Presenting: my very first pair of truly stranded socks!
Pattern: Roll the Bones, by Kirsten Hall
Yarn: Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock, in Black Plum (dark) and Pomegranate (light)
Needles: 2.5 mm / US 1.5 for stranded sections, 2.25 mm / US 1 for cuff, heel, and toe
I should really try to retake that first photo with better focus. But, lazy.
So, stranded socks. I've been aware of them and sort of thinking I'd like to try for a while now. A couple of things kept holding me back:
1) You need two different yarns to make stranded socks, which in my mind meant doubling the amount of yarn that went into a pair. That makes for a pretty hefty yarn bill for a pair of socks.
2) The resulting fabric would be doubly thick compared to socks knit with a single strand, which might make it a bit of a tight squeeze in shoes - or downright impossible, depending on how closely the shoes fit.
Leave it to the Tour to force me to try it out, despite my doubts.
I think these might be my new favourite socks. Sure, I wasn't super fast with them - after all, limited experience with stranded knitting makes for slow, careful progress, especially when you're me and you stop frequently to futz about with the fabric, trying to assess how stretchy it is and checking that the floats are loose enough. (By the way - is it possible for floats to be too loose? There are some areas where if I didn't have floats behind keeping everything in check, I'd have crazy loose stitches and wild ladders. I'm guessing this will even out once I wash the socks, but I am wondering about it a little.) My speed did pick up with the second sock - in part because I knit that one right side out, and had a better time managing the DPNs. (I knit the first one inside out for better float management, and it messed with the way the needles wanted to position themselves, which made things a bit awkward and slowed me down.)
Now, admittedly, I haven't tried on shoes while wearing these, so that concern might still be valid. (But then again, I live in Canada, particularly in a part of Canada that sees a significant winter season with pretty significant snowfall, which means boots, which typically have a bit more room in them, and also, thicker socks in winter sounds like a good idea anyway.) But the yarn usage concern? I've learned it's not a problem. I have plenty of yarn left over in both colours that I used - 64 g of the darker colour, and 90 g (!!) of the lighter colour. Now, these were bigger skeins to begin with - Tough Love Sock comes in 115 g hanks - but still, I can absolutely get another pair of socks out of the light colour, and I think I could even do a pair in the darker colour.
I could especially do another pair of stranded, pairing the darker remnants with something else. Oh, the possibilities that opens!
So yes, I believe there will be more stranded socks in my future.
Particularly using this pattern. It was such a fun pattern to knit, and the concept behind it helps keep things fresh. (Unless you're getting sick of stranded knitting itself.) See those little cubes in that shot there? Those cubes are the stranded pattern. You roll them like dice - or, well, toss them around to randomize the sections - and then work a ten round repeat using whatever pattern you rolled. Then, you do it again to rerandomize the sections. The result is a swirly, unique colourwork pattern - a bit like a yarny fingerprint.
Want your socks to match precisely? Just keep track of what you rolled for the second sock, or work them concurrently.
Want non-random patterning? Fiddle with the dice until you get an arrangement you like, then use that.
This pattern provides so much fun flexibility. I'm sure I'll do it again. For one thing, my sister has expressed a desire to have some socks like this of her own. For another, I want to play with the possibilities. I want to see what happens if I flip the colours around - not as dramatically as a complete reversal, but I think it could be fun/interesting to flip the light and dark sections in the colourwork. I think it could be fun to have one of the colours be a really variegated one, or a gradient one, with the other being a solid neutral.
I'm sure there are other colour pairings in my sock stash that would be great for this pattern.
Will I ever knit another sock pattern?
Well, sure. There are three more stages left to the Tour, after all.
And the yarn? This is great stuff. I am totally buying more of this when I see it on sale. Or when I see it at a shop. Or just online. Must. Have. More.