Category: boxosox

WIPs & FOs | socks on socks on socks

While gathering my items to film our latest podcast episode, I realized I had finished four pairs of socks in the last four weeks… let’s jump in!

First, I finished the Solstice Sunset socks by Flock Fibre Studio, which I had started right before Christmas. If you’ve been reading my blog for a year or so, you’ll know I set out last January to decide whether or not I’m a sock knitter (turns out, I am)! I aimed to try different constructions, heels, toes, and methods… and I tried most of them last year. One thing I hadn’t attempted yet was two-at-a-time socks. So when I saw the pattern Flock Fibre Studio published, I immediately bought it. What I didn’t realize is that it would mean often juggling (that is, keeping untangled) 4 balls of yarn due to the fading of each color into the next. For this reason, it took me well over a month to knit them – and even then, they’re shorties! I couldn’t bear to keep going, so I forwent the final color of the fade and bound off after only a couple inches of leg. My dislike of knitting them has nothing to do with the pattern. It was very well-written and I really like the way they look! My issue was entirely due to lack of planning. The texture on these is so pretty, but also contributed to the tediousness of knitting them two-at-a-time. I highly recommend the pattern, though I definitely suggest you knit them one at a time! If I try two-at-a-time again – and I’m not sure I will – I’ll just do a plain, vanilla sock. I also don’t often knit an afterthought heel, but did enjoy the process on this pattern.

Next up was an impulsive cast-on with some Patons Kroy my friend Christine sent me! I did my normal vanilla sock pattern, but made them shorter because I only had 63 grams of this yarn. I knit these on my Addi Turbo Sock Rocket size US 1. The join on them isn’t smooth and I don’t like them much, but use them when my ChiaoGoo Red Lace 32-inch circulars (aff. link) are otherwise engaged. These are super simple but I think the colorway, Mexicala Stripes, is really fun! This is the second pair for my Box o’ Sox this year!

 

Next is possibly my favorite pair ever. My talented friend Christine sent me a skein of her gorgeous bamboo-blend handspun, which totally spoiled me! Another vanilla sock, the only issue I had with these is that I decided to try 9″ circulars for the first time. Let me tell you… it’s not for me! I have pretty small hands, but they still got so cramped while knitting. Because I didn’t want tension to change, I forged ahead and knit them both on these needles. I do see a use for them (for example, they might work well for colorwork), so I’ll keep them around… but I won’t be reaching for them!

My last finished pair are knit with Mockingbird Fiber Co. Staple Sock in A Little Less Conversation. This is yet another vanilla sock, but I loved every stitch of this gorgeous color! The contrast heel/toe is also Mockingbird Fiber Co. and was part of a sock set we had in February. I’ve never knit a sock so fast – I finished the first one in two days! My go-to vanilla socks include a Fish Lips Kiss Heel, my absolute favorite. Would you be interested in seeing what I do for my version of a “vanilla sock”? I’m thinking of writing it up (it would be free!)… let me know what you think!

So that wraps up my four newest pairs, including 3 for my Box o’ Sox… and I’ve already started another (super secret) one! I’m really ready to get back into knitting some textured socks. I think The Shallow is going to be next. What’s your go-to sock pattern right now?!

xoxo – Andrea

sock knitter survey no. 1 | Christine MacGillivray

You guys! I can hardly contain my excitement. I was overwhelmed by the response to my first completed box o’ sox when I shared it on Instagram. Some people were saying that I inspired them to knit socks, which is absolutely crazy to me! A year ago, I had knit a pair of socks, but I wasn’t enchanted by the process. So I resolved to knit socks all different ways to figure out what works for me! Twelve months and as many pairs of socks later, I can confidently say that I like knitting socks all kinds of ways! Anyway, after seeing comments that I was inspiring other knitters to make socks, I decided to share some of the sock-knitting ladies that have inspired me so much on my little journey. Some knit cuff down, some toe up. A few prefer two-at-a-time, while the rest knit one sock at a time. Whatever their preferences, they have each inspired me in their own way to try different techniques, play with color, and step out of my comfort zone.

Enter… the Sock Knitter Survey! I designed this survey to introduce you to amazing knitters you may not know about, or help you learn more about people you already follow! The idea of the survey is to showcase some of my favorite sock knitters and how they like to knit their socks. I hope you find it as fun and interesting as I do!

