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Almost Argyle Socks

Finally, a decent picture that makes the pattern at least look coherent:

AhKnits asked:

I'm curious, did you try plain knit blocks and not like the way they looked, or did you just go straight for the vertical twisted stitches under the diagonal ones?

I did try a couple different versions - purl blocks and moss stitch blocks, purl blocks and double moss blocks, before settling on purl blocks and twisted stitch blocks, but I didn't try knit and purl. Knit stitch cables and traveling lines usually show up best on a non-knit stitch, hence the reverse stockinette background for most Aran sweaters. I would have really liked to make the purl and moss stitch blocks work, but I just couldn't figure out a way to make all four quadrants of the moss stitch blocks odd-numbered (1, 3, 5, 7 stitches wide). Trying to use moss stitch in such narrow spaces when each section couldn't be started AND ended with either a knit or purl stitch looked awfully lopsided and uneven.

I think I'm going to develop a 2-color version of these, too, using stranded knitting - plain purl blocks in a checkerboard pattern, with Fair Isle stranding used to easily put opposite-color traveling lines on each block. The idea of mixing texture AND color is very interesting to me; this would be a simple, quick way to try out some of my ideas.


Jonathan asked:

When you stitch [the steek] down, I'm assuming you use the background color yarn and not a thread, right? Also, you are only tacking it down through the floats and not clear through to the other side of the fabric. I was thinking about doing a crossed stitch tacking but wasn't sure exactly how to attach it to the fabric.

I definitely use a strand of the predominant background color yarn, though if I were neatening a steek on a cardigan front, I'd use whatever blended best with the inside of the sweater. With a sharp tapestry needle, I catch only the floats on the reverse, trying to split the floats rather than looping all the way around them. Catching the whole float, I find, makes it pretty easy to distort stitches on the right side when the facing stretches and flexes during wear.

I have been having some really interesting email conversations with some of you guys over Norwegian steeks. Elka has got me on a quest to do some serious history reading - I think a development arc for the "Norgi" we know today that is similar to the birth of the commercial Fair Isle is probably pretty predictable. Scottish steeks only came about when the suddenly in-demand colored sweater needed to be produced quickly for sale; the (one-color) sweaters worn by real fishermen and farmers were knit seamlessly in the gansey style, not by cutting. I think the complexity of colorwork, both in Shetland and in Norway, is probably directly tied to commercial demand, much as complex cables and Aran motifs only developed after big fishing outfits and resulting tourism came to the isle. Fascinating stuff!


Speaking of Norwegian knits, I was browsing through Starmore's Scandinavian Knitwear the other day, and came across this:

That sound you hear? Is my mind, boggling. Gears are turning...how much fun would it be to come up with a pattern for something like this?

Bellybuttons Are Not Mirrors

On blogging: I'm with you guys - what's there to gnash about, or even overdiscuss, really? It's just people knitting. Thanks for the kind words, though.

Calling Montgomery/Howard/Baltimore County Knitters, And Any Other Interested Parties

I've been talking for AGES about starting a local knit night, probably somewhere in or near Columbia, for people in the area. Monday nights would work well for me and one other person I've already talked to - anyone game for something like this? Any suggestions on venue?

Very Useful

via BoingBoing: House Of Tartan's interactive tartan weaver. You can choose colors, color order, stripe width, and they'll generate a pattern for you. It's meant to be turned into a woven fabric you order from them, but this is brilliant for experimenting with color order and stripe sequences. I've been playing with it all afternoon.


I hope the knit night starts happening; I grew up in Columbia and my parents live there, so if I happen to be visiting on a knit night, I would totally be there!

The sock continues to get more fabulous with each passing day. And the dress...wow. Wouldn't that be interesting!

Wow, that fair isle tunic is amazing. I want to make one of those... That book doesn't happen to be a pattern book is it?

You can include PG County as well :) Well, the northern part of it anyway.
The Celtic Knot in Ellicot City has a knit night on that I think is on Tuesdays... and she said she would be willing for groups to do other nights if we just gave her a call... or maybe that was reserve a night.. I can't remember... regardless, she is closed on Monday, so that is probably out.

Not sure what the local Columbia area has except All About Yarn, and OMG you should have seen the line at the sale on Sunday!

That tool is waaaay cool. Too bad I am apparently colorblind and selecting barf-like schemes. Hopefully in time I will find a winner.

Looking at the last picture, I thought "Is she making leg-warmers?" This picture is much better, I love how the pattern is working out. The colour is gorgeous.

I've yet to try making socks, but these look fun to knit. :)

Your awesome socks have inspired to me stalk your blog every day now until I see the pattern.


My group meets on Sundays (and sometimes Fridays) in the Towson/Timonium area. I'm always up for knitting though, and a Monday-night/Columbia/Knit Night would be right up my alley! We should see if we can get a coffee shop or something let us use their space.

Those socks are..........wow. Let's just say I really want to make them. I've always been a fan of the *shape* of argyle, but it tends to show up in horrendous colour combinations; your rendition kind of serves to reinspire my faith in 'technical" knitting.

I'm assuming I'm the "other person" you are talking about! :) Mondays in Columbia would be great for me. Meeting places... Panera on Dobbin? Riverside coffee on Dobbin? Premiere English Coffee on Centre Park? (I'm not sure how late they stay open...but I could find out!) Clydes at the lake front has a big room in the back that we might be able to use - perfect for wine and knitting... two activities I would love to combine. Let me know if I can help in any way!

