Posted: March 10th, 2013 under Uncategorized.

Because LiveJournal tells me I have plenty of space to upload pictures, but the upload function appears glitched this afternoon…I’m uploading pictures here.  Apologies.   As you know, I’ve been making socks for myself.   The latest pair, of a lovely variegated blue with some purple, gave me a problem I’ve never had before, and have now solved, and I really wanted to show it off.

At the beginning, I knew I’d like these socks–the yarn is a hefty worsted weight and I love the color variations.   Worsted weight is not considered “sock yarn” these days, but I like thick socks.   Sock yarn is now often sold with self-striping (makes even stripes) and self-patterning (makes faux Fair Isle and other patterns if you happen to make it the right size.)   Other variegated yarn, like this, may have random color variation, or a regular one that’s not intended to produce full circle, even stripes.

Now they’re done, I like it just as much.   The socks have not been worn (other than trying on) or washed yet.

And here they are on my feet:

And a closeup of the left sock:

The problem I ran into was on the right sock, where the top of the sock meets the gusset (diagonal line emphasized here by a shadow.)   The first stitches of the decrease on the left side of the right sock did not snug in as they were supposed to, so I had an openwork look–not good for that part of a sock, even if you want lacy socks (and I don’t. )  I tried several fixes, of which only the last worked–basically, using the “ladders” or open strands as warp, and weaving another strand through them, back and forth, until I’d filled up the space when the sock was stretched as much as it would be on my foot, then weaving in the ends with a crochet hook.  It doesn’t show well at all in a photo, but it’s wearable and the variation in yarn colors means it’s not obvious at all from the outside unless you notice that there’s a space between the lines of knit stitches.

The yarn is a discontinued one,  Cascade 220 Paints “Isle of Sky,” knit on US size 5 double-pointed needles.


  • Comment by Daniel Glover — March 10, 2013 @ 4:13 pm


    Well, Beclan has learned to knit–it just might make the book ….

  • Comment by B. Ross Ashley — March 10, 2013 @ 4:44 pm


    I like variegated … and worsted weight yarn. (My own big pair is about eight inches away from finishing.)

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 10, 2013 @ 5:44 pm


    Since the Girdish have blue dyes for making Girdish blue cloth (a lot of it woolen, though there are also plant fibers used in cloth making–linen equivalents), I suspect a few people have blue socks and other people think it’s disrespectful to wear Gird’s color on your feet. And others would say “I’m head to toe Girdish and I wear blue where I [various epithets] please.” That’s not a for-sure, just an observation that people do behave that way. A friend of mine who moved from Texas to Pennsylvania as a girl wore a red dress on Valentine’s Day in her new school–as she would have back in Texas–and her teacher scolded her for wearing red–Communism’s color. And there are religious groups that oppose wearing bright colors, or particular colors…and on and on.

  • Comment by ellen — March 10, 2013 @ 6:36 pm


    tell me about it! In the Dutch reform church I grew up in we were not allowed to wear light colours, being miserable sinners and all that, we had to wear hats to church and shorts and trousers for women were another huge No-No! Like the socks by the way and where do out get the fair isle pattern yarn? Although I’ve never tried my hand at socks, scarves are about all I can manage, and I knitted a jumper once….

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 10, 2013 @ 6:42 pm


    ellen: I don’t use the patterned yarn (this is just variegated and random, not intended as patterned sock yarn.) I think you’d need to talk to someone who uses it and knows the best brands. If you’re thinking of trying socks, at least start with yarn you can see and handle. I do buy most of mine online (there’s not a yarn shop in this town) but I had been knitting for almost a year when I started on socks.

    If you can knit a jumper, you can knit socks. If you want to. Some people just don’t like doing it, and their feet aren’t happy in hand-knit socks. Not sure why, but so they tell me.

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 10, 2013 @ 6:42 pm


    You’re going to share pictures when it’s done, right???

  • Comment by ellen — March 10, 2013 @ 7:04 pm


    If they turn out OK… got winter coming up here, so I”ll look for some nice yarn next week when we go on holidays, can’t get any decent yarn in this town either…

  • Comment by ellen — March 10, 2013 @ 7:06 pm


    oh and I’ll have a chat to my mother in laws, she’s knitted her way around the world

  • Comment by ellen — March 10, 2013 @ 7:10 pm


    ooops you were talking to B Ross Ashley…..(shrivels up with embarrassment…) yes I’m seeing the optomtrist soon!!

