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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sock Knitting Ramble. Spinning, Plying, DPN, 2circ, Magic Loop...


So I've been spinning over a year now, and am kind of fascinated about sock yarns.
And knitting socks. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/azure-m/diagonal-lace-socks
I liked the thought of making self-striping or spinning from multicolored roving, and had to try the Navajo plying.
Of course I tried my fist one with KP Wool of the Andes Roving ($3 yay, but alas not anymore) and experimented.  Navajo plying is awesome when it comes to color controlling, but I'm still having trouble with the noticeable 'bumps' whenever I start a new chain.  It turns out though, that it is way less noticeable while knitting, and minute enough to not notice in the fabric.

I didn't blend this with silk or nylon, so it was a straight-up wool yarn, which isn't really a good sock yarn, but I did spin and plied it pretty firmly.  3ply.  The mid-range slightly coarse Wool of the Andes yarn wasn't exactly a joy to manipulate with a tiny size 0 needle.
Call me crazy, but I did try all of these working on this project:
DPN-ing with Lantern Moon Sox Stix Blond Wood, KP 4in Harmony Wood, 6in Nickel Plated
2-circs with KP Nickel Plated 16"
and Magic Loop with KP Nickel plated 32?".
well...also because I was working on two socks at the same time, not on same needle but in tandem.

It was interesting, I seemed to enjoy DPN more than I thought.  I would have probably done the entire thing if it wasn't mid winter.  Being in NYC and having to commute on a subway, I am a hardcore public knitter, and most of the time I do this is while I am wearing my big coat.  The tips of the DPNs get hooked inside my coat cuff like it was made to do so.  Esp. 6".  I usually don't like the 4" that much since it stabs my palm alot, but it was short enough that they didn't do this thing, so it was quite enjoyable.  BUT yes, it is impossible to knit the insteps as it grows, and I'm constantly afraid of losing stitches in my bag even with the WIP sock tube thing.
Also I ended up breaking one of the sox stix (saad, because it was one of the more $$ needles I bought and I liked it a lot).  This was probably caused by the coarse-ish not-sliding-freely-yarn I made, but I definitely enjoyed the metal needles more as I was less worried about snapping them.  (you know, esp. size 0s)  Anyho, I felt that if it was not winter and I was wearing short sleeves all the time while I knit, I would have used this technique more.

I have mixed feelings about magic loop, as I'm always concerned about the connection of the needle and cable, and not extra fond of having to manipulate the stitches around the long cable every half row, but I do like having only two needle tips, and not having this cuff-hooking DPNs.  So I experimented with 2 circs.  the problem with this was---which is totally my fault--I keep on picking up the wrong tip. lol.  So I finish knitting the half row, and find it all one one circ.  haha.  Otherwise though, I really liked it.  I'm currently trying 2-socks-on-two-24".  I should just mark one of the needle some how.  If I liked the harmony wood ones I should use one of them as one needle, but I like metal needles too much.

One other thing I experimented with this socks was the bind-off.
I saw on Interweave Simply Sockupied about the Double Bind-off, and it looked nice and elastic.  This turned out to be a tad little too elastic/loose for this particular socks, as  I think I made it a little too big for my feet anyways.  I might just stick with my default...I can't remember the name of the technique, but the bind off where you basically do the regular BO but you keep the stitch on the left needle thing.  But there are couple other bind-offs discussed in other Socupied, so knowing myself I'll probably try them too.

I started two more socks, one with KP Imagination and another with my first-attempt of self-striping yarn (3ply Targhee and Nylon blend), and they feel A LOT smoother on my needles and against each other.
I'm kind of really fascinated with the engineering of sock yarn now.  Hold on, and I will make some delicious yarn to sell in my store!


So, as a conclusion (at least for myself),
1) Smoother yarn is definitely more enjoyable
2) DPNs are awesome if you're not wearing a coat, and use metal ones for size0 unless you're using super slippery yarn
3) 2circs are also awesome if I'm not as stupid as I am
4) Try other bind-offs