A Summit sock

Published on Thursday August 20th, 2009

Our Sock Summit homework for Meg Swansen’s Arch-Shaped Stockings class was to work the leg of a child’s sock in Guernsey wool over 44 stitches. I had no Guernsey wool and felt I’d better not even try to order just one skein from Schoolhouse Press, because who’s ever been able to justify paying the full shipping rate for one skein of yarn? We all know what road that leads down, and since I haven’t knit up all the wool I bought from them last year at Knitting Camp, I decided I’d just pull something from the stash. I thought it should still be something from Schoolhouse, and I had lots of Satakieli left over from a hat. It would be quite a bit lighter than Guernsey, but I figured I’d knit it on 2’s or 3’s and it would be okay.

No dice. My 3 dpns were in the second Islander Sweater. My 2’s were in a baby bootie and a mitten. My 1.5’s were in the Makarovna socks. This is what happens when you start too many projects and don’t finish them in a timely manner, kids. So I cast on with my 1’s. (Luckily I have two sets. The other was in a glove.) And I have a very small sock to show for it.


I really should have put something in this photograph for scale. You’ll just have to believe me that the sole of this sock is about 3″ long. Oh well. It will make a charming Christmas tree ornament, don’t you think? Possibly it could go on quite a small baby, although since babies’ feet don’t really have arches I think the clever shaping is probably moot.


This is only one version of seven possible arch-shaped stockings you get with Meg’s pattern. This twisted-stitch sock is the most basic; there’s another lovely Bavarian-style twisted-stitch one, an Aran style patterned after the original knee socks Elizabeth knit for Meg in the ’60s, and several gorgeous colorwork versions. They’re fun to knit, and I loved trying on the Aran knee socks. There might be a pair of those in my future.

The class itself was marvelous, of course. It turned out a friend’s mother from my hometown was in the same session, so we sat together. Meg and Amy recognized me from Camp (and I think it’s amazing how they can do that… all those campers, and they remember our faces!) and said lovely things about Daisy Daisy, which I was glad to have brought to the chilly Convention Center. It’s such a treat to spend time in their presence; if you ever get the chance of a class with them or an opportunity to go up to Wisconsin for Camp or one of their other events, you should leap at it.

In other sock news:


That is a sock inside another sock, both ready for grafting. In fact, they are now grafted. The inside sock I did first (the only option if you don’t want to separate them at this point, and believe me, I want the full magical value of pulling a finished sock out at the end), in the usual way. Then I had to stop and scratch my head. Oh, right. The outside sock is inside out. It has to be grafted inside out. So instead of knit purl, purl knit… purl knit, knit purl? Yep. But you’d be amazed how difficult it is to train yourself out of a little mantra and set of motions you know so well. I accomplished it, though, and along the way I made a realization that ought to serve me well in tackling more difficult grafting… non-stockinet grafting, for instance. Each stitch requires first its opposite, then its own. So a purl stitch must be purled on the first pass, then knit on the second pass. I knew this in a vague way, of course, but once I started thinking about it that way I saw that I could now become a master graftswoman. Bring on hoods with fancy cable patterns!

So the Makarovna socks are grafted, but I decided I had to wait for an audience other than the cat for the moment of truth. We’re off for a few days of family reunion, so the amazing sock trick can be performed in front of all my husband’s relations!

Afterthought sleeves

Published on Wednesday May 27th, 2009

I’m working on the second prototype of the Islander sweater, and thought you might like to see how it looks before the sleeves go on. See the horizontal stripes of colored yarn at each side below the yoke? I’m going to pull those out, pick up the loose stitches above and below, and knit them in the round down to the cuffs. You can also see the short rows above, which lift the back of the neck by about an inch.

The yarn, in case you’re curious, is Koigu leftovers from my Andamento sock and Knit Picks Essential Sock in, I think, Charcoal. I wouldn’t call the latter an ideal yarn for this project. It’s a little thin and hard, not bouncy like the Koigu, but I wanted to use up some stash and I thought the color would work well against the Koigu scraps. Actually, I ran out of the original leftover color a couple of ridges before the end of the yoke, so I broke into a new skein of harmonious blue/mauve Koigu that’s also been marinating in the sock yarn drawer for a good long time.

And once I had that new skein wound up, I couldn’t resist casting on a new sock. Actually two socks. It’s going to be a sock inside a sock, which I’ve wanted to try since I read the passage in War and Peace where Anna Makarovna pulls a second finished sock out from within the visible one, to the amazement and delight of the children. Katrin thinks I’m nuts. But I can’t be the only one who’s intrigued. At least five other people on Ravelry are. I’m knitting the ribbed cuffs separately, but I’ll show you a picture when I join them!

