29 May 2018

Hiking socks


I have always enjoyed hill-walking and although I would never venture to walk the whole length of the Appalachian Trail, I do like a brisk walk along a mountain track. 

We don't have many mountains down here on the Florida gulf coast, but we used to live near the wonderful White Mountains in New Hampshire. It was great living so close to such a wonderful location. You would often find my husband, Tim, and I happily scrambling around the woodland paths to the next waterfall or viewpoint. There I would sit, gaze at the wonderful scenery and knit while he framed up his photographs.

And that's where comfy socks come in. Having the right shoes for walking is an absolute must, but even the most comfy shoes won't work without a good pair of socks. 


The pattern I have used here is the Mentmore Socks, one of my favourite sock patterns. I have worked many different versions of this sock but I am especially pleased with the most recent pair. 

The socks feature a textured slipped stitch pattern which is soft and cushioning to wear but I think they worked especially well in the yarn I chose this time. This is Austermann Step Classic, a springy wool mix yarn in Col #1009 "Jeans", a beautiful indigo blue. 

I worked the two socks at the same time as you can read here, and they seemed to be finished in next to no time! I will definitely do that next time I have the urge to add some socks to my collection.


Originally, the Mentmore Socks pattern had just one version featuring a short stand-up cuff in a half-twisted rib. However, I have now updated the pattern to include a version with the deeper fold-over cuff that I worked here. 

I don't know if you're like me, but I feel the cold easily, especially around my ankles. So having a fold-over cuff just provides an extra layer to keep away the chilly mountain air, as well as giving some extra support and comfort while walking.


The last time we were in the mountains it was beautifully sunny but the wind still had a cold edge. However, it was lovely and warm sitting on a sheltered rock wall while Tim took photos of the river nearby. I spent most of the time casting on for a sideways-knit scarf, but I'll say more about that next time.

If you would like to read more about about the Mentmore Socks pattern, it is available as an instant download here.

Until next time, Happy Sock Knitting!

Moira









. 23/12/18 W

3 May 2018

Sorting the Second-Sock Syndrome


There is a wonderful feeling when you finish a knitted item. This is especially true with a sock. You admire the knitting, the skill involved in turning such a beautiful heel, the way that yarn really suits the other items in your wardrobe. You imagine wearing them tomorrow.

And then you remember — you haven't worked the second one yet....

Oh gloom. The Second-Sock Syndrome has settled over you. You have to start all over again and do another cuff, then another heel and all the way down the foot again. Or consign the first one to the Lonely Sock Basket waiting for a partner that never appears.


So here's a solution: work them at the same time! And I don't mean with two socks on the same set of needles. I don't know about you but I've never managed to make that work. At some point I forget where I am or get the yarns all tangled up. No, what I am suggesting is to work them both in tandem. 

You do need two circular needles or sets of dpn's of the same size, but if you're anything like me that won't be an issue. I always like to have back-up needles anyway, so they're always on hand if I want to use them both at the same time.

So, first you cast on for one and start the cuff, then cast on for the second and get it to catch up and overtake the first. Now there is a race on: which one is going to finish the cuff first? I have some "Needle Keepers" to protect my needles so I have the green tube on one sock and the pink one on the other. Will the green sock succeed and get to the leg first or the pink?

OK, I have mentioned before that I am easily amused. And yes, I did use to play myself at chess. It's surprising how satisfying that is, if you haven't tried it!


So now they are both at the leg and before you know it you are working the heel on one and while the technique is still fresh in your mind, you can polish off the second one. Funnily enough when you work them together in this way, the second heel always seems easier than the first...

Now it's the race down the foot. Just make sure that one of them doesn't make a mad sprint to the toe before the other can catch up.

Then one toe, and now the next. Then it's time to find your tapestry needle for the dreaded graft of the toes (Kitchener Stitch as it used to be called). Once again you might be surprised at how easy the second one seems once you have done the first. It's all a matter of recalling the skills that you had last time you made a sock, isn't it. 

And there you are. Two socks finished in double quick time. 
Now you really can wear them tomorrow!


Btw, the socks here are one of favourite sock patterns, the Mentmore Socks. These are snug, comfy, cushioned socks and one of my regular go-to patterns when I want to make a new pair of socks. I'll post some more pictures of the ones I'm currently knitting next time. I'm working these in Austermann Step Classic yarn and I'm loving how they're coming out.

Btw #2, I have just updated the pattern with the details of the cuff I have worked here. You can read more about that in the next blogpost.

Until next time,

Happy Sock Knitting!

Moira



Last Blogpost: A Scarf for Spring
Next Up: Hiking Socks







. 23/12/18 W

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