  • Comment by ellen — March 10, 2013 @ 7:15 pm


    Sorry me again, I wanted to get a Dutch version of Deed of Paksenarrion for a friend who doesn’t read English… there’s no Dutch version of any of your books? (looking for translators?)

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 10, 2013 @ 7:40 pm


    ellen: no Dutch publisher has ever offered for translation rights. Does she read other languages besides Dutch? It has been published in other languages, but is almost certainly out of print in some of them.

    On knitting socks: try reading Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s books, especially Knitting Rules, which has a description (not actually a pattern) of how to knit a simple top-down sock with a heel flap, and the best EVER (for me) description of how to turn the heel. There are patterns, directions, and videos on YouTube, but I found hers the easiest.

  • Comment by Linda — March 10, 2013 @ 9:08 pm


    Love the color … so is that Girdish blue? No, I can’t see Arvid being comfortable with it, but I love it.

    May the day come when I get back to knitting socks, but first there’s a sweater for my sister in law to finish. It has been ripped out rather extensively as I try to get all the pieces to match exactly.

    My big hang up with the sock project is that it’s on #2 needles and I can’t seem to remember how to do short rows from one row to the next. With needles that tiny and yarn that fine I feel like I’m not making progress at all.

  • Comment by Heather — March 10, 2013 @ 9:30 pm


    Clever fix!

  • Comment by ellen — March 10, 2013 @ 9:44 pm


    ok I’ll look for the book you recommend and maybe I should
    look for publisher for Dutch books?

  • Comment by ellen — March 10, 2013 @ 9:46 pm


    how about unpfficially just for her?

  • Comment by Annabel — March 11, 2013 @ 6:21 am


    Arvid, I feel quite sure, would only wear the equivalent of black silk socks! Paks, however, would love your blue socks and is longing for you to knit her a pair!

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 11, 2013 @ 8:55 am


    Linda: It’s not really Girdish blue…remember that the peasants in Gird’s day were not allowed to wear blue at all, because it was a color the magelords favored and reserved for certain uses (and I now know why); their initial move into wearing bits of blue (secretly at first) to indicate alliance with the rebels would have involved any shade of blue cloth they could steal. Recovering their former skill in dyeing things blue would have taken some time, and the blue they settled on as Girdish was a plain, ordinary medium blue–not as dark as those socks mostly are, but dark enough to stay blue through many washings. You’d still see Girdish wearing various shades of blue as their stuff was newer and darker or older and somewhat faded. Verrakai blue is a light blue,

    Besides just liking thick socks, there’s a reason I started making socks with worsted weight and #5 needles when my mother used #4 for that gauge yarn–I can see the stitches and figure out how to do things like “knit (or purl) two together across the gap left by the previous row’s slipped stitch, knit (or purl) one more and turn the work” for the short rows of the heel turn. If I can see that little gap, it’s easy to do…if it’s so tiny it’s hardly different (to my eyes) than the normal gap between stitches…no. I won’t even try that until they fit me with auto-telescopic lenses in my eyes, giving me whatever magnification I want at any distance. And perfect auto-focus, of course. It’s lucky I like thick socks, since just trying a swatch on #4s convinced me I would much rather stick to the #5s.

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 11, 2013 @ 8:59 am


    Thanks. I was sure hoping that making new stitches out of the ladder-looking part would work, but I just couldn’t get it to work. It occurs to me now that I started wrong, and also may have had the wrong size crochet hook. But the weaving approach worked. I worked from the inside, running a stabilizing strand through the purl stitches of the rows to either side of the crescent-shaped laddery area, then worked up and down, starting a row above it to stabilize that. You can be sure I’ll be very careful with decreases in that area from now on, watching for anything similar to start.

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 11, 2013 @ 9:04 am


    What my agent says is that because of increasing ability to read in English, European publishers are finding it less and less profitable to pay for translation and publish books in their language. (It varies with country, of course.) This is especially so for English-language genre fiction, generally considered a viable market for those under 35. So you can look, but I expect you’ll find that Dutch publishers would not consider it profitable, on the grounds that everyone who would want to read it has already read it in English (or Norwegian or Swedish, the early foreign editions.) (If you find one who does, my agent’s listed on my website…they can contact him there, or at the London Book Fair, where he goes every year.)

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 11, 2013 @ 9:06 am


    ellen: If someone wants to translate a book into their own language for their own private use–that’s fine. If someone starts selling copies of that translation, they have become a publisher, and need a license from me to do so.

