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It’s almost time for Discovery Channel’s annual summer event – – – Shark Week and I am ready to scare myself silly.
I was very excited when Jimmy Beans Wool asked me to design a sock for Shark Week. It blew up my brain a little. I mean how exactly does one design a sock with sharks?
I wanted something fun but subtle – not a kid’s socks with doodads sticking out here and there. Something that would generate a smile when you notice the sharks. “Wait, is that a shark on your sock?!”
Where else was I going to turn other than the Showy Decrease? I mean really, I’ve used it just about everywhere and in so many different ways. You might say the Showy Decrease is my go to partner – always there when I need it. You can read about all the ways we’ve used it in the last post and, while you’re there, take our poll on how you like to read your charts and written instructions.
Did you know that a group of sharks is called a shiver? Me either. So now you do and you can create a shiver of sharks with your yarn and needles.
Let’s take a look at all the features of this sock.
My favorite sock is knit toe up with a German Short Row (GSR) heel because I love eliminating any seaming with Judy’s Magic Cast On. I also think the GSR heel is nice looking and easy to memorize. It’s what I teach to new sock knitters at Jimmy Beans Wool.
Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone (wouldn’t you be disappointed if I did), so I played with the toe and heel a bit.
The Nuanced Sock Toe
The Shiver of Sharks Sock uses a symmetric version of the Nuanced Sock toe (full announcement soon). It’s a nicely rounded toe tested by over 60 blog readers this Spring. You can see the amazing results in our blog post Test Knitters Step Up.
What’s different about it?
The toe is increased each end of every round for the first five rounds. Standard increases? No, of course not. We used the Knit 1 Back & Front increase and combined it with a yarn over for some very subtle increasing. I’ll be blogging about this very smooth, almost invisible increase next week.
German Short Row (GSR) Heel
I like solutions that yield positive results with easy to follow the steps. In this case, the issue I wanted to address is that hole in the corner of the heel. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes there’s a big mess where I tried to cover up the big honking hole. You can see an example in the project video linked below.
There are two parts to this fix.
1. Shifting Stitches: There are two more sts on the back of the sock than the front.
The short rows are worked within the end stitches vs. to the end and the gap between needles. I have not researched this, but I am completely certain that other knitters do this as well.
2. Adding Sts: Two stitches are added to the back just before beginning the short rows. These two stitchess will be eliminated on the last round of the heel preventing any hole. You no longer have to “pick up a stitch in each corner and knit it together with an existing stitch” to close the hole just to find that your picked-up stitch created another hole.
This is a step-by-step method to solve the problem with the added benefit that it gives a bit more room in a heel that’s known for being a bit shallow. More on this in an upcoming blog about Nuancing Your Knit Socks. Sounds like I’ll be busy doesn’t it?
Are these socks for you? I’d say this pattern is for adventurous intermediate knitters and above.
A clear understanding of various decreases is a must. Knowing how to read charts really helps, but line-by-line instructions for the sharks is included as well. There is some slip stitch color work but all the tricky bits happen on the leg after you’ve worked the heel.
Mostly it is about your ability to read your knitting. Can you spot where you are by looking at the sock vs. the pattern? The Showy Decreases show on the knitting and will guide you as you progress.
But Laura, what if I need more help?
Well you could fly to Reno and visit me at the store (please do) or there is a 25-minute project video tutorial on YouTube that steps you through the sock from cast on, toe shaping, GSR heel and set up for the shark shapes. There are charts and line-by-line instructions for the sharks and links to other online technique videos.
The Jimmy Beans Shiver of Sharks Kit
Yarn: Valkyrie Fibers, Matte Sock yarn (75% Merino and 25% nylon) in these two beautiful colors. A full skein of Shallow Waters and a quarter skein of Open Ocean is just what you need to knit yourself a pair of these fun socks. The extra yarn means you can knit the socks in even the largest sizes. The kit includes a code to download the pattern in Ravelry. I’m working on a bonus hat pattern for extra yarn so put any leftovers aside.
Pattern: The pattern comes in 6 sizes so you can easily find the right fit for the shark. The gauge for this pattern is 8 sts per 1” / 2.5 cm so you can substitute most sock yarns. You the pattern is included as part of the kit. You can also purchase it stand alone from Ravelry or from Jimmy Beans.
Give it a try
If you’re looking for a project that celebrates summer, if you love knitting with beautiful yarn, are interesting in learning a few new techniques and want to baffle your friends “What is that on your socks?” then this is the perfect project for you.
I look forward to your feedback and can’t wait to see your Shiver of Sharks.