A Comment from Antje!!!

WalleyeGirl and I have been muddling through our first attempt at knitting two socks at once on two circulars.  We were both knitting the basic sock pattern from Antje Gillingham’s book Knitting Circles Around Socks.

A while ago we were both struggling a bit picking up the second set of gusset stitches.  Imagine my surprise to receive a comment from Antje Gillingham herself!  Here’s what she said…

You’re right! Picking up the second set of gusset sts is rather weird…let me try to explain.

After you’ve turned the heel and picked up the first set of gusset sts (each sock is worked separately!), you should be able to turn your work and knit across both sets of instep sts. Then turn your work again. The heels are facing you. Cover both tips of the 24″ needle. Only the tips of the 16″ needle are exposed. Slide the sts of the first heel flap to be worked close to the corresponding needle tip. Then take that heel flap in your left hand. With the right hand grab the other needle tip and bring it around the front to the heel flap you’re holding in your hand. You should be able to begin and pick up the second set of gusset sts, this time starting with the corner stitch and working your way up the side of the flap.

Once those are picked up you can easily knit across the heel and down the other side of the flap. Then you’re once again set up to pick up the gusset sts of the second sock, beginning with the corner stitch.

Hope this helps!
Happy knitting!!

Thank you Antje for taking the time to clarify this for us.  I’m working on the Anne’s Magic Stripe socks now, so I’ll refer to these notes when I’m ready to start picking up the 2nd set of gusset stitches.

Last night while watching Akeela and the Bee I started the Magic Stripe socks over so I could do a k1 p1 cuff as instructed, instead of the k2 p2 cuff I had started.  The movie was good fun and I’m loving using the hand dyed sock yarn from Louise.

Unfortunately, after I finished the cuffs and was a few rows down the leg, I found ANOTHER HOLE.  I studied it and studied it. It was a big loose bit of yarn, but it wasn’t a dropped stitched. I always seem to get at least one of these per item I knit.

I  haven’t found a way to fix them besides unknitting to that point and then reknitting. Very annoying in any project, but how to do it when knitting two at once?  Is it possible to slip a needle through the row below where I want to fix, so that I can rip back rather than unknit?

I dug out two more #2 needles (good thing I have the largest collection of #2 circulars in captivity) and  then ripped back.  It was challenging to slide the needle in to the k1, p1 ribbing and in some places I was up or down a row from what I intended.  So, when I ripped back, some stitches were not quite right; there was an extra stitch above  the row I was in.  When I started to knit again, I kept having runs of working yarn that were anchored at both ends.  Slowly I figured it out.

However, when all seemed right, I had two working yarns, one on each half of the sock!   That should not be.  In this method, each sock is knit from its own ball of yarn. There is only one working yarn per sock.

I wondered if I had accidentally knit both socks with one ball at some point, but no.  they were separate.  The times I’ve accidentally used the same ball for a round, the socks become conjoined, and that had not happened here.

I never did figure out what had happened, so for the second time that night, I ripped them out completely.  Today I need to get a pedicure. I may try casting on for what truly must be at least the sixth time.  <sigh>

At least I really, REALLY like how the yarn knits up when I’m not making mistakes. It isn’t exactly striping, the color runs are not quite that long, but that makes it perfect for short attention span knitting.  (No pictures. I refuse to take any until I make progress, or I have another hole and can show it here for suggestions. I’m hoping for the former.)

My traveling project is an infant hat.  Not certain I have enough of the premmie hat yarn left to make it. May need to frog the final premmie hat for the yarn, which is too bad since the final premmie hat looks nice.  However, friends here have a baby who could use a hat. Taxis and doctor offices are cold, and he has a few health complications  that mean he will probably be spending some time in doctors’ offices.


A Sock Success of Sorts


Friday night, while watching “Meet the Robinsons” which we had downloaded from the iTunes store, I finished my basic socks. They are the first wearable pair of socks that I have completed. I am thrilled.


I’m glad I started with the basic sock pattern for a number of reasons…

  1. It is a very basic pattern, so less room for mistake.
  2. It calls for Cascade 220 yarn which is heavy enough that this project only took my a little over a month, despite not getting to work on it very often.
  3. Antje Gillingham wrote very clear directions and included many helpful photos with this first pattern in her book. There was only one place where I was truly confused and had to muddle about a bit to figure out what to do.

I have learned a tremendous amount from making these. I really enjoyed the two socks on two circular needles method so well explained in the book “Knitting Circles Around Socks”.

My next project is also from that book. It is the Magic Stripes socks. Rather than use the Schaefer Yarn Anne, I will use the gorgeous, hand dyed yarn I posted earlier. It was a gift from Louise Schlossmacher when she visited Singapore last year for work. She dyed the yarn with Kool-Aid. Here is the photo again so you can feast your eyes…

Sock yarn from Louise view# 2

I spent the next night breaking the skein into two separate balls. I cast on numerous times. Is there some trick to figuring out just how long a tail to start with in a long-tail cast on, so that I end up with a reasonable bit when I’m done casting on? I am a master at running out or having a bunch left over when I’m done casting on.

