Back To School

jenjoycedesign© back to socks

On the heel of a second sock.

For many today is Back To School, but for me its Back To Socks.     I have let the daunting pile of  Walking With Emma   prototypes lay as one sock without their mate nearly the whole summer, as I’ve been messin’ around in non-knitterly things and quite distracted.  As I post this, the tiny house is getting rattled once again,  and not by falling trees from loggers  as last year at this time , but from big road machinery churning up and reshaping the road which bends around the tiny house, up to the rebuilt house.  Big water trucks, vibrating rolling tractors, blade tractors… you name it, all are doing the final layer before the finish coat, which is to happen very soon. (By the way, all of this bother & massive expense is a required code upgrade to comply with fire codes of county building, so that our road is ready when we get final inspection in coming months.))  I am meditating through all of the chaos, imagining knitting while walking along it, as the Autumn leaves begin to fall along with gentle October rains, softening the new lane up to our new house, blurring it into the landscape a bit.   Presently a sharply dramatic transformation from what use to be a somewhat ancient weather-worn and insanely rocky old logging road.
Oh! But all of that is just boring compared to what I did yesterday, on the last day of summer vacation, with my youngest niece, Miss Sixteen.  She is starting her junior highschool year, and on her last day of summer vacation she and I were in St Helena together in the morning,  photographing against the stone of the Catholic church, getting some head shots for some upcoming auditions.  She is seriously focusing these days on getting into musicals and plays (I think I did mention somewhere a few posts back, that she played the leading role “Maria” in summer production of West Side Story for a theater group in Santa Rosa in July?   She blew my socks off!   I tell you, this girl is a seasoned veteran of the stage already.)    So on the last day of summer vacation it was was blistering hot, but we enjoyed ourselves immensely for a few hours, frolicking in the town before she and I parted for home.   Here’s a few shots from our photo shoot of the celebrity herself, and as you can see, life is good.

Ten at a time . . . heels.

jenjoycedesign© 10 at a time heels

Socks knit ten at a time is the thing !     But I am a little embarrassed to admit my  collecting so many dpns for the project is rather excessive, but I’m invested in this ten-at-a-time conceptual thing.  All craziness is good, one does what one must in order to live.  For me, obsessive tendencies like this are just the norm.   Ten at a time heels, done.   Ten at a time gussets just waiting for me to post this and get to the pile.

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Meanwhile, something hand-made has arrived in the mail all the way from Ukraine, and  will make an appearance soon, when these ten socks are finished and ready to show off.

Sox Box

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On the vernal equinox I found myself running over to Lolo’s, a great little thrift shop in St Helena, and I found  this nifty wooden thing.   I thought it especially nifty because the compartments can be put to use in a very knitterly way, and so it is now my official Sox Box !

A single pair of sturdy hand-made socks fits nicely in each compartment . . .jenjoycedesign© sox box 2

This is in fact, my latest pair of St Andrews Harbour Socks, from the March Into Spring KAL  that I’ve been posting about. I worked chart C over 60 stitches, and simply worked stockinette instead of the moss stitch. To me they look so like the knee-high socks I wore as a school girl.

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I did knit an awful lot of socks last year when I was making samples for St Andrews, but gave most of them away for holiday gifts. However,  I did keep two extra pairs for myself, so adding the latest finished pair with Miss Babs Northumbria sock yarn, I am ahead filling the Sox Box by three pair!

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Three compartments filled, and a dozen to go.

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 Yarn: Miss Babs Northumbria Fingering, in color of “Adobe”.

Pattern: St Andrews Harbour

Project details on Ravelry  here.

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Aside from sock knitting, we’re having a lot of Spring rain here, and its forecast to continue probably through the remainder of March. The surplus of water is a gift from the planet in our drought prone area, so I’m feeling somewhat rain-restored. Life is good.

March Into Spring

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I am participating in a little knit-along over in Ravelry, because I felt like knitting a few pairs of socks, especially since I gave away the whole stack of socks I knit last year for gifts. So now I’m starting a new stack!   Also doing the March Into Spring knit-along because it is March, and so near the Spring Equinox, so if you would like to join in, I’m having a pattern give-away and providing lots of March-ing music (bagpipes mostly)  over here.   Hope to see you there!

Also this is a Yarn Tasting which coincidentally goes with the whole marching & bagpipes theme having “Northumbria” in the title ~  Miss Babs Northumbria Fingering yarn:  It is hand-dyed 100% Blue-Faced Leicester wool, in colorway “adobe”.  Springy, elastic, sturdy,  just all around perfect for socks, with amazingly beautiful variegation from the hand-dying.  Incidentally, this skein was a gift to me after the wildfire,  along with another of the same in colorway of “beach glass” ( thank you so very much Taddy ~xx )  Naturally I am providing music accompaniment of the small Northumbrian Pipes to go with the Northumbria yarn, and I hope you enjoy every bit as I do . . .

A tint of wild rose.

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Along my knitting trail, explosions of new growth in the charcoal forest, and an occasional over-dyed skein drying from the branches.

A few weeks back, only a couple of days after we moved into our new Tiny House,  I dyed this sock yarn with food coloring. My favorite shade of rose inspired by the old-fashioned roses in my garden …

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But perhaps mostly,  the dusty rose of my tea pot .

