Saturday, October 17, 2009

SKA September 2009 - Nancy Bush Mystery Socks

I'm a bit behind. These socks have been done for a couple of weeks but I've been diligently getting all the fiber blog posts up for the Phat Fiber box. It has been fun detailing each sample in the series.

September kicked off the Sock Knitters Anonymous "Sockdown" season. This group on Ravelry is dedicated to stretching sock knitters to their limits, challenging each month with a different theme.

Our first challenge is the only one of the year to focus on a color, rather than a knitting skill. The requirements were to either a) knit a sock in yellow (solid or semi-solid only) or b) knit a sock designed by Wendy Johnson. Option C was the "Mystery Sock", and it falls under the first heading and was required to be knit in yellow.

I bought String Theory's yellow sock yarn called "Caper". I didn't have any pure yellow in my stash. Of course you can always knit any sock any way you want... but there are prizes involved and that tiny, little competitive urge that I have from time to time started nagging. I just couldn't participate in the group and NOT knit a project that qualified for the prize drawing. I don't expect to win anything (except a beautiful pair of socks).

Nancy Bush did this Mystery design and it's lovely. The final name is "Fox Faces". With a little imagination you can see them peering at you in the picture.

The challenge for me is to knit a Mystery Sock with complete faith in the designer. I followed every instruction that I could, and in a couple of places figured out much later I'd done it a little bit wrong. But that's okay, too. I learned an Estonian cast on (very pretty) and what Nancy Bush calls a "vikkel braid", which really just means a sideways braid. The back of the calf is knit in ribbing, but not all the way to the ankle. I don't like that, but I'm rolling with the pattern here.

SKA September 2009 - Nancy Bush Mystery Socks
The heels I did end up needing to change and probably could have done more to them. I knit the heel flap about twice as long and thus doubled the gusset as well. I probably needed to do more, but I'm not ripping out to do these again. The Dutch heel is very pretty and easy to make. I might use it again in another sock. It fits well, but I do need it to be a lot deeper to accommodate my high instep.

I slipped up and didn't switch to stockinette two inches before the toes, but I don't think it hurts to have the lace all the way down. That was entirely a "woops" moment and not me tinkering with the aesthetics of the pattern. I simply didn't pull it out to consult while I was knitting and tried to do things from memory.

The yarn has a touch of cashmere in it and the yellow is really lovely. It is so nice to do something like this on faith and have it come out so well. I may even do the mystery sock in November!

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