I'm about halfway through the right leg of the Maelstrom socks that I started late last night, and I really like the way they are coming along. The gauge feels and looks good, even though it's a little less "firm" than I prefer for socks. I'm using a larger needle than the zeroes that I use for most socks, because the pattern starts with 65 stitches, and I'm not looking for a repeat of the Froot Loop issue (great firm fabric, too small for me).
The pattern itself is really interesting, and in some ways it reminds me of the Monkey pattern even though it looks very different. This stitch pattern has a lot of torque--the decreases are all on the right side (for the right foot) of the pattern, and the increases are all on the left side, so there's a very noticable twist. Usually when I knit socks I use the cast on tail as my "beginning of round" indicator, but there's so much twist that I'm now starting each round about halfway around the circle from the tail. I've been using a split-ring marker in the fabric to mark the beginning instead, and moving it every few rounds, so that I don't just blow right past it.
I love the way the foot pattern flows out of the ribbing. Love. It. I love working with the Sundara Sock yarn. Love. It.
The Monkey, as you may know from knitting it (you've all knit it, right?) has no twist at all--the Vs are very vertical. Maelstrom also uses V shapes for the increases and decreases, and it feels like a mixed up, spiraling Monkey. It also makes me feel like Cookie A. is a genius, which I guess I already kind of knew. Other ways this pattern reminds me of the Monkey:
- while knitting it, I keep thinking "why not do another repeat right now?" I really hope that this isn't what I'm thinking all day on Monday, while I'm at my normal job.
- for a complicated pattern (13 or 14 stitches wide x six rows) it's pretty easy to remember without relying heavily on the chart. This came in handy today at Safeco Field, when I snuck in a couple of repeats before the game and between innings.
- it's one good looking sock. Different than Monkey, but very good looking.
The sock gets less Monkey-like as it goes along, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops. There are currently 4 pair started on Ravelry, the other two with photos are much further along than mine and they look great. I really want to get to the foot--and not just because it will mask my incredibly pasty ankles during future photo shoots.I encourage you all to start a pair immediately, although those of you who don't knit (I'm looking at you, S____ McA____ and A__ M_______) might want something slightly more basic to start with.