Jens tea pot

I was going to make this whole experiment into a dying tutorial, and had taken down the steps, but thought to wait how it turned out.   At the dying stage, the experiment was working beautifully, having gone from two balls of Patons Kroy in color Linen ( in this post recently) , to what I was trying for ;  a dusty grey rose tinted slightly variegated overdyed yarn.

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The yarn came out exquisitely.  So I decided to knit the socks.   It took a few weeks, and now here are the results, of um, their good side

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Unfortunately , I am not impressed with this dye, not at all.  Because although the yarn may have been dyed to near perfection, and even though I used vinegar to fix, as I suspected the food coloring would not last… which it did not… in the first wash, there are blotchy patches of fade, showing the tan shade of linen beneath, after drying in the sun, on the faded side …

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So its back to my favorite Jacquard Acid Dye if I am ever to dye again at all.    Dying is such a hazardous hobby, and I really was hoping I could rely on food coloring, but that was wishful thinking.

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A lot of work to put into knitting these beautiful Fishermen Socks  only to have the dye leech out. But with very little yarn left over, I am really happy of the knitting itself, which was very enjoyable, and I fear I am thoroughly addicted to knitting these St Andrews Harbour socks , piles of them, and may just keep on knitting them for the forthcoming winter holiday gift season.

jenjoycedesign© over-dye

This pair will not be worthy of gift giving next winter holiday, but they will be most excellent hard wearing boot socks for my LLBean gardening boots, and what I was thinking of back in this post , of roses captured in socks!

Pattern:  St Andrews Harbour 

Yarn:  Patons Kroy Sock, color ” Linen “, overdyed with food coloring, five parts red to one part blue.

Ravelry details here.

 

Yarn Tasting: Kroy

jenjoycedesign© Kroy St Andrews Socks 5

I have knit up a pair of St Andrews Harbour socks

in a new yarn I’ve never tried,

and I’m smitten!

jenjoycedesign© Kroy St Andrews Socks 1
jenjoycedesign© Kroy St Andrews Socks 3

This yarn was found quite unexpectedly in a maze of aisles , with shelves of acrylic yarns reaching nearly to the ceiling,

and I was so surprised to have to tame my yarn snobbery,  for this yarn was found at our local Michael’s Craft Store!

Modest little balls of Kroy …
jenjoycedesign© Kroy Sock yarn

Yes folks, the secret is out, the  yarn is Patons Kroy Sock; a washable wool & nylon 4ply sock yarn, and a surprisingly rustic feeling yarn, in a surprisingly rustic solid shade of “flax” …  (see my post  A Rustic Yarn to get the meaning ).   The confusing thing is that on the label it says “super fine fingering” , don’t let that fool you,  fine fingering weight is not at all what it is, this yarn is 166 yards per 50 gram ball, which equals 332 yards per 100g, definitely in the category of sport-weight. Other yarns with this same yardage are super popular Malabrigo “Arroyo” — which I believe would make the perfect soft sock for this design,  and Cascade 220 sport (not the superwash one) which was the yarn I knit the cover prototype of the pattern, and one of my all-time favorite yarns.     Kroy is sport-weight yarn,  ignore the label.

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This pair of fishermens socks were knit with option to switch to stockinette after gusset decreases are finished, which makes a little less bulky in the shoe ( see Ravelry project details here)     Anyway, I think  I have found a really affordable  “vintage”  feeling  yarn for these fishermen socks;  the yarn is a bit rough at first, but as I knit it it feels better and more compliant, and I just know its going to soften a lot in the wash. Crazy, as I’m such a connoisseur of yarn, but it behaves very well, knits up very stretchy & brings out wool’s best elastic properties, and with great stitch definition.

Oh and the color ” Flax ” is ideal for a rustic old-fashioned look, and I bet the Fishermen of olden days would have loved a pair of socks made from this yarn. Will try the “Gentry Grey” soon, thinking these two colors are the only heathered solids in this yarn. Afterthought: Um… well, folks, I figure now that I can over-dye the Flax color, and have just bought 4 more balls and ideas rushing to the fore!

Footsteps 4

jenjoycedesign© cafe sock-knitting

I have been enjoying the cafe culture lately, here with my favorite afternoon treat outside on the patio, a cafe latte & and knitting upvalley, stopping off at St Helena Coffee Roastery on my way home from Calistoga last Friday, after photographing my nieces in their Spring Tees 2017

The days are blissful here on the mountain, with brief spells of sun transitioning back to grey & wintery.  Rain, fog and lingering cool air, as if the season doesn’t really want quite yet to get balmy yet (which I’m fine with), and I am rising above all that oppresses me!

jenjoycedesign© Wild Wool with Ripples Crafts

jenjoycedesign© Wild Wool Country Socks with Ripples Sock Yarn

Still, there are explosions of wildflowers beginning to bloom~~ lupine, clover, paintbrush, poppies, brodea, iris ~~ all heralding the Spring season,  regardless of the reluctant temperatures.  I have wrapped up a lot of epic knitting projects in recent weeks, while kicking off new big BIG design conceptions,  and yet more socks keep coming off the needles. These were such a pleasure, knit with such color that I couldn’t be the least bit gloomy when knitting them!

Pattern: Wild Wool Trail Socks in the ‘Country Sock’ variation.

Yarn: Ripples Crafts Hand-dyed Yarns, in   Reliable Sock, in “Assynt Storms” colorway. Note: I highly recommend this sock yarn, for it is really beautiful yarn to knit with, and dying is exceptional with no muddy spots, all pure blends of colors, sparkling, and with quick color transition.

