Saturday, December 26, 2009

Images of Ancient Greece - Part 2

After knitting three of these socks, I finally had a pair to present to my husband on Christmas day. Here are some action shots of his modeling efforts.

They are close to being a matching pair apart from the fact that I was experimenting with "Judy's Magic Cast-on" and as a result the toe on the last sock was a bit longer than that on the first.

I also added 12 stitches after the ankle shaping so that I would have 82 for the stranded portion of the socks. This created extra "black space" up the back of the calf area, so I added in some embellishments to reduce the long floats that needed to be carried across the back.

The entire project took nearly a month (for three socks). I mostly enjoyed the process and learned a lot about sock construction. I also discovered that I really like mosaic knitting (incorporated into this design in the three Greek keys on each sock). I also enjoyed using toe-up construction but have more to learn about how to do it properly.

Overall, the pattern was very well-written and gets big points for creativity. However, there were a couple issues that I had to grapple with that could have been solved within the pattern which, BTW, is an expensive one ($8.00). If you are thinking of knitting up this pattern, keep reading. If not, this part will be pretty boring.

First, as mentioned above, the stranded portion includes some very long float areas. For me this was exacerbated by the fact that I increased by 12 stitches after the ankle-shaping to ensure that the sock could be pulled on over the heel. I think added design elements up the back of the calf would have helped ameliorate this. Speaking of the calf portion of these socks, it is not made clear in the pattern how to position the stranded portion on the leg. It is useful to think about this before beginning that part of the pattern. I chose to center the two faces of the main characters on the shin area. Speaking of the "back of the calf" part of the design -- the chart for this is inexplicably split in half. I am not sure why it was done this way. This caused me untold grief until I got smart and physically cut and pasted the pattern so that I could read across the chart more easily. I also wondered about making the design up the back of the legs in a matching pattern, but didn't think of it until after the socks were completed.

Second, it is important to realize that the stranded portion involves counted stranding. Now I know most people will find this to be patently obvious, but it may be worth emphasizing to someone who is considering knitting this pattern. There is no memorizing of the pattern for stranding -- you have to count every stitch! That being said, it was a lot of fun to watch the figures develop slowly as I knit up the leg of each sock.

My husband was inordinately worried that the socks would slide down, so I added 3/4 " of 2x2 ribbing above the final Greek key portion. As it turned out this was unnecessary and they would have stayed up just fine without it. The mosaic knitting hugs the leg and foot and renders ribbing redundant. This is another great feature of the pattern.

Finally, on the negative side, there are a couple of typos in the pattern. In the Foot section, for the medium/large size, there should be 34 (not 43) stitches on the heel needle. Similarly, in the first half of the Turn Heel section there will be 16 (not 14) stitches left unwrapped in the middle. These are not huge problems as one will immediately recognize the mistakes.

Project Specifications:

Pattern: Theseus and the Minotaur by Gryphon Perkins of Sanguine Gryphon Fiber Arts
Yarn: Bugga! yarn was unavailable so I substituted Malbrigo sock yarn in negro and Zen Garden serenity sock yarn in gold dynasty (absolutely fabulous yarn!)
Needles: US size 1 (2.5 mm) and US size 0 (for the ribbing)
Modifications: increased from 70 to 82 stitches after ankle shaping, used doubled yarn on heel, added 3/4" of 2x2 ribbing at cuff.
Duration: One month - 11/21/09 - 12/23/09

Theseus has slain the Minotaur and this chapter can now be closed.

Kali Nikta!

1 comment:

Gryphon said...

This is a really great review. I'm planning to rework the pattern a bit in accordance with your suggestion (as well as fixing those typos!) Thanks for posting it. Your socks turned out beautifully.