Friday, August 2, 2013

Finished Object Friday




Pattern: Shark Week by Lisa Grossman (Tsarina of Tsocks), size Large

Yarn: Cascade Heritage in Snow and Grey Colourways
The flesh colour was created by tea-dyeing 80 yds of Snow

Needle Size: US 0 (2 mm)

Modifications: I went down a needle size because my yarn was quite thin, so I knit the large size and came out about a woman's size 7. After including the optional nostrils on sock one,  omitted them on the second sock as they made the snout flimsier without really adding any impact. Also, I chose to add the gills with embroidery after finishing the socks rather than working them inline with lateral stitches. Similarly I added the nail polish to the victims foot on the completed sock with duplicate stitching rather than working it inline with festive intarsia. The teeth as written are to be worked as twisted-point picot bind offs, but I struck out on trying to find instructions for that, so I worked them as plain old picot bind-offs. My sock two came out longer than sock one - presumably I mis-measured the shark's body - so I ripped back and shortened the victim foot area.

Comments: When the pattern came out, it pretty quickly went viral on FB, Twitter and Pinterest. A surfer from the local surf shop posted them on my wall with the comment "You gotta knit these!". I didn't really consider it at first - the pattern was exclusive to sock club members so there was no chance. But then came Hurricane Sandy. As it turns out, designer Lisa Grossman was in the path of the hurricane and decided to offer the Shark Week pattern for a limited time to raise funds for Hurricane Relief. That's a really cool pattern and a really great cause, so yup, count me in!

Hands down, this is the hardest sock pattern I've ever attempted. The socks use quite a range of techniques - a provisional cast on, a turkish cast on, shadow-wrapped short row shaping, and so on. And take my word for it, you'd better be proficient at reading your knitting and ripping out as well! It's a brilliant pattern - really, I think Lisa Grossman must be one of the awesomest, crazy skilled knitters ever - but it's a big challenge for a knitter like me. Sock one is knitted toe up and sock two is knitted cuff down. What really makes it confusing is the sock is almost entirely knit inside out so that the bumpy purl side of the sharkskin pattern forms the right side, and at any given time you are juggling several instructions at once - increasing or decreasing while keeping the pattern aligned, short row shaping, working fin bases ... YIKES!

Here's some perspective: the designer sold the pattern for $40 in November 2012 as a fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy relief and raised over $23,000. That means that at least 575 knitters purchased the pattern in addition to those who got the pattern as members of the designer's sock club. If you look on Ravelry there are only eight finished projects for this pattern ... and two of them are knit by the same person so I'm only the SEVENTH person in the whole world to finish them even though the pattern's been out for 8-9 months. This first pair took me three months from start to finish, although through much of that time the socks sat in time-out because I was frustrated or because I just couldn't give them my full, undivided attention.

But now this first pair is done and I couldn't be happier with them! They are actually well-fitting, comfortable, very wearable socks. Sorry about the grainy photos - my friend modelled them in a rather dark pub and I took the photos with my phone :) I've promised a second pair to a friend who is a school teacher and an avid scuba diver and after that I'm not sure. There's a long line of folks who've let me know they'd like a pair ...

It's Friday, the start of a long weekend here in Ontario, so you know the drill! Hurry over to Tami's Amis to see what everyone else is sharing on this Finished Object Friday!

18 comments:

Christina - a Babys Smile Knits said...

beautiful!!! i saw this pattern months ago and have wanted to knit them but figured I'd better knit at least one other pair of socks first :)

Carla said...

Cool socks!

Frieda said...

Very unusual socks , congrats for hanging in there to finish them . You are definitely an intrepid knitter , can't imagine knitting a second or third pair . Though it will probably be easier the next time . Nicely done !

Chrisknits said...

I admire your stamina in competing those socks. I know I would never have stayed with it.

mysparemoments.com said...

wow wow wow, great socks really great and even reading through the challenges I was really yikes yikes and to be the 7th person to be finished a pair, what an achievement. I know I'm no where near as skilled a sock knitter as you but everytime I see your completed socks, heck even your wip ones you inspire me to try :)

Renee Anne said...

They're definitely interesting. Not something I would want to knit but I can see the allure of them :)

Kepanie said...

It's awesome how the knitters represented for that fundraiser. These socks are out of this world, Lynn. Excellente!

stefanie g-r said...

OMG, I love these socks! I have been seeing them around on Ravelry and they make me laugh EVERY time!! I had no idea they were so work-intensive, so I'm really glad to get the lowdown on your post today. Thanks for sharing!

Vivian said...

I wanted to knit this pattern for a shark-crazed friend of mine, and now am glad I went with a hat instead. Yours came out beautifully!

Sarah Ronchetti said...

These are truly awesome!! Well done on persevering, they are well worth it.

Gracey is not my name.... said...

I've loved these socks since I first saw them..but they are so beyond my abilities at the moment...Jaws is in my top 5....so hopefully at some point I'll attempt them...

Elisabeth Andrée said...

Congratulations with your socks, well done! They are so cool, I couldn't knit this in a 1000 years.

Marie/Underground Crafter said...

Wow, these sound like a major accomplishment - both for the designer and her charity, and for you to finish them and offer to make another set! They look great and I'm glad to hear they fit well, too.

Brynleigh-Amity Holmes said...

Is there any way to get this pattern? My relative in
Germany wants it and doesn't speak much english so I'm looking for her. I don't even see a place to buy it for the ridiculous $40 price.

Minding My Own Stitches said...

Sorry Brynleigh-Amity Holmes, as far as I know the pattern is not available except as part of a kit which is being sold in limited quantities at fibre festivals by the designer.

C.Marie Silos said...

Help!!! I have the pattern, but I'm a self taught knitter still learning & thoughts it'd be cool to try to knit this shark pattern.... I hope to get it done before shark week!!!

Minding My Own Stitches said...

Hi C. Marie Silos! Are you on Ravelry? It's a very tough pattern if you're not an experienced sock knitter but with patience I'm sure you can do it! I put copious notes and photos in my project page, but let me know if you're stuck at a particular point.

Amy Stabler said...

Hi Minding My Own Stitches,

I'm stuck on this pattern. HELP!!!!!!! What is your Ravelry name and where can I find the copious notes? Are you contactable?

Please email me at amy@harpamy.com for help. I can then give you my mom's contact info as she is the one that is knitting it, but I'm helping her read through the pattern and understanding the pattern.

Thanks,
Amy Stabler and Annette Short
www.harpamy.com