A sock meme? Why not?

Published on Wednesday September 10th, 2008

When did you first learn to knit socks? On my honeymoon. So three years ago June, or roughly nine months into my knitting career.

What’s the first sock you ever knit? The Crusoe socks from Knitty.com, in a KnitPicks Sock Memories colorway called “Hawaii,” gifted to me by Mia as apropos for said honeymoon knitting. That stranded pattern is TIGHT (and the colors are pretty loud), so I hardly ever wear them, but they live in my drawer as keepsakes and laundry-emergency back-up socks.

Favorite Sock Pattern? Nancy Bush’s Friday Harbor socks. Dude, do you have a pair of socks named for your little town?

Favorite needle method? Two circs. Or dpn’s. I’ll use whatever I can lay my hands on when the urge to cast on strikes.

Favorite sock needles? US #0’s = best fabric and least pooling with semi-solid or variegated yarns, at least for me.

Who do you knit socks for? Myself, and my mother, who has the same size feet. But I’m trying to branch out.

How many pairs have you knitted to date? I haven’t kept track. But I’ve only got four pairs available in my sock drawer, so clearly not enough.

What is on your sock knitting to-do list? 1) Finish the above-mentioned new pair; 2) Finish the singles, beginning with Mom’s other Philosopher’s House Sock; 3) Knit up some new designs and the ones in my Rav queue.

What kind of socks do you like to knit-
Striped? Probably. Haven’t actually tried it yet, but I like stripes, and obviously I like socks…
Colorwork? Yep.
Plain Stockinette? Not so much. The reason I haven’t done any yet is because I want a little more excitement for my feet if I’m going to take the time to knit their coverings instead of buying store-socks.
Cabled? Absolutely.
Lace? Ditto.
Anklets? Well, I like to knit with wool, and woolen anklets don’t make that much sense to me. If it’s cold enough for wool socks, it’s cold enough that I don’t want my ankles exposed. Mom feels the same way.
Knee Socks? I aspire to them. One of the singles is a knee sock.
Solid colors? Yes, especially for cables and lace.
Bright and crazy? Bright, yes. Crazy, occasionally.
Faux Fair Isle (the yarn doing all of the work)? If this means those self-jacquard yarns, I haven’t tried it yet. But I bought some for the first time after seeing these – I stumbled across a similar yarn (at least I hope it’s similar – it’s hard to guess exactly what those are going to do by looking at the skein) in my hometown LYS, which I always try to support on my visits anyway. I also want to use some of the variegateds in my stash in company with plain colors, sort of along the lines of this.

Tag a few sock knitters here: If you are reading, knit socks, and are feeling the mid-week content slump, consider yourself tagged!

Reproduction knitting*

Published on Saturday April 12th, 2008

Mr. Garter has long had a Favorite Sock. It was given to him roughly five years ago, and he pronounced it the finest sock in the land and measured all other socks against it. Meanwhile, he rejected offers of handknit socks from his fiancée-wife. Notice I speak of the übersock in the singular: it lost its mate after only a few wearings, but could never been thrown out because of its peerlessness. It moved with us from one apartment to another in Manhattan and then to Portland. I think it was before that last move, when we were admitting to each other the stupidity of carting around a seven-quart stock pot’s worth of single socks (although they’re useful in packing: you can stuff box corners with them or even dress your drinking glasses in them), that I finally took a careful look at the übersock and realized that I could knit it a mate. It was machine knit, but I had to turn it inside out and find a sewn seam at the toe to tell. It has a nice tubular cast on and short-row heels and toes, but it’s a pretty basic ribbed wool sock. So we kept it.

Fast forward to the fall of 2007. I finally stumbled across a tweed sock yarn that was a decent match (I hadn’t been looking all that hard): Regia Tweed 4-Ply. I bought some in a creamy white and a horsey brown, counted stitches on the original and made a guess at the needle size, and was off and knitting in plenty of time to finish my reproduction sock for Mr. G’s birthday at the end of November. I gave it to him, but hadn’t woven in the ends because I wanted to make sure it fit comfortably. It did. He was delighted.

So this week I wove in the ends.


Ãœbersock at left, reproduction at right. Look, it’s got cat hair on it already.


Mr. G can walk like an Egyptian…


… and can almost still twist himself into a reasonable first position. Remind me to tell you sometime about how he took ballet with eight-year-old girls when we were in college. (I guess I just did.) I love a sense of adventure in a man, don’t you?


He’s already worn them three times.

* The kind of reproduction that doesn’t involve making babies. I didn’t even think of that sense of the word until I’d already posted this, dudes.