started new stranded sock

so i pretty much finished all the 'Macedonian appropriate'(my term) heavy
men's long socks from my last post. i decided to tackle a project a friend
asked me to do, which is to copy a pair of women's Thracian traditional socks
for him. after working on the thick men's socks, using inexpensive synthetic
heavy 4 ply yarn and #8 needles, it was a real challenge readjusting to using
small needles ( #1) and fine yarn ( finger weight).

I am embarrassed to admit that it took me 3 tries to cast on and start them - everything just seemed so small! finding the right yarn is always a problem. traditionally, these are knitted with tightly spun 1 ply yarn. i started off using some tight spun 1 ply yarn I bought in Greece, but it is inconsistently spun, which was making the gauge incorrect ( you can see from the slant of the flowers in the bottom section that my yarn/gauge was too heavy. so after the green section i switched to some commercial yarn - Cascade Heritage. it is beautiful and consistent, though not quite tightly spun for me. oh yeah, and pricey too!

if the first one comes out OK, then i guess i need to start the 2nd one the same
way with the same 'switch' of yarn. i fear i might not not be happy with the
end result. if so, i'll chalk it up to 'tuition'. here's what it is looking
like after day 3. i hope to knit some every day to see how long it will take.
it certainly is not fast like the heavy socks.

i should have started these 'around the neck' as it makes color changes quicker. i think i'll finish this
one,then do its mate 'around the neck' and compare the experience and
quickness of each technique. if i knit flat, my purl sides( of stockinette) i
try to do around the neck as it is easier for me to purl that way.

anybody else here do color work/stranding around the neck?

Day 4. added some pics of day 4. not a whole lot of progress, but i finished the next band of pattern. pics are a little washed out.

i am showing also the reverse side as the reverse sides - the soles- are usually knitted differently than the top side. the top side is made more elaborate, while the reverse side is often done in simple patterns(diagonal stripes, diamonds, etc) that knit up quickly and get the yarn strands back to the beginning!. in this case, in this area, they seem to knit the same design as the front, they just don't 'ornament' with additional colors.

boy does this need a good blocking when it is done! actually, 'blocking' is not done in these areas. they can appear to be blocked, but it is because they are stored pressed under weight ( usually in chests or drawers under piles of blankets)

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Bill's picture

"anybody else here do color work/stranding around the neck?"
Tom Hart does...and doubleknitting.
He'll probably chime in here soon...

Sara Katsan's picture

thanks Bill.

Tom, if you are still out there: " Can Tom come out and play ??"

Bill: btw - i really love your teddy bears. the brown and white one took my breath away. wow. do you remember what yarn was that made with? a tweed?

Bill's picture

Thank you!
My Teddy bears are made from recycled thrift store sweaters, usually pure wool.

Sara Katsan's picture

how great, and how unique. i'm definitely impressed

Tom Hart's picture

Hi Demetri,
I love your work and have been meaning to send you a message about PK (yarn around the neck) and double-knitting. But since the topic's come up in public I'll just say it out here in front of God and everyone :) Like you, I knew right from the start that what I wanted to do was color-work. So first I learned English and then I learned continental, thinking I'd do one color with each hand. And then I saw a guy in my knitting group making a green, white and red Christmas stocking with the yarn around the neck and that changed everything. (Thanks, Stan!) Within a week I was doing little stranded-work swatches. While I enjoyed using PK and while I liked being able to work with two colors, my stranded stuff was never very good-looking. The wrong side was kind of a mess and it had little stretch or give. I've seen some magnificent stranded stuff where the "wrong side" looks almost as good as the "right side" but that was never anywhere near the case with my stuff. Then somehow I heard of double-knitting. And everything changed once again. Two sided stockinette, naturally flat and drapey, more stretch than a 7th inning (seriously, it's stretchier than regular knitting because it's stronger) AND THE KICKER's so much easier and more ergonomically economical than stranded knitting. There are no floats, there is no wrong side (it's reversible!), you never have to carry yarn. It's just easier, there's less to do. And the fabric it creates just feels so good.

Double-knitting is actually for the LESS-SKILLED knitter who longs to do color work. With stranded knitting you have to work to get good at it. With double-knitting it's kind of gob-smackingly magnificent from day one. It's hard to do bad double-knitting. And with PK it’s SO easy...

