Avoiding Second Sock Syndrome

Whenever you need to knit two of something — a sock, a mitten — there's a risk that the project will stall. It can be boring to do all the same stuff over again, which leads to procrastination. Isn't it curious how all kinds of temptations suddenly appear? You notice a whole bunch of new patterns on Ravelry you really must cast on. Or some gorgeous yarn you've always wanted to try goes on sale, so of course you have to get it on your needles ASAP.

Or maybe the second item isn't boring to knit, in fact you know you'll enjoy it, but because the first one took so long (life gets in the way!), you're now in the wrong season. It's hard to feel motivated in June to finish a pair of mittens you began back when it was actually mitten weather.

And how about sweater sleeves? Raise your hand if you've got a sweater three-quarters finished, but you're not sure when you'll ever actually wear it because you just can't bring yourself to slog through the second sleeve.

 Sock knitting at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts

Sock knitting at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts

My solution is to work these kinds of projects in stages, rather than finish one completely and then start the second one. For socks, I work the leg on the first one, then set it aside and cast on for the leg of the second sock. When both socks are done to the heel, I work the heel and gusset on each, then the foot on each, and last of all the toes.

An advantage to this method is that since the heels and gussets are done close to each other in time, I'm more likely to remember any special adjustments or modifications I made and do the same on both socks. Ditto for the toe shaping.

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Here's my current sock project, a "plain vanilla" sock knit over 64-stitches, with 2x2 ribbing followed by stockinette stitch. The first sock is finished as far as the heel, so I've transferred the stitches to dpns and set it aside for now (this frees up my 9-inch ChiaoGoo circular for the second sock).

 Sock knitting on the Norwottuck Rail Trail in Amherst, Massachusetts

Sock knitting on the Norwottuck Rail Trail in Amherst, Massachusetts

For these socks, I'm using Platinum Sock from End of the Row Yarns in the Peacock colorway. I'm really smitten with these saturated colors — they're so evocative of spring and summer and all the color that's bursting into view this time of year. I'm mostly working on this pair while walking — I keep them in my shoulder bag, so whenever the urge or opportunity to walk arises, I can pull out the sock and get in a few rounds while also getting some exercise.

 Sock knitting at the Quabbin Reservoir in Ware, Massachusetts

Sock knitting at the Quabbin Reservoir in Ware, Massachusetts

Have you tried knitting two-at-a-time socks on circulars? That also seems like a really great way to avoid Second Sock Syndrome. I haven't gone there, because I'd need to purchase even more needles, and I feel like I already have enough. I'm also not sure how well the long circulars would work for walking and knitting. 

Do you suffer from Second Sock Syndrome? What are your favorite tricks for finishing projects that require knitting two of anything?

Yarn Giveaway

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Instagram yarn giveaway! I have two pairs of 100-yard mini skeins of American Sock by Pigeonroof Studios to give away -- the lovely yarn I used for the contrast colors in my new Rowhouse Socks.

To enter, head to my Instagram feed and follow the instructions on the yarn giveaway photo. (Don't leave a comment here on the blog -- only on Instagram.) Good luck!

  Rowhouse Socks  by Bonnie Sennott

Rowhouse Socks by Bonnie Sennott

New Pattern: Rowhouse Socks

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New in my Ravelry pattern store: Rowhouse Socks, a sweet colorwork design to brighten your winter knitting.

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A pretty row of houses circles the calf in these top-down socks knit in three colors of fingering weight/sock yarn. If you've never done colorwork before, the Rowhouse Socks are a great project for getting your feet wet (sorry about the pun — I couldn't resist!). The colorwork pattern is an easy 8-stitch repeat, and you never use more than two colors in any round.

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I knit them with yarns hand-dyed by Krista McCurdy of Pigeonroof Studios. The main color is her High Twist Sock (100% superwash merino) in the Picholine colorway. The two contrast colors are her American Sock (also 100% superwash merino), chosen from a mini skein set of six one-of-a-kind naturally dyed colors. Krista's colors are rich and vibrant, really perfect for colorwork knitting.

The pattern's now in my Ravelry pattern store. As always, you can save 20% with my Create Your Own Collection promotion: purchase four individual Blue Peninsula patterns at the same time to automatically receive a 20% discount on all four patterns (no coupon code required).

Thanks very much for reading, and happy sock knitting!

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Sneak Peek: Rowhouse Socks

Kitchener stitch — do you love it, or hate it? When I first learned to knit socks, grafting the toes with kitchener stitch made me nervous. Incredibly nervous. I'm not sure why, because if you take your time and follow the steps, it's not difficult. Maybe it was just a big fear of "messing up." 

Anyway, I grafted the toe of a sock yesterday — and it went without a hitch. I have no nervousness whatsoever about kitchener anymore. So if it makes you feel queasy, hang in there! As with many things in life, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

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The sock in question is my next pattern, the Rowhouse Socks. They're knit in hand-dyed superwash merino by Pigeonroof Studios (the same indie dyer whose gradient set I used for my Purlish Mitts). For this design, I tweaked the little houses from my Rowhouse Hat so they'd work top-down, and jazzed it up a little by using three colors instead of two.

