09
Oct

Fair Isle Socks


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I bought a kit to make these socks from Knit Picks a while back. The pattern is called Apirka. It’s horrible! It gives a rectangular gauge and fair isle should have a square gauge. As such, the majority of the reviews on Ravelry tell the tale of failed socks that came out more like a mens’ 13 than a women’s medium. Lesson learned: always check ravelry reviews before buying a Knit Picks kit. Ravelry doesn’t screen the pattern notes like I strongly suspect Knit Picks does the user reviews!

I knit up a gauge swatch the very day my kit arrived because I was so excited to have a wonderful colorwork project. Stranded colorwork is my favorite type of knitting and I love Knit Picks’ Palette yarn. It’s one of my two favorites for fine colorwork projects. The runner up is Brown Sheep’s Naturespun yarns.

When I realized that they’d be impossible to knit following that pattern, I put them in a long time out. I was so upset that I’d spent good money on this kit!

Eventually, the county and fair season started to roll around. I’d originally planned these socks to be show pieces for the fair and I’d get them back just in time for the weather to start to turn cool in September when I could wear them all the time. I didn’t want to waste more money on another pattern and more yarn. I really love the snowflake motif and earthy colors in this pattern. So I measured and remeasured my gauge swatch and feet. I ended up completely writing a new pattern with new charts to knit a pair of socks. The colorwork happens to look the same, but I have entirely unique heels and toes on my socks to keep them from being too long and pointy. I also changed the calf shaping in addition to adjusting the charts for the different stitch counts. I also modified it to be a toe-up sock rather than a top-down one so it’d be easy to try on as I went along and to be sure I wouldn’t run out of yarn.

It was the most challenging pattern writing I think I’ve ever done. I’d knit a bit, try them on, and write out the next chunk of pattern. I worked them two-at-a-time using two sets of double-pointed needles. Two-at-a-time with magic loop and stranded knitting just makes too many tangles. Plus, double-pointed needles rock. it did look like I was playing pick up sticks most of the time though.

In the end, my new custom pattern worked out beautifully. These are currently my favorite socks. Because I knit them to my gauge swatch and my foot instead of a pattern, they fit me like a glove.

The socks did get done in time for the county fair and went on to the state fair after that. They won first place for knitted accessory item and reserve champion for the knitting department at the county fair and second place for knitted accessory at the state fair. I’m not too upset they didn’t win champion for knitting at county…another one of my projects took that top honor! More on that tomorrow.

One Response to “Fair Isle Socks”

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    09Oct

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