Monday, February 13, 2017

Some knits get better with age

The other night, I was pulling on a thick warm pair of handknit socks before climbing into bed, and I stopped to think how much I love them.

I called this project Sailor's Delight because the yarn I used for the main part of the sock has real sea colours – blues and greens so subtly intermixed that you might be looking at an ocean, constantly moving. And also because I ran out of that yarn and had to finish with a bright red.

Red sky at night, right?

I remember knitting these socks from the toe up using a "box toe" method that I find incredibly comfortable. So comfortable in fact, that for quite some time I tried to develop a personal pattern for lighter weight socks that would start with a box toe and end with a nice stretchy cast-off on the leg. I knit a few experimental pairs, and gave them away because I couldn't get the length of the foot quite right for myself before starting the heel flap. Then I gave up, thinking I would just knit a few other things - you know, the kind that work the first time?? - and then go back.

Well apparently, that was six and a half years ago. I find it hard to believe I've even been an adult for six and a half years (technically it's much longer than that but probably you don't feel as old as you are either) so it's quite astonishing to think my little break lasted this long.  Probably I should look back at my old notes and pick it all up again.

I put a particularly beautiful stitch into the leg of this sock – weaving stitches over and under each other for an undulating effect that was completely lost in the shifting colours of the yarn but made me happy anyway.

As I moved up past the ankle I realized I was running out of yarn.


This was back when I first started to use wool/mohair blend sock yarn from Stoddart Family Farm and I didn't have any leftovers to turn to. What I did have was some bright red fiber I had bought at the same time and spun with my spindle, because I was learning to make yarn then too.

It was a much heavier weight and I had to reduce the number of stitches on my needles when I switched over to it. The resulting fabric was so stiff it didn't even matter that I didn't do a proper ribbing at the top of the leg. You can see it here, how thick the cuff really is:

These things are solid!

The socks still look fabulous because they get so little use… Oh how I've tried, but they are too thick to fit comfortably into my everyday Blundstone boots, and too warm for the bigger boots I wear on snowy or icy or freezing cold days, because those are intensely insulated. But on a chilly evening at home in the dead of winter my Sailor's Delight socks are ideal. They tuck into slippers or walking around, and tuck between sheets when it's time for sleep, and look beautiful while sitting at ease in a chair the rest of the time.

I'm so glad I had such a good idea for solving the problem of no more yarn, because YUM. Six winters of toasty toes is a great return on investment.

Do you have an old knitting project you still love to wear?

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