Friday Gauge Check: Making Progress

Personal Footprint Sock #2

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the completed foot of the second Personal Footprint Sock.  I’m actively working on this partially because I finished the red-and-white dishcloth that had been my work knitting, and mostly because Jack is a wonderful man who deserves hand-knit socks.

As I’ve mentioned before, this is based off of Cat Bordhi’s Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters (partially obscured in the picture by the sock).  Now, this is a really interesting way to knit socks, and it claims to make socks that fit better than any sock you’ve ever owned.  I have two minor problems with it, both of which are very… personal.  Now, I’d recommend this book to a beginning sock knitter without hesitation.  Also, if you or someone you knit socks for has weirdly shaped feet, particularly if you’ve had problems either buying or knitting socks that fit right.  If commercial socks slide down, but you can’t seem to knit to a pattern and produce good socks either, buy this book.

The socks in this book are incredibly and fundamentally customizable, and she has suggestions for fit issues every step of the way, from toe length to instep height to heel length, and they go together in a truly novel sort of way unlike any other sock you’ve ever knit.  Her instructions are clear, and I believe there are helper YouTube videos linked on her website if you get stuck.

My problems are two, and very minor.  First, the sock is based around a template that you make of your recipient’s foot.  You knit to a certain point in the template, then you do the next step.  That means carrying around the template, which is… well, it’s a piece of heavy cardboard the size of an adult male foot.  While Jack doesn’t have super-big feet, it’s still sort of awkward fitting it in my purse.  I’m sure I could fold it in half or something… there are ways around this (again, very minor) issue.

The other problem, and this is much more difficult to solve for, is that the way the pattern is written, there’s no heel turn.

 That’s why I’d recommend this for beginner sock knitters – heel turns are scary for a lot of people.  A heel turn is finicky and complicated and really easy to screw up. I banished the Ribbed Socks to the UFO bin for several months because I was having problems with the heel turn, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s done this.  They’re a major pain in the butt for sock knitters… and they’re also my favorite part of sock knitting.  Not the heel turn itself, but the moment when you finish, and you’ve turned this sort of shapeless tube into something that is obviously a sock.  It’s like magic.

With Bordhi’s method, on the other hand, you knit to a certain point (where the sock hits the ankle bone, I believe), and you slide in a lifeline, knit two rows, and then slide in another lifeline.  Then you take a small piece of waste yarn and tie it around the midpoint stitch of that middle row.  After that, you knit the heel decreases, which are exactly like the toe increases, only backwards, close off the heel, and then slide your needles into the stitches where the lifelines are.

You pick up that single stitch you tied off… and cut the stitch.  I KNOW, RIGHT? You unravel the row, and that creates the leg opening.  So it’s sort of like steeking in Fair Isle, only with less scissor action, and it’s admittedly a little scary.

So I just did that, and I’m about to head into leg knitting, which is pretty much my least favorite part of sock knitting, because it’s just around and around until you get tired of it.  On this sock, anyway, which is a completely plain-vanilla sock.

I’ve able to make this much headway on my knitting because work has slowed down a lot.  I won’t have to work overtime after this week, which is sad because it’s less money, but it’s also less stressful and exhausting, and I’ll have more time to do fun things, like spend time with Jack, and knit.

Speaking of knitting, the neverending shawl search is over!  I decided to hunt for patterns specifically recommended for handspun, and after trying several others, I finally discovered Lucia Tedesco’s December Little Shawl.  It didn’t require casting on 300 stitches – which, considering how many times I’ve tried that and discovered that I didn’t like the pattern with the yarn, was a plus – it’s simple enough to work on in company, and it’s an easily memorable pattern.  I’m at about kerchief size, making good progress, and the only problem that I’ve run into is that the yarn is spun out of some sort of short-staple wool and it makes me sneeze.  So I may have to knit wearing a surgical mask.  Either that, or sneeze a lot.

I wove a little bit this week, and determined that the brown Wool of the Andes that didn’t work for the Skull Isle hat looks fantastic with the gold yarn of the warp.  I’m happy, Jack is happy, the loom is less neglected, and I won’t have to re-warp it to get a project that I enjoy working on, which makes me even happier.

Plus! A super-secret project for my boss that’s got me doing amigurumi design!  It’s exciting and I’m having fun with it (if not with the rather splitty yarn I’m trying to use, yuck).

My local JoAnn Fabrics had some rosewood cable needles on clearance, and I scored 29″ needles in sizes 6, 7, and 8 for about $5 apiece, which is awesome.  I think 29″ is a good small-shawl length, which leads neatly to what I plan to do with my next week.

I’m definitely going to be casting on another (more interesting) pair of socks, probably the Manly Aran Socks out of Wendy Johnson’s Toe-Up Socks for Every Body.  The rosewood cable needles mean that I can finally start the Citron shawl (or maybe the Forest Ridge) with my languishing Malabrigo lace!  Then, if I have time, maybe a colorwork project – I need a June project for my 11 Fingerless Gloves in ’11 challenge, and there are some beautiful ones in my queue – and more weaving.

Also I am taking a Secret Excursion this weekend (okay, I’m going to Tucson to do a yarn crawl and see Harry and the Potters) and might come back with something super-special.

Party in the comments!  Check your own gauge, leave recommendations for wacky wizard music, tell me what super secret projects you’re up to.

~ by Amber on June 10, 2011.

One Response to “Friday Gauge Check: Making Progress”

  1. Oh man, I love that Citron shawl. I keep sort of wanting to knit/crochet, but can’t right now with hand issues and lack of time to learn.

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