Saturday, November 10, 2007

pattern slaves

As we have so many people all concentrating on knitting socks, I thought I would ask this: who follows a pattern exactly?

I used to when I started knitting socks and quite understand the need to do as told. However, I've been knitting socks for several years now and rarely follow a pattern eactly. I often use something entirely out of my head and find a stitch in a stitch dictionary. Usually I change something in any pattern.

Now this may be because of personal preference as to fit. My feet like short row socks and although I love the pretty row of picked up stitches on a heel flap and the following decreases for the gusset, I almost always do a short row heel. I'll do different ribbing, or a picot, or a rolled top Change the toe.

I've never done a mans sock but have a close friend who has a birthday soon. I decided to make him some thick socks. I know he wears Holeproof Explorers, so figured 8 ply Bendigo would suit and would give my fingers a change from 3 ply. I found my very old copy of Patons Winter Warmers and set off. Yikes! All that ribbing. I did it. I was sailing down the leg when I re-read the pattern. Ooops, there is shaping at the back of the calf. I'd decided I would actually do as this pattern says, so I did the shaping. Such a long leg to knit. 30 cm. I'm sure it's longer than men's commercial socks.

I made myself do the heel flap. although I did do eye of partridge instead of plain stocking stitch. Having made one alteration, I felt free to do another. Heel was on 28 stitches but pattern said do only 21 rows of flap. That looked far too short, so I lengthened it. I'm now doing the gusset decreases and found no mention of ssk. Just knit 2 together and the other slant was knit one, slip one, pass the slipped stitch over. So that's what I'm doing with a border of two stitches before the decrease.

It's been interesting doing this pattern, but even here I've made alterations.

So what do others do?

My blog.


amy said...

I made one pair of socks following a pattern, and then promptly made up my own for the next pair. Since then I don't know that I've done any sock pattern straight through without at least changing something, but then, that's how I approach all my knitting. I'm the boss of it, as EZ so wisely advised us all to be.

Rose Red said...

I made my first pair of socks following the pattern exactly, but from then on I pretty much change something on each pattern. Maybe the stitch count, or the shaping, or the heel, or the toe. I haven't made up my own lace pattern for socks, but have made up some basic patterns.

Kate (Kiss My Frog) said...

Usually, I make everything toe-up. I like a short-row toe with a provisional cast-on, and a reverse gusseted heel. Then I'll just take the stitch chart from a pattern I like and voila!
The last pair of socks I made exactly according to directions was the Reptilian Lace socks (from Knitty) that I made for my Sockapalooza pal in June/July this year. But they were beaded, and I didn't want to screw around with the formula in case I ended up putting beads up my nose or something....
No, wait - I did change them a tiny bit! I used an Eye of Partridge heel flap instead of a standard slip-stitch heel. So there you go! That means that I have only made one pair of socks exactly according to the recipe, which were Nancy Bush's Latvian Socks from her book Folk Socks, back in January, and the gods of knitting made them disappear in the mail en route to my MIL for Mother's Day.
Do you think maybe that was a sign or something?

amy said...

oh, how terrible, Kate! They got lost?!?! That's a fear of mine, every time I put something hand-knit into the mail system. Insurance is useless, it's priceless stuff! Stupid postal system. I'm anguished on your behalf, waaaay after the fact, even.

Melinda said...

So far I have used basic sock patterns and then added a cable or rib from a stitch dictionary - more fun!

Darrow said...

I'll sometimes follow a pattern - if I really like it and it's how I would have done it, or if there are limited opportunities to tweak it, or if I just don't quite get it and need to do it to understand.
My favourite summer socks I made up completely without a pattern (Tofutsies yarn, in a sort of fishnetty mesh) and was very pleased with how things turned out. An example of a pattern I tweaked was a pair of Pomatomus (or as I like to call 'em, Potato Mouse) socks where I worked every 2nd round of st st tbl, to continue the look. They turned out a little twisted :/ but I can live with that

Jenn said...

I totally understand...I'm always changing the pattern to suit the picture in my head...I think that's part of the reason I love knitting and crafting from scratch so much...I'm very petite and unless I knit or sew it for myself - it is questionable whether it will fit or it is great to be able to make gifts that are one of a kind too :)