My Socks by Cat Bordhi

I could say that I’m knitting socks because it is socktober but that would be a lie. I’m knitting socks because they are my go-to when I’m thinking about a new design or procrastinating on another project or just restless and need to cast on something, anything, new. Someone needs socks, right? My daughter just dug out her winter clothes and counted 12 pairs so she’s good. My son-in-law is working in his basement where it’s cooler so he could use another pair. My husband is talking about buying socks so he’s definitely in the queue.

Cat Bordhi has left us. To honour her, I have made a pile of all her books. I am trying to learn one of her sock systems because my dream of taking a class from her is gone. First up is the New Pathways for Sock Knitters book.

I have knit several pairs so far: the Spiraling Coriolis which are toe up, Bartholomew’s Tantalizing Socks which begin at the cuff, and lastly the Ocean Toes which are also worked cuff down.

I’m still working on these socks because I have learned:

  1. You can place the gusset stitches anywhere on the sock: on the top of the foot, under the foot (I love this idea) or even only on one side of the sock. Wow, that opens things up, doesn’t it?!
  2. You can work the gusset stitches with two knit rounds between the decreases (or increases if toe up). That means the gusset section is longer so these socks give you more room along the instep (the arch on the top of your foot between mid-foot and ankle) which I really need for a good fit, bonus!

I’ve knit six socks so I have this system down, right? I mean six is enough. Now to do it with the book closed (feels like high school exams). The first sock went pretty well until I turned the heel and realized that I had worked the Short Rows for the heel starting with long rows which got shorter. No, no, no, rip, rip, rip. Started the heel again with Short Rows which started short and got longer. OK, look at me, I got this. Everything looks great.

I cast on the second sock a couple of weeks later. Finished the heel and guess what, it doesn’t look like the first sock. It’s close but now quite right. What happened?! Picture me looking clueless.

It’s back to the drawing board to figure out where I went wrong. Rip, rip, rip. I feel like the little engine that could. I can do this. I can do this.

I’m changing my name to Deb Persistence Gemmell. Has a nice ring to it.

Cheers. Keep on, keepin’ on.

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever patterns by Deb and Lyn

Deb on instagram

A Counter for a 3 row repeat

How would you handle a stitch pattern with a 4 round repeat with increases worked every 3 rounds. Whoa, working a 4 round/3 round combo is very complicated. How would you keep track? Do you have a system? I found one that worked perfectly for me.

The Bartholomew’s Tantalizing Socks from the New Pathways for Sock Knitters has just this set up for the gusset shaping. Do not fear, Cat Bordhi has written out every row for her knitters. But as I seem unable to follow line-by-line instructions faithfully I had to find another solution. Could I keep track with a counter on my phone, put little ticks on a page, write out a long list of row numbers and cross them off? If you’ve been in a class with me you might be laughing here.  I hate the tick method. I urge knitters to look at their knitting and use it to keep track. But in this case the stitch pattern makes it really hard to see the increases. So the laughs on me.

During one of my walks a solution came to me. My friend Dana had, many years ago, told me how she keeps track of sleeve increases. Now was the perfect time to try her system out. Are you ready? It’s really high tech.

Take a piece of yarn and tie 3 knots in it so that you have 3 loops.20200702_104438

Put loop 1 on your needle somewhere convenient. I put it one stitch before the marker where I will work the first increase and start the stitch pattern. Loop 1 means work an increase at the beginning and at the end of the stitch pattern on this round.20200629_085444

Next round insert your needle into loop 2 and work stitch pattern. Next round pick up loop 3 and work stitch pattern. Next round pick up loop 1 and work increases again along with the stitch pattern. Repeat.20200703_093234

I found the stitch pattern easy to keep track of. It was getting the increases in the right place that was difficult. You could also make another 4 loop string for the 4 row stitch pattern if you needed it.

I have a couple of suggestions for improvements.

  1. A smooth yarn would have worked better. The loops would have been easier to find quickly. I grabbed a piece of  yarn that was within reach but it would have been better to get up off my chair and find some smooth cotton to make my looped string.
  2. Tie a bead or button to the bottom of the string. This will make it hang like a fancy stitch marker on the needle since the bottom would be weighted. I’m going to try this next time. I’m sure I have a bead or two in my button jar. If you use this for more than 3 loops this would help to keep track of the last loop in the sequence.
  3. A high contrast colour would have helped too.

This is a game changer for me. You’re never too old to learn a new trick.

Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns by Deb & Lyn

 

New to me Socks

Socks are made so many different ways now that it’s hard to keep up. I’ve decided to give some of my summer knitting over to non-traditional sock making.

To get started I looked through my stack of knitting books to find a book I bought but never got around to using: Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters, Book One. Whoa, I’m really late to this party. This was published in 2007!!

20200622_120737

I can attest to it being weird and wonderful. I have completed a pair of Coriolis socks (top left on the cover). Toe-Up with a heel flap. I have always found it difficult to get the length from toe to heel flap correct in this style of sock. The instructions were excellent and these are the correct length. YAY.

20200622_114930

I love the swirling line which breaks up the stripes of the Heritage Paints wool. I worked these from the Master Pattern for any gauge of yarn because my yarn didn’t fit any of the line-by-line patterns. I think there is an option for more swirl lines and I would like to try that next time. Because there will be a next time.

20200622_114836

Next I thought I would try out a cuff down sock. I chose the Bartholomew’s Tantalizing Socks and followed the pattern, as closely as I ever get to following exactly. I love the slip stitches and what they do to the variegated yarn. (Same Heritage Paints yarn because I love it and at one time bought a whole bag.)

20200622_121049

Don’t you love the stitch pattern? Here’s a close up. K1, with yarn in front Slip 1. A little bit of manipulating, bringing the wool back and forth but totally worth it.

20200622_121127

Of course it was a little more confusing when it got to the heel with the standard Heel Stitch: K1, with yarn in Back Slip 1. There was a bit of “ooops, rip back and start again with yarn in Back this time”. I expect to experience the same fun now that the heel is finished and I start working the original pattern on the foot. Yarn in front, yarn in front, yarn in front.

I have never tried working the reinforced Heel Stitch on the bottom of the heel. Have you? Some of my knitting guild friends highly recommend it. I guess I will see if I like it when these are worn. Something to look forward to when it’s not 28 degrees (celsius) outside.

Hope knitting is keeping you happy and sane,

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cabin Fever No-Sew patterns by Deb & Lyn