Saturday, 31 May 2014

My first pair of socks!!

I finished my first pair of socks!  I'm hugely pleased with myself, even if they ARE full of mistakes!  

My first socks!

Once I'd finished, I read through a pattern of "normal" socks for DPNs and could actually make sense of it! The pattern for straight needles isn't that much different, then. I DO like the seam, which is very inventive and attractive and also VERY easy to do - also very quick. I was so impressed with it, I might use it as a feature the next time I knit a raglan-sleeved jersey. I was also surprised at how easy it was to "turn a heel" and knit a "gusset" (though to be honest, sitting here without the pattern, I can't actually remember what the gusset is!) The errors I made had nothing to do with the pattern.  I struggled to pick up stitches along the heel flap (oh, right, THAT's the gusset!).  As you can see in the picture below, I ended up with a horrible hole that I'm going to have to go back and mend somehow.  I also never had the right number of stitches on my needles - I really I can't work out why! Did I forget to decrease?  Usually I'm quite careful with these things! But it's all a matter of practice, small things I'm confident I'll get right over time.

As for the errors in the book, Knit Your Socks On Straight, there are still a few issues. It transpired there was no error for the heel flap, but the instructions aren't very clear, specially for the first basic sock, when the knitter is panicking slightly and needs to be lead carefully through the rapids. I can forgive a printing error but not one of the author's making - the star toe is NOT right. This point has been raised by other reviewers as well.  I might go back and give my review another star, though;  after all, it did give me confidence to actually knit a sock (or two)!  

For this pattern, I used Sirdar Escape DK which appears to be mostly discontinued, much to my disappointment as I really liked the colours and it's lovely to knit with. I've recently finished a jersey for my daughter (just as winter vanishes for another six months....) and have plenty more:  I bought a huge stash to play with!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Book Review: Knit your socks on straight

Just posted to Amazon:

I've always wanted to knit socks but dislike knitting with four (or five) needles.  This book seemed to be an ideal solution - I was so delighted with its discovery that I gave it to myself for Christmas.  It's beautifully laid out with very clear pictures and some interesting socks to knit.  The seam is also very cleverly incorporated into the design.  However, there are far too many print errors for this book to have much value.  The first pattern I attempted was the basic sock and the errors in the pattern are glaring.  I'm beginning to lose confidence with the rest of the book - so far I've managed to work out (through trial and error) what I'm supposed to do, but what if I come across a pattern that isn't so easy to work out, one that is too difficult for me to decipher?  Pattern books need to be thoroughly edited and checked, by the author as well as the editors and publishers.  Every pattern needs to be tested to ensure that there are no errors.  I will certainly not be buying anything by Alice Curtis again.

Here's the link for the review:  

You should know that I was REALLY excited when I found this book.  It seemed to have been written just for me - I hate knitting with DPNs but I really wanted to have a go at knitting socks.  They seemed such a popular thing to knit:  every knitting magazine has a pattern, no matter the time of year.  Having spent most of this year so far doggedly knitting my way through several jumpers for my daughter (and a few hats), I thought I should try my hand at something else - and remembered my Christmas present to myself.  It's really very clever the way the seam is incorporated into the pattern and it seemed quite manageable.  I began with the basic sock, as I mentioned in my review, and right away there were several problems.  For a start, the book is written for American knitters, which is fine, but a page of conversions would have been nice (it means I have to have my Knitting Bible with me at all times to translate.)  This is a minor point.  Slightly more annoying was that the first instruction was to knit the rib.  The first two rows of the rib, however, are not the same, and instructions are NOT given for the second row.  One is apparently supposed to work this out by inference.  Well, fine.  I'm a good enough knitter to work out that my second attempt at really bad moss stitch meant there was something wrong and I could work out why.

However, the first really bad mistake is gross negligence:  one is told to knit 13 rows, from row 16 - 18.  HUH?  So which is correct?  Three rows or thirteen?  Well, fine - once again, this can be worked out.  It's obviously a typo.  One can see from the photo that it's meant to be 13 rows, so it should read row 16 - 28.

The next error (all discovered in the first evening, by the way) was an instruction to knit the heel flap in stocking stitch when the photo CLEARLY showed it knit in rib.

These are simple errors that can be worked out - but what if there are bigger errors?  I'm not the world's best knitter.  I need a pattern to tell me what to do.  If it's something really complex, how will I know how to work it out?  How will I know if it's MY mistake or the stupid book?  Other reviews also mention errors in the book.  I wonder if it's worth writing to Alice Curtis.  I'd love to know what other knitters think about this.....