Jobo Designs

Letting the crafty creative juices flow. Knitting, spinning, crafting, dyeing, rabbits, sheep and more!

1. October 2009 08:21
by Jobo

Elvish Leaves... Blocked and Ready to Rock!

1. October 2009 08:21 by Jobo | 1 Comments

Finally, last night the weather and my hectic work schedule cooperated and allowed a sock photo session before dark!


Elvish Leaves (Elfine's Socks by Anna Bell)

JL Vinca Sock Yarn

Overall, I am quite pleased with the results.  These socks were my first pair done toe-up using Judy's magic cast on for DPNs.  If you haven't tried this technique, it was a little tricky at first but pretty reasonable.  I did find that you needed to go back and tighten up that first cast on row at the end of the toe (similar to the process of snugging up a kitchener stitch toe after the graft has been completed) but the real draw for me was no "wrapping and turning" back and forth for the toe.  The M1 increases (I did Knit Front and Back increases) made a nice clean line at the toe.

You can see it a bit in this close up - The yarn itself had some really nice colour shade progressions.  I really liked the way the 2 strands changed colour at different rates.   Several times I found myself thinking... is it changing colour?  I dunno?  and then looking back after an hours work and seeing the very gradual soft shift.  I don't know why I like this style of yarn, I just do.  It keeps things interesting :)

I really liked working on this cascading leaf style pattern.  It was very predictable, highly memorizable, and easy to pick up when put down unexpectedly.  The pattern was very clearly written and easy to follow, a "must knit" really if you are a sock-a-teer.  Before blocking the leaves were quite bumpy and lumpy, but after a warm water bath and an overnight on the blockers, things smoothed right out.  I am always amazed about how much better things look after a bath and a block.  Even the stockinette sole looked smoother after blocking.

As far as the yarn goes, I was skeptical about whether or not I would be happy with the finished product.  Some consumers have argued that no two balls of Vinca are ever the same, but I found my two balls to knit up quite predictably the same.  It seems there was a similar amount of each colour in the skeins, similar progressions, and very much alike from my experience.  I did find the yarn to be a bit thin and splitty, but for lace socks, I wasn't really concerned with thickness and warmth.  For light and lacy this style of yarn was perfect.  The next real test will come when these babies are worn and washed a few times.  There were some linty bits here and there in the skein, but I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the yarn being pilly or felty.  The yarn seemed to like the blocking bath, so who knows. I'll keep you posted on the durability of the finished socks.

This was also my first time working short row heels in contrasting colours.  I was concerned during the construction process that knitting the heel in line with the rest of the sock would perhaps interrupt my colour progression from the foot to the ankle.  So I knit the heels with a contrasting colour from the outside of the ball.  This of course means more ends to weave in, but I really like the effect it achieved.  It makes the heel stand out and sets them apart from the plain stockinette soles I think :)

Once again, another pair bites the dust... and my Nanners are coming along nicely too.  I hope to show you more about them later in the week.  Sock one is up past the heel, and I have a good 2 hour wait at the doctor's office this afternoon.  I would say the first one will be finished before I get home.  Funny how I'd be furious years ago if someone kept me waiting that long... Now I just pack knitting accordingly and I'm good to go!


22. September 2009 14:17
by Jobo

Elvish Leaves.... another pair of patterned socks!

22. September 2009 14:17 by Jobo | 1 Comments

honestly are you surprised?  Socks seem to be my thing these days for a simple and portable project!

While browsing on ebay the other day I found an auction for some really low priced sock yarn - so cheap I couldn't resist!  The yarn is JL Vinca, in a sort of yellowish green colour that reminds me of Green Bananas.  I had read reviews on this yarn before that it isn't great quality (thin, pilly, some even called it scratchy) but I figured for the price (less than 6 dollars for 200g of yarn) I would try it for myself anyways.  When it arrived, I was still quite taken with the colour, but I would have to agree that the yarn is a little on the thin side, and not very tightly spun but not really itchy or scratchy in general.   I had also heard that it was difficult to match up the yarn to make identical socks because of the way the colours run through the two plies, but this didn't really bother me.  I rather like my socks to be fraternal (much to the chagrin of my Hubby who says "nice knitting... but the colours are too wild and crazy")


It was really difficult to capture the color of this yarn....  depending on the light it looked too yellow or green!  Seriously, just imagine the color of Bananas as they ripen from Green to Yellow and you have it.  You can see in the closeup the way that the 2 ply yarn fades from one color to the other.  Overall, I would agree that it isn't the finest quality yarn out there, but it didn't feel as bad as others made it out to be.  I've felt cheap acrylics that were more horrid honestly. I figure I will give it a try and if it pills and wears out too fast I just won't buy anymore.

There has been a pattern waiting in the wings.... more or less waiting for me to find a proper yarn for it: Elfine's Socks

This toe up (my first time using Judy's Magic Cast on for Toe up Socks on DPN's - see here for details) lacy sock features leaves cascading from toe to cuff.  I remember when I first saw this pattern I thought of elves and Lord-of-the-Rings-Ish things.  I think the artist has a real creative streak... she lists these socks as "the season's 'must have' hosiery for style-conscious dryads"

The pattern is clearly written, and very simple to follow.  Admittedly this isn't my first time knitting leaf-like patterns, but I was able to memorize the pattern very quickly and work on these in the car (where I need very straightforward knitting)  The color shifts in the yarn were just enough contrast to keep the project interesting and amusing.  Each skein of yarn has tons of yardage... so much that it feels like a waste to stop at the ankle where the pattern says... I think I might make knee socks out of them (when you're only 4'10" it really isn't that far up to the knee)  I will have to increase some for the calf, since the leaves aren't quite stretchy enough to accomodate my "curvyness" but that's ok, it will be another adventure - I've not made Knee socks yet!

At this point, I have one sock done probably 7 inches or more up the leg, so I decided this morning that I should cast on the second sock, and then I won't forget how I did the increases for the calf.  Do you ever find that if you don't keep good enough 'knitting notes' that by the time you get to the second sock/sleeve/mitten you forget how you did the first one?  I have had problems with this in the past, before I was smart enough to make specific notations about pattern modifications.  If you like the pattern check it out on Ravelry, it's a free download.

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