns, with 16 sts on each of 4 needles.   I like to join for working in the round using this method, which is the best I've found.

Work 20 rounds of rib, either 1x1 or 2x2 as you prefer - less, if you like.  I usually only work 8 or 10 rounds for my own socks.
Work 60 rounds stocking stitch - or more, if you like.  I often work 70 rounds for my socks.

Work a heel flap over the last 32 stitches - that would be the last two needles if you are using 5 dpns - using heel stitch.  Please note that this is a little different from the usual method, because it starts with a purl row.   It is a good idea at this point to arrange your stitches so that the heel stitches are all on one needle.  The instep stitches are set aside until after the heel is finished.

To begin, turn your knitting so that the purl side is facing. 
Row 1: slip1, purl across the remaining 31 heel stitches. Turn.
Row 2: (slip 1, knit1) - repeat across. Turn.
Repeat these two rows until you have worked 32 rows in the heel flap.  (Usually the number of rows in the heel flap is the same as the number of stitches across. ) 

Turn the heel in whatever way you like best - or use this method:
Slip1, p18, p2tog, p1, turn - this leaves 10 sts unworked on your left hand needle, before you turn.
Slip 1, k7, k2tog, k1, turn - again, this leaves 10 sts unworked on the left hand needle, before you turn.

Slip 1, p across to one stitch before the gap, p2tog using the next stitch and the first stitch on the other side of the gap, p1, turn.
Slip 1, k across to one stitch before the gap, k2tog with the next stitch and the first stitch on the other side of the gap, k1, turn.
Repeat the last 2 rows until you have used up all the stitches across the top of the heel flap. You will finish at the end of a knit row, and there will be 20 sts left.  Don't turn at the end of this last row.

Now we need to pick up and knit stitches along the sides of the heel flap, and return to working in the round.

Knit up one stitch in each slipped stitch along the left hand side of the heel flap - 16 sts. I work through both loops of the slipped stitch, together.   And I always seem to want to pick up an extra stitch at the bottom corner as well, so that would make 17 - I use this method.  It does mean that you won't get a hole.
Then carry on across the 32 instep stitches. Knit up another stitch in the corner on the other side, then one stitch in each slipped stitch along the right hand edge of the heel flap,  then continue working across to the middle of the heel - 10 more stitches.
This point - the middle of the heel flap, and also the middle of the sole - is now the beginning of the round.

Work one round to confirm the stitches.   It is helpful to arrange things so that the instep stitches are separated from the rest, if you haven't got this arrangement already.

Now work the side gussets.
On the next round, work to three stitches from the end of the first needle (in other words, three stitches before the instep stitches begin) and then k2tog, k1.
Work straight across the 32 instep stitches and then work k1, ssk at the beginning of the next needle,  knit to the end of the round.
Work one round plain.
Alternate these two rounds until your stitch count is back to 64 again.

Now work the foot - plain stocking stitch, until a total of 72 rounds have been worked since the pick-up along the side of the heel flap. This fits the sizes given above - you can adjust for a women's size 5 or 7 by working 4 rounds less or 4 rounds more, and for a men's size 8 or 10 in the same way.

Now shape the toe - this is a graduated wedge toe.  First, work 16 sts plain, this takes you to the right hand side of the sock, and this point is now the beginning of the round.

Round 1: This is the decrease round.  You will be working 4 decreases, 2 at each side of the sock.  At the beginning of needle 1 work k1, ssk.  Work to three stitches before the end of needle 2 then k2tog, k1.
At the beginning of needle 3, work k1, ssk.  Work to three stitches before the end of needle 4, k2tog, k1.

Rounds 2, 3, & 4: work plain. 15 sts on each needle, 60 in total.

Round 5: as Round 1
Rounds 6 & 7: work plain. 14 sts on each needle, 56 in total.

Round 8: as Round 1
Round 9: work plain. 13 sts on each needle, 52 in total.

Alternate these last two rows until you have 10 stitches on each needle - 40 in total.   This will be at the end of round 14.

Now work every round as Round 1 until there are just 4 sts left on each needle -16 in total. This will be at the end of 20 rounds since you started the toe shaping.

Slip the sts from needles 1 and 2 onto the same needle, and the sts from needles 3 and 4 onto another.

Graft these stitches together - 8 from the top of the sock, and 8 from the sole. 

Weave in ends - and you're done.

Home again

We have, of course, been off on the boat.  The weather has been beautiful, and this is always a signal for us to escape if at all possible.  We had to return home yesterday, somewhat reluctantly, because there are appointments to be kept over the next few days.

And as always on the boat, I've got lots of knitting done, which means that my wrap cardigan is now complete.  I haven't taken a picture yet, because I still need to steam some of the seams.  Pictures and more information when I've done that, which ought to happen today.

There will be another garment on the needles very soon, but in the meantime I've been continuing with the Earth Stripe Curtain.  Still gorgeous, but not really what one wants to be knitting whilst the weather is so warm and humid.

Other than that, I have been continuing with the sock knitting as usual.  The current pair is for my husband, to my usual pattern, and is completely mindless knitting.  I do find that it is good to have a project like this, which can be picked up at odd moments as a car passenger, or in waiting rooms.

After I've finished these - which won't be long, as I am on the second sock now - I want to make a pair for myself with some rather nice yarn which was given me by my daughter a few years ago.  This pair will be worked from the toe upwards, as I am not sure how tall I can make them with this yardage.  I also plan to try a short row heel in this pair - the one used in Adrienne Fong's pattern Serendipity.  I knitted these socks several years ago  - here is my version - and they do fit me well.   However because I don't know this pattern off by heart, this means that they won't be mindless knitting, at least not for the first sock.  So I shall probably start another pair for waiting rooms.

I have tried so many different sock toes and heels over the years, and my 'basic sock' has been adjusted accordingly.  I have finally arrived at a version that seems to be ideal for my husband, but I haven't yet found the pattern that is best for myself.   There is always something new to try.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Green Opal

I finished this shawl a few days ago, and sent it off to my daughter towards the end of last week.  It has now arrived, so I can write about it - it was a surprise, you see.

I was very pleased with it - the colour is lovely, I think - and my daughter likes it too.   This really is an excellent pattern, and it makes such a lovely garment.  The colour is called Pistachio, but really it is more like a green lemon.

Rather pleasing, anyway.

From the comments -

Penny, a French Toe is usually worked on top down socks.  You need a number of stitches which is a multiple of 6, plus 3.  I arrange my stitches evenly on three needles rather than my usual 4, and work decreases at each end of each needle, every other round.  I like to put one decrease section in the middle of the sole stitches, and the other two are then symmetrically placed on the top.  The decreases are worked in the usual way, with two plain stitches in between - ssk, k2, k2tog - with the needle change in the middle of the k2.

You carry on decreasing until you've got 15 sts left, 5 on each needle of course, then work double decreases at each decrease 'column', leaving you with 9 sts.  And then just thread through and fasten off.

This is a sharper rate of decrease than many sock toes, I find it fits my foot nicely.