In the world of Knitters on Instagram, casting on a new pair of socks on Christmas Eve has become a bit of tradition thanks to Dani over at Little Bobbins. I admit I was quite behind the times, as 2016 was my first time participating and was precipitated by my sister feeling left out of my annual 'Christmas Socks' for Mum and I.
Appropriately enough, I managed to finish them on New Years Eve so this is my very last pair of 2016, in my very first post of 2017!
Yarn: Regia Design Line by Arne & Carlos in shade 3657 'Summer Night'
I feel must be honest here: I was neither impressed by the yarn, or the construction of the pattern I used.
Foremost, I found that the yarn - which I'd been itching to try out for months - was a real let down. Out of the two 50g balls I used, one contained a lot of knots and unevenly spun areas in the yarn. I've used Regia many times in the past, most recently the Fluormania range in my Neon Beach Socks last year and was very impressed. I actually had so much confidence in the consistency of Regia as a commercial sock yarn brand, that I bought four other balls (2 x 50g) from the Design Line by Arne & Carlos and I am now reluctant to use it because of the experience I've had this time around.
Fortunately, the defects within the yarn can't really be seen but I am a stickler who feels that commercial (i.e. machine spun, mass-produced) yarn should not come with knots and lumps in it. Quality control, yeah? I will admit, quite happily, that I much prefer buying my sock yarn from indie dyers who produce their items out of love and - generally, I've encountered a couple of exceptions - seek perfection and good quality in their products as a result.
My issue with the pattern is less significant, and mainly an issue of : I hate the toe on these socks. I love the cable design, in itself, but I hate how the toe has come out. As my sister hasn't had a pair of handknit socks before - frankly, until this point she never struck me as the kind of person to appreciate them - I am hopeful she won't mind this. But I do.
As you may be able to see from the above pictures, it has 'bunched' around the end on my sock blockers. This is beceuse it is too wide. Usually when I cast on toe-up socks (mainly using Magic Loop these days), I start with 8sts on each needle and then increase at both sides of the toe on both needles until I have 16sts on each needle. Then I break it down to have a row of plain knitting between the increase rows until I have the number of stitches I require. For myself, I usually have 60 or 64sts in total depending on the needle size/yarn thickness and the gauge.
I really regret not sticking to my preference here. By time I got to the point where a heel was needed, I went with my instinct and stuck with the method I like best, the FLK.
All in all, whilst I've been pretty disatisfied with the toe and yarn, I think the cable effect adds a nice contrast against the patterned yarn. As my last post showed, in 2016 I made a lot of plain socks and this is something I'd like to change in 2017. I guess this last 2016 pair was a good place to start!