A nice sock yardage surprise

Since the last blog, I taught a 6-hour beginning sock workshop and completed the final review of the manuscript for the revised “Knit Socks!”  I’m glad the book is finished and very pleased with it. Before it’s published in September 2010, I’ll preview a pattern or two.

The brightly striped socks I’ve been knitting on and off (mainly off) for a few weeks somehow got finished.  My husband Terry is smiling in anticipation of their being added to his handknit sock collection. He was very supportive of all the comings and goings of the tv crew and took the disruptions in stride. He was called upon to do a number of  above and beyond things, such as walking our dogs in their sweaters (with him in his winter coat) on a warm day.  He’s more than earned the socks, but I’m not sure how I will repay the dogs as they don’t seem to be angling for another set of matching sweaters.

Here are the socks on the owner’s feet, and as you can see, they fit.  I’ve had lots of practice making socks for Terry, so it would have been a bad surprise if they hadn’t. I cast 72 stitches onto size US 1 needles, made a plain stockinette stitch leg with the distance from the cast on to the beginning of the heel flap being 8 inches. The heel flap is 2-3/4″ long, and the length of the finished foot is 11 inches.

This Kristin Nicholas’ designed sock yarn has great yardage; the label states 459 yards (420 meters) in a 100 gram ball.  I try to remember to weigh and record the weight of the ball before beginning any sock, as well as weighing thefinished socks and any leftovers  afterwards. I then record (in my little black book) how many yards I used to make the socks.  As you can see, the 100 gram Nashua sock yarn skein that I had was very generous, weighing 105 grams (which means that there were 23 extra yards of yarn), for a total of 482 yards.  For most women’s socks this wouldn’t matter, because a pair is easily knit from a 100 gram ball with some left over.However, if I weigh what should be a 100 gram skein only to find out it’s 96 grams, I’m very careful about how large the socks are going to be.  Or I may tentatively plan to make the toes and/or heels a different color if I’m making socks for a man or woman with larger feet.

While Nashua’s yardage was overly generous this time, this isn’t the case with all yarns and probably isn’t with all balls of that yarn either. So, I will continue weighing rather than assuming because what you see isn’t always what you get with yarn.

A new sock yarn

I’ve returned to real life and knitting today following the tv spot adventure.  It felt good to pick up the sock-in-progress and knit a few rounds as I enjoyed my first cup of coffee in the quiet, early morning light. The socks have been waiting patiently, as knitting projects do, maybe even appreciating being left alone for a while after all the excitement. The first sock is done, and I’m working the gusset decreases on the second, using two circular needles. I walked the socks to a small urban park created from materials salvaged when a bus transit mall was relocated.  They were a bright spot on an otherwise grey, wet day in the Northwest. Click on the image below to see them in more detail.

The yarn was a new one to  me: Nashua Handknits “Best Foot Forward” sock yarn, designed by Kristin Nicholas.  And it was love at first sight, even before I knew who designed it. I’ve always loved her choice and use of colors , from her early ethnic-patterned Classic Elite socks to the darling lamb sweaters she recently displayed on her blog,” Getting Stitched on the Farm.”   My socks are made in the color #7333 Plum Harvest.  Next, I’m going hunting for some #7336, Kilim, or maybe #7331 Blueberry Field, but then what about  #7329 Autumn?  What a wonderful problem for a sock knitter—all the colors are absolutely beautiful!

This yarn makes for very satisfying social sock knitting! And, yes, Jane was impressed, as is everyone on first seeing what can be done with self-striping yarns! They’re so much fun for sock knitters, from beginners to the most experienced.