Details on Ravelry HERE. 

Footsteps 3

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I am getting into a great rhythm of knit-trekking, and socks are best knit-trekking project there is. I talk about this in all posts labeled Footsteps, which is fast becoming my most posted category and and is all about socks knitted while walking… or mostly walking.

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The thing is, while getting more fit from all of this perpetual walking, I am knitting socks galore! I would like to start a local “Knit Fit” group, but way up here on the mountain, I am resolved to going at it solo.  Though I am curious, are there any other knit-trekkers out there? If so, please speak up.

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These socks were meant to be for myself, but in trying to use up all of the 53 grams of left-over sock yarn I had, wanting to use exactly what I had, no more, no less, and ripping back several times if necessary to knit either more, or less (only knitters really understand that).  In this case I knit the foot a smidge too long, and so I suppose they will fit Jeff’s daughter’s feet just perfectly.

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By the way, these socks in progress are seen in the last post at the peak !

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Pattern: my own  Wild Wool Trail Socks ( Plain Sock, with heel worked in heel stitch, and with short leg)

Yarn: 53 grams of Malabrigo Sock, in color Aguas.

Details on Ravelry HERE.

Casting on now for some socks quite colorful,  which you will see finished very shortly I am confident, probably about 15 miles from now I will be posting!

jenjoycedesign© Wild Wool & Ripples Yarn

Hope you are all enjoying the last day in March, here the intense wind seems to have subsided. Now it’s time for insect season!

Foot Steps

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Mid day sun streams through the canopy, and I am feeling the presence of vernal influences…

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The blissful places I have been missing for a while beckon to me…

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All winter we have had pelting rain storms one after another, and Northern California is officially declared over the drought while reservoir spillways gush furiously!

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Something about the approach of the equinox softens nature to a sweetness indescribable…

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So I will leave off and show you the latest I’ve made,

a pair of trail socks!

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 …with my recent discovery of the snugger heel stitch foot, these socks are now ready for adventure!

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Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll sock yarn, in Merlot Heather and Navy

Pattern:  Wild Wool Trail Socks  , with recent update option of colossally snug heel stitch foot section, my pattern is now completely ‘dialed in’.

Project Details: on Ravelry HERE.

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Country Socks

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Here we have the “Country Socks” variation of my Wild Wool Trail Socks , and  in the favorite color for whom they were made.

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After working the heel & heel turn in the heel stitch pattern option for the Country Socks, I felt good and creative, and decided to experiment by continuing  down bottom of foot, noticing what a sturdy hugging ribbing affect it has…

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However this proved problematic, as the heel stitch pulls in the width, it also does the length, (duh!) so I had to do some ” stealth short rows” for the bottom to catch up to the top section.  I only recommend heel stitch over the whole circumference of foot section, not just the bottom.

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Very pleased with this construction feature, and I am going to try my next Trail Sock with the whole foot section in heel stitch.

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These by the way, were knit in Malabrigo Sock yarn (African Violet) with contrast of some left over dark grey Huntington Sock yarn I had handy. Details for this project can be found on Ravelry HERE

Anniversary Socks

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March of this year Jeff and I have been married one year, and 21 years together, and I thought as an anniversary gift to Jeff, with whom I have backpacked the John Muir Trail many many miles, that I would design him trail socks !!  He seemed to be okay with the idea, however, he is very picky about scratchy woolly things and socks, and anything ‘gear’ related.  Made of super fine quality Merino-superwash & nylon sock yarn, in granite tones, the socks ended up very soft & completely not scratchy, and the nice cushioned heel, instep & toe are ultra comfortable in and outside of a boot.  Now  two & 1/2 months after our anniversary,  here is the final result ~~~ and he approves!

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Shown are Wild Wool Trail Socks, designed for and dedicated to Jeff.

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This is actually the first real pair for Jeff that I’ve made since releasing the pattern,  delivered a little belatedly.

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Incidentally, the last time we were in the Sierras in July 2014, it was for our 20th anniversary of being a couple, and we backpacked to Granite Lake in John Muir country, where the inspiration came to me…

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Well, it may have taken me a year and a half to ruminate this design from inspiration to finished pattern, but perhaps for good reason, for the timing of events involve a spooky coincidence of anniversaries! To start, our 20th anniversary in 2014 was 100 years after Muir’s death in 1914, this year is the centennial anniversary of America’s National Parks established August 1916, and lastly, I just happened to have submitted (unknowingly) the pattern on  John Muir’s birthday April 21st.

In forthcoming posts, I may go on with presenting you finished projects, both of my own and of other knitters,  so that we can have a bit of an extended tribute to John Muir.

Sock details on Ravelry HERE.

Many Socks

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Continuing in the same vein as my previous posts Part One &  Part Two , about my love of John Muir’s High Country, wild woolly beasts that live on the granite, my new design inspired by High Sierras, in tribute to John Muir, and dedicated to my husband Jeff…

jenjoycedesign© object d' yarn

I now settle into navigating my energy level out of the manic invention, and into the staid level of production the task of making many socks.  From large brush strokes, to small precise ones. Already have 3 pairs of the trail socks on the needles for Jeff (one trail, one country, one plain), and now I’m also queuing up for a pair of socks each for Miss Sixteen & Miss Thirteen !

jenjoycedesign© Charlemont Sock Yarn

These will be the Ankle Sock variation in the pattern, with just the cuff going into the corrugated ribbing;  one pair cream with grey contrast, the other pair grey with cream contrast ~~ fun!  Trying out a lovely blend of 60%  Fine Merino Superwash – 20% Mulberry Silk, and 20% nylon (not getting brand specific here), 440 yards to 100grams = fine fingering weight.

