Experiments in sock construction
Hey guys! As you may (or may not!) remember, earlier this summer I won this amazing gift basket from the girls at Pompon Laine Café for being one of the first clients to get the membership card for the store (very sweet, isn’t?).
Well, among all that fiber-y goodness, there was a pinkish ball of stretchy self striping yarn from Lana Grossa called Meilenweit 100 Cotton Fantasy Stretch that I had never used before, so I was a little intrigued. Looking at the yarn, I really couldn’t picture what it would look like all knit up so I decided to try it and find out.
First rule in knitting: when you don’t know what to expect out of a yarn, stick to basics.
Following this simple rule, I decided to cast on a basic cuff-down sock, 72 sts on 2.25mm needles and started knitting away, using a 2×2 rib for the cuff. A little ways in, I was able to see the yarn was indeed self striping and was able to assess the width of the stripes and the length of the color sequence. Pretty cute, isn’t?
Looking at all these cute stripes go, I thought to myself it would be a pity to break it up working a heel flap, so I decided to try a new (to me!) sock technique to preserve the perfect stripe sequence: the afterthought heel. Now, I when I say it’s a new technique, it doesn’t mean that I learned about it recently – I have known the technique for quite a while, I have just never used it before. Part of the reason is because I’ve never had the chance to work with a self striping yarn before so I never really saw a need for it and the other part of the reason is that I’ve heard mixed reviews about this technique, saying it always pulls and creates holes on the sides.
Well, after trying it for myself, let just say this : yes, it does create small holes on the sides, but it’s really not that bad if you pick up a couple stitches on each side to bridge the gap, and I also knit them through the back loop on the first row after pick up to get a fuller look by twisting the stitches. And it works. So if you’ve been worried about that, there’s really no need to fret – I guarantee it.
All in all, I would definitely use the afterthought heel again for any self striping yarn, but I’m not so sure about the yarn. First thing first, I must say that I definitely would not have chosen this colorway for myself – but as they say beggars can’t be choosers, so I really can’t complain when I got the yarn for free. But what turned me off the most about this yarn is actually not the color, but the texture. Don’t get me wrong, I love the finished socks, they’re nice and cozy and the stretch in there really makes them comfortable, but somehow the yarn is a little rough to the touch so it wasn’t super fun to knit. It’s a great sock yarn, but I guess for me enjoying the final product is not enough, I have to fully enjoy the process too – which is why I might not buy this yarn again.