Saturday, 21 March 2015

Pattern of the Weeeeeeek - King Cole's Zig Zag Sock Pattern

**This is the blog I wrote two weeks ago and didn't publish because of Pi day. So I'm bloody doing it now. :)*

No video. I'm in a rush to make this and another blog post happen before I die of tiredness. But I really didn't want to miss a week of this, neither do I want to not do the other one because this blog is not just about the pattern of the week it is about me and the shop and all of the other good things happening here. But the last three weeks or so have been mad. Anyway. I'll explain that in the other blog I'm writing that will be posted before this one is so this makes no sense. Anyway, the pattern:

There were lots of patterns in contention for this week's pattern of the week - the Duck, the jumper that I showed you last week, the new ones that have come with the Patons Washed Cotton DK and the King Cole Big Value Recycled Aran. But, for various reasons, I couldn't and then Sarah came in today with a little struggled at the bottom of her toe, finished a sock in the shop and made us all squeal with happiness at how fantastic she is. LOOK!


Now, every time you buy a ball of the Zig Zag 4ply you get a free pattern for these socks. We've had the Zig Zag in since the very first day so we've had this free pattern in since the very first day. We're now on the fourth version of this pattern and I wish I'd kept a copy of each. It doesn't change by much each time but they rephotograph some of the designs in new colours and often add a new leg design. The way that it works is that you have lots of different ideas for legs - usually based in some way on an interesting rib - and then you come together, no matter what leg you're doing, for the heel and the foot. They use a really traditional flap and turn heel which I do think is the easiest way to learn a heel. Not because the stitches are any easier than any other heel but because the 'scary' bit or the 'bit that doesn't make sense' doesn't last for very long. Heel flap? Dead easy. Heel turn? SCARY SCARY SCARY! At least the first time that you look at it. My first top tip - if you're a new sock knitter - don't think about it. Just follow it line by line. It will blow your mind. 

Now, there's a new copy of the pattern out with the brand new colours of the Zig Zag and it is the lovely one I showed you above. 

Phwooooooar. They're good aren't they? The beautiful thing about socks is that you can knit them without making your bum look bit or worry about looking like a clown - they're hidden under trousers if you want them to be (I don't, I want the world to see how good I am at knitting....).

I'm not going to go through why you should knit socks for socks sake - I've written about that all over the place. But what I do think it's good for it learning techniques: working in the round (double points or magic loop though this pattern's written for dpns and I do think that it's worth sticking with those if this is your first project, as Sarah found out... ), slipping stitches, short row shaping, picking up stitches, leaning decreases, kitchener stitch. All of these techniques on a tiny little thing! They're also bloody brill for taking around with you, so it you're the sort of person that needs to sit down and concentrate on your knitting, I would suggest picking up a ball of Zig Zag - and therefore this pattern - casting on and taking it around with you. You'd be surprised at how much knitting you can get done in a queue or at a friend's house or visiting a pub or if you're on tv! Haha.

Now, talking about skills, let me give you a top tip. At some point in the sock, and I'll try not to give the pattern away, you have to pay for that  ;) (or at least the yarn...), you have to pick up stitches, and the proscribe exactly the amount of stitches you have to pick up. I SAY IGNORE THEM! Pick up as many stitches as you need to (I say this is general too, but specifically for socks) because after this point, you do a load of decreases until you get back to the original stitch count so you can do more decreases. Yes? When I say ignore them - if they're saying pick up 15 stitches and you're picking up 45 then something's gone wrong, but 20? Yeah, you're fine.

And finally, the pattern is written for 3mm double pointed needles. These will work. I promise. But I reckon that the smaller the needle a sock is knitted on the longer it will last, the yarn just has less space to wiggle around and rub against itself and that's what causes problems. So I always suggest that you go for a 2.75mm double point. You can go smaller, and we stock them, but you tend to find that price goes up (£2.50 to £6, so pretty steep) because they're deemed more 'specialist'. Worth investing in if you end up liking socks, but if you're buying the Zig Zag Sock Yarn wanting this pattern (rather than knowing one off the top of your head like most sock knitters end up doing) then I'm gonna say you're a beginner and it's worth not spending your life savings before you decide whether you're going to do it again. Although, I'm a shop, deffo spend more money if you want.... Haha.

So that's it. I'm glad to have featured this pattern actually, it's been one of the stalwarts since we first opened and so many of you have learned to knit socks from it. Such a lovely thing to knit and wear and a great thing to get into at this time of year - nice and small to take with you when you're out and about, not gonna make your lap sweaty and lots of socks ready for winter! PERFS!

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxx

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