Once Upon a Sock – March 2019

On the first Thursday of the month, a number of sock-knitting bloggers share their progress with the theme “Once Upon a Sock,” an awesome initiative co-ordinated by Paula @ Spin A Yarn! It’s well worth checking out the other posts because it’s always interesting to see what other people are looking at; it’s like sock yarn eye candy!

My knitting this month, admittedly, has been dominated by the Soper Creek 2019 Yarn Challenge project. It’s still super secret until later this month, but I am SO PLEASED with how it’s progressing so far.  I have a number of rows to finish and giving it a good bath before I turn my submission into the LYS.  Can’t wait to post pictures.

But, anyways, in between the super-secret-project, I’ve been working on socks!  Last month, I mentioned how my two sock projects on the go were simple vanilla socks.  After finishing the purple socks and wanting something new to work on, I wound this beautiful skein Leo and Roxy Yarn Co. 80/20 Sock and started a simple lace sock.

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I ACTUALLY started a different texture for the sock, a simple 1×1 cable, but the texture was getting lost in the variegation.  So, after 15 or so rows, I ripped back to the ribbing and started with the lace.  It’s a lovely, simple design, allowing the yarn to showcase the colours and speckles, and this pattern was one I’ve improvised, inspired by a historical pattern.  (Is it fair to say something this simple is something I’ve ‘created’? I’m sure others before and after will undertake this simple lace… just a musing, I guess.)

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Take 1 for this sock didn’t take off. Frogged before starting again

The lace inspiration came from The Stocking Knitter’s Manual: A Companion to the Work Table, by Mrs. George Cupples in 1870. There are a number of patterns for socks in this book, and after reading and re-reading different variations, I settled on an adapted lace, like below: It s All Been Done - Stitch Fiddle (1)

See, really simple. I’m working away at the foot and am VERY happy with how it’s progressing.  The lace adds interest but is not taking anything away from the yarn, which is doing its own magical thing!  If I was to make this pattern again (and, I very well might), I would swap row 4 and 8 of the pattern – the way it’s currently working is that the first instep stitch after turning the heel and picking up for the gusset, is a yarn over, and the first stitch of the heel (when looked at from the RS) was a yarn over as well.  By swapping these two rows, the yarn over would always be in the middle of the pattern, not the first stitch somewhere. Things to keep in mind next time. For now, I’m going to keep working away and am looking forward to seeing this pair progress!

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Once Upon A Sock – February 2019

For months now, I’ve noticed a few bloggers I follow posting ‘Once Upon A Sock,’ appearing on the first Thursday of every month, coordinated by Paula @ Spin A Yarn!  I’m a day late, but I’m hoping to jump in on this theme! It’s always interesting to see what other people are looking at, it’s like sock yarn eye candy!

I love knitting socks, and I’ve professed my love for socking knitting before. I always have at least one pair of socks on the go because they are the perfect purse project.  My sock drawer may be brimming with socks, but really, one can never have too many socks to keep your feet warm, especially with the winter we’ve been having here in southern Ontario.

So, with that said, what do I have on my needles right now sock wise? This may sounds super boring, but I have two pairs of plain ol’ vanilla socks on the go. The first I’ve been working on intermittently since October; they started as conference socks, something to knit in between taking notes.  I hate to say this as well, but I find these socks a little boring. I love the yarn, Knitting Fever Painted Desert, with its gradual tonal changes, but I think I’d feel differently if these were made a little more exciting with lace, cables, SOMETHING. I needed conference knitting, and this yarn was in the stash. I’m really excited that all I have to do is kitchener the two and get them blocked.

Sock number two of vanilla socks is more exciting because of the yarn.  Who doesn’t like a good self patterning yarn! This is a ball of Opal doing its magic, and I’m at the point with these socks where the foot needs simple knitting. The heel is turned and the gusset shaped. These are currently on hold, because they will make amazing movie knitting.

I’m hoping to join in on the Once Upon a Sock blog party once a month, but I also know myself and my blogging habits, so I may not be quite as diligent at hitting these targets. For now, this has been fun to do!

Simple Pattern for Simple Socks.

A few weeks ago, I bought a beautiful skein of sock yarn online. I won’t post details about it because it was purchased with the intention of becoming a gift, but I will say the yarn is soft, squishy, and beautifully self striping. I was looking for an interesting texture or stitch pattern for this yarn to become socks; the yarn would do most of the heavy lifting because the stripes really would shine, and I didn’t want anything to take away from it, but I also wanted to make something more than a vanilla sock.  Hours, it felt like, were spent on Ravelry, Pinterest, and googling to try and find something that would be inspirational. Nothing seemed quite right to suit this yarn.

