Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April Showers...

It's quintessential spring weather today - cloudy skies interspersed with showers and sunny breaks, and relatively mild.  I have to keep remembering that it's good growing weather for the garden, because for myself I'd prefer it to be rather warmer.  It's also good knitting weather, though!

I've finished the second Twice-Striped Sock.  I'm very pleased with how these socks look, but I have to confess to having had issues getting the heels to work out right.  On the first sock, I accidentally carried one of the yarns across the middle of the row of waste yarn stitches.  When it came time to pick up the stitches for the heel I had to cut the offending yarn, then do some fancy 'manoeuverings' in order to keep everything from unraveling.  It worked out in the end, but it wasn't a process I wanted to repeat.  For the second sock, I thought I was being very clever when I carried the non-working yarn around the entire sock before knitting in the waste yarn stitches, so that it wouldn't go across the middle again.  Unfortunately (and I didn't notice this until I tried the finished sock on), this resulted in a rather tight band of yarn around the foot, just where you would least want it - the heel circumference.  So once again I've had to snip and unravel and curse and reknit.  Sigh...

I guess if I had knit a short row heel in situ, instead of doing the afterthought heel, then these problems would not have arisen.  It's the striping and the alternating yarns that are the complicating factors.  So what am I knitting now?  Another pair of socks in the same striping, because I like the look so much, and had the perfect yarns in my stash!  This time I will try the short row heel and see if I can avoid further complications.  I''m also knitting this pair from the toe up, because I've only done one other pair that way, and I want to keep things interesting.

Here is the new sock in progress.  For this one I'm using leftover Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Fun Knits colourway, and leftover Knit Picks Stroll Kettle Dyed, in Timber, which they appear to be clearing out now.  I think the combination looks yummy - like chocolate and some kind of fruity gelato!

I also took some pictures while I was installing the second afterthought heel.  You can imagine the process working flawlessly, which it did while I was taking the pictures, if not so much later on!

Here I have unpicked the first dozen or so waste yarn stitches, and picked up the resulting live stitches onto two circular needles.  It was easier to knit the heel with two circulars than with double-pointed needles, because at first the two sides of the aperture were very close together, and with the circulars you can work on each side without the other getting in the way.

Here all of the live stitches have been picked up onto the two circular needles and are ready to be knitted with the yarn for the heel.

And finally, here is the heel partly knitted.  It would be such a perfect process if only I hadn't had all those yarn-carrying issues!

The stripes lined up fairly well where I switched between yarns.  I used the jogless jog method, which is definitely an improvement over not doing anything at all, but I guess it isn't quite as perfect as I would like.  It seems to have worked better with thicker yarns when I was knitting hats and things.  Has anyone found a better technique?

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