It took me two attempts to get both socks on the needles. I knit for a while, made a few mistakes, corrected them. I’d made two or three complete rounds before I realized I was knitting a K2, P2 ribbing instead of a K1, P1 as is called for in the pattern. I spent the rest of my time unknitting but I grew too sleepy to finish. I still have half of one sock to finish unknitting before I can start again. I could have just pulled it off but I was heartily sick of casting on by this time.

I hope this pair of socks will lack the gusset ladders that plague my basic socks. A big thanks to Louise who took time out from her trip in Switzerland to suggest that I be sure to pull the first and second stitch on the new needle firmly, otherwise I’ll still have gusset ladders even if I twist the stitches as Ingrid suggested.

I did knit a bit this weekend. On Friday we met friends for lunch and then coffee. I was able to knit in the taxi and over coffee on my Grace Kelly headscarf which has come out of hibernation for a bit. I’m not skilled enough at the two sock method to travel with it yet, so this scarf will be my traveling project for a bit.

Grace Kelly Scarf

On Friday I managed to knit about 20 rows. Then yesterday, I ripped them out to fix a weird hole. It is now back to where it was before I frogged. I’m at 81 stitches, increasing one stitch for every two rows. When I hit 90, I get to start decreasing. Only complaint is that the yarn is a bit dark; difficult to work on it without good light, especially since my needles aren’t very sharp.

One of my other treats this holiday weekend was to finish reading North by Northanger or The Shades of Pemberly: A Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery. It is a mystery book written in the style of Jane Austen’s writing, with Elizabeth Darcy as the protagonist. I enjoyed it greatly and it spurred me to listen to the Pride and Prejudice as I went about my workouts and chores this weekend.

Today, as I finished the premmie hat that has been on my needles for the past two weeks, I listened to the proposal scene. Nice to giggle while I knit. I’ll spare you a photo of the latest hat since it looks like all the others. I don’t have them here to compare, but I think this hat is approximately the same size as the smallest of the other hats. I worked most of this one in taxis, where I seem to make many mistakes, so this poor hat was partially frogged numerous times. At least I’m getting really good at running a needle through my target row before I begin frogging. That saves me much time.

What’s on your needles theses days? Any Valentine’s projects still in the works? I had been hoping to start a pair of socks for my Valentine when I finished my basic socks, but they are a bit too rough for gifting so I’ll knit my Magic Stripe pair first.

Hats and Socks

No time to write, but I’m doing so anyway.

Didn’t finish the fourth premmie hat in time to send it. Made a mad dash to post office after work to get them in the mail. A colleague of Louise’s was here in Singapore. Since the mail between Singapore and US has been so slow, I didn’t dare mail them all the way to her in Minnesota. I’m hoping the Singapore mail got them to the colleague in time. Otherwise they are stuck in the Northwest Airlines office here in Singapore.
I’ve been longing to work on my socks. Would have finished them if I had been able to go to a mini-knit out on Friday, but I was a good teacher and went to the school variety show instead. 3 hours long. Wish I could have knit during it. I did bring my knitting, but my seat was in too dark a location. At least I had a seat. Last year I spent those 3 hours sitting on the floor.

Today I kept trying to get into work because I am woefully behind on everything, but it wasn’t meant to be. By the time laundry and grocery shopping were done, it was pouring. So did I start my work at home waiting for it to clear? Nope. I worked on my socks while I listened to podcasts. I’m down to the final decreases before I graft the toes.

I love that when you knit them on two circular needles, you can keep trying them on. Good thing I did. I must have short feet because they fit well everywhere, but according to the directions, I should be making these 8 inches (or until the reach the base of the big toe–that’s where I was to begin the toe decreases). If I’d gone that long, the socks would have been too long. Watch these end up too short. No matter where in the world you live, you’ll hear me howl if that is the case.

Walleyegirl is also knitting two socks on two circular needles. She is encountering problems and wonders if the fault could lie with her using 16″ needles. I think she’s right on the mark. My directions call for one need to be 24″ long and the other to be 29″ long so that you can easily tell the needles apart. I’m using two 24″ circulars. One is a bronze addi turbo lace and the other is a silver colored addi turbo with a red cable. Those visual cues have helped me to keep track of where I am and (mostly) prevented me from knitting with the wrong needle. I am finding the 24″ needles none too long. I can’t imagine getting it to work, especially picking up the gusset stitches along the second side. That was tight with the 24″ needles.

My dear socks are not without problems. I appear to have made a perfect button hole on one, even though the pattern doesn’t call for a button hole. I’m calling it a design element, but that’s not fooling even me. Second problem are the dreaded ladders along the gusset. Ingrid says I need to twist the gusset stitches as I pick them up. Anyone know of a good video on YouTube or somewhere else that shows this? I’m not quite sure how to do it.

In any case, no photos of the socks tonight. Will post a photo when they are done.