I got a phone call two days ago – did I happen to have three pairs of socks for sale (one for a man who wears size 9 shoes)? My answer was “Yes” and “No”.
A month ago I went through my stash of socks and put names on all but one pair – my Christmas gifts: one to the woman who cuts my hair, one pair for my massage therapist, one for the gal who does my nails… and a few pair as gifts for friends. So “Yes” I had socks in the stash but they were already allocated. And “No” I didn’t have any to fit a man’s size 9 foot.
So what do you do? These are for sale – same price as last year $50/pair. So I took the undesignated pair, removed the toes, added 10 rows to the foot, then reknit the toes – an evening’s work for each sock. That solved the problem of a pair large enough for a man.
I went through the designated socks – decided I probably had enough time to actually knit another one and a half pair of socks between now and Christmas – so she can have two of those; three pair of socks in all.
I’m set to deliver them today. The payment is a “payment forward” – she will send it directly to an endowment fund at our local children’s hospital to support their Child Life program. I’ve been building that endowment for almost 25 years with my annual contributions plus donations like this one. It’s not a huge endowment (although it keeps growing) but it does provide books and supplies for the children who participate in the program while they’re in hospital.
Finished this pair of socks last evening – socks for a friend’s daughter. Smaller than I usually make I hope they fit her. I like the rust coloured stripe that occurs both I the purple and the turquoise sections. That, and the darker blue elements give this yarn a nice lively look.
Completed these socks a couple of days ago. They turned out not badly. After I finished turning the heel I decided to continue with the single yarn until I was midway through the foot when I decided to add a couple of contrast rows to connect the foot to the leg.
I know the recipient will be happy to have them. They’ll keep her smallish feet warm!
I have a friend who’s picked up sock knitting again after many years. I was describing to her how I set up the casting on. I decided I might as well share that information:
Invisible join when casting on
for knitting in the round
There are lots of ways of casting on for knitting in the round – as I was checking out YouTubevideos I didn’t quickly find one that does it in the same way I do, so here is my method:
I use two needles held together in my right hand and cast on over both needles.
I cast on all the stitches (usually 64 stitches for a women’s sock) on both needles.
When I have the required number of stitches, I add one more stitch (you’ll see later why I do that).
Next I carefully pull one needle out of the stitches – now I have the required number of stitches (plus one) on a single needle that are somewhat loose and much easier to knit into for the first row.
Here’s how I set up to knit in the round – I use double pointed needles because I find them easier than having to continually slide stitches along on a circular needle (when you can find one short enough for sock knitting).
With 64 stitches, I slip 8 stitches onto the first dp needle;
I slip 16 stitches onto the second; I slip 16 stitches ontothe third, I slip 16 stitches onto the fourth – that leaves me 9 stitches on my last (original cast on) needle.
I bring the two end needles with the 9 stitches (on the right) and 8 stitches (on the left) together, making sure I don’t twist the casting on, knit the first stitch on the left hand needle,
slip what was the end stitch on the first needle (that is the extra stitch you added when casting on) over the first knit stitch – that secures the join.
Continue knitting – knit one more stitch (you’ve already knit the first stitch when making the join), purl 2, knit 2, purl 2…. What you’ve done is make the join in the middle of a needle – much easier to handle than trying to make the join between two needles.
[When you finish knitting that first needle you will have 8 unknit stitches (on the right) and 8 knit stitches (on the left) on one needle with the join in the centre.]
The nice thing about making that join in the centre is that it’s much easier to handle in the next couple of rows than trying to make that join between two needles.
If you happen to be working with a different number of stitches – I often start with 68 or 72, then I’m not going to have the same number of stitches on each needle – for 68 – I put 8 stitches on the first needle, 20 on the second, 16 on the third, 16 on the fourth, and I’m left with 9 on the last needle. For 72 stitches I distribute them 8, 20, 16, 20, 9. The reason for doing it this way is that those numbers are divisible by 4 which means I can K2 P2 and end up without knitting that pattern over two needles – the K2 P2 pattern fits on each needle.
Once I’ve finished the cuff, then I redistribute the stitches so that I have the same number on each needle – with 68 stitches I have 17 on each needle; with 72 stitches I end up with 18 on each needle. In both of those cases I knit ~25 rows, then decrease one stitch on each needle (and with 72 I decrease one stitch on each needle again at ~ row 40 of the leg) to end up with an ankle that has 64 stitches. When the leg is long enough (I generally knit 80 rows) I knit the heel flap, turn the heel, pick up the gusset stitches, begin knitting in the round again decreasing for the gusset, then knit the foot, rounding off the toe.
Here are a bunch of YouTube videos which show variations on the technique.
Only one casts her stitches on over double needles and then only on a single needle, many are knitting with circular needles, but you’ll see how the technique makes the join and be able to adapt it for yourself.
Finished restoring these two pair of socks last night.
They were holdovers from a batch I restored well over a year ago. After replacing heels in a half-dozen pair of socks I’d had enough. This pair, however, although I had set up for new heels – I’d run a stitch-holding thread where the heel began and though the instep, cut out the worn heel – I put them aside.
