Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Work-in-Progress Wednesday



This week I'm concentrating on my second Shark Week Sock. It's an unusual pattern - sock two is an entirely different pattern than sock one. Sock one showed a shark swallowing a leg from the bottom up; that is, the shark's jaws were encircling the calf and the tail was at the wearer's toes. For sock two, the tail is at the calf, and a victim foot emerges from the jaws that encircle the instep... which necessitates about 75 yards of flesh-coloured yarn.

Rather than purchase another skein of sock yarn to complete these sock - goodness knows with two skeins already and a pricey pattern I've already spent enough - I decided to dye my own. A couple of months ago I took a short course in dyeing yarns with Kool-Aid and Wilton Icing colours, and figured I could come up with something workable. And then someone suggested I use tea. Of course, tea! That was easy enough, cost me almost nothing and yielded a very suitable colour.

Using the niddy noddy Gavin made me from these instructions, I wound off about 80 yards of the white sock yarn, tied off my mini-skein, dampened it and then steeped it in strong tea for about 15 minutes. It dried a little lighter than planned, but it's still a good colour; probably better than I would have found at my LYS and definitely more economical.

The second sock starts with a provisional crochet cast - the tail and flukes are added later by working back and forth on two needles on either side of the leg. After knitting a few inches of leg, I'm working shadow-wrapped short rows (using the tutorial found here) to shape the gap for the underbelly, with increases to add ease at the instep. At the same time I'm working three columns of purl stitches; each forms the base for a dorsal or pectoral fin to be added later. Did I mention that there's a lot going on with this sock?

By far this is the most challenging sock pattern I've ever knit. The construction is extremely unusual, perhaps because the designer has approached the sock design in an entirely different way than most. Most sock designs follow a common formula, but here the designer seems to have drawn a concept sock and then figured out how to create it. Designer Lisa Grossman must have awesome knitting skills, because, with this pattern, we're doing things I didn't even know were possible. I'm learning new techniques at every turn. Definitely not TV knitting!

Wow, thanks for reading this far! To see what lots of other people are knitting and crafting, have a peak through the links at Tami's Amis ... after all, it IS work-in-progress Wednesday!

18 comments:

Maria said...

Sounds fascinating! I can't wait to see the finished pair! :D

Chrisknits said...

I can't even imagine the hoops you are jumping through to make that sock. But can't wait to see your finished pair.

Carrie Duvall said...

KEEP ON KNITTING!
I really like the yarn, I cant wait to see how it will finish up.
Always a fun morning on WIP when I can peek in and see what everyone is up to.

With All That I Am
Carrie - The Handmade Homemaker

steph said...

those socks are to total HOOT!!! how funny!! I've got a little boy (grandson) who would probably love them...although I doubt I'll take the chance with the steep $$$ pattern! Love your 'leg' solution. PErfect!

Elisabeth Andree said...

The most challenging sock pattern ever... I believe you! But I almost can't wait to see both socks, they must be fab! I admire your skills anyway

By the way, did I ever thank you for your lovely comments on my blog? Here it is: thank you, love to read them:)

Wanderingcatstudio said...

Love the tea dye! Very smart!

If postage wasn't so darn expensive, I'd say send the yarn my way and I'd dye for free - but the postage alone would probably cost almost as much as a whole skein!

bookworm-Mary said...

Wow!! These socks sound super interesting and I admire your abilities and perseverance-- including dyeing your own yarn for it!!! I can't wait to see the FO!

mysparemoments.com said...

Oh wow, love the dying the yarn ! The more I see of this the more I want to try it, I'm going to have to look into it. The shark socks sound so interesting, although I don't think I'm quite up to tackling something like them, no doubt my boys would love socks like them though lol.

Kepanie said...

It's always fascinating to see how a designer's mind works. Those shark socks are really exceptional.
When you dye with Kool Aid or Wilton, do the dyes stay set?

Evelyn Hender said...

what an awesome pattern! Can't wait to see the finished set

Sam I Am...... said...

Amazing that you can knit that well and more amazing that someone can design that well! I should have looked at the picture of the socks first before reading your post! LOL!
BTW...thank you SO MUCH for explaining the chart reading protocol! No wonder I was getting no place fast...I was going right to left on every row...DUH! I decided to write out the pattern from the chart first and that has helped loads and it's actually coming together now and looking quite "ducky" I must say!

Natasja de Jong said...

Dying yarn with tea... Yeah, why not ;)
Curious to see how it will knit up...

Carol said...

That shark pattern is a riot! So clever! Can't wait to see how your socks turn out. Good luck!

Heather said...

I love the shark socks - been wanting to make a pair myself! I can't wait to see yours finished - brilliant idea using tea to get flesh colored yarn!

sustainablemum said...

What an amazing pattern. Hope the yarn comes out to be the right shade. Looking forward to seeing the finished socks!

Christina - a Babys Smile Knits said...

I love this pattern. Cannot wait to see how thy turn out.

Stephanie Stoll said...

Those socks are so cool! My niece saw them and told me she wants a pair. Maybe someday! :)

Alittlebitsheepish said...

The dyeing was a great idea, the colour looks just right. I am enjoying hearing about your progress with these, it is a great pattern