So hey, have you noticed I’ve been having a sockmoment? If it bores you, rest easy. These are the last pair I’ll have to show you for a while. I’m hearing the siren call of shawls and sweaters instead.
Once upon a time I amassed a whole lotta yarn. I was an intrepid young knitter with a bit of disposable income and still developing fiscal self-control. I was too cheap for a lot of things (lunches out, a home phone, cable television, Park Slope rent) but not yarn, no no! I accumulated it in big bites and small bites which amounted to bins of yarn that I’m *still* working on knitting through. These things can take a while, especially when you’re always more interested in knitting with the new yarn and not the old which, like myself, just keeps getting older. Tastes change, and I did get rid of some stuff I knew I was never going to use, but even still I have enough yarn on hand to knit through the next layoff, 66% single-year increase in real estate taxes, illness, baby (not that any of those are planned or in progress) or whatever blow to personal finance my future has in store. It’s an investment, you see.
This yarn, though, THIS YARN. These 2 skeins, with 4 friends (2 pink + 2 yellow), were the FIRST. We’re talking deep stash from way back when my heart trilled at the idea of knitting socks for the first time. Back when stash, if I had one, was contained in a single bag rather than a series of bins. I was on vacation in Chicago and souvenir yarn shopping for the first time when I laid eyes on the Koigu KKPM and I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited before or since to buy yarn. It was my first extravagant yarn purchase. It was my first souvenir yarn purchase. It was the gateway yarn to Yarns of Superior Quality. It was yarn that I never regretted buying, even if it took more than 10 years to turn into something.
Pattern: Shur’tugal by Alice Yu
Yarn: Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM)
Colorway: I forgot to look and who’m I kidding – this yarn is more than 10 years old so what does it matter? Go check out Koigu’s other colorways, they’re all gorgeous.
I’m on a Socktopus bender. The patterns are beautiful, worth working your way through some janky charts and instructions. In the book’s defense, I’ve cast on 5 pairs of socks from this book (2 aren’t finished, don’t judge!) and Vorticity was the only pattern that gave me any trouble.
Thank goodness I have so much lovely yarn on hand for my renewed interest in complicated sock knitting. I knew I was keeping it for a reason.
You know how people interrupt their own story to think hard (and out loud) about how long ago the thing that they’re talking about happened? They get that faraway look in their eyes and completely derail their train of thought and the conversation you thought you were having?
Now that I’m become increasingly aged I understand why we do that.
Pattern: Undulating Rib Socks
Yarn: Claudia’s Handpainted (pretty sure)
Colorway: Who knows, and if I did it’s long discontinued
I had always been so bored by these conversations that I never expected the experience of how personally fascinating it is that, for example a yarn has been in my stash for +/- 13 years. I remember visiting Seattle, back when Seattle still felt like “home”, and going to Acorn Street Shop with Cindy and those intervening years disappear. Past experience butts with the present like the ends of a piece of string yarn forming a loop. I’m not thinking about all that’s happened since that occasion; I’m marveling at that the fact that for a beat it feels like none of it has.
And then my brain sorts itself out and I’m back and realizing I’ve lost my audience and the thread both because nobody’s interested except the speaker in how long ago things happened or the thing that happened before or after as you try to pinpoint the year and season.
Outstanding can mean “not done yet” or it can mean “exceptionally good.” This post is to celebrate these socks’ graduation from one use of the adjective to the other after being in WIP purgatory for 6 years.
Folks, I want to be able to say that 6 years is a long time for a project to languish. And maybe it is, objectively, if you’re the sort of knitter who makes a point of finishing the things she starts. I’d say it’s about average for me if I compare it to the other WIPs in the basket/closet/bin/drawer/unused luggage/vault/mom’s house/off-site storage facility. I jest, I jest.
Sometimes life interrupts knitting, but more often a project is packed away because something’s not working. As you’d expect, upon taking this pattern up again I remembered exactly why I’d put it down.
The chart uses a red line and an indistinguishably thicker red line in the same ink to indicate two different things. Moreover – get ready for some controversial knitting semantics – I disagree with the idea that a 4-stitch jog constitutes a “row.” It’s not. Call it the jog it is. Put those 4 stitches at the end of the prior chart row. Or at the very least state what’s happening in the pattern instructions instead of relying on a chart symbol in the same ink used to indicate a pattern repeat. I mean, c’mon, help a knitter out.
By the time I picked these up again I had forgotten everything I had already learned the hard way except that the chart was garbage in a way I couldn’t remember. I’m really quite good at reading charts, though, so I powered through, much as I did the first go-around, and wondered what my problem had been years before until I realized the pattern wasn’t stacking the way it was supposed to. Back to ravelry’s helpful notes I went and oh, hello other instance where there’s a end of row red line impersonating a pattern repeat red line.
