Posts Tagged ‘Sock’

This is Ravelry Mondays, a weekly event where I pick three-five patterns seen on Ravelry that week, and share them on this blog.  Some weeks will be themed, and there are some rules.

In order for a pattern to qualify it must:

  • Be on Ravelry
  • Be available for download either on Ravelry or from another website – no patterns only available in print or magazines, but it doesn’t have to be free
  • Have at least one photo clearly showing the item as a whole
  • Have at least one photo where the item is not being manipulated, so we can see accurately how it hangs and fits
  • Must have the necessary minimum information on the ravelry page – sizing info where applicable, yardage, yarn weight, etc
  • Clothing items will only qualify if they are available in plus sizes*
  • Only one pattern per designer per week

*And the plus sizes given must have MEASUREMENTS.  Calling the sizes XS-XXXL means nothing if you never tell us what XXXL is.  I’ve seen a 40″ bust called that, before!

Since I missed last week’s Ravelry Monday, due in large part to spending every second of my spare time knitting furiously to finish my gorgeous, luvverly shawl, I’m presenting some extra bits and pieces this time around.  The focus this week is on socks – although I found a few other things that were just too pretty not to share.

I hope I haven’t given the impression, through lack of attention, that I’m not a sock lover.  I do like them.  I just have a history of being bad with socks.  My house is the place where socks go to die.  I don’t think I’ve managed to keep a pair of socks intact for more than a week before one goes missing, and for the last three months I’ve been borrowing my other half’s three remaining pairs when he’s not wearing them.  Because of my terrible sock habits, I’ve been loathe to knit any for myself in spite of the gorgeous patterns out there, simply because I feel they’d be wasted on me.  And I feel bad about spending money on good yarn to make something I know will just disappear before I’ve had a chance to wear it more than twice.

But I do love socks, and have a rather large list of queued sock patterns waiting for me to get better at this stuff.  Maybe I just need to charge in and make some.  Maybe having a pair of socks I made myself, from fancy yarn, will motivate me to take better care of them.

Time Traveller

This is a very cute pair of socks.  I love sock patterns with very thin cables, and the heel looks interesting as well.  These are knit in fingering weight yarn, and have a lovely shape to them.  I’d love it if there was a knee-length option, simply because I love knee-length socks, but the mid-calf length is a good, standard length that’s easy to wear.  As an aside, one thing I love to see in photos of knitting patterns is a range of different sized people wearing them.  I know I talk about that with knit sweaters and the like, but I think it’s especially important for items like socks.  Shop-bought socks can be very uncomfortable if you’ve got chunky calves like I have, but I can see here that the cuff stretches beautifully, so these would no doubt be very comfortable for me.  The pattern is available for download at Ravelry for under £4.

Tiril

Here’s another pretty pattern, where a cabled design is knit wide to create a gorgeous pattern of ferny, leafy things along the sock.  This is another fingering weight pattern but is knit top-down, which is a great way to ensure the cuff is nice and stretchy – binding off can often tighten stitches, which results in a more uncomfortable sock.  The Tiril pattern is also under £4, and is available for download at Ravelry.

Gatlingburg

Now this is a great, gender-neutral sock pattern.  It’s a fingering weight again, with a slightly longer shape to it that would make it great for longer-legged people, and an interesting design of cables.  The pattern is available for under £4 and can be downloaded at Ravelry.

Charlotte

This is something a little dfferent.  A very nice top in DJ weight yarn with a thin striped pattern, and a really attractive shape at the shoulders and neckline.  It’s also available up to a 60″ bust, making it one of the more generous patterns available, and at under £3 is a real bargain.  I really like this one, and it is available for download at Ravelry.]

Aquae Tank

This is another pretty DK-weight top, this time featuring wider stripes knit using a gently variegated yarn that leaves the finished top with a pretty, painted look.  The pattern is simple and easy to modify, and is available up to 60″ again, so is another great pattern.  I especially like the length of it, which sits nice and low on the hips and would look great layered over a thin shirt.  The Aquae top is available for under £4 and can be downloaded at Ravelry.

Sheherezade

It’s possible I have a weakness for beautiful beading on shawls that’s making me biased, but I think this is simply stunning.  A gorgeous, large, lace-weight shawl with a distinct lace pattern and a second, independent pattern worked in the beading itself, and that rough, frilly edge that makes it look so light and cobwebby.  The Sheherezade pattern costs £4, and is available for download at Ravelry.

