Wednesday, April 14, 2010

You know where you are with an honest pair of socks

As a definitely-more-than-beginner-somewhere-around-intermediate-but-definitely-not-advanced knitter, it's easy to get seduced by the siren song of a pretty stitch pattern.

It's tough to remember that sometimes a nice yarn could - and should - stand on it's own.

You will recall from last blog post, that I had cast on for the Sagittarius socks for my Dad for Father's Day. What I did not tell you was that I originally started designing my own pattern (just ribs and cables - nothing too fancy) but I ripped it out because the yarn was just a touch busy and I wasn't getting the look I wanted.

Then I spent an hour trying to find something I liked on Ravelry - I must say - I'm not that fond of most men's sock patterns. And the ones that I did like wouldn't work with my yarn. So, I decided to cast on for Sagittarius... but just as with my ribby-cables, the yarn was a tad too busy.
So tonight I said screw it and I ripped back to the ribbing. I added five more rows of ribbing and switched to good ole reliable stocking stitch:
Fiona Ellis came to my old guild one day, and she left me with a very valuable bit of advice. She said, basically, that you can design the most intricate, beautiful mind-boggling garment, but if you're not going to wear it - what's the point? In other words, design something you'll wear - no matter how simple.

And as I look at the patterns and designers I really love (Debbie Bliss for example) I realize how true that is. They are classic, timeless - some have beautiful lace patterns, but at the heart of them they are still basic.

So, I have to remember who I'm knitting these socks for - my dad. He's a man who's idea of high style is a brand-spanking new pair of dark (DARK) blue jeans and a plaid shirt. He only wears ties for two occasions - weddings and funerals. He won't care if a pair of socks has some funky stitch pattern - he wants comfortable and wearable.

These are nice and mindless and the colourway is doing just find by itself - fancy stitchwork need not apply.

*The title is a quote from one of my favourite movies - "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day". If you haven't seen it - I highly recommend it. Great Music. Fabulous Fashions. And Nifty British Accents. What's not to love?*


Anonymous said...

Sometimes the YARN tells you what it wants to be. This yarn looks very nice in a very simple stocking stitch.

Not ready for handspun said...

I like to do fancy socks just to see how they turn out; but you're right, sometimes simple is best. Especially for mens clothing.

Susan said...

I totally agree! The yarn looks best as just socks. Good choice.

TheBlackSheep said...

I like that yarn in "plain". It looks really nice and you can concentrate on the colours rather than on a pattern.

I've got an aunt who likes plain and it's all she wants. Sometimes I have to force a compromise and go for a simple pattern with one cable or something, but there's no point in knitting your fingers off for someone who really just wants stockinette.

Monika said...

You are so right!

Kiki said...

Hope you are feeling better! I love plain socks, especially for men, I find my husband doesn't like anything too 'fussy' as he puts it. And Dee is right, listen to the yarn, it will tell you what it wants to be! ;)

Love your Zetors, too!

LizzieK8 said...

I think fancy socks should be knit for the enjoyment of knitting them. And if it's not fun...don't do it.
However, I also take the recipient into consideration. Most guys like plain socks. My DIL is conservative when it comes to socks.
My grands and daughters wear non matching socks as do I. So, the brain dead knitting is for the guys and my DIL and the fancy for those that like it.

lexa said...

Too true! Hubs wants some non-work socks cuz he finds the store bought socks are cutting into his legs (he's diabetic). He has one pair of socks I made him out of sock yarn, the rest are heavy wool work socks. So I'm making him a few more pairs, and I'm just going for plain old stockinette and maybe a ribbed pair.

zoom said...

I looked long and hard for a good men's sock for GC, and finally settled on the Simple Skyp (on Ravelry) in a plain sock yarn.

But you're right - simple is often best, even when we wish it weren't.

gayle said...

A lot of the multicolor yarns look best in plain knitting. About the fanciest I go is a K3P1 rib.

Jeanne said...

I think stockinette is perfect for that yarn - and I actually enjoy the occasional pair - very soothing to knit!

Lost City Denise said...

The yarn looks fabulous! Why futz it up with fancy? Dad'll love 'em!