Dobby Socks

At long last! Here is the promised pattern for the Dobby socks. If you missed the story and the tips behind the crazy steeking, you can catch up here. Now that the pattern is written, I can get these in the mail in time for my sister’s birthday…if two years late.

Harry Potter Socks_5_sm

Dobby Socks

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you might also like Cho’s Magical Gryffindor Gloves.

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Just a Tease

I know you’ve all been dying to know how the steeking  applied i-cord socks turned out, so here’s a look for you:

Socks a la Dobby

Pattern and detailed explanations of how to do the craziness on the back to come!

Also in the works for the near future: log cabin quilts, A-line skirts, and getting started spinning on Scotch tension wheel…because I’ve been up to my neck in crafts. The more fodder I have for the blog, of course, the less I manage to write, but what can you do?

A Steek through the Heart

I mentioned in my last post that I’m having issues with tension in a Fair Isle sock pattern I’m in the process of designing. In specific: I’m having troubles with the way the tension interacts with the geometry of feet. My ankles aren’t huge, and if I knit a sock that fits them nicely without falling down, my big-ass feet can’t make it through the bend of the sock without a lot of stretch.

If it’s possible to work this stretch into Fair Isle, someone please tell me how, because I can’t work it out.

I didn’t discover this problem (of course) until the first sock was knit and finished, and the promise of these socks has been hanging over my head for two year. I didn’t want to start over…so I got creative. I decided to steek the back of the sock and apply a frilled i-cord edging that I could use to lace ribbons up the back.

Newer knitters than me: steeking is knitting’s most terrifying skill. You take a piece of finished knitting and cut it. Experienced knitters who read my blog primarily for the schadenfreude: I’m working in superwash wool / nylon blend and the internet is my only easily-accessible and more experienced knitting friend.

Broomstick sock - steeked with applied i-cord

It could have been worse. I think with some fusible webbing and grosgrain ribbon, I can prevent further damage on the parts where I accidentally cut through my stabilizing stitches.

Steeking Lessons this Rookie Learned

  • I will use this KnitPicks video tutorial, not that “for dummies” one. The 15 minute review will save me time in the long run.
  • I will work my reinforcing stitches in the same fiber my piece is worked in.
  • I will write steek-specific stitches into the finished pattern.
  • I will do the math and count my rows to make sure my i-cord edge comes out evenly.

For those of you who look forward to my free patterns, this one will be coming out in the next month or so, and it will rock when I have worked out the kinks. As a hint of what to come: they will go nicely with Cho’s Magical Gryffindor Gloves, and it’s okay if they look like they were knit by a somewhat awkward house elf.

Awesome Pattern (TK)

My oldest younger sister was the one who introduce our household to Harry Potter, and she has never ceased to be his biggest fan in our family. Last Christmas, I knit her a Gryffindor scarf (cast on 80 in Red LB Homespun, join and knit in St st until you get sick of it, switch to yellow, repeat ad nauseum, BO and add freaking tassles) that, if you couldn’t tell from my instructions, became nicknamed the “Hateful Scarf.” It wasn’t that it was challenging: it was just too freaking long and BORING. When I made Joy’s gloves last March (“J is for Joy”), Cho said, “ I want monogram gloves too! In red and yellow.”

My first thought was, “Sure, no problem!” Of course, when I said this, the only colorwork I had ever done was the Hateful Scarf, and switching colors between rows doesn’t quite count. I taught myself intarsia making “Thing-a-ma-Bibs” and found it to be annoying, but manageable. I learned to do Fair Isle in the round making a beret for my youngest sister…a project I affectionately think of as the “Sailor Hat,” because it taught me that I can curse like one.

So. The yarn’s been sitting in my basket for four months. I’ve played with intarsia and Fair Isle. Fingerless gloves are my thing. Christmas is only two weeks away, but I’ve saved designing and making Cho’s gloves for last because, really, how hard could it be?


First off, you may have noticed that Cho’s real name begins with “R,” a letter with some distinctly diagonal shaping. I sketched and erased my chart about ten times before I finally admitted that I needed help. I took it to my husband–a graphic designer who’s understanding of how to order pixels into a diagonal line is much more refined than mine. He frowned, erased everything except the wobbly back, and kindly fixed it so that it looked like a letter that had not been drawn by a kindergartener.

Armed with a chart and my gauge, I cheerfully cast on and began to knit away, getting all the way through the ribbing and the increases before something occurred to me: intarsia doesn’t work well in the round. A Google search quickly showed me how to manage, but I can’t say the situation thrilled me. I don’t like purling. I prefer working in the round, in fact because YOU CAN AVOID PURLING. Silly of me perhaps, but the necessity of having to purl half of a project I had thought I could get away with knitting put me in a funk that made it challenging to actually finish the still-fairly-simple gloves before Christmas.

In the process of sulking over these gloves, my notes were a bit neglected. Usually I’m just detailed enough that a skilled knitter could take a snapshot of my notebook and work it out…eventually. This time, however, I find myself almost having to recreate the pattern from scratch. What’s worse, I was so eager to wrap the darn things and get them out of my site that John and I didn’t end up doing our usual careful shoot with them. These cellphone snapshots are the best I have.

John and I are traveling home this weekend for Charlie’s bridal shower, so hopefully I can convince Cho to lend me the gloves back long enough to get some decent pictures and measurements so I can finish writing a pattern with the same minimal coherence I strive for in all of my patterns. Next week, with any luck, I’ll be able to present you with the pattern for Cho’s Magical GryffindoR Gloves.