Saturday, June 10, 2006

Knit, Chat, Eat … Who Could Ask for More?

After a long absence from my favorite LYS (Farmhouse Knits in Beaverton, OR), I finally made an appearance there yesterday morning. I was scheduled to have lunch with a friend, Tess, who is an instructor at Farmhouse. She kindly invited me to join her before lunch at her Friday knit session. It’s a small group that meets on Fridays and pays a nominal fee to have the undivided attention and assistance of a great knitting instructor.

What I found when I arrived at FH were five of the nicest gals one could hope to meet. They were wonderfully friendly and welcoming, allowing me to feel at home and comfortable without any of the feelings of being an outsider that can come when a new person joins an established group. We knit, we chatted, we nibbled on farm-fresh strawberries. I even made some real progress on my latest project (more about that coming …)

Afterward was time for lunch with Tess which was, as always, a delight. Tess and I share the common ground of not only our love of knitting and fiber, but also the challenges of moving from a more traditional career to the rocky road of eking out a meager living in the world of knitting and fiber. And, of course, she’s just an all-around good egg.

Who could ask for a better Friday morning?

And so on to some knit chat now …

I’ve now finished the lacy cashmere scarf that I wrote about when I started a couple of weeks ago. No photo yet, as I need to block it before I can call it a “done.” I don’t usually bother to block scarves, but I think blocking will help bring out the stitch definition a bit more and improve the overall look. We shall see. I have not yet begun the lace shawl I keep meaning to start. Sigh.

My latest project is another pair of socks. Yes, I know. More socks. (Stop that feigned yawning and sighing! I can’t help it. I love knitting socks and I also don’t have the time for a major project right now.)

I’ve already finished the first one, thanks to that extra 90 minutes of knitting time I had at FM yesterday. Here’s a pic of sock number one. It’s knit with my Fearless Fibers Merino Sock Yarn in the Saltwater Taffy colorway.

The cuff is a double-eyelet rib. If you’re new to sock-knitting and looking to graduate from the most basic stockinet and rib sock to something with a bit more character, this is an easy way to do it. You can simply replace the ribbed cuff in your standard sock pattern with something a bit more interesting. In this case, I chose the double-eyelet rib. A few things to keep in mind when you’re selecting a stitch to replace the standard ribbed cuff:

Keep gauge in mind. Test the gauge of the stitch you are considering to be sure it’s close to the gauge of the ribbing in your standard pattern. If it’s not, you would need to do much more amending to your pattern to make it work.
Keep elasticity in mind. You don’t want to lose the elasticity of your sock ribbing when you change stitches. (Nobody wants a sock that slides down their leg all the time!) I personally like to simply choose an alternative stitch that is itself also a ribbed stitch, such as this double-eyelet rib. You can also retain a traditional ribbing for the first couple of inches and then move into a pattern stitch of your choosing, so that you still have a cuff to hold up the sock.
Keep the number of stitches in mind. When selecting your stitch pattern, keep in mind the number of stitches for a full round of your sock. The standard pattern I use calls for 56 stitches. That was another reason the double-eyelet rib worked so well. It’s a 7-stitch repeat and so 8 repeats of the pattern stitch work perfectly to complete one round of 56 stitches.
Keep in mind that you’re knitting in the round. Finally, don’t forget that the pattern stitch you are considering will likely be written for knitting on straight needles rather than in the round, so you’ll need to “reverse” every other row (knit the purls, purl the knits, etc) to knit the pattern stitch in the round. This is another reason the double-eyelet rib worked so well for my sock. Here’s how the seven-stitch repeat of the pattern stitch is written to begin with, followed by the revised stitch to knit in the round.

Double-Eyelet Rib – knit on straight needles:
Row 1: K5, P2
Row 2: K2, P5
Row 3: K2TOG, YO, K1, YO, SL1, K1, PSSO, P2
Row 4: K2, P5

Double-Eyelet Rib – knit in the round:
Row 1: K5, P2
Row 2: K5, P2
Row 3: K2TOG, YO, K1, YO, SL1, K1, PSSO, P2
Row 4: K5, P2

As you can see, the only differences are in every other row – rows 2 and 4 – and the modifications are virtually nothing, just a simple reversal of the knit and purl stitches to take into account that you are knitting in the round.

And so all in all, this was a very simple stitch to add to a straightforward sock pattern to give it a bit more character. Finally, I also purled one row at the start of the sock to give it a bit of foundation and then added three rows of garter (starting on a purl row) at the end of the ribbed section, to give a smoother look to where the stitch pattern transitions into stockinet.

Enough sock chat! I need to get my day underway now and decide whether or not to attend a get-together at another LYS across town where several local Etsy sellers are meeting this morning. I really want to go and I know I probably should, but I have so much yarn that is calling to me from my workshop (“Dye me! Dye me!” Can you hear it?), and the meeting is all the way on the other side of town, so I’m not sure yet if I will attend. I’ll have to noodle on it …

Happy Knitting


knitiot savant said...

Hi there,
Thanks for the nice comments about your visit to Farmhouse. We are a great group, if I do say so myself. As a group we absolutely love socks. We will have to tell you the story sometime about how 3 avowed anti-sockers became converts. Hope to see you soon. Oh, and love your sock.

Brenda the Knitter said...

I dig that sock too. I may have to get some of that color. Love it.

anne said...

mmmm, taffy!

the kitchener bitch said...

what a great sock! I love it.