Day 23 – Socks, socks and more socks

Posted: November 24, 2013 in Uncategorized
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I’m knitting a pair of socks. Nothing fancy just knit 3, purl 2 rib with a gusset heel. I’m using my go-to yarn for everyday socks, Patons Kroy Socks, this one in their Burnished Sierra Stripes. This is a very Halloweenish colourway and I started these before Halloween as a gift for my daughter but I put them aside when I decided I needed to knit something for my staff’s Christmas party. That sweater is still in progress. Now there is no pressing need, I’ve turned my focus elsewhere and socks are always needed.

I like Patons Kroy for socks because this yarn wears like iron and I am pretty hard on socks. So is my daughter. She needs warm socks when she walks the dog and these are her favourites as well. She says they are “cozy”. They certainly start off feeling scratchy but once washed they soften considerably. I like to knit socks with a slightly smaller than recommended gauge simply because they turn out so warm that I find I can’t wear them with slippers or I get too hot. And my feet are almost always cold so warm socks are a blessing.

If I want something a little softer or if I’m knitting for someone else then I raid my stash of yarn from Meadowview Alpaca Farm. I love their sock yarn, a blend of alpaca/nylon/merino that is soft and comfortable and warm. After a wash it is even softer and warmer. I get most of this yarn from the Royal Winter Fair that way I know what I’m getting although now that I have had some experience with them I won’t hesitate to order some yarn from them on-line. It’s just finding the money at the moment.

I was going to go to the fair this year with the intent of buying enough of their double-knit, bulky, and worsted yarns to make some gifts. What I like about their yarn is that they name their sources. That is exactly what it says, when you buy the yarn they include the name of the alpaca it came from. I like this idea because if you buy a skein from one alpaca’s fleece and you really like it, you can watch for more and order it. So you could have a whole wardrobe made from the fleeces of one alpaca. How cool is that?

Meadowview Alpaca Farm also sells bedding made from their alpaca fleece. One of these days, I swear I’m going to own one of their alpaca duvets. Can you imagine how warm that would be? I would never want to get out of bed on a cold winter morning. I’m afraid I would become known as the crazy duvet lady because I would wrap myself in it and never take it off. I hate being cold and I drool over the thought of owning something that warm. I have a down duvet but there is something about the thought of wrapping myself in alpaca that gives me the warm, fuzzies.

They also sell kits to make slippers lined with alpaca roving. My toes curl at the thought and not in a bad way. And then you can buy premade socks, hats, scarves, mittens, toys…all from alpaca. And for spinners and quilters they have roving, felt sheets, and quilt batts. And the best thing of all is that for those of us who live in Ontario it’s supporting a home-grown business.

But back to my socks. A funny thing about them. When I was digging around my bag looking for my other ball of yarn so I could finish the second sock, I found another half-finished sock. A sock I don’t even remember casting on. How sad is that? I have no idea how long this poor thing has been languishing in the bottom of my project bag while I crammed all kinds of other projects on top of it. It must have been feeling pretty rejected. And it’s a very pretty sock at that. It’s knit in Kroy FX in the clay colourway and the pattern seems to be just a box stitch so I don’t know why I didn’t finish it. I think maybe I was trying to decide how I wanted to do the heel. That’s probably the reason. At least I’m going with that. I would hate to think I abandoned the poor thing because I found something more interesting to knit.

I do have a problem with socks, though. I tend to knit simple designs even though I would love some of the more complicated ones like Monkey, Kalajoki, or Owlie, for example but it requires too much math to adjust the pattern for my tiny feet. The problem I have is that most socks ask you to cast on too many stitches for me. I like a snug sock and so most of the time I use between 48-56 stitches, depending on needles, yarn and pattern. So for patterns based on a larger number of stitches I have to use real math to figure it out. I can’t be bothered when they are socks and I can just reach for my stitch pattern directory and find something I like that will fit in the limited amount of stitches I have. I mean, really, if I couldn’t whip up a pair of socks after all this time knitting then someone needs to take my needles away from me.

Anyway, back to my Halloween socks which are now Christmas socks and may end up as Valentine socks if I don’t get busy. I am on my second sock and I broke one of my cardinal rules, write down all modifications as you do them so you don’t forget. I can only assume I did not intend to put this sock down at any point so that the mods would be kept fresh in my mind and it wouldn’t matter. That is the only reason why, when I look through my notepad, I can find no mention of the mods I made.

I like the pattern to continue up the back of the heel and around the instep, which worked fine on the first sock but for some strange reason I am having difficulty figuring out just how I did that. It should be simple enough, keeping in pattern I increased at each end of the instep stitches every other round to shape for the gusset. For some unknown reason that I’m not quite sure I understand when I do this I screw it up. Every single time. Perhaps because it’s not complicated I’m over thinking it or perhaps I’m just tired but my poor old brain is just not firing on all cylinders on this one. But I’ll work it out, I’m sure. After all there are still 5 more weeks before Christmas. Lots of time.

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