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Inspiration and Improvisation: An Experiment in Cabled Socks

Sometimes, I get so caught up in the potential of what I’m knitting that I drop my pattern and just make it up as I go. Often, this has predictable results: frustration, confusion, and ripping the whole thing back to start over. A few times, I’ve finished a great project- only to realize that I can’t remember how I knitted it. Recently, I’ve started taking notes as I improvise; this has been particularly helpful with mitt and sock prototypes where I need to knit a matched pair. Eventually, I hope to like a finished improv project enough to fine-tune a full pattern that can be posted and shared!

My most recent prototype is my first attempt to incorporate cables into my improvised sock habit. The cable is fairly simple, so fitting it in didn’t require too many calculations. I drew it out on graph paper from the written format where I found it in Diana Gates’ Traveler Socks pattern.

Experimental projects are a good use of the abundance of cheap acrylic in our stash. This lavender shade of worsted weight yarn shows the cable nicely! I’m curious how it will hold up to machine washing and drying.

These did come out successfully sock-shaped, but I’m not happy enough with my heel and toe construction to start writing up a real pattern based on this project. With every pair of socks I knit, I’m getting better at understanding how the shaping works! I have a lot left to learn, though. Given how many prototypes are in my future, it’s a good thing I enjoy wearing handknit socks as much as I love making them!