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More socks

rjf | Posted in Knitting and Crochet on

Has any one used Opal sock yarn?  ZwergerGarn is the company who makes it and it’s one of those varigated yarns that makes its own pattern.  It has 425 m and 100 grams in the skein.  I’m a little way up the ankle (starting from the toe) and I’m beginning to worry that there isn’t enough yarn for two socks.  The band from the last pair I made is long gone so I can’t compare to that.  The sign where I bought the yarn said it would make a pair of socks but I’d love to get confirmation from someone out who’s actually had experience with this amount of yarn.      rjf


  1. jjk466 | | #1

    Yup, I have knit several pairs of socks using opal yarn. I knit mine from the top down and I panicked several times about not having enough yarn to the point of ordering another skein. Now I have a pair of socks and enough yarn to do it all over again. I have made a woman's size and a man's size and had enough for both. I have debated just purchasing a solid color yarn to have on hand that would coordinate with the yarns I am using, or perhaps a color that would contrast with everything, and having my "trademark" be a red toe or something like that. Then I would never have to worry about running out....My sock quandry has been whether or not I should try to match self pattern yarns from one sock to its mate. I am sometimes inclined to say just knit how the yarn falls and other times I think an unmatched stripe will make the sock wearer or observer always feel like one of the socks needs pulling up. Happy knitting!!

    1. rjf | | #2

      So you're saying one skein will make one pair?

      I had the same quandry about matching the stripes from one sock to the next.  Not exactly "quandry" about whether to do it or not, but how to do it.  I've started the toe of the second sock four times now and finally got something that looks like the first sock.  Actually the yarn is variable enough that  you can only get close to matching.  Fortunately, matching the stripe didn't lose much yarn because I just happened to stop at the right place on the first sock.  I did learn how to check ahead of time if I should do some more.  Next time I will do a solid color toe and heel.  I lost some yarn trying to get back in the stripe sequence after the heel.  Not having the stripes go up evenly on the front of my foot would drive me crazy.....worse than not having them match sock to sock.  On this pair, I knit the ankle in stockinette because 2 X 2 ribbing on double-pointed needles is torture and just ribbed the last inch and  was very pleased with how that turned out.  It fits smoothly and seems to stay up.

      I wonder how the yarn industry all latched on to space dying(?) at the same time.  There seem to be quite a few companies producing this sock stuff.  People who have seen me knitting the socks always comment and a frequent question is "Could you make a sweater out of that stuff?"   The pattern would get lost on something as big as a sweater.   Maybe a scarf.          Thank for your input!       rjf

      1. jjk466 | | #3

        I have found the best way to keep my stripes straight is to leave a yarn tail when I start a sock, the end of which is at a "noticeable" junction, i.e. a color change, and note how much yarn I used for my cast on past that end. Then when I start my second sock I can look for the same spot and go from there. I also note where I am in the yarn's stripe pattern when I come to each "junction" i.e. heel, toe etc. then I can start those things when I am at a similar spot in the color way. All that is assuming that I am knitting at the same tension and that the yarn is following the same pattern. I figure even if I have to fudge things a partial row to keep in pattern it won't really be notable. I don't worry about the pattern around the heel to foot, I like how everything changes there. All this went out the door with the last pair of socks I made however because I tried and tried to get the patterns the same at the beginning. Nothing seemed to work. After 4 attempts I said the heck with this I am just going to knit the sock and come what may. Turned out after I had the pattern repeat a little more that the first ball of yarn was wound one way and the second ball must have been wound "inside out" since the pattern order was reversed. Yes I know I could have ripped it all out and started from the opposite end but by that point I just wanted the sock DONE, so I have a very mismatched sock on my hands...Have a good day...


        Edited 3/30/2003 1:40:53 PM ET by jenny

        1. ElonaM | | #4

          You may have noticed in Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' book, "Ethnic Socks," that some pairs of those gorgeous Turkish socks have unmatched patterns. Same colors, but slightly different designs.

          1. rjf | | #5

            "...unmatched patterns. Same colors, but slightly different designs."

            Isn't it funny that it's okay if you meant them to be different, but it's not okay if you didn't?  I think I'd like the "same color, different design".  That would be interesting.            rjf

          2. Tish | | #6

            My feet don't match.  Reading this, I'm wondering why I have always been so concerned about my socks matching? 

          3. rjf | | #7

            Are we trying to compensate for Nature's mismatches?  Perfect the imperfect?  I didn't think a pair of socks could lead to such weighty discussion. 

