Sunday, October 30, 2011

New sock… Asymmetrical Cables

This sock has been on the needles for a while, but I haven’t worked on it very faithfully.  As I’m coming to the end of sock #1, it’s high time I shared it.  From Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting Master Class, this is Cookie A’s Asymmetrical Cables:IMG_0074 I’m very pleased with the way these are coming out.  The cable is attractive in a DNA helix sort of way, and it travels diagonally over half of the 8 repeats.  The motif going down the back of the sock just goes straight down and stops at the heel flap, but the front one twists and continues down the foot.IMG_0078I love this Cascade Heritage yarn (which I’ve worked with before), and this shade of orange (called “cinnamon”) is 100% seasonal and delightful.IMG_0077However, I’m not happy with how the pattern is written.  I’ve never encountered such a needlessly wordy Cookie A pattern before, which makes me wonder if this is the result of a very unusual tech editing style sheet more than Cookie herself.  The pattern spells out EVERYTHING in words and full sentences, which means there is ample opportunity to miss something important amongst the less critical stuff.  The way the cable panel instructions are written is particularly irksome.  The cable panel is a 16-round repeat.  I understand that editors want to save space by formatting like this:

Rnds 6, 8, 10, and 12: blah blah blah
Rnds 7, 9, and 11: blah blah blah

But when it says

Rnd 14: Rep Rnd 4

…I just go crazy.  It wouldn’t take any more space to write out the instructions for round 4, yet that isn’t done.

But the cardinal sin, in my opinion, is that this 16-round repeat is not charted.  The pattern would have taken up less space to print and been far more clear with a visual.  I understand that some knitters are chart-phobic and prefer the written instructions… but in a case like this, I think the editor should err on the side of including both approaches (which is, I believe, the current norm in knitting patterns).

In addition, the travel rounds would have been so much more clearly communicated by saying “perform travel round on rounds 1, 5, 9, and 13 6 more times.” 

All in all, I’m going to be very happy with these socks.  But I would NEVER give this pattern to a newish sock knitter.  It’s a shame that the editing went in the direction that it did, as it might scare away a subset of sock knitters – particularly ones that are using the book as a self-directed master class (this pattern is the first one in the book).

I took a quick look at Ravelry to see if others were encountering this.  Only one other person mentioned it prominently in the project description.  I wonder if it’s a problem for others, as well?

I suppose that I could be the exception with this pattern.  Perhaps it hits most other knitters just fine.  But I’ve knit a LOT of socks, written a lot of different ways, and this one is a big huge outlier.

I’m curious to look more carefully at the rest of the book to see if other patterns are presented similarly.


  1. These socks are beautiful -- very cleverly designed. I'm on your team with the crazy instruction writing. A chart would have been so much clearer in this case. You've got my vote.

    Word Verification Fun!: opabird

  2. I am a relatively new sock knitter and I am only up to the third row of the cable panel after the cuff and I am already confused. I do not understand what happens in this row. There are two decreases per cable panel - a 2/2RC and a 2/2LC. Then row 4 of the cable pattern assumes you still have 16 stitches but I am down to 12 because of the two decreases per cable. The same thing happens in row 5. Does this mean that the cables start travelling around the sock from the start, not after 2 rounds of the cable pattern, or am I just reading row 3 wrong? Please help! Sharon

  3. Arg. It turns out I read the pattern wrongly and I have just worked it out. Sorry to bother you.