Blossom part 1

Blossom is a sock that I have been wanting to knit for some time now. The pattern, by Stephanie van der Linden, was published in the Spring 2009 edition of Twist Collective – priced at $6 and sized for 8 – 9½” circumference, using Trekking Pro Natura on 2.25 mm needles.

No sooner had I seen the pattern than I bought it (and Laeticia as well). I had an idea that Blossom would fit the bill for the Sanday Industrial Show class for ” any item from 100 gms.”

It wasn’t long before I spotted the yarn that I knew was just right for my Blossoms. I secured a skein of Posh Yarn’s Laura sock yarn in a hot red/orange shade, named Creole. I stashed it away, with half an eye on PS4 South.

Well, here we are – coming up fast (far too fast) on this year’s Show and also newly arrived at PS4’s Southern/Red phase- and here I am, knitting on Blossom #1, almost as though it were planned.  I could allow you to believe in my superb planning, or I could be honest…

I could be honest and explain that I had firmly arrived at an intention of spinning for the Show this year. I truly intended to invest all my time at the wheel. In practice, I found that after a couple of hours’ of dedicated spinning yesterday I was in need of a change of activity – the pain had returned to my left thumb.  Thus it was that I cast around for ideas to occupy myself while the Internet was down. I was reminded of the idea of combining Show Socks with PS4 … and so I went foraging for needles and cast on.

I’m using 2.5 mm needles, and may come to regret it, but no 2.25 needles were available. The yarn is heavier than the recommended and is suited to the needles but I foresee a pair of Giant socks in my near future.

As noted in an earlier post, this sock begins by knitting a square motif on four needles, to form the instep portion of the sock. Here it is:

Central motif
Central motif

That is as far as I got in an evening’s knitting (we went to bed at midnight and I had just knitted the last row by then).

The initial cast on is a ring cast on – not something I have much experience with (any?) It gave me much grief, and I almost gave up.  Getting twelve stitches onto two needles was simple enough – my problems came in getting those divided equally over four needles and in then knitting the next two rounds in the correct needle order and without twisting the work.

I cast on five times. FIVE TIMES.

There was some degree of profanity.

I simply do not possess the necessary manual dexterity. At least not for using nickel plated DPNs at this stage of a project.  Some intelligence had to be applied to this project before a paddy was induced. I found some bamboo DPNs and put their extra cling to work. I also marked the needles 1 to 4. A final attempt succeeded and after the hassle of the cast on, I found the knitting of the centre square to be simple and straightforward((Despite the absence of half of the chart symbols in the key to my pattern copy)).

Hurrah!

Ah, sole

Today dawned too hot for exertion and therefore offered ideal conditions for knitting, especially as by this morning our broadband connection had gone completely belly up. I settled to the task of understanding the next stage of construction…

… which is to knit the sole portion onto the existing instep portion.

It was challenging at first and I did suffer one false start.

Briefly: Needle 1 is the front and centre part and its stitches are held on spare yarn and will eventually be knitted towards the toe; needles 2 and 4 form the left and right sides of the instep, respectively; Needle 3 is the ankle end. Having placed the stitches from Needle 1 onto spare yarn, the work sits now on three needles. Needle 3 can go to sleep for a while; needles 2 and 4 are our stitch bank.

And now we introduce (gasp!) the crochet hook – and some spare yarn – and form a provisional cast on for the sole stitches.

The sole stitches are knitted back and forth on a circular needle , taking in a stitch at a time from our stitch banks 2 and 4. This is done using the short-row technique of slipping stitches with a tightened yarn over, and then knitting them together with the bank stitches on the way back.

Knitting the sole onto the instep
Knitting the sole onto the instep

Clear as mud?

This may clarify
This may clarify

Click for bigness.

I’m not sure what went wrong with the first attempt, all I do know is that my sole was connected to only one side. Oh, and also that my stitches were not on my circular needle… It’s the migraine – it makes concentration difficult (you should see what happened to this morning’s scrambled eggs – I had to wash my trousers… )

The sole progresses, taking in the side stitches as it goes, until the time comes to acquire some additional stitches for the gusset, in preparation for making the heel.

Increasing for the gusset
Increasing for the gusset

Which is the point at which I have now arrived. Half the increases now done, I’m hoping to complete them this evening.

There are mistakes – I spotted them when taking this last photograph. No, I am not going to rip it back.

Yes, there should have been more progress – blame Mr L (gutter cleaning , needed assistant), migraine, and Summer Pudding.

Next up: Short Row Heel With Gusset – the learning curve continues.

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