As both of my nieces are runners now, I believe the ankle sock may just be a stellar running sock, and am happy for them to test these. Two more pairs of socks for Springtime, coming up!

“Wild Wool” Trail Socks (Part Two)

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Continuing from Part One~ John Muir High Country & Wild Wool, all about  the  “Father of Modern Environmentalism”, my mountaineering past, and hinting about the noble, the agile, yay, and the soft downy woolly wild creature worthy of Muir’s musings in “Wild Wool” .

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Wild Wool indeed. These sheep range the Sierra Nevada from the desert to the high mountains, and after reading Muir’s Wild Wool, I thought it a perfect name for my new design!

Wild Wool Trail Socks

jenjoycedesign© Wild Wool Trail Socks

Those my friends, are the very same boots and walking stick you see in this photo, the stick & boots which have accompanied me many miles to many lakes where I’ve sat with much knitting in-the-wild,  and the stick which is a prop for many knitwear photos on Yarnings as well.

jenjoycedesign© Wild Wool Trail Socks (2)

After all, knitting in the wild is my favorite thing to do and John Muir’s High Sierra is my favorite place to be!

Trail socks designed with sturdy structure and ease of knitting. Wide ribbing, corrugated ribbed ankle, “mock heel flap” (featuring the Stong Heel~ no stitches to pick up for gusset), cushioning stranded heel turn, gusset, upper instep & toe. Knit in-the-round seamlessly. Five sizes, x-small thru x-large. Options for short & ankle versions of trail sock.   These trail socks are designed with function in mind, and for comfort in rugged use, where custom fit is best, and structural design elements are what they’re all about.  Oh, and there are variations on the theme, a Classic Country Sock  and “Wee Wild Wool” for kid hikers . . .

I honestly think John Muir would approve and would have wished he had a new knitted pair of these while he walked the wilderness in his leather-soled boots of a bygone era.

Edit In April 23:   Folks, sometimes we do things unaware of the obvious workings beneath our conscience. Well, those of you who realize what an important man John Muir was influencing the government to create the National Parks, and (as my husband Jeff just showed me an article in May Outside Magazine which just arrived...) that this year is the Centennial Year the National Parks were established (posthumously, after Muir died in December of 2014) in the year of 1916 !

Now, as coincidence happens, I have submitted the pattern Wild Wool Trail Socks  on this date, as a tribute to John Muir,  on his actual birthday ~~ April 21st.

Those of you who are joining in on the John Muir Tribute on Ravelry, there are major things to celebrate! Knit on my friends, enjoy yourself… knit for the beauty of nature and perhaps just a little bit for Muir’s birthday. (I’m sure he’d have enjoyed a pair of Wild Wool Trail Socks for his birthday).

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We camped at Granite Lake in Muir Country for our anniversary, July 2014

Camp Socks

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Its already been almost three weeks since we were at 9000 ft elevation and I was knitting-in-the-wild beneath a lovely brewing storm on a huge granite rock. I had so thoroughly enjoyed the quick packing trek to Granite Lake, the sitting cross-legged on the granite in complete stitching meditation, one with the darkening sky and gathering storm, the quiet of everything before the outbreak, even the fish hunkering down.  Yet I remember yet distinct intermittent sounds ~~  the wind whipping the tent about and water boiling to make trail coffee. And it just doesn’t get any better than that ( High Sierra trip posted here ).

So here my friends, are another pair of Penny Candy Socks. Just a simple, wild & maybe even frivolous (and very blue) pair of socks, made on that High Sierra excursion but I hadn’t gotten around to washing & blocking them until just now.

jenjoycedesign©camp socks finished !

jenjoycedesign©finished camp socks

And they are added to the slowly growing pile of knitted socks designated for xmas gifts….

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Gad… already LESS than only five months away!   Horror of the crafting gift-maker-and-giver is that xmas appears in a blink after sweltering heat of summer, when one couldn’t feel further away from the winter solstice and gift-giving frenzy. But I’m wise now, at my age, I’ve learned, and I am already stashing knitted gifts…

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I’ve already gotten about 12″ into one of two Autumn Sweaters 2014 , but no hints on that yet (top top secret!) .  In contrast to tiny stitches of fingering & fine fingering yarn for socks, gloves, hats….  I am knitting rounds and rounds of worsted-weight, and how refreshingly speedy I’m turning out the rounds for a change!

In the next few days my nieces will be visiting up here in the Hermitage again, for a visit in their last week of summer vacation, so we’ll be up to baking in the kitchen, in addition to just generally “chil-laxing” as they put it,  and not without their ECD’s ((electronic devices of choice ))~~ but no doubt the visit will be  punctuated with famously artistic and fun photo-shoot after digging through my cedar trunk now becoming quite full of knitteds.  Looking forward to that,  and we’ll see you on the flipside of the riotous occasion!

Note:  Oh! The hand-made wooden Shaker-style box, if not authentic Shaker box, was found last week at my favorite thrift shop for $4 ~ a bargain !  It is now a lovely knitting notions box & photo prop as well, and I’m super pleased with myself for finding it.

