My first thought about this pattern is that it’s pretty rare that a sock pattern with 72 stitches is going to fit my foot. Especially if said pattern is worked on size 2 needles. So, I cast on 60 stitches. When I had finished 1 ½ repeats on the leg of the first sock I tried it on, and found that it seemed to be on the brink of being too small. So I only worked 2 repeats of the pattern on the leg (instead of 3) reasoning that if the sock was slightly on the small side then it would be better shorter than longer. I need not have worried. Once I finished the sock and tried it on I found that it fit me perfectly fine, and it probably would have fit me if I had cast on, say, 55 stitches. So, if you’re considering making this pattern and are worried about sizing I would really urge you to go smaller rather than larger. This pattern is very, very stretchy. In a good way.
I have to confess that when the pattern was first published I was very much intrigued and wanted to knit it. I even brought the pattern to gym to peruse while I exercised on the treadmill. Unfortunately, I soon read in blogland that the pattern was really difficult to execute. Even the Yarn Harlot proclaimed it to be so. I got a little spooked. What if I was being over-confident? What did I know? Maybe I couldn’t really knit this pattern. So I put it away for a while, to age. I still intended to knit the pattern but I just wasn’t ready to tackle it yet. Because I had inwardly decided that Pomatomus was “too hard,” when I decided to tackle it I was still working on that premise: the pattern was “too hard” for me and maybe I couldn’t really knit it because maybe I wasn’t that smart of a knitter after all.
I was wrong of course. The pattern is challenging and slightly fiddly, but really, it’s no more difficult than the Embossed Leaves Socks. In fact, the stitch pattern for Pomatomus was much easier to memorize. And it was no more fiddly than Kew. Less so. So, the stitch pattern is easy to memorize, not that fiddly, and the sock construction is basically like every other top-down, heel flap heel, square toe sock that I have every knit. And. The stitch pattern is ingenious. Seriously. The combination of the twisted stitch rib with the corresponding yarn overs and decreases creates this scaly pattern that is not only an innovative bit of lace, but stands out in relief. It’s lacy but also textured. It’s very cool.
In light of all the nice things that I have to say about the pattern, I feel that I should disclose the not so nice things as well. First, the entire pattern is worked in a twisted stitch rib. For me, this means that I knit it slowly because I have to switch the yarn from front to back or back to front with each stitch. In addition, all of the knit stitches are knit through the back loop and it took me a good while to get into the rhythm of it. I think the chart for the pattern is also somewhat misleading. You are always knitting the knits and purling the purls in this pattern but portions of the charts make it appear that you are knitting the purls and purling the knits. If you follow the pattern, stitch by stitch, you will be fine but this discrepancy could be very confusing. You also have to purl through the back loop on the heel flap, a maneuver that I find to be pretty fiddly. But it’s pretty.
My other problems with the pattern all relate to the fact that I took out a pattern repeat, and substituted a yarn. The beauty of casting on 72 stitches is that when you divide 72 you get 36 which is three full pattern repeats. I cast on 60 stitches, which is 30 stitches when you divide it, or 2 ½ pattern repeats on the top of the foot. Since the stitch pattern on the top of the foot simply continues from the leg, that meant that I had six stitches (half a repeat) before the full two pattern repeats. What to do with those six stitches that doesn’t look jackassed? In the end I did a kind of modified stitch repeat. I knit in twisted rib for the first four or five rows, then threw in the decrease and yarn over that would be knit if there was a full repeat there. I continued in this way until row 17 or so, then finished up in twisted rib. Basically, I fudged it the best that I could. The finished product looks pretty good though. I put in enough of the increases and decreases to make little points on the side of the foot, and the rest isn’t really noticeable.
My last gripe isn’t with the pattern, but with the way the toe on my finished sock looks. Since the Socks That Rock yarn that I’m using is of a much heavier gauge then the pattern yarn, I had to overcompensate and ended up decreasing every row for seven? ten? rows to get the sock to be the right length. I don’t like the way that it looks because the drastic decreasing caused little funny points on the sides of the toe. I think I’m going to have to rip back and start the toe decreases a half a repeat sooner. Right now, the socks would be fine for wearing around the house but I can’t imagine trying to stuff those toes into shoes.