Sock knitting: improvisation

I usually know what I’m doing when I knit socks. Leg, heel, foot, toe – I know how long I like them, where to put them, and how to knit them. Sometimes though, the unexpected hits and you’ve got to roll with the punches.

A few weeks ago, I found myself frantically running out of the house and anticipating a lot of waiting. So I did what any sane person would do, instead of putting on makeup or drying my hair, I wound up a skein of sock yarn.

Everything I had on my needles was either not mindless or was close to completion – neither stressful waiting appropriate. So I grabbed this happy skein of rainbow and wound up. Threw it into a bag with a 9″ circular and a 32″ one, just in case I knit like crazy and got to a toe.

I cast it on, got through the ribbing, and just knit round and round. If you’re a knitter you probably know how calming that knit knit knit can feel: meditative and repetitive. Once I got a bit down the leg of the sock, I remembered one crucial fact about this skein of yarn: it is one single, very long rainbow repeat.

I immediately went for my project bag and – nope! – no measuring tape, no extra stitch markers, none of my usual sock-figuring tools. So then a light bulb popped on in my head, thinking about how the yarn was one long repeat I realized that obviously I’d want to see all of the colors. But I hadn’t weighed the yarn before hand (and even if I had, it has a built in contrast color included) – so I had no idea how long to knit the first tube.

I thought and thought and realized – we could meet in the middle! Knit the other sock from the other end of the ball and put in the toes when there is just enough yarn left for them. EUREKA! I moved the first sock to the long circulars, wound off the contrast color, and cast on the second sock.

Once I got home, I kept going with them, pretty excited about the socks. This way the legs are mostly cool colors, while the feet were likely to be the warm pinks, yellows, and oranges! Cool stuff, if you ask me. So I knit…

and knit…

Until I had about 9 grams of yarn left between the two and was at the end of a stripe on both socks. Each sock tube measured a whopping 15.5″ at this point! I put in the toes and wound up with just over 3 grams once they were done. All in all, I’m pretty proud. I think there is about 3/4s of the last two stripes left – you can just see that stripe starting at the tips of the toes.

With that, I used the contrast grey that had been included to knit the heels and we’re done! These are some pretty snazzy socks, if you ask me.

I think you just can’t help but smile. They are so happy!

This yarn is from Gauge Dye Works and is the Colorstudy colorway. I knit my usual 64 stitchs on 2.00 mm (US 0) needles. I used the KirbyWirby method to cut in the heels and knit my toes according to the usual toe pattern in the Crazy Sock Lady’s designs.

I wound up using 82g of the 85g of striped main color and about 6g of the included grey contrast. I really adore how the stripes worked up, it is very subtle as you knit them but the overall effect is pretty stunning.

These are the 95th pair of socks I’ve knit and it was really fun to have to think a little and improvise away from my normal sock knitting routine.


Happy making!

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