Saturday, December 08, 2007

I don't like ol' Sneaky Snake

I'm convinced that Elizabeth Zimmerman's Moccasin Socks are named more for the poisonous reptile than for the shoe. Never has so promising a pattern been so disappointing for me.

Knitting the cuff was a pure pleasure, if a quick one. I loved the Lorna's Laces yarn, and began to see the benefits of worsted weight socks - I'd made serious progress on my first sock in no time at all. But then I had to knit most of it twice - because it's hard to measure how long the instep portion of the foot should be. You can't just put it on and check the fit, and the "as long as you want it" measurements aren't much help. So after finishing one sock, I had to rip the whole sole out and re-do the foot to lengthen it. It needs to be longer than you think, since the toe wraps around the bottom of your foot - for my 9.25" long foot, I have nearly 8" of instep before beginning the toe shaping (this includes about an inch of plain stockinette knitting).

The length was the easy problem - once figured out, it's easily avoided. Not so with the HOLES. Holes are the bane of this sock's existence. Holes transform it from a fun and easy pattern to a never-again nightmare. Look at all the holes:

There are holes along the foot from picking up the stitches along the instep. I tried every trick for avoiding holes, and none worked. If I had it to do over I wouldn't slip the first stitch of each row, and the I'd pick up the stitches 2 at a time and knit them together. That's the only other thing I can think of to try - and it means ignoring all the "slip the first stitch" advice in the instructions.

The there are more holes around the heel, no doubt a consequence of the heel shaping. They're worse on one side than on the other. I can't think of any sort of workaround for these.

Holes, holes, holes. I hate holes in my socks. The whole purpose of this design is so that you can easily fix the socks if they get holey - but what's the point if it starts out full of holes?

So I sat down with a darning needle and some extra yarn, and went all around both soles, fixing all the holes. That sort of removes the socks' main benefit, since now it will be much more difficult to remove and replace the soles if they become worn. But it's better than having holey socks.

They look kind of funny on their own....

but are much more normal when worn. I still don't know if I like them. They feel kind of funny, since the drawn-up heel makes the sock feel like it's slipping off my foot. So far they seem to have stayed in place, and they're reasonably warm. I don't know how well they work with shoes, but I'm a bit worried that the weird sole construction could lead to blisters.

What I do know is that the leftover yarn isn't going to become another pair. So if I ever want to knit Christmas presents for everyone I know, I'm going to have to come up with another project.



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