First up is one of the first friends I made on Instagram when I started my account four years ago… Christine @christine.knits! Christine is one of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. She has always been willing to answer my (sometimes stupid) knitting questions and I love everything she makes! We’ve done a few swaps via mail (she’s in Canada and I’m in Tennessee!) and she always sends the most thoughtful gifts. Oh, and her little family – including two sweet pups – is the cutest! I’ve sprinkled a few photos of Christine’s socks throughout the post. So… here we go!

Sock Knitter Survey No. 1

Tell us a little about yourself!
Hi!  My name is Christine and I’m an avid crafter and home body from Wabush, Labrador on the East Coast of Canada.  I’m a first time mom to my son, Ian, wife to my husband, Jordan, and proud, over-bearing dog mom to my two babies, Rhubarb and Honey.   I simply adore knitting and there isn’t a day that goes by without picking up a project and working away.  I also love spinning yarn, and I’ve recently been bitten by the cross stitch bug and am swiftly falling down that rabbit hole!  Other things that take up my free time are reading and baking!

 

When/how did you start knitting?
I don’t remember what age I was exactly, but I was around 12 or 13.  Knitting is something I remember my mom always doing when I was growing up.  She learned from my Dad’s Mother back when her and Dad were just dating.   It stuck with her and she continued to knit (and still does).  My brother and I always had gorgeous, handknit sweaters growing up and I asked one day if she could teach me.  She would cast on and knit a few rows to get me established, and then I would knit and knit and knit until the square I was aiming for was more of a wonky rectangle with dropped stitches and some very interesting increase techniques that you probably won’t find in any stitch dictionary!  But I liked it, and I continued to pick at it all through middle and high school.  It really stuck and became part of my every day like when I turned 18, and now, 11 years later, I’m still going strong!

What are your favorite things to knit?
Socks.  Socks hands down for so many reasons!  First, they are SO easy.  I can knit a sock doing anything.  I turn heels in waiting rooms, I cast on running errands, and I pick away at textured lovelies while playing with my son.  They are so portable, so easy, and so meditative.  Secondly, I’m kind of a neutral gal when it comes to dressing, but I love knitting with colour!  So sock knitting is the perfect excuse to pick up bright, vibrant colours to work with.  Lastly, and maybe the biggest reason for me, is that I was looking for something to knit that would get worn.  I really wanted a project I can rely on and not knit simply for the sake of knitting.  I wanted to have something that would one day be so worn down and loved that I would need to mend it, and I could look back on that project and think how much love was put into it and how much love I got from wearing it.  Socks seemed like the best fit!

Favorite sock yarn base? I really love an 80/20 superwash merino/nylon blend, but I also have a soft spot for BFL and bases that incorporate tweed, cashmere or bamboo.  I tend to like plumper sock yarn, on the side closer to Sport than Lace.

Preferred neeldes? I am all about wooden needles.  I love how warm and flexible they are!  It took me a long time and a lot of trial and error to find my perfect sock needle.  I’m a bit weird with needles because while I am not a tight knitter, I am SUPER hard on needles and tend to wear grooves into the tips.  I destroyed many a pair of Knit Picks wooden needles, Lykke needles, and even a pair of Karbonz.  The only needles I’ve found that can hold up to my special kind of knitting are Deborah Norville needles.  I like a US 1.5, 2.5 mm, 32” circular for magic looping.

Toe up or cuff down? Cuff down!  I get the appeal of toe up, and I like the idea of maximizing your yarn and getting those socks as long as possible, but I just love cuff down.  It’s how I originally learned socks and it stuck!

One- or two-at-a-time? One at a time.  I recently did a pair of socks in tandem on two different needles and I can see doing that again, but my default is one at a time.

Go-to heel? Heel flap.  I love heel flaps!  That moment when the whole heel comes together and you’ve magically changed direction – it’s the best!

Rounded toe or square toe? Rounded toe!  In particular I use the rounded toe in Sock Architecture by Lara Neel every single time.  It’s a great toe!  On another note, that is a killer book and a fantastic reference material to have if you are even remotely interested in sock knitting.

Shorties or longer legs? The longer the better!  I like my socks to go up as far as possible to keep me as toasty as possible!

Favorite yarn brands/indie dyers for sock yarn? For commercial yarn, it’s no surprise that I love Patons Kroy if you’ve ever visited my Instagram feed.  For indie dyers, I love Flock Fibre Studio, Lichen and Lace, Raven Wood Fibre Co., and The Fawn and the Fox (also, all amazing Canadian dyers).

