Fireweed socks

This pattern just took so much longer than I would have liked. But the final pair of test knits is done and I just have a pair to do for photos. This means Fireweed Socks are actually getting published in March 2021.

The final pattern includes three sizes, and some handy hints for making more sizes for extra narrow or extra wide feet. I’ve detailed two heel types, both a traditional eye of partridge heel and a German short row heel. The socks are top down with a wedge toe and kitchener stitch to finish.

Fireweed (Chamerion Angustifolium) is native to North America and you might see it if you are out hiking in British Columbia. It’s a lovely plant with very pretty pink or purple flowers. Look for it at the edges of woodland. My pattern uses the spikiness of the leaves for inspiration.

fireweed stem seed
Photo from Ediblewildfood.com

I’ve used Knit Picks Capretta Superwash and Koigu KPM wool to make these socks but you can use any sock wool that you like working with. The pattern is very textured and subtle so works best with a solid or semi solid yarn colourway. This is a great unisex sock to knit and is a very simple repeat.

Please check out the patterns page for where to purchase from. Pattern release is set for 17 March 2021

Getting my knitting mojo back

Today the wood duck socks fly away to their forever home, where I know they will be treasured.

I’ve been in a bit of funk throughout the winter. COVID distancing, plus grey skies and wet make me take a bunch of duvets days. I felt uninspired to work on any knitting and certainly not on any patterns that I have in development. My only bright spot was I had the crochet Persian Blanket keeping me going.

But….I needed to get my knitting mojo back. The answer was plain vanilla socks in a riot of colours. They are mismatched/matched and I love them. There’s an order to songbirdfibres in my near future for more yarn. I’m loving the matched/mismatched nature of these socks and they were great fun to knit. Taking them off after the photos was hard!

If you need to get your knitting mojo or any crafting mojo back, maybe do a simple project that is just fun and makes you smile when you pick it up.

Plain Vanilla socks

Sometimes when I’m designing a sock I get all up in the complexity of something new or different. But when you start knitting socks a basic sock with a stocking stitch is a really good place to start and also provides you with a great hardwearing sock.

I have been trying to finish my Persian Tiles afghan but have been stymied while I wait for a little bit of additional wool. It’s been frustrating as all I want to do is finish the afghan and put it together and then be gleeful about it. Instead I’m looking at a half finished triangle mournfully. So I tried to pick up a different project. But nothing was appealing to me. I have 5 projects on needles and not one was speaking to me. I needed something I wanted to do that wouldn’t take very long. Vanilla socks to the rescue!

I petted the yarn in my stash and found some lovebird yarn. Two small skeins dyed in wood duck colours. One male (so bright, so colourful!) one female (muted browns) but with brilliant pops of pink and blue. Aha! So I am doing two socks. One female with a male heel and one male with a female heel. As I’m knitting I’m remembering that sometimes you want a plain pattern that shows your yarn off to amazing effect.

The yarn is from the amazing Songbird Fibres. I’m halfway through sock 1 and can’t wait to see what happens with sock 2.

Sweetheart Socks

A simple vanilla sock with a little texture to make it interesting.  When you put your feet together you will have a heart shape looking back at you.  This sock is designed for Knit Picks Felici yarn to take advantage of the wonderful self-striping colourways, but an be made with any self-striping or single yarn.

There are 3 size options given and you can adjust the leg height and shock length to individual requirements. 

Techniques:

  • Written pattern
  • top down
  • double pointed needles
  • kitchener stitch

Materials:

  • 2 skeins of Knit Picks Felici yarn or 300 – 436 yards of other sock yarn to make these lovely and loving socks
  • Tapestry needle
  • stitch markers

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They are a great idea for a present any time of year, but would make an unusual and delightful Valentine’s Day present.

Sweetheart socks and Cat

cat lounging beside sock clad feet

I’d finished the socks this Friday and decided to do some photos, get the math finalized and publish pattern by October 30th. I’m still on track for that, but the cat was all interested in ‘helping’ with these photos. My concern is that although adorable he does kind of steal the show! There’ll be other photos that focus more on the socks, but I think I’m leaving this one in there.

Sweetheart Socks

I’m on the final leg of these before publishing the pattern. I have one sock done for the last test knit and one to go. I’m very happy with the final result and it’s been well worth the additional test knits to get rid of any kinks that are out there.

I love this colourway! This is what I designed these socks for, bold stripes with just a little bit of texture, but nothing that detracts from stripy goodness.

How to make a sock – part 3

Back on sock making. It’s Socktober and a great time to pick up a sock that’s been waiting for you to finish it or to start sock making. In part 2 I was talking about how to cast on your sock. Once you’ve got your sock joined in the round – making sure the yarn isn’t twisted you are ready to go.

