Archive for the “Mom’s Socks” Category


Angie’s baby shower was last weekend, so I finally got to give her the pointy hat and booties. She and her husband absolutely loved them, and I am looking forward to seeing pictures of the baby wearing them in just a few more months.

This Baby Surprise Jacket that I knit three years ago was passed along for the new baby, too. It’s wonderful to see handknits being treasured, kept, and worn again by the next baby to come along – it makes me feel so good to know that my work is valued by the people I knit for. Well, the babies don’t realize it, but their parents do, and that’s what matters, right? Maybe in a quarter-century or so, my friends’ babies will be dressing their own babies in that very sweater, and so on down the line. It’s a happy thought indeed.

On Tuesday I had to bring my car in for an oil change, and I made sure that I had Mom’s sock-in-progress with me. I don’t go to any of those “quick lube job” places where they have you in and out in ten minutes, but rather to the Mazda dealership… so I knew I’d be waiting there for an hour. They do have a very comfortable waiting area, with comfy chairs, a big television, free tea and coffee, not to mention a PlayStation with Gran Turismo and steering wheels for two players. But instead of playing video games, I knit (and took this blurry picture with the phone’s camera). I was able to finish the foot section while I waited, and decided to save knitting the toe for when I got home.

When I got home, though, I didn’t knit the sock toe. Instead, I wrote up the pattern for the socks and got it ready for publication. It’s simple, and it’s much like the Sibling Socks, but I think there’s enough difference to make it worth releasing as a separate pattern. It’s exciting to have three patterns out now. I’m starting to feel like a Real Designer! A couple of people have asked me if there’s a toe-up version of the Cakewalk Socks available. Unfortunately, there isn’t – I find that socks with flap heels and gussets fit my foot best, and that’s what Mom requested for her socks as well. I know that there are patterns for toe-up socks with gussets and flap heels, but since I haven’t knit one yet, I don’t feel confident designing one. It’s on my list of things to do, that’s for sure! I like toe-up socks when I want to use every last yard of yarn, or if I don’t know how far my yarn will go.

Here’s a “montage of some of today’s most-visited pattern pages” (which is actually from yesterday, now) on Ravelry. My Cakewalks are right up there near the top! How awesome is that?

On Wednesday evening I finished up the toe and grafted it together. One more project down! It’s almost time to start thinking about that Jacob hat for myself. I’ll need to swatch, of course, and then pick a pattern. I’ve a few in mind already. I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to line it with polarfleece. The wool might be too itchy to wear against my skin, and fleece would certainly make for an even warmer hat. Given that this is a hat meant for Canada in February, warmer might be better…

Due Date …… Project
10/3 ………… Angie’s gifts
11/1 ………… Second Fleep, hand section
12/1 ………… Mom’s sock #2
12/1 ………… Dad’s hat
1/1 ….………. Gift for Janis’s baby boy
2/1 ………….. Mitten tops and thumb caps on Fleeps
2/1 ………….. Jacob Hat
3/1 ………….. Twins’ sweaters

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Saturday morning found me hurrying to finish the heel flap and turn on Mom’s second sock so that I could bring it with me to my parents’ house, where we went in the afternoon to meet my second cousins once removed, who were visiting from England. It was wonderful to finally meet them! So wonderful, in fact, that I got caught up in conversing and completely forgot that I was supposed to be knitting while we talked, even though I had managed to get into the gusset before we drove down to their house. Mom tried on her first sock, and *whew* – it fit perfectly.

Dad’s asked me if I can make him a hat in charcoal gray – a standard toque or watch cap, with a turned-up brim. I’m going to see if I can get that done in time to be his Chanukah present. The due date list has been shifted around to accommodate for the hat and also to account for babies who aren’t going to be born until Spring. I’ve been told that I won’t need to have the twins’ sweaters in time for their birth, since I’m making them in a size for *next* winter, but I’m still going to aim to finish them in advance.

I did get to work on the sock a little more over the weekend, but most of my knitting time was aimed directly at the second of Michael’s Fleep-Tops. I’m knitting both hand sections first, leaving off the mitten tops and thumb caps until I can measure their placement on his hands. By knitting as fast as I could until bedtime, I managed to finish the ribbed cuff and knit the hand section to the base of the thumb opening. The second glove needed no measuring since I’d taken careful notes on the first one, so it goes along much faster. I’m sure the fingers will be just as fiddly, of course.

