Thursday, June 02, 2005

Works in Progress: Chapter One - Sock it to Me?

The current version of this blog is just over a month old, and I realize that I have never mentioned current "works in progress" other than the needlefelting bowls.

Getting punchy with wool is far from the only craft I do. I'm also a knitter, beader and papercrafter, among other things. I do needlepoint and cross stitch, I paint crafty objects. Generally, I consider myself a multi-media contemporary folk artist.

"Works in Progress" (WIP), then, is usually a fairly large category in my studio. (That studio, btw, is in my living room. The only time we entertain is when the Craft Goddesses craft circle comes over every week, so that's entirely appropriate.) Rather than overwhelm the blog and my readers with everything I'm working on at once, I'll take it a piece at a time.

This installment of WIP will focus on my current effort to master socks. Socks are a bit of a tricky thing for me, since my skin is very sensitive to the feeling of wool right next to it. Since most of the fun sock yarns are all or mostly wool, I've been reluctant to spend the time learning socks.

Then I found Sockotta yarn at The Woolery. Less than half of the fiber is wool, and the skein feels all right in my hand. They won't be soft, fluffy socks, but I think they'll be comfortable.

I picked up the book Cool Socks, Warm Feet as my instructional guide. The approach in this book is to measure your feet and ankles, and the directions for each sock pattern are then based on your gauge and measurements. They also include directions for adjusting fit if your measurements fall outside of standard proportions. This last was important to me because my ankle measures 11", and my foot length and around the ball of the foot are both 10" - a larger deviation than most people. So the ability to customize the patterns is essential to me.

For my first sock, I started with the Simply Splendid pattern that comes first in the book. I did the leg and heel area in the size that fit my ankle, then I turned the heel and decreased it down to the size to fit the rest of my foot.

The result fits well at the toe, and at the cuff, but it's too baggy behind the ankle, as you can see in the photos:

Sock experiment Number 1: elephant ankles!

Sock experiment Number 1: Pinching at least an inch!

Okay, only one sock done, but I have important data points for my next attempt. I decided that I need to make the transition to the smaller size above the heel, rather than below. On careful consideration, in fact, I decided to try just knitting the sock in the smaller size and seeing how it fit. After all, I can always just knit a third experiment, right?

I also felt that continuing the K1P1 ribbing down the whole leg to the heel would give me a better fit. And perhaps doing the first few rows in a size 3 needle, then switching to 2's. So, I picked up a different color of the Sockotta that I had bought, and began again.

Sock experiment Number 2: flapping away.

So far, so good. I haven't tried fit yet, but I'm not concerned about that now. I need to finish the whole thing at this size to get my comparison to the first experiment, anyhow.

So, that's one of the many current WIP's here at the Folkcat Art studio. Tune in next time for more fiber adventures!