Although I have at least 1, but perhaps more Chanukah/Christmas gifts to make, which I will cast on tonight after blogging, I spent a little time this week to finish the pair of socks I was knitting on and off since July. When I'm not distracted by a bracelet obsession and holiday crafting, pairs of socks usually work up more quickly than this pair.
Yes, I always swatch, even if I have used the yarn before. If I'm relaxed or if I'm tense, my gauge varies. If I spend time, I want my socks to fit.
I label and save my swatch with yarn name, gauge, WPI and any other pertinent info. After a while, the swatch collection is a great reference.
The finished socks.
I like Cat Bordhi's Sidestream and Riverbed toe up constructions. This one is a modified Sidestream. The names of the two constructions allude to where the arch expansion is placed. On the Sidestream, while you knit, you only increase on one side. Before it's blocked, the sock looks funny, but the stitches distribute perfectly well. I usually do a reinforced heel with a traditional gusset. The last pair of sock I made had an afterthought heel. I was neutral, leaning toward not liking it much. I thought I'd give it another go this time. I know there are a lot of benefits to the afterthought heel, especially if you're a social sock knitter. It's much less complicated and it fits quite well. I just don't like doing it. I think I'll forgo any more afterthoughts for a while. In my next few pair I will try Cat's Sweet Tomato heel and I will try Crystal heels from the Crystal Socklets in Knitty Spring Summer 2012. I don't mind making gusseted heels. In fact, because I have such a long relationship with them, I rather like them. I do think I need to explore my options - and maybe even give afterthought heels another whirl. Sometimes, 3's a charm.
I made these socks out of unremarkable stash Premier Debra Norville Serenity Sock. I got the yarn on sale and it was extremely inexpensive for a cozy pair of socks. They were made 2 at a time on 2 circs from the toe up. I prefer toe up construction because you can try the sock on as you knit, in case you need to make adjustments.
Glad these are done. I hope I will have my last gift done by the end of the month. Then, I'll cast on another pair.