Labor Socks

Hooray, baby is here, we’re all very happy about it, now back to talking about knitting! Baby M gets a particularly early start as a sock model, at only six days old. She looks pretty excited about it, don’t you think?

Yes, I chose the route of self control, and before starting another thing, I finished the Dalarna socks. The yarn for the sheep sweaters still sits in a clear plastic bag in the project basket, screaming at me with incredulity every time I look that way.

These were the socks I worked on during our many trips in and out of the city in the week before M’s birth. These were the socks that I knit a few stitches on as active labor started, in between contractions, while leaning over a pile of pillows, trying stupidly to stay awake to finish a movie. And thanks to one more long car ride to M’s first pediatrician visit, and a quiet movie night, they were the first thing bound off after M joined our family. (Yes, we went back and watched Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and liked it rather better than while in labor.)

Pattern review: The pattern is “Dalarna” from Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush – the penultimate pattern in my knit-through of this book. I chose this as the plainer of the last two pairs, knowing I’d not have the patience or brainpower for all the little cables in the other. Aside from a little fussiness at the beginning, these socks were just the brand of quiet simplicity that I wanted. The knit-and-purl “clocks” (that’s what it’s called when  you have a little vertical pattern that goes down the sides of leg and foot like that) did not disrupt my knitting zen.

I did get thrown off a bit, though, at the bottom of the cuff. I simply misread the directions, and skipped over the second bit of decorative “chain stitch” that was supposed to frame the ribbing. If you look at the picture above, you’ll see it’s quite absent, that the ribbing goes straight into the leg.

I didn’t notice this until I was well into the foot of the first sock, and despite my willingness to rip back and fix a pooling problem, I wasn’t about to go back to the beginning at that point. The chain stitch looked rather pointless to me anyway, almost like a fatty row of purling, so did I really need it? But framing is nice. And looking at it more closely, I realized I could probably fake it with some embroidery. This I did, and I look upon the result with some pride.

Especially since I managed to carry it off so that the cuff is still stretchy. Go me.

Yarn review: my little Welsh treasure, “Freshwater” from Cariad Yarns, was delightful to work with. The many-plied structure did not split or act overtwisted, and I think the little bit of cashmere will make them very nice to wear.

I did slightly change the circumference of the leg and foot (63 stitches instead of 60) to get a spiraling effect with the colors rather than blatant hateful pooling. But, humorously, this could not have stopped a very different color effect inherent to this skein of yarn:

The socks are completely different. For some reason the darks in one half of the skein are way darker than in the other! Not the slightest thing I could have done about that. Except, I suppose, knit a leg, cut yarn, knit another leg, then knit the two feet. But that would involve a near-total do-over, and no thanks.

I don’t mind, though, because they are still beautiful, each in their own right. They were just determined to be fraternal twins, and who am I to stand in the way of yarn genetics? (These last pictures just don’t do the earthy colors justice, sorry, but I wasn’t getting out of bed.)

With these out of the way, I am free again to cast on something new. I know it should be sheep sweaters. I rather want it to be sheep sweaters. But in the meantime, my bird-obsessed toddler has come up with her own priority project, and I bow to her wishes. More on that another day.

I leave you with a contemplative newborn face.

Have a great week!

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