  • Comment by GinnyW — March 11, 2013 @ 9:28 am


    I love the color. It would make a terrific knitted sweater vest. The fix looks good. You will have to let us know how it wears (if we remember to look at this thread in a couple of months.

    I have to say that now that Girdish blue has come up, I pictured it as blue denim mostly. In all its new and faded shades. I suppose it was the association with farmers and craftsmen. And also that indigo is a plant dye.

    I associated Verrakai blue more with a sky blue/maybe a little on the turquoise side. I did have a notion that perhaps the head weaver would turn up a subtle wave pattern in shades Verrakai blue and gray – in an ancient and decaying dress of nubbly silk perhaps – and reproduce it for Dorrin.

  • Comment by Iphinome — March 11, 2013 @ 3:00 pm


    I’ve been using royal blue in my surcoates, it felt right.

  • Comment by Caryn — March 11, 2013 @ 5:05 pm


    Those are gorgeous!

  • Comment by Lise — March 11, 2013 @ 6:21 pm


    About thick socks, I get what you mean. I crocheted socks for my family in chunky weight yarn. Their more for outer socks, but they are very soft and warm.

  • Comment by Jenn — March 12, 2013 @ 6:41 am


    Always love to see how your socks are coming.

    The last pair of Socks I made were on size #2. Not to be repeated. I think I will stick with mittens.

    Happy Knitting!

  • Comment by Catmadknitter — March 12, 2013 @ 6:49 pm


    If you want to discuss the finer points of handknit socks whys and wherefores and some of the fixes, come find me on (as lovely as the people here are I’m not sure they’re up for sock and knitting theory and I can go at length)

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 12, 2013 @ 9:24 pm


    Catmadknitter…so far some of the people here are quite enjoying our side trip into a bit of knitting. We’ll get back to the non-knitting parts of Paksworld shortly. I’m on Ravelry, but don’t have time to be there much (I now want eight clones, four of them to go hang out many hours a day at online sites I’d like to keep up with, Ravelry being one of them. The Ravelry-watching clone’s duties would also include learning techniques I don’t have yet and downloading them into my brain while I’m asleep. There’s got to be a high-speed interface in there somewhere.)

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 12, 2013 @ 9:37 pm


    Ginny W: Had there been any left at after I first knit an inch of sock cuff with it…I’d have gone for a vest or even a sweater of it. Five pairs of socks is what I get instead, so I’ll be delighted with every one of them. And since one sock doesn’t use up all of one ball of yarn, I plan to combine the leftovers to get mittens or wristers and maybe a hat. The first pair had their first wash today, and (thanks to warmer temperature and a dry SW wind) finished drying outside before evening. Came through just fine. The wash and rinse water had a faint tinge of indigo blue; the older pair of dark teal leaves a strong tinge of greenish blue. I can wash the teal socks and turquoise socks together, but I don’t think I’ll put the Isle of Sky ones in with either teal or turquoise. They might be able to soak a half hour with the medium blue without any problem.

    That’s an interesting thought about an old piece of fabric giving a weaver an idea for a new pattern…not sure it’s going to work in this book, but…interesting. Hmmm.

    Iphinome: I think royal blue is great for surcoats…I think paladins, knights, etc. who use surcoats would want them a richer, stronger color, and by the time there are such knights and paladins, they’ll have access to really good dyes.

    Caryn: Thanks. It’s all the yarn.

    Lise: If you wear two pairs of socks, what are the inner ones like? I’ve heard of silk socks under thick outer socks–but it never gets cold enough here to need doubled socks.

    Jenn: Given the trouble I have seeing stitches even with #4s, the idea of #2s is just…not happening. But maybe when I get the cataract surgery I’ll be able to see stitches more clearly.

  • Comment by ellen — March 13, 2013 @ 3:54 am


    Hadn’t thought about the spread of English reading ability making it less profitable to do translations, makes sense I guess; especially when I think how most of my friends and family in Holland speak excellent English, the advance of IT plays a large part I expect. But thanks for your response

  • Comment by Lise — March 13, 2013 @ 7:25 pm


    Inner socks are just normal socks (sports socks, knee socks, whatever you wear). They’re not particularly thin, it’s our outer socks that are very large. We don’t wear two pairs year round, just for those days when it goes under -15°C (5°F) or if we’re outside for long times or if it’s really damp and around freezing… My boots are getting old so I was wearing to pairs of socks until mid-february. We sometimes even go to 3 pairs if our inner socks are really thin or it’s really cold.

