Saturday, May 23, 2009

New sock project

I have been a bit stalled on my home knitting projects lately. It's because I haven't finished the Must Have Cardigan, and I feel like I shouldn't start anything new until that's done. But that means I don't knit so much. Bad. What happened to the Must Have? What usually happens in the spring... I got a huge sinus infection and my head wasn't clear for weeks and weeks. I couldn't make the decisions I needed to make about buttonband construction while not thinking clearly, and so the project stalled. The same thing happened last year with the Rogue - the finishing didn't happen until June. I will return to it ... soon.

So here is a new sock project, Padded Footlets (sorry, Ravelry link) from Favorite Socks. I've knit a couple of patterns from this book: Uptown Boot Socks (please excuse poor partnering of yarn and pattern) and Undulating Rib Socks (which I liked so much that I knit them a second time). Time for a new one. S1 went through my copy of Favorite Socks when I first got it and left little post-it notes about what she liked and didn't. She liked this one, which surprised me. It has a lace pattern. But, as Gretchen says, it's not "lacy lace," which probably explains the attraction. This is a short sock - a good candidate for summer and early fall. The book shows the sock knit in a nice olive green with orange accent, and I happened to have similar yarn in my stash. Here it is so far:

This sock has some interesting details. First, the lace pattern first appears on the outside edges of the heel flap. It is also featured on the top of the sock. The little orange stripe is on the top of the cuff and will appear again close to the tip of the toe. And the sole of the sock is knit with a double strand of yarn (that's the "padded" part).

I was a little concerned about the padded sole, since the pattern does not call for the needle size to change. Socks are normally knit pretty tightly - and now the designer wants me to cram in double the yarn width on the same needles? Ouch! I consulted Ravelry to find out more about this and also to check for errata. There were errata. But the errata listed were for the version of the pattern that originally appeared in the magazine back in the Summer 2005 issue of IK. The IK publishing website lists a different errata for the version in the book. Now, this was just plain annoying. I had to cross check them to make sure I had everything straightened out. I don't know exactly when IK figured out that the magazine version had a mistake in it - was it before the book was published? Did they forget to change the pattern in the book? Mild grrr.

I decided to dive in and just knit the sock. S1 wanted to lengthen the cuff just a little bit (6 rounds) so it wouldn't get sucked down into her shoe. Then I began the heel flap instructions. These are written in the most bizarre way. This flap is extra long, and the doublestranding of the yarn begins about 6 rows before the bottom of the flap. You can probably see where that happens. There are also some short rows toward the bottom of the flap (the kind where you wrap and turn, then pick up the wraps later). THEN you do the heel turn with the other kind of short rows (the ones where you don't pick up any wraps). Crikey!

The sock is really hard to knit with 2 strands of yarn - my hands ached immediately. I went back to Ravelry and read people's comments. The vast majority of them said "forget the padded sole - just do regular" and "I would knit this again, but without the padded sole" and "this pattern is written in an unnecessarily complex way." A small minority said "why would you avoid the padded sole - that is the most interesting and unique thing about these socks!" I sided with the majority on this one. I dropped the second strand as soon as I resumed knitting in the round. I have also stopped reading the pattern and am just completing this in my usual way.

This sock, despite being knit over only 58 stitches, might be a little big. I need to knit more in order to know for sure. I'm knitting it on 2.25 mm needles. I swatched on both 2.0 and 2.25, and oddly, I got the same gauge (how can this be?!?). I chose to go with the bigger ones because of the double-stranding issue. But if the resulting sock is a little baggy, I'll rip it all out and begin again on 2.0 needles and just knit it in my typical way, incorporating this lace design into the sock.

Whew! It can be exhausting to be in my head. If you're still reading, go have a drink. You deserve it.

I'm hoping to get my next pair of office socks started this weekend. I'll keep you posted.


  1. Wow -- that does sound complicated. It does sound like the padded part is what makes the pattern unique, but if it's not totally necessary and hurts when you knit it, why bother! Good choice on your part. Of course, I love the green. Gretchen's right -- it's not "lacey lace." I'm gonna need to remember that phrase!

  2. I like the lace pattern a lot but don't want short socks...maybe the next time we meet up you can show me the pattern and we can figure out how to make them "real" sock length!