Yarn Tasting : Four Sock Yarns

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I have sock yarn ‘on my brain’ and in recent many weeks have been trying different brands in a sort of comparison & contrast project ~~ in a Sock Yarn Tasting !  I even accidentally (well, almost) designed a new thing in the process of fiddling around with sock yarn (more on that later).  Although my Sock Yarn Tasting has been a great source of entertainment for myself, and I actually do feel a sense of earnestness to convey my thoughts on the matter .  At the very least, in the process of comparing I’ve settled on my favorites, and better yet, answered my curiosity as to why.

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I have knit On The Trail ,  a whole lot (it’s what I do) ,  also while waiting for pots to simmer & the kettle to boil, while watching tv, while talking on the phone, while reading, and even  sometimes in between sets at gigs, so my knitting is always hanging on the chair back.  So, while my hands have gotten a bit sore from all of this knitting, I am pleased with the small woolly mountain of knitteds which I am producing.  Soon I’ll be off to Vancouver for Jeff’s family reunion of sorts and you can be certain I’ll be packing up my menagerie of socks-in-progress to  take along, and excuse myself for being entrapped by the knitting while in others’ company,  returning hopefully with a pair or two to add to the growing stack of socks I am squirrelling away for the gift-giving holidays.

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I am  just am so filled with a sense of giddy & calm pride, as I have found knitting socks to be my meditation.  Ahem, okay, so here’s my observations so far of the superstars of sock yarn market which I am sampling : Madelinetosh “Tosh Sock” , Malabrigo “Sock”, Shibui “Sock” , and Sweet Georgia “Tough Love Sock”~~~ all knit up with my Penny Candy Socks pattern with size 2.75mm – US 2 circular needles (two of them).

As Shibui Sock & Madelinetosh Tosh Sock seem to me about the same thickness, I knit them together in stripes because they feel nearly identical in thickness,  though the Tosh Sock is a tiny bit more ‘firm’ , they are thicker, and even a bit fluffier.

jenjoycedesign©Thai Ginger Lime Chews

Ginger Lime Chews Penny Candy Socks, details on Ravelry HERE 

I observe that the fabric of Tosh Sock & Shibui Sock produced is more substantial, and would be great for a slightly thicker pair of socks but as this is so,  I might only wear these socks with the roomiest of my shoes. Great for hiking boots, great for Dansko Clogs which tend to fit a little roomy anyway. (Note to self: get another pair of Dansko Clogs !) but not so great for my dressier shoes.  Soft, plush, firm.

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Next in the line-up, Sweet Georgia “Tough Love Sock”.  This yarn is indeed a tough yarn. So much in fact, that I suspect the slight lack  of elastic properties of the yarn effected the gauge, as the same number of stitches on same needles as I knit the others, the Sweet Georgia socks turned out really very large by comparison !  I stopped at one sock, not sure how to proceed, for these would indeed be tough socks and big enough for a man, I just couldn’t think of any men I’d like to give orangey red lace-bordered socks to.  No offense to you men who would love them,  I just wasn’t in the mood to make the second sock, so I will post the photo of the one.

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I think I might have to compensate with this yarn’s properties, to knit the next size smaller with them and see how that works. ((also notice that the two colors were so alike, melting into each other a little too much , that seeing the stripes was insanely difficult)).

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Finally, for the kind of socks that one would easily slip into one’s favorite shoes , that is, shoes worn regularly with store-bought socks, the finer fabric of Malabrigo’s fine fingering-weight  “Sock” wins out.  Mostly for it’s soft resilient and lovely elastic feel, but equally for the rich colors in each hand-dyed skein.  I have to say also that I have a real penchant for “oh so fine” knitting these days, and it’s fine-fingering weight that I seriously am in love with.

jenjoycedesign©Malabrigo ImpressionistSky y Aguas

My Penny Candy Socks and Pretty Little Things Gloves  are designed with Malabrigo, and I’m more than happy with the slightly delicate character of the fine fingering yarn with its superwash easy-care and softness of touch. In fact, I feel like hoarding every ‘solid’ color of Peruvian-made Malabrigo yarn, and happily knitting Penny Candy Socks  for everyone I know.

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Blueberry Gumballs Penny Candy Socks, details on Ravelry HERE

It is a goal of mine to knit for next holiday season, as there’ll be no hitting the shops in a bug-eyed panic to find something meaningful. Because basically, it can’t get much more meaningful than hand-knit socks knit fresh only months previously.

I’ll end this yarn tasting with more Malabrigo yarn on the needles, in murky green and clear blue.  This photo was taken early this morning, as the stripes began to colorplay . . .

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Socks in progress,  details on Ravelry HERE

 

Penny Candy Socks Redesign

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Penny Candy Socks modelled by Niece Who Is Fourteen.

I had been knitting these for a couple of weeks and rewriting now for two long days ~~~ finished !!!

The socks have been redesigned due to the fact that I wanted them to match the very recent

 Penny Candy Tee

… how sweet,  a tee & sock Spring Duo !

Its all over on  the Penny Candy Sock Pattern Page  . . .

and way more details than you need to know, over on Ravelry HERE

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Penny Candy Socks modelled by Niece Who Is Eleven.

Yarn Tasting

I’ve been pattern-writing furiously, and it’s been raining furiously, everything around here has been a bit excessive, and so, just before noon I needed a break. I got in my car and drove down the mountain into town, to the , um…Local Yarn Shop. I brought home two new sock yarn brands to add to my existing sock yarn stash, so that now I have a bit of a selection for some serious sock yarn tasting !

