Is it winter somewhere I can go?

Who knew, that after a month so disgustingly hot that the only people outside of their own free will were automatically inducted into the Maryland chapter of the Brotherhood of Masochists, that the last two days of said month would be so relatively cool and beautiful that a photo shoot of knee-high double-thickness socks would be downright pleasant.

Norway in July, the second installment in my Folk Socks self-imposed sock club. I am tickled pink! And thrilled with my pattern decisions – I love the contrasting heel & toe, and I’m so glad I took the time to make the leg long enough to really get up my leg and the foot long enough to fit perfectly. At the end of all things, I don’t think I will say I wasted my time fussing over 1/2″ pattern repeats.

Yarn review: I love it!! Elle’s “Sock Wool” is straightforward and cheap (at least if you’re in South Africa) sock yarn, but it’s very soft and lofty. I didn’t pay much for it, so I was shocked at how much I liked it! The closest thing I can compare it to is Shelridge Farms fingering weight, which is a much higher end yarn. Yet it wasn’t too lofty for fair isle, and it blocked beautifully. You can bet that if I find somewhere to buy this in my hemisphere, you’ll be seeing this yarn again.

Pattern review: As a disclaimer, I should say this is a fairly complicated sock. At least, it looks complicated, although executing it wasn’t nearly as hard as you might think. The complicated bits – fair isle charts, decreases, etc. – were very clear. It was some of the normal bits that stumped me. First, I remain confused by Nancy’s choice of sport-weight yarn. I guess it is less nonsensical to use sport-weight on size 3s than size 1s, as I was asked to do for the last sock, but as I knew I could get the gauge with fingering, I went that way, and was not disappointed. My second problem was with the gusset pickups on the side of the heel flap. after picking up and getting underway on the foot, my gusset looked like this:

The trained eye, or the untrained eye, will probably notice those huge, ugly twisted white stitches. They are huge! Usually you’d fix large pick-up stitches by knitting into the back loop to twist them, but as you can see, that was already attempted and didn’t suffice. I ended up having to go back at the end with a piece of scrap white and literally sew over top of those twisted stitches. It was a pain in the toucus. (how do you spell toucus?)

Sorry for the blurry picture, but you can probably see how much better it looks. I had to fix that gaping hole at the top corner of the heel flap, as well. Of course, I shouldn’t blame this on the pattern, as my yarn was much thinner, but there were no instructions whatever on how to avoid that very nasty interruption of pink where that hole is.

My third problem pattern was row gauge – on a couple of levels. Either Ms. Bush is shorter than me and has tiny feet, or her row gauge is very different from mine. I’m guessing it’s the latter. If you look in the book, there are seven repeats of the main fair isle pattern of Xs and diamonds before you reach the heel turn. As you can see below, I had to do nine before the leg covered my whole calf. This is a clue, folks: try on your socks as you make them. The other row gauge issue was with the toe: she said to leave a full three inches of foot before you start the toe section. That seems like a lot – my toe sections tend to be more like an inch and a half long – so I fudged and left more like two and a half inches. That still resulted in the uncomfortably short toe I later had to fix. I had the same problem on the Clockings, which are barely wearable after I made the toe according to instructions. This is another clue: trust your instincts and experience. These problems too could really be because of my yarn choice; I should really try making the socks with the recommended sport weight before I make all these accusations of a lady so high in the pantheon of knitting godesses. For now, I’m just gaining the information I need to know what to expect of the rest of the patterns in this book, if I go on making them with fingering, as I probably will.

For all my complaints, these socks are gorgeous. I am amazed at what a number blocking did to the poofy, uneven fair isle. And they are a delight to have on my feet. Did I say feet? I mean legs! My feet aren’t all that sensitive, but it’s lovely to feel all that double-thick soft wool up my calves. Not great to wear in July, but these will be fantastic in January.

5 thoughts on “Is it winter somewhere I can go?

  1. Linda says:

    I am DELIGHTED that your lofty yarn handled the faire isle stitches so well, since I am about to start on a complicated, intense faire isle sweater with lofty yarn. So yay!! I shall not get discouraged when it looks messy in progress, but shall count on being delighted after it’s blocked.

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  2. CC Z says:

    In a more yiddish-y spelling, Tokhes. in a more goyim spelling, tuckus.

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  3. Rebecca says:

    YES mum don’t be descouraged; blocking is a miracle! Almost as impressive as with lace in its transformative abilities.

    I wonder how many other words in my vocabulary are yiddish and i don’t know it?

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  4. […] Ultra Alpaca Light from Serra, and the pink is a ball of Elle Sock that I didn’t use on Norway in July. The white is just a blank skein of Plymouth Yarn’s Dye for Me; it’s the sock yarn I […]

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