Thursday, April 06, 2006

I wish I were my own Sockapaloooza pal.

I have to admit, the Mamluke socks weren't a lot of fun to knit. I thought they would be, but the yarn was a little fiddly to work with in stranded colorwork at this gauge. (I found it easier to work with at the tighter gauge I used for the Komi sock.) But still, it wasn't a terrible knit, and I'm extremely pleased with the final products.

Mamluke Socks - done!  April 6, 2006
I pulled out the 70's throwback harvest gold towel for blocking, and thought the contrast was so interesting that I'd use it for photos, too!

Mamluke socks - modeled

And for those of you wondering how the heel works on these socks:
Mamluke socks - side (modeled)
Mamluke socks - bottom

The photos where I'm wearing the socks were taken before blocking and finishing. My feet are a tiny bit bigger than my sock pal's feet, and I didn't want to model them after I washed and blocked them. By the way, when I blocked, the only things I pinned were the ribbed cuffs. The size and stitch evenness didn't need much help.

pattern: Mamluke Socks
source: Folk Socks, by Nancy Bush
yarn: Lanett merino (fingering weight, superwash) - well under a skein of each color
needles: size 1 and 2 DPNs
modifications: I used smaller needles for the heels and lower half of the feet, for snugness. I did fewer repeats of the diamond pattern on the leg, and an extra one on the foot, to achieve a proper fit. I also added a row of blue right after finishing the diamonds (chart c) on the foot, as I think it was a pattern mistake for it not to be included. (Leaving it out is inconsistent with the other pattern transitions, and that blue row even appears in the photo in the book.)
next time?: There might be a next time. I think I'd go for a snugger fit, overall. I didn't want to go too snug for the leg, as these aren't for me. Also, if I made these again, I'd probably go for a more substantial yarn. My sock pal wanted soft, and she definitely got soft. These were soft to begin with, and after a bath they're like butter. But for me, I prefer the feel (while knitting) and the look of a denser fabric. The last mod I know I'd make if I knit these again is to lengthen the ribbing at the top. 3 rows is pretty meager. I'd probably go for a full inch of it.

Please see this post (from last week) for more notes.

And now for some replies to comments:
1. Eva wants to try fair isle, and asked me some questions. She asked if I use the same size needles for fair isle as in plain one-color knitting, or if I change needle sizes. For me, it really depends. The general rule of thumb I've read in a lot of places is that many people tend to knit tighter in fair isle than otherwise, so it's a good idea to go up a needle size or two. For me, this really varies. In fact, I think I'm more likely to knit more loosely in fair isle, because switching colors every few stitches means I don't keep up that tighter constant tension I have in single color knitting. The best answer is to swatch. And for best results, swatch with the yarn and needles you plan to use, and swatch in the round if you plan to knit in the round. Oh, and don't forget to keep on measuring your gauge as you knit. Sometimes the gauge in your garment can change from what you got in your swatch. I think people are particularly susceptible to this when they're first learning a new technique.

As for the type of yarn to use, I don't think that acrylic is the best choice for learning fair isle. Okay, I'm not an acrylic fan in general. But I think that acrylic is a bad choice for fair isle because you are going to want to use some of the properties of wool to your advantage. Wool does many things well, and two of those things are felting and keeping shape memory. Your final product will be a lot nicer if you can block it. Even very experienced fair isle knitters are going to often produce a knitted fabric that is not perfectly flat and even. Blocking fair isle, in my experience, is an essential step. Even if you're only swatching, you're going to want to use a natural fiber and block, to see how much your fabric can and will be improved. Also, with wear the floats on the back of a fair isle garment will start to kind of felt to the fabric. This is a nice little feature, and another good reason to use wool (or alpaca, or other feltable fibers) for fair isle knitting.

2. Kerry asked if I knit the Mamlukes inside out, as I did for the Komi sock. Yup, I did! I think I'm getting better at keeping an even tension across needles with that technique, too. Now, trying to do colorwork on DPNs right side out feels really weird.

3. Thanks for all the comments last week to the Mamluke post and the Flash Your Stash post. The latter got 19 comments. Wow! I had no idea it would generate that sort of response. I enjoyed reading all of the responses. It feels nice to express opinions, as well as just post photos of stuff I've knit.

I cast on for the first Ingeborg sleeve last night. I had knit 14 of the 15 cuff rows before I realized that I stupidly cast on 10 stitches too many. But now I'm past that point, and into the actual colorwork. Yay!


Blogger EvaLux said...

Gorgeous socks :)

Thanks for all of your tips... I didn't try with the acrylics after all as the feeling of it is just too yucky LOL. Guess I'll pick up a few single balls of wool at the LYS next week to give it a try.
Oh, and as a first project I'm going to get one of the kits from Philosophers Wool :)

Cheers Eva

4/06/2006 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I-love-these-socks, too! They speak to my Scandinavian heritage and love of Southwestern US patterns! You did a Fantastic job! I wish I was your sock pal ;-)

4/08/2006 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I-love-these-socks, too! They speak to my Scandinavian heritage and love of Southwestern US patterns! You did a Fantastic job! I wish I was your sock pal ;-)

4/08/2006 9:25 AM  
Blogger Lara 900 said...

These are stunningly beautiful!

4/10/2006 5:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they are gorgeous! wow.

4/11/2006 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, your socks are totally amazing!

4/11/2006 10:20 AM  
Blogger Linz said...

Yes, those socks are absolutely stunning!
Great job!!!

4/11/2006 10:26 AM  
Blogger alison said...

Gorgeous! What dedication. You're pal is very lucky to have you knitting for him/her!

4/12/2006 7:56 AM  

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