We've just returned from over three luxurious weeks on the Maine coast. Given that while I try to pack light, I still took three pairs of shoes, I decided to take only small projects this year--almost all socks. (One was my first crochet project--don't tell anyone! Pictures later.)
Here is the culmination of my summer of socks:
[Whoops--not Trekking XXL color 76 but Supersocke 100 "sierra color"] mistake-stitch ribbing, 72 sts, toe-up on two circs, see details below about top ribbing & cast-off. The first photo is the truest in color.
Trekking XXL color 66, 1x1 rib, 72 sts, top-down on two circs, tubular cast-on. The actual color is a deeper, darker blue, with the highlighted colors peeking through.
Can you tell I love Trekking? The two pairs above are for C. I'm trying to boost his supply of wooly socks before winter comes (his toes are perpetually freezing). I used a different method for each pair to avoid the dreaded tight-sock-top (you know, when you've knit a beautiful pair of socks and go to put them on and find that no matter how loosely you cast on, they're incredibly painful to put on).
For the blue pair, knit top down, I did a provisional crochet cast-on in preparation for a tubular 1x1 rib that I continued down to the heel. Incredibly stretchy. Lucy Neatby gives a good description of the tubular cast-on in Cool Socks, Warm Feet.
For the rust-colored pair I tried something I made up; surely someone else has already tried this? These were toe-up socks, and when I was at the top of the leg, ready for some top ribbing, I basically created a double-knit layer and then bound off the two layers with a tubular cast-off.
Here's what I did: when I was ready for the final top ribbing, I knit into the front and back of every stitch. (For a 72 st sock, this resulted in a lot of stitches!) Then I double-knit for five or six rows: working one round on the knit sts (knit the knits, slip the purls) and the next round on the purl sts (slip the knits, purl the purls). So, two rounds of knitting equals one round of regular knitting. When I was ready to bind off, I followed a regular tubular method of casting off: working with 1/4 of the sock top at a time, I put all the knit sts on one needle held to the front, all the purl sts on another needle held to the back, and cast-off with kitchener st.
Dealing with so many stitches, and having to knit 10 rows to get five, was a bit slow-going, but in the end this method left a stretchy top with a nice thick feel.
A pair for me:
The lace pattern is taken from Evelyn Clark's "Waving Lace Socks" from Interweave Knits Spring 2004. I did my usual garter-stitch toes and heels, toe-up, on two circs. For the cast-off I knit a 1x1 rib for about six rows, did a picot row (*k2tog, yo*) for a fold line, 1x1 rib for another six rows, then loosely sewed the live sts to the inside of the sock. Hmmm... where's the ball-band for this? It was lovely stuff--very soft--will have to search.
Another lovely pattern by Evelyn Clark, "Go with the Flow Socks," Interweave Knits Summer 2005. This time I actually did follow the pattern (heel flap and all), but since I was using a thicker yarn, Louet Gems, I knit on 54 sts on size 1 dpns. One skein. They came out a bit snug, so next time I'd do these on size 2's or go to the 60 sts the pattern calls for.