Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve put together a good knitting-content post. There have been several projects in the interim – so many that I’ve realized I have quite a bit of work to do over on Ravelry as well. Today I’m going to do some catching up on the sock projects. It’s really sad that I’ve failed so badly to update that I can’t even remember all the pairs of socks I’ve knit lately, or even all the yarn details of the pairs I can remember. I’ll do my best. Here’s the pile I dragged together earlier this week…
Let’s start with the two oldest pairs, the two in the middle. Sophie picked out the yarn for the darker purple pair some time last Spring. We were over at the Yarnery in St. Paul, and I was planning to teach another sock class over there. These were intended to be sample socks for the store, then eventually keep Sophie’s feet warm. The class unfortunately didn’t fill, and the socks turned out a little big for Sophie’s feet. They fit Julie perfectly, though, so they’re going to her for now, and some day they will be handed down to Sophie. I think the yarn is Dream in Color Smooshie, but to be honest I can’t find the ball band so I could be totally wrong. It is lovely squishy stuff, and I loved working with it.
I’m showing them unblocked because I don’t bother to block socks when they’re going straight on to an immediate family member’s feet. It is a very small exception to my always-block-everything general rule.
Meanwhile, Julie and I ended up over at the yarn shop on a different day during the summer – before the above socks were finished. She picked out a skein of Cascade Heritage Silk, in a color strikingly similar to the one Sophie had chosen. This yarn was a finer fingering than the one Sophie had chosen, so I cast on with smaller needles (Addi Turbo 00) and more stitches – 64 around – so the stitches would be tight enough for durability. Turns out, Julie’s feet are almost as big around as mine – which are fairly skinny. These were going to be tight on her.
I had already finished the first one when I discovered this problem, but the plan made itself pretty obvious when I had Sophie try on the socks I’d just finished for her – I was making her wait for hers till Julie’s were also done. I finished the second sock, only an inch and a half shorter to fit Sophie’s little hoof, then cut apart the first one mid-foot, ripped out and inch and a half and grafted it back together. In my mind, that was more fun than ripping and re-knitting the toe. Here, you can just barely see the line of grafted stitches, and that is without blocking or having been worn. On the foot, it is completely unnoticeable.
Here they are trying them on, supervised by our loyal Fred.
Get out of the way, Fred. We say that a lot around here.
Both girls were happy. Sophie says they make her feet hot, but it is only October. Maybe she’ll appreciate them more come February, but she does take after Joe, who tends to run warm.
I have a constant, low-level fear when it comes to knitting – I’m always afraid that I will have a desperate need for plain stockinette knitting and nothing in hand ready for such an event. You know, long car ride, boring meeting, waiting room, who knows. One of the reasons I like to knit socks from my toe-up short-row pattern is because they contain large uninterrupted stretches of plain stockinette tubes, which I can knit on without looking or really even thinking about. Usually, I try to set up a couple of just-finished toes so that I always have one to grab when whatever other project I’m working on doesn’t fit the knitting opportunity.
A while back, I bought a few balls of Schoppel Wolle Ambiete from Webs when it was on sale – I know I didn’t pay the $10 a ball they’re asking for it now because I bought the three balls necessary to knit a pair of socks for my large feet, plus another three in another colorway, which means the price must have been pretty good for me to add that much more yarn to an already overflowing stash of sock yarn. Oh yeah, conveniently enough Ravelry tells me I paid $21.48/3 balls back in January. I especially liked the fact that this was a squishy sport weight, which knits up faster than the skinniest fingerings, yet still fits in my shoes and keeps my feet a tiny bit warmer. And I liked the colors.
So at some point between January and last week, I’d knit up a toe and had it laying around waiting for its moment. Last week, Joe and I had the opportunity to take our first tiny vacation alone since Julie was born 8 years ago. We drove to Chicago – an 8 hour drive – and back in three days. For a concert. A concert that I couldn’t have cared less about, but that Joe wanted to see and made a great excuse for me to spend a bunch of time alone with my husband, which has not happened in 8 years. Plus, 16 hours of free knitting time. W00t!1! I grabbed the as-yet-unfinished sock that turned out to be for Sophie, and the toe I just told you about. That would be plenty, right? ahem.
By about a third of the way back from Chicago, I’d finished Sophie’s sock and had gotten through the first ball of the Ambiente. Too bad I hadn’t brought a second ball along. Luckily, we were scheduled to spend a night in Madison, WI with some friends, and Joe was willing to stop at a yarn shop there for me to get my yarn fix on. Before I tell you about that adventure, let me say I really like this yarn. It is lovely to work with, I can tell I’m going to love to wear the socks, and holy buckets the colorway is fun to watch as it knits up. I don’t believe I’ve hit a striping repeat after knitting the entire first ball of yarn. Which takes the pressure off me to find the same place in the colorway when I start the second sock. I almost wish I’d bought yarn for a third pair in this yarn – the colorways are certainly appealing.
So. I pulled out my phone, dug around the internet and decided I wanted to check out the Sow’s Ear yarn shop in Madison. It is a combination cafe and yarn shop in a cute downtown area, in an old house type building. It was a nice enough shop with a high-end selection of yarn. Definitely the kind of place I would enjoy hanging out in, although the prices were – well – high-end. I went in there prepared to buy yarn and needles for another sock project, but was kind of hoping to be inspired and/or talked into some other quick project that wouldn’t involve a lot of looking at my hands (I get car sick easily). While the staff was nice, they were not chatty, so I ended up with sock yarn and called it a win.
That evening, I knit up a new toe in the Tittering of Magpies Fingering by Alisha Goes Around. It’s a lovely lilac color that both my daughters are drooling over, with a teeny bit of sparkly “Stellina” fiber spun in. Unfortunately, that first toe had a single mistake in it that I knew was going to drive me batty if I left it, so I broke off the yarn and started over. The second toe came out perfect, and by the time we arrived home in Minneapolis I’d made it well into the heel.
There she is, with the naughty toe looking on in envy. This sock is destined to eventually grace Julie’s foot (and then eventually Sophie’s) but first, it is going to be a test-knit for a pattern I wrote up at least two years ago but never actually published. It’s one that I really love – I love watching Sophie wear the original prototypes – and I hope to get it out in the next few weeks.
And those are the socks on my mind at the moment. Meanwhile, I’m also binding off the shawl I’ve been designing. I think I like it. I hope to get that pattern out in the near future as well – having a bit of free time while the girls are in school means hopefully getting some actual work done, although honestly that “free” time flows through my fingers like water as I run errands, fold laundry, prepare meals, and do a thousand other things that my family needs done. I have some big news about a new role I’ve recently taken on, but that is for another post.