Sunday, May 27, 2007

Vine Lace Summer Socks Pattern

In honor of Memorial Day, the traditional start of summer weather and activities, but also so much more. Take a minute tomorrow at 3:00 pm local time to remember those who have died serving our country in war and peace. Memorial Day started after the Civil War as Decoration Day, when people would go to the cemetary to clean up graves and place flags and flowers.

The actual stitch pattern for these socks has been around for awhile. I'm not sure where I found it the first time. I was looking for a stitch pattern for some new yarn and found it in my stitch library (culled from many sources, web and print based). It may be in one of the Walker Treasuries. A sock designed by Kathy Garguild is one of my favorites from the book Socks Socks Socks by XRX Books. (1999) When I do a search on the term vine lace sock (and variations) I don't come up with the reference where I got the pattern. I swatched with ribbing at the top and then started the pattern. After a few inches I decided that I didn't like how the sock looked. I did like how the yarn's soft stripes looked in the vine lace pattern. I ripped it out and started over with a simple garter edge, which ripples a little bit because of the chevron of the lace stitch. A better picture is coming soon.

Vine Lace Stripe Sock Pattern
Knitted on one 12" Circular Needle

Sized to fit Women's Medium (size 8 feet)
Gauge: 8.5 sts and 9 rows to the inch in stockinette.

Supplies Needed:

Size 2.0 MM Addi Turbo(r) Circular needle (U.S. size 0) (or the size needed to achieve gauge)

Size 2.0 mm or 2.25 mm (1 U.S.) double point needles, which you will need for the heel and the toes, set of 5.

I prefer using a 12" ADDI turbo circular to knit my sock, so that's how this pattern is written. It can certainly be knit using any method you prefer. See my post about using markers instead of needles to avoid ladders and convert any pattern to your preferred method of knitting.

100 grams of Opal Cotton/Wool Blend in the Hundertwasser Positive/Negative colorway. You may also use another cotton and wool blend fingering weight (sock) yarn such as Regia, Meilenweit, Lang Jawoll or Sockotta, or try Tofutsies or the new Bamboo blends. This pattern will look nice in solids or self striping yarns, or a yarn like the one I chose, which is a little bit of both. I'm not big on wearing the red, white and blue, but this pattern might work well in that yarn too.

2 small circular markers


CO = Cast on
K = Knit
KW = knit wise, or inserting your needle into the next stitch as if you were going to knit it
P = Purl
PSSO = Pass the slipped stitch over the stitch you just knitted (just like binding off)
PW = purl wise, or inserting your needle into the next stitch as if you were going to purl it
SL = Slip
SSK = slip a st PW to right needle, slip a second st KW to right needle, then move them back to the left needle knit those two together
TOG = together (as in K2TOG: knit two stitches together to decrease one stitch)
YO = Bring the yarn to the front of the work as if you were going to purl. Instead, bring the yarn back over the needle and knit the next stitch. This creates a hole, and a new stitch, which must be accounted for with an accompanying decrease

Sock Pattern
CO 72 sts. Join, being careful not to twist, and knit in garter stitch for 6 rounds, ending with a knit round.

Garter Stitch in the Round:

Round 1: Purl
Round 2: Knit
Repeats rounds 1 and 2 for as many rounds as you want

Vine Lace Stripe Pattern Stitch (9 stitch repeat)

Round 1: *K1, yo, k2, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog, k2, yo*; rep between *’s
Round 3:
*yo, k2, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog, k2, yo, k1*; repeat between *’s
Rounds 2 & 4: Knit
Repeats rounds 1-4 for pattern

Place a marker at join. The striping pattern of most yarns should look nice for both sizes at this gauge. Knit around in the vine lace pattern stitch until sock tube measures 5-6 inches long (stretched out), ending with round 1 or 3 of the lace pattern.

NOTE: Don't worry when you first start knitting the lace pattern. The sock will flare out and look like a flower and you'll swear it will never fit anyone but Bigfoot. Not to worry, keep knitting a few repeats of the lace and the sock will calm down. The top does flop over a bit when not on the foot. I don't find this to be a problem. If it really bothers you, you can knit a few more rounds of garter stitch before beginning the lace pattern. The lace does not have a lot of widthwise stretch (think Jaywalker).

