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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

WIP Wednesday: Smooth Operator Socks

Happy Wednesday! It's been quite awhile since I've participated in a WIP Wednesday but yesterday, I took a photo of one of my favored knits over this last week and it seemed like a good time to participate in a WIP Wednesday post :)

So, what is this hot mess?

The pattern is Smooth Operator Socks by Susan B. Anderson. This is more of a recipe than a pattern, in that it's very general and you can tweak it as you want or need to but you can absolutely make a finished pair of socks using the information she provides in the pattern. The sock on the right is the finished first sock. The sock on the left is the second sock, in progress. I have the heel stitches on DPNs with the Kitchenering yarn wound around them to hold them together and I have about half the foot section done at this point.

Honestly, these have been on the needles for far too long. I started them on 16 October 2016. People, it's 13 June 2018 and they're still not finished. In fact, I didn't finish the first sock until 13 July 2017, which was 11 months ago. It took me 9 months to knit the first sock and it's taken me the last 11 to get to this point on the second sock. That's just all kinds of wrong. Then again, I did have a pair of socks that took me 2.5 years to knit from start to, maybe this isn't totally weird for me. I mean, I also have that Wink sweater that's been on the needles for about 3.5 years now......

To be fair, however, I've also knit plenty of other things during this time frame.

But, back to the socks....

The yarns I'm using are ONline Supersocke 100 in Colorway #1021, which is apparently called "Blues" in English (which means it was probably Blaues in German), and is obviously the self-stripe yarn. Fun side note: this was one of the first yarns I bought upon moving to California six years ago. And I'm finally getting around to using it. I wish I could say that this was among my oldest yarns. I'd be lying. The gray is Loops & Threads Woolike in Colorway #2 Cool Gray, which makes sense since it's a gray yarn. I'm still not 100% sold on this particular yarn for the contrast. The Woolike is a bit thinner than the Supersocke but it has a primarily acrylic content that will probably make it stronger and hold up better in the long-run. I might be wrong about that, though. They may just make my feet hot and itchy. We'll see.

I'm working on two Hiya Hiya Sharp 32" US #1 (2.25 mm) circulars but the heel of the second sock is sitting on two unknown metal DPNs, ready to be Kitchenered. I honestly don't know what these DPNs are other than metal 6" DPNs.

I picked the socks up last week on a whim because I had a moment to sit down with the directions for how to put in the waste yarn for the afterthought heel. It's not particularly difficult but I couldn't remember how Susan wrote it so I wanted to take a look before I went flying in. It was stupid easy to put the waste yarn in. I do not know why I let these sit so long. I also had a minor change on the heel. Most of my socks have the gusset decreases on the heel itself, because I do a heel flap and all that. I also tend to decrease an extra 4 or 6 stitches so that I'm working on less stitches for the bottom of the foot. It doesn't sound like much but it helps. My instep usually has 32 stitches but the foot will have 26 or 28 stitches. These don't have the heel flap but when I was working on the first sock, I decreased 4 an extra four stitches on the bottom so I was working on 28 stitches. I did the same on the second sock. It just means I'll need to shore up the toes when I get to the toe decreases.

Yesterday, after having worked about half the foot, I decided that maybe I should put the heel in. I was originally going to wait until I was ready to do to the toe decreases as well but I decided not to. Patience is not my speciality. So, I pulled out the directions and worked on the heel. I'm not entirely sure I did things correctly but holes are closed up and it looks mostly like the first one. I'm going to call that a win for right now.

Here's the thing, though: I am going to have a ton of yarn left. If I did my math correctly (because I was weighing the yarn throughout the first sock), by the time I finish the second sock, I will have used only 186 yds of the ONline (leaving me with about 279 yds) and just 81 yds of the Woolike (leaving me with about 597 yds). I will have enough of both yarns to make another pair of these socks, if I want. I could even make them a little longer. I'm not sure I want to go that route but I could.

What else, what else.....oh, other "changes" that I made. I don't know if you can call all these things actual true changes because the pattern is more of a recipe, in my opinion, but it does deviate...

So, my sock has some ribbing, not just for the cuffs but for the entire sock. The ribbing at the cuff was done as twisted knit stitches (aka k2tbl) instead of regular ones but that's just me being me. I don't necessarily prefer it in favor of regular knit stitches but I do it once in awhile. That's not a significant change because the original pattern calls for the same ribbing (but with regular knit stitches). Other changes include actual ribbing for the leg and instep of the sock. Susan's are just vanilla socks, which is fine and I love a good vanilla sock. What happened is that I was going to try to work out a new pattern and I found a herringbone stitch pattern that I really liked and when I inserted it into the middle section on the sock, it actually pulled the sock inward from all directions and made it almost impossible to get over my foot. There was absolutely no stretch to that stitch pattern. I probably would have known that if I had swatched the stitch pattern properly, like a responsible adult.  So, I wound up ripping back to the cuff and I just inserted a simple ribbing pattern. So, it's not quite vanilla but it's mostly mindless knitting. I also wound up knitting the leg of the sock shorter than I normally would (mostly because patience is not my strong suit, as I mentioned above). But that's not the pattern's fault. That's just me being an impatient monkey. I think the only other change I made was where I added extra decreases on the foot section, which I mentioned above.

And now that I've told you all about my WIP on this Wednesday, I also get to tell you that I finished the second sock last night, just a few scant hours after I sat to write this post.


So, the socks are actually finished and no longer a WIP. I'll have to do a proper FO Friday post, however, because I have words about these socks (and they're not all happy and pleasant).

I hope you're having a lovely Wednesday, at any rate :) 


  1. I kind of miss knitting socks concurrently. You've made some good progress on yours.

  2. I have yet to get to the afterthought heel on that pattern...can't wait to see what other words about these socks