These comments are in no way meant to offend stranded knitters or cast aspersions on the art and craft of stranded knitting. I am in awe of stranded knitting and in awe of the long line of stranded knitters through history. Good stranded knitting is an art and the ability to produce it is a gift.

Sara Katsan's picture

wow, Tom wrote to me? : - )

are you kidding? double-knitting, well, just sounds so mysterious. i figured 'enough is enough' and just stick to what i know( or am learning...), but you sure make a good case for considering it. you're really intriguing me. any suggestions for good videos to get started?

i'll be in SF from the 19-21. maybe i'll see you at Imagiknit? i usually stop by there to pick up something when i'm in town.
it'd be cool to meet up

Tom Hart's picture

It would be very cool, indeed. No need for a video, I'll show you myself when we meet up. I'll scout out a cafe with good lighting near Imagiknit. This'll be pretty excellent. I'm kind of excited. I've never made a date with a person I've never met on line before. And in public.

Tom Hart's picture

PS I completely forgot to say that I'm working on double-knitting a sock now. From the heel flap down. I'm just going for the feel of the fabric with the springy purl bump filling for added cush. I'm trying out different yarn weights and needle sizes now. I hope to have a keeper soon. I'm going to post some pictures of the various iterations of this sock so far.

Sara Katsan's picture

and i repeat: i am totally intrigued. a double-knit sock. def want to see some pics when you are ready.

Thunderhorse54's picture

I am amazed and humbled. I've never attempted colour work.

Sara Katsan's picture

it's actually all i want to do. i started knitting color stranded work right away, so it seems natural to me. 2 color seems like a piece of cake. 3 or more colors per row are more of a challenge though.

for me, seeing people do cables, fancy stitches, shaping garments, now THAT amazes ME !

how are your socks coming?

Thunderhorse54's picture

They're finished!! My first pair. I need to post a pic I guess.

bobinthebul's picture

These are looking great, and 3 colors no less.

As you know I started doing this stuff round the neck but I actually got tired of it - it never really got comfortable. I've started the Hemshin sock again with yarn I like, but I decided to teach myself to do it knitting two-handed (continental with the left hand and English with the right). The first few hours were tortuous (I was knitting the English way too tight and I ended up frogging several hours' work) but the second attempt is going quite well. I've just got through the first repeat of the pattern. If I finish these (!) I'll try one with more colors, but the 3rd and 4th colors are just one stripe that replaces the white every 2 inches or so.

Sara Katsan's picture

thanks mpamp

i saw your Hemshin post. great! but you know the 3rd and 4th color stripes you are talking about are a different design concept. that way is just change in the yarn. each row still gets only 2 colors, right?

if you have the original, i'd like to see it. or even just get the measurements - how many inches/cm wide and that equals how many stitches.

what weight yarn, and what size needles you using on these?

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Gorgeous sock. I look at it and go "How do you handle 3 colors?" I should challenge myself and attempt it someday. Congratulations.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Sara Katsan's picture

thanks joe. i am having a day 5 dilemma - the gauge is working out to be too big, so do i just stop and start again, or go ahead and finish it even though it will be for a freakishly long foot? Hmm

some of the rows actually have 4 or more colors. it depends on the pattern, but the way i've seen 'them' do it 'over there' is that the areas of the 'ornamental/supplemental' colors are done with small micro balls of yarn that are not carried across the row. i guess that is the same, or similar, to 'intarsia' ? i've never thought about 'intarsia' so i can't say.

it can get a little messy, but once you get the additional color areas going, it isn't too bad. and it adds SO much 'bang' for the effort. same technique as the Peruvian men use when they knit their chullos(hats).

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Yes, gauge can be a problem. I had that happen when knitting a pair of socks from a friend's pattern - I restarted 3 times before I finally got it. I'm so used to what I need to do for my socks to fit properly that I often forget that my usual size needles, stitch counts, etc. may not translate well to another designer's pattern. Just one of the pitfalls to watch out for. It's always a dilemma, that's for certain. Of course, my friends and family hope that the socks end up not fitting me as that means I might give them away.

The use of supplemental yarn balls is true of intarsia, working in just the small area that the color is needed for. I had forgotten that a similar technique is used to knit chullos - I should research that again and consider a pair of socks that uses multicolors as a way to use up the odds and ends from my other sock knitting.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.