Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Barking Mad Socks

As part of my current knitting craze, I decided I would learn to knit some socks and have been browsing Ravelry, queueing up likely contenders.  I've been adding all sorts of patterns to my queue; there are over 350 on there now. I wondered if I was being excessive, but by the looks of others' profiles, it seems quite usual to have a few hundred patterns queued, and I've just seen someone with a couple of thousand patterns in their queue! So, quite normal, not mad at all.

There was also a sale on some Drops sock yarns in February, so I have ordered some to play with. When I went to buy the needles to let me get on with the Vite cowl, I saw a Woolcraft sock yarn in shades of milk and dark chocolate brown, which made me think of wet tree bark (and chocolate). I bought a ball to be going on with.  I had been reading a few sock patterns and could not get my head around the instructions for the heel and gusset, so I thought perhaps I should just have a go and see how it works.

As I was reading through patterns, I was a bit concerned by the sizing.  Okay, you can make the foot longer by knitting more rows, simple, but what if you have wide ankles and feet?  You could go up a needle size, or even a yarn size, but how can you then calculate if you'll have enough yarn? (It must be possible, I just have to add that to the list of things I need to learn!)

I came across some nice, wide-looking socks with a lace texture pattern which could have been fern (knitted in green, as they were) or bark. Ah, slight glitch; the pattern is only available in Finnish, a language renowned for its difficulty, and not one I've ever tackled.

Well, (I thought) it's not so much of a problem now that we have Google Translate, is it?  It's always easier to translate into your own language. So I'll translate it.

Sometimes I wonder about myself. Seriously. I've never made a pair of socks and now I think it's a good idea to try a pair with a lace pattern in Finnish? Completely, certifiably, barking mad!

Google Translate isn't a bad tool, but it doesn't always result in a reliable, ready-to-use translation.  So far, I've caught it translating cm as inches in one place, and there's a bit of a difference between 6 cm and 6 inches! It evidently recognised a knitting context, managing correctly to translate the abbreviations for stitches and rows, but translating the unabbreviated word for rows as 'layers' instead and not managing to translate purl. There are syntax errors. I see Google Translate also now offers a sort of thesaurus of synonyms and alternative translations, and the opportunity for the user to select one to improve the translation, but I can't find a way to type in what it should be if it gets it completely wrong. There are a couple of sections in the pattern where the translation is evidently not at all correct, and doesn't even give me a clue. Given where they come in the pattern, it probably relates to the short rows for turning the heel and the gusset. I reckon I should be able to find my way through it by using some other patterns and YouTube for comparison.

Now I've started, I have to finish, just to prove to myself that I can. I'll post a picture of the finished Finnish socks and the pattern translation when I've worked it all out!

No comments: