If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, then you know that I consider myself to be a serious sock knitter. Moreover, I am a serious cuff-down sock knitter. I've done a few pairs of toe-up socks in the past, but I was never fully satisfied with them. They never fit me quite as well as a cuff-down pair, and there was always the issue with the bind off being just a tad too tight.
Because I've gotten to the point where I can pretty much knit a pair of cuff-down socks in my sleep, I decided that I should really challenge myself and try something different. The impetus for this was twofold: First, I'd bought the pattern for the Fish Lips Kiss Heel a bit ago after hearing about it on podcast after podcast, with many hosts encouraging people to buy the very affordable pattern (only $1!) to support the designer, who's currently battling breast cancer. Second, I had a skein of handspun just begging to be made into socks but with somewhat limited yardage, so toe up seemed like the way to go. So I did it. And I'm happy to say that I'm very pleased with the results.
I finished the first sock on Sunday evening and it fits perfectly! Coincidentally, I'd been watching the latest episode of the Snappy Stitches podcast that afternoon, and Chrissy had mentioned that she'd used the Miraculous Elastic Bind Off on her latest handspun socks. I'd never heard of this bind off before, but it seemed like exactly what I was looking for. It's a variation of the lace bind off I generally use on shawls, and it's extremely stretchy. The top of the sock does flare a bit when it's off the foot, but that goes away once it's worn.
I haven't been all that pleased with the fit of short-row heels in the past, but I like this one. My only concern is that there is no added reinforcement like you get with a heel flap, so I'm worried that I might wear through the back of the heel sooner with this heel. I might restrict my use of this heel to more durable yarns (this handspun is a slightly coarse and very woolly Corriedale) and stick to my tried-and-true heel flap for superwash merino and the like.
I've started the second sock in the pair, and after a couple of false starts on the toe (first I messed up the cast on, then I was doing my increases differently than on the first sock), I'm cruising up the foot. I weighed was left of my yarn after the first sock was done and I have plenty left -- there should even be some leftovers once the pair is complete.
Meanwhile, I'm still working on my Hitofude, and I've now completed nine repeats of the lace pattern and moved on to the third color in the gradient. I can usually get through one repeat or so in an evening of knitting, so my hope is that I will be able to finish the sleeves before Maryland Sheep and Wool. I'll have the whole trip down and back to knit, plus the the evenings when we're sitting in our hotel room, so I'd like to get the awkward three-needle bind off out of the way before then.
I'm starting to get very excited for the trip, even though it's more than a week away. I'm ignoring, for now, the fact that I've hardly used what I bought last year; I don't think I'll be buying very much this year, actually. I'm just looking forward to having a weekend away with my girlfriends, none of whom will care if I spend hours and hours knitting!