Socks for yourself or for others? I am typically a selfish knitter!  I love knitting socks for myself, but I also love knitting socks for my very knit-worthy husband.  I’m also excited to knit socks for my son when he gets older!  Right now he’s still in the phase of kicking all of his socks off so the socks I have knit for him haven’t gotten a lot of wear!

What’s a sock knitting notion you can’t knit without? A progress keeper!  It’s actually the only notion I use when knitting socks!  But I do really really love a progress keeper.  Who doesn’t like a piece of jewelry for your knitting?

Are there any techniques you haven’t tried but would like to? I would like to explore knitting two-at-a-time and doing a toe-up sock pattern!

Any favorite sock patterns or sock pattern designers? I love Blueberry Waffle socks – I have so many pairs now!  In all honestly, I haven’t knit a lot of textured socks but this is a personal goal of mine for my sock knitting in 2019!  I’m currently knitting Snowfall socks by Tabitha Gandee and loving them!  Every sock she designs is so gorgeous, so she would be my favorite sock pattern designer right now.  I’m hoping to have a little collection of Tabitha Gandee socks at the end of the year!

Why do you love knitting socks?
They are just so therapeutic!  I love the simplicity of a vanilla sock, but also how easily you can switch things up with a patterned sock and have a little bit more interest.  With a 7 month old, knitting time can be a little hard to find, but socks make it easy to knit whenever you get a minute of two.  It’s not uncommon for me to walk around my house with a sock project in my pocket for any free moment I get!   I also love knitting socks for my husband because he simply loves them so much!  I get so much joy giving him socks and seeing him get truly exciting about them and hauling them on straight away.  It’s a fantastic feeling to share them with others!

Who else would you love to see do this survey?
Danaraeknits on Instagram is SUCH an amazing sock knitter!  Her feed in constantly inspiring me and she is such an uplifting, positive person.  My friend Julie just recently starting designing some beautiful sock patterns and they are gorgeous (julieannknitter on Instagram)!  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing her for since I started knitting socks and we’ve done a couple little KALs where we’ve knit socks together and it was great fun!

You can find Christine on Instagram at @christine.knits and Ravelry @winterbirdknits! Thank you so much to Christine for agreeing to participate in my inaugural survey!

box o’ sox 2018 | the big reveal

I’m about to share with you my biggest knitting accomplishment to date… no big deal. It’s 3 days until Christmas and instead of wrapping gifts or actually shopping for the few presents I still need to buy, I decided to finish my December socks while watching The Innocent Man on Netflix (have you seen it? So good!) this morning. #noregrets.

Last time I shared about my Box o’ Sox, I had just completed my pair for May. So we have some catching up to do! But first, a quick synopsis of the box. I hand-knit twelve pairs of socks for myself this year. Two toe-up, the rest cuff-down. They represent eight indie dyers, including four pairs from my own hand-dyed yarn company, Mockingbird Fiber Co. I knit nine pairs with the Fish Lips Kiss Heel (by far my favorite), one afterthought heel, one heel flap and gusset, and one German Short Row heel. They all have a longer leg (at least 5 inches) and a rounded toe. Half a dozen are vanilla socks and the other six are patterned. Although I’d make a few changes, I’m happy to have learned so many new techniques and I love every single pair!

So now for the big reveal… my first ever Box o’ Sox!!

I got this adorable photo box and Michaels for a few dollars and it perfectly fits 12 pairs of socks!

I can’t remember when I decided to commit to this knitalong or it just happened organically, but it is one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever finished in my knitting life!

The box starts at the bottom left, goes up, over, and back down, ending at bottom right. I’ll link to each project page if you care to read more about each pair, but I won’t go into graphic detail here (you’re welcome). I added an asterisk (*) beside my very favorite pairs.

January*: Vanilla socks with Candy Skein Tempting Sock in Blue Shave Ice
February: Smooth Operator socks with Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Hippity Hop
March*: Sugar Frost Socks with The Fawn & The Fox Doe in Old Fashioned
April: Blueberry Waffle Socks with FIber for the People Gilded in Peach Pit
May*: IfThen Socks with Knit Picks Felici in Spaceman
June: Vanilla socks with Woolberry Fiber Co. Simple Sock in How Rude!
July (top right): Late Night Socks with Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering, hand-dyed
August: Vanilla socks with Fiber for the People 2-ply Sock in Gotta Lava Mauna Loa
September*: Vanilla socks with Nomadic Yarns Trusty Sock in Mischief Managed
October*: Snowfall Socks with Mockingbird Fiber Co. Scrummy Sock in Brushfire Fairytales
November*: Slack Tide Socks with Mockingbird Fiber Co. Rustic Sock in Lady in Red
December: London B. Ridge Socks with Mockingbird Fiber Co. Sparkle Sock in Jingle Bell Rock

And that’s it! Phew. I haven’t worn a single pair yet and most of the ends are woven in. Don’t judge me.

