Recently I made an impulse purchase at Midnight Sheep, prompted by this rich blue merino:
My mum's favourite colour is blue, and I was thinking of making her socks for Christmas, even though she doesn't wear socks - mainly because she is the only person I know with my exact shoe size, which makes her just about the only person I could be sure of having the right fit for. I am after all a beginning sock knitter and a little unsure of whether I'm good enough yet to make any as gifts.
Well, the merino arrived with its little snowy friend, which is already in a ball and well on its way to being a petite scarf, and I fell in love all over again. Did I mention it's merino? Organic merino? and squishy soft, especially once wound into a ball (immediately after the above photo was taken) and knit up into a gauge swatch?
Once I got that far, I thought that maybe it would be an even better gift for the only man I know who would wear hand-knit socks and for whom I could reasonably be expected to knit a pair. I mean, it's such an awesome colour, and he is a guy who does colour.
Here's where this gets interesting, or at least familiar:
Karen has pointed out to me that merino has a short staple, and consequently is best reinforced with nylon knit into the sole of the foot. Especially since I can guarantee this guy would wear them around on hardwood floors.
I've also read that nylon reinforcing thread sometimes bites into the wool and causes holes where they might not have occurred on their own. Plus, I don't have any reinforcing thread and don't know when I can pick some up or where I could order it online.
At this point, you can surely forgive me for thinking I will just make socks for myself with this gorgeous yarn and figure out some other option for my friend, and of course, that is exactly what I am thinking.
However, I am stubborn. I am also thinking that I could wind off some off the ball and simply double up on the merino for the heel and toe (or would that make the toe too thick?) Or that I could add some very thin sock yarn with nylon already spun in for this purpose, thereby shielding the organic merino from any overt biteyness.
Around about this far into my inevitable journey from making the purchase to making it be for me, I showed the yarn to another male friend (admittedly of the non-handknit-sock persuasion), and explained my predicament.
He looked at the yarn, and he shook his head. "That is way too bright for a guy," he said.
You'd think this tactful version of "Mary, this yarn was dyed to be on your feet, don't even pretend you bought it for anybody else" would make me feel better about agreeing, but no. I still think this colour would suit my friend down to the ground, and I feel all guilty about wanting to keep it after all.
(Even as I wander down more mental avenues, like what a fabulous hat it would make. I mean, seriously... bright happy colour, no hint of itch on the ol' forehead...)
Mostly though: I just want to sit down and knit myself a pair of regal blue Monkey Socks.