Remainder Socks

The reason why I really wanted to learn how to knit was so I could knit socks. Don’t ask me why - I just thought it would be really cool. So about three or four months into my knitting  obsession, with many frogs under my belt plus numerous hats and scarfs but only half a sweater, I bravely started my first pair of socks - men’s large for Dave who has cold feet.

On the advise of the library ladies, I used Yankee Knitter Classic Socks Pattern #29 which gives a variety of simple patterns in different sizes and weights of yarn. (I still use this pattern to get me started off with needle size and cast-ons, heel turns and gusset stitches.) The yarn was Juvel superwash in a red-blue-olive multi knit on two 3.5 circulars a la Cat Bordhi. Maybe it was the combo of Cat and Yankee that did me in. Anyway, it took three months of knitting and frogging to get through that first sock. Near the end, I told Dave that amputation was the only way for him as there would unlikely ever be a pair. Then, surprisingly, the second one was easy and quick. Now Dave hardly ever wears a pair of socks that is not hand knit! Neither do I!

So here is the Remainder part... when you knit socks there are always a lot of leftover bits. You could just knit them all together in stripes of some pleasing combination, maybe a jazzy pattern or some fancy stitches. Maybe a random color experience or a more methodical divvying up of yarn so that the two socks match.

These remainder socks are a little different. Remember that 3 month sock? It also took the better part of three 50 gram skeins and not the usual two. After that I thought three was what was required. So I bought 3 each of two colorways of Knit Picks Parade sock yarn. No sense in running up short, is there? Then to my surprise I ended up with an extra skein from each - one blue and one green. 

What to do? Not enough for another matching pair! Or was there? Actually the yarn was more alike than not. Same contents, same gauge, same repeating of color pattern. Each was based on three different shades of a color in stripes separated by gray marl stripes. 

Here’s what I did. I knit a Yankee sock in a stockinette pattern, size 3 needles and a 60 stitch cast on. I knit a one inch rib in orange wool then switched to the green stripe. I was careful to start the first stitch at the very beginning of a green section of yarn. I knit through each of the three green stripes and their gray followups ending with a gray stripe.  I ended the last stripe as close as possible to the end of the gray yarn and at the end of a round. Then I switched to the blue skein and knit from the very beginning of the first blue stripe to the end of the gray stripe after the third blue color. Again, I ended that last gray stripe at the end of a round which was not necessarily the end  of the of the gray yarn sequence on the skein but was as close as possible. 

Next I knit in a short row heel in the same orange yarn as the cuff. (Yeah, I know, not a Yankee heel) 

Now it was time to go back to the striped yarn. I opted for the the blue which had about 6-8” of gray left at the beginning. I made certain that the first stitch when I switched yarns was blue.

Because I was starting up almost where I left off the color striping worked out exactly as before, and I knit my way to the change-over to the green skein. It also had a little bit of gray at the beginning... perfect! After the final gray stripe there was nothing left to do but a traditional orange toe. I was lucky that my foot length matched the length of the blue plus the green striping sequences. Maybe a slightly longer orange toe would help fit a bigger foot. 

Each skein was all set up for the second sock in the correct sequence of colors. Ifthat had not been so, I would have just wound off some yarn until I got to the correct starting point. 

Could you do this as easily with any other yarns? Probably if you purchased two striping yarns in different colorways from the same yarn line. Many self-striping yarns also have that alternating gray stripe. The Parade stripe pattern is very regular with color sections all the same length - that is why this sock looks so precise. Another yarn with variable width striping, such as KnitPicks Felici, might be harder to match up.

                                      Formerly                   © Pat Higgins 2014