Lets start with perhaps the top names in sock yarn, Madelinetosh’s ‘Tosh Sock’.
jenjoycedesign©Madelinetosh-Tosh Sock Label says: 100% superwash merino wool fingering weight -395 yards, color Ginger. Hand-dyed in USA , from South Africa.

Next, Shibui Sock.
jenjoycedesign©Shibui sock Label says: 100% superwash merino 191 yards, color Wasabi. Made in Peru.

Next, Sweet Georgia ‘Tough Love Sock’.
jenjoycedesign©Sweetgeorgia sock Label says: 80% superwash merino / 20% nylon, 425 yards, color Cayenne. Hand-dyed in Canada, doesn’t say if it comes from elsewhere originally.

Last in this line-up, is perhaps my favorite, Malabrigo Sock.jenjoycedesign©Malabrigo sock Label says: 100% superwash merino, 440 yards, color Impressionist Sky. Made in Peru.

I am very attracted to Malabrigo for some reason, the skein is stout and heavy and has so much yarn, and it is also the finest/thinnest of all I’ve seen yet, which to me is a real lovely thing… cuz I am smitten with ultra-fine knitting. I designed my Pretty Little Things gloves with it and I’m sure I’ll not stop there.

I am loving the feel and visual texture of all four of these leading brands (well, from the LYS at least) and though there are more brands, I figured, I’d start with these. I will let the knitting and the knitted fabric & feel of the finished sock be the judge, as I am challenging myself to a bit of a sock-fest, reasoning thus far undisclosed, but expect some posts about it coming up in the next few weeks.

Have you tried any of these brands ? What do you think?

Wild Boot Socks


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Here’s some wild-caught boot socks  (not the farmed variety. )

Edit In 10/15 :  Now, the day after, I can tell the world these were made for my  ten-year-old niece who just turned eleven yesterday !  I stuffed them with retro candy and she loved ’em!

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I’ve been sketching with some DK yarn bits in my stash drawer. Total improvisation of color stranded motifs. Like fly-fishing for wild trout, one listens closely to their instincts .

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Just a wild pair of boot socks, playing with color and also functional design. I talk about this process way back in this post  

These would pair well with hiking boots or big ol’ clogs.

jenjoycedesign©wild-boot-socks!

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Wild Boot Socks details on Ravelry HERE

Upcoming: I’m working on the last of the size-run test-knitting and then pattern for PrettyLittleThings socks should be making an appearance! I got sidetracked with some other knitting projects, but now there’s nothing standing between me and the pattern. 🙂

Pretty Little Things In Blue

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I’ve been test-knitting a size run of my  Pretty Little Things , and writing up & refining the pattern as I go. Technical writing is a very interesting thing, and really I never thought it would appeal to me. Yet now that I’ve done a few relatively simple patterns and relaxed a little since the last one , and now that it’s already into Autumn, I’m beginning to ‘chill out’ as they say.   Its really not a very big deal if I decided to write my patterns my way.

jenjoycedesign©PLT-blue3

After all, I’m not competing with anybody but myself.   As thoughtfully and as precisely as possible, and in as  standardized words as necessary, I’ll convey the instruction, however, I will allow my own voice to speak through the technical.  I can’t even begin to know if an idea that came to me is completely original or even a little, or not at all.  Degrees of originality don’t factor in, nor can they be measured.

I must be simply be in my own skin, and focus on communicating my idea and not worry and fret how others have done it, or said it, or written it before. My only wish for myself is that I communicate well and  am artful.

jenjoycedesign©PLT-blue2

There is suddenly in this Age of Indie Knit Design, a refreshing lack hard-core rules and so a wonderful freedom abounds. Especially so  with indie design which bleeds over into creative writing.   Oh, yeah, and lately I’ve been enjoying the creative writing style of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee immensely, reading-while-knitting I might add !  Her comedic book “Knitting Rules” has given me so much more confidence within myself to soldier on, in my own style, knowing that its okay to be different. I will learn one fine day at a time, and one design at a time.

Okay folks,

here’s a second pair of “Pretty Little Things” socks !

 It’s almost ready to go, so  you can expect pattern to pop up in the days ahead!

jenjoycedesign©Pretty-Little-Things-blue

( Forgive me the unavoidable clinging dog hair in the photos, if you have noticed even at all.  We, and the yarn, and All Things Knitted,  share hermitage here with a German Shedder Dog, and the hair being all over the house, hiding in every shadow ready to ambush any and all dog-hair-magnets.  We have had to just surrender to it. )

Pretty Little Things

jenjoycedesign©Pretty-Little-Things-Socks

A nice pretty little pair of socks I’ve been working on here and there while knit-walking the mountain.  Pretty Little Things were so much fun to make !  I managed to make a knitted hemmed folded cuff, nearly three inches wide, lined, knitted back into the work, added a darling picot edge, and one tiny wee peerie to make it just pretty enough !

jenjoycedesign©PLT-foot

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Did I say pretty?  I might add plain, basic, sturdy, utilitarian, old-fashioned looking, and as sleek as porpoises because there’s no ribbing.  Oh, and they are very, very warm !

jenjoycedesign©Pretty-Little-Things

The ‘legs’ are two layers thick of stockinette stitch, lined, so they actually hug my ankles snugly.