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These socks require focused attention at the beginning, but once you're past the colorwork, the knitting is easy. That makes them a great travel project and perfect for taking to knit night or work. They also make good walk-and-knit projects, if you're so inclined. As you can guess from these photos, I love to walk and knit — as long as it's not freezing cold. 

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The pattern's written and edited, and the socks are blocked. All that's left is a photo shoot. So they'll be ready for release soon — probably next week!

New Pattern: Tortoise Shells Socks

Just published: a new sock pattern called Tortoise Shells.

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Worked in the round, from the top down, the Tortoise Shells Socks feature cable-and-lace medallions (like tortoise shells in miniature) encircling the upper leg. Pretty columns of faux-cable twists flow down to the foot, set off by a bit of 2x2 ribbing at the sides.

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They're knit with 385 yards/355 m of sock yarn. The sample pair are in Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere, in a colorway called Strange Harvest. I loved this color more and more as I knit the socks. Its rich blend of golds and greens seemed absolutely perfect for fall.

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The pattern provides complete instructions for a women's medium size. You can easily make them smaller or larger by changing the needle size and/or yarn weight. The stitch patterns are given in both written form and charts, and instructions for grafting the toes using kitchener stitch are included.

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The test knitters in the Blue Peninsula Ravelry group have had very positive things to say about these socks: "This pattern is practically knitting itself!" "Pattern is well written and creates a lovely finished project." For me, it's been great to see that these socks look good in both variegated yarns and solids. View finished and in-progress Tortoise Shells here — maybe they'll inspire you to make your very own!

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P.S. Did you know Etsy is holding a big Labor Day Sale? I'm excited to join the fun, with 25% off individual knitting patterns in my Etsy shop, August 31 through September 4. There's no minimum and no coupon code needed. It's a great time to stock up on patterns for your fall projects!

A Sock's Progress

I saw a few red leaves on a maple tree in the backyard the other morning. That, and new coolness in the air, made me realize it's time to savor every remaining moment of summer.

I love the freedom and ease of wearing sandals, but even so, I'm not sad to start thinking about wearing my hand-knit socks again. I've had a great time the past few weeks working on a new sock design. It's got cables and lace, something for everyone. The yarn is the luxurious Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere. Cashmere! Always a happy fiber to knit with.

One sock is done and I've sent the pattern to the tech editor. That's progress!

If you're interested in test knitting, please keep an eye on the Blue Peninsula Ravelry group — I'll post a call there pretty soon.

Pattern Spotlight: Plumtree Socks

Since I published the Plumtree Socks last month, eight knitters have already finished them. It's nice to see how quickly this sock design knits up! Sometimes it seems as though a pair of socks can take forever. They're not large compared to sweaters, but there's a lot of stitches packed into each sock. 

It's also nice to see that knitters have used a wide variety of yarns in a range of colors and they all look great. I love it when a design is adaptable and doesn't limit knitters' choices. 

The Plumtree Socks are a good "advanced beginner" sock pattern—perfect if you're ready to move beyond a simple "plain vanilla" stockinette or ribbed sock, but aren't ready (or aren't in the mood) for an overly complicated or difficult pattern. See what you think!

Elizabeth knit her powder blue Plumtrees in Coopknits Socks Yeah! She describes them as a "fun, relaxing knit," and it looks like her kitty likes them, too!

Nadia used Miss Babs Yummy 2-ply in sunny Jonquil for her Plumtrees. She modified the number of stitch pattern repeats on the leg and foot to get a perfect fit.

For her fiery orange Plumtrees, Brenda used one of her own hand-dyed sock yarns (End of the Row Yarns). Her pattern page says that "the end result is a beautiful sock that fits great!" As a designer, I can't ask for better feedback. 

Beth knit her Plumtrees in orange, too. She used Jill Draper Makes Stuff Splendor Sock in a summery colorway called Tiger Lily.

Miss Babs Yummy 2-Ply has been used a couple of times so far. Hattie knit her Plumtrees in the juicy Ladybug colorway. She says it's "the ideal sock pattern."

Another juicy color is Countess by Fiberstory FAVE Sock, which Barb used for her Plumtrees. It made me so happy to read on her project page that she's gotten her sock knitting mojo back. Yay!

If your color preferences veer toward neutrals, you may like Sabina's grey Plumtrees. She knit them up in the Great Grey Owl colorway of Madelinetosh Twist Light, and says the lace pattern is "rhythmic and relaxing." 

Me, I love socks in a rich gold or yellow ochre (witness Couplet), so I have to admit I really swooned over Amy's golden Plumtrees in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Lichen. I also was happy to read that she's glad the pattern includes directions for Kitchener Stitch (for grafting the toe). I know knitters can look Kitchener up, but I feel the pattern is more complete and helpful if the instructions are right there when you need them.

I hope you've enjoyed this colorful parade of Plumtrees! If you'd like to try the pattern, take 20% off in my Ravelry store now through Sunday, July 23, with the coupon code COLORFUL.