I thought it was time to give the world’s most popular sock pattern a try.
Boy my feet are getting happier and happier by the day.
Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A., from the winter 2006 Knitty (here on Ravelry)
Size: lady’s size 9 with 9-inch foot circumference and 9.5-inch foot length
Yarn: Zwerner Garn Opal Neon 4-ply fingering weight, color 1937 dye lot #1, 75% wool / 25% polyamide; I used about 3/4 of a skein, totaling approximately 74 grams/2.64 oz or 347.5 yards*/318 meters.
Needles: Knit Picks 6″ nickel-plated double-pointed needles, set of 5 size 1.5 (2.5 mm)
Modifications: Worked toe-up, with short row heel, 1×1 twisted ribbing and stretchy bind-off
Started: September 24, 2008
Finished: October 3, 2008
* Incidentally, this is the exact same yardage I used for my Bella Catena Italiana socks. Spooky.
When I saw how many people have knit Monkey socks before me, raving about how great the pattern is, I wondered if it could ever live up to the hype. I am so happy that not only did it meet my expectations, it completely surpassed them.
I decided to make these toe-up, even though that would mean flipping the chart upside-down. While there are patterns for toe-up Monkeys, I really did want to try the original chart as designed. I rather enjoy the look of the pattern done toe-up, as it makes little V’s and upward-pointing triangles. Somehow that seems optimistic.
The lace pattern is about as intuitive as I’ve ever seen and addictive as all get-out. I had previously said that Bella Catena Italiana were the fastest socks I’d ever knit, but these Monkeys were decidedly speedier. I mean, 10 days?? Insanity!
I think I was just into the groove, and I was visiting my parents, so sock-knitting seemed to be a great companion to talking story, watching the debates, and whining about my thesis. Mostly though, I’m going to go with the addictiveness of the pattern, which begged me “just one more repeat, just a few more rows…”
I’m sure others have deconstructed the glory that is the Monkey chart before, but I think so much of its beauty comes in the plain rows. Each patterned row is followed by a rather plain sequence of knits and purls that absorb the increases and decreases. Within an eleven row repeat, there are basically only 4 rows with patterning, 3 which are knit completely plain, and 4 which are so simple they may as well be plain. This is a lot of fast and easy knitting, but with a great pay-off, as the lace becomes structural, textured, and really quite lovely.
The fit on these is fabulous, and I think I’m either really lucky with the ratio of pattern repeats to my foot’s length, or I’ve figured out exactly where to start the short-row heels on socks. My boyfriend recently took a jab at me, saying that all I ever knit is socks for myself, and while he’s right (and I felt appropriately selfish), I worry that I may not be able to get this kind of fit and comfort knitting for someone else, if I don’t have them around to try it on as I go. I guess I’ll have to give it a shot and see.
Back when I bought this yarn, I said:
This yarn is so cheerful and bright. It is positively electric with happiness, glowing with warmth and intense color. I feel as though it would be impossible to have a bad day when wearing socks knit in such a merry yarn.
I worried about how it may work into a pattern, and yes, the colors are pretty crazy, but I’m happy with the wacky stripes. As I knit, I realized that the colors formed a primary rainbow of red, coral, orange, yellow, and a gorgeous teal blue bouncing back and forth. As they laid side by side, they looked less neon to me than in the skein, but they still didn’t look muddy or cancel out each others’ saturation, which is an enjoyable thing about such pure color.
The put-up with Opal is nice and generous at 465 yards – with 7 repeats on the foot and 8 on the leg, I still have a quarter of the ball left. It felt nice to knit with, sturdy and well-spun, and they are wonderfully comfortable to wear.
I even like the way these socks look on the inside.
I had named these socks after one of my all-time favorite songs, “Shock the Monkey” by Peter Gabriel. Cause yknow, neon, electric, shock…? Really, I think it was because I knew one day I would want to gratuitously link to this video on my blog. Hehehe.
I feel silly saying I highly recommend this pattern, since really, doesn’t it recommend itself? But I do, and I enjoyed it immensely, and I’d be surprised if I didn’t knit another pair. They were fun, the fastest socks I’ve ever knit, and even in such a crazy yarn, I think they look pretty smashing. Happy feet indeed.
Previous Entries on this Project:
Ahem, none. Kind of sneaked on and off the needles.