Because of all the moving craziness, I never got around to sharing my latest design, Eple.
I was skeining some Artisan Sock in the Hazel Knits yarn barn, when I spied a brilliant hank of green yarn that I'd never seen before. One of the benefits of hanging out with Wendee so much is that I got to see super secret sneak peaks of new colors, even club colors! (I miss that already!) It turned out this one was for a club that would have some apple reference in it. Wendee and I proceeded to think how wonderful and easy it would be to create a basic sock pattern with some kind of apple motif duplicate-stitched on. Of course when she suggested I might do the designing for the sock, I said yes.
My first attempt was a big 3-D looking duplicate stitched apple for the outside of the ankle. This looked very cool. But it took me FOREVER to embroider, and it was thick and incredibly dense. Somebody asked me if it was fun to do, and I realized that no, it was not fun. It was time-consuming and irritating. Apparently I'm a big fan of knitting, but excessive amounts of embroidery? Not so much. I realized that I did not want to plague any other knitters with this experience.
What ensued after that was metaphorically like the writer hunching over a type writer and tossing page after page of crumpled paper into the overflowing waste basket.
What I wanted, I realized, was some regular stranded color work. Because stranded color work IS fun. And I didn't want it to be a sock that said APPLES! I wanted it to say color and graphic and draw in the knitter and the viewer. So I ended up with a knot-work apple with a tiny bit of duplicate stitch for the stem and leaf. I really like this sock because it starts out easy - just like any other cuff-down sock. Then you get the fun color work (don't forget to switch to a bigger needle!), and then you get the rest of the traditional sock-ness, and you can take it easy straight through to the toe. The embroidery is just a sweet little afterthought.
I've got some thoughts about sock knitting in general as well. I've been knitting lots of socks over the past year and I think I've learned something about how I want my socks to fit. I've always knit socks with a bit of negative ease in circumference (this incredible Knitty Blog survey recommends 10% negative ease), but I've noticed that I'm much happier with the long-term wearing fit of my socks if I knit them a little shorter than I think I need to. I haven't done all the in-depth measuring to make sure, but I think I'm knitting the foot at least a half inch shorter than my actual foot is. Even in fantastic springy wool sock yarn, knitted fabric can stretch over time. The initial wearing of a smaller sock is comfortably snug and it doesn't get bunchy in my shoe after a long day walking, and it seems that it stays in place even after repeated wearing and washing. So knitting your socks smaller than your foot is my recommendation for the day. Do any of you have sock knitting tips for the rest of us?
Thanks to Wendee for her stunning colors and for inviting me to work on this sock club pattern. It's available for purchase now - you don't have to be a club member to buy it. If you are in the club, be sure to use your Ravelry download code to get the pattern in your Ravelry library before it expires on October 31.
I'm also excited to be hosting an Eple knit-along in my Ravelry group! We'll be casting on October 1 and there will be prizes! A participant chosen at random will win a skein of Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in the color of their choice and a free download of any one independently published Andrea Rangel pattern! See the forum thread for the rules and fine print. (You do have to be a Raverly member to participate.)
Happy sock knitting!