I know I promised photos of my new cowl, but I took some on Wednesday morning and they look dreadful, both of the cowl and of me, so I’m going to have to take some more, but not today, because visibility’s about 10 yards outside, and my hair needs washing. Hopefully tomorrow!
In the meantime, I’ll share the socks I finished last night. I am trying to use up some of my handspun stash (it might even be going down, despite me spinning up more from time to time…) and I took a ball of handspun superwash English wool blend from Wildcraft with me to my parents’ last weekend.
Because I love seeing how the yarn started off, this is the fibre before I spun it.
And this is afterwards – about 240m of a heavy-ish fingering weight yarn, a bit overspun in places but not too bad.
When I knit socks, I’m a big fan of short row heels (one day I will try a heel flap, just to see how it works, but I like the way that short row heels fit on my feet), and over the years I’ve tried quite a few different ways of doing them. I’d pretty much settled on wrapping and turning, even though it is fiddly to pick up the wraps, when I saw a link to shadow wraps, and I decided to give them a go.
They’re easy to work, once you get the hang of things (the instructions make them look more complicated than they really are, I think – what you’re actually doing is wrapping the stitch but on the needle instead of round the base, so you don’t have to pick the wrap up to knit it with the stitch later), and before long I had a nice line of double stitches up each side of the heel, ready to be worked on the second half. I was a bit dubious about not wrapping them again on the increase rows, and after a few rows I realised that I was right to be worried. The technique is probably fine for short rows in garments, but for heels you do need to wrap twice – I solved the problem by working the technique again on the way back, so that each stitch had three stitches coming out of it, ready to knit together, and this worked much better.
Can you see how the first few stitches have holes between them?
This might show it a bit better. I did debate ripping the heel back and doing it again, but I decided that at the end of the day it was only a heel and I could live with a few holes. Besides, I was watching tv at the time and couldn’t rip back and concentrate.
The second heel looks better. Overall I’ll probably use this technique again – the results are the same as wrapping and turning, and whilst it’s a tad more fiddly to do the wraps, it’s easier to just knit them together than to mess about picking up the wraps from the base of the stitch and get them in the right order.
And the finished socks! My feet look a slightly odd shape on the photo, I think it’s down to the camera angle. At least I hope it is.
They’re a bit baggy at the top, I went up a needle size to 2.75mm because the yarn was slightly thicker than usual, but still cast on my usual 64 stitches without thinking. After the heel I decreased on the foot to 60 stitches, which worked better. They’re not the softest socks ever, down to a combination of the rougher fibre and my overspinning it a bit (I do tend to overspin for socks, to make them harder wearing, but I think I overdid it a bit this time), but they should be hardwearing, and I can always up a pair of cotton socks underneath for warmth and comfort.
The colours are pretty, although I’m not sure what happened to the pinks in the original fibre, they seem to have disappeared completely!