Wednesday, April 23, 2008

All Over but the Grafting

Hang on; just give me a minute... fuss, fiddle, pause, squint, grunt, pick, tug, tug. Deep breath, repeat. There! Done.

Yes, I'm happy to report that the Merino Lace socks are finished. They were my travel companions for quite some time. They journeyed on airplanes. They hung around in airports and stayed in hotels. They vacationed at my in-laws' house. But they finally got tired of being neglected between trips and declared they would not put up with being a travel-only project any more. They insisted on going out with us to ballgames. Really, at times they seemed starved for attention. Poor darlings.

Here they are, my version of the Merino Lace socks by Anne Woodbury from the Favorite Socks book. And honestly, the photo in the book, where they look handsome but a little blah, does not do this pattern justice. They are much prettier than that.

I was intrigued enough, though, to want to give them a try with a skein of Schaefer Anne yarn I had on hand, that I bought from Carodan Farm at last year's Fall Fiber Festival. I used one skein and had 37 grams left over. There's a lot of yardage in those skeins.

I knitted them using US size 1 double-pointed needles, although the instructions are actually written for two circular needles. I don't care for all those cables and points whanging around, so I used inoffensive double-points. Bamboo, for airports.

The Anne yarn, a beautiful concoction of merino and mohair, is on the thinner side of sock yarns. It's thinner than the yarn called for, but I thought the relatively low-contrast analogous blues and greens in my skein would look pretty in the lace pattern. I wondered if it would affect the size of the sock, but figured I would risk it.

Well... I had to do a bit of a do-over. When it came to point when I could try it on, the moment of truth, the first sock was so tight you could bounce a nickel off it (that is, if it hadn't had my leg in it and had been stretched over a drum, I guess). Those soft, subtle space-dyed colors had arranged themselves fetchingly into big thick stripes that I had been careful to ignore, rather than get upset. Embrace the pooling! Become one with the pooling!

I ripped out the whole thing and added a couple of ribs symmetrically around the narrow lace pattern on each side to make it 78 stitches instead of 66 stitches around. You can see the little ribs in this picture, coming down the side and splitting to go around the gusset. That worked out a lot better.

The extra stitches solved the size problem nicely. And I think the added ribs sharpen up the look and set off the lace patterns rather well. As an extra bonus, the pooling disappeared (except for the toes where the stitch count decreases.) The distinct colors blend into a soft, heathery effect.

So now I'm very happy and can just admire the pattern. These are really very pretty socks. Look how the petal-y lace runs right down the back of the heel. They're long- stemmed beauties.

I think I'll make a gift of them to my tall, elegant mom, who loves her hand-knitted socks so much that she bought a pair of clogs just to show off my handiwork.

Ahhh. Hear that? It's a deep sigh of satisfaction.

1 comment:

Bess said...

Wow! Those are handsome socks. Your addition of ribs really does set off that scallop lace. congratulations on such a beautiful project.