Random thoughts of a fiber enthusiast - mostly fiber related, sometimes coherent

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New Vest

As I said in my last post, the CMF Superwash 3 ply in “The Beat Goes On” colorway wasn’t pleasant to knit as sock yarn.  I did wear it for a couple of walks (purl side out), and it wasn’t too bad to wear, but my fingers were still cramped from knitting it on little tiny needles.

So what else can you do with 8 oz of 3 ply sock yarn? Make a vest, of course.

Except, of course, a scant 8 oz (less whatever I used in the anklets) isn’t enough for a full vest.* So I dug into my stash to see what other handspun, superwash, sock weight yarn might be around. Lo and behold! Another skein of CMF superwash in “I Feel Good” colorway, spun in an effort to get into speaking terms with the Lendrum (post here).  The grist is vastly different than from the main yarn, but the pink worked well with the purples in the main yarn.

The vest pattern was based on Barbara Walkers “Knitting from the Top.”  This is the second time I attempted to follow her directions for a top down sweater. The first one was frogged. I’m still not 100% happy with this one.  The problem isn’t with her instructions, but my measurements.  I can’t seem to get my measurements down right. Then there’s the fact that my swatches lie.

The first time, I measured my shoulders from the outside edge to edge instead of at the shoulder bone. So the top was about 3″ too wide. And when you add the fact that my actual knitting was looser than the swatch, I had a sweater that was about 5″ too wide at the shoulders.  Hmm.

This one was better, but still not what I wanted.  Let’s start with the swatch. My swatch said 6.5 sts/in on 3.5 mm needles.  Actual knitting ended up being 6 sts/in.  This vest was designed to have negative ease because I wanted it to be a snug middle layer for winter walking. Instead of negative ease, I have no ease, neither negative nor positive.  It fits, but still not quite what I was looking for.

I would like the shoulders to be a bit narrower. This will reduce bulk when worn under fleece jackets and/or rain coats.

Also, because of the difference between the actual gauge vs. swatch, the neck is too wide. I fixed it by knitting a generous ribbing at the neck to pull it in.

I tried some shaping at the sides, but I think I will forgo that in the next go around. Instead, I will use the staggered 4×1 rib instead to pull it in as needed.

All in all, I’m happy with it, but I’ll likely make another one in an attempt to make it “right.”

* So just how much yarn is needed to make a vest for me? This one weighs out at a generous 8 oz. But I would like it another couple of inches longer (to keep the lower back warm). That plus spinning waste, I would plan at least 10-12 oz for a vest.

** There are a couple of places where the yarn was chain plied in my attempt to squeeze every last yard out of what I spun; once in the pinks and once in the green/purple. They really stand out from the surrounding yarn. Having seen how they pop out, it is unlikely that I will do this again. It may not matter much in socks, but in a larger project, it’s an eye sore.

Spring Bobby Socks

Socks 0806 - Bobby SocksSpecs:
Yarn: 3-ply handspun; Superwash Merino from Crown Mountain Farm in “Say A Little Prayer” colorway (retired colorway).
Needles: US Size 0 (2.00 mm)
Gauge: 7.5 spi
Pattern: My generic toe up socks, with 2×2 ribbing on top and up the leg; 64 sts.

Why Bobby Socks? I intend to wear these with the cuff rolled down. I’m showing it this way because the socks seem so oddly formed — very skinny and long. As I was knitting it, I kept thinking, “There is no way that this will fit. The foot is too long!”, even though I fitted the sock as I went to determine the location of the heel. That’s what 2×2 ribbing does. It pulls it up nice and snug.

This is a good thing to remember if you are making socks for someone as a gift. The 2×2 rib is very forgiving.

I’m now happy with the heel. I know why it does what it does on the k2tog side. My forward yarn-over is much looser than my backwards yarn-over, and the k2tog is loosey goosey, causing the ugliness. I fixed this by slipping the yarn-over stitch while maintaining the twist in the stitch. The twist tightens everything up quite nicely. Yes, the 2 sides do not match, but that’s only under close scrutiny. No one will be looking at my foot that closely, I assure you. If they do, they might get a swift kick in the nose.

As I was knitting the leg on the second sock, I realized that this is a perfect set up for the blueberry waffle pattern. (2 rows of 2×2 ribbing, followed by 2 rows plain stockinette.) I will have to try this next time, since I’ve never made the blueberry waffle socks before. I would most likely only do this on the leg portion of the sock, since I don’t really like any type of patterning on top of my foot. Even ribbing bothers me. I’m a princess when it comes to my socks.

I still have close to a pound of this colorway, spun in various weights: 2 ply DK, and 3 ply fingering. The 3 ply from the 8 oz. that I originally bought for socks (this pair and the tennis socks), and the remainder of the 1.5 pounds I spun for the baby blanket. While I love the spring green, I am getting a bit weary of all it. 3 projects out of the same yarn/color is a bit over the top. I can’t bear to think about a 4th or a 5th. I think I will be sending the remainder of this yarn to Kim, who is expecting a baby this summer. Since the baby room is Jungle themed, perhaps she can do something with the green. (Kim, are you interested?)

Tennis Socks

(These were actually finished a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve been busy spindling and waiting for a decent rain free day to take pictures.)

I was nostalgic for those cute little tennis/golf socks from years ago. You know, those little socks with a small bit of rolled edge at the ankles. But not just any old rolled edge. The top wasn’t a contiguous round, but top of foot was separate from the back. The rolled edge helped keep the sock from sliding down inside your tennis or golf shoes.

I present you…my variation on that sock.

Socks 0802: tennis socks

Yarn: 3-ply handspun; Superwash Merino from Crown Mountain Farm in “Say A Little Prayer” color way.
Needles:US #0 (2 mm)
Gauge: 7.5 spi
Pattern: Variation on my generic toe-up socks with figure 8 cast on; increased up to 64 sts; short row heel; and sewn bind-off.
Yardage: unknown, but I used less than 2 oz. of the yarn. (I think it’s finally time to buy a McMorran Yarn Balance.)

Aren’t these socks adorable? They knitted up very quickly. One evening per sock.

I’m not 100% satisfied with these socks yet. I was playing with a no wrap short row heel, and I don’t like the little peekaboo look. I also want to experiment with the ratio for the front/back roll-top. Once satisfied, I’ll post the sock recipe. For now, it’s time to cast on the next pair.

P.S. Can you tell I’m taking a PhotoShop class right now? I’m having fun playing with all the options in the software.

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