Sunday, March 11, 2012

A grand walk – around the Gladhouse Reservoir, if I’ve got that right. About five miles, gradient-free, easy underfoot. There was a savage, cutting wind. I won’t venture on such an activity again until I’ve knit myself a hat.

I’ve finished my first Sweet Tomato heel. It’s early days, to say what I think of it. It looks less decisive than the standard heel I’m used to. We’ll have to see what the wearer thinks.

Sally (comment yesterday), no, I’ve never tried the Afterthought Heel. But, like Ko Ko, I’ve got a little list, and it’s there. Until I embarked on the current sock, I had never done any heel except the bog-standard heel-flap/turn-heel/pick-up-stitches-and-gradually-reduce-for-gusset.

The list was made at random, with no attempt to arrange it in order of priority. The next item on it, after the Sweet Tomato, is the Andersson heel. I can’t remember how I came by it. I don’t find the instructions at all lucid. It’s toe-up, and I’ve never done that. But I’m here for the challenge.

My first thought was to skip it, don’t like toe-up. But so many respected sock people are enthusiastic about it, that it’s time I tried. The Sweet Tomato instructions start with toe-up, and add top-down as an afterthought. (The heel is the same, either way.) Fleegle’s heel, further down the list, is another exmple. Her instructions, needless to say, are a model of lucidity.

I was pruning my Picture file just now, and stumbled on this, taken last June, labelled “sock yarn”. 

When I began to think of this Sock Project a few weeks ago, I found I had only a dozen pairs of Unknit Socks, all of them reasonably attractive. So I must have done some useful culling. The more I cull, the more yarn there seems to be in that cupboard.

Twisted-front sweaters

I found the IK “En Pointe” pattern, Spring ’11. It’s even more similar to VK’s “drape-front sweater”, Winter 2011-12, than I expected. Both are rectangles knit sideways, with the front rectangle twisted. In the IK version, the short edges are then joined at the bottom, forming armholes from which stitches are picked up for sleeves. No sleeves for VK.

The IK one thus becomes more of a garment, like the ballerina sweater its name suggests. It is knit of Louet KidLin Lace Weight (35% mohair) on big needles, which may be why I passed it over. I renounced Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze for life after knitting the Earth Stripe Wrap, cover of Rowan 42, for granddaughter Hellie.  (The result was very successful – no quarrel with that.) And I think my antipathy may extend to all mohair.

The VK version is knit in alpaca. Both versions have to be worn over something else, because the twist creates quite a low neckline. But the VK one is more frankly a layer. And I still prefer it.

But I am surprised that VK would use something so soon that seems so clearly a rip-off. (Or is a twisted rectangle a well-known design feature which happens to be unknown to me?) The IK designer, Alice Tang, must have been livid.


  1. Anonymous1:39 PM

    I really like the vest you knitted for your husband. Classic. Good luck with the sock challenge.

  2. I think these designs are chosen so far in advance that they must both have been in process. I find that there is a kind of fashion theme going around with lots of variations, even if designers don't see one another's work. It's like all those children who show up at kindgergarten with a name their parents thought unique only to find 4 little girls who are also called Madison or whatever the name of the moment turns out to be.

    But it looks like a wearable sweater, in either version.

  3. Anonymous4:33 PM

    Have you posted a complete list of your sock challenge? I don't believe I've seen it, and I'm sure everyone would find it very informative! Sounds like such a great idea.

  4. Anonymous4:34 PM

    I remember IK's sister publication Knitscene featuring a twisted-rectangle-front garment in a sheer yarn a few years ago. I also vaguely recall something on the same theme a decade or so in a single-pattern pamphlet from Trendsetter, I believe. So the idea's been around for a while, and probably represented in rtw as well - perhaps originated there.

    I like Mary Lou's analogy of trendy names for children. Everyone falls in love at the same time with a new name or new fashion twist.
    -- Gretchen

  5. I am glad your walk went well, but sorry to hear you had that awful wind. There are few things in life I despise more than a nasty wind. Five miles is quite impressive - you needn't have worried about disgracing yourself!

  6. I was given three pairs of socks worth of sock yarn two weeks ago. I really must cast on a new pair to knit on the train but I am not tempted by toe up. It looks awkward to me.