It’s been a crazy week, and I’m happy to get back to action on my current work in progress – my Skyp Socks.
By last weekend, I had knit one sock from the cuff all of the way down to the start of the toe, and began the foot on the other. As mentioned in a previous post, I’m trying a new approach (just for the heck of it) by knitting each sock simultaneously on DPNs. When I finish a component of one sock, I pick up the other and knit that one to match, and so on.
I took this photo last week, when I had achieved the cuff and leg for each of the two socks:
As you can see, I’m using my trusty Kollage Square needles. Since I only have one set of them in size 1 (keeping enough sets of all of these needles gets pricey when you’re a knitting junkie like me), I held stitches on the resting sock with bamboo needles, and just switched them out when I was ready to knit on the next sock.
As mentioned before, I love the color of this yarn, and hey, it’s just in time for fall! I LOVE the fall, and even on the day I took these photos, when it was above 80 degrees outside, I could feel that fall was in the air. I can’t even explain it. I just know it when I feel it. And to prove that I’m not just imagining it, I snapped a quick pic of my yard:
I am lucky enough to live under what I think is a spectacular canopy of trees. Just look at all of those leaves on the ground! That happened in a matter of about 48 hours. The trees knew it wanted to be fall outside too, even in the midst of the hot and humid weather.
So lovely, hand dyed merino yarn in fall colors is the perfect thing for right now! My only worry is that the yarn is not officially a ‘sock yarn’ in that it has no nylon or supportive fiber component to help it last with use. The book that I have been reading, Knit Socks by Betsy Lee McCarthy, has great content on considerations for knitting socks that will hold up to regular wear. In a nutshell, wool that is blended with nylon, bamboo, mohair, silk or Tencel will hold up for much longer than plain fingering weight wool. (Tencel is a tough, biodegradable fiber made from wood pulp.) She mentions mohair more than once for this purpose, and suggests fingering weight wool with both added nylon and mohair as a great choice for socks that will last.
She also makes an interesting case for tightening up your gauge. Like really tightening it up. Like going down four needle sizes from the size recommended by the yarn’s manufacturer wherever possible. Four needle sizes! That’s a concept that is new to me, and in her book Betsy admits that many people raise an eyebrow when she suggests it, but she claims to have a system for getting good, long wear out of her hand knit socks and that is part of it.
Of course, I read this AFTER I purchased this yarn (which is light fingering weight merino wool) and started my socks. I can tell you that this yarn (did I mention that I’m in love with this yarn?), is not going to stand up to lots of wear according to Betsy’s criteria. From the book, I learned that there is compromise that needs to be made when choosing sock yarn for socks that one really means to wear, between beautiful (sometimes one of a kind) yarn that will make amazing LOOKING socks, and lovely yarns that will make amazing socks that not only look good, but will also not wear out after several weeks in a shoe.
When I bought this yarn, I was all about amazing LOOKING socks, and the happiness I get out of working with gorgeous yarn that I love. I did end up putting a heel in each sock in a brown wool/nylon blend that I hope will help to extend the life of this pair. Another option for these socks would be to hold nylon thread double with my yarn for at least the heel and toe portions of the sock to help toughen the fabric in those areas.
Here is a closer look at the cute ribs that are achieved by the Skyp pattern. It’s like a wide rib with a decorative little braid running down the center of it. So cute!
The stitches will even out a little more after blocking. And I have to say that the colors in this yarn are so much better in person.
These socks have been a little slower going than I was expecting. Last weekend, with the onset of cooler, fall weather, I wanted to knit up a quick pair of fingerless mitts for my early drives in to work. At that hour, it is chilly outside, and my hands get cold holding the steering wheel. So I took a little break from these socks to do that, and then the following week was a bit of a marathon, so I had nearly no time to work on them in the evenings either.
Yesterday, I drove down to Purdue University for a conference I was attending, and I initially planned to bring these socks along. I thought I might knit on them during any down time. I changed my mind at the last minute, suspecting that I would be too busy to really have any real knitting opportunities. (I was wrong, and wished I had brought them on at least two occasions during the day.)
Since I was in the town of West Lafayette, IN, I was also hoping to make it over to River Knits, which is the local yarn shop out there. Unfortunately, the shop was closed by the time the conference was over, and I didn’t get to visit the yarn.
I’m looking forward to relaxing a little this weekend, and knitting on my socks. Maybe I’ll even finish them, but I a little part of me wants to put them down again to knit up some quick mittens. We’ll see what happens…
~Happy (lasting sock) knitting!