Yesterday I got a welcome package in the mail from Three Irish Girls: a pair of handknit socks. Now, these weren’t just any two pairs of socks. This pair of socks were the samples made for Three Irish Girls’ back in the day when I designed Totoro and Isis wings for them – two of the very first patterns I ever designed for them. Seeing these two pairs of socks was like meeting old friends you didn’t know you had – both these samples were made by hired knitters, and sent straight to TIG headquarters.
Meanwhile, since I was new to the designing, I also created my own pairs of the socks, testing out the idea before I wrote it into a pattern.
I thought it would be interesting to compare the two samples side-by-side.
Here you see Isis Wings, in both variations. First, note my pair, worn with many washings and faded to grey from a sit in the sun. There’s a stitch I noticed I need to mend marked by a stitch marker; the bottom is more darn than original sock. The yarn I made my sample for was a little larger than the final yarn used for Isis Wings – the motif on mine ends up looking more open and bold. For the final Isis wings I decided to set the heel decreases in a little, and I created a little bit of rounder toe. The ribbing for the cuff on the final version is shorter, and I did something simpler and less distinctive than the 2×2 ribbing on my sample. You might notice that one of my Isis Wings socks is taller than the other: I’ve mentioned before how I forgot a repeat on one of my socks.
On Totoro the differences are a little more subtle. The patterning with the slipped stitch V is the same; I changed the heel from a riverbed heel to a short row heel. At the time, I couldn’t figure out how to write a Riverbed heel and grade it the way I wanted. I added more repeats to the top on the final version. Again, I couldn’t figure out how to wrap the pattern around the leg and grade it for different sizes, so the cuff of the sock has a column of missing V’s up each side. If I were to go back, I’d either re-grade the pattern, or add some other feature up the leg on the side so it doesn’t look so empty.