While I haven't seen a copy in real life yet, the Internet seems to be buzzing with the recent release of Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarns. I'm a little buzzy too, anticipating the moment when I get to see my own pattern in a real, live book.
Meet Pot Pourri:
Photo copyright 2008, Interweave Press
The sample socks were worked by Kristi Geraci in Pagewood Farms Chugiak Hand Dyed Sock Yarn. Quite pretty, yes?
With the release of the blog, Carol and Interweave are embarking on a publicity blitz. I'm pleased to do my part by giving you a little bit of the behind the scenes of my pattern and what inspired it.
I love bright, vibrant handpainted, crazy multicolours, especially watching the various hues fly through my fingers as I work a sock. There's a soothing feeling to that old familiar motion, Magic Looping with a 2.25mm circular, with the added excitement of watching the colours mingle as a sock takes shape.
I, along with ridiculous numbers of knitters, consider Socks that Rock to be the Cadillac of such yarns. The firm twist, the soft hand, and, oh, those colours. However, sometimes I find it hard to do justice to a yarn that is so very special to me.
Ladies and gentlemen, give me complete order and symmetry, or give me total randomness. The inbetween will literally keep me up at night.
Handpaints give me predictably frustrating results: nice, fairly even stripes on the foot, crescent-shaped pooling around the ankle where my gusset increases cause the colour stacking to reverse direction, then nice striping again up the leg. Depending on the stitch pattern and colourway being used, it can look really nice to my eye, or make me want to poke my eye out.
I sometimes use a short row or afterthought heel to minimize distortion in the colourations, but that robs me of the sock knitting process I have come to so dearly love.
When the call for submissions for Carol's latest book came out, it suggested a few means that we as designers may do well to consider: directional changes, changing stitch counts, lacy distraction, etcetera.
Fearing I could never tame the beast of pooling, I used them all.
Pot Pourri changes stitch counts on most of its 7 repeated rows. As well, every seventh row is a terrific yarn hog, as each pair of stitches is wrapped in a double figure 8. This serves to not only deposit colour on the stitches, but to "reset" the yarn so that any tendency to establish colour patterning in the previous rows will be interrupted. The gentle curve of wrapped stitches is too subtle to be a real chevron, but is just enough to keep the eye moving.
It's written cuff-down with a picot edge (the picots are even purled to give a peep of colour from the previous round), eye of partridge heel flap and a toe that is decreased in three wedges. I'd call it an intermediate knit, but a quick one. You may find yourself knitting on just to see if you will find pooling. I believe you won't.
Below is a shot of a finished pair in STR lightweight, Cobblestone County colourway. I can't see the pooling; can you see the pooling?
Buy the book, enjoy what I've heard is a comprehensive set of chapters to help you understand the nature of the handpainted beast, and knit as many socks as you can stand.
But skip to page 88 first, OK?