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My little feet feel so pretty and are very happy indeed to have their first socks knitted custom, just for them !

I used stash yarn of fine fingering 75% Superwash Merino/ 25% nylon sock yarn, with US#0 (2mm) needles, and the fabric is thick & dense, though very soft.  I am sure they will wear very well.  Anyway,  I think they are different, and I’m quite taken with them !

You can bet on a pattern for these popping up here sometime soon , so hang around !

Baby Penny Candy Socks: The Pattern

jenjoycedesign©bpc

Well, I did it ! I completed my commission for two baby gifts, and in doing so, I knit a pile of baby socks and refined the pattern for Baby Penny Candy Socks, which can be found in ‘My Patterns’  HERE .  I am so very relieved to have all finished, and ahead of schedule ! 🙂

I have included it (for no additional charge) with Penny Candy Socks Pattern but not knowing how to separately add the pattern to the one, as a duet, I have just copied and pasted the whole pattern to the end of the Penny Candy Socks pattern pdf.
If anybody has any advice as to how to keep them separate, but to allow them to be downloaded together, a two-for-one sort of thing, please let me know, it would be greatly appreciated !

Pattern details can also be viewed on pattern page on Ravelry HERE

jenjoycedesign©Bpv

Baby Penny Candy Socks

jenjoycedesign©Baby-Penny-Candies

Necessity is the mother of invention. I was not planning to spend the whole day designing and knitting these, however, my dearest sister-in-law Patricia so kindly asked if she could commission me to make some baby socks for her niece who is ‘expecting’ …how can I say no?

So I  seized the opportunity and decided to let it be a good reason to design something. Why not a  mini verson of Penny Candy Socks’ pattern ? And so voila !

Downsized from Penny Candy Socks,  I have designed a baby & toddler version with picot edge and twisted cord tie closure.  Cute as can be !!!

jenjoycedesign©Baby-Penny-Candy-Socks (2)

Stay tuned, as I will be submitting a pattern just for these, as well as adding the pattern to the existing Penny Candy Socks Pattern , and updating it in Ravelry sales soon !  (If you have already purchased or have been gifted the Penny Candy Socks pattern, you will be sent an automatic update as soon as I submit it 🙂

Penny Candy Socks ~ The Pattern

jenjoycedesign©penny-candy-socks-detail
Remember these?

Well, I’ve been crunching numbers for a few days, and though I’ve lacked actual test-knitting of all the sizes, they seem correct  to me from a mathematical perspective. Written in sizes from Little Kid to Big Kid, and I will be test-knitting all the sizes I haven’t already, as the summer blossoms and wilts, and intending to have a lot of fun doing so !

So folks, the Penny Candy Socks pattern can be found HERE , and less than one week into summer, which is pretty good, as my goal was to post them on the actual Summer Solstice. Not bad at all.

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Just a little hello from my sister-in-law Pam’s feet & her dog Peggy !

Penny Candy Socks & Peggy

Penny Candy Socks

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Why not knit a pair of socks this summer? Or if you’re really fast . . . a few pair ? These short-cuffed “Penny Candy” striped socks are so reminiscent of childhood summers (to me) ! The stripes are two-rows wide and follow every turn, through the heel & heel turn and picked up and continued through the gussets into the foot, and through the toe. Uniform, unending, and you need not once cut a strand of yarn from beginning to the very end ! You will most surely will find a rhapsody of flavors in your own combination of colors, perhaps even from your own sock yarn stash. Lets go… and not waste another minute talking about it, because summer will be over before you know it !

Summer Sky

jenjoycedesign©finished-un-sock

What a day it is today !

Actually, quite warm out, and the sun high in the sky, 1 o’clock p.m… perfect time to finish the first sock of two , and have it drying out on the line . . .

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The blue summer sky with whispy clouds (clouds not in this photo) .  Summer Sky socks for my sister-in-law (the one in Vancouver, who didn’t mention it , but I sensed a little bit of sock envy as I knit her father a pair the whole time I was there a couple of weeks ago ).  I hope to have these on her feet by the Summer Soltice coming up.

jenjoycedesign©striped-sock

Not just any sock, but once again, in my unrelenting quest for improvisation I went and striped everything, the heel flap , the everything ! And, did not follow a pattern folks . . .

I think I finally get sock knitting !

jenjoycedesign©striped-heel

Okay, I’ve cast on and have started the second sock, so I better get busy !

Socks For Dale

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It was a race to the end . . .

A couple of days before we were to travel to Vancouver in the honor of Dale’s ninetieth birthday , I decided I wanted to knit him a pair of socks.

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But I did it, I finished them, with only one minute to spare !

I had a half hour after the last cast-off stitch , to weave in all ends, steam-block in a hurry (in front of Dale, who watched in amazement how they transformed from a lumpy bumpy wad into a lovely flat pair of socks) , and then photograph.

Here they are with the adorable mascot Peggy.

jenjoycedesign©socks-peggy (2)

In my opinion, it was a bit of entertainment for all to see me knitting at every spare moment, while walking, dining out, while sat at the table in conversation . . . you name it, and then like a magic trick, while the second hand was ticking, they were finished and given to Dale with a hug (before having to rush off to a dance performance).

