Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Self Striping, Afterthought Heel, Sock Knitting Journey

So my with my knitting progress these past few months I have been a bit slow but as I announced last Wednesday I finally finished a project that really shouldn’t have taken me this long. My afterthought heel socks are finally complete and today’s blog serves as a recap of the journey I took on these socks. I haven’t done a blog where knitting is the ultimate main topic for a while so sit back, grab your needles and let’s start knitting! (Finally.)

To truly proof how slack I’ve been, I started this project back in January. (January 28th to be more precise.) For those who have been with the blog since then I started these socks after being given more sock yarn by my loving and giving Mum. With an urge to start a new sock project after finishing my first sock project I decided to go with this self striping yarn, because It looked cool and I’ve never used self striping yarn before. Mum actually doesn't remember where she got this yarn from but it's fingering weight for sure. I used US 2 / 2.75 MM circular needles as well, no DPNS this time round.

While these socks did end up being mostly vanilla I did not want them to be just a copy and paste of my first pair so after a recommendation from Mum I decided to make these afterthought heel socks. For those unsure what that is afterthought heel socks are where you knit the sock like you normally would but instead of knitting the heel flap and heel turn you leave two half rows of scrap yarn where the heel would be and continue knitting to the toe. After finishing the sock you go back and knit your heel. It’s actually a lot simpler and less scary then I originally imagined. While my first pair of socks was knitted for myself I decided as I have a little more confidence in my knitting to knit these afterthought heel socks for my little sister. I figured I would give them to her on her Birthday so starting them early would be a good idea, which it was but I kind of scraped the barrel and almost didn’t finish these on time.

To start these socks off I decided to forgo the usual standard ridge that I used on my first pair and use my newly kindled love for cable knitting to knit a pretty cool ridge. This sock’s ridge ended up being a repeat of Cable 1 to the Back and Purl 2 all the way around the sock. I got this idea from Mum who was knitting some gloves at the time with a ridge that consisted of Cable 1 to the front and purl 2. Got to say it did add a spiffy look to what otherwise is a normal stockinette sock. Instead of using a cable needle however as I thought the cable needles I owned were too large and would stretch the stitches out Mum introduced me to another way of knitting cable, Paperclips. Yes those random paperclips you have floating around your house can easily be morphed into shape to act as a pretty good cable needle. They work like a charm and allowed me to knit these small stitches without stretching them out. This idea is perfect for those who don’t have cable needles at home or have lost theirs down the sofa. (It happens.) To better get this idea out there a few weeks ago I released a brand new ZAK Knits episode based on this! You’ll be able to see how I knitted the ridge on these socks too so it’s a must watch for readers of this blog, I think you’ll enjoy it. Even though this video was done on the second sock of the pair I’m going to go ahead and let you guys watch it below! (Click this link here if it doesn’t work:

Knitting cable with a paperclip is just as good as knitting with a cable needle but I did find it to be a tad bit fiddly at times, mostly because I wasn’t used to knitting cable with such thin yarn and small needles. Oh yeah this ridge actually takes quite some time to complete so be patient, or maybe I’m just slow.

Now funny story it only took me about a week to get onto the body and from then on it was a breeze, it was simple stockinette up until I had to place the waste yarn in for the later heel. It wasn’t super tricky all you need is some scrap yarn in a color that doesn’t blend in and knit a half row to the end, purling back that half row. Sounds unusual for a sock huh? Don’t worry it actually works. Afterwards you can dive bomb your way to the toe and finish.

I’m actually surprised I didn’t any disasters on this first sock everything seemed to go smoothly and by the beginning of March this sock was completed. Now this is where things came to a screeching slow halt before moving slowly to the finish line. I don’t know what it was about March but March was not a good month for knitting. I got really busy with a bunch of stuff that didn’t work out or took too much time out of my day and with writing the blog and not being good at organizing I guess I just lost it. Lighting a fire under my butt however I finally got the second sock going only to come across an old enemy of Mum and mine as well.