            How are you?  School goes well, I hope?  I'm guessing 6 or 8 weeks until you can indulge in knitting, sewing and weaving.              rjf

          4. Tish | | #10

            School is OK. Thanks for asking.  I've got one class that is a brick wall, and that's been a shock to my system.  I'm just back in classes from midterms, so about eight weeks is right.  My last exam is May 21.

            I've never knit socks.  I once found an unfinished argyle that my mother had begun to knit for my father while she was expecting my oldest sibling.  I thought about having a go at finishing it-- but I decided that there was a lesson there.  Something either about argyle patterns, or about life after kids arrive.  I'm sure that my mom finally threw it away when she moved the last time.

          5. rjf | | #12

            A brick-wall class??  What can it be?  Too much reading?  Too much writing?  Now that I'm past all that, I wonder how I did it.  My conclusion is that it's a good thing you don't know at the time that it can't be done.  Truly amazing.

            I agree with your mother.  Argyle socks are above and beyond the call of duty but an argyle vest might be okay.  At least you'd have room to knit and carry all the bobbins.  After my first daughter's birth, I thought I'd never again knit or sew or read or sleep.  And she was a good baby!  Fortunately, we both grew up a little.   Nice to hear from you.                       rjf 

          6. User avater
            ehBeth | | #13

            Send your mismatched socks my way!  A good friend's daughter used to refuse to go to school if her socks matched.  I decided that was a good life lesson (matching socks don't effect your life), so on weekends I make a point of wearing unmatched socks. I like the weight of the sock to be the same, but the patterns vary. There's something very freeing about it.  <big grin>

          7. rjf | | #14

            Now that's a good idea! I agree the weight should be the same otherwise your feet might get nervous.  But how about labelling one sock "right" and the other, "left" and then put them on the "wrong" feet?  Would people notice, do you think?  Rather, would they comment?                        rjf

          8. User avater
            ehBeth | | #15

            rjf, when i knit fair isle sweaters, i do different patterns above the ribbing on each sleeve. in order to remember which way to put the sweater on, i make a point of knitting at least one small pattern in red on the right sleeve - with the mnenomic of red = right.  Maybe knit a tiny red heart on one sock, or the toe marker?

            No one's ever commented on my mismatched socks.  It's my little secret.

          9. Tish | | #16

            I'll bet mismatched socks are noticed far less than we imagine.  My husband insists on matched socks-but he always buys "bargain" brands that change size when you wash them.  Now he's at that point in his carreer where the tie, the matched socks, and not being too casual on "casual day" are a part of being on the way up.  Doesn't it seem like a misplacement of business priorities when your socks can affect your career?

            My daughter also refused to match her socks for years.  It was "cool" in grade school, She didn't care enough to pair them in middle and high school, and her laundry was never in good enough order her first two years in college.  Now she's in Spain where women take 'looking good' very seriously.  I'll bet her socks match now!

          10. User avater
            ehBeth | | #18

            Forget about not noticing mismatched socks - twice in the past two years, I've had female colleagues point out to me that they didn't have a pair of matching shoes on! One was wearing the same style in different colours - the other had different styles in the same colour.  No one noticed until the wearers did!

          11. rjf | | #17

            red = right

            That's a good idea.  I never worried about that but in some sweaters (Icelandic, I think they were) I'd put in Roman numerals, not for the year, but for the Olympics I watched while knitting.  It's strange how some garments bring memories of what was going on while they were being produced and usually that me happier to wear them. 

            The second sock is looking remarkably like the first and I've postponed panicking over running out of yarn until it actually happens.  It's a good excuse to go back to that yarn shop!                        rjf

          12. rjf | | #19

            Tish, I learned a new way to wind on a warp!  It's a Swedish method called pre-reeding and it makes getting the warp very evenly tensioned.  The woman who showed us wound the warp in bunches of four threads (no color changes but I'm sure there's a way to do that).  When it's all wound, insert lease sticks. Then you set a reed up on the table and  pull the bunches of four through a dent, skip the right number of dents to account for the number of threads in a bunch.  When they're through the reed, slide in a stick(heareafter called the "original stick") so you don't lose the loopy ends.  From the front of the loom, put the reed in the beater so the warp chain is towards the front and pull the loop stick towards the back beam.  Slide the loops on the back beam stick (the official term escapes me) but leave the original stick in.  Wind until the beam stick is right at the back beam.  Now comes the trick!  If you raise the original stick, you will see it creates a shed that leaves the forward lease stick free.  Detach it from the other lease stick and move it from behind the reed to other side of the reed.  You can take the original stick out now.  Raise the second lease stick and it will create a shed opposite to the first.  Slide the original stick in behind the reed and raise it up to recreate the shed and move the second lease stick from behind the reed to the other side.  Tie the lease sticks as usual and you can wind  easily.  No tangles!  The teacher also used gallon jugs of water as weights so she didn't have to hang on to the warp chains and she only unchained them as she wound the warp.  It seemed like a magic show!  Just had to tell someone and I knew you would know what I was talking about.    rjf

          13. Tish | | #20

            It sounds really amazing.  I'm following most of it, but where do  you thread the heddles?

