Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fair Isle Socks

I spent the summer exploring new things: new places, new crafts, new organization and new techniques. One thing I decided to explore further was fair isle knitting.

Up until I made these mittens, I wasn't completely sold on colorwork. It was interesting, but it just took too long to knit, and I still conjoured up thoughts of reindeer sweaters when I thought of it. Not that there's anything wrong with reindeer sweaters, they just aren't a style I would like to wear out in public.

Enter Laila's Socks. This pattern must have been knit close to 1000 times already. (Or so it seems. I just checked on Ravelry and there are only 47 projects.) It's a great colorwork pattern for socks because you don't need to carry the second color of yarn with you around each of the rows. I decided a long time ago that they would be my first attempt at socks with a fair isle pattern.
About a year ago I found this Essential Tweed yarn at Knitpicks. I loved the slight contrast between the slate blue and the deep brown tweed yarns, and ordered enough for my socks. I don't like to knit my socks out of very light yarn -- I just imagine the soles getting terribly dirty and the socks getting ruined. I liked the idea of a fair isle sock that would only reveal its pattern to someone nearby. When the yarns came I wasn't sure they would work together: the values of the two colors seemed very close. I procrastinated a while after the yarn came, and started these socks around July. The first was finished over a weekend, and then other things got in the way. I have a few other things I need to get off the needles before I can cast on for the second one.

I like the way the sock has the looks of colorwork without being double thick. One of my other concerns about the pattern and stranded socks in general was that they might not fit in any of my shoes. That isn't even a concern with this pattern, as most of the rows are knit single-stranded.