Shaping = heaven

Thank you so much for your generous advice on my sewing naïveté. I feel so much better, and totally armed to hit the fabric store. Stage 2 may even happen before March 20th ;).

I have to update you on both Azalea, and Meg Swansen’s socks, but Azalea will wait for another day because no matter how much I knit, it still looks the same ;).

The socks, on the other hand, have seen an incredible growth spurt:

My skin was very dry and sensitive today, so I modeled the socks over a nylon knee-high. Which, naturally, I pulled on top of my regular sock. Let us not worry about the details, okay?

The more I knit two-handed, the more intuitive it becomes. Just like all aspects of knitting, right? I find myself glancing at the chart, and instinctively, without looking at my work, throwing with the blue if that’s what’s required. Or picking the orange. Or scrunching my forehead when realizing I’ve done something wrong ;).

When I started this project, I remembered this post from Nona’s blog about yarn dominance, and made orange the dominant color – I think it really pops, especially against the dark blue, don’t you think? And what about my stranding tension? I’m quite pleased ;).

By the way, and I speak from experience, what Nona writes in that post is absolutely, unquestionably true – for a few rounds I switched the dominant yarn, just to see what the effect would be, and the difference was as obvious as night and day (at least to me). So obvious, that I frogged the errant rounds and reestablished orange as the dominant color once again.

In an absolutely unprecedented event, I am knitting this sock on two circular needles.

Should I get the smelling salts, or are you okay?

And it has nothing to do with the fact that it’s stranded knitting. Well, sort of. As you know, this is the first time I’m throwing with my right hand, and for whatever reason, the dpns just got in the way of my right hand so much. I found that two circs, as much as I hate their clinking, dangling ends, allowed me to throw without looking like an acrobat.

At the end of the first pattern repeat I started the calf decreases. I’m completely winging them, but so far they are coming out just perfect, all snug against my calf, not too loose and not too tight. Heaven! I am planning to decrease from 106 stitches to 66 stitches, and I’m decreasing the ones in the back at a different rate than the ones in the front – the back decreases are every 4th round, and the front decreases are every 12th round. This is, again, just winging it, based on the fact that my calf doesn’t taper down symmetrically at all.

You can see the asymmetry from the side:

Also noteworthy: unlike the original chart, I’m not only reducing the size of the front/back repeat, but of the side repeat as well. It naturally lends itself to be reduced, actually, since I initially beefed it up to make up a wider sock. Now I’ll be tapering it down to the original motif presented in the Ram’s Horn Cardigan.


48 thoughts on “Shaping = heaven

  1. jody

    it’s developing beautifully! the asymmetry of the decreases makes sense. if i were you i’d be pushing to see what it looks like at the bottom as quickly as possible — i’d be impatient!

    ps – welcome to the dark side of 2 circs 😉

  2. Emily

    I love the fact that you are decreasing front and back at different rates — your work is amazing and wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Susan

    Those are great socks! You’re amazing–I’m so impressed (and inspired–I’ve just started knitting socks, in part b/c I’ve been reading your blog and thought: she’s brave enough to try anything–I can at least try socks. Which I now love and am on my second and third pairs, at the same time.)!

  4. Sarah

    You’re a freakin’ knitting wonder. Will I ever be able to “wing it” like you do???

    You’re observation about dpns and throwing is interesting. I knit English and try as I might to feel the dpn love, my hate endures. I find it like wrestling with some sort of horrible, spiny creature. And yet still, periodically I’m inspired to dig out the dreaded things and try again. Someday I’ll not only knit with your kind of prowess, I’ll like dpns too. Someday…

  5. Terri

    Your socks are beautiful! I am always in awe of folks who can knit such wonderful patterns. Do you have any helpful hints for following charts? I have tried the sticky notes and other similar types of aids to help me keep my place with varying degree of success. I seem to have a hard time “seeing” the pattern as I am working it. Of course there is the tried and true practice, practice, practice. I must admit- I tend to avoid anything with a chart because it is such work for me. Thanks for sharing.

  6. April

    Gorgeous! I guess I never thought about it being different for Continental Knitters and English Knitters with the 2 circs and dpns. I personally like just using one circ and pulling the long end out at the half (magic loop) b/c it gets rid of the dangling and clinking, but the too much too soon may apply here. I’ve always wondered why some really take to the circs while others don’t, it may just be the diff between pickers and throwers. hmmmmm…..

    anyway….total sock envy going on =) LOL

  7. LizK

    Your knitting is, as usual, gorgeous, and no one explores the technical aspects of each project like you. I am working up to some stranded project (you should see the hats Ann, my co-blogger is making!), and have been teaching myself to pick in preparation.

  8. KathyB

    So… if you can model woolies on top of knee highs, can you /wear/ woolies on top of kneehighs? I know for me personally it’s a somewhat horrifying thought, but if you can still get wooly warmth and hot socks, is it worth it? Your talent floors me.

  9. Ann

    Wowsers, indeed. I can’t believe this is your first time with two-color knitting. The tension looks amazing, and the colors are fantastic.