The tops of socks need to be a little bit stretchy – they need to grab onto your leg and not just slide down in. So nearly every sock top is some form of rib. My two favourites are variations on a 2 x 2 rib. The most basic one is knit 2, then purl 2 for a set number of rows. My second favourite is a k2tbl (knit two stitches through the back of the loop) and then purl two.

The blue top in the picture above is a straight knit 2, purl 2 rib.

Different types of ribbing

Sock patterns can be great at telling you exactly what they are doing and others leave it a bit in the air. You can do a 1 x 1 rib, a 2 x 2 rib or a 3 x 3 rib. Much bigger and you aren’t going to get the stretch you want. But you could also do a 2 x 3 to mix it up a bit for example. If you don’t like the rib at the top of the pattern you are using – change it. There is nothing to stop a sock knitter from moving to a preferred rib.

How long should the rib go on for? Well it depends on sock length and also personal preference. If I am doing an ankle sock I will do 6 – 10 rib rounds. If I am doing a sock where the leg part is 7 – 9 inches (18 – 23 cm) then my preference is for 15 ribbed rounds. But you can get away with 10 or 20.

There are also special socks where you fold down the rib pattern – doubling what you would normally knit. It’s incredibly customizable!

Sock leg

Once you’ve done the top of your sock you are ready to start your leg pattern or just happily knit a vanilla sock (knit all stitches) giving you a stocking stitch sock. This is particularly effective with a self-striping yarn as it looks great and you didn’t have to think about it at all. You can see this below in a straight 2 x 2 rib going straight into a vanilla (stocking stitch) stripe.

In part four – sock heels!

To start from the beginning – click the link below

Cursed socks

I have been lucky. Normally I finish sock 1 and then immediately start sock 2 and don’t get second sock syndrome. This last pair though, what a mission! I made a mistake in sock 1. Then thought I’d try a wrap and turn heel. Hated it. Finished sock and wanted nothing to do with sock 2. I finally finished sock 2 last night and can’t wait to get onto something else. I ended up repeating the mistake (for making the socks look the same) and there is little more frustrating than deliberately making a mistake.

By the time I got to the heel I knew I would never complete if I did a wrap and turn, so trusty german short row it was. But then I messed that up and dropped a stitch (unnoticed) just before the heel. So I ended up with a big gap, which got fixed with a little yarn.

These socks are cursed socks. I gift them to no-one. They are not for wearing, they will harm any who come in contact with them. I am sure of it. I keep them for use against my enemies if needed.

How to make a sock – Part 2

Casting on a sock

I do all of my socks on DPN’s (Double Pointed Needles). I know alot of people swear by the magic loop method but once I got my head around using DPNs they just worked for me. Plus they are a useful item for in your stash. I use different sizes for socks, shaping the crown of hats and also they make really good needles for cabling.

If you are making a sock with fingering or sock wool you will likely have a pattern that tells you to cast on 56, 60 or 64 stitches. There are other sizes, but these are the most common. This is the stage that most intimidated me for the longest time, but if we break it down it becomes much easier! What am I supposed to do with all of these needles – I’m used to two needles – and then I’d give up. So the instructions below are how to get over that initial freak out.

All of the steps below are based on a 60 stitch pattern. You would add or subtract one stitch per needle for a 64 or 56 stitch pattern. I will be referring to the Needles as N1, N2, N3 and so on.

Step one:

Using two of your DPN needles, cast on 15 stitches onto N1. I use a long-tail cast on, but you can use any cast on that you are comfortable with. Right now it looks like normal knitting. You have two needles and all your stitches are being created on the left-hand needle. Once you have 15 stitches though you need to move onto N2. This is where things used to come unstuck for me. You need to continue on with creating new stitches, using the same yarn, but on a new needle. Pick up a new needle and cast on 15 stitches onto N2. You now have 30 stitches across 2 needles. Keep going until you have 15 stitches on 4 different needles.

Helpful tip:

You can cast on more than 15 stitches on N1. I often cast on 20 or 25 and then just slip the correct number of stitches across to N2 and continue on. If your DPNs are long enough you may want to cast all the stitches onto N1 and then slip them across the other needles until you have the correct number on each needle.

Step 2:

Carefully lay your needles into a square, making sure that all stitches are facing the same way and the yarn has not twisted over. N4 should be touching N1. We are joining our stitches in the round, just we would if we were using circular needles. The big difference is that it looks like a square rather than a round, but I promise you – it will knit a lovely round sock! Magic!

Once you have joined your square you are ready to start knitting your sock.

We’ll be looking at different sock tops in the next part of this series.

For the beginning of this series please click here: https://kororaknits.ca/2020/08/how-to-make-a-sock-part-1/