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.