Marlene’s birthday is at the end of the month. I thought it time to repair these two pair of socks and give them back to her. These were two of the original Kaffe Fassett yarns I’d bought a long time ago. The original heels used the rust/brown yarn but I had none in my stash and couldn’t find any in town so I matched up the dark blue, instead. Works fine.
Both pairs look like new socks. They should each get another couple years of wear.
Last week Ruby handed me the sleeve from an old Persian lamb coat – wondering whether I could make a small zippered handbag for her.
I cut a strip from the sleeve, discovered some original lining inside (still usable), added a bright red zipper and a bit of leather lacing for a handle – and there you have it: a small Persian Lamb handbag – finished size close to 7″ x 9″. I also put a small zippered pocket on the inside! (I used a leather needle and ordinary polyester thread – the machine handled the stitching just fine.)
Persian Lamb Small Handbag
She should be happy with that.
After finishing the last pair of socks I picked up this ball of Antarctica yarn which came in a “mystery bag” of sock yarn I ordered from Hobbii (in Denmark).
It’s one of those balls you want to use up quickly but I realized I’d be more than bored knitting this yarn…
It’s a lovely texture yarn, nice to work with, but the colours are so bleh! So I added a bright leftover that I intended to interweave through the Antarctica yarn:
Ugly Yarn + Bright Leftover
This is what the sock is turning out like. By chance, the heel more or less fit in the green section, almost the whole heel, so I decided to keep knitting with just the original yarn.
Right now my plan is to continue the foot in the Antarctica yarn, introducing a bit more of the leftover somewhere past the instep for a short distance – mainly to extend the yellow section (which will knit 20 rows – I counted that in the leg).
If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to end the toe in mauve to match the cuff –
I visited my massage therapist ten days ago. I noticed her largish sneakers – I asked what shoe size she wore – size 10.
I had already finished the first sock of a pair which I set aside. I worked on the second sock, extended the foot length by eight rows so it will fit her size 10 foot, then finished the toe. Next I unravelled the toe of the first sock, matched the yarn (which I happened to have on hand because I unrolled the better part of a pattern repeat so my second sock would match the first), added the required number of rows and reknit the toe.
Socks For Christmas
That Christmas gift is now done.
On to the next – for a smaller foot – size 6 shoe.
I had a second sock order – for two pairs – for Christmas. It’s amazing how working to fill an order changes the knitting – I feel pressure to get it done by a specific deadline. When I’m knitting to relax (or to justify sitting in front of the TV) I can knit 10 rows, I can knit 40 rows – doesn’t matter – no pressure. But with a new order once again I felt the pressure of a looming deadline.
Mary Ann liked the khaki ombre with dots socks I’d finished a couple of weeks ago. Since I had a second ball of that yarn from Hobbii (in Denmark) she chose that as one of the pairs. My initial intention was to knit a second pair using that yarn but decided just to give her the original socks and knit the other ball some time when I’m not facing a deadline.
The other yarn she chose was a grey/black/almost white variegated. I finished those socks two evenings ago. A handsome sock for a man.
That order is now complete (whew):
Sock Order #2
Last night I started a new pair – variegated in shades of peach/blue/gold.
A week or so ago a friend texted me wondering whether it would be possible to make her two pairs of socks for her husband’s birthday on Oct 25.
LOL! I answered her, pointing out it takes me close to two weeks to knit a pair of socks.
I always have a pair of socks on the go, and I was still working on the first of the pair so I sent her a picture of what I was working on and wondered “would Ebenezer wear these socks”? Sure she replied. OK, one pair of socks checked.
Men’s Size 12
I thought about the problem a bit more – I chose a pair of socks from my finished stash, sent her a picture and asked if he’d wear these?
So as soon as I finished the blue socks, I unravelled the toe from these red socks, added 16 rows to the foot length, and reknit the toe on each.
Remade Men’s Size 12
There you have it, two pairs of men’s size 12 socks in time for Ebenezer’s birthday – and all without a lot of stress.
I’m never quite sure how long to make sock feet when they’re not for women wearing size 7 1/2 – 8 shoes. I found the following chart:
I knit the foot of Ebenezer’s socks just about 11 1/2″ in length. They should fit him fine.
I don’t remember how I learned about the Danish Hobbii yarn company. I placed my first online order shortly after the pandemic arrived. The yarn didn’t appear for more than two months. In the intervening time, I placed a second order (figuring the first was just lost) which arrived reasonably promptly (a couple of days later the original order arrived, as well – now I had two sets of the same balls of yarn!).
The yarn is superwash (75% marino/25% polyamide), nicely twisted, a good sock weight, and the patterns I ordered seem to be interesting. This is the first pair I made from that yarn.
The “dots” made the knitting go reasonably quickly. I had a sense I was making progress and while the ombre changed regularly it was less obvious that was occurring.
The socks turned out nicely. Now on to another pair.
I’m an advocate of purchasing locally. I support two local yarn shops for most of my yarn purchases. But because both were closed at the beginning of the pandemic I was looking further abroad. This sock yarn from Hobbii is definitely very nice. Cost? Well, you’re paying in US$$ and there’s shipping to consider. The yarn cost me close to what a 100g ball of yarn would cost me were I to buy it locally.
In the meantime, I now must have twenty 100gm balls of sock yarn sitting in my basket. That will do me until well into spring, I’m guessing.