Shell Cottage

The first sock in Helen Stewart’s Handmade Sock Society is this lovely Shell Cottage sock pattern.

 © Helen Stewart

While stash diving, I came up with this lovely heather greyish color called Basalt Heather from Knit Picks Stroll.  I’m ready to cast on!

 

I signed up

Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade is offering another sock pattern subscription club inspired by the beautiful Cornish coastline.  The Handmade Sock Society 2 begins with the first of six sock patterns on February 14 and runs through December 5, 2019.

I didn’t join the first club but since I do enjoy knitting socks, I want to try this out.  My plan/hope is to use yarn from my stash for at least three of the patterns.

For a limited time, you can join the club at a discounted price.

Have you ever joined a subscription club before?

Bloomin’ gusset

Between the bitterly cold temperatures, thawing frozen water pipes, a trip to the emergency room*, and shoveling eight inches of snow, I’ve got one Bloomin’ sock done, one Bloomin’ sock to go.

I like it but not in love with it.

The heel flap is chunky and not caressing the back of my foot as much as I like probably because it’s striped and not ribbed.

The gusset is so cool though as the pattern goes around the bottom.  This type of gusset is new to me. 

Usually, the gusset is on the side of the heel flap as shown here.  You can see where I picked up the stitches from the heel flap to continue with the foot.  It makes a triangle on the side.  The gusset on these Bloomin’ socks is on the bottom so the pattern flows all around. 

You can also see where I switched from the double-point needles to the circulars.  The decrease stitches are less pronounced once I could knit smoothly over them. 

When on my foot, the heel flap looks bulky and it seems too high on the back of my foot. 

I adjusted the toe shaping as my toes don’t come to a point as the sock does.

I knit six rounds of the stripe before beginning the decreases so I could end the sock sooner and still have enough room for my toes to wiggle.  I finished with the Kitchener stitch.  It looks loose and mangled in the photos.  I wanted to see how I liked the sock before I tightened up everything and made a neatly finished toe. 

It’s a very thick, two-layer sock and I won’t be able to wear it with any of the shoes or boots that I own (thanks to unwanted water retention), however, I do like it enough to make the second one. 

*Mr. Aitch, not me.  I finally convinced him after a week of discomfort to get the pain in his side and back checked out.  He’s dealing with a kidney stone.  Though not stone free yet, he is feeling somewhat better.

Let me explain

I think I confused many readers with my poor description of too long circular knitting needles in my previous post so this is my attempt to offer an explanation.

Socks, hats, and mittens are basically tubes.  And if you don’t want seams in those items, you knit in-the-round and make a tube.

Some knitters use double-point needles to create this tube and others use circular needles.  Double-point needles (dpns) are pointed on each end.  This allows the knitter to work across one needle, continue to the next needle, and so on in a circle (or spiral). Circular needles are two needle tips connected by a cable.  Sometimes the cable is fixed and sometimes it unscrews from the needle tip to change the cable to another length. There are many videos on the interwebs that will give a better description using both types of needles but I just wanted to show why I went from using dpn to two circular needles and then to a tiny circular needle.

When using dpn and working from one needle to the next, a gap may appear at that join aka a ladder.  Or the yarn is pulled so tight that it puckers.  With circular needles, the piece is knit around and around so there is no definite join at the beginning or end of a needle. You can see the puckered area where I worked from one needle to the next and inadvertently pulled the yarn tighter across the back.  This is a common problem when doing colorwork.  The yarn that is not worked is carried loosely across the back to keep the tension even on the front.  When using dpns, the chance of pulling the yarn tighter at the “corners” is greater than on a straight section.  

Here is the inside of the sock that shows how the unused yarn floats across the worked stitches until it’s needed again. 

I had two cable needles, one 16 inches long and the other 24 inches long.  Both were clearly too long to knit comfortably.  The average foot circumference is less than 16 inches around and the sock would be stretched out of shape.  Mine is approximately 8.5 inches around the ball of my foot.  Even when working with one, then switching to the next, it was not comfortable.

Part of that was due to the length of the actual needle tip.  All of the needles below are US #1.5 (2.5 mm) but the tips (and cables) are different lengths.  The top needle tip is 5-inches long, the middle 3 3/8-inches, and the bottom 2-inches.  

As you could imagine, working around a 9-inch circle with a 5-inch straight needle would be difficult and uncomfortable.  Obviously, it can be done but I knit for pleasure and this was so not pleasurable.

I splurged and bought two 9-inch length circular needles.  One US #1 and one US #1.5.

What a difference this has made!  The stitches are on the tiny red cable and only the points show through the ends.  The sock isn’t stretched out at all.

No more puckers.  No more fiddling with five double-point needles. It was a bit of a learning curve to hold a 2-inch needle, however, not bad at all.  I will have to go back to the dpns once I get to the toe but I’m looking forward to making the second sock and many, many more.  I’m a believer.