Saturday, May 02, 2009

not sure ...if this is going to work

so I can either give up now and frog both socks back to the ankle ... or I can wing it and see, and I'm not sure which is the smarter plan. The Estonian socks are not turning out to be a straight forward knit ... toe up seemed a good idea, it meant I could knit while away and not have to fuss with a chart ... but now I'm up to the color work cuff ... the fussing has returned - perhaps to bite me. When the socks are not bothering me, I've also been polishing the instructions for making a baby bootee of my own design which are a compilation of lots of ideas and techniques from my knitting life. So today .. an update on my Estonian Socks, the baby bootee, and a new video showing Russian grafting, which is a neat alternative to a sewn graft.

I'm liking my Estonian sock, even though I've made a fair few 'errors' in the making of it so far, such as knitting the heel flap to long and so decreasing away at the ankle more than there were gusset stitches. This fact I only discovered when I began to add in my calf increases ... and found after 10 increase rounds I was a few to many stitches short of my estimated total. Opps, but it does explain the snug fit around the ankle and why I need to ease this sock on carefully, the upside is once on - the sock fits beautifully.

My 'other' error, or at least one I know of, is the one I discussed last post, where I didn't take the key for the chart away and invented my own key fo the chart symbols. Back home I knit a few rounds just above the heel of sock two as they should have been knit to see how different my version was. The cables are a little different, the twisted stitch cable of my own making comes to a point, the twisted stitch cable as charted by Nancy Bush is more of a rope than a chain. You can see the cable as Nancy charted four 'loops' up from the heel -- I did decide that these few odd-loops-out could stay, but that I would complete the rest of sock two as I had knit sock one, just to keep them matching.

The calf increases worked well, I probably could have started these lower .. but had blindly knit on without referring to the original pattern ... only to discover I needed 96 stitches for the chart ... not the 64 I had, so had to increase lots quickly. The sock fits, snugly but it fits.
But it does not end there, having increased to the 'correct' number I find that the chart has increases and decreases built in to allow the colour repeats to work out around the sock. Silly me ... I increased to match the cast on number of stitches ... which is not the number of stitches needed at the calf end of the chart. Remember I'm knitting these toe up not top down, and I have to read the chart upside down. End result, at 10:30pm last night, after a nights work, winding up all my little colour work skeins into center pull balls, switching up one needle size for the colour work, and checking my stitch count several times, working in the decreases and frogging first few rounds of the chart several times ... I wasn't up to frogging back many more rounds and adjusting my increases to match the end of the chart I needed ... instead I decided it would be much simpler to find a chart that would fit into 90 easily.

Found one! 29 stitch repeat, a nice symmetrical cross a little like the original .. and I can easily make the 2 stitches between the pattern 3 stitches. Its from Anne Feitelson's book The Art of Fair Isle Knitting, and I've charted it out on graph paper. Now my only worry is will I have enough yarn? I have 2 20 g skeins each of pink and indigo ... and 2 skeins of a pinky brown ... I have no idea if that will be enough to work this chart on both sock cuffs. I guess I will find out. How far does 20g go when you knit colour work on 90 or sock stitches on 2.5mm needles? I'll let you know.

This is a baby bootee that I've been developing for a while now, the first iteration was knit for Toby (now nearly 10), before he was born, and at that stage I converted a pattern I found from one that was knit flat to knit to one that was knit in the round, I also simplified the original styling which from memory involved bunny ears, a pom-pom tail, and an embroidered face (yes it did). I love this style, the inner rib cuff makes putting it on easy, and the fold down cuff keeps the ribbing snug on the baby's leg. So these shoes tend to say on but have no fussy ribbons or ties or buttons. At a latter stage I changed the original sole shape, and the direction the sole was knit in. The original was knit in dk weight for a 6 month old, so at some stage I adjusted the key numbers to make sizing it up or down easier ... and developed it as a preemie or new born size .. and a birth - 3 months size. Most recently I've introduced 'corrugated sides', which are intended to help the bootee stay on. As a baby kicks or rubs its feet together, the sides stretch out and bounce back - rather than the bootee being kicked off.

The bootee is knit top down, and finishes with a 10 or 12 stitch graft at the toe. You can see the finished graft as a little tiny row of plaited stitches between the garter stitch bumps.

My most recent upgrade has been to replace the sewn graft with a Russian graft, which I think works well here. The Russian Graft leaves a hint of a tiny plaited row of stitches ... and other than that is practically undetectable, plus its very easy to do. I first met this graft 2 years ago at one of Lorna's Lace Camps ... and have used it occasionally since - it works for closing the toes of cuff down socks as well. Some instructions work this graft on knitting needles, but I like to work mine with with a crochet hook.
so let me present Russian Grafting ...

na Stella

cross you fingers my sock cuffs work out ... or I will hide them run away and foolishly cast on these(I have the yarn) or these.


Knitting Linguist said...

I think it's safe to say that those first socks are your own pattern now (or to use Ravelry's term: "a highly modified version of an existing pattern") :) They look fabulous, though, and it sounds like they fit beautifully, so, no harm no foul!

JustApril said...

Very clever solution on the colorwork - so far the Estonian socks are GORGEOUS!

Thanks for the video on the Russian Graft, too! I'll be trying that out real soon - and it's so easy to memorize, yaay!

Gertieanne said...

I love your videos.

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.

David Thomas said...

I learned to do Russian grafting from Galena Khmeleva using the knitting needles. Thanks for posting this super video using the crochet hook method!