Yeah if life wasn’t busy enough this guy had to come up and make things worse. I actually got the sock casted on in March but with everything else happening it wasn’t very easy going especially when I royally screwed up right after finishing the ridge. I don’t have any photo evidence, you wouldn’t want to see it anyway, but after starting the body I accidentally slipped a couple of stitches. I’m getting pretty good at picking up dropped stitches lately so I figured I could tackle this problem with ease but nope Second Sock Syndrome struck me hard and for some reason one or two of the stitches ran, ran into oblivion. Mum tried to help me save it but in the end I had to frog the entire sock, gone just like that. Even worse I apparently split the yarn on countless occasions making the future of this entire project seem bleak. My motivation for knitting was at an all time low. This didn’t stop me from giving you guys knitting on almost every blog with my free knitting pattern segment (I’ll be starting that back up again, don’t worry E3 was busy but that’s over now.) but actual knitting progress was almost none.

May was a bright new month however and my motivation for knitting was back in full swing. I managed to knit the cable ridge and finally got onto the body of the second sock. I was scared stiff that I ruined the yarn but luckily I managed to get away with only a few burrs here and there. To be honest once I started this sock back up it only took me about two to three weeks to finish it.

After finishing both of these socks I was onto the part I was extremely nervous about, the afterthought heel.

To me surprise the process isn’t just hard it just takes a bit of time and concentration. To pick up the stitches we turned the sock inside out and picked up the stitches from the scrap yarn from the back, it’s easier that way. After picking up one row of scrap yarn stitches on both needles (This is why you knitted two rows of scrap yarn in.) you just knit the heel as if you’re knitting the toe, same process and you even kitchener off at the end.

Thus this project had finally come to an end, after four months of work and the other two being filled with lack of motivation. Really this should have not taken me this long but Second Sock Syndrome hit me like a truck and as long as I said my first sock pair took this took way to long.

I actually have to apologize to you guys for the lack of actual knitting from me, I mean I know I started doing other art stuff but that isn’t really the reason my knitting slowed down. It’s not like I’ve been completely knitless I’ve done a few dishcloths and smaller projects in between this sock project as well as continuing my shawl which is so long it takes forever to knit a row now.

Anyway I need to dedicate more time to knitting but I’ve been getting back into the groove of it so more is bound to come soon. I have a question to ask all of you however, as this sock was not your average afterthought heel sock would you be interested in a free knitting pattern of this sock? Let me know on Social Media or the comments below! I still have another free knitting pattern I’m supposed to be putting out and it’s basically written but I’m unsure if it’s any good. Need to start taking more risks and take a leap.

Now with that chapter of knitting closed I’m looking towards the future and that brings me to today’s free knitting pattern! (About time I bring this back it’s been gone for an entire week.) Today, if you’re reading this on the day I’m posting this, is actually the first day of summer! I’ve been speaking about summer knits as of late because you wouldn’t want to wear beanies or sweaters during the hot weather and by hot I mean it’s getting really hot in the world right now especially western America and even where I live right now. (Humidity doesn’t help in the slightest.) So over the summer my knitting patterns I’m featuring will be more on the thin wear side. Toys also make great summer knits for your kids or your pets and today’s pattern features a toy a certain feline of your house (If you’re a cat person anyway.) will go wild for. This is “Catnip Bunny” by Selina Kyle, wait Selina Kyle? Catnip Toy? CATWOMAN?! Sorry Selina if that’s offensive but your name made my comic book loving self smile and as this is a catnip toy I had to laugh at the coincidence.
Anyway these look to be a quick and easy knit so your cats won’t have to be impatient for too long. You’ll need some DK weight yarn of your choice scrap or not, US 3 – 3.25 MM Needles, black embroidery thread or black yarn for the eyes (Buttons would also work.), a sewing needle, toy stuffing, white felting for the tail and of course some catnip which you can buy at your local pet store. After that the pattern seems easy enough to follow and the photos she provided helps a lot. These are adorable but sadly I don’t have a cat (I used to but that was years ago.) but these would make fun toys, minus the catnip, for your dog as well. I could probably knit Alfie up a few of these. You can check out the pattern here on Ravelry but be sure to check out Selina Kyle, aka Catwoma… I mean Coffee And Cream she has some other patterns you may like!

With that all said and done, man I haven’t done a dedicated knitting blog in awhile that was fun. For knitters looking for some paid knitting patterns you could win a knitting pattern of your choice of up to $6 value by entering the giveaway I’m doing on patreon! Entry only costs you $3 and I’ll be doing a raffle at the end of every month with a minimum of 3 entries. Go check out my Patreon at: . There aren’t many rewards as of right now but I’m working on it, you guys can suggest rewards to me via email, comments or social media! (Or on Patreon itself.)

That’s a wrap folks!

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