Monday, February 25, 2013

Striped Socks

Sometime last year I was given these two balls of sock yarn.  Both very nice combinations of colours, but unrelated except for the medium blue that occurs in both balls.  They are good sock yarn: Paton's Kroy Sock Yarn that is 75% washable wool and 25% nylon. That's a very nice combination of softness, warmth and durability.  The local price for a 50 gram ball of this yarn is $6.99.  It takes one 50 gram ball to make one good sized adult sock, so the makings for a pair of socks, at a saving of $14.00 plus tax, are right here.  But wouldn't that be a strange looking pair!

I decided to use both yarns at once, knitting alternate rows, first from the one ball and the next row from the other.  I started, using the toe up method, but look what happens.  There's a disconnect at the beginning of each round where you change yarns.  This simply wasn't good enough.

I recalled something I had read about knitting stripes and applied that method.

It works this way:  Begin with one of the balls of yarn.  Do your Judy Becker's magic cast on (see videos on the net, especially check out Cat Bordhi's good videos on knitting).  At about the 4th or 5th round knit the first three needles, but not the fourth needle.  Start the new yarn at the first needle of the next round.  Knit that first needle using the new ball of yarn.  Call that ball the "Leading Yarn."  Now knit the fourth needle of the preceding round with the first ball.  Call that ball the "Following Yarn."

Continue in that manner, knitting the second needle of the round with the Leading Yarn, then the first needle with the Following Yarn, etc.  The yarns never have to cross and the result is stripes without "joins."

Just now I finished the second sock.  I left the two starting strings of yarn hanging out the toe just to show you how it went.  Somehow these two very different yarns made a very nice pair of socks!  You can't see any joins.  Once in a while there is a distinct colour change, but that happened in the yarn itself.

The left over bits are to the right of the socks.  I knitted half of each ball into the first sock, saving half of each ball for the second sock.  The half way point was determined by weight.  When the balls had 25 grams left I bound off the first sock and started the second.

This was a fun, rewarding project.  I intend to wear these myself, rather than "gifting" them out to someone else.  The ribbings look quite tight, but stretch out to fit my legs just fine.  The final touch on each sock was using Jeny Staiman's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.  You can find a good tutorial on that technique from Cat Bordhi if you just google it.

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