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!