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Monday, January 19, 2009

sans aiguille

Related posts:
28Mar2009 post (shoe shot, 1 photo).
07Feb2009 post (finished pair, 11 photos).
30Jan2009 post (4 photos).

There's a bit of a crisis Chez Smariek. One of my DPNs seems to have gone awol. I was planted on the sofa with a throw over my lap, knitting with 5 pointy sticks and had set down one of them on my lap (viz. on top of the throw). That DPN went missing moments afterward and I could not find it. Where did it go?! I need it!!!

It couldn't have gone far. I didn't think it had fallen onto the floor because I would certainly hear metal clanking against hard wood. I looked on the floor and under the sofa, nope not there. I looked around me on the sofa and even checked under the cushions, no joy. Just bunnies of the dust variety, missing pen from one of Missy's writing tablet thingies, and crumbs. I even vacuumed while I had all the cushions off the sofa! Feeling good about that accomplishment. Still no missing pointy stick.

DH even helped me look for it. He tells me that the needle has gone the way of Tyler Durden (in this movie, Fight Club) and had never existed. Ok, I am not smoking the carpet. I know my Knit Picks Nickel Plated DPN set came with 5, not 4, pointy sticks -- you can see it here. Five, I say!!!

Practice Pair of Socks #1, Sock #1

Here's what I had been working on until I got derailed by the missing pointy stick. Ma première chaussette! Learning how to do this is one of my goals for this year. And instead of trying it out with some thick yarn and big needles, I jumped right in with sock weight yarn and 2.75 mm pointy sticks.

There's a link to an online sock tutorial, Silver's Sock Class, in the Knitting Resources section of my blog sidebar; I've heard that this tutorial is quite good, however I don't like trying to knit while following instructions on my computer screen and I don't own a printer to print out the tutorial. I'm one of those people who needs printed material in front of me. So I managed to borrow a sock book which has lots of illustrations and I got a very good idea of how a sock is constructed. The only downside of the book is that it has some discrepancies/errors in it which can really throw you off if you don't catch them. I think the book is fairly new, it's dated 2008, so they probably haven't gotten around to releasing a newer edition with the corrections.

The beginning was quite easy. It's very similar to starting a mitt. I began with K2P2 ribbing and thought I would continue this throughout the leg...

You spin me right round, baby
Right round like a record, baby
Right round round round
- 'You Spin Me Around' Dead or Alive

... but as you can see, I switched to stockinette. Round and round we go. I knit so much faster in stockinette than in K2P2 ribbing. I chose K2P2 over K1P1 for the same reason. So far so good, except for ...

... a loose stitch due to one of my needles wrapping around the yarn causing a sort of "YO" effect. There's a tendency for this to happen at the end of a needle and I don't catch it until I've knit around and come back to that point.

I also have difficulties avoiding the laddering effect. Here are 2 (out of 3) ladders on my sock. The strange thing is that I always think the ladder should occur between the V stitches. Like this:


But instead, mine always occur right inside the V stitches, resulting in a split like this:


Here's the leg. I later tried to reduce the laddering by shifting a couple of stitches from needle to needle as I went around. This was slightly ameliorated on the side closest to the heel (where the stitch markers are).

The heel flap wasn't difficult at all. Here are pics of the front & back.

Now this was a MAGICAL experience! That's the best way to describe the turning of the heel. I read about the theory of sock construction and it didn't quite "click" until I actually did it.

And here we are after completing the gusset shaping. This was a little tricky for me because I didn't concentrate as well as I should have. Instead of decreasing every other round, I might have decreased every 3rd round here and there because I lost track of which round I was in. Yes I know, I'm only repeating 2 rounds! I can't explain why it is easier for me to increase every other round (as in a mitt gusset) than to decrease every other round.

I still need to find that 5th needle. Definitely before I start the toe decreases, I think...

Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2009. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits.


16 stitch(es):

Aunt Kathy said...

Bravo... I remember when I made my first sock and actually had the heel shape I was so excited. I lose my DPN needles all the time, you can still manage with 4 for the foot part, I usually save the 5th needle for when I drop or lose one of the 4, LOL

Anonymous said...

