Pattern: Diamondback Socks, by Kirsten Hall
Yarn: Invictus Yarns Master of My Feet, in Possessive
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1
Tour rank: #111
It seems like we all fall for it from time to time: we see a breathtaking skein of sock yarn somewhere, and we make it join our little flock. We're so mesmerized by the colours that we sort of forget that these things can be a bit challenging for knitting up - sometimes, they stripe nicely, but then things get thrown for a loop when you get to the ankle, where the circumference has to be changed up a bit to allow for gussets and suddenly the colour runs aren't being used at the pace they were before, and now there's this giant blotch of one colour on one gusset, with the other one showing weird zigzags of a couple of other colours. Other times, you just get a mess right from the get go - the so-called flashing and pooling that people often complain about.
While I have been more careful in recent times to enhance my sock yarn stash with tonal and semi-solid colourways, there are some variegateds in the mix. It happens. They're so pretty.
And now I have another tool at my disposal for working with them. One that doesn't involve slipping stitches - and there are some great slipped stitch motifs out there, but the problem I have with slipping stitches is it changes your row gauge, which is fine on the leg, but it makes for a difference between the instep and the sole of the foot, so when the sock is off the foot, the sole pouches out weirdly. I suppose, ultimately, it doesn't matter, because that difference doesn't seem to impact fit any, but it still makes me mostly avoid slipped stitch motifs for socks.
This pattern uses short rows, so you're basically knitting chunks of fabric instead of one continuous spiral.
The resulting effect is a tube made up of diamond-shaped tiles of fabric. Depending on how your colour runs go, the effect can vary quite a bit. My yarn actually had pretty short colour runs, and if you look at the way it knitted up on the soles, it may not have pooled terribly in a plain stockinette sock - although, it did do some flashing in the ribbing, maybe it would have been a mess? There's no traditional heel flap, much like the stage 2 sock, which doesn't bother me any, though I find the diamond pattern sort of pulls on the heels a bit to make them a bit pointy. We'll have to wait and see if that becomes an issue with actual wear.
The designer suggests that knitting backwards while working the short rows can eliminate needing to endlessly turn the work, but I ended up abandoning that strategy fairly early on in the first sock. For one, I knit backwards kind of slowly due to lack of practice, but more importantly, when working the diamonds that are interrupted by ribbing at the sides of the socks and in the gussets, I realized pretty quickly that while I can work a purl stitch backwards, I'd never done a backwards knit stitch before, and with the way I hold the yarn, it's not exactly a simple thing to work out how to make the wrap happen once the needles are in the right arrangement. I also end up knitting combined when I knit backwards - because of how I hold the yarn, the wrap goes in the opposite direction of my normal knitting, so on the right side the worked-backwards stitches present with an Eastern mount (right leg of stitch to the back) as opposed to the Western mount I normally get (right leg of stitch to the front). This is easy to accommodate, you just knit into the back legs of stitches on the right side so they don't twist, but for the decreases - well, really, just the k2tog - I needed to remount the stitches to avoid getting a twisted decrease. So I just turned the work a whole bunch while knitting these. It was fine.
A word to the wise, though - this pattern EATS yarn. Like no pattern I've ever worked before. After finishing the first sock, I thought my remnant cake looked a bit wimpy compared to normal, so when I was done I weighed the socks, and weighed the other two Tour pairs for comparison.
Twists & Turns socks: 74 g
I Remembered It Again socks: 82 g
Diamondback socks: 91 g
Um, yeah. These socks ate 9 g more yarn than a pair of pretty heavily cabled socks, which in turn ate up 8 g more yarn than a pair of lace socks. No wonder my remnant bits from this stage are so small!
So, if you typically use most of 100 g of yarn to make a pair of socks - maybe get some extra bits for a contrast toe and cuff?
So there you have 'em. Another pair for my drawer, another stage done. The next three I really hope for better race performance - my class has completely wrapped up now, so sock racing can be a pretty big priority now! Which is great, because the next stage is the beaded sock. I better go find my beads.