Turbo Toes

I’ve written about it before and I will say it again, The Knitter’s Book of Socks by Clara Parkes is a must-have for anyone who wants to know everything there is to know about sock knitting. I’ve known this for years having checked the book out from the library numerous times. I always admired the patterns, too, but never really jumped on knitting them because I didn’t own the book . Why didn’t I own the book? I have no idea – it was ridiculous, really and I don’t recommend this foolishness. Get a copy of the book, you will be so happy you have it. Thankfully a friend graciously gave me a copy for Christmas this year and I was able to put an end to the nonsense and get knitting.

First on my list was Turbo Toes by A. Karen Alfke. Billed as a nearly indestructible sock, they simply had to be my first sock from this book. Where I come from claiming something is indestructible is generally taken as a challenge. The pattern is written to be knitted on 2 circular needles, so I opted to make the minor adjustments required to work these socks 2-at-a-time using the magic loop method. Personally, I just prefer magic loop to 2circs — I don’t know why. We can chalk that up to knitter’s preference, I suppose.Β  In any case, I decided this would be a good chance to give Addi Sock Rockets a spin. This was my first experience with Sock Rockets. I was pretty skeptical that they were necessary, but I have to report that I am a convert. For magic loop sock knitting, I love these needles.Β  The classic Addi coatings with a nice pointy tip and smooth joins between the tip & cable meant I was able to focus on the knitting & not the needles. Perfect.

What makes the Turbo Toes ‘indestructible’ is that they utilize some of the toughest wearing stitches in the hardest wearing places — linen stitch toe & heel, slip stitch sole & on the back of the heel. It’s ingenius when you think about it.

I started with this yarn…

20140206-095052.jpgSocks that Rock Lightweight from Blue Moon Fiber Arts is the recommended yarn. It is new to me, but since I had heard some raving about it on the Socks with Sarah Ravelry Thread I just happened to have a couple new skeins in my stash. While the sample of Turbo Toes is done in a pretty solid color, I thought it might be fun to use a variegate, so I grabbed my skein of Metaphysical Angst I’ll admit, I selected this colorway as much for the name as for the colors in it.

And I cast-on…

20140206-095114.jpgI could tell already they were going to be special…

20140206-095145.jpgIt was about here that I realized this pattern is also highly addictive knitting for me…

20140206-095158.jpgI just couldn’t put them down! I was so propelled by the changing stitch patterns. You know how it goes, ‘If I can just get through the toe I can try that slip stitch on the sole…’ orΒ  ‘Oh! If I can just cruise through the sole I can try that crazy linen stitch heel turn…’

20140206-095225.jpgAround those heels and shaping those gussets… Up those cuffs which could have slowed me down, but it had been a while since I did Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off…

20140206-095242.jpgAnd then they were done.

I even rushed them to the bath. So I could photograph them…

toeThat beautiful toe and & sole…

heelThe gorgeous gussets and heel…

whole socksThe all over awesomeness of these socks. The fastest I take the photos, the sooner they are on my feet!

There were a lot of first with these socks. The Addi Sock Rockets which were divine and so worth it, especially in these socks where those pointy tips really made the linen & slip stitch portions a snap. The Socks that Rock Lightweight is a wonderful yarn with brilliant, fun colors. Their website can be a little overwhelming as you try to peruse page after page of colorways, but you can take my word for it — it’s worth the effort. And the pattern, Turbo Toes. While definitely a more intermediate pattern, it is written with extraordinary skill, with clear understanding of how a good sock is put together, and is just as clear and skillfully edited as knitting patterns come.

All in all, there is nothing I don’t love about these socks. In fact because the fit is fab, too, they are on my feet right this very moment.

20140206-103253.jpgI am banking on these beauties being indestructible because you can bet I will be wearing the heck out of them.

To see my Ravelry project page, go here.

36 thoughts on “Turbo Toes”

  1. socks that rock is on my to do list (if I ever make it through my current pair) mostly because of the yummy colors and funny names πŸ™‚ My current favorite is “grawk” lol….though I did promise my hubby some tardis socks, and they do have “tardis blue”….

  2. Those look great! I’ve been borrowing the book from my library, too, and these are definitely on my list to try. I’m thinking of starting with Darjeeling since I’ve only knit 1 pair of (stockinette) socks before.

    To do 2-at-a-time with one skein, did you knit from the inside & outside of a single center-pull ball? Did it get tangled at all? I’ve heard that this is possible but I’m a bit scared to try it. I do sleeves and mittens 2-at-a-time but it’s always from separate balls of yarn.

    1. Darjeeling will be a great starting place! Those are on my list, too. πŸ˜‰

      I knit from the inside & outside of one center-pull ball. Here’s the skinny: You can definitely pay attention to how you turn your work (from front to back & back to front) when working 2aat and do so in a way that won’t twist the inside/outside strands together, BUT if you’re like me and kind of lazy about that I just cruise until I can see the twisting getting a bit much and then I just stop & untwist — it just takes a couple minutes as long as you kind of keep tabs on things and don’t let it get too out of hand. This process totally doesn’t bother me at all (obviously), but — in the interest of full disclosure — I know other knitters that really dislike it.

      OR you can wind your skeins into 2 equal balls — using a kitchen scale makes this easy. I would go this route, but I am way too antsy to get started to take the time to do this. πŸ™‚

      In short, as long as you are paying attention with your center-pull ball it’s totally do-able. Try it and see how you like it!

  3. STR is hands-down my favorite sock yarn, ever. I love the thickness and the twist. I will say, though, that holes do develop (perhaps b/c of no nylon content) if knit on the looser side. However, all those slipped stitches should help fight that! I should do a slipped stitch sole, I always wear through the ball of the foot.

    1. That’s what I’ve heard, so I’m interested to see how they wear seeing as these are my first STR socks. Although, you are right, these may wear better than the average sock. I am making a pair in STR Mediumweight for my husband currently, so I suppose those will be a real test of durability!

  4. I am beyond thrilled that you love these so much! It’s been such fun to watch you work them up. Isn’t linen stitch just amazing? 15 years on, and I still can’t stop designing with it… Enjoy those socks, Sarah! And thanks for taking us all along for the ride this year with the KAL.

    1. You are very welcome, Karen! Yes, linen stitch is quite lovely — such a distinct appearance and feel.
      I *am* enjoying them & I’m positive these won’t be the last Turbo Toes I knit — I just love all the textures at work. Thank *you* for joining me — the friends you meet, make, and are inspired by along the way make all the difference!

      1. Oh yes! For sure! I’m sorry! You posted this on the thread & I didn’t respond. Yes, I can definitely write a post. I should finish up my next pair in the next couple days. I will take photos of the process for a post – look for it next week (barring any random delays on my end).

  5. I am in love with those socks! I think I need to improve my toe-up skills first, though. I’ve shied away from STR because of the all-wool base. Socks are a lot of work!

    1. Yes, although I don’t think it’s necessarily a requirement, I would recommend a basic toe-up sock first just so you can have a better idea of the structure before layering on the stitch patterns on top of it. I was concerned about the all-wool base, too — I have been burned by 100% SW merino in the past. From the reviews I’ve read & from what friends have shared, the twist supposedly makes this yarn stronger than the average 100% SW merino. We shall see!

  6. *adds book to reading list*

    I’m terrible at judging how a variegated yarn will knit up — just looking at the picture of it in the ball, I thought it wouldn’t be a color combination I’d like at all, but I love your finished socks! I swear I need to start buying the ones I dislike in the ball, because the ones I like in the ball never come out right in the finished project πŸ˜›

    1. It took a very long time before I could really see how yarn would knit up. In my case, I think spinning was the crash course in understanding yarn — in order to make it and make it look nice, you have to foresee how those colors and twist will interplay. Spinning certainly isn’t the only way to get there, but that’s what did it for me.

      1. That makes sense. To be fair, I’ve tended to avoid working with variegated yarns after some very disappointing outcomes, so I may just need more practice knitting them.

  7. I purchased this book the first time you recommended it and I love it! Now I’m going to try the yarn and the needle that you are raving about!! I have found that if you recommend something, I’ll love it!!

  8. Hi Sarah, I saw you stop by my blog, nice to meet you! As you probably noticed I’m quite new to knitting still and can use all the inspiration there is. Knitting two socks at the same time has to be the best thing since sliced bread! I can manage the idea of one sock, but the second seems quite torturous, since there’s something finished already… Your project looks lovely!

    1. Hi! Nice to ‘meet’ you! I do like knitting two socks at once… but, sometimes I like the speed of knitting one at a time. The bottom line though is that I really like variety. πŸ™‚

      Welcome to my blog & enjoy!

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