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Belle Epoque Socks

Several months ago, I was gifted this yarn by a knitter of the West Coast Oddball Blankets…

Regia Silk - Color #2

Regia Silk - Color #2

Oh yeah…it’s as soft as its name implies.  I fondled it a bit and then added it to my stash.  A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to start a new project, and the yarn literally jumped out of my basket imploring, “Pick me, pick me.”

Gee, twist my arm, why don’t you.

For some time now, I’ve been wanting to tackle two-at-a-time socks.  It must have been a year ago when I made a pair from this book, but I struggled the entire way:

The socks got finished, but the journey had been difficult.  Completing the gussets had, in particular, given me fits.   So, I put the book on my shelf and completed many other projects.  Somewhere along the way, I made several hats and socks using Magic Loop.  Magic Loop is the method by which the above book’s patterns are based, only you’re completing two socks on the one needle.

I decided to give it another go, nervously selecting the Belle Epoque Socks from the book.

Now, maybe you’re a more advanced knitter than myself, so my next advice might not come as a surprise to you.  I’ve learned that it is a good idea to check Ravelry for comments by others who may have encountered difficulties with the pattern.  I found the Two-At-A-Time forum here, and I eagerly searched through all of the threads pertaining to my pattern.

I also searched for pattern errata.  Sure enough, I found this site, which contains corrections.  Lo and behold, the original editions contained mistakes in the gusset instructions!  I had not been going crazy on my own!  I’d had help!

Woo Hoo!  I wasn’t crazy!

My kids would beg to differ with the above statement.

Anyhow, if you own this book, go to the publisher’s site (same link as above) and download the pattern errata.  Print it and stick it inside your book.  If you have a problem downloading it, send an email to the contact provided on the publisher’s site.  I did that, and a representative replied within 12 hours.  She even sent me the corrections as a PDF because my computer was not cooperating with me.  There are a few patterns that have corrected charts, so make sure you get those as well.

Doing your homework BEFORE starting projects saves loads of heartache later on.

Armed with all of this information, I began the project on May 25.  I decided to use size 1 1/2 needles and cast on for the medium size.

Starting the socks was a nightmare.  I did as the book suggests and placed each skein in its own separate baggie.  This helped keep the yarn in check, but I had a dickens of a time sliding the cords back and forth.  I also marked each sock with a different colored stitch marker (green was Sock A, and orange was Sock B).

Add to that, the picot edge, which just about threw me over the edge of knitting sanity.

However, I persevered, messed up the picot on half of the first sock before the instructions clicked, and I worked the rest of the edging properly.

Once I finished the edging, I proceeded at a rather fast clip.  The pattern was pretty easy after a few repeats, and I started sailing through the project.

I worked eight pattern repeats on the leg and then “customized” the repeat on the instep…opposite of the heel.  Ok.  I messed it up…got my row count wrong and squashed the cable, but it’s the both on both socks, so at least they match!  I only knit 26 heel flap rows instead of the 36 recommended by the pattern.  I could tell the yarn was stretchy, and I know that recommended heel flap sizes are always too long for my legs.

The instructions can look intimidating…a factor that had led me to delay working socks using this method.  And I’ll admit that when I began working the heels and gusset decreases, I had to tink back a couple of times.  I like putting puzzles together and trying to figure out how things work, so this type of project is right up my alley.

I learned, though, not to over-think the instructions.  You work them for one sock, and then you work them for the other.  Trust the instructions (most of the time).   It’s like doing yoga.  You don’t think you’re going to be able to put your body in a certain position, and you want to shoot darts through the instructor (or pattern’s author).  But then, without even realizing it, you’ve turned yourself into a pretzel, and you’re better for it.

After turning the heel, I worked six more repeats and then completed the toes as instructed.  I’m probably the only person who loves the Kitchener Stitch…breezing through it in record time.

And the end result?  Take a look for yourself…courtesy of Chicky’s wonderful photographing abilities (even while she complained the entire time)…

Belle Epoque Socks

Belle Epoque Socks

To say I’m pleased with these would be an understatement.  I’m absolutely delighted.

Sure, I probably could have gone down to a size small since the yarn stretched more than I anticipated.  However, the socks are a good fit without being overly stretched, and they are warm as all get-out.  The yarn was a DREAM to work with…not splitty at all and smooth as could be.

I only used 80 grams, so it wasn’t quite two full skeins.

Another project done…on to that Mexican Rainbow Shawl!

4 Responses

  1. HOLY COW those are BEAUTIFUL!!! And I have that book!!! I’ve been so anxious to try this system but have been scared… if I ran into a problem, I would have just quit! THANK YOU for the heads up – going to go print it out right now!

  2. ummm… that was a boo-coo bunch of corrections!!!!

  3. Oooh, they’re beautiful! Great job. 🙂 I haven’t knit socks in ages, but I’m thinking this summer – good road trip in the car type knitting.

  4. That is one beautiful pair of socks! :o)

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