Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Warning! Potentially Ugly Socks!

It's probably the artist in her but my sister loves the strangest colour combinations. The wackier the better. So when I saw this Regia yarn in the sale I had to pick it up and knew they would become socks for my sister. However, as I began to knit the more I was unsure of the colours. Thought it might be too much even for my sister. I was pretty sure I was knitting the ugliest socks in the world. Now that they are finished though I feel better about them and maybe red, pink, orange, white and grey do all go together.....maybe.

This time I used a pattern from The Bigh Book Of Socks by Kathleen Taylor. This is probably my most recent sock book purchase and since it was at the top of the pile it was the one I went to first. The pattern I chose is called Purl Spiral socks (actually adult and yarn type is in the title but I'm not writing that). I call them swirly socks.

You can sort of see the pattern here. It's very basic and follows a six row repeat. All you really need to do is keep track of what row you are on. I kept track of how many repeats too to save me from measuring the second sock. I am very lazy and to be honest I'm always losing my measuring tapes. The purl stitch creates the pattern and I think it sets the yarn off. So much so that this is the first time that I have ever ensured that both socks are the same by casting on at the same point in the pattern of the yarn (I repeat, I am lazy). I also cut off the yarn after finishing the heel and reattached it at the point where the colours would continue in the same repeats along the front of the sock.

The pattern doesn't follow along the soul of the sock but I kind of like the effect there too. I like the fact that the grey section started at the heel there. That was pure accident. The result is that I kind of like the socks and more importantly I think my sister will too.

As for the book itself. I do like a lot of the patterns in there and I know that I will be using more than a few of them. The pattern was very easy to follow and I think a beginner could do this no problem. Ideal for anyone who decides they are bored with the basic pattern but want to move on to something simple. I have two criticisms. The first is with the heel section. It's the first time I have used short row heels for cuff down socks (have used it for toe up socks). The pattern said not to use the wrap method which is the one that I am used to. It's explanation is that the book way prevents gaps. However, that's not what I found. I found that it was a lot looser and the wrap method felt easier to follow. Maybe because it's what I am used to. In both socks though I found I made mistakes (not that my sister will notice).

The second criticism involves the layout of the book. Photo's of the socks aren't necessarily with the pattern. It could be at the start of the section grouped with other socks. This makes it difficult to find the pattern to match the photo (I am sure there is one photo in there not labeled and so not sure which patterns the socks belong to). Unlike in most sock books it doesn't give instructions for how many stitches to cast on, what sort of cuff to knit and instructions for the heel. Instead it sends you to earlier patterns that contain stitch numbers and cuff instructions. Or to the back where all the instructions for different heels are found. Makes for a lot of  flicking back and forward which is a little annoying. I think the rational behind it is that more patterns will fit into the book that way.

Having said that I still liked the book and many of the patterns. As I said, the patterns are easy enough to follow and there is something in there for both beginner and expert sock knitter.

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