Due Date …… Project
10/3 ………… Angie’s gifts
11/1 ………… Second Fleep, hand section
12/1 ………… Mom’s sock #2
12/1 ………… Dad’s hat
1/1 ….………. Gift for Janis’s baby boy
2/1 ………….. Mitten tops and thumb caps on Fleeps
2/1 ………….. Jacob Hat
3/1 ………….. Twins’ sweaters

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Before the rain came through on Sunday, I was able to get outside to take some pictures. This is the merino top from Baba Black Sheep that I picked up at Maker Faire last weekend. It’s just under 4.5 ounces. I bought the fibre without having any plans for it. The way it spins up will help to determine what the knitting project will be. The deep blues and greens might be good as the background in some colourwork with a cream yarn for the contrast. Maybe some of the alpaca I have lying around would work for that. It was quite difficult to get the true colours of this fibre to show in the picture. The camera kept veering too light or too dark or too washed-out. Maybe it’s time to think about setting up a lightbox or even getting a new, better camera…

I finished the pointy hat for Angie’s baby on Friday night. It is adorable, and I’m sure she’s going to love it! Cascade Fixation was a good choice. The knitted fabric is firm enough that the hat doesn’t flop over at all, and the elastic will help keep it on. I’ve gotten started on the matching booties, and made myself go to bed at bedtime last night, even though I was so close to finishing the second bootie. Ah well, I can finish it up tonight and cross another project off my list. That’ll be a good feeling.

While I had the camera out, I got a picture of Mom’s first sock. The blocker that I made in two minutes from a wire hanger seems to be working well. The pattern is pretty simple, and very similar to the Sibling Socks, but I’m considering writing it up for publication anyway. Why not? There are a couple of things about it that are different from many of the ribbed patterns I’ve seen: first, the ribbing goes all the way down the heel, and second, I really like the way there’s no break in the purl ‘gutter’ between the leg of the sock and the foot. I’ve got the numbers written up for two sizes already. Might as well share, right? What do you think?

Speaking of design, I’ve got another pattern in the works. I’ve written most of it up, but the final version will have to wait until I can knit one up as a sample, to make sure I’ve got the numbers right. Then I’ll release it as another free, Creative-Commons licensed pattern.

Aubrey the Adorable. (Floyd is also adorable, but being both squirmy and dark-furred, he’s much more difficult to photograph.) I got this picture of her the other day just as she was just waking up from her afternoon nap. It’s amazing how empty the house seems without the kittens – they’ve spent the weekend at the vet’s for their spay/neuter surgeries. I’ll be picking them up after work today. Hopefully they haven’t felt too lonely and abandoned, and hopefully their recovery will be quick and easy!

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Remember how I said I wanted Mom to try on her first sock before I got started on the second one? Yeah, forget that. I cast on for the second sock last night while Pirate-Husband and I were watching a recording of Sunday’s F1 race from Singapore. Well, he was watching; I was listening and knitting.

You see, here’s the thing about the sock. Several things, in fact…

Thing one: Everything I have knit for other people has fit them just fine, perhaps minus one hat for which I didn’t take measurements ’cause it was meant to be a surprise, and I’ve no one but myself to blame for that. Everything for which I’ve measured has fit just fine. I have no reason to think that these socks would be any different – other than fear, which is really silly. So, onwards.

Thing two: I have no time to wait. In looking over the list of projects and deadlines yesterday, I came to the happy conclusion that I can get everything done… but only if I don’t slack off on it. Mom’s sock is the only easily portable project on the list, so casting on will allow me to bring it with me and work on it while I wait for things like mechanics and allergists. I can knit most of a sock without thinking about it, unlike all of the other gifts I’m making. If I wasn’t bringing Mom’s sock around with me, I’d have to bring one of my own, and then I’d be knitting on something without a deadline while more urgent projects sat around untouched. The horrors!

Thing three: I really, really like the Cascade Heritage yarn. A lot more than I like the Cascade Fixation I’m using for Angie’s gifts. It kept looking at me from the ballwinder, saying “knit me, knit me!” How could I resist a plea like that? I couldn’t.

Thing four: I enjoy working on many projects concurrently. What’s one more?

So I cast on and knit the cuff of Mom’s Sock #2, without much interference from sleepy kittens. Pirate-Husband kept them distracted after they woke up so that I didn’t have to worry about any sneak attacks. He’s incredibly supportive of my hobby and I think he deserves some brownie points for it. (Not that it’s really such a hardship for him to play with kittens, but still.)

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I have a confession to make: I love lists. I love writing lists. I especially love writing lists on paper, putting line-items in order, and then re-writing the list in my neatest handwriting on a fresh sheet of paper. It makes me feel better about everything I have to do, helps me to see that my queue isn’t life-threatening. And it really isn’t! I’m feeling a lot better now, though I know I’ll have to be fairly disciplined in order to get everything done on time.