LOVE those socks!

The socks are turning out wonderfully - is that going to be another pattern for sale???

BTW, I tagged you for a knitting meme. Hope you don't mind. If you do, then ignore it.

Oh, LOVELY sock!

Hee hee - love that "belly buttons are not mirrors." Too true!

Those socks are just way too cool.

That tartan site is fun! I should thank you, but I think it's going to end up being a big (fun) time-sucker for me, so I don't really know about the gratitude thing...

There's a book by Annemor Sundbø called "Setesdal Sweaters, The History of the Norwegian Lice Pattern" which might give the answers to your questions about the development of the Norwegian sweaters. The Setesdal sweater is the most traditional (the original so to speak) of the Norwegian patterns, and incidentally the Starmore dress you show in your post is pretty much identical to the Setesdal pattern.

Wow - are you really that close to me?

We have a knit thing that happens in the Cafe of Borders in Columbia the first Monday night of the month. Just a few of us now, since people's schedules got hectic, but you're more than welcome to join us (anyone is!)

If you do something elsewhere on other nights, I'd love to know when and where!

The sock is loverly, how does it look on the leg?

RE: the knit dress: very lovely, but I have serious reservations about how good that would look worn by someone, especially after sitting in it for half and hour or so...

Glad you brought that up, Eunny ;) I might not be able to make every Monday, but it could be feasible. I wonder if there isn't a cute little cafe somewhere that wouldn't mind having knitters come and sit in if we promise to order lattes and dessert!

Yes Yes, I would love to get together for some excellent knitting adventures in Columbia.

I live in Harrisonburg, VA, though, so I'm only up on the weekends. Any weekend groups up there?

I think the big breakthrough for Norwegian colour knitting was with the nationalist era in the 19th century. They wanted independence (from us Swedes) and that made folksy fashion, music, sagas and even dialects popular with the cultural elite. The Setesdal sweater is from the middle of the 19th century if I remember correctly, and it was not an industry then. Two-colour knitting was common in all Scandinavia at least from 1830. It was knit very tight to make rather a stiff fabric, so it's possible the steeks didn't need reinforcement.

Hi Eunny - thanks for your email and for mentioning a little Maryland get-together. I think it sounds super! It would be great to meet other local knitters. One of the coffee shops in Columbia (that Colleen mentioned) would work really well, I think. It would be a central location near I-95. If you need some help organizing it, let me know ;)

I'm always up for knit nites and meeting knitters! Columbia is a great venue...and always has great places to meet. I'd definately love to be included if you make some plans!

(lovely socks...drool*)

Ooh, pretty.

Wow - I was so under the impression that was a sleeve! My perception was all off.

I live in MA, but my cousins live right around the corner from the Panera on Dobbin - I would soooo be there when I visit (which is often!)

Eunny, I love that sock. Ab fab. Thanks for sharing your talent.

Your sock is just delicious. I love the patterning.


Your sock makes me gasp.

O.M.G. !! That sock is to die for! Will you have that pattern for sale sometime? Love your blog; all of your instructions are so very clear, and your finished garments are gorgeous!

I love the socks, and that dress gives *ME* ideas too. How much fun would a knitted dress be? How heavy would it be? How would it wear? Could I do the Fair Isle without going crazy?

The socks are incredible!!! My cousin (a college freshman) walked in while I was checking out your blog and he wants a pair in his school colors (some shade of purple and gold). I look forward to your 2-color version but I won't be making the socks for my cousin.

Oh My! I love those socks and am itching to knit them~ hurry up with the pattern And you know I go to VA on the avg of once a year. Usually festival time. If you have a knit group set up maybe I will be able to pop in....

my new favorite word: steekery.

I'm going to reserve judgement on the knitted dress, as any lower body knitted garment sends icy chills of saggy bums down my spine, but the socks sure are fabulous.

Beautiful! Lovin' your sockies!

Yeah, I would have to agree with Kate too.

Are you going to start knitting at midnight, since that's techinically the 10th??

Oops, I mean "Purly Whites"- what a long day.

I live in Baltimore and am loving your blog. I'm part of a knitting group that's been meeting every other Sunday afternoon for years. I'd be happy to see if any of our group are interested. I would need directions though. I'm a city girl and finding my way around pastoral Columbia is challenging for me.

I recently stumbled upon that dress on my own and was obsessing about it, too. I love the neckline, the sleeves, the black/white, everything. It just goes to show that everything comes back eventually, right? I've been thinking of making a tunic like it but as a super-mini dress, to be worn over jeans . . . maybe in something slinky.

But definiteyl after the Olympics!

Add me to the list of folks interested in a knitting group in Columbia. The group I'm most often to be found in meets one Tuesday and one Wednesday night at Mayorga in Silver Spring - probably a bit of a trip from Columbia, but everyone is welcome to swing by if you're interested - just e-mail me!

I definitely want to do the knit along for the Hazel Carter stole!

I love the socks - soooo beautiful! Do you sell the pattern?

Just wanted to let you know that your link to boingboing is misspelled; the right address is http://boingboing.net/ and the tartan post is http://www.boingboing.net/2006/02/07/create_a_tartan_have.html

Your knitting is super-fantastic!

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