On Friday, July 29, there will be a book signing featuring contributors to the new book Knitting Socks from Around the World. The signing is from 4-6pm at the bookstore in the marketplace, with the participating authors signing in two groups; I am in the 4-5pm group.
My contribution to Knitting Socks From Around the World is a Norwegian inspired knee-high sock. The front of the leg features a very traditional rose/star and net motif, while the back of the calf and the sole of the foot feature a herringbone pattern.
My fondness for herringbone motifs stems in part from an appreciation of the juxtaposition of strong geometric patterns with more organic shapes. But it also comes from the association I have of herringbone and Kristiansund, the Norwegian town my father grew up in. More precisely, it reminds me of the klippfisk (dried salted cod) hanging on the outsides of homes in the fishing districts of the town.
The above photo was taken on the island of Grip (really an archipelago, if you want to be fussy about it) where klippfisk is omnipresent.
But back the stocking...
The greatest challenge in designing knee-high socks is the calf shaping--there is a lot of anatomy happening along the length of the calf: from the ribbed area under the knee, the leg grows considerably wider quite quickly to reach the full calf circumference, then narrows down to something like half the calf circumference for the ankle. Complicating matters is the tremendous variety from one human being to the next regarding their individual calf shape. I have skinny ankles but very developed calf muscles and average length legs, so I need a lot of shaping for a well fitting knee-high. Some people have little change from the full calf to the ankle, but is that because they are twiggy for the entire length of the lower leg, or because they have solid, substantial legs? And are the legs long, short, or average?
Sooo...lots of allowances are needed for fitting each person's unique and individual calf shape. To achieve this end, I worked the increases and decreases at the center back calf in pattern, but also included additional gusset panels on either side of the leg.
I very intentionally kept these areas solid, so it will be easy for knitters to customize the stocking, without having to worry about maintaining any two-color patterning. And I like the visual effect of the solid color gusset--it adds another element to the overall design of the stockings.
One more (important!) detail: there is a typo in the book. Sometimes the mistakes are mine, but I'm clear on this one! An error was made in the production process:
In the leg shaping section, the text should say S2KP2 (not S2K2P).
S2KP2 = slip 2 knit wise, one at a time, k1, pass 2 slipped sts over the k1.
I haven't seen the book yet, but I heard from a knitter who wrote that the explanation of the abbreviation was not included in the book.
It's always good to check for errata before starting a pattern. The process of taking a project from inspiration to publication is a long one, and there are many places along the way where mistakes can happen, despite the best efforts and intentions of all parties involved. I'm working on a post on that very subject...