My list of works-in-progress has undergone some changes since last we spoke.
The black lace tunic has been relegated to UFO status. I can’t force myself to knit on it, so it has been put away to marinate for a while.
I am happily knitting along on both the Thin Ice and Trillian shawls.
I stopped work on the sock I was knitting from Supersocke 8, the worsted weight sock yarn. I knit it up to the gusset increases, but the voice in my head that started out by whispering “it’s not good” was by this point screaming in a loud (and unnecessarily shrill) tone “It’s wrong! It’s wrong!” The yarn was just too heavy and it did not feel soft enough for a comfy sock.
So I cast it aside and went into the stash room. There I found a skein of Trekking 6-ply and started a sock with that. Much, much better. It is nice and soft and knits up to the same gauge as Opal 6-ply. It’s the same composition: 75% wool and 25% nylon.
I’m using colorway # 1806 which is listed as greys, but they do have a bluish cast to them. I’m about an inch away from the gusset increases in this photo.
Note the book on which I have my sock-in-progress propped.
It is Clara Parkes’ The Knitter’s Book of Socks. Or, as I like to think of it, “Everything you always wanted to know about socks but were afraid to ask.”
Flipping through this book got me to thinking: I can’t imagine a book like this coming out, say, 30 years ago. In 1981 we just knit what you gave us. If you wanted to knit socks, you took some Patons Kroy and a pattern for a top-down sock with heel flap and had at it.
Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but today there are so many more choices for yarns. Handpaints! Indie-dyed! Self-striping! Bamboo! Sea silk! Et cetera.
And there are approximately eleventy billion sock patterns available today and so many different ways to construct a sock.
With all these choices for yarns and patterns, this is a book whose time has come.
There is a lot of great information on what properties you need in a yarn for socks and a discussion of all the different fibers you can think of and their usefulness as sock yarn. Finally, information on yarn construction — what characteristics you need for a good sock yarn.
Another important element for socks is the stitch pattern — what makes it stretchy, what makes it strong, etc.
Oh, and there are patterns too. Twenty (I think) lovely patterns from Clara and other well-known sock designers.
In the back there is an extremely useful resource section that includes, among other things, foot-length tables for men, women, and children’s shoe sizes.
So, if you are into socks and want all the information you’ll ever need about sock yarns and construction, as well as 20 great patterns, you’ll want this book!
Lucy is clearly contemplating the properties of a good sock here.