Socks from a Hand-Dyed Skein

Finished this pair of socks last evening. Too bad I didn’t take a photo of the skein – the colours were luscious – and distinct. But unwind and ball the yarn and you get this kind of blurred mixture which is relatively boring when knit into socks. I tried choosing embedded colours for cuff, heels and toes but they don’t blend – they stick out.

Here’s what hand-dyed yarn can look like: you can get large swaths of colour

Hand-dyed Yarn – Sectional

or it can look like this

Variegated Hand-dyed Yarn

In either case, they knit up looking more or less like my socks.

While the colours are enticing, I find this yarn much less satisfying to use than commercial balls dyed to create an actual pattern. Socks with hand-dyed yarn always seem to take a lot longer because there are no pattern shifts to indicate the progress you’re making.

So back to another patterned ball of yarn….

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Blue Socks

Finished last evening. This pair has a longer foot than I usually make – 60 rows from gusset to toe-off rather than 50. My friend wears a women’s size 10 shoe (as compared to my size 8) so I made the foot longer.

Blue Socks

Hope it’s not too long! If it is, I’ll unmake the toe, remove 4-5 rows and reknit the toe.

Grey/Yellow Socks

Finished last evening. I probably worked on them for 10 days or so (same 25 hours it takes me – I just knit more each evening). I was given the yarn by one of the women in the Friday knitting group – she picked it out of a donations bin at her church, didn’t want to use it herself, but thought I might like working with it.

The yarn (an older Regia pattern) looked pretty dull, someone had knit and unravelled a portion of it, but I thought the yellow offered some possibilities, so I added in the yellow stripe at the top, alternated rows for the next 10 rows, then knit the remainder of the sock as the yarn worked out. Cuffs, heels, and toes all used a bluish grey which blended well with the greys in the yarn.

Grey/Yellow Socks

Not a bad looking sock. Turned out to have more life than I’d anticipated.

 

Regia Pairfect #2

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.

Regia Yarn – “Pairfect Design Line”

Brown Socks

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 .

Socks – New Again

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.