Sunday, November 9, 2014

Year of Projects 4: Pointelle 01

KNIT. SOCK. LOVE. : BFF • Clandestine • Cusp • German Stockings • Gothic Spire • Hedera • In and Out • Lissajous • Marilinda • Mona • Monkey • Pointelle • Rhombus • Sake • Stalagmite • Stricken • Thelonious • Twisted Flower • Wedge

In her book Knit. Sock. Love. designer Cookie A. organizes her patterns into three categories - columns, tessellations and diagonals. The column patterns are created by repeating one element over and over again in a vertical column; like the vertical columns of cables in BFF or Marilinda, or the vertical repeats of eyelet patterns in Hedera or Mona. The tessellation patterns are arrangements of one or more shapes in a geometric pattern; think Monkey, Rhombus and even Gothic Spire.  And last but not least are diagonals where the patterns travel back and forth, or around or even off in one direction. Perhaps because travelling stitch patterns often involve very intense charts, I hadn't attempted one of these patterns yet.

But it's time to put that right by casting on Pointelle.  Too bad I left my first sock in my desk drawer at work; I've just got this one old photo that shows very little progress. There'll be a lot more to see next week!

Just because I don't have my sock knitting, it doesn't mean I've been entirely idle though. A few weeks ago I dug out several hundred grams of a rustic wool that I bought for pennies on the dollar at auction. Months ago I made a sweater from it, but it was much too scratchy, and after repeat soaks to remove the mothball smell it felted. A couple of weeks ago I made a couple of pairs of Duffers from it. It's perfect for this pattern, but there's a lot more yarn than I could ever use up making slippers.

But then the cat laid claim to the yarn. While I worked on my slippers she was endlessly trying to lay on them or cuddle with them. When I'm at work she pulls the yarn from my knitting bag and sleeps with her face buried in the yarn cake. So I'm giving in to her insistence and crocheting a cat bed for her. The bottom - three flat circles - is complete. Next I need to crochet sides, then assemble it all together and felt it. So far the cat approves. In fact, she seems a bit glued to the WIP. I wouldn't be at all surprised if she spends the entire day there, not budging. She hasn't moved an inch in the last couple of hours, except to lay her head down and snooze face down into the wool.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Year of Projects 4: Socktopus finished!

SOCKTOPUS :  Farmer McGregor

KNIT. SOCK. LOVE. : BFF • Clandestine • Cusp • German Stockings • Gothic Spire • Hedera • In and Out • Lissajous • Marilinda • Mona • Monkey • Pointelle • Rhombus • Sake • Stalagmite • Stricken • Thelonious • Twisted Flower • Wedge

Finally done! Not just the Farmer McGregor socks, but the entire Socktopus book. And yes, I did finish before the final deadline for the Socktopus KAL by about 28 hours. I updated my little GIF so you can see every pair of socks in this book.

Now, what to say about this book? Would I recommend it? Well maybe, with some qualifications.

Almost every pattern will knit up too large unless you are a crazy tight knitter. In almost every instance I went down a pattern size and down at least one needle size ... and I have BIG feet.

A couple of the patterns I would definitely NOT recommend. Om Shanti for instance is not very stretchy, and is designed with a shallow heel flap and an inflexible cuff. If you can tug them over your heels, then they might fit okay, but I can't imagine they'd be comfortable in shoes. Caretta Caretta has beads throughout - I skipped the beads on the instep, and probably should have skipped them altogether. Spring Shoots are one of those designs that seems to be all about unusual construction at the expense of comfort and fit .... and another inflexible, non-stretchy cuff.

Kwalla - with its bulky cables  - fits much better if you modify the pattern to drastically decrease when transitioning from cables to stockinette. It's the sock shown on the book cover, and look, it doesn't fit the model either!

On the other hand, though, there are some real winners in the book too. Shur'tugal, Mince Pie Mayhem, Hundred Acre Wood, Vorticity and Farmer McGregor are all pretty awesome as far as I'm concerned. And if you knit every pattern, you'll likely encounter some new cast-ons and heel constructions so that's kinda fun.

If you have the book, or are considering buying it, you should also be aware that there are numerous errata. Check Ravelry notes before starting any of them. You will also discover that the lines demarcating the repeats on the charts are very faint - I needed good light and reading glasses to see them. As well, don't be thrown off by the row and stitch numbering on the charts - it doesn't line up. And personally, I think they should have the socks made to fit the feet they photographed them on. It is a book of sock patterns, after all!