February Sockies

Due date plus six here, and all is well on the home front. Every night we go to bed wondering, is this the night? Every day I check the weather, hoping it’ll safe to drive into the city to the midwife center.

With all this baby talk, you might have forgotten that there’s still a self-imposed sock club going on over here. Last month I knit the first pair of socks out of Nancy Bush’s Knitting on the Road, then I did a fun thing. I pulled all the sock yarn I own out of its three (!!) drawers, and matched it up with the rest of the book’s patterns. I wasn’t able to find good matches for all the patterns, mostly the patterns that required a heavier sock yarn and/or multiple colors. But those I have been collecting as well, and at this point I have the yarn for every pair in the book except one slightly problematic one. (Well, half of one – it’s a Christmas stocking). Anyway, I put all the yarn in plastic bags, labeled each with the pattern and page number, and lined them up on the top shelf in the studio.

There’s a joke in there somewhere about “top shelf” yarn; I leave it to you to find it.

Late at night, on January 31st, I took Jared up to the shelf, made him close his eyes, spun him around a few times, and told him to pull out the first bag he touched. He ended up taking the yarn matched with a pattern called “Oslo” – a pair of ankle-length boot socks in sport weight – very quick to knit, with only a 48 stitch circumference, and with a pretty little fair isle cuff.

Pattern Review: This is a nice little pair, aside from the fact that I really can’t fathom why you would need “ankle length boot socks.” I don’t know who owns ankle length boots. I will have to be able to reach my legs to shave them again before I wear them in public, but I would pair them with my patent-leather Dankso’s (coincidentally, the only shoes that my swollen feet still fit into) and a long skirt for a teacher-y sort of look. I followed the pattern pretty exactly, except when it came to attaching the folded-under picot edge. (How I love picot edges!) I don’t believe in seaming when you don’t have to, so I just picked up and knit after the edge was finished. Only, I kinda misjudged the rows, and should have knit one more row before doing the attaching row. So as a result, the picot edge was dangerously flared, as you see above. But including a careful blocking of that edge in the blocking process (always block your fair isle, kids! No exceptions!) seems to have fixed it.

They look downright demure, don’t they? I hope I can pull off demure… Maybe ironic demure.

Yarn Review: To complete these, I picked up one skein of Louet Gems Sport weight from Cloverhill Yarns. Gems is one of those yarns I sold for years without ever actually knitting with it, because let’s face it – if you’ve knit with one well-processed 2-ply sock yarn, you’ve knit with them all, right? Well, okay, yeah. This yarn wasn’t brimming with novelty. But it’s good stuff, and comes in nice solid colors. I wish I had something better to say about it than that it’s unobjectionable, but hey – sometimes unobjectionability is the true mark of excellence. Like in, say, driving a car.

Oh, and for the contrasting color I used leftovers of Shelridge from last months’ socks. I thought I’d have to double it to match the sport weight, but that was way too thick. Turns out that just knitting the finer yarn a little looser (by holding it in my left hand for the fair isle bit) was enough to make it match quite well.

I also managed to meet my goal of knitting a pair of baby socks to go with mommy’s socks. I was bored of the green-red combo, so I used a bit of white that was laying around instead. To make these, I cast on 30 stitches, and instead of making a folded-over cuff, I framed the fair isle section in purls. I made these a little big, thinking they might be Christmas-appropriate, and having found a chart in Vintage Baby Knits that told me 6-12 month baby socks are 4.5″ long, I complied. I finished the toes with a round toe, decreasing in only three places, to make it a little easier to fiddle with than a classic toe on 30 stitches.

This whole goal of knitting baby socks to go with grown up socks might be riskier than I thought, at least at some points. Below, the baby sock on the left has a normal, short-ish tail left for weaving in. The sock on the right? The tail that remains is all the yarn I had left. I really didn’t think I was going to make it at the end; I thought I’d have to pull out the other toe, make shorter socks, fuss and fiddle even more with tiny round toes… and I made it. With eight inches left. That, my friends, is living on the edge.

Except I just realized… In collecting yarn to knit the socks in this book, I strategized carefully to buy the minimum… which meant for some multi-colored socks, planning on using leftovers from one pair as a contrast color another. …aaand I just remembered that I was counting on the leftovers from this pair to be the second contrast color on a three-color sport weight pair.



9 thoughts on “February Sockies

  1. They’re just too cute! I was going to ask you about the socks, but figured you had enough going on right now. By the way, I have ankle length boots – almost makes me want to do that pattern.


  2. Well, since I’m technically illiterate, I don’t know how to post pictures. The boots are lined with fleece, come up over the ankle about two inches, and you fold the cuff down. I got them for the tread when I worked up at the school in the mountains. So – should I invest in the Nancy Bush book? I’m always looking for ways to spend more knitting-related money. I’m not a great sock knitter, but I could always learn. Another observation: when you said you had Jared pick out a sock bundle, I thought the pair would be for him!


  3. Oh, haha, no. At this point, all the socks are for moi. I’m not sure how Jared feels about picot edges for himself…

    Thanks for the description of your boots. I guess these would work with those, if you made the leg a little longer so the cuff could fold over your particular boots! I love Nancy Bush sock books; I have all three of them and plan to knit every pattern. She’s a real-life historian, so her adaptations are very genuine (in her first and third books), and her inspiration for original designs (like in this book) comes from actual travel. They’re all cuff-down, if that matters to you; some people are really into this toe-up thing. I couldn’t tell you why I find toe-up socks less fulfilling.


  4. I made her “Traveler’s Pouch” from Interweave Knits magazine last year, and took it to CA to use when walking around. Colleen liked it so much she asked for one, so I made it for her for Christmas. I need to redo the strap – she wants it longer. I’ll do it after I finish the blanket this weekend. Nancy Bush is really inspiring.


  5. I have been wearing ankle boots for 3-4 years now and I love em! They are so much easier to deal with than long boots. Now, they sound a little longer than Kathy’s boots, but ankle socks do very well in them so maybe they count.


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