I am not sure how I feel about my latest pair of socks.
For one thing, they’re 100% merino. I knew going in that a “sock yarn” that is pure wool (especially pure merino) isn’t necessarily a good yarn to make a pair of socks with. I loved the color and the softness of the hank, though, and it had just enough yardage to make me a decent (ie, “will stay up of their own volition, rather than clinging to my heels for dear life”) pair of ankle socks, so I figured why not. I had seen advice on Ravelry that it was a good idea to carry along a strengthening fiber when knitting the heels and toes, and that a laceweight mohair blend was a good choice because it would felt pretty much as one walked, forming a protective layer. Because it would felt so easily, it could be cut so as to not have to carry it around the instep side.
And felt easily it does. There’s a nice, fluffy, fuzzy halo to the socks, just from handling them as I knit. I would be eager to see how it performs over a night at work, when they’ll be exposed to the heat and moisture of my feet for a 12-hour stretch.
But after about five minutes of wearing them just to sit around my living room, I realized that I’d probably never be able to wear them to work. The merino and the mohair combined to create a warmth my feet have never experienced outside of a hot shower or a heating pad. They’d be perfect in the wintertime. Meanwhile, spring just decided to show its stupid face, finally. So that’s probably out.
Which is kind of a shame, because the whole point of adding the mohair blend was to give the socks extra strength for everyday wear. How am I suppose to gauge wear if I can only wear them on the coldest of days? (And even then, probably not inside shoes.) However, I do suppose that means a pair of mohair-added socks would be a great gift for my mother, whose feet are always cold.
I’m also not really crazy about the color.
As is usually the story, I loved the colors in the hank. But once they knit up, the blues clashed and jarred rather than flowing . And the color repeats were so short that it didn’t even stripe. It pooled in an interesting pattern on the heel flaps, but the rest of the sock, it did nothing but distract from the lace. And at this point, I know better than to choose a yarn that draws the focus away from the pattern.
This is a problem with a bit easier of a fix: I can dye the socks, and probably as blue as I can to bring the shades a little closer together. It will also help disguise the color difference between the sock yarn and the reinforcing yarn. I honestly should have dyed the Kid Seta beforehand, but I wasn’t sure how much I’d need, and it’s such a light color that it’d be easy to dye to match other colors of yarn. Also, with that yarn being as fine as it is, it’d be incredibly easy to felt just dyeing it on its own. I didn’t want to push my luck.
It’s not all gloom and doom, though. Other than the color of the yarn and the excessive warmth of the fabric, I really like how they turned out. I love that I was able to do a top-down pair of socks and wind up with only a yard or three left of the main yarn. One of the reasons I’m so fond of toe-ups is that I can push it to the very limit, if I need to (and there have been times that I’ve had to undo a half-finished bind-off just so I’d have enough yarn to complete it).
I really like the Strong heel. Structurally, it’s no different from the Fleegle, but the technique is a little different: with the latter, you’re generally just shooting for a certain number of stitches (usually two less on the heel side than the total number of stitches around the sock, but mine require more, and I haven’t arrived at a perfect number yet to fit my feet). With a Strong heel, you start your gusset increases wherever you want your heel to start, and you stop them whenever the heel is long enough for your liking. I forget how many heel stitches I had on this pair before I started the decreases, but I’m sure it was much more than I’d have had if I were doing a Fleegle toe-up. Come to think of it, given the issues I have with my toe-up/Fleegle striped socks (those bitches are a tight pull over the heel, although they fit great once they’re on), that is a number I probably should have made a note of.
Another thing about the Strong that makes me love it, is that it requires no picked-up stitches. I don’t mind picking up, but I seem to always wind up with way more pick ups than the pattern calls for, I always get corner holes no matter how many I add to the corners, and if I’m trying to do two at a time socks, the alignment of the sock gets all messed up. I’ve not yet figured out how to do this without taking one sock off the needles, doing my increases individually, and then re-pairing them once I’ve decreased away all my extra stitches.
Best of all, though, is that it lets me preserve the overall leg pattern all the way down the heel. Even with a Fleegle, you can pull the pattern up the heel and leg, but it’s never the full pattern (it expands out from the center) and requires some charting and math. It’s much easier to do with a Strong, plus it doesn’t give you that V effect up the back of it.
So I guess I’m revising my position on the heel flap. I thought I was adamantly against them, not only for the difficulty in pickups, the additional purling, and the generally out-of-place appearance of the slip-stitch pattern