This became a project I was’t going to let outsmart me. I can be stubborn. When I find myself digging in it’s usually a sign that I”m cutting off my nose to spite my face, but this is only knitting so I dug in, knit the damn sock leg no less than 4 times before getting it right, and finally finally got my pair of socks.
Get ready for a slew of socks, I’m having a bit of a moment. Or maybe the new socks I’ve cast on will languish for 6 years before you hear about them. It’s happened before.
Because socks are my on-the-go take-anywhere-and-everywhere knitting I forget how fast they fly off the needles if you just sit down and work on them. It took me 4 months to get to just past the gusset on the 2nd sock knitting these in found moments outside the house. It took me me a cheesy holiday movie and a bit of Christmas Eve morning to finish it off. Makes me wonder if the volume of knitting I accomplish out and about is worth the trouble of carrying it.
What am I even saying, OF COURSE IT IS.
And that’s all the holiday makes I have to share. Christmas is in books., or it will be soon after I get it all packed up and moved out of my living room.
I carry socks everywhere, the idea being that if I have them with me I’ll be able to whip them out and work on them in found moments when I’m out of the house. No matter that those found moments are so few and far between that it takes me 3.5 months to finish a pair of socks I could have made in a week back when I commuted by subway.
They were ostensibly socks for Hubs for Christmas, but they didn’t make it and I wasn’t really trying. I sourced a finished pair from my box ‘o finished socks for the holiday and threw these into the same for next year.
Hubs wears the socks I make him, even the traffic cone orange ones. But only on weekends, he informs me.
Those socks, the glaringly bright orange ones, our neighbor was laughing at them one day when Hubs was wearing them with shorts. “I made those socks!” I proclaimed. It felt silly and intimate and very us.
I continue to struggle to get any workable photos at all. Light! I need light! Light is hard to come by in December when you report to work at 8 am and the sun has set by the time you get home. There were a few occasions when I thought I’d wait for the weekend to take photos, but those weekends were so busy and overcast that it didn’t improve my results. Given my time constraints I’m settling for light and leaving composition to the side.
Composition is difficult because the morning light is by the windows and door at the back of our house and further complicated by the fact that we’re not a tidy family. A photo of stuffed trees on the latch hook rug I made years ago isn’t great, but hey: at least you can’t see dishes, toys, books, laundry, or any of the other detritus I don’t see until I whip out the camera (and get frustrated) or have company (and get embarrassed).
I made the smaller of the stuffed tree patterns. Note that “smaller” does not mean “small” – these stand 11.5 inches high. The larger tree stands 17.5 inches high and would take up a lot of real estate on a table.
I picked up the fabric when I was at Jo-Ann’a for interfacing. I saw the Santa flamingo fabric right away, but didn’t see anything that coordinated. I poked around a bit, hemmed and hawed, deliberated making stuffed trees at all, finally found the blue snowflake fabric, and rushed back to where the flamingo fabric was, sort-of invading a fellow shopper’s personal space in the process.
“Did you want Santa flamingo fabric?” I asked, in explanation, as I grabbed the bolt. She laughed at me. No, she didn’t want Santa flamingo fabric.
I’m sending these along with some socks I fished out of my box-o-sox. Yay!
I’ve always carried a comfort objects with me. Back in my analog days I used to bring a book everywhere I went. Now instead of a book or my kindle I carry sock knitting everywhere I go. And thank goodness, too, because when I ran myself down to the Minute Clinic last night (no influenza for me, just a non-specific something viral. Yay?) I was able to get most of the way done with this pair’s 2nd sock.
I like to knit with whatever garish. colorway catches my eye. They often don’t result in socks that I particularly like, but that’s OK. I stick them in my Box O’Finished Socks. Somebody will claim them someday.
I toted this project around in project bag I made last Christmas using Indigobird’s Reversible Knot Bag tutorial. I’d bought a stack of fat quarters in fanciful holiday fabric (love fanciful holiday fabric!) and kept sewing until the stack was gone. After making the first couple I added about an inch of depth to the pattern to more comfortably carry a ball of sock yarn. They don’t actually work that well for on-the-go, toss-in-your-purse-and-run knitting. My knitting keeps falling out, but I’ve been too lazy and/or forgetful to transfer back to the bag I made using this reversible draw string bag tutorial that travels better.
It’s not such a big deal that my knitting falls out continually because I used the scraps from those project bags to make a bunch of coordinating Double-Pointed Needle Keepers using this tutorial. I had to add an inch or so to the width of the case to accommodate the length of my cheapo Susan Bates dpns I use. I unabashedly ❤ my Susan Bateses. I have personal sock rules habits: they should be knit on dpns unless knitted in a complicated pattern divisible by two in which case two circulars should be used; they should be knit from the top down; they should be knit one at a time. All of these “rules” are debatable and a matter of personal preference, but it’s the habits I’ve fallen into that make whatever sock I have in progress my comfort object.