Happy Knitting & Crochet Blog Week! If you already follow knitting blogs, you may know about the fourth annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week organised by Eskimimi. If not, feel free to go read about it, I’ll wait here for you.
The first topic this year is about knitting styles. Eskimimi has proposed four different houses (like at Hogwarts) but there is no sorting hat here. I think my knitting style falls into the House of Monkey. I not only like a challenge but also enjoy learning new techniques. Once I get interested in something, I want to find out everything. This may explain why I’m knitting my sixth sock of the year (two pairs and one and a half singles so far). I was given the Interweave book: Favorite Socks (it’s American, it’s meant to be spelt like that) for Christmas and have been learning new techniques.
First up I made a pair of lace socks. These were nice to knit, the lace kept them interesting but the chart was simple enough to memorise once the pattern was established. The pattern is Embosses Leaves from the Interweave Favorite Socks book. The yarn is pure wool I picked up from Namolio at Woolfest last year. They are really cosy despite being lacy.
The lace socks were soon followed by some illusion knitting socks. Rows of knitting and purling with the pattern stitches reversed (knit on purl rows and purl on knit rows) means that the pattern is only really seen from an angle. It’s an interesting technique (though the charts require a lot of attention) and makes me want to design my own pattern… Again the pattern (Hidden Passion) is in the Interweave book. I used two colours of Opal 4-ply and now understand why Opal is so well-loved. It’s smooth and strong and the socks just feel like they’re going to last for ages.
Feeling confident, I started looking around for something to make with my leftover Opal yarn. Something that would look good in two colours but without being *just* colourwork. Searching through the Knitty archives, I came across the Diversion pattern. Designed with a self-striping sock yarn, I thought they might look good in two contrasting colours. The short rows give a striking texture. I’m pretty it will be less lumpy when blocked though this one is going to have to wait until I’ve knitted it’s pair. It’s not the sort of pattern I can do whilst thinking about other things and I wanted something more straightforward for knitting out and about or in front of the TV.
Which is where this sock comes in (and takes me back to Favorite Socks). I wanted a straight-forward pattern but I didn’t want to stop learning. This pattern (Priscilla’s Dream Socks) uses short row heels and short row toes which I’ve never done before. It also uses a new (to me) cast-on – the Old Norwegian cast-on. It’s very similar to a normal long-tail cast-on but is somehow even more elastic. In it’s relaxed state, the cast on is 7cm across (so about 14cm circumference) but easily stretches to 17cm across (32cm circumference). In comparison, the Hidden Passion sock has a relaxed cast-on edge of 7.5cm but only stretches to 14cm. This sock is a wool/bamboo/poly blend. It’s really soft and smooth with a nice shiny colour. The shop I bought it from said it was Opal but it didn’t have a ball band and I can’t find it on the internet. It looks like Sockenwolle.de do sell bamboo blend yarns but it’s not clear if they’re on sale in the UK. Hmm.
The (probably) bamboo blend feels like it will be nice and cool for Summer, which leads me onto a future sock-knitting plan. As a Scot, my boyfriend wears a kilt sometimes. However wooly kilt hose are really good at insulating. This is probably a good thing if you live in the Highlands on a croft in a time before electricity and central heating – but in wedding venues and ceilidhs it can be a bit uncomfortable. So, bamboo sock yarn could be the answer. Now I just need to invent a pattern (because following someone else’s would just be too easy) and find vast quantities of yarn.
So, what is your knitting style? Are you a monkey-brain too, fascinated by learning new techniques? A bee – flitting from one enticing project to the next? A manatee – wanting snuggly comfy projects? Or a peacock – excited by gorgeous end products? That’s the great thing about knitting, no matter what your style, whether you want something straight-forward or something complex, there is always a gorgeous pattern out there.