          14. rjf | | #21

            Oh yeah.  Well, after it's all wound you cut apart the thread ends in the front and pull them out of the reed so they're hanging from the lease sticks behind the castle.  Then you thread the heddles and sley the reed for real.  I'm glad to hear you could follow what I wrote because it seemed to get more complicated the more I tried to explain.  We saw this technique for real on a field trip and once again on the tape the weaver sells in her studio.  It took two times to gather it all in.  Now, having seen it happen, I want the other tool she uses...a warping mill.  But they take up much floor space which gets smaller and smaller the more I weave.  This can be a costly pasttime!                                                                   rjf

          15. Tish | | #22

            I always warp from the front.  I tie the lease sticks onto the loom in front of the beater (already inserted into the cross, of course) and clip a few ends at a time to sley the reed.  When the reed is sleyed, I thread the heddles, then tie the ends onto the *warp beam stick?* ( I've forgotten too!) then I wind the warp.  So I do not unchain the warp until I wind it either.

            I have trouble winding the warp with even tension--it's the hardest part for me.  The text books always show it as a two-person job, but the only person in this household who could help me is my husband, and he just really doesn't get it.  If I have him wind, he doesn't understand about guiding the warp onto the warp beam straight (I don't have a raddle).  If I wind, he can't gather the ends between his fingers to maintain tension.  He just doesn't have the feel for it.  So I always wind the warp myself, going back and forth from front to back, trying to keep everything even.  I've gotten some interesting textures in my warps.

            Maybe I can shortly teach a son to help me.  My weaving teacher always made her son help her and she says that he still reminds her that "she owes him."

          16. rjf | | #23

            It really is a two-person job but I'm too stubborn to ask for help.  One of the tricks from the pre-reed technique was to leave the warp chained and hanging from the front beam.  Fill some jugs with water and attach to the chain (or chains).  The teacher used gallon jugs, and if you have the warp in parts, you need one for each part.  The jugs need to be filled evenly to provide even tensioning.  Attach to the warp(s) so they're just off the floor.  Now you can wind until the jugs reach the front beam when you reattach further down.  That would be about every 4 turns, I'd guess.  Now that I'm writing this, another idea comes to mind.....a plastic table on the floor.  Attach to the end of warp and let the jugs slide on the table cloth.  Don't you think that would accomplish the same thing?  I'm close to finishing a set of towels so I'll try that on the next project and let you know.        rjf

          17. carolfresia | | #24

            rjf, I'll help you warp something next weekend...if the loom is anywhere to be reached! Let me know--I'd love to learn how.


          18. rjf | | #25

            Okay, I'll wind some purpley-blue chenille. (if I can stand to wait that long)    rjf

    2. sewphaedra | | #8

      I haven't worried about matching the sock stripes at all, it never even crossed my mind! The first sock I knit I didn't even match up the two yarns, so it's a real mess but I don't mind. I was proud of myself for just finishing the sock! It took me a sock to figure out how to match the repeats on both yarns. I hate to rip out, I'm more of a learn-as-I-go person and I don't like to waste anything so mismatched socks it is.

      1. jjk466 | | #9

        A poll of to match knitters vs not to match knitters would be interesting. I guess with the not matching I always had the vision of looking down at my socks and thinking one needed pulling up because the stripes weren't the same. Comes from an acquired mass produced sock mentality I guess. That is not to say that I am unwilling to give it up :-).

        All this started with a ball of Opal yarn....I just completed another pair of sock using a different colorway in the Opal line and I had yarn to spare. How is the original poster of these messages coming along on the socks they are knitting I wonder?????????

        1. rjf | | #11

          This is the original poster.  One done and I'm on the foot of the second after starting the toe four times.  Couldn't find the right place in the yarn to match the first sock.  How ridiculous!  What's most annoying is that I'm not learning from my mistakes.  I just get more creative about how to disguise them.    rjf

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