Then, I came across a blog written for Knitty by Franklin Habit, where he used patterns written in the 1840s by Mrs. Frances Lambert to create a sampler, and this got me thinking… was I looking in the wrong places for inspiration?

Well, I ended up in a historic knitting pattern wormhole. I downloaded both of Mrs. Lambert’s books, filled with historic patterns, and somewhere along the way, I found the Victorian Knitting Manuals collection on archive.org, maintained by the University of Southampton, where they had digitized The Stocking Knitter’s Manual: A Companion to the Work Table, by Mrs. George Cupples in 1870.  Here I found my inspiration.

 

The story of sock 1, made with the amazing self striping yarn, will continue in a further blog post another day.  I found a very simple lace pattern, adding interest to the overall pattern and yet simple enough so as not to take away from the yarn.

I’m currently experimenting with her ‘Simple Pattern.’  As written:

Calculate six stitches for each pattern

1st row – Pearl (sic) 3, O, T, P.
2nd row – Pearl 3, P 3.
3rd row – Pearl 3, P, O, T.
4th row – Pearl 3, P 3.

O means put over the thread
T is knit two together
P is plain 1

I charted this for knitting in the round, because I like charts.

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My interpretation of this pattern, it looks like you’re working three garter stitches alternated with three stitches work as lace.

Worked as a sock, 12 or so rows in, it looks like this:

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It’s rather pretty and, as the name suggests, fairly simple.  This is further spinning my inspiration; the sock I’ve started in the picture is using stash yarn and isn’t intended for anyone. I’m right now knitting it for knitting’s sake and to test this pattern (shocking for a project knitter, I know!).  I’m adoring the lace ‘columns,’ but I’m also thinking how I could tinker with Mrs. Cupples’ pattern and make it something new.

I’m not at a loss for inspiration now.  The history geek in me should have known at the outset to start with something at least 100 years old!

Hopefully next week I’ll have another sock update!

Happy knitting!

I Think I Found My Mojo!

Last week, when I posted, I was tapped for inspiration and barely knitting.  I’m not sure which invisible switch was flipped, but my needles have been hard at work this week!

I finished my first accent pillow, and the Whovian in me is simply delighted!  Knit with the colours of the Fourth Doctor’s iconic scarf, I finished seaming the pillow and adding the zipper on Monday.  I like making these knit pillow cases with zippers, so that if they need washing, it doesn’t become a huge production.  I can unzip, wash, then rezip.  Easy peasy.

Every house needs a touch of Doctor Who, doesn't it?
Every house needs a touch of Doctor Who, doesn’t it?

After completing this pillow, I grabbed a yarn that had been in my stash for a few years and started making a cowl.  I lost the ball band, but a friend helped me identify this yarn as Sirdar Donegal Tweed.  I’ve loved it since I first bought it.  It reminds me of crushed Smarties (for any Americans reading this, the Canadian Smarties are like M&Ms, candy coated chocolates), and really, who doesn’t want to wear something that reminds you of chocolate!

With the Sirdar, I cast on and completed a second ‘Cousin Cowl‘, a project I initially reversed engineered for my cousin, hence the name.  I was inspired by the Leaf Lace Bandana Cowl on Ravelry, and took the general structure of the cowl and made it my own with a completely different lacework pattern.  I liked the one I made for my cousin so much, that I made another.  A quick knit, I finished it in four days.

The colour difference with natural light and direct sunlight is amazing! The bottom picture shows the colour flecks of the tweed!
The colour difference with natural light and direct sunlight is amazing! The bottom picture shows the colour flecks of the tweed!

And finally, I needed to keep my hands busy on Saturday, so I made excellent progress on my Hermione Everyday Socks, finishing Sock #1 on Sunday, and casting on the second later that afternoon.

Hermione Sock #1 Loving the self patterning yarn, and the texture of the knit fabric is just lovely!
Hermione Sock #1
Loving the self patterning yarn, and the texture of the knit fabric is just lovely!

Seriously, what happened to the girl who was seeking inspiration?!

Many thanks to those who commented last week!  I now have new patterns in my ‘Favourites’ on Ravelry, and I was shown different features of this beloved site to check out when I need inspiration.  This blogging community rocks!