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My first attempt at argyle

One sock completed on 19 May 2007


I love the idea of knitting something vintage-y. I also like the idea of learning something new. And so as I'd never done intarsia knitting before, I thought argyle socks might be the perfect first project.

Easier said than done. I'm not even half finished with the first sock and yet I can feel a case of Second Sock Syndrome coming on.

My brother Chris gave me this great book, No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting, and it's really great, with lots of vintage pics, including this argyle sweater/sock set from 1949.

After lots of triangle-drawing on graph paper, I finally came up with this simple argyle design. I do like the color combo of black, white, and red.

Here's the embarassing backside of the argyle, with a million loose yarns hanging down, which all need to eventually be sewn in. That's going to be a barrel of fun. Not.

It is now 27 May 2007, and I have finally recuperated from the trauma that was tying in the loose ends. The actual knitting of the argyle took me three days. And, it took an additional three days to tie in all the loose ends. Torture!

In the future, if I do intarsia (which is a really big if), I will indeed use bobbins (instead of using, like I did, individual strands just hanging down) because bobbins will enable me to wind more yarn up (and have longer lengths) and therefore avoid splicing yarn lengths together as I had to.

Going against human nature, I Kitchener stitched the cuff together, then started knitting in the round, from the cuff down. To me there is something fundamentally wrong with a seam in a sock!

If this finished sock looks a little distorted, it's because it's unblocked, and unloved. Oh, and the fact that I simply could not take the 2.0mm metal DPNs anymore and changed midway to 2.5mm Brittany birch DPNs, which were much much more comfortable with which to knit.

I cannot bark about the black-white-red combination. I love it. It's classic. In fact, I like almost any combination of black-white-and another color.

Notice that I have but one sock for show-and-tell. I am suffering from major Second Sock Syndrome. I just don't know what to do about the second sock. I need to make one, and of course I have the yarn. We'll see what happens....

Knitting specs:

These sox were knit with Jaeger brand Matchmaker yarn, merino 4-ply superwash. Argyle part knit on Clover bamboo straights, size 2.00mm.

Learn from my mistakes: I started the first argyle sock from the toe up, in my new favorite method with the Turkish cast on, thinking that I could change from circular knitting to flat once I hit the ankle.

I tried. But, even though I went from knitting in the round to knitting back and forth (so as to get a flat area on which to work the intarsia), it simply did not work. I could not open up the knitting enough to work the intarsia.

So, I frogged the whole sock from ankle to toe and started again.

This time, I deferred to generations of knitters before me and have now started the argyle sock in the traditional method: Knit the top argyle part flat, then seam it, then work in the round toward the toe.

This should teach me not to try and re-invent the wheel.

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