[An aside to start: Today is my 3-year blogiversary, yippee! Time: she flies.]
Ahhh, February, I hardly knew ye……Sorry for all of the radio silence! February was hectic, to say the least, but our thoughts and energy here at MWD are now turning to warmer days and spring weather and, hopefully, a new leaf in general.
A good chunk of last month was devoted to a lovely, but secret, behind-the-scenes knitting project that I can’t show you just yet. I’m very pleased with how it came out and will be very excited to share it once I’m allowed, so hang tight until then!
In the meantime, I’ve been dabbling with another knitting project and a new-to-me technique. I’ve knit many pairs of socks and am a huge fan of doing so – there’s nothing cozier than wool-warmed feet on a cold morning. But I’ve only ever knit them one at a time, from the cuff down to the toe. The “old-fashioned way,” if you will. So it was time to branch out! You also may recall that, some time ago, I went to a workshop with Melissa Morgan-Oakes to learn how to knit both socks at the same time, from the toe up. (Good grief, it was three years ago! Life is going by too fast!!) Melissa has a wonderful book that guides a newbie through the entire process, so I finally decided that it was time to put those workshop skills to use and try the technique.
Above is my progress thus far – aren’t they fun? In some kind of spurt of semi-athletic feeling, I cast the socks on during the Opening Ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics, with Melissa’s book balanced on my lap as I fiddled with the initial cast on and starting of each toe. I must admit: the beginning part of these socks is fiddly. Very fiddly. I’m sure that I feel that way because the technique is new to me and I needed to read each line of the instructions as I proceeded, but getting these socks up and running is certainly more difficult than starting a traditional sock at the cuff. In other words, have plenty of coffee and chocolate to hand when starting this project.
That being said, once you’ve got the toes established and have created enough stitches for each sock to make the knitting easier to hold onto, then the process really flies and it’s so, so fun to see both socks evolving at the same time! In other words, if you stick with it and just follow the instructions carefully, you’ll be totally fine. You just have to have faith and patience! (Also, here’s my newbie tip to share, that I haven’t seen mentioned in the book yet: be sure to really tug on your yarn as you switch from one side (e.g., the sole side) of the sock to the other side (e.g., the top side). Otherwise, you will get some serious stitch ladders that disrupt the nice fabric you’re making.)
Here’s a close-up of the yarn that I’m using, and a more accurate rendering of its true color, which I love. I had heard quite a bit about the fun colorways available from Biscotte & Cie, a yarn company in Montreal, Quebec. They have a wide range of “Felix” yarn, the self-striping fingering-weight yarns that make the perfect socks, in my opinion. (That’s why my socks will just be simple stockinette stitch – to really let the stripes have all the fun.) I’m happy to report that this yarn is great to work with, nice and smooth and tightly spun so that the stitches are even and well-defined. The skeins are also generous on yardage. And of course I love these colors, especially that lime green that brightens up all of the dreary weather we’ve tolerated lately. I purchased this skein and one other at the recent Vogue Knitting Live event in NYC, but I’m sure that Biscotte & Cie yarns are also available online as well.
The other thing that makes knitting these socks a pleasure is that I splurged on the lace tips for my circular needle. In general, I prefer very sharp tips on my needles, as the sharp tips (a) reduce the chances that you’ll split your yarn plies; and (b) speed up your knitting in general. Knitting the socks at the same time requires a very long circular needle, and this is a 40″ Size 1 needle made by Addi Turbo, one of my favorites.
So that’s it! I’m currently up to the part where I make the heel gussets, so it’ll be interesting to discover the short row shaping/construction for that section, before I head for home with a simple stockinette leg and ribbed cuff. Hey, if I’m lucky, I’ll have these socks finished just in time for the weather to be warm enough to not need socks. 😉