Unfortunately I am just not too thrilled with the resulting socks. The yarn label called for a gauge of 5-6 sts/inch on size 3 or 4 needles. So I knit the yarn up at 6 sts/inch on size 3 needles, and I really feel that the resulting fabric is just too loose for socks.
I was also not so thrilled with the pattern I used. It was Cat Bordhi's Jeweled Steps from New Pathways. This is a sock made with her sidestream architecture. The shaping is actually rather cool, with the arch expansion worked across the inside of the foot. It's the Jewel part that I didn't care for. The pattern is supposed to highlight the colour changes in hand painted yarns, and it uses groups of 3 stitches wrapped 2x with the yarn before being knit. It seemed to me that while doing this if I wrapped the stitches too tight they were pushed together leaving little holes around them, and if I wrapped them too loosely the surrounding stitches pulled up the slack, and caused little holes. There did seems to be a happy medium in there, but it was so difficult to attain that I would never bother to try again.
These socks also represent the 2nd time Cat's master numbers did not work out, and created socks that were way too long for my foot. I checked and rechecked my numbers, and I do not understand why it didn't work out, when it has so many other times. The last time this happened I frogged and forgot about socks for a bit- this time I restarted the sock several times, until I got it right.
There were two good things that came out of making these socks:
- I taught myself the magic loop while making them, and I really liked it (I thought I would hate it)
- I've discovered that this is the warmest sock yarn ever, and I must go get more to knit up on smaller needles.
- When I finished up that pair of socks I decided I wanted to try a pair with an after thought heel. This pair is made with Lion Brand Fisherman's wool that I dyed with Kool Aid a long time ago.
Again worked at 6 sts/inch on size 3 needles with the magic loop. I'm not following a pattern of any kind for these, I'm just winging it. The after thought heel really does seem to make the sock move more quickly, and I think if I had to supply an active family with all of their socks I would definitely use this method all the time. However, they look totally bizarre when they are not being worn.
Since they were only intended to be an exercise I didn't really pay attention to gauge or size until the first sock was done, and I decided I like it a lot. Now I wish I had made them a bit larger, but as you can see they will stretch just enough to fit my feet.