The cats are headed to the vet on Saturday to be spayed and neutered, and due to a bloodwork requirement we won’t get them back until Monday. The boarding is free, at least, but I feel a little bad about leaving them all weekend. On the other hand, that totally frees up two whole days for knitting without kitten assistance. (And cleaning the house, I suppose. These things have to be done.)

This weekend I can finish up Angie’s baby shower gifts and get started on the one for Janis. (Hey Janis, do you want it to be a surprise, or shall I blog about it as I go?) If I am vigilant about knitting some every day, and if I account for the usual life-craziness and procrastination, I can expect it to take about a month.

That leaves me with one sock for Mom, which I can’t start until she tries on the first sock, and the glove part of the second Fleep for Michael. If I can get all of that done by Thanksgiving, I can spend December on the twins’ sweaters – but I can’t even buy yarn for them until I know if they’re boys, girls, or one of each, so I’m just not going to think about it until I get that piece of news. And then I can spend January on the colourwork hat of the Jacob yarn I spun, and putting mitten-tops on the Fleeps.

So, for my own records and your amusement, here is my list of projects and their deadlines. I will probably certainly without a doubt look back on this list and laugh, next year…

Due Date …… Project
10/3 ………… Angie’s gifts
11/1 ………… Second Fleep, hand section
12/1 ………… Mom’s sock #2
1/1 ……….…. Gift for Janis
2/1 ………….. Twins’ sweaters
2/1 ………….. Mitten tops and thumb caps on Fleeps
2/1 ………….. Jacob Hat

Is that realistic? Am I crazy?

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Last week, Pirate-Husband and I went to visit my parents for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. My brother, sister-in-law, and the nieceling were also there, so we had nice festive family meals together. I was thrilled to hear the happy news that I’m going to be an aunt again in April! Yesterday, my brother called me and said that not only are they expecting Baby #2, but also Baby #3. That’s right, she’s pregnant with twins. I am so happy and excited for them!

Of course, I want to knit something for each baby. So I’ve gone back to my current projects with a frenzy! I want to get some things finished before I begin working on the baby knits. Last night I sat down and worked on Mom’s sock, and finished the first one before it got to be bedtime. My sock blockers are too big for her socks, so I refolded a wire hanger into a foot-shape. Not that the socks need blocking at all, but they’ll photograph much better if they’re stretched a little to show off the ribbing.

My sworn-brother Michael came to visit over Labor Day weekend, and I made him try on the Fleep-Tops that I’ve been working on for him. I’m glad I did, because they were still a few rounds too short for his hands. I’m going to add those rounds and the fingers before the next time I see him, so that he can try on a finished glove. I’ll have to determine where to put the mitten part while the gloves are on his hands, or they might end up in the wrong place. Customized knitwear for people who live far away, what fun – but they will be done in time for Winterlude, I swear it. I have to come up with some way of marking his Fleeps as separate from mine. Sure, they’re slightly larger, but they’re made of the same colour yarn, and they’ll be easy to confuse. Maybe I will put a little stripe into the mitten tops for him.

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While my friends and neighbors at Pennsic said that I’d made amazing progress on Mom’s sock, I’m actually a little disappointed. I made it past the heel and through the gusset decreases, but I’d hoped to get the entire first sock finished while I was there. It was really just too hot to knit much of the time, and there were other things going on, too. That said, it’s coming out beautifully. There’s a little bit of pooling around the gusset, but I expected that. I love this yarn just as much as the first time I used it. I’m using almost exactly the same pattern; the only change I made was to take out four stitches, because Mom’s feet are just a little bit smaller.

My Pennsic-friend Alaric makes wood and stone drop spindles, although he himself doesn’t spin. Last year I bought one from him to give to Gaerwen, another SCA friend, who was receiving an award for her skills in spinning and natural dyeing. This year I came home with a twelve inch long, 25 gram, cherry spindle of my own. He had some which were all wood, and some with stone whorls, and some with double stone whorls that could be swapped in and out to get different weights. Every time I see him, I tell him to get an Etsy shop set up and then to advertise on Ravelry!

I really liked this particular spindle of the ones he had, and it fits well into my collection – now I have a 14g (from the Spanish Peacock) for really fine stuff, this 25g for medium, and a 34g spindle (the Cascade Little Si) for slightly heavier yarn. I generally like spinning at the wheel a lot better than using a drop spindle, but there are times when spindles are convenient. They’re certainly lighter to carry and take up less space, but also I’ve found that it’s easier to teach new spinners on a spindle.

