Hey all, how is summer (or winter) going in your part of the world? We are truly into summer in my neck of the woods; everything green has had a growth spurt and more and more plants are shooting into flower. We’ve had sunny and hot days, it is still too dry out there due to a long term rainfall deficit, but we at least had some thunderstorms so that is something. The balcony is a buzzing hive of insect activity which has been so joyful to watch.
I used to really struggle with what type of knitwear I wanted to show here on the blog, or on the really hot days, even knit on in the summer. Donning an allover, yoke or any type of jumper just doesn’t do it for me when the temperature hits above a certain degree. After some experiments with summer knits – which I really don’t wear enough of in the summer to make that a regular thing – I’ve really come around to socks for summer knitting. So let’s dive into these moody colourwork socks I knit a while ago!
These are the Winter Grass Socks by Dagmar Øye. They are cuff-down colourwork socks with a heel flap and gusset. As with the Moon socks I made before, the heels are knit in slip stitch for reinforcement. The sock is adorned by a stranded colourwork pattern of what I assume is long grass with grass flowers, though despite the name I initially (and perhaps still) read it as grain. In any case, it is a beautiful colourwork pattern.
I made these as a birthday gift for my partner. As with the other socks I made as gifts previously I let the recipient pick both yarn and pattern. To make it easier I asked him what type of sock he wanted and then just showed him a selection of patterns that met those conditions. He settled on the Winter Grass socks almost instantly and what a perfect pair to settle on (read; why yes I’ve added them to my sizeable list of socks I knit for others that I want to knit for myself at some point in the future).
As with the Woodland Socks the colourwork on this sock changes row by row, so the colourwork doesn’t flow as nice and rhythmic as with more predictable colourwork. However, where I felt that it went pretty easy and fast with the woodlands, this pair -and in particular the first sock- was a lot more of a struggle on that front and felt like it took longer to knit these (though in reality it didn’t). It was a surprise, as I consider the colourwork on these two socks very similar. By the time I had cast on the second sock I had eased into the pattern and that felt like it was less of struggle and went easier and faster. All that said a lot of work in this paragraph is done by the word “felt” as in reality I don’t think either of them took me longer than any of the other socks I made.
Honestly I don’t think it had anything to do with the patterning really, but it was more the culmination of starting and finishing 3 pairs of colourwork socks, one after the other, two of which were gifts in a very short time. Which I think was overdoing it a bit, and by the time I cast on for these as a birthday gift I was in need of a bit of change in my knitting. I still like sock knitting and the socks I knit as gifts were some of the most enjoyable gift knitting I’ve done. It was just a thing of too much of a good thing in a short amount of time I suppose.
The chart for the foot is quite long (the instep and foot part are one chart) and only numbered on one side. I haven’t knit enough socks to know what is the standard way of charting this but so far my patterns had a different instep and foot chart. In any case if the rows get too long you can always try splitting the chart yourself if that makes for easier knitting or (like me) use a ruler when you find yourself a bit lost in the rows.
The purple variegated yarn used for these socks are from the same dyer as the orange I used in the woodland socks. In fact, I ordered them as a pair already knowing I would use them for sock gift knitting for Christmas and a following birthday. The lighter speckled yarn used as a contrast colour is the same I used in for those woodland socks and before that I used it in a striped shawl. The projects this skein has been part of!
It continues to be a delight and wonder to see how this yarn responses to the environment it is used in. I first used it with a warm red toned purple where the speckled yarn looks bright white, then I used it in the orange woodland socks were the base looks light grey and now in these cool tones of blue and purple it looks light beige. What a chameleon this yarn is!
I think the colour combination for this project might be my favourite of the lot. I think it suits the colourwork pattern in this sock brilliantly and I like how the speckles make the grass colourwork look more lively then it would be otherwise. For the same reason I like using a “toned down” variegated yarn for the main colour. So the blueish purples of this skein are very close together in tone but not exactly uniform, making the background more lively than it would have been otherwise. Personally I think it works particularity well in a project such as this when there is just two colours to deal with and the motifs are quite large.
I ended up squeezing one and a half sock out of what remained of the leftover ball of speckled yarn. When I started the project I was sceptical of getting even one sock out of what remained so this was definitely a win (and shows how woefully inept I am as a beginner-ish sock knitter at judging these things). I had another skein of the same colourway, as I initially planned to use this yarn for a different project. So I used two different balls of the same speckled colourway and the difference shows. One and a half sock has the colourwork has more white and only a couple of different speckles here and there whereas with the last half of the second sock it is a speckle blowout with a lot more colour.
I don’t really mind, and actually find the difference endearing ( you are talking to the person that for for years didn’t see the point of wearing matching socks, so what do I know). It is I guess also a bit of risk inherent in going with a speckled yarn and I’ve heard others having a similar experience within a single skein even. So in terms of that I really have no complains. I’m not even sure which part I like better. I expected it to be the whiter part, but having knit it, the more speckled and colourful half of the sock works equally well. In any case I have the bulk of this second skein left so it looks like I can continue the strike of projects for this colourway.
I ended up modifying the toe. I first knit the toe as written for the shaped right toe, but that came out huge and fitted all wrong. It’s weird cause I took care to start it at the same point as the Woodland socks (which fit well in the toe). I guess different shaped feet is different preferences and looks like mine are with a regular unshaped toe for now. There are instructions for a regular toe included in the pattern but I ended up doing it on my own mimicking the shaping on the toes of the socks I have knitted already and fit well.
Because I’ve now knitted two socks with different constructions for the same person I can start to see some fit preferences already. The heel on the Woodland socks is a short row heel knitted toe up whereas these are knit cuff down with a heel flap and gusset. While the fit of the short row heel is o.k., the heel flap and gusset fits perfectly. Before I knitted socks, before I knitted multiple socks with different constructions and heels even, I don’t think I appreciated those subtle fit differences enough. I just thought a sock is a sock and if it fits it fits. Turns out there is a whole range of ways in which a sock can fit, who knew? ( answer: sock knitters knew!!!!). I don’t think that definitely means this heel type is always better, or even always better for this specific pair of feet (maybe the short row heel needs some tweaks?) but it’s so exciting as a beginner sock knitter to start learning this stuff through experience and start getting preferences and the like.
I’m really happy with this pair and I like the combination of the light coloured speckled yarns with with dark moody purple colours. For the recipient it matters very little what I think of the pair of socks I just made but given he calls them the most dreamy and comfortable socks ever I think we are good to go on that front too. I’m also glad to have found a use for speckled skeins, they were all the rage in the knitting world a little while ago, and you couldn’t throw a stick without hitting a speckled something. I’ve never been hugely into them in projects for myself but using them for socks might have changed that somewhat as I think they work fantastic in these type of colourwork socks.
Thanks for reading and speak soon!