Saturday (I know, ages ago, I've had computer problems this week!) saw the launch of Alice Yu's new book of sock patterns, Socktopus! The launch was held at London knitting shop Loop and featured the lady herself signing books amongst a crowd of knitters and an amazing array of cakes from Bittersweet Bakers (seriously, amongst the best banana bread I have EVER had).
Socktopus is Alice's first book, and features an array of her favourite patterns released through her many popular sock clubs over the last 3 years, reworked and wonderfully reshot to utilise the fabulous Sokkusu yarn she has developed.
As Alice is a good friend of mine, which you've no doubt noticed as she seems to crop up in most of these blog posts, when she asked me to knit a couple of pairs of socks as the samples for the book, I was happy to accept the challenge! For two weeks after the show (way back in March!) I furiously knit two pairs of socks in time for a fast approaching photoshoot.
The first pair were Mince Pie Mayhem, previously a pattern released at Christmas time and featuring literal thousands of 1x1 cables. While I can cable without a cable needle, I find I get much better tension if I use one, and for the book I wanted my knitting to look it's best, so over 1000 fully worked cables it was! As I knit rather loosely, and Alice rather tightly, I ended up working these socks on 2mm DPNs, which is very small for me! All in all these socks should have been a nightmare for my left handed, funny tensioned brain, especially once the 3 day deadline was included, but they weren't. Getting to know this fantastic yarn and the unusual heel and toe construction kept these socks interesting, and trying them on once complete showed me a surprisingly stretchy and wonderfully comfortable pair of socks. The colourway is Tree Frog - how could I not love them!
The second pair was Crowley. These were knit it Sokkusu-X, which meant a comfortable 2.5mm needle and magic loop, plus another new yarn to handle. Lately I've come to realise that I'm not the fibre snob I thought I was, and like a nice pure wool as much as anything. Sokkusu-X has a cashmere content, but rather than screaming about it, this yarn seems to quietly and subtly enjoy it's luxury status, being soft on the hands but not threatening to disintegrate upon contact with the floor/shoes/water due to it's high twist.
The pattern is quick and easy in comparison, featuring a neat undulating cable and rib design. The heel and toe are more traditional also, meaning these were a gentle rest after the Mince Pies. The fit was great, the knit rewarding because of it's speed and the great yarn, and I'm finally knitting a pair for myself!
Because I knit the samples, Alice and the publishers GMC were kind enough to give me a credit in the back of the book too!
If you'd like to purchase Socktopus it is available in a wide range of LYS's and will shortly be published in the United States. Alternatively you can order from Amazon in the UK (here) or US (here).