Today I attended a six hour sock class taught by Cookie A., hosted by Nature’s Yarns in Fairfax. It was a lot of fun! It was half lecture and half working on our socks, first finding a stitch pattern, converting it to be in the round if necessary, charting it out, and figuring out how to apply that pattern to something that’s roughly the size and shape of a sock.
Cookie talked about a lot of the little details that make a good sock into a great sock, like how to adjust when some pattern stitches (like cables) take up more yarn than others (like ribbing or lace), where to hide increases, how to decide which stitches go on the top of the foot and how to deal when your chosen stitch pattern doesn’t neatly fit anything you want to do.
I had swatched the yarn for this sock on size 1 needles, and was getting nine stitches to the inch. After some poking and prodding and hrrm’ing, I decided that the stitch pattern and the yarn both would benefit if I went down to size 0… but my only set of size 0 DPNs was already occupied, so I bought an emergency set in bamboo. Sixteen rounds later, I feel like I made a good choice (and that the socks I make will actually fit me).
What I really found fascinating was how much of the lecture portion of the class seemed to be permission to play around with stitch patterns, to make adjustments, to change and work and fudge things until they’re really yours and really right. I have a tendency to follow patterns fairly closely, and I know some other knitters who do too. I wonder how many people walked away from today feeling a sense of freedom that it’s okay, they *can* change whatever they like.
P.S. I bought a copy of the Rhiannon pattern and Cookie signed it for me!