Remove marker until the heel is finished. Change to double pointed needles (or keep using two circulars or one long magic loop circular), keeping the instep stitches on the circular needle. I knit the heel on double points. Knit across the first 36 stitches. This is the first row of the heel.

Heel: Eye of Partridge with slipped stitch edge (EOP)

Row 1: *slip 1, K1,* repeat between *'s to end

Row 2: slip 1, P to end

Row 3: slip 1, K1, *k1, slip 1,* repeat between *'s to last 2 sts, end K2 (Don’t end with a slipped stitch.) This alternates the slipped stitches, creating the EOP pattern. I originally discovered (unvented) this variation when I made a mistake doing the heel sitch and liked what I created. Later on I learned that it had a name. Many patterns will have you slip two stitches at the start of round 3, then K1, SL1, but for stability I prefer to have two knit stitches in a row instead of two slipped stitches.

Row 4: repeat Row 2.

Knit in this pattern until heel flap is 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 inches long. This is a matter of personal preference. Measure the bare foot of the intended recipient from floor to middle of ankle bone to determine the correct measurement. You can also knit until the heel flap is square, as many patterns state, but with the eye of partridge stitch drawing in the heel I prefer to use an actual measurement.

Heel turn: (round heel) Thanks to Dave Mackay's "heels by number" which was the inspiration for these.

(Note: SSK = slip a st PW* to right needle, slip a second st KW* to right needle, then knit those two together)

Row 1: slip 1, knit 18, ssk, k 1, turn

Row 2: slip 1, purl 5, p2tog, p1, turn

Row 3: slip 1, knit 6, ssk, k1, turn

Row 4: slip 1, purl 7, p2tog, p 1, turn.

Continue on, adding one st knitted or purled at the center of the row until all sts have been worked. I try to keep knitting the heel turn in the EOP stitch, but it's not essential. You should be ending with a knit row. If not, knit across the heel until you reach the first pick up edge.

Using a new double point needle, pick up & knit one st from each slipped st along the edge of the heel flap (about 20). If there is a little gap where the heel meets the instep stitches, pick up a strand and twist it, then knit it to close the hole. If you have to, pick up another loose area and repeat the process. Place the first marker here. Knit across the 36 instep stitches (still waiting patiently on the circular needle holder), place second marker. This will be round 2 or 4 of the vine lace stitch (plain knit), which you didn't knit earlier. Pick up & knit stitches on the opposite side of heel flap, knit across heel flap to three stitches from first marker. You should have about 96-104 stitches on the needle at this point. It is not critical to have an exact number of stitches, as you will continue to decrease the extra stitches away until you return to the same number that you started with.

NOTE: I've recently rediscovered a great band heel which mitigates the wider heel stripes and all decrease rounds at this great site. I knit my last two pairs using this heel and it is very nice. I still use the EOP slip stitch, which means I have to add a few rows to the heel flap before decreasing. Then I have a few decrease rounds after picking up the gusset stitches. Thanks to Nan for this great pattern and tutorial, and to Nancy Bush for popularizing the band heel.

Decrease Rounds:

Three stitches from first marker, K2 TOG, K 1. Slip marker, and knit across the 36 stitch instep in the vine lace pattern to the second marker, slip it, K 1, SSK, knit around to the first marker. Around this point you will want to change back to using the circular needle. Knit one round without decreasing (or two, if you like a slower rate of decrease for a higher instep), and repeat decrease round. Repeat decrease and plain knit rounds until 72 sts remain on the needle, 36 on the instep and 36 on the foot. Knit plain, without decreasing, and keeping the instep stitches in the lace pattern and the foot stitches in stockinette, until the foot is about 7.25" long (2 to 2 1/2 inches less than desired length). .

Wedge toe:

Round 1: Knit to last 3 sts before first marker, k2 tog, k1, slip marker, K1, SSK, knit to last 3 sts before second marker, K2 TOG, K1, slip marker, K1, SSK.

Round 2: Knit around in stockinette stitch.

Change to double pointed needles again when you have too few stitches to go around the circular needle easily. Repeat these two rounds until 18 sts remain. Divide the 18 sts between 2 needles at markers and Kitchener stitch (graft) them together or do a 3-needle bind off like me.

Now knit the second sock!

