We've been enjoying some gorgeous spring weather lately (albeit far too early in the year, in my opinion). All that sunshine means yard work, grilling, hiking, and a plethora of other outdoor activities that drag me away from my sewing machine. I haven't sewn a stitch in over two weeks. It's insane. But I also know I should enjoy the weather while I can because it'll be ridiculously hot before we know it.
Something I can do while hanging on the patio with friends, however, is knit. I finished up these beautiful socks recently, and I just adore them! The pattern is the Smokey Zickzacks from New Directions in Sock Knitting, the same book that contains a couple of my own designs. I can't take credit for this particular pattern though; that honor belongs to Natalia Vasilieva.
I used an old, discontinued sock yarn that's been in my stash forever - S.R.Kertzer On Your Toes in color #KOF.3825. I picked it because its self-striping pattern produced stripes of a similar width to the yarn used in the sample socks in the book. I think a variegated or hand-painted yarn would look good too, but might not accentuate the chevrons as nicely. Ditto for a gradient yarn. A self-striping yarn, I think, would do this pattern the most justice.
I had some issues with fit along the way, the largest size being too big around and the next size down being too short for my freakishly long, narrow feet. But after I'd knitted one full ill-fitting sock, I understood the construction much better, and with advice from Natalia herself, I was able to modify the second-to-largest size to lengthen the foot by simply adding a few stitches to either side of the double increase nearest the toe. I did have to sacrifice some leg length though, to make sure I would have enough yarn for a second sock. I just omitted a pair of increases and decreases between the cuff and the heel. But I actually like a shorter leg anyway, so that was fine.
The original pattern has the zigzags spaced out a little differently on the second sock than on the first, but you know me - symmetry is crucial. So in addition to my sizing modifications, I also shifted the increases and decreases on the second sock so the zigzags would match up.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this pattern (enough to knit three full socks, after all!) and have already added several more of Natalia's designs to my knitting queue. This one is not for the faint of heart though. A very long provisional cast-on, as well as a mid-row provisional cast for the heel, and the grafting of over a hundred stitches to finish each sock, make this pattern more suitable for an experienced knitter. But those with the chutzpah to try it will not regret it!