Down the sock knitting rabbit hole!… Again
I have knit socks in the past and I have always struggled when it came to knitting the second one. Not until recently did I discover that this was a problem shared by many knitters and it has a name…
Second Sock Syndrome!!
It is a very real problem and there are many things that one can do to combat this issue. One of these such remedies is to knit both of the socks at the same time… Either in sequence on a long circular needle or concurrently on separate needles. I have found that since getting really excited about the yarn (and using 60cm Hiya Hiya Sharps magic loop) I’ve been using I’ve not been plagued so much by this haunting syndrome! I do however still love the challenge of knitting socks two at a time on the same needles… It’s exciting to see them both grow at the same rate (if a little/much slower than just knitting the one).
With this in mind recently one of the UK wool wholesalers has started supplying sock blanks made from two strands of 4ply so you can have gradient dyed yarn that gives you two perfect 50g balls of exactly the same colour way, stripe for stripe and speckle for speckle.
Always up for trying something new I thought I would treat myself and give one of these new blanks ago.
My first ever sock blank was a “Sushi Roll” that I purchased from Jon at Easy Knits at one of the first ever yarn shows. It was the roll that I made my first ever pair of really colourful rainbow socks from. So when I saw that they had started doing ‘Sushi Twinsie’ sock blanks in the same Zippy colour way to the one that I’d bought my first blank, must be fate!
This blank cost £20 with £2.85 second class postage.
I am no longer a newbie to the sock blank party and have quite a collection now… I love them, can’t get enough of they wonderful way that the colours change when you knit with them, how you can’t quite predict the finished item just by looking at the blank… Great fun!
My yarn has arrived – Sushi Twinsie in the Zippy colour way!
My first observation is that this blank is more variegated than my first, the red isn’t a solid stripe across the bottom of the blank and then with gradual colour changes into orange and yellow, there is a lot more variation and yellow in the middle which will of course cause a striping effect in the socks. My second observation is the colour saturation, some areas of the sock blank appear to look unintentionally to have un-dyed white flecks on them where they’ve missed the dye BUT I will persevere and see what it’s like to knit with. (You can see the white flecks of undyed yarn in the photograph below.)
It was easy enough to use Judy’s magic cast on (my favourite toe up method) and get the socks started… Really pleased with myself that they’d gone a little smoother than anticipated… Then I realised I’d cast on too many stitches! DOH…. Start again!
So far the socks are going smoothly… As you can see the tonal variation in the toes is really showing though and it’s not something that I encountered in my first single strand blank. I’m undecided if it’s an effect I like at the moment so I’m going to keep going and see how the rest knit up.
SO… WHAT’S IT LIKE KNITTING FROM A DOUBLE STRAND BLANK?
Now this is the question?! It’s taking some getting used to at the moment and I have considered cutting and rejoining the yarn but putting a heavy bead on one of the strands or a big heavy button or something to keep them separate as I’m knitting. While you’re knitting with one strand (if you don’t separate them) the other strand does tend to bunch up behind your finger and then require some attention to untangle.
The yarn isn’t as kinky as when you knit from a single blank, because it’s a larger gauge there is less of a pinked ravioli edge and more of a general spaghetti aspect to the yarn but the strands do like to stick together as a result.
I am currently about two whole inches into the foot of the sock and I will report back soon with an update on whether or not I’ve scrapped the whole lot, split the yarn into two balls and changed back to my two 60cm Hiya Hiya sharp circulars and I’m knitting them concurrently working out where to put the heel and desperate counting rows so that the heal ends up in the right place on both!
I might make it through the whole blank double stranded two at a time… In my day job I’m a saddler/leatherworker as well as a silversmith and I’ve been working on a clip that will act as a yarn guard on the top of your knitting bag… Might have to see if I can speed up that design and make two so the yarn is split before it comes out of my knitting bag.
Watch This Space!
P.S I also need to mention the progress keepers I’m using… I purchased them from Granary knits on Etsy when I started knitting my #christmasevecaston2016 socks. They are so dear and special to me… I can highly recommend buying from Sue. Her service was superb, she packaged them beautifully and they really are an absolute joy to use.