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I decided on Friday afternoon that even though I have unfinished socks on the needles, I really do like starting a new sock project on the first day of vacation. So I got to winding up the yarn for Mom’s socks. The first winding attempt came out too tightly, which always happens to me when I’m unwinding directly from the swift. I rewound it in the opposite direction, but then it came out too loosely. The third time was the charm. Maybe it’s a little tight, but since I’m going to knit with it right away, it doesn’t matter that much. The yarn-cake will lose a lot of tension after the first dozen yards are out of the centre of the ball.

“What is that noise?” Pirate-Husband called up the stairs on Friday night.. “Are you packing? We’re running late!”

I looked at the whirring swift and ball-winder. “Um… I’m… sort of packing! I’m winding yarn. Talk louder, I can’t hear you!”

“You’re winding yarn that’s coming with you, right?”

I yelled back, “It sure is! It’s the blue yarn for Mom’s socks! I just have to wind it up!”

“Well,” he shouted, “if it’s yarn that’s coming with you, that definitely counts as packing!”

Brownie points for Pirate-Husband!

I was winding this Cascade Heritage Paints in the “Isle of Skye” colourway. It’s going to become a pair of ribbed socks that’ll be both birthday and Chanukah presents for Mom (one sock for each gift!) I started knitting on Saturday morning while we were waiting for our campsite boundaries to be finalized, but helping to set up camp meant that I was only able to get about fifteen rounds of the cuff finished before we came home on Sunday afternoon. Besides, it was very hot and I was knitting very slowly.

I didn’t want to forget about the Time Traveler socks, which are about 65% done now, so I brought those with me too. I can switch off socks if I get tired of working with one. There will be plenty of down time in which I can knit, if the weather isn’t too brutal.

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This is the last yarn I’ll be getting for a while, I think! It is Cascade Heritage Paints in the “Isle of Skye” colourway, and it seems like the perfect colours for Mom. I hope she doesn’t mind the tinges of purple amongst the blues!

I plan to make a simple ribbed sock, 64 stitches around, since my 64-stitch socks fit her just fine. The only measurement I need to get is the length of her foot, and then I’m good to go – as soon as I finish some other projects! (Psst, Mom, can you measure your foot for me please?)

It is becoming more difficult by the day to refrain from casting on for a new project! I’m doing my best to hold out but I don’t know how long I can manage…

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I came home from the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival with $40 still in my pocket, but I knew that I wasn’t done shopping. I’d kept my eyes open on Saturday for the perfect sock yarn for Mom, and hadn’t found it – so I ordered the Cascade Heritage Paints from WEBS in the Isle of Skye colourway. It’s the perfect bluesy colours for her, with just enough variegation to be interesting but not enough to stripe or pool. Admittedly, I didn’t look very hard for her yarn at the festival, because I was kind of set on getting this brand. I’ve knit with it before and I trust it to be good. While I’m willing to take risks on my own socks, I’m hesitant to do so when I’m making a gift for someone else. Especially when that someone else is a little bit skeptical about hand-knit socks in the first place. (It’s sad that my LYS didn’t have the colourway I wanted in stock; it’s even sadder that it cost the same to order it from WEBS even with the shipping. Why is the yarn marked up $3.00 at the local store? I want to shop locally, but sometimes money matters.)

Then I went over to KnitPicks to check out the new colourways of their Felici sock yarn, and for the first time, one called out to me and *needed to be mine*. The name of the colourway is “Time Traveler”. I’ve been catching up on back episodes of Doctor Who (why I haven’t watched it before is a mystery to me) and I just had to have these socks. The description makes them even better:

Wear these brightly striped socks whether you are going to the office or traveling through time and space. Time Traveler is a colorful mix of purple, tan, red, gold, ivory, and gray stripes. While you can knit some really really long socks, this colorway will not create socks that are larger on the inside than they appear on the outside.

Even better than the description, my sister the Ninja has bought the same yarn and we’re going to have matching socks! She says the colours are perfect, and she should know, ’cause she’s working on one of those extra-long stripey scarves right now. We’ve decided to both knit Jaywalkers, because then the stripes will be sort of straight (like the scarf) and yet wibbly-wobbly at the same time. This is going to be awesome.

As long as I was already shopping at KnitPicks, I bought a set of sock blockers (in large, for my long feet). I’ve been wanting them for a while, primarily for taking pictures of finished socks. It’s not always easy to get good pictures of one’s own feet!

(a note: the two pictures of yarn are from the WEBS and KnitPicks sites, respectively.)

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