  10. Jenna

    As a fellow shapely-calved small-ankled female, you’ve definitely given me the confidence to modify a few knee-sock patterns to fit my needs. Bravo, they look fabulous.

  11. holly

    great colors and stranding. I’ve been drooling over those socks for about a year now myself. This might actually inspire me to make them (that and Lorna’s Laces, i believe i decided, and if i do that i am sure i’ll be changing the gauge and then probably the pattern as well and). I did make a pair of socks last fall with instep shaping (both my husbad and i have fairly high arches) and i cannot express how fantastic it feels to have your socks hug your arch. Can’t wait to see how these progress!

  12. Stephanie

    Yep. I noticed those 2 circulars right off and seriously had to look twice. I even refreshed the page because I thought I was crazy. I’m now knitting my second pair of socks on 2 circs and I have to tell, I see some benefit. I doubt I’ll ever give up my dpns, but I’m liking this circular business – especially for fussy patterns. And I really wish I’d thought to try it on my mittens – I think the tension would have been a lot better.

    As for the socks – they really look great. You’re making wonderful progress and your tension looks fabulous.

  13. Carrie

    Those are lovely. I didn’t read the post about the dominant color, but I know what you mean anyway – I love that about colors and have lots of fun messing with it. I’m still just learning to make socks at all, but your example makes me want to learn stranding right quick!

  14. nona

    Gorgeous socks — Wow! Doesn’t the yarn dominance thing really make your design look crisp and clean!? Having high arches myself, I’ll be curious to see how the arch shaping comes along. And the whole partial sock, over nylon stocking, over sock gave me a chuckle — perhaps because it made perfect sense.

  15. Michelle from New Brunswick

    These socks are fabulous! I can’t believe its your first time with two colours (well actually I can from reading your blog). The tension is great!I have been trying out the two circs and although at first I wasn’t sure … now that I have worked them a few times I really like them. Especially the fact that you can make both socks at the same time (although that is a bit more challenging). Can’t wait to see the socks finished.

  16. Angela

    Hve to admit I wasn’t bowled over by the yarn colors when you displayed them in ball form, but now that they’re knit up–beautiful.

  17. Coleen

    Wow, that is gorgeous! I’ve been reading this thread with interest because I’m struggling through two color socks right now. (Playing with Eunny’s argyle chart.) I can’t get the hang of one color in each hand, so I am very impressed with you! Can’t wait to see the finished product.

  18. gigi

    stranding – beautiful

    socks – spectacular

    colors – sublime

    smug satisfaction – priceless

    gorgeous in all aspects…how are you going to work the instep shaping? i can’t wait

  19. Mary Lou

    You are a knitting wonder! What beautiful socks! I can’t believe this is your first attempt at knitting with two colors. Thanks for always inspiring me.

  20. Karma

    You are so funny with your nylons and knee socks! 🙂 Too cute. Your sock is looking fantastic! What a great project, once again.

  21. Kristen

    I love reading about your knitting – there’s something about the combination of adventures and style that always leave me hoping that I’ll be like you when I (or my knitting?) grow(s) up.

    your stranding? I bow down to your even tension and seamless joins. I have a lot to learn. Thank you for documenting this project!

  22. Leslie

    That sock is truly a thing of beauty. Better looking than the original. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

    Your knitting skills really are impressive! Are you sure you haven’t been knitting since birth?

  23. Nanette

    The socks are beautiful! The first time I knit stranded colorwork they weren’t quite so lovely. LOL

    I’m in love with two-handed knitting. I can easily tire my hands knitting with just one hand but I can knit colorwork with two hands for what seems like forever.

  24. paula

    I can only mock you for using the two circs. Hehe. But, something tells me it’s a temporary thing and you’re only dipping your toe into the dark side for necessity’s sake. 😉

    I totally agree about the difficulty of using dpns when you knit English style. This is why I migrated to the two circs — although, occassionally I crave the dpns…

    And, MAN, my brain wrinkles with all the maths involved in those decreases. Are you knitting or sculpting that sock around your calf?

    It boggles the mind…haha!


  25. hellahelen

    Damn, girl, look at you go! The sock is looking fabulous. I’m glad you decided to go with the two-handed method. And I hear you about the annoying clinking of 2 circs! Have you ever tried the Magic Loop instead? I’m a huge fan of this method–it has the advantages of 2 circs, but without the annoying extra needle tips. It is essential to have an extra-long needle (at least 32″, but 40″ is perfect) with extremely flexible cords and smooth joins (Addi Turbos come to mind).

    And I just read about your sewing adventures–I’m right there with you! I didn’t know about the ‘Sew! I knit!’ challenge until I read about it here, but I went to the fabric store the weekend before last and got 2 yards of pretty cotton fabric and a few very simple skirt patterns so that I can (hopefully) get over my fear of sewing. Maybe this weekend I’ll dip my toes in the water?



  26. Morgan

    The sock looks great so far, and you’re doing great it looks like with the stranded knitting. I can’t wait to see it when its done!

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