Hi! I've been reading your blog for months now, but never left a comment before. Just wanted to say, I always knit my socks with four needles (the only socks I've ever done though are using Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's sock recipe from her book Knitting Rules.) I don't have much trouble with the ladders, as I knit TIGHT. Anyway, with the lovely things you knit and create, I can't wait to see what you come up with for socks!

pdxknitterati said...

Congratulations on your first heel turn! Yes, it is a magical experience.

I think your missing needle is just a sign that you need to use wooden needles instead of metal. I usually use only 4 needles for my socks, except the current one. I need all 5 because these Sox Stix are only 5 inches long!

Zandra said...

It sounds like your sofa ate the needle. It may have gotten down inside it somewhere.

Welcome to the world of sock knitting!

Anonymous said...

There is a simple trick to avoid ladders. If the first stitch on the new needle is to be knit, insert your right needle UNDER the previous needle. If the first stitch on the new needle is to be purled, insert your right needle OVER the previous needle. This takes your yarn the shortest path, thus no ladder. No need to tug extra tight, just knit your usual tension.


Cindy G said...

Yay! And after a few washings those ladders will probably just disappear.

Ooh, I see cabled socks in the future. Can hardly wait to see what you come up with.

Acornbud said...

Looking good! I suspect the sofa ate your DPN as well. Naughty sofa. I wonder who thought up how to turn a heel? It's genius.

Jean said...

I found that I have less of a laddering effect when I use two circular 24inch needles, (plus it travels well with no dropped stitches). Stitches of Violet's blog has a detailed account of sock making and she is quite the knitter so you may want to check it out. It's always great to see what other people are knitting.

Anita O said...

Ohhh, you make me want to go knit on my socks NOW!!
Great work. My first pair had those ladders too, until I figured it out. I pull the first two stitches on each DPN tight. That seems to help for me. And the last stitch too.
Aren't socks fun? Now we'll see a boatload of socks here. Yay!!

And I have great news. I found all my missing DPN's. The ones my dear boy stuck into the couch. So now I have my complete set back. Maybe yours migrated to my house by some weird knitting magic??? I hope you find that puppy soon!

Joan said...

I am shedding a tear for our Marie....sock knitter. Bravo, girl!

You won't have laddering if you use 2 circulars. Plus all the instep sts go on one needle and and all the heel sts on the other. So much easier! Esp with complicated instep st patterns, which you will be designing in no time.

I once brought dp's to church to knit while listening to The Messiah concert. (This was pre-2 circs.) The place was packed. Somehow, I managed to accidently fling one of the dp's into the air and back a few rows. Never found it but was too embarrassed to look for it. ;-p

hakucho said...

Your sock looks great...but beware sock knitting can become addictive :)

TracyKM said...

I've read to tighten the first st after knitting the second stitch. ALso, Lucy Neatby or maybe it was Maureen Mason Jamieson had some other tips. I usually just knit a couple more sts off the next needle before starting a fresh needle. Or do magic loop now.
Socks are addictive! I love my socks, I've been able to wear my HK socks almost every day this winter (thanks partly to doing laundry every day, as per
I dont' know if you know, but many pictures of your dishcloths are not available anymore in your sidebar :(

Cactusneedles said...

I, too, pull those first two stitches on the needles a little tighter, and the ladders get eliminated. Also, if you block the sock, that might help. Welcome to the wonderful world of socks! Take care! :)

CatBookMom said...

Girlfriend, you are just *zooming* along! About the ladders, I also find that moving one stitch from the first needle to the second every couple of rounds helps when using dpns. But I am a 2-circs sock knitter most of the time. Strange coincidence that I just cast on for a sock today - after 1.5in of 2x2 ribbing on 60sts, I decided to frog and use only 56sts(Regia sock yarn, 2.25mm needles) - yeah, I knit loosely.

Chris said...

For your first sock--it looks great. You will lose the laddering with practice--I just pull the first 2 stitches on each needle very tight. When I used dpn's I only used 4 instead of 5. Happy sock knitting. They are addicting.

SusanB-knits said...

Good looking sock for a first one! I try to give an extra tug on my first and second stitch on the next needle. It has gotten rid of the ladders but try not to pull too hard.
I lost a dpn once. I was sitting in the recliner and it fell from my hand into the side of the recliner! I could not find it!! I knew it was in there and tried everything to find it (tipped the chair over etc). No luck. So I got another needle from my extra set.