This weekend was a fairly productive knitting weekend for me. On Saturday, I went to the Folsom knitting group, and had a great time knitting with Lynette and the other knitters who were there. I worked on my boring baby blanket for a couple of hours there, and managed to finish another repeat. Only 8 more repeats to go. Ugh!
Speaking of Lynette, here's what I started knitting on Saturday night with the lovely sock yarn she gave me from her trip to Germany:
I think I have a new addiction - self-striping sock yarn! I could not put this sock down after I started it. Well, I take that back... after the third time I started it I couldn't put it down. The first two times, I attempted to knit a toe-up sock using the method described in Simple Socks. The book got rave reviews on Amazon, but for some reason, I just didn't get it. I think it is because there are not nearly enough photos (none!) or drawings (very few, with little accompanying descriptive text). After two unsuccessful attempts, I put away the book. I'm a little upset about it, because I can usually figure out just about anything from a book - that's how I learned nearly everything I know about knitting. And I feel like I understand the fundamentals of sock knitting too. I should be able to follow the instructions in this book, but that's not the case. I'll have to try again another time.
I couldn't find another sock pattern that I liked, so I decided to make up my own pattern instead. This is actually a modified version of the ribbed sock pattern from the Vogue Socks 2 book. Well, I'm really only using the heel & gusset from that pattern. I just figured out my gauge (7.5 st/in), calculated the number of stitches to fit the circumference of my foot (64), and started knitting. It seems to fit so far!
Lynette also gave me the needles that I'm using: 2.5mm Addi metal dpns, 20cm long (nearly 8"!). At first I was wary about using such long dpns, but I actually prefer them to shorter ones. These are long enough so that the ends of the needles aren't constantly poking my hands while I try to knit. I love them! The stitches slide so nicely compared to the bamboo dpns I've used before. Does anyone sell these in the US?
My favorite thing about these socks so far - the 1x1 rib cuff! Check out this cuff - the ribbing is 1x1 perfection. All of the ribs are straight, with even stitches and no awkward looking stitches anywhere.
Look at the last sock I used 1x1 ribbing on... see how uneven the stitches are compared to the striped sock? It is hard to tell in the picture, but trust me - it's bad! The ribbing on the sock on the left frustrated me so much that I didn't even finish the sock, because I knew I wouldn't wear something that I wasn't happy with. But now I've mastered 1x1 ribbing! Woohoo!
Want to know my secret? It's a little trick I picked up from Nona. When knitting ribbing, on the first purl stitch after a knit stitch, always wrap the yarn the opposite way you usually would. If you always wrap your yarn counterclockwise, then you should wrap the first purl stitch after a knit stitch clockwise, or vice-versa. This will mount the stitch on your needle backwards, so on the next round, you will have to purl (or knit) the stitch through the back loop, or else you will get a twisted stitch.
So, for my sock with 1x1 ribbing knit in the round, I did this:
Row 1: *K1 (wrap counterclockwise like normal), P1 (wrap clockwise)* repeat to end of row.
Row 2 and on: *K1 (wrap counterclockwise like normal), P1TBL (wrap clockwise)* repeat to end of row.
For wider ribbing, the only purl stitch that you would need to wrap the opposite way is the one immediately following the last knit stitch. This is also the only one that you will have to purl through the back loop on subsequent rows.