Schachenmayr, the company that makes Regia sock yarn, has had for the past few years a line called “Pairfect” – designed to created a patterned sock without any decision-making. I tried it when it first appeared and found it boring to work with – very dull patterns. This season the variegations looked like they’d be more interesting with clearly different cuffs, heels and toes.
Finished this pair of socks (#2) last evening:
Regia Pairfect in Blue
Still just as boring to knit – no decision-making required – the yarn for the two socks is marked with a length of yellow yarn (intended to be discarded – or saved for another project). When making the first pair using the yarn a couple of weeks ago I changed up the design but then had to do quite a bit of reconnecting to be able to complete the socks.
This time I decided to follow the yarn. It knits up nicely but the part of the sock-making that I enjoy is deciding what colours contrast with my variegated yarn and where to insert contrasting strips, whether to change the heel colour, maybe even a third colour for the toes! So even though the variegated design changes and the repeat is a long one, there’s no creativity in knitting these socks.
If you’re not an adventurous sock knitter then you’ll love this yarn because it does knit up a respectable patterned sock. I’m not going to use it again.
This Regia yarn is dyed to create a complete sock with contrasting cuff, heel, and toe and a variegated yarn between to create a design.
However, the yarn expects a 24-row cuff and I only ever knit 12-rows so I cut out the extra and carried on. But then I ended up with a short leg; I continued the leg past the yarn intended for the heel and into the second patterned section. When I get to the heel I need brown yarn – I added back the brown I’d cut out. I knit the heel, continued on with the foot and ended up needing more brown for the toe. I used the last scraps from the upper leg and fortunately had enough yarn to complete the foot.
The second sock was easier since I knew how it would knit up.
I have a second ball of that yarn in blues and mauve – this time I’ll just keep knitting through – changing from cuff to leg without changing the yarn. When I get to the “heel” I will turn it and carry on .
Turned out to be a bit more interesting than I thought they were going to be – a mixture of stripe widths. They’ll add bright colour to an outfit.
New Again – Sept 2017
5-6 hours later and here’s a new pair of socks – restored with new heels (Click here for the socks before I reknit the heels). If you’re a dedicated knitter and want to know how I do it check out my instructions.
Knitting a heel itself doesn’t take long – each heel takes about an hour – it’s all the preparation, picking up stitches on a carrier thread, carefully pulling out excess knitting (from the cut edge), and then finally grafting the instep onto the new heel (this last step requires slow careful stitching – done loose and then tightened just enough for an even finish, stitch by stitch).
Obviously replacing heels goes a lot faster than reknitting an entire foot – but I can only get away with this easier repair if the holes aren’t too big. If the worn heel includes some of the instep, I have to cut off everything, retaining just the legs and building a new sock from there.
Here’s a pair of socks I made in 2008. The heels were repaired once in the interim. I got them back again for repairs a couple of weeks ago – heels for sure, but when I went to work on the socks I thought the ball of the foot was too worn to keep, so full feet were needed. The socks are still worth salvaging – the legs are fine, and that’s half the work! Nine years of wear is pretty good.
Remake September 2017
For the remakes I use whatever yarn I have on hand that might sort of blend. I could always use a solid, but where’s the fun in that. I’m not into boring – what makes the sock knitting work for me is a constantly changing pattern which the variegated yarn offers. I decided on bright heels to offset the darker yarn I used for the foot. These socks will serve for another 5-7 years!
The reality is when these socks come back to me, they look like this – holes and full of nubbies:
After & Before! (Worn heels removed)
These socks are well used – they’re slept in on flannel sheets! You can see what they look like before I begin working on them. The first step in the restoration is to shave them – this morning, I used my electric clothes shaver to clean up the nubbies so I have a clean sock to work with. This pair has an intact foot, so all I need to replace are the heels. This is the pair I will work on next.
Here’s the original pair from 2010:
When I’m done with the repairs these socks will look almost like the original socks. Seven years of wear before a heel replacement – pretty good!
I still have a couple of pairs of socks in my sock drawer from 2004/2005 (I began sock making in October 2003)! These socks live a long time when they’re cared for. That’s why I still find making them so satisfying. I know my sister Barb has some that are that old (her’s also get repaired when needed) Gotta keep these socks alive.
Not my favorite socks – boring to knit. Finished last evening. Into the stash.
Now on to repairing five pairs of socks – two for sure, and maybe three, are too far gone to save the feet. However it’s worth knitting new feet – half the work after all is done – the legs are reusable.
Teal and Pink Socks
Finished this pair a couple of days ago. I really enjoyed working on this yarn – the colours and the unfolding design was tranquil and pleasing. Happy with how they turned out. I know where this pair is going!