Friday, 17 January 2014

FO Friday: Sideswipe Socks

As I work away on finishing up my Maudie socks I thought I'd show off a few of the FOs that snuck by unannounced during 2013.

At the end of 2012 I learnt to knit continental style. When I first started knitting, I learnt to knit 'English style' in which you hold the yarn in your right hand -- in continental knitting you instead hold the yarn in your left hand. Knitting continental style can offer a few benefits -- it typically results in less movement of the hands which can reduce RSI and speed things up a bit.

Learning continental had been on my curiosity list for a while, so when I spotted a class at Baa Ram Ewe I jumped in and gave it a go. This class was really great -- the pace seemed about right and enough time to really get to grips with the technique (for example, spending plenty of time in the morning learning a traditional purl -- and then, once we'd got that down, learning a Norwegian purl in the afternoon). The class included a ball of yarn and a cowl pattern, the cowl covered a wide variety of techniques (cables, lace) and was the perfect project. (Also, the class was held in a lovely cafe/restaurant and the resulting lunch was really good).

Once I got home I plugged away at the cowl for a while but in the back of my mind there was a niggle about the (not-so) softness of the yarn. It was a lovely yarn, but after a while I was pretty sure I would never wear it next to my face. I ripped the cowl out and looked for a new project.

I finally spotted the perfect project when Twist Collective posted a picture of Sideswipe in their twitter feed.

This pattern is knit flat, toe up, and gave plenty of opportunities with perfecting both knits and purls. My gauge was way off the pattern gauge at 37st/4” so after I'd knit enough to count as a swatch I did the maths to adjust the size and restarted with new stitch count. Apart from that I made no pattern modifications.

I love the finished socks. The yarn comes in a variety of non-garish colourways -- most of them grey with a splash of colour (purple/green/pink/blue). I could easily I have bought a few more balls.

Mostly a mindless knit, for 90% of the time you're just plugging away at simple stockinette. If you're not into picking up stitches (and I admit it's not my favourite thing in the world) then these socks should probably come with some sort of warning and there's also a long chunk of grafting to close the sock at the end BUT I think they were worth it.

Only thing is, I've not knit anything continental style since... I'm not sure I'm ready to make this my primary knitting method (anything other than a bog standard knit or purl is still somewhat clunky) but I do want to carry on experimenting and improving my technique, so... what's next?

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