My biggest goal for sock knitting this year wasn’t actually to finish a box of socks, at first. I just wanted to try all sorts of heels, toes, cuffs, cast-ons, bind-offs, etc. to find how I like to knit socks. As it turns out, I just like to knit socks! I enjoy both toe-up and cuff-down. I do like a rounded toe and the FLK heel, but I find it nice to switch it up now and then. Sometimes I enjoy a pattern and others I just want a vanilla sock. And I found my perfect “vanilla sock” recipe, so I don’t have to even look anymore – I just cast on and go! I love that. I love knitting socks. And I still can’t believe it!

bitten by the sock bug | sock journal no. 1

I can’t believe I’m typing this… I’ve been bitten by the sock bug! If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, this should surprise you. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not happy with how I look in garments right now (ugh), the fact that I have too many hats (if that’s even a thing), or because I have a bunch of sock yarn… but I totally want to knit all. the. socks. this year! Even more, I want to learn all different techniques – heels, toes, two-at-a-time, toe-up, 9 inch circulars… I could go on. But I won’t for your sake. You’re welcome 🙂

I always keep notes of what I’m doing on Ravelry, but I’ll be journaling more detailed notes here.

I recently wrote about frogging a sock and I’ve already knit a vanilla sock using that Candy Skein yarn! Here are all the details:
Pattern: N/A.. “Vanilla Sock” – C/O 60 sts using twisted German cast-on on size 1 needles. 2×2 rib for 20 rounds. Stockinette til leg is 7″.
Yarn: Candy Skein Tempting Sock (discontinued) in Blue Shave Ice
Heel: Fish Lips Kiss Heel by Sox Therapist
Toe: Rounded toe from Smooth Operator Socks by Susan B Anderson. Decreased to 24, then k2tog around, then k1, k2tog around. Kitchener the remaining 8 stitches closed.
Thoughts: I really enjoy 2×2 rib more than 1×1 for socks. 60 stitches seems to be the perfect number for my feet. I liked the FLK heel a lot! I need to work on tightening up the last stitch, but it fits very well. I also ripped out the toe and reknit to add more length. I’m learning that it’s better to rip back and be happy with what you knit! I measured my foot and it is 8.5″ (size US 5), so knitting the foot to 6.75″ from back of heel and doing the rounded toe described above makes the perfect length sock! I learned so much with this one and I think it will make knitting future socks so much easier.

I just love those speckles! I’ll make the second sock soon, but I got a serious case of castonitis and started completely different one! #sorrynotsorry

This time I decided to follow the Smooth Operator Socks pattern.
Pattern: Smooth Operator Socks. Mods: C/O 60 sts, 2×2 rib for 20 rounds. Stockinette til leg is 7″.
Yarn: madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Hippity Hop; Contrast heel/toe/cuff: Plucky Knitter Feet in Before You Go Go
Heel: Smooth Operator (afterthought) heel – 20 stitches before kitchener
Toe: Rounded toe from pattern, except I forgot the last 2 rounds of decreases, so I decreased to 6 stitches before kitchenering them.
Special Techniques: Contrasting heel/toe/cuff
Thoughts: This isn’t my first afterthought heel and I’m never a big fan of the fit. This one is no exception, unfortunately. I’m going to try something different on the second sock to try to fix the fit. Any tips?! I wasn’t happy with the toe either, but I think forgetting those decreases is the problem – I will remember them next time! Loved doing the contrast heel/toe/cuff! The colorway is out of my comfort zone, but the socks are so fun!

The second sock is already cast on and I anticipate it will go even faster than the first! The skein above is my newest acquisition – Peach Pit on Gilded from Fiber for the People. Isn’t it dreamy?! I’m trying to pick a pattern, as I want it to be my next pair of socks. What pattern would you knit with this gorgeous skein?!

This will be my first year participating in the #boxosoxkal and I’m really excited! Socks have become by companion while waiting at the allergist and they seem to fly off my needles! The thought of 12 hand-knit pairs of socks is so appealing to me right now. Now if only I can avoid second sock syndrome!