Copyright 2007 Margie Dougherty

All rights reserved. You may print this pattern and share it with others, providing this notice remains attached.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Lucky Seven

I finished pair number seven in the 52 pair plunge challenge a few days ago. I used a cream colored Regia cotton. This is the Grapevine pattern from More Sensational Socks by Charlene Schurch (Page 96). It's a 12 round pattern, with every odd round plain knitting. I think these might be for my Sockapalooza 4 swap pal. I was happily knitting along and belatedly realized that the foot was long enough to start the toe. I had an extra repeat of the pattern on the instep. so the two parts of the sock tube had different amounts of stitches. I thought I would try a round or spiral toe decrease. It's made somewhat like the top of a hat, usually on a number of stitches divisible by 8. Since I had 72 stitches, I divided the total by 8, giving me a total of 9 stitches for each repeat. On round one, *K7, K2TOG* and repeat this around. I would then ordinarily knit 6 plain rounds and do another decrease round of K6, K2TOG, then knit 5 plain rounds. This would have resulted in a toe a lot longer than I needed. Because the foot was almost long enough already I only knit two plain knit rounds in between the decrease rounds instead, and finally one plain round in between. I think the toe worked out well. It's not as pointed as a normal spiral toe and so easy to finish.

I've been sick for a few days and couldn't knit. I was having withdrawals, and not just from the caffeine. This morning I woke up with a different headache and realized it was a caffeine headache. Sure enough, a cup of coffee and the headache was gone. I also didn't feel much like turning on the computer. Now that I'm feeling better I've been working on the vine lace socks in Opal cotton/wool. Sock one is finished but for the toe decreases. I made a shorter cuff than usual because it was lace and hope to have enough leftover yarn to make another pair along with a solid blue cotton yarn. It's good to have my knitting mojo back!

Friday, May 18, 2007

It's here!!! My Knitter's Treat Exchange package

I arrived home yesterday after a really bad day (sinus infection, aching muscles, no time to even sit down for 5 hours straight) to a satisfyingly stuffed mailbox. My package had arrived from my upstream treater in the Knitter's Treat Exchange. I sent a package to Chrissie in Singapore, and in return I got a wonderful package from Amanda in Tasmania. She sent me a great package with incredible hand dyed yarn (from the etsy shop Monsoon Winds) that is extremely soft and achingly bright (but in a good way.) This yarn will make great socks. I'm now looking for the right pattern to show it off. Amanda also included a really pretty bag from Crabtree & Evelyn (my favorite!) with travel sized Rose Petals lotion, soap and shower gel, lots of great Australian chocolates, the latest issue of the great Australian knitting magazine, YARN, and a collectible Hello Kitty candy dispenser. I don't have a camera right now, so you'll have to be content with a scanned image of the yarn. Amanda also sent me a postcard with a great picture of the greenest gorge I've ever seen. She says it is right in the middle of her town. It also had a great stamp (I collect stamps, sort of.) The one thing she didn't send was her email or blog address so I could thank her in person. Thanks so much, Amanda. I am enjoying all of the goodies.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Personal Knitting Herstory, Part I

I'm wearing these summery socks today as I write this. These are my lost socks.

Two posts in one day! That's unusual for me, especially this month. I found this on fluffy knitter Deb's blog. Consider yourself tagged if you want to perpetuate this meme.

bold for stuff you've done, italics for stuff you plan to do eventually and normal for stuff you don't intend to do ever unless you move to Alaska.

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (= modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with Bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/Doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffitti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental Knitting (just in a class so far)
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book (maybe)
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Knitting with Alpaca
Fair Isle Knitting
Norwegian knitting ( I do live in California, and not in the mountains)
Dyeing with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding ( I made my own wedding dress, but it wasn't knitted)
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies...)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else's handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male to knit
Bobbles I HATE bobbles!
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dyeing yarn
Knitting art (I've crocheted art, though)
Knitting two socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured Knitting
Kitchener Bind Off
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO

Knitting and Purling Backwards (great for entrelac)
Machine knitting
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn
Stuffed Toys
Baby items - rarely, I'd rather buy a gift and knit for adults, just like Deb
Knitting with Cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with Linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO (just in a class so far)
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/armwarmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Rug (I crocheted a room sized rug once, though)
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

June 9th is once again WORLD WIDE KNIT IN PUBLIC DAY!!!!

