Sunday, December 30, 2007

Mermaid Socks

The Lucy Project has been completed!

Name of Project: Mermaid Socks
Yarn: Knit Picks Bare Merino/Silk Fingering Weight
Yardage: one hank
Yarn Source:
Needles: Size US 1.5 (2.5 mm) and US 2.5 (3.0 mm) Knit Picks circulars
Estimated Time to Complete Project: 3 weeks
Pattern Notes: Using the Size 3.0 mm needles was a little scary to me because I was sure that it was going to be too loose. I usually use the 2.0 or 2.5 mm for all of my socks. I absolutely loved this stitch pattern. It's called an Estonian Fishtail stitch and the rhythm of it was easy and fun.

I chose the Wavy cuff option to start the sock and it also uses the Fishtail pattern. So once completing that, it just kept going into the leg. I warped this yarn (before dying it) so that the colors would be 1" in thickness. I was able to see how it knitted up in the leg and was very happy with the results.

The heel was a garter stitch short row heel which was a good idea so I didn't have to interrupt the striping of the yarn. I had done this before so it wasn't new and it's definitely getting easier each time I do one.

One of the things that was exciting to me about this sock was the toe. The fishtail pattern spirals down to the tip of the toe. It was a little tricky to make sure the heel was lined up, and to follow the stitch pattern exactly for the decreases, but the directions were easy to read and follow. Thank you Lucy!

This was the last of the patterns from the Lucy Project. It feels good to have completed my goal and now I feel I've mastered sock knitting. Between Lucy Neatby's book, her DVD's and many different sock patterns, I've tried almost everything. I've done socks toe-up, cuff down, heel flap from toe-up and cuff-down, short row toes, short row heels, afterthought heels and many different cast ons and cast offs. I've made 17 pairs of adult size socks this year and feel comfortable making and teaching sock methods without a pattern.

The socks from this project can be seen here:
Assignment 1: Simply Splendid Socks
Assignment 2: Timberline Toes
Assignment 3: Crenellated Toe-Up Socks
Assignment 4: Marietta Rib Socks
Assignment 5: Chequerboard Socks
Assignment 6: Mermaid Socks (see above)

One of the objectives of this project was to try out all the different sock methods so that I could see which one I liked the best. I know there are other sock techniques out there to try, but so far this is what I learned I like the best.

Always two at a time on two circulars. Double pointed needles have their place, but not in my sock knitting. Why make one at a time, when you can have them both at once? I know I'm from Generation Y, and we demand instant gratification, but it just seems to me like a better way to have two socks that match. Second Sock Syndrome, what's that? I wouldn't know...

To cast on for the toe-up sock, I like to use Judy's Magic Cast-on. There are no weird gaps to tighten up and it is easy to memorize once you understand what it's doing. All I need to do after the cast-on is figure out what stitch pattern I want to use, then increase (every other row) up to that number. I try to keep that number around 60 - 64 stitches. That seems to be a very nice fit for my foot.

The heel depends on my stitch pattern and yarn I'm using. I haven't gone wrong with the short row heel. One of the things I learned from Lucy's book, was to do a short row heel over 60% of the stitches and not 50%. It makes for really easy foot insertion and there is no tightness over the heel. So that requires I juggle the stitches on the circular needles a little bit, but I'm up for the challenge. This technique also helps if I don't want to interrupt the striping sequence for self-striping yarn. I also liked using a heel turn and flap if I was following a particular pattern I liked the way the heel flap looked. I learned this from Wendy's blog and have used it a couple of times. It has always come out looking great!

There were a few cast-offs I liked and it also depended on the stitch pattern and yarn I was using. The I-Cord bind-off was my all around favorite. It was stretchy enough to let your foot slide easily in and out, yet there is no saggy-ness or wrinkly-ness at the top. It was kind of hard to find a bind off that I could complete get behind, but this was a fantastic find. The other way I liked to bind-off was by knitting into the front, yarning over, and knitting into the back of the stitches to have 3 times the amount of stitches on the needles. Then I just worked a couple of rounds, then worked a normal bind-off. This made the ruffly top that I thought was cute and fun.

I didn't just learn things pertinent to socks this year. Because of Cookie's Twisted Flower socks, I learned how to cable without a cable needle. I had to because there were just too many twists and turns to work out while trying to use a cable needle. Now, I'll never go back. It makes me feel like a magician when I use just two needles and create beautiful twists and cables. Plus the instant gratification thing, it's WAY faster.

So there it is. And according to Lucy Neatby's book, I have achieved Sock Goddess status.


That is, until I go to Cat Bordhi's sock class on January 8.


CC said...

All of Lucy Neatby's socks, that's an accomplishment that truly makes you a Master Sock Knitter!

After the Cat Bordhi class we'll have to address you as "Queen Sock Knitter!"

Good Job,

Anonymous said...

Wow! Great job on all the socks.

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