Hello!! I hope this post finds you happy and well wherever you are!
I am feeling guilty because it has been a little while since I have posted. Life is very busy – a lot has been going on behind the scenes, but it is all good. We are “getting there”. The final piece of furniture was bought this weekend, and finally I am done with unpacking!! Hooorah!!! I feel like I have a reasonably organised space for a home, finally!
With Chinese New Year just around the corner I am pleased to have finished the Fire Flower Socks!
Chinese New Year is a time when it is traditional to wear new clothes. Red is the colour of Chinese New Year, and it is well represented by all the red lanterns, red luck money packets (laisee), red fireworks and other red decorations. For this design, I decided to use a very beautiful warm orange-red colourway from Whimzy Sokkusu O, called Firefly. It looks like fire and smoke – very symbolic of Chinese New Year with all the fireworks and incense burned during festivities!
I had recently come across a vintage stitch pattern that I loved the look of. Its simplicity reminds me also of old Chinese pictographic characters – this one below is the ancient character for ‘flower’. I am pleased the character and the stitch pattern are so similar because I wanted to add the pictographic aspect into the socks.
I adapted the stitch pattern slightly and used it as a feature in this design, to create something with a festive Chinese mood. I decided to combine the visual imagery of colour/stitch pattern/pictogram, and call them Fire Flower – a play on the literal translation of the Chinese word for fireworks – “smoke flower”. Reverse stocking stitch provided the textural canvas for a design with simplicity at its core.
Once finished, there were some aspects of the pattern that I was not entirely happy about, and so I decided to create a second version with some adaptations.
This one was knitted in Bleating Art‘s merino/nylon sock base in a colourway called Blondie. It shimmers like gold, and again, is a perfect Chinese New Year colour to use!
I do personally like the K1 P1 ribbing on the original, but I changed the cuff to harmonise with the stitch pattern so that it flows into the first flower. I think it does look better that way. Also, I wasn’t quite happy with the flat look of the flower, so I have altered the motif so that has a more flower-like shape.
I also made the leg longer and finished the toe in stockinette, as it gives the foot a finality that you don’t get in reverse stocking stitch.
Now, I think they are Just Right, and I am super happy to have turned another one of the visions in my head into 3D!!
Be warned that these socks are not for the faint-hearted. I will admit that the reverse stocking stitch may not be for everyone. There is a K4tog manoeuvre in the stock which is a bit tricky to execute. A very fine crochet hook (1.9mm) worked a treat to pull the yarn through. It is an especially good idea to use the crochet hook if you are using wooden DPNs, as you are liable to break a tip otherwise (ahem…). Metal DPNs like Hiya Hiya or Knit Pro Symphonie or metal tipped DPNs like Karbonz work very well and you won’t need a crochet hook in this instance. Apart from those two aspects, the sock is very plain sailing, and if you are prepared for a different sock knitting experience, I think you will like them. 🙂
Tips on yarn: You may notice a faint ladder in the gold sock that I wasn’t able to prevent. This did not occur in the first pair that I knitted, and I believe that it is because the Sokkusu O yarn is extremely elastic, and therefore was able to ‘self-adjust’ to prevent ladders. The Bleating Art base is a more relaxed sock base, and does not have the extreme ‘bounce’ of Sokkusu, and was therefore a little harder to control. It does great cables though! Also, I found that the more tightly twisted Sokkusu yarn was much easier to control when executing the K4tog. Do not use a yarn that is ‘splitty’ for these socks if you want to save your sanity!
This weekend is a long weekend (it’s Waitangi Day, New Zealand’s national day), and I am looking forward to a bit of downtime to finalise the pattern.
Watch out for it soon!