Fiber Weekend with Stash Enhancement:Take Two

I've made quite a lot of progress on the cream colored Regia cotton Grapevine sock. This pattern is from More sensational Socks by Charlene Schurch (Page 96). It's a 12 round pattern, but every odd round is plain knitting and the others are very similar to each other.

I also frogged the Opal Hundertwasser cotton sock and restarted it without the ribbing. I'm using a garter stitch cuff that waves because of the Vine Lace pattern's natural tendency to ripple. The sock is almost as long as it was before I frogged. I think it's looking good. I'll probably get more knitting done tonight watching the finale of the Gilmore Girls and Dancing with the Stars with DD. At this rate it looks like I'll have 3 pairs of socks finished for week 9 of the 52 pair plunge. I'm making all three pairs at once instead of one at a time.

Last Saturday I drove with a friend to an artist's open house in San Rafael (just north of San Francisco). I grew up in this area and it's always nice to come back. After the open house we had a great lunch at a little hole in the wall Puerto Rican restaurant (Sol Food) and went on a yarn expedition. We visited DharmaTrading Company for our annual fix. Dharma has expanded their yarn selection as knitting has become more popular again. I got some aqua SISU sock yarn with silver speckles there. We got directions at Dharma on how to get to a new store, Marin Fiber Arts, which is on City Plaza in San Rafael. I used to come here to get new school clothes and shoes at Macy's and Stride Rite, and now it's home to yarn stores and ice cream shops. Every yarn in the store was 25% off! They were also having live music in the plaza. What more could you ask for? Of course I couldn't resist the sale. I got another skein of Tofutsies in a color I had regretted not ordering, some Lorna's Laces to go with solid colors I already have, a skein of Opal Handpaint, some Claudia handpainted sock yarn, and 4 skeins of Nature's Palette Hand Jive naturally dyed yarn. It was a very nice store, and I'll visit again. We had planned a stop at Studio-Knit in Mill Valley but we were too tired (and broke). Turns out that's a good thing because I went to their website and it's now closed. I'd only been there once, but I had my mom in the car and couldn't stay long.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Stash Enhancement

My (stash enabling) knitter friend & neighbor emailed me that she added a new rule to her personal knit from your stash guidelines. If the yarn is new to you, you are allowed to buy it. (Don't know if that means you can buy one skein or a whole project's worth.) I liked that rule. For her, it meant she could buy Colinette's new Jitterbug sock yarn. For me, it meant that I could use my birthday money and order a whole squishy full of new to me sock yarns from Astrid in the Netherlands. (They arrived yesterday.)

I got some Opal Bamboo in grey stripes for DH's socks, some Trekking Pro Natura (wool/bamboo in solid colors), some pale blue Regia silk, some Opal wool/cotton in the Hundertwasser artist colorways (the Positive/Negative yellow color is just luscious), some Trekking in pink and charcoal (very 50's), also some of the tweed and an interesting speckled color, and a skein each of Fortissima Socka Colori, Opal Smoke and Gedifra, each in various different blue and grey self striping colorways. It's a good thing I like blue! Those three skeins were on sale, and blue and grey always works well for gift socks. Average price with shipping, $11.00 per pair of socks. Astrid also sent 5 free sock patterns and a bonus skein of white angora yarn, and I got some 6" long bamboo double points to try out. I think I might also get some Jitterbug yarn. After this, though, NO MORE SOCK YARN for me, unless I trade other sock yarn for it.

I swatched for a new pair of socks using the Opal Hundertwasser cotton/wool blend. After considering the Quill lace pattern from the Spring Knitty, plus a few other simple lace patterns, I think that the Vine lace stripe pattern from the Socks Socks Socks book is going to work out best for this yarn. It's a simple 4 round repeat, easily memorized, which isn't totally obscured by the pattern of the yarn.

