Hello! Today I have something rare, a knitting post. Although I love knitting and for years exclusively knitted, the return to sewing has impacted how often I get back to my knitting needles. Recently, I’ve been working on a pair of socks and mitts and finally have them finished. I used store-bought yarn because, although I can spin my own yarn, I have no desire to spin yarn as thin as is needed for socks!
One pattern was free and one paid for. Both can be found on Ravelry, which is an online knitting community. Let’s start with the socks.
Hermione’s Everyday Socks
The Hermione sock is a free pattern that can be found on Ravelry HERE.
The Hermione has a simple knit/purl texture pattern which gave me a break from the 2×2 ribbing that I tend to do on socks. I think this pattern probably shows up better in a lighter or solid yarn. But that’s not the yarn I had and that yarn did lead me into some other problems!
Last year I was at Florilegium, one of my all-time favorite shops, which is located in Weston, Missouri. I fell in love with a skein of Malabrigo Arroyo, in the color Anniverssario. I didn’t notice at the time, but the Arroyo line is a sport-weight that is thicker than sock yarn. Did I pay attention to this detail? Of course not!
All l I knew was that I wanted a pair of socks out of this yarn. Fast forward to this year when I finally got started on these socks. I ran out of yarn! A skein of sport weight yarn doesn’t go as far as sock yarn. In desperation, I called Florilegium. Can you believe Florilgegium still had JUST ONE skein left? Michael and I took a day trip to Weston!
Because of the sport weight yarn, these socks are a tad thicker than normal knitted socks. I would consider them boot socks. But where we live there’s nothing wrong with having a least one pair of wool boot socks on those colder days and these aren’t the thickest socks that I’ve knitted! I guess I’ve always had this tendency to not worry about the thickness of a yarn if I wanted a pair of socks.
Anatomy of a Sock
Socks are rather complicated affairs and I don’t know how many who are reading this knit or have ever attempted a sock. They use to intimidate me but I found the pandemic got me over that. I am now on my third pair since this Covid thing started. Before that, I had only knitted three in the entirety of my knitting life (which started in the mid-’80s).
What are the parts of a sock? They all have different techniques and some parts are knitted in the round (traditionally, double-pointed needles), and some ( the heel flap and heel turn) are knitted straight (back and forth, left to right knitting). I found a great diagram, which was published back in 2015 on the blog Traveling Banana.
The Hermione socks have both the cuff and leg. However, my favorite socks to knit are a 2 x 2 rib in which there is no cuff because you rib all the way down to the heel flap.
Finishing the toe usually involves mastering the Kitchener stitch, which I can never remember and have to always brush up on the technique.
Kitchener Stitch is a technique for invisibly grafting live stitches together. It is essentially a set of sewing steps that you work with a length of yarn and a tapestry needle. In the end, you have a row of knit stitches that seamlessly graft together two sets of live stockinette stitches.
I’m a lefty so following most directions just don’t work for me. Thank goodness for Bill Souza and his “Yarn Crafts for Lefties“, on YouTube. He has guided me through two different and important sock techniques: Old Norwegian (a.ka. Twisted German/Elastic Long Tail) Cast On which gives a needed elasticity to the top of socks, and the Kitchener Stitch.
I really like the heel on the Hermione socks. It is called “Garter-Stitch Edged Eye of Partridge Heel”. I am using it on my current socks, I’m knitting.
I only needed a little a very small bit of my new skein of Malabrigo’a Arroyo yarn. What to do? I thought mitts might be the answer. I went to Ravelry and searched patterns using Malabrigo’s Arroyo. Not only did I find a pattern using the yarn but the designer used my color too; Anniversario! That was a win-win for me.
I hadn’t learned a new knitting pattern in a while and enjoyed learning “The Flying V”, which reminds me of a flying geese formation. I also appreciated that there was a thumb gusset because I think mitts are more functional with one.
The mitts went a lot faster than the socks. They start and finish with ribbing and there’s really not too much more to say about them. I’ve knitted full gloves before (HERE) and mitts a waaaaaay lot easier.
Traditionally, you would use double-pointed needles to knit both the socks and mitts. However, my oldest daughter got me to knit using a method called “The Magic Loop”. The only thing you need for The Magic Loop is a very long pair of circular needles. I use a 40″ length but you can go up to 47″. Basically, it is dividing your stitches on either end of the needles and sliding them when one side is finished. It lets you knit circular items flat and it makes sock knitting so much easier and no more breaking expensive wooden double-pointed needles!
If you are not familiar with Magic Loop; here is a demonstration of it.
Above, shows my current socks, which I’m also doing in Magic Loop. I’m using another Malabrigo. This time it is Mechita (which is a sock weight yarn) in the color 718 Supernova. Mechita, like Arroyo, is a Merino Superwash.
However, I will still handwash all my hand-knits (even if the yarn is labeled superwash) using a specialty detergent like Eucalan. Eucalan has been my go-to for all my woolens since it came out thirty years ago. Every 0nline yarn store and even Amazon carries it.
Remember, water does not hurt wool. It is the agitation that shrinks it and turns it into felt.
The Mechita socks are the first project in something new I am trying this year. I’m participating in an Instagram-based challenge called Make Nine 2022. I decided to try this challenge because I’m so indecisive on what to make next. I took some time and prioritized future projects and then made a nine square graft showing the nine. Each time I finish a project, I will replace the line drawing with the actual finished project.
I have two knitting projects, six sewing projects, and one craft project (the hatbox). They aren’t in any particular order but the socks are going to be first.
Here’s what they are:
1. Knitted pair of socks (started)
2. Craft of Clothes Clair Skirt (zero waste)
3. A hat box (for a special hat)
4. Cashmerette Patterns “Concord. T-Shirt” (there’s a good possibility that I might use a different pattern because I got some really good suggestions from the ladies over on Pattern Review).
5. Ellie and Mac Patterns “Go Exploring Cardigan”
6. Vogue Patterns 1618 by Rachel Comey
7. Craft of Clothes “Xanthea” shirt (zero waste) & I’m going to try and make it sleeveless 🤞
8. A clutch from a remnant of a vintage silk Obi
9. Hand knitted sweater from yarn recycled from old Saris
Discovering New Needles
For the most part, I use Skacel’s Addi Turbo circular needles. When I replace or buy new circulars they are always Addis. After a pair of Knit Picks circulars fell apart (love Knit Picks‘ yarn, hate their circular needles now), I went on the hunt for some 40″ size three circulars and discovered that Addi has come out with a new product.
They are the Rockets and are square with little dents and longer tips. I love these needles! They are so much easier to hold on to and the yarn doesn’t seem to slip off like it can with the usual needle. They cost a bit more but, for me, they are worth it. Yea Skacel, you have outdone yourself!
Tying It Up
I am finally finished! Thank you if you made it to the end. I know not too many of you out there knit but once in a while, I just have to talk about knitting. It has been such a long time since I’ve done a knitting post (way back in November 2020 HERE). Because of that, there was so much I wanted to talk about.
Take care and stay creative.
One last parting shop. Here are a few photos I took that last time we were at Florilegium. I just can’t help myself. Everything is just so gorgeous, I always pull out my phone and snap a few images.