Continuing my sock knitting trend, I got a wild hair and decided to join the Knit Along for Natalie's Advent Socks. Why was it a wild hair? Because it was also the busiest season in my business, which is not always an awesome time to start new knitting projects. But it turns out Advent socks are *perfect* for this time of year, because the idea is just to knit one stripe a day during Advent (with a little bit of extra time here and there for toes and heels), and that's not too hard to accomplish.
I loved the design - which was generally intended to use up scrap yarn, but for which I in fact raided my half-finished Perfect Blend shawl from Casapinka. I couldn't help it - I bought a Perfect Blend kit from Miss Babs with colors that I knew really *wanted* to be these Advent Socks. Which also means that now I'm improvising and my Perfect Blend is becoming a Franken-shawl, which is also fun. Win/win!
A few of my takeaways from these socks:
- 9" circular needles are GREAT for doing colorwork on socks. They keep the yarn spread out just enough that the floats don't get tight. At all. I did use dpns for heel and toe - you can't really use a 9" circular for that, and for some reason I prefer dpns to magic loop on socks.
- You really (REALLY) want to do duplicate stitch on all of these crazy ends when it's time to weave them in. On the first sock I was impatient (and crazy) and tied knots and did a very quick and dirty weave in. The results are already not awesome (not surprisingly). On the second I left very long tails and wove in the ends in duplicate stitch as I went and (not surprisingly) the joins are great. If you'd like to learn a little more about this, check out this podcast - which is what I watched when I came to my senses and did duplicate stitch for the second sock.
- I've been all fired up about Eye of Partridge for heels lately, so this time I did it for the entire heel and toe - and I love it! The result is much more dense, so it holds its shape much better, and seems like it's probably going to last a lot longer. It's a shorter stitch, so for the toe that was fine - the foot of my sock was about to be too long anyway. For the heel I did 4 rows even before I started the decreases, and that worked out just about right.
- This was my first time doing afterthought heels (or forethought heels really, since we put in waste yarn as we went.) I LOVE THEM - the heel fits well, and will be so, so, so easy to replace when I inevitably wear it out. I have handknit socks now with the heels so darned that they are more darning than knitting - that's fine, but being able to take a heel out and easily put in a new one is a very nice option.
Overall I loved this pattern, and it's inspiring me to play with some color charts of my own. In fact I love all of Natalie's sock patterns, so if you're in the mood for socks I highly recommend checking them out.