Sunday, September 28, 2008

Showing Jane My Sock

One of the first things that occurred to me when I started learning to knit was that if I could knit, I could make things that fit me perfectly. How many times do you think that has actually happened?

So far, zilch.

It isn't all that strange that I have taken to knitting shawls and long floppy hats. There is no fitting there. As much as I have tried, my sweaters are lumpy and loose with sleeves to make any greater ape happy, mittens are too tight, socks are too short. So here I was, roughly 3 years into my knitting odyssey when I began to understand just how far short I had fallen from my goal of knitting stuff that fits, and it comes to me - now that I understand construction of a sock, I should start working on fit. Duh!, you say, but this is a revelation for me, believe it or not.

I decided to build my perfect sock. Mostly because I have knit more (single-shhh!) socks than any other garment, and secondly because poor fit is most frustrating to me in a sock. I have had quite a few sock failures (mohair, need I say more?) but most of my stash consists of sock yarns, so I needed a plan. It started like this.

First, I needed to decide what I wanted out of a sock; a plain old everyday kind of sock. Yarn: Opal, because it wears like friggin iron. Also because I own 90 bajillion skeins of it, Rainforests, Hundertwassers, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Apparently I am a complete whore for trick color effects, and have really questionable taste. Pattern: This was tricksy. I first contemplated what I currently wear everyday. It's Hanes cotton crew socks, machine made with a short row heel and toe, and ribbing from the ankle up. There must be a reason I wear them everyday, so I thought about it, and decided that the close fit and the ribbed cuff (which I often but not always turned down) were the items I wanted to keep. Check. Cotton I don't care much for, and the heel and toe are far outclassed and surpassed by some really superior techniques I have learned, so that was all jettisonned.

Next I thought back on all the socks I'd made before and thought about the techniques. Toe up socks were out, I haven't found a toe increase I like. Top down toes decrease smoothly, and now that I can kitchener moderately better than a baboon on acid, they are an ever viable option. Top down it is. Cuff has to be relatively short, but long enough to turn down, and no fancy Monkey or lace stitches. Two by two ribbing is the most elastic and would keep the socks snug. In one pair of socks I made the ribbing was extended over the instep and I really liked the extra cushiness under lacings, so that's in. So, heel and gusset were all that was left to choose.

Now I love a flap heel beyond all reason, but I hate the heel stitch. For some reason all those columns of slipped stitches begin to get rangey and loose, and the overall effect to me is kind of slidey, weak and unsecure. Not wanting to lose the cushion effect of the heel stitch heel, I settled on an Eye of Partridge heel, coupled with a garter edging for ease in picking up the gusset stitches. No more fumbling about the start and end of the gusset, wondering what I was picking up. I have decided to rename this combination the Eye of Keith Partridge heel. Why?

I think I love you.

This may be the only heel I ever use again. No sagging, no slippy feeling, plenty of cushion, my stitches do not grow in ever fattening columns. And best of all?

I actually wrote a diary entry that said oh, David, you will be mineI was able to incorporate the great crush of my preteen years into the most perfect sock imaginable! How much do I rock, exactly?

So now, all that was left was to knit the thing. That's when I found out that this is only going to be my perfect pattern for Opal socks. That yarn is tiny, folks, and I being the loose knitter I am, ended up having to go down to size 00 needles to get the fabric I wanted, making this a 72 stitch sock. While our heads are reeling with the implications of that, lets have another David Cassidy moment.

and oh, how I love you soOh, yeah.

So 72 stitches on 00 dpns. Top down. 2x2 rib for 72 rows down to a heel flap done in eye of Keith Partridge. Continue ribbing on instep as you decrease gussets and throughout foot of sock down to toe, where you gracefully decrease down to 20 stitches and kitchener the toe like a baboon on very weak acid (I'm getting better at this all the time). That, folks, is the sock I'd make.

I love this sockAnd, indeed, I did make, out of Opal Rainforest, Owl colorway. Which actually looks more like it should be called smores to me.

Which makes this pattern all the more perfect to me, because not only have I managed to include the love of my life (c.1970)
I won't share you with anyone elseBut one of my favorite foods from the time period as well. Life is good, my friends, life is good.


Debbie D said...

Ah, David Cassidy.

turtlegirl76 said...

The sock looks great! And the heel rocks. I love EoP but now it shall forever be thought of as the Eye of Keith Partridge. Thank you! Hehehehehe

Mouse said...

"The Eye of Keith Partridge heel" just made me snort my tea..
I love that Owl colorway- I have a strange fascination with the Rainforest colors as well.. Did you see that Opal is coming out with Harry Potter colorways? Some of them are really gorgeous.

Cynthia A. said...

Oh yeah, David Cassidy :) His brother was my favourite though. Nothing like those centre spreads in Tiger Beat magazine!

Anyhow -nice sock! I thought that you named the heel because of the outline/shape defined by the light colour pooling in the heel. It kind of looks like Keith's head/hair. I always think of it as "Keith Partridge Hair" when the top of my hair rises up too much on either side of my part like little humps instead of laying flat!

TrishE said...

What a great heel pattern and wonderful post! I'll have to try it!

and, btw, OMG! I can't believe I found you via knitting blogs! :- )

Trish (Ximena in another life)

Anonymous said...

Oh.. I would love to comment on your beautiful sox Chickie G.. but I simply cant get past David...

fleegle said...

I assume it fits? It looks like it fits! Congratulations!!