    Over all that, we wear thick snow-boots. I’m still wearing mine although if the weather stays warm (above freezing) I might shed them soon. Winter boots are always fitted large because of extra socks and also because you sink less into the snow that way. Indoors we usually shed a layer of socks, but it depends how drafty the floor is.

    I would imagine this wouldn’t be a big issue in Texas, or even the North Marches for Paks. Montreal just happens to be one of the coldest metropolises in the world… I guess the moral of the story is only visit here in the summer.

  • Comment by Richard — March 14, 2013 @ 3:06 am


    I imagine the Honnorgat as being in a similar climate zone to our (your!) St. Lawrence.

  • Comment by SorchaRei — March 14, 2013 @ 1:11 pm


    I was once the guest of honor at a technical conference in Norway. Most of the sessions I was involved with we’re in English, because I speak only enough Norwegian to explain that I don’t speak Norwegian, but can manage in French, English, or very rudimentary German. However, about halfway through the plenary session, the speaker turned to me, apologized profusely, and announced that the next twenty minutes would be in Norwegian.

    So I whipped out my knitting and knocked off several rows of the sweater I was working on. It was a patterned lace sweater for my mother’s 65th birthday, and I was very proud of it, but also grateful that it occupied my hands and mind while I sat politely through what was evidently an hysterically funny talk I could not understand.

    Afterwards, men and women expressed amazement that I could knit. “I thought Americans didn’t do that!’ More than one of them said. That evening, instead of the usual conference bar crawl, there was a knitting circle, where we compared projects, compared knitting techniques (I was picking, not throwing, due to the complexity of the pattern and my inability to control tension as well when I throw — even those Norwegians who knew some Americans knit had no idea some of us pick rather than throw).

    What I learned from that is that knitting can be a good doorway into a less superficial connection with people I would otherwise only exchange technical commentary with. Plus, my mom always loved that the sweater had a few stitches here and there done by random Norwegian geeks.

    I love reading about your sock adventures, although I don’t make myself socks. I hate wearing shoes so much that it feels like making prisons for my feet.

  • Comment by Lise — March 14, 2013 @ 2:52 pm


    But isn’t there something about Kolya growing pears? Pears don’t grow in Montreal’s climate unless you really baby them. I may have misread, though.

  • Comment by Richard — March 15, 2013 @ 5:39 pm


    Yes. I was thinking more about downriver, where it can freeze solid between Pargun and Lyonya (there’s that anecdote told in Gold about hunting wolves across it) – but maybe not every winter, no more than the thin skim we see in Echoes.

  • Comment by Karen — March 15, 2013 @ 7:15 pm


    I rarely wear socks since my feet are rarely cold (the benefits of living in Southern California and having more trouble overheating than otherwise), but I am delighted to know that you are deriving almost as much pleasure from your knitting as we do from your books!

    May many more socks and books be in all of our futures!

  • Comment by Catmadknitter — March 16, 2013 @ 12:13 pm


    OK then- heel gap, method 2) pick up extra sts in the gap and k them together a row or two later. method 3) twisting sts (aka k thru back lloop). This is not my favorite.

    I love the no Gird blue on feet, it’s very Arab. we’ve assuming that the extant socks we have are grave-wear due to the Kufirc Allah bands on the feet because The Feeling is they just wouldn’t stand on Allah back then as well as now.

    re hand kits socks and comfort- this was a long discussion on historicknit! everything from unexpected foot sensitivities to certain fibers or the need for a certain gauge (me! must be fingering weight over 0s for mine or finer or it feels like I am standing on ornamental concrete) as well as expected issues on odd shaped heels and high instep mods.

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 17, 2013 @ 7:59 pm


    The comfort factor certainly varies from person to person. I had worn heavy-weight wool socks (commercially produced) for years, so my feet feel thin socks as “no cushioning.” On the other hand, my feet hate sock seams, even in thin commercial socks. I remember that from childhood, when weight certainly wasn’t a factor, but my feet recognized and reacted to any seam. Our son, who has tactile issues related to his autism, turned his socks inside out, and I decided to try that–it helped, but did not eliminate, the problem.

    To me, new, not-yet-washed worsted-weight handknits do feel more on the sole of my feet–but it’s like standing and walking on berber carpet, which doesn’t bother me. I can, at that point, detect why they might bother someone else, but since washing them makes them softer (and softer and softer over time) I can no longer feel any texture, just a soft cushy surface. Again, feet are individuals and this is how my feet feel.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment