Monkeys Back on My Back

It's been awhile since I gave a progress report on my Amphibious Monkeys, which hibernated several weeks while I flirted with other projects. With the Urban Aran Cardigan, BSJ and Hemlock Ring Blanket behind me, the Monkeys are back on my back!

I've modified Cookie's pattern in two ways, both of which give relevance to today's update:

First — and this is, more properly, a modification of technique rather than pattern — I've knit them on magic loop, two at once. The pattern lends itself to this technique rather easily: The lace stitch has a 16-row repeat which is evenly balanced across 2 or 4 needles without any awkward pattern starts flanking the gussets. You start with two repeats of the pattern on each needle: those which will land on the top of the foot are on one; those for the bottom of the foot are on the other. However, to work the gusset, you need to re-jigger the needles to put the right side of the sock on one and the left side on the other. (Note, I did not reverse the pattern to knit toe-up. I'm still knitting top-down to preserve the design.)

It's not impossible to do this part without stitch markers, but I like to use them to mark the gusset junctures and remind myself to track rows. I use four total markers, placing a more fancy one at the juncture marking the beginning of the round. The above picture shows the right side of the socks, which are worked as the second half of each round. The needles are at the bottom of the picture; the cable loop is at the top. See the pretty black, painted stitch marker? It marks the beginning of my row, and it's actually attached to the lower needle (left side of socks), not the top one. The pink stitch marker dangly thing for the right side of that sock is mostly hidden in this picture, but you can see the ring.

Many knitters will tell you to use stitch holders to assist with the cable shift. I prefer to use DPNs in the same size as my cable. That way I can knit on and off the holding needle without having to spend time just transferring stitches. I also find it pulls less on the stitches at the needle change.

To make the shift, you're going to have to accept the fact that one half of your sock bottom will have one row more than the other half. It's ok — believe me. This is a standard process. Your socks will fit and feel just fine!

For my second modification, an actual adjustment of the pattern, I swapped out Cookie's heel flap stitch for the Eye of Patridge. It's cushier and more interesting to look at. From a design perspective, too, I think it suits Cookie's pattern better because it doesn't insert strong vertical lines to conflict with the lace. The Eye of Partrige complements the effect of the lace's purled stitch so nicely. And isn't it pretty?

In general, I use reinforcing thread on my heels and toes, but I decided to forego it for these socks. I know, it's a risky call. To put so much work into a pair of socks and then put my toes through them would be a major bummer. I just don't see myself trying to turn these into my daily, go-to, workhorse socks, though. For one, the Koigu is too pretty to destroy with reckless wearing. For another, they read as a dressier sock to me. I'm such a big fan of boots, and I'd never hide these beauties under all that leather. So I'm taking a chance on the assumption that I'll treat these more like delicates.

When I start the next pair of socks that uses reinforcing thread, I'll post pictures of how I keep all four yarns tangle-free while knitting magic loop two at once.

As of bedtime last night, I'm about 4 inches into the foot. Knitting forecast predicts a completed pair of Monkeys by the weekend!

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