Daily Archives: March 22, 2010

Argyle is the Watchword

I’m beyond thrilled to finally show you my latest pattern design, one which has been in the works for quite a while. Earlier versions of this sock appeared over two years ago, but in the New Year I made myself go back to it and after working away steadily on the new samples for weeks and weeks, finally I get to show it off at long last! I present the Neptune High socks. This mini-argyle sock pattern is now available through my Ravelry store as well as through Patternfish, and comes with instructions for both a knee-high version and a ‘regular’ length, shorter version. (Sale price in both locations is $6.00) Any hard-copy availability will be announced as soon as it is available, but for the moment this is an online download only.

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So, at the very least, this is an argyle sock pattern. I’d started this a while back and then, what with finishing my PhD dissertation, and teaching courses, and working on other designs, it got pushed to the wayside. And I sort of figured that in the mean time, someone else would have done a pattern very much like this and picked up the ball where I dropped it. But as far as I can tell no one has, so I marshalled my powers of stick-to-it-iveness and went back to it, and now you too can follow these instructions and take your colour-work skills and sock-knitting skills and make yourself a badass pair of argyle socks in whatever colour combination you want.

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More than just an argyle sock pattern, though, this pattern takes inspiration from another early 21st Century cult television classic, Veronica Mars. Veronica was pretty kickass. I sort of feel like if I’d had even a fragment of her perseverance and awesomeness when I was in highschool – or, let’s face it, even now – I’d be doing pretty damned well. She stuck up for herself and did it with a sense of style, no less.

When this show aired a few years back, it was around the time when argyle was starting to come back in popular fashion, and it cropped up a few times in Veronica’s wardrobe. Or if not argyle print, then other hip-but-still-sort-of-preppy outfits that always blended bright colours like pink and green with the more neutral tones, and it really really worked.

It’s this very colour inspiration that brought me to the samples you see here – bright and modern colours applied to a highly traditional and classic design.

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With the Neptune High socks, you are essentially getting two-patterns-in-one. The instructions come in two variations – one is a knee-high version, complete with my tips on how to achieve best fit for knee-high fit and shaping (I include pattern instructions for shaping but everyone’s leg is likely to be a bit different, so it’s good to know when to try on and where to measure your leg and so forth). This version includes sizing for an upper calf circumference of between 13 and 17 inches, and foot/ankle circumference of between 8 and 10 ins in circumference. Shaping instructions are included for decreasing on either side of the back of the leg. For best fit, measure your own leg and foot and modify the pattern guidelines if you believe you would achieve a better fit by doing so.

The second version is a shorter version which is a more typical length for a regular sock, a little more practical for everyday wear, or perhaps a better option for knitters inclined to dive in a little more gradually. The shorter version also includes a small amount of shaping to accommodate a comfortable fit. Again, the pattern provides guidelines for foot/ankle sizing between 8 and 10 ins in circumference. (As an FYI, both samples shown here are size Medium, for a foot/ankle circumference of 9 ins and upper calf circumference of 15 ins).

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The argyle stitch pattern is charted, and stitch gauge over this stranded colour-work pattern is 9 sts per inch. For me, I tend to achieve this gauge using about the same as, or possibly 1 size smaller, than what I would use to achieve 8 sts per inch in plain stockinette. For best results, please knit a gauge swatch first (in the round is preferable), check your gauge often as you knit, and adjust your needle size if necessary.

This is, needless to say, a moderately advanced pattern. You need some comfort level with colour-work, sock construction, and working from a chart. However, I will say that having knit this a few times myself, after a while the argyle pattern sort of burns itself into your brain and you just keep on knitting a little more easily with every repeat. This pattern will offer you a bit of challenge, but will absolutely be worth it in the end.

The overall sock construction is a straight-up cuff-down, flap-heel sock. The cuff, heel flap, and toe are all worked in a single colour (the Main Colour), which means you need a bit more yardage in the MC than for the Contrast Colour. (Yardage guidelines are included). As with my past sock patterns, I offer guidelines for both Double-Pointed Needles (DPNs) as well as Magic Loop. (I used Magic Loop to execute these – incidentally I tend to prefer ML for colour-work).

Buy on Patternfish.
Buy now on Ravelry.

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As for yarns, the samples here are worked in Van Der Rock Yarns merino sock (promethium/bismuth, in the shorter version), and Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight (royal flush/stormy, in the knee-high version). A variety of moderate-to-light fingering weight yarns would be appropriate, essentially anything that gets you a colour-work gauge of 9 sts/inch. If you’re concerned about stability for the single-colour heel flap, choose something wtih a bit of nylon blended in for the Main Colour.

The first time I drafted a copy of this pattern I sent copies to Lisa, Chante, and Clare/Clarabelle for test-knitting and for their original feedback I am still extremely grateful. On the second go-around this time, I sent the pattern to Melanie, my local friend Diana (who also took the lovely photos you see here), as well as the fantabulous Steph of Van Der Rock Yarns (whose yarn appears in the green/pale pink sample here). Thank you so much, ladies, for all your test-knitting efforts.

For those of you who snag this pattern, I hope very much that you’ll enjoy knitting it. As always, if you have questions or discover any pattern errors, please feel free to contact me at crazy.knitting.lady[at]gmail[dot]com and I’ll do my absolute best to work through it with you.

Now go out there and knit yourself some badass socks – argyle or whatever you please.

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Filed under design, knee socks, socks