Posts Tagged ‘socks’

Armed with needles only


Pattern: Vinnland socks by Becca Compton, smallest size

Yarn: A Piece of Vermont Superwash Merino/Bamboo/Nylon Sock, colour ‘Mermaid’, 72 g

Needles: 2 mm bamboo dpns

Modifications: Used my favourite toe-up toe

The yarn is what was left from my Jaywalkers and has been designated for this pattern for quite a while, the toe-up leaves seemed perfect for using up the last bit of this colourway.

I don’t often pay much attention to names of knit designs, and it wasn’t undil I googled ‘Vinnland’ without adding ‘socks’ I realized it was the English word for Vinland (yeah there should have been some bells ringing).

Whatever the motivatation was for naming the socks Vinnland, it is very appropriate. Aah, let me take you on a journey, long back and far away…


The left sock is actually inside out in the top two pictures. I like both sides of the pattern!

About a thousand years ago the Vikings were  racing around in Northern waters traveling far east into Russia, south to Jerusalem and west to Vinland. Such a journey did reqire its pitstops though, and the first leg was made by stray sailors stumbling across what was soon, and very understandably, named Iceland. This place was soon colonized but it didn’t stop the curiosity and eagerness, and need, to travel. After being outlawed for a murder, Erik the Red set sails westwards and returned with reports of more land, deliberately named Greenland to rise interest. You think today’s PR people are stretching the truth?? I wonder if he was enough of a practical joker to yell BURN!! when he returned with the first settlers and saw their jaws drop at the sight of glaciers and barren coastline.


I knit four repeats of the pattern before the heel, and four for the leg, that made a perfect sock. The pattern is so stretchy that gusset increases which I usually can’t live without, is unecessary.

Apparently his son Leiv Eiriksson did’t share his dad’s  sense of humour, but he did repeat him in  sailing towards unconfirmed discoveries of land in the west, reaching Labrador and Baffin Island and what he named Vinnland. The location of Vinnland is not known, but the word translates into either ‘land where wine grapes grow’ or ‘pasture land’. Wether he had more luck with his discoveries then his father, or just realized that a little PR couldn’t harm is unknown.

Archaeological findings including drop spindles and what Wikipedia refers to as a knitting needle confirms Norse settlements in North America 1000 years ago. I guess they refer to a nalbinding/needlebinding needle, as knitting wasn’t known back then in those cultures and only took over for needlebinding very few centuries ago. In fact, in many Norwegian dialects including my own, to knit is also referred to as to bind, and I call my work in progress my ‘bunding’ or binding.

Fast forward about 500 years to our friend Chris who thought the world was a ball and set sails for India. Little did he know that there was a lot standing between him and his target. In fact a whole continent or two. He never made it to India to see the tigers.


Cuff-down socks over 36 sts, 2 mm needle, picot edging and short-row heel. Opal Rainforest Tiger yarn, to fit a 6-12 month old.

He did bring back some other goodies though , like chocolate!, and although the behavior of his men and the consequenses of most land discoveries can be debated, all these guys lived a life in hand-spun, hand knitted (or bound or sewn) socks. That counts for something, right?

My Vinnland socks are now on their way to my aunt, hopefully bringing more reliable promises of buds and leaves than Erik the Red’s Greenland did!

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Darkness Falls


Pattern: Toe-up Jaywalkers

Yarn: A Piece of Vermont Merino/Bamboo/Nylon sock yarn, colours grey “Darkness Falls”  and green “Mermaid”.

Needles: 2 mm bamboo dpns

Modifications: Adjusted sizing down one step.

After finishing the Ironwork socks I had 40 grams left of the yarn, and I put it away on my sock yarn shelf. And took it out. And put it back. And took it out. And petted and squeezed it. And caved in and wound up another skein of the same goodness and started a pair of toe-up socks so I could use every single meter of the stuff.  This is for sure my new favourite sock yarn, not splitty like other bamboo blends I have tried and a dream to knit with and to wear. These have actually been finished for quite a while, have been through the washer one or two times already and I wish I photographed them while we still had some decent light around here. Colours in the pictures are fairly accurate, and I love the tiny bit of variegation that makes the stripes more interesting. Did two rounds of grey and three rounds of green and that turned out to make a perfect length sock with the yarn I had left.

This was my third pair of Jaywalkers, but first toe-up. I knit until I ran out of the grey and than started the cuff with the green, the only thing I would do differently next time is to decrease 4 or 6 sts before starting the cuff because the Jaywalker pattern creates a really dense fabric and you need fewer sts in rib to get the same circumference. So my cuffs flare a bit but hey..still love them and it is good to know there is potential for improvement, yes?

Now entering the season of dark and blurry knitting photos, I tried to read up on some tips for how to get good photos with correct colours all year round. Check out the Yarnograpers group on Ravelry for advice if you’re interested, there are lots of helpful hints but in the end I got tired of reading about white balance, macro settings, light boxes and how I should use sunlight. There is only so much I can do with the sun being gone for 2 months a year.. even if it doesn’t get as dark as it may sound. Proof here:


The shore around noon.


It was as cold as it looks, so handknit socks, mittens and shawls are a must for a walk along the shore. The Feather and Fan lace pattern is called Seafoam in Norwegian. This must be why, slush ripples, frozen until the next high tide comes in.


Pancake ice


Rock hard river


The sea otters still walk around barefoot, sliding on their bellies in the snow!


Probably faster and more fun than hitching a ride.


Drive safely!

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Whole lotta love

Today I’m home with a cold. I have warm coffee and radio and outside the winter has covered the remnants of what is now over in snow. The ocean lies calm and the sky is light and the sun would have shown herself for the last time this year if the hazy clouds would have let her. I can’t tell if the clouds will bring thaw or storm. Right now the whole world is silver and quiet.

Do not disturb.


I haven’t knit a stitch on the green thrummed mittens I promised I’d finish before starting another pair of socks. I didn’t have to. Someone else knit socks for me!


Wonderful stripey socks with a base of lovely silver gray, and other yarns combined to match it. This isn’t self-striping, each stripe is carefully placed to match the others, and the socks are knit with exactly the same stripes. I haven’t received handknit socks since Grandma’s days, and am incredibly grateful that I now have such fantastic knitterly friends!

A loong while ago I received a reward from Jessie, the woman behind the wonderful hand dyed goodies from A Piece of Vermont.  Highly recommend the bamboo sock yarn, more about that in my next post. And I’m awaiting yet another shipment any day now with yummy colourful fibres. Mm. Thanks Jessie and right back at ya!


My turn to spread some love, I know many blogs deserving this but I’ll try to limit myself. That doesn’t happen often with knitting I’m telling ya..  Check out these ones:

Kelp knits! – but not if you’re afraid to be tempted into more gorgeous sock patterns..

Fiberfeber – spreading good fiberbugs

Supernøtt – in Norwegian, but the gorgeous pictures should speak to all of you!

Meretes monster – warning: danger of laughter-induced coffee-spills. Ahh, if everyone had your self-irony Merete!

That should keep you busy a while, talk later!

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Socks for someone special

Pattern: Ironwork socks by Kelly Porpoglia, knit in size small

Yarn: Piece of Vermont handpainted Superwash sock Merino/Bamboo/Nylon, colour Darkness Falls

Needles: 2 mm bamboo

Beautiful pattern. Beautiful yarn. In hindsight maybe the sheen from the bamboo obscures the pattern a bit, it least it made the socks really hard to photograph. Go look at all the pretty socks on Ravelry for a better view, especially of the heel detail. I am still really, really pleased with them. And with myself, cause this is probably the hardest, or most concentration-demanding pattern I’ve knit to date. The instructions are well written and the pattern comes with separate charts for all the three sizes so once I had most of all the symbols figured out it got easier. Still, there is a lot going on in every single row. They are slightly too big for me but I hope they will fit the recipient.

Cause I would probably never knit them for myself, there is simply too much work that I would have bothered. So they are knit for a very special friend of the family who once taught my mother another fiber-related craft. They have kept in touch for more than 30 years and packages keep arrriving with things like beutiful thin silk in every colour imaginable, which I think I will use held together with a thicker yarn for a shawl, or a bunch of rosewood needles for the family to share.

Here is my part of the catch. Can’t wait to try the ones that are sort of straight neeedles but with a cable end like a circular. The work is then kept on the cable with a wooden bead. Never seen that before!

Last time our friend visited she admired my Pomatomous socks and in spite of being a handspinner, weaver and embroidery artist she hadn’t seen knitting like that before. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather knit these for. Now I just hope they fit!

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My knitting goes in phases. Two or three times a year I manage to complete the cycle, only to again throw myself head first into a new round. The start usually leaves my living room looking like above for a few days, a warning sign by itself.

During this phase all books, pattern files, stash yarns, websites and inner brain storage unite to form a *ahem* optimistic number of projects, few of which manage it past the first rows before they are ripped or put aside for something new. But all I really want is to one or two, or well, a few, nice established projects that I can just pick up and knit on. Not having a good knitting project is a nightmare, and it takes time to get to know a new project. So as you see, the initial rounds often take place over a coffee or a beer to break the ice.

In an attempt to justify all my book buys (and more are on the way, I am waiting for my catch from the Interweave Hurt book sale) I actually cast on a pattern from one of them, the classic EZ baby sweater on two needles. An easy knit from what I’ve heard but after messing up the lace pattern and ripping back twice I’ve decided to wait and see if the recipient is of the kind likely to be dressed up in purple lace.

Not being able to work a simple lace repeat on the baby sweater should probably have stopped me from starting these but they’ve been on my mind since I first saw them: Ironwork Socks from Kelp Knits. It doesn’t look like much now but I have faith that they will block nicely to show the pattern in all its glory. The yarn is a new deliverance from A Piece of Vermont, handdyed merino/bamboo/nylon in an amazing grey tone named Darkness Falls. You know I’m a sucker for grey. Throw in a few hints of brown, lavender and purple and I’m sold. It is such a subtle nearly-solid and impossible to take a photo to make it justice. The pattern is…challenging and amazing. Why the stitch that was a purl stitch on the last row should be a ktbl now and a plain k the next row again is beyond me but wow is this a study in stitch direction and definition. There are some serious cable and lace action going on at the same time but I’ve figured out where to look for the yarnovers I miss all the time. I have now placed markers and am ready to start the heel chart.

The other project that survived into a WIP is yet another amazing yarn, Little Knits Indie II lace colour Burgundy. While the Ironwork socks demand my full focus and attention, this yarn will become the Seraphim shawl, where the upper portion is just stockinette. Laceweight TV-knitting. Yum.

There are more WIPs in shelves and corners around here and the next stage in my knitting cycle is to work on all of them at the same time, not making progress on any. I’m trying to break the spiral here, I’ll never be one of those who only have one project at the time. But a three-project knitter maybe?

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Basic toe-up socks

I love toe-up socks for several reasons. They can be tried on as you knit, assuring the perfect fit. It is easier making adjustments as you go than in top-down socks, say if you want some extra width in the leg. And you can knit until you’re out of yarn, not worrying about running out before the sock is done, or wondering what to do with the left overs. What more can a sock-knitter ask for?

Here I’ve put together my favourite cast-on, increases, heel construction and bind-off. This pattern is an assemblage of the techniques and solutions that work the best for me when trying to make a well-fitting toe-up sock. If you have other favourite techniques, please use them where they add in. You can also use these guidelines as a blank template to design your own sock by adding your favourite stitch motif. Happy knitting!

Size: womans S – M – L

Yarn: Any sock yarn with a yardage about 420 m/100 g

Needles: 2 mm dpns (I know 2.5 mms are more commonly used for sock knitting, but I prefer the dense material created when knitting on 2 mms. And it takes longer to wear holes through it too!)


  • k – knit
  • p -purl
  • kfb – knit into front and back of the same stitch (increases 1 st.)
  • ktbl – k through back of stitch
  • st (s) – stitch(es)
  • Cast on and toe:

Using 2 needles, cast on 12 stitches using the figure-8 cast-on method. Work one round in stockinette distributing stitches evenly on four dpns. (This is really fiddly the first few rounds, but it gets better). I usually let the yarn tail hang out between the first and last needle, indicating beginning of round.

Increase round: Kfb in the same stitch, k to end of needle. K until 1 st remains on second needle, kfb. Repeat for needle three and four. Knit increase round every round until you have 10 sts on each dpn, or 40 sts total. This gives a nice, rounded toe.

Next round: K all sts.

Next round: Increase round.

Continue to alternate plain round and increase round until you have 60-64-68 sts total. If you plan to add a cable motif you’ll need more stitches. If you want to add a lace motif you’ll probably need fewer stitches.

  • Foot:

If you want to make your own personal pattern, start working pattern stitch from here. OR knit in stockinette until work measures 10 cm /4 inches less than total length of foot. Approx. 15 cm/6 inches will be appropriate for most women.

  • Gusset and heel:

Please refer to the gusset and heel instructions for Knitty’s Baudelaire socks by Cookie A. I really like the fit of the flap heel and prefer that over standard short-row heels. If you have your own favourite, work it!

  • Leg:

Continue working in stockinette, (or your own established pattern) until leg measures at least 18 cm/7 inches from top of heel flap, or desired length.

  • Cuff:

K 1 tbl, p1 . Work 12 rows.

  • Cast-off:

This cast-off produces a stretchy edge great for toe-up socks. Work loosely or use a larger needle:

K1, *bring yarn forward, return stitch to left ndl; p2tog [new stitch and next stitch on left ndl which is a purl st]; put yarn to back, return stitch to left ndl; k2tog; rep from * across row.

Weave in ends and wear!

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Strange colour blue

We are still waiting for summer to reach these latitudes. We do have the midnight sun, the green grass and all that but we haven’t had any real warmth yet. It is still pretty though. Summer up here is not green, it is more like a blue-white marble, sort of like earth seen from space. Days and nights float into each other, the ocean and the beaches look like tropic waters but certainly feel sub-arctic, and mountains seen from a distance are blue with white stripes of snow, and the dark green leaves and white flowers just complement the blue.

The local newspaper is doing what it can to keep up the summer spirit and predicts the following: “It will be above 10 degrees C the whole weekend so it won’t be cold!”

SO , even if my skin colour has changed from it’s previous state, something between transparent and skimmed milk, to  what can be called a tan, a pair of new socks are in order:

Pattern: Leyburn socks by Pepperknit. Will make these again!

Yarn: Regia 4-ply in Köningsblau

Needles: as always, 2 mm bamboo dpns

Modifications: Figure 8 cast-on for the toe, my favourite toe-up flap heel from Baudelaire socks and this bind-off. Did the leg over 62 sts instead of 68.

I had a bit of a slow start with these but once the pattern was established I cruised through them in no time. The slipped stitches creates a really, really comfy and sturdy fabric and the fit is excellent so I see more of these in the future. The only thing I will change is the yarn, although Regia is nice to knit with and wears like iron this pattern deserves a yarn with exceptional stitch definition to show off the subtle geometry. Suggestions?

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