Can we talk for a moment about the Big Yarn Companies?

Because I love the yarns offered by Rowan.  They’re pretty, feel wonderful and tend to knit up beautifully.

And I love that Rowan offer pattern books designed around specific ranges of yarn.  The patterns are often pretty, and invariably showcase the unique aspects of the yarn very well.

But you’d think that, if anyone could get something as basic as photos of their pattern samples right, it’d be a large company like Rowan.  They’ve had years and years to get the hang of things, but they have a knack for making all the worst possible choices when it comes to how they photograph their samples.

Rowan recently brought out a new set of patterns to go with their “fine art collection” yarn range.  And as pretty as they are, I’m certainly not going to even consider  picking up the patterns until I’ve seen samples made by other knitters.  Here are some notable examples of the reason why:

Are we supposed to be looking at the scarf, the socks or the top?

“Sparrow”, this item is called.  Now, I’m a sucker for patterns named after birds, trees and woodland animals.  The names invite me in straight away.  But tell me, from looking at this picture, do you think we’re supposed to be looking at the socks, the scarf or the top the model is wearing?  Did you guess “socks”?  Congratulations!  Now, what can you tell me about those socks?  They look stripy.  Do they have a textural pattern?  What sort of heel do they have?  What sort of toe?  Is the striping an aspect of the yarn, or is it part of the pattern?  We’re zoomed so far out that I can barely make out anything except the socks are ankle length.

Who cares about seeing the item when the shadows look so pretty?

Here’s another very nice, artsy photo for the “Ibis” pattern.  Socks again, but thigh-high ones this time.  Of course, half the sock is hidden in deep shadow, and the cut of the coat worn by the model is such that we can’t actually make out the cuffs.  Note that between the shadows, the coat and her hands, we can’t see how the cuffs fit – do they pinch her thigh, causing it to bulge?  Are they baggy?  She’s also wearing shoes, so all we can actually see is that, again the socks are stripey.  So, how does this pattern differ from the previous once, except for length?  Do these socks have a textural pattern we can’t see?  Different heel/toe construction?  Is there any reason this is a separate pattern to “sparrow”, or could they have been the same pattern with a variable length option?

Finally, a close-up! Sort of.

At long last, we can actually see the socks!  This is “cuckoo”, a pattern which clearly has… some sort of cabled pattern on the side, and some sort of textural pattern.  This is one of the clearest photos of any item in the range, which should tell you something, really.  The deep shadows obscure the heel of the socks, but we can at least see the cuff and toe, and are close enough to make out some basic aspects of the pattern, although not with any detail.

Socks! No, wait… Scarf!

Before you shout “Socks!  Definitely socks!”, I should tell you that the pattern book does include scarves as well as socks, and that this pattern is called “goose”.  What do you think, is it the scarf?  Hard to tell from this zoomed out, but the colour of the scarf and the pattern of colours looks sort of like the colour of some birds, doesn’t it?  You’re going to guess scarf?  Congratulations, you’re… wrong.  Socks, again.  With the cuff partially hidden by the fringe of one of the two scarves the model is wearing, and the heels obscured by shadow.  And again, so much effort has been spent showing off the model and the setting, that the actual item is a tiny, not-terribly-clear part of the picture.

Socks!

I don’t think I even need to comment on the issues with the photo, at this point.

One thing I’ve learned about buying a pattern is that you do not pay for it unless the photo or photos:

  • Clearly show the item in question
  • Clearly show key design elements of the item, such as lacework, cuffs, construction
  • Do not conceal areas that can be signs of a poor pattern, such as cuffs, collars, seams etc through artsy posing
  • Show the item laid flat or otherwise displayed in a clear, simple way so the full shape and overall appearance can be seen

The simple reason for all of this being, it is very easy to make an otherwise poorly-fitted item look very good indeed if you take an “artsy” photo.  Just take a look in any women’s magazine at the fashion ads and you’ll see models contorted into poses no person would voluntarily, naturally stand in outside of a photoshoot, with the items of clothing pinned where you can’t see for better fit and rumpled, tucked, creased and oddly worn.  The photos look lovely, but you can’t even tell what neckline the item has half the time, let alone where the waist falls, how long the sleeves are or whether it’s a loose or tight fit.  This is all well and good for off-the-rack clothes, when you can walk in-store and actually pick up, view and try on the item in question.  It’s unforgivable when we’re talking about something that you’re going to need to buy the yarn and pattern for and spend hours or days of your precious time knitting.