These have actually been done for quite a while but am only posting about it now since the Fibre Fest Fashion show is over, and Ursa of Gaia's Colours has had a chance to show them off at the Saxe Point Market last Sunday. I haven't heard from Ursa yet about the show and market, so I have no idea if the colorway was well received or if the socks themselves got any admirers. All I know was that I had a blast knitting them up and had a really hard time letting them out of my sight!
Like I've said before, I'm usually a product knitter and not at all a process knitter. But these socks had (temporarily) changed my ways! It was all about the process, process, process when it came to these bad boys! The second I bound off the ribbing on the left sock I had quickly tried it on. It was super hard to put on and take off, which I had read about in other people's project pages on Ravelry, so I really wasn't surprised. I was surprised though to find that the sock was super tight fit in general and was pulling across the top of the foot. I think a lot of this is more my fault than the pattern's cause I really do have a tendency to pull my yarn tighter as I knit. Not to mention that I have a wide toe box and narrow heels. Yes, I have weird hamster feet! Keeping all this in mind I made sure that while I was knitting the right sock to keep my tension on the looser side and to not tug at my yarn.
Since finishing the left sock the right sock pretty much knitted itself. This time when I tried it on I noticed that the looser tension really did help and I had no issues with it stretching across my foot. It was still a bitch to get on, but not as bad as the first sock. I think the next time I knit these I'll go up a needle size or write myself a Post-it to remind myself to knit loosely and have it permanently stuck to the pattern. I also think (and this could be a biggie too) that the difference in tension of both socks has to do with my needles. I started both socks at the same time using the 2 circular needles technique (I used the Knit Picks Nickel Plated needles) until it came time when the socks had to change its tune for either right or left foot. For the left foot I used my beloved Magic Loop method using a 47" long Knit Picks Harmony Wood needle, and for the right foot I continued on using the 2 KP Nickel Plated needles - which, I have to say for the record, changed my sock knitting life. I'm never going to knit socks with any other needles other than KP Nickel Plated needles! I seriously think I knit faster with them (probably cause there's less drag on the needle, not cause I've gotten faster or better at knitting) and I felt better knowing that I wasn't going to snap a needle in half, like how I normally feel when I use the Harmony Wood needles. Hmm...something to ponder...
Anyhoo, speaking of loose (git yer mind out of the gutter!!), I was a little unsure of how to bind off the ribbing since I've heard and read so much about people not binding off loose enough and end up with socks that cut off all circulation to the feet. Again, after much perusing of other people's project pages I decided to try out a new technique. One that the sock queen, Cat Bordhi, highly recommends and uses herself: Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. It's actually super easy and really does produce a very stretchy bind off. In fact, I think it might be too stretchy and the next time I use this technique I'm going to have to tighten my stitches after each knit or purl. I've noticed after blocking the socks that the bind offs were overly elastic-y and kinda makes me wonder if I'll have a hard time in the future keeping them up on my leg?
I also realized a few stitches before the end of the bind off on the first sock that I was "processing" my stitches wrong. Rather than doing the yarn overs in reverse, I was doing them as you would normally. I'm not sure if this does anything in the end, I really can't tell the difference between the 2 socks.
I also screwed up the grafting of the heel on the left sock. I really can't remember what I did wrong, all I know is that it turned out bumpy looking and a bit uneven. I think I screwed up the "Kitchener stitch chant" of knit, purl, purl, knit into knit, purl, knit, purl. Lucky for me the self-striping pattern of the yarn covered up that mistake pretty nicely. So no one can tell. Unless you are Cat Bordhi and you're staring at my heels. And lucky for me I remembered the right chant when I was sewing up the heel of the other sock. See, aren't the heels and the backs of the socks so cool??
Wow, I think I'm becoming crazy sock lady! Now that these are done, I'm seriously itching to start another pair! I know that I'm definitely going to be knitting up several more pairs of these socks! Not sure if socks count in this, but I normally don't like to knit the same pattern (or can even get myself to knit up the same pattern, that is) cause I have a tendency to get bored easily. And I have an ever growing list of patterns and garments to knit up that I would like to get through...eventually. But does anyone seriously finishes their "to knit" list??
Anyhoo, I highly recommend this pattern to anyone interested in knitting socks. Even though it's knitting stockinette in the round, there's enough going on and the construction is so different that it'll keep your interest. The designer has truly done an excellent job in writing up a pattern that is very thorough and super easy to understand. I still consider myself a somewhat of a novice knitter and honestly think that if I can knit them up successfully, than anyone can!
Sock details, in case you're wondering:
Pattern: Skew by Lana Holden
Yarn: Pales Merino Sock/Sport by Gaia's Colours Fibre Arts
Colors: Ursa dyed this skein with me in mind!! They're self-striping in hot pink and black
Needles: Knit Picks Nickel Plated and Harmony Wood needles in US 1 (2.25mm)