Tag Archives: Orange

Cat Bordhi Syndrome

4 Mar

My new socks are quite plain, but they feature Cat Bordhi's sweet tomato heel technique.

As I made my way through the Spring 2012 issue of Sockupied, I was struck by an illness: Cat Bordhi Syndrome. This affliction – characterized by the immediate casting on of a new project to test one of Bordhi’s ingenious techniques – can derail even the most committed monogamous knitter from their project at hand. As was the case with my Gansey Clock Socks (not pictured because they’re not done.)

The technique that sent me digging through my stash for some unspoken-for sock yarn is the new Sweet Tomato Heel. This is a short-row technique that uses multiple gentle sloping wedges with no wraps – rather than the standard two steep wedges with wrapped stitches – to create a fat, round heel. I hate wrapping stitches, and I don’t care much for the way short-row heels don’t shape the gusset, but the Sweet Tomato Heels were a spark of inspiration. I had to try them. Immediately.

So, right before Parks and Recreation started on NBC Thursday night I found my Blue Moon Fiber Arts Hand Painted Sock Candy. This yarn was a gift from my mom about a year ago, and I used its mate to make her some socks this Christmas, but in a different colorway. This bout of Cat Bordhi Syndrome was also the motivation I needed to finally locate my US 1.5 Addi Turbo 32″ circulars that have been missing for months and holding up other, less innovative projects.

I cast on 58 stitches (I have small feet, the yarn is sport-weight, and the needles are fatter than usual) and started working a twisted rib cuff. I know the ktbl1, p1 cuff isn’t as snug as the k2, p2, but I’ve been holding off on using this yarn for a great pattern and I wanted them to be pretty, not just functional.

When it came to the leg, I just went with plain old stockinette. Did you know that I don’t have a single pair of plain stockinette socks? I was really charmed with the simplicity, ease and the way the color of the yarn really shined with the basic stitches.

I turned the first heel before the end of the evening, and after a 7″ leg I thought that was pretty good. I was highly motivated by my Cat Bordhi Syndrome. I had to watch the tutorial video in Sockupied again as I worked the first wedge of the Sweet Tomato Heel, but then I had it down pat. The way the color swirled to a point for each wedge is amazing. I’m so happy I used a hand-painted yarn for this pattern!

I finished my first sock the next day, and as Cat Bordhi Syndrome is stronger than Second Sock Syndrome, I immediately cast on for the other. Unprecedented!

As it went, I finished my second sock last night at about midnight, including weaving in ends from attaching a new ball of yarn and grafting the toe. I couldn’t even wait until morning to model them, and went downstairs in the horrible light to take some final shots.

Essentially, I love these socks. Like Elizabeth Bennet to Mr. Darcy, they have bewitched me. Okay, not nearly that romantic, but you get the point. They fit wonderfully, the yarn is soft and thick, and the colors only pooled in the best ways. Obviously Cat Bordhi Syndrome is accompanied by a great deal of luck.

I will definitely use this heel again when possible. It could easily be incorporated into any pattern where the heel doesn’t require some stitch pattern. I will continue to play with the number of wedges I use. I think these socks might have fit a teeny bit better if I’d added another half a wedge, but since they fit great now, I won’t dwell on it.

As I recover from my Cat Bordhi Syndrome (and cope with my real-life cold) I encourage you all to take a look at the Sweet Tomato Heel Socks e-book and explore this awesome new technique!

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Hand Painted Sock Candy is unavailable right now.

Project Details

Simple Sweet Tomato Heel Socks

Pattern: Improvised plain stockinette with Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Heel

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Hand Painted Sock Candy, sport-weight, 400 yds (I have 120 yds left!), colorway: Autumn

Needles: US 1.2 Addi Turbo 32″ circular

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Husband Socks 2.0

16 Jan

There's about a 2-inch reason I knit more socks for myself than my husband. This is just a quick toe comparison. The socks are aligned at the heel. Keep in mind, his feet are also wider.

Last spring I knit my husband his first pair of hand-made socks. He liked them, but he’s not the type to be overly excited by things like socks, especially handknit socks, which are quite warm and only wearable in the cold, dark times of the year. (At least for him. I wear mine year-round. That’s commitment.)

So I was a bit surprised when I bought some yarn to make him another pair of socks late last fall and he seemed excited. He’d never asked for another pair, never seemed particularly interested in socks I was knitting for other people, and didn’t wear the ones he had very often.

But, with just a touch of encouragement, I was thrilled to make him another pair of socks just in time for those cold, dark days.

The problem was – as it always is with men and knitting – selecting a pattern that was simple enough to respect his masculinity, but interesting enough to keep me engaged. The glorious solution came in the Stepping-Stones pattern from “The Knitter’s Book of Socks” by Clara Parkes. Though I don’t have the book, I did find the pattern for free on Ravelry.

Now, here is an important tip for getting approval on sock patterns for men: Show them an example of the item in the color you plan to knit with. I’ve noticed, similar to obnoxious couples touring homes on HGTV, that men can’t seem to separate the item from its color. So, just like first-time homebuyers walk away from an adorable bungalow because the bedroom is painted chartreuse, men will wrinkle their noses at any pair of socks that aren’t the specific color they want. They don’t see the pattern, they see that exact pair of socks, color and all. It’s frustrating, but I’ve found that color matching my samples is the key to getting the go-ahead on patterns. It was just my luck that the main sample photos for Stepping-Stones are also in a burnt orange color, and Ismael approved.

The simple texture of these socks is a great feature for the knitter and recipient.

These socks are knit with Berroco Comfort DK, purchased on sale from Loopy Knit/Crochet in Missoula, Mont. They are thick and soft and machine washable! I sometimes feel bad for using this yarn all the time, but then I remember there are a lot of reasons for that. 1. It’s vegan (like me!) 2. It’s machine-washable 3. It’s very soft 4. The ball sizes in the fingering and DK weight are perfect for sock knitting. 5. It’s affordable, and for the time being I have a very limited knitting budget.

These socks are knit top-down, with a cuff and leg length of 5.75 inches. I modified the heel flap to a standard slipped-stitch eye-of-partridge heel. The pattern recommended a stranded technique that sounded like a bit of hassle for the same effect I could achieve this way. That’s the only modification I made to the pattern, aside from shortening the leg a bit to accomodate my yarn.

This pattern is a very quick knit and perfect for men. I wish they would embrace lace and intricate travelling stitches, but I just don’t see that happening in the near future.

Ismael seems very happy with his socks, and now has two handknit pairs he rarely wears. All is right with the world.

Coming up: “The Scent of Lavender” and “The Case of the Missing Hexipuff”

Starting on Stepping Stones

29 Dec

The first four inches of the Stepping Stones socks.

A few months ago I picked up a couple balls of DK-weight yarn in a beautiful burnt orange color during a sale at my local yarn shop: Loopy Knit/Crochet. Although I loved the color myself, I’ve been wanting to make another pair of socks for my husband since I finished his Writer Socks last spring.

Getting the go-ahead on a color for socks from a man is a big deal, so when Ismael didn’t immediately reject the orange, I knew they were meant for him.

It has taken me forever to decide on a simple but interesting pattern for these socks, and today, right before I was going to cast and go with my own design, I found the Stepping Stones pattern on Ravelry.

With the thicker yarn and size US 2 needles, these are working up quickly and I can’t wait to finish them up and get them on my hubby’s feet.