Saturday, 23 August 2014

Estonian Crossroad Socks

I’ve become a little obsessed with sock making and wanted to know more about the traditional techniques, so having seen Nancy Bush’s Folk Socks recommended in a couple of places, I treated myself to a copy. Leafing through, I immediately liked the 'Estonian Crossroad' socks and had to start them. Even though they were another pair of top down, heel flap (I keep telling myself that my next pair are going to be toe-up, but I haven’t got there yet!) I’ve learnt a new cast on, three new stitch patterns and had the heel I worked on my previous sock project, the Seven Colour Socks, confirmed as a square or Dutch heel.

I bought some Texere Jura 4 ply (although I see it's listed as 5ply/Sport weight on Ravelry) 90% wool/10% nylon to add to my sock yarns stash. The 'Pistachio' colour felt a little crisp, rough and hard under my fingers (and feet) and I’m wondering whether it will soften a little once it’s washed. I also bought the 'Leather' colour, and it almost looks like a different yarn, much softer. I should remember to look for yarn reviews on Ravelry, although there isn't much about Jura.  A couple of people noted that their yarns were crisp and one commented that it shrinks, so I think I had better wash these socks by hand.

The book contains instructions for a long tail cast on, but no instructions on how to calculate, or estimate, how long a tail you need for the number of stitches! Thinking about it, I reasoned that perhaps if I wrapped the yarn around the needle the same number of times as the number of stitches to be cast on, plus a couple of inches, I should have enough. On the first sock, I only just had enough yarn to finish casting on. On the second, I overcompensated and had about 20 cm spare. I'm sure there's a way to work this out, so will have to do some research. In the meantime, I gnash my teeth at authors and editors who don't realise that the instruction to 'leave a long enough tail' begs the question 'how long is long enough?'

Temporarily forgetting a previous pair of socks where I found that 66 stitches on my preferred 2.75 mm dpns was about my minimum, I cast on 64 sts, 16 on two needles and 32 on a third (for the instep, as it's easier to do the pattern all on one needle), rather than the 56 stitches as written. The chevron stitch leg is just about stretchy enough, but a bit snug across the front of my ankle. I really hope these socks don't shrink!

The extra 8 stitches were worked as extra knit stitches into the chevron pattern so that the pattern repeat became:
P1 slip 1 K1 psso K5 yo K1 yo K5 K2 tog

When it came to the cable and cross pattern down the instep, the extra 4 stitches on the instep needle were worked in as an extra K2 at the start and end of each chart row.

As I had done a 10 stitch square heel on the seven colour socks, I did the same for this, although the original pattern is fewer, and of course in 4 ply yarn it comes up narrower than in DK.  With 32 sts on the heel needles, the 10 stitch heel is roughly a third of the starting stitches, but in 4 ply, I felt I could do with a wider heel and will have to remember this if I do another square heel.

To get the foot length, I did an extra 10 rounds of stocking stitch ( a total of 70 rounds when counting from the start of the instep pattern). The extra stitches meant an extra row or two of the 'star' toe decreases, as I started with a repeat of K6 K2tog (instead of K5 K2tog as in the pattern). This time I gave in and did a gathered toe as suggested, and was pleasantly surprised at the result.

I used 76g of the 100g cone. I don't think my photo does them justice - they're much prettier in (on?) person!

No comments: