The Nine Month Knee-Highs

Those of you who stop by here regularly (ha!) may remember that I started some socks in January. I was hoping that trying toe-up socks might reignite my enthusiasm for sock knitting, which I usually find simultaneously boring and frustrating.

Red Socks 1

Nine months later, I can’t say I’m a changed woman, but I do have a really nice pair of knee-high socks!

The pattern was Purl Soho’s ‘Little Cable Knee Highs’, and was very straightforward. The only thing I really struggled with was the toe graft at the end, which I usually screw up anyway…

I knitted the first sock quite quickly, but was getting bored by the second one, and then got side tracked by other projects. I probably shouldn’t have chosen such incredibly long socks to get back in to sock knitting, but I love the tiny cable at the back, and the long turned down cuffs (even if they seemed to go one forever…)

Red Socks 2

I was a bit annoyed by the holes that appeared when I rejoined knitting in the round after knitting the heel flap. It usually happens when I knit top-down socks, because I leave too big a gap when picking up stitches along the heel flap. I’m not sure how it can be avoided when going toe up, any ideas?

Red Socks 3

The finished socks fit really well (I knitted the smaller size), which is miraculous given my twiggy legs. I knitted some elastic into the cuffs which will hopefully stop them from sagging. The yarn (Artesano Sock) softened up a lot after blocking, and only time will tell if it stands up to much wear.

I’m looking forward to wearing them with my winter boots!

Trial and Error: A Mustard Malabrigo Tee

My fetish for mustard is such, that as soon as a delivery of ‘Ochre’ Malabrigo Sock yarn arrived at work, my plans for a labour intensive intarsia machine knit flew out of the window. I’m one of those people that’s always cold, and I can never have enough merino basics to wear under my jumpers, so I decided to keep things simple and knit a plain short-sleeved top, in my favourite colour, that I could wear endlessly once the cold weather sets in.

I used the basic outline of the Bolt Tee pattern, but swapped garter stitch hems on the body and sleeves with machine-friendly folded hems. I also left out the awkward looking longer back hem, and picked up and knitted the neckline by hand.

The yarn knitted like a hot knife through butter. It didn’t catch or snag once and was generally soft and springy, with a lovely marl effect that I had to keep stopping to admire.

Getting the right gauge turned out to be really tricky though. The suggested gauge for the pattern was based on hand knitting with two yarns held together, which turned out to be really hard to replicate by machine (I even knitted a whole top front, before realising it was waaay too small). Eventually I had to knit the whole thing on the biggest stitch tension setting and hope for the best.

I’m also embarrassed to admit that I really struggled with the picked up and knitted neckline. Picked up edges have never been my forte, but this one took six attempts and one (very helpful) finishing techniques class to get right (well….vaguely acceptable anyway). I can live with the finished result, but it could be neater…

Front2

After blocking, seaming, and blocking again, I’m already wearing this top to death. It’s so comfortable, surprisingly warm (hello merino!) and I’m getting loads of compliments on the colour. It still came up slightly small – it’s a bit short, and although the armholes don’t feel too snug, there is some puckering under the arms. I’m already thinking about a slightly bigger version in ‘Lettuce’

I think I’ll take a short break from complicated machine knits though. I’m really craving a nice, stress-free hand-knit next, where a designer has done all the thinking and trial-and-error for me….