I know Janel Laidman's new book just came out and, as usual, I'm running behind. I'm two seasons behind on Supernatural, I'm two books behind on the Sano Ichiro series, and now one book behind with Janel's creations. Gah.
Last year, before her first book came out, I found--and I don't remember how--the pattern for Nordic Lights on the Spindlicity website. My attempt at knitting the socks wasn't a complete disaster, but it probably would have been better if I'd gone up a full needle size instead of just half. That wasn't the author's fault at all, but it was certainly mine since I didn't--as usual--do a gauge swatch or periodic checks to see if the sock would fit. I liked the pattern so much, I asked for a copy of the finished book for Christmas, and I'm just now getting around to tackling one of the patterns from it. The rest of the patterns in the book are amazing. There's colorwork, there's lace, there are cables, cuff down, toe up, sideways... something for everyone, really. I have plans to knit a certain pair of socks for a certain scientifically-inclined friend if I can track down some yarn worthy of the task. Ms. Laidman's thorough descriptions of the necessary techniques are covered in the index... with pictures, no less!
The subtitle "Socks For Adventurous Knitters" definitely fits. I don't really consider myself an expert knitter, but neither am I a novice, so when I read through the instructions for the Rivendell socks, I thought I'd be fine as long as I stuck to the directions and remembered to go up a full needle size. I'm still progressing through the leg of the first sock and it's taken me three days, two different types of yarn, and three frogs to figure it out. Even with pictures, I had some difficulty with the concept of wrapped, clustered stitches, and it took the assistance of several people on Ravelry to get it sorted out--thank you ElvaUndine, Greenethumb, et al. Once I succeeded, however, I felt quite sheepish because it's really not as difficult or confusing as it seems at first glance.
Rivendell's complexities are best served by yarn with subtle shading or a solid color and not, as I found out, the wildly shifting colors of something like Kauni or Patons Kroy Sox FX. Thank the Mother of All for the two balls of Dalegarn Daletta hiding in my stash, though I find myself fantasizing over knitting another pair in something like this...