Time seems to be behaving very strangely under lock-down. It seems to be passing very slowly - nothing much is happening, the days blur into one another. And then I find that it's seven weeks since I last wrote a blog post.
I said in that post that I had nearly finished a pair of socks, and that I would write about them when they were finished. Well, I finished them a few weeks ago. (I can't remember when. It was in April.) Here's the post I said I would write.
To go back to the beginning. When the weather turned cold at the end of last year, I got interested in knitting socks again, purely to keep my feet warm. And I saw on Ravelry the 'Made in Abyss' sock pattern by the Finnish designer Tiina Kuu. I liked the look of them - they have a band of little trees (?) in stranded knitting just above the ankle. (The design is named for a Japanese manga series about a girl and a robot exploring a fearsome Abyss, though I don't know whether the trees have anything to do with the manga.) I hadn't knitted socks with stranded knitting before, and I though I'd like to try it, and the heel construction looked really interesting. (You have to be a really serious knitter to choose a sock pattern for its fascinating heel construction, I think.)
I finished my first pair of Made in Abyss socks in February. They are in Lang Jawoll sock yarn, in Toffee and Light Grey. (Tiina Kuu suggests using five gradient-dyed miniskeins, but I think they look equally good in two solid colours.)
And here's a view of the heel:
The pattern has two options for the heel, one with a gusset at each side of the ankle, and the other with a single gusset at the back. I enjoyed knitting the socks,a nd I liked the end result, so I decided to knit another pair, to try the other heel option.
I made a few other tweaks for the second pair, too. I did the cuff in double rib, because it's stretchier and I prefer that. I changed the rib section below the band of stranded knitting, so that every round is knit 4, purl 1. In the pattern, alternate rounds are all knit, but I wanted to make that part of the socks slightly more stretchy, too. I changed the foot part, so that the rib pattern is continued all the way to the toe, because I preferred the look of that. And finally, I did a spiral toe instead of a conventional toe with a grafted end because I hate grafting. I did graft the toes on the first pair of socks, but I didn't make a very good job of it. Really, I much prefer knitting socks toe-up, and it's partly to avoid grafting.
So here's my second pair of Made in Abyss socks.
The colours are the same Light Grey as before, with Charcoal. I do prefer these to the first pair, just because of the changes I made to suit me, but I like both pairs a lot.
The Lang Jawoll is very nice wool - good to knit with, and it comes in a huge range of colours. However, each ball has a spool of matching reinforcing thread in the middle. The idea is that you can knit the heel and toe of your socks using the wool and the reinforcing thread together, so that the socks will last longer. This is supposed to be a bonus. I have tried using the reinforcing thread in an earlier pair of socks, though I decided that it's unnecessary and fiddly. But even if you want to use it, I don't think you need as much as one spool for a pair of socks, and you get two. (A pair of socks takes two balls of Jawoll, and so you get two spools of reinforcing thread.) It's wasteful, and the thread is wound onto a plastic bobbin - even if you have a use for all the thread, you're left with waste plastic. Regretfully, I shan't be buying Jawoll again, for that reason.