Friday, 20 October 2017

FO Friday: Lots of socks!

It's been a producive couple of weeks of sock knitting, so for FO (finished object) Friday I have not one, but two pairs of socks to share with you.

When my aunt and uncle sent out save the date cards earlier in the year for their joint 70th birthday party, I knew that I wanted to knit them each a pair of socks. I think handknitted socks are prety much the perfect present: every stitch is knitted with love, and even if someone already has some handknitted socks, they do eventually wear out, so you can't really have too many. Once I had decided that I wanted to knit socks I contacted my cousin to see if he could find out my aunt and uncle's shoe sizes for me, which he did.

I had known for months that the party would be in mid-October, but for whatever reason didn't cast on the first pair of socks until the start of September, and knitted the first one and a half socks around other projects, rather than dedicating any proper knitting time to them, which meant the final two and half socks were knitted at super high speed last week. One day I will learn!

The first pair of socks I knitted was for my uncle. I used Regia Pairfect*, which is designed to be knitted from the top-down, and pulled from the centre of the ball. This isn't my favourite way of knitting socks (I usually knit them toe-up), or way of pulling yarn from a ball (I usually work outside in), but I decided to go with it, and used Kate Atherley's book Custom Socks to guide me through the sock knitting process. I LOVE this book. It has lots of very useful information inside, including a table of shoe sizes and how they correspond to foot measurements, as well as basic top-down and toe-up sock patterns for lots of gauges.

The socks knitted up really nicely, and other than a little tangling at the start of the ball of yarn, pulling from the centre of the ball was ok too. One huge advantage of the top-down sock pattern in Custom Socks is that it doesn't require grafting at the toe, instead you draw up the final few stitches and secure them in place. As I'm not a fan of Kitchener stitch, I think I'll use this toe method again, should I ever knit more top-down socks.

There might be ambitions for more complex sock construction somewhere along the line!
Ta dah! Finished socks!
All wrapped and ready to go

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The socks for my aunt were always going to be quicker than the socks for my uncle. I am used to knitting socks in UK size 9+, so UK size 5.5 socks always seem tiny. But realistically, I should have cast the socks on before the Thursday before the Sunday party! I had never before managed to knit socks in under 5 days, and that was a pretty intensive experience. But all I could do was try, so I cast on the socks and got knitting.

I decided that as both pairs of socks were going to the same household I would use the same construction, so again following the pattern in Custom Socks. My aunt loves the colour red, so I had a bit of a think, and remembered that I had some West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply* from their bird range that featured red stiripes (Bullfinch) in stash, and that I had the coordinating solid (Cayenne Pepper), so decided to combine the two, using the solid for the cuffs, toes and heels and the stripes for the rest of the sock.

I had forgotten how much I like working with the bird stripe colopurways: the stripes are quite short, so I always feel like I'm making speedy progess, and the repeats mean you can measure how much progress you're making (and whether you're on track for your stupidly tight deadline). I took these socks everywhere for the latter part of last week - in the car, in the kitchen, to drinks, to dinner, to breakfast... I even knitted on them while sat on a wall outside King's College in Cambridge city centre (and only got the ocassional odd look).

By Sunday morning I still had half a foot and toe to go. And if I had nothing else to do I could have completed them before we got to the party. But in the end I hid in a corner for the first 30 minutes of the party and quickly did the final few rounds, then hastily darned in the final few ends before putting the completed socks into their gift box and adding them to the pile of presents. I would have loved to get better FO photos of these socks, but it wasn't to be. If you imagine the first sock looks like the second you're there!

In the end I managed to get the second pair of socks knitted in about three and a half days, which is pretty insane when even I think about it! Remind me next time I have a birthday deadline to allow myself at least a week to get the socks knitted!

The state of play on Friday morning. Maybe a little behind schedule...
Slight hold-up! For some reason I struggle to keep count while knitting toes, and sometimes it's easier to start the toe again than to try and fix it!
One sock down!
The finished socks, all ready to gift
 
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Regia Pairfect socks
Yarn: Regia Pairfect* in Waterfall 7114
Size 9.5 (UK)
Ravelry page

West Yorkshire Spinners socks
Yarn: West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply* in Bullfinch and Cayenne Pepper (heels, toes and cuffs)
Size 5.5(UK)
Ravelry page

*Affiliate link.

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