Category Archives: Sock Yarn

Just say no to poppy socks

I totally owned my sock obsession.  Dove in with gusto and both feet (oooh a pun).  With it has come hours (more than I want to admit) on ravelry looking for fun socks to help make my 12 pairs in 12 months goal.  I came accross the Poppy Socks pattern and went nuts over it.  Such a great pattern it immediately went to the top of my queue.  The first challenge was to find the right gauge yarn – it was almost laughable that with all the sock yarn I’m accumulating of late that there was not ONE 9 stitches to the inch.  Supposedly it’s fingering weight but I think its really more toward lace weight.  A trip down to Knit-Purl in sudbury and I found the most beautiful Ella Rae Lace Merino.

I’m always telling people at SnB to do a gauge swatch – as much as a pain in the royal ass as it is.  So I diligently gauged this one and was happy to find that I was on target with size 2 needles.  Looking through the pattern I knew there would be a ton to learn with these socks.  So armed with my laptop I set out to tackle my poppy socks!

Hitting row 2 was the first challenge – k2 cc, p2 mc – swapping back and forth between contrast and main colors.  I’ve had a tiny bit of experience with this when I did my cuff on the watergarden shrug, and set out to tackle 2 handed knitting.  Holding the contrast color in one hand and the main color in the other – I knit the stitches in English method using my right hand and purled using Continental method using my left hand.  Actually this is pretty simple and I got right into the swing of it and quickly through the 5 rows calle for.Poppy Socks Bobble Row

Now onto the Bobble row – ok so the last time I did bobbles they were a miserable failure.  (Even the felting didnt eliminate that failure!)  These made more sense and I’m a bit more daring now so I was convinced I could handle them.  After a few bobbles which include k5, turn, p5, turn, k5 I figured it was a great time to learn backwards knitting and try and eliminate all of the juggling and yarn tangles that were showing up.  I found several tutorials that made sense, but I think the best one was Knitting Backwards on my old standby of knittinghelp.com

Bobble row completed I started on the pattern.  Yet another learning opportunity – how to deal with the strands.  I found two great tutorials online one step by step:  http://deepspaceknit.blogspot.com/2007/11/tutorial-woven-fair-isle.html and this awesome video: http://www.philosopherswool.com/Pages/Twohandedvideo.htm. Knitting in hand, laptop in front of me, I managed to really get the whole two handed two color thing and was on my way.

About half a poppy pattern through I started to worry about size – would this really fit?  I swatched – but that sneaking feeling that they werent quite right.  Trying to get the inch or so over my foot confirmed that gauge or no gauge these socks would be too tight… I fought being discouraged and went about the big frog.  I told myself that it was ok because I could just practice all that I had learned again and really get it right.  Once more I start on bigger needles.  I actually surprise myself and get back to where I was in only a few hours (over two days).  Onward!Poppy Socks

I’m motivated and moving along at a really good clip – these socks are so so pretty.  I’ve got the hang of the two colors, carefully not making my strands too long, and not pulling too tight.  I try the sock on and its fitting well.  The heel went really well – and the pattern was easily managed.  Still fitting as I go…I feel like I’m sailing through the pattern and am thrilled to get to the toe.  Everything still fits great.

How hard can the toe be?  The toe is a series of more popies.  Not difficult pattern wise, and I didnt think I was pulling too tight – but I get about half way through the toe and decide to try – my suspicions again correct the toe just feels funny and too tight.  Frog frog frog…at least it was only a half of the toe.  Lets adjust once more, the pattern calls to go to a smaller needle on the toe – I opt not to and reknit…I get to the end and try again…nope still dreadful.  Hmmm pattern modification again – instead of the stranding which seems to be choking my toes, I continue the pretty pattern of the heel all the way through until the end.  Beautiful sock…finally finished and ready to try…gotta tell you…this is probably one of the most beautiful socks I’ve ever seen…but it is also the most uncomfortable sock I’ve ever tried on!

Can you hear me screaming from where you read?  This sock has pretty much done me in.  What would normally be just second sock syndrome for this pair is instead a F*ck the second sock syndrome.  There is absolutely no reason on this earth that I will ever even consider making the mate to this sock.  Not only that – it has pretty much killed my pair of socks a month goal –

I admit that I learned TONS making this sock – and thats always a good thing.  But color me (nice pun huh) totally unenthused with socks for the moment – the poppy socks were a total buzz kill.  Now the question of what to do with just one sock other than admire it every once in a while hangs.

Finished Poppy Sock

Oh well…next project please!

Late Summer Yarn Crawls

It doesnt seem to matter how much is in my stash, or how many projects are on the needles, the prospect of yarn shopping is always something I’m up for. Exploring new shops is still one of my favorite adventures. I’m always looking to see what people have to say about where they go – so allow me to contribute to the community with my experiences.

Fabric Place in Framingham
I’ve been here a few times before I moved, but for some reason never really remembered it as a yarn destination – I may not have been alone, as the word is out that they are closing. Maggie and Dee and I headed over to see what deals may be around. Truly a shame that it wont be around much longer because there really was a good selection of yarns. The only drawback was a lack of sales help with knowledge of the department. Of course I made a few purchases:

Berroco Cotton Twist in totally my colors
no clue what it will be, but when has that stopped me!

I also picked up some really beautiful Sirdar Snuggly and the cutest sailboat sweater pattern for Maria’s baby Logan who is due this winter.

The deals there will only get better as they get ready to close – what a shame.

We did try to head over to Knitting Pointers in Milford on a detour toward home, but missed it being open by about 10 minutes. I had been before briefly, it was a nice little shop, but want to explore it again.

Next detour that we missed at the mercy of the clock was The Yarn Shop in Uxbridge – this place just looked fantastic. So good that Dee and I wound up driving back out there a few days later (Maggie – I swear I am really really sorry!!!!!!)

Uxbridge is the home of Berroco, and this store had a really great selection of it. They weren’t limited to Berroco – they had a really nice range in everything from sock to chunky yarns. Totally worth the out of the way drive. The owner was friendly and helpful, while still giving us lots of room to explore on our own.

I couldnt leave without some more baby yarn – this time for the baby girl Dee is having in the winter.

Plymouth Dream Baby

The plan is to combine it with this Berroco Comfort DK. How adorable will this be!

I couldn’t resist this Cascade Heritage sock yarn. It was so soft.

May be a strange combination but I’m thinking of using them together in a pair of socks

Finally I picked up this Lang Yarns Nubia – it just felt so rich and perfect for a fall sweater.

The last stop on my latest string of yarn crawling was The Beauty of Yarn in Providence. A little tiny shop but with a nice selection of yarns and accessories. I got a really warm welcome from the owner who was willing to answer questions or let me explore on my own without pressure either way. This shop had a few yarns I hadnt seen elsewhere, things like the jelly yarn that was all the rage to knit up bags. She also had some really different colors (brighter and even a few that were almost neon). There were some really interesting projects knit up that were not standard for yarn shops including a wide brimmed summer hat and bathing suit. I did pick up a bit of Knitting Fever Paillette on sale that I know will be the perfect accent to something one of these days.
As usual, each purchase left me more inspired to go start some sort of new project – which explains the 5 projects now on needles.

Yarn crawling has left me with one question though – why are so many yarn stores not opened past 4:00 o’clock; why do so many close early on Saturdays or not open at all on Sundays? Is it just me or does it seem really silly? Anyone?