Twist Collective Blog
Nancy Whitman's first design for Twist Collective is a stunner of a pair of socks called Shani. It's been popular enough that she's put together a Knit-A-Long [KAL] that starts today. Find out more about the socks and the KAL in today's blog post and find out more about Nancy at her website.
Shani is my first published pattern, apart from self-published ones, so I wanted to share the design process with you. The stitch pattern evolved from one originally found in a stitch dictionary. This particular pattern caught my eye because of its asymmetrical quality that was achieved by varying the rate, either every row or every other row, of yarn overs and corresponding decreases. The lines of decreased stitches that are worked on every row form an acute angle that sits closer to the horizontal plane than the lines of decreased stitches on every other row. To my eye, this made for a stitch pattern with many interesting angles. Now that I had the pattern it was time to swatch.
I quickly learned that this pattern produced a fabric with very little shape retention, something I like to have in socks. My first thought was to change to a 100% Merino yarn because the original swatch was made with a Merino/cashmere blend, but that did not solve the problem completely. The solution was to manipulate the stitch pattern to create that body. Removing a section of lace and replacing it with ribbing added the necessary body to the knit fabric and, as a bonus, added continuity to the design. Now the k3, p2 cuff ribbing could travel down the leg.
At this point, I was pleased with the cuff and leg, but knew there would be some decisions in how to transition to the heel and the toe.
The stitch pattern for Shani is repeated three times around the body of the sock. This meant the center of the heel flap and the center of the instep would occur at a different point in the pattern repeat. From a design perspective there would be more details to decide and opportunities to create interesting and varied transitions between different parts of the sock.
Centering a full pattern repeat down the front of the leg created a natural point to continue the ribbing from the leg onto the heel flap. Like the cuff, the ribbing would have a V-shaped transition, albeit upside down. To keep the design cohesive, I repeated that V-shaped transition at the toe. You can see it in the first picture above.
Much of this design was decided on the needle when I knit the prototype pictured here in yellow. For me, this is the best way to design a sock since you will know right away what works and what does not. This was fun to design and I hope you enjoy reading about it and making the sock!
There is a KAL for Shani in the Twist Collective Ravelry group. The official start will be August 24, and all are welcome and encouraged to join then or later. I will be there to give whatever support and help I can.