Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Socks from the Toe Up

I've been on a bit of a sock binge since I got a copy of Wendy Johnson's Toe Up Socks for Every Body, and I've been really pleased with the results. Here's the Rosebud socks;

They look very complex but the stitches are very straight forward, and because it's a 20-stitch wide repeat the sock goes really fast. Have a look at the twisted stitches on the lace - it makes for a really stretchy, comfy sock as well as a beautifully defined lace pattern;

I particularly like the shape it forms at the edge of the toe;

I may be a sucker, but boy, that's pleasing.

The yarn is a cashmere/merino/nylon (10% / 80% / 10%) mix with a lovely soft handle but a tendency to shed, at least on first wearing - I'll have to see if it settles a bit after a few washes. I picked it up from yarn undyed in a pack of five skeins, one of which I've dyed a medley of pale blues for some gloves, and they've certainly worn well. I dyed this skein specifically for the sock pattern - there's a really nice photo of these socks on the front of the book which I absolutely fell in love with, the colour is so right for the pattern and I had to have a pair. You know what it's like, you get the bit between your teeth and the next thing you know you're mixing up six different flavours of kool aid in the kitchen. It came out pretty close! I used dip-dyeing and a microwave, then rinsed it cold fairly brutally which gave it a nice, subtle variation between the deep rich read and the little paler patches.

So I finished Rosebud a little while ago, then played around with my own sock pattern for a bit. You'll see more of that soon! But then I was sockless and bored, so I found myself volunteering to make a pregnant friend a pair of socks. Her feet have swollen a lot, she's in the last nine weeks and she's reduced to flip-flops in some not very summery weather! I played around with a few patterns before deciding on these, from the interweave book Favourite Socks; Meida's Socks, super-stretchy, good firm heel, really odd pattern and finally a use for a very awkward pink merino;

Here's a close up of that odd cable-lace;

I'm pretty pleased with them. I wouldn't wear a pair this pink, I don't think, but my friend likes the colour. All I have to hope now is that her feet don't swell any more!

That pair are three-quarters done now, leaving me with a sock succession crisis. And this yarn;

I defy you, Yarn!
Now, I love this yarn. it's merino, tightly spun and the colour is amazing, it looks like birch leaves. But somehow it defies all attempts to be made into something. I am determined to make some socks with it because I love it so and it's that or wear it in a skein around my neck, so I've started looking seriously at the Laurel socks from Toe-Up Socks for Everybody.

All I can hope now is that the lace isn't obscured by the occasional flashes of mouse-brown in the yarn. I'm hoping the reverse stst will tame it, but this yarn has defeated me before...

The yarn, by the way, is a Woolhunter colourway called Willow. I love her yarns but some of the colourways I just can't find the right pattern for. I think I love them too much, it's a rare pattern that makes them look as good as I think they should look!

Anyway, I'm off to cast on for Laurel socks. Wish me luck. 

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