Bleedin' Yarn!

I have knit LOTS of socks,  I have knit LOTS of colourwork projects,  I have knit quite a number of projects combining  variegated yarn with a plain yarn. It makes for an interesting and complex look which is beautiful and simple.

So I approached this project with an air of confidence,  I didn’t anticipate too many surprises,  I know, I know…. fool.

I would love to be able to post lots of lovely pictures,  but as this project is a magazine commission I am unable to disclose too much about the finished item,  but you’ve guessed it is socks, right?

What happened?

I knit my way down the first sock,  sat back and admired it for a while before taking the ‘plunge’ and blocking it.  Thank goodness I didn’t wait and block both socks together!  I wanted to check that my colourwork lay nice and flat and that the floats were long enough and not pulling the delicate motifs out of shape.  I sprayed the sock liberally with water,  gently patted it to make sure the water penetrated all the fibres and slipped it over the sock blocker.  I use fibre trends sock blockers (just in case you were interested).  As I was eager to see it dry I committed what I think was my MISTAKE, I stood the sock on its toe to dry and left it overnight.

bleedin sock1

Next morning to my horror, sock massacre had occurred.  The beautiful commercially dyed red sock yarn had bled down into the white yarn.  I did what every deluded knitter would do,  walked away, made a cup of tea and hoped when I stepped back in the room it had all been a dream.  Sadly it wasn’t so.    After the emergency cuppa and a biscuit for, well, erm, because I can,  I set to and ripped out the toe.   I must confess,  I really quite enjoyed the challenge.

How to fix it

So if you ever find yourself in this particular bleedin situation,  or have a hole in the toe of a precious hand knit sock,  this is my method  for ripping back and reknitting the toe.

Firstly, I worked a lifeline around the first row of white stitches as a safety net.   I use a smooth cotton 4ply yarn in a contrasting colour.  I always keep a ball of Patons 4ply 100% cotton yarn in my knitting bag for lifelines and waste yarn purposes. Take the time to find the beginning of the round and pick up the right hand leg of each stitch all the way round the foot.

bleedin sock tutorial image

Next, slip the stitches onto DPN’s as set in the pattern.  You will now have one round of white stitches on the DPN’s,  here is where my cautious nature kicks in.  The brave amongst you will have placed your lifeline around the last red round.  I prefer to rip back or ‘tink’,  the final white round.  It gives me the opportunity to makes sure that all my stitches are mounted on the needles in the correct direction, that I have the right number of stitches on each needle and that the beginning of the round is in fact, at the beginning of the round.  Now you are ready to reknit the toe from your pattern.

Learn from my mistake,  always lay your precious colourwork flat to dry.

Check out option 3 on this great video tutorial by Knit Purl Hunter on lifelines

Feel like treating yourself? Check out Craftsy workshop, ‘Knit Sock Workshop’ with Donna Druchunas, not only does she teach you about lifelines in your knitting,  she also covers:

  • Each step of the sock-knitting process
  • Lace knitting techniques
  • The Kitchener stitch (grafting)
  • How to do a figure-8 cast-on
  • How to read a colorwork chart and lace charts
  • Proper measurements from knee to toe
  • Shaping techniques for heels, toes and calves

knit sock workshop craftsy

0 thoughts on “Bleedin' Yarn!

  1. Sock Massacre! lol I’ve not knit socks yet and I haven’t ever really blocked anything I’ve knit before but I feel your horror there. And a lifeline! Never knew about this (being a baby knitter of a little over a year or so) this would have saved me so much pain of ripping back and dropping stitches. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Knitting socks as I am sure you have read is a highly addictive activity. This is where I feel I should tell you to step away from the DPN’S, but hell no! Don’t shy away for knitting socks, if you can knit and purl, you go for it! Seriously, there are tons of great videos, books and of course Craftsy online workshops to get you started. For me, it was my knit and natter group that got me started with my sock addiction. Happy Knitting, Jane

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