Last year I got inspired to compile pattern conversions for some of the stitches in the 365 Stitches calendar and the Barbara Walker Treasuries to knit in the round, for socks and other circular items. I now have a big Word document complete with images and the stitch patterns all typed out, along with multiples and repeats. I've also added stitches and images from sock patterns as I find them. At this rate I won't need a new sock pattern ever again.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sunday Seven Quatorze

Seven things that I'm grateful for this week:

  1. Fluffy dwarf rabbits who feel so warm and cuddly. We'll forgive the shedding, it's just more fiber to knit with!
  2. Gilmore Girls fans
  3. Strawberries fresh from the garden
  4. Sourdough bread
  5. Completed hand knit socks
  6. Suzi's Knits research on sock yarn gauges
  7. Deb Barnhill's sock knitting time trials

Saturday, May 05, 2007

I've been Remiss

It's been a busy few weeks, and the only posts I've made are the really easy ones, with almost nothing about knitting. I've been knitting all along, just not writing about it. I finished one of my Monkey socks and am halfway down the leg on sock two. The second sock should be finished this weekend, just in time to meet my 52 Pair Plunge goal of a finished pair every week. This is one of the easiest patterns I've ever knit and it looks so wonderful knitted up. Sorry for the terrible picture, more to come.

Unless I wanted to knit with sportweight yarn, I had to add an entire repeat to the pattern to enlarge it. Since the repeat was a huge 16 stitches, making a total of 80 stitches cast on, I tightened the gauge so the sock wouldn't be too large for even my fat ankles. I cast on 72 stitches with a 2.25 mm needle and knit my ribbing. On the first round of the pattern I increased 8 stitches evenly around. I knit 5 repeats of the pattern 9 times, lengthening the leg a little bit.

When I got to the heel I realized that since I had 5 repeats of the pattern, it would not divide evenly. It was at this point that I realized the error of my ways. I centered the heel over 2 repeats and knit my new favorite, the band heel. I tightened the gauge a little bit more (went down to a 2 mm needle) and knit the foot of the sock with 3 repeats of the pattern stitch on the instep (48 stitches) and 32 stitches on the sole in stockinette. At the toe I adjusted the markers so that the top and bottom had the same amount of stitches to do the decreases. I also ran out of yarn. Panic ensued. This is the same wonderful yarn Cookie A used in her sample sock, although I used a different color way. It's hand dyed, and I've had the yarn in my stash for several years. I should have known this might happen, given that I knit more repeats on the leg and added 16 stitches around, but I went blithely on knitting. A search of my stash revealed several possible substitutions to knit the toe with. Lorna's Laces semi solids are wonderful yarns in the same weight and subtle colors. I had periwinkle and denim blue, left over from other sock projects. I held both colors up to the SIP and the periwinkle looked more promising. 20 decrease rounds later and sock one was finished. I immediately cast on for sock two, not wanting to slow the momentum & miss meeting my goal. I'm about ready to turn the heel, so I will now return you to your regularly scheduled program and get back to knittng.
UPDATE: Sock two was finished Monday 5/7/07!

Thanks so much to Cookie for another wonderful sock pattern. The first time I knit one of her patterns it was the Pomatomus. I would recommend getting your feet wet with the Monkey socks before tackling the Pomatomus, but it is another pattern that is well worth the effort. Several more Cookie A patterns are on my short list of future sock projects.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Fantastic Friday Feast

Name something you would not want to own.

Another Fiat automobile

Describe your hair (texture, color, length, etc.).

My hair is ash blonde, shoulder length, wavy, frizzy and fine, although there is a lot of it.

Finish this sentence: I’ll never forget my mother.

Main Course
Which famous person would you like to be for one day? Why?

I would have liked to be Eleanor of Aquitaine when she went to the Holy Land. She was an heiress, married young to Louis, King of France so he could get her lands. He divorced her because she gave birth to two daughters, no sons. While married to Louis, she went with him to the Holy Land on a Crusade. There are rumours that she had an affair with Saladin, the Arab leader. After the divorce, Eleanor went home to Aquitaine, which reverted back to her, and she soon married the much younger Henry II of England (right before he became king). They had 5 sons and a few daughters too. He then fell in love with someone else and put Eleanor in prison for years after she (perhaps) poisoned her rival. Eleanor went on a second Crusade with her son, Richard the Lionheart, when she was entitled to stay home and rest on her laurels. Richard sent her back to Aquitaine with his new bride Berengaria to govern there in his absence. He had left England in the hands of his brother John, and we all know how well that turned out.

Write one sentence about yourself that includes one thing that is true and another thing that is not.

I like reading good historical novels (not bodice rippers) and I love to run marathons.