So you knew the mukluk couldn't be far behind the tam, right? Or, ahem, the Caspian Sea Socks, my substitute mukluks. I shouldn't really call them mukluks, because they're not - they just kind of look like the mukluks I have in my memory. But since this is all about the ethnic sock experience a la Priscilla Gibson-Roberts I feel like I shouldn't slap a generic (wrong) label on them - it's kind of like when my clients say "I wasn't out there selling drugs, I was just going to the Chinese store (meaning the convenience store on the corner run by someone of either Asian, Indian or Middle Eastern origin).
So, for my folkie socks, I'm using Whiskey, in blue, olive, plum and orange.
The pattern uses Tiur, which from my understanding is a very mohairy, dk weight yarn. I went with Whiskey, which without the mohair is coming in at gauge on a 4, as opposed to the 2 used in the pattern. And, of course, I know that because I cast on on 2's, and had to rip it out after completing the toe because all I had was a tiny nipple cover.
And speaking of nipples, sort of - I'm not a big fan of how the toe nipples - and I knew from reading the pattern, is was going to, because there are four straight rows before you start increasing for the toe shaping. I wish I had gone free form, but since I'm not really a toe up kind of girl, I decided to follow the pattern. And now, sigh, I have a nipple toe.
So I did my Middle Eastern cast-on -- three times. For anyone who has never tried this technique there's a very good video on Youtube. I would link to it, but I'm at work, and I can't open download sites here. Anyway, first, I cast on, and I just could not figure out the chart, in combination with the written instructions. The pattern is charted, and the instructions are also written out line by line. When I tried to put the two together, I was befuddled, literally scratching my head. I was at knitting circle, and I can't remember who it was, was like, "oh my G-d, I've never seen you like this - never!" And I really was stymied - increase where? Two times? In what color? - the large size and the small size are charted together, and the small size is outlined by a heavy black line. The written instructions say something like, "knit four in pattern, increase 2 repeat." I just could not figure out which were the four, and where the increases were, looking at the line by line itemization. So I screwed it up, ripped it out. Cast on again. I tossed aside the written instructions, and just followed the chart, and everything worked out just fine.
Except that they were too small. Ah well, so I made a nipple toe swatch.
And, the fact that I couldn't actually read the perfectly good, standard English instructions, gave me hope that I will actually be able to knit something out of Ethnic Socks and Stockings, which has almost no written instructions, but rather a formula - toe up, follow the foot chart, waist yarn heel, follow the cuff chart.
Hope is a good thing - a little luck won't hurt either!