 He seemed very happy indeed !

jenjoycedesign©socks-for-Dale

Apologies Dale, for the hurried & back-lit photo xx

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Notes: If you look back on  this post  before I left to Vancouver, you’ll see that I was experimenting with a provisional cast-on just above the heel, which I knit down to the toe, and then after which I picked up the live stitches and knit upwards for the leg. Inside-out works quite well and I’d say undetectable if one is knitting stockinette stitch , but in this case with the 2×2 ribbing, the direction change was noticeable.  Hardly a reason to have done it differently, but just saying. It seems as I originally suspected (but which isn’t noticeable in a patternless fabric as stocking stitch, the ‘join’ so to speak, is off-set by a half-stitch it appears.  But this is not at all a problem, and ‘inside-out’ knitting is a technique I am going to explore more in the future !

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Details on Ravelry HERE

Inside-Out

I’m not a fast knitter.  I’m a plodder really, though I get the job done in good time.  ” Slow and steady wins the race ” I always say.

Well, there’s news !  I am going to be travelling to Vancouver BC this coming week, for some days.  The event is a Ninetieth Birthday party held in honor of my father-in-law, and… and well… I purposely held off thinking about this travelling thing, because really, I am so adverse to travel ~~ ( those who know me , can attest to the extreme, to get me over the county line is a big spree !) ~~ so I put it out of my mind the weeks coming up to it, in order to not brew and stew and work myself into a terrible state. Now it’s the week of said travel, and I can’t any longer put it out of my mind, especially as I am immersed in a last-minute knitting project that will hopefully be finished for the Man Of Honor during the visit.

You see, I want something to knit while I’m there . . . something mindless, like rib or stocking stitch of something . . . nothing too big, or two small . . . something that will keep me calm among the numbers of folk for the time I will be there (okay, two days , three nights , three mornings… you bet I have counted!) …. something very portable, and lastly, something that can be finished there.  Mind you, these are all wonderful people, intelligent and jovial and downright interesting people, yet I need my knitting to keep  ‘sat at the table’ with them, to best Have A Good Time. This hermit gets plucked from her hermitage and needs tranquilizers ! Stitches are my drug of choice. Stitches keep me calm, composed, and confident in the presence of others.

Okay, back-story out of the way. So I’ve thought and thought, which sort of knitting can I be doing in constant motion , as if there is a deadline, and have a decent excuse to be doing so? Well, something for the Birthday Fellow of course !  But, well, the Birthday Fellow lives in a near desert climate, so well, knitted hat, scarf, gloves, or even a vest, are not something he could appreciate. He gave away his sweaters decades ago.  However, there’s always socks! Everybody wears socks, right?  Socks are the gift to beat all gifts, and I am determined to make him a pair !

One problem,  I only know top down sock knitting , (have only knit three pairs ; two pair in succession finished last year at this time,  these  and  these  , also a pair of  kilt hose  I knit two years ago) and this is going to be difficult.  I must have the tricky business of the heel flap & turn, and gusset decreases, and toe decreases, and intolerable Kitchener stitch out of the way.  How can I make this work?

After some thought, I’ve come to a conclusion !!!

Inside-out sock knitting !  I don’t know if its been done much with socks, but I figured out how to provisional cast-on just above the heel flap, knit two rows of 2/2 rib, and get down to business of knitting the foot section  ~~~ two at a time, separately, on two circular needles each~~~ then mount the live loops of the provisional cast-on back on to needles, and knit the leg up (later)  .  Yup ! This is it!!!  This is my answer to a very complex quandary.  Here I am,  on Monday, just into the gusset decreases. I’m confident that by my departure on Thursday morning, I will be through with the whole foot, and when I am a midst the crowd , I can take out my ‘very important knitting ‘ and just smile and K2P2, engaged with the company of others, until it’s time to top it off with a big red stripe !  I am prepared for this trip with the perfect plan.   Here are the two critters in progress (I know, I’ve been on a grey & red kick lately) …

inside-out , two-at-a-time, sock knitting

I’m improvising from three different sock patterns, and using some stash sock yarn, in colors ‘jackrabbit heather’ and ‘firecracker red’ . (That bright yellow-green is the provisional cast-on crochet work which will get unravelled and removed when put on to the needles going the other way (ankle up) when I’m there.  My father in law will like them I think . I hope.

Well, it’s a beautiful morning up here on the mountain, the birds in full chorus, the sun high in blue sky already, but with a cool breeze, and I’m off for a good knit-walk to rattle off some rows on these socks !

Roastery

Met my sister-in-law in Calistoga today.  It was roasting hot too !!!  In fact, we are having upper 90 degree temperatures nearly all this week , especially in Calistoga , the hottest town in summer in the Napa Valley !   You wanna know what is very odd about this post?

Meeting for   c o f f e e   

and giving of   w o o l   s o c k s

in the middle of a California   A u g u s t .

No matter, because the Calistoga Roastery is one of the most bohemian nouveau places in the Napa Valley, and we always meet there when there’s something knitted to give.  Oh,  such as these sweaters .

Patricia loves her new wool socks,

and that makes it worth every tiny stitch !

And, as we do absolutely everytime we get together, she and I scour’d the local thrift shops.

I got to add to my collection of antique wooden hangers with the old businesses printed on them of cleaners and dye works.   Dye works?

 ( click the photo and notice a 3 digit phone number! )

Ode To Socks

  I finished my second pair of Regular Ol’ Socks.  Socks as soft as rabbits, knitted by me!

Ode to My Socks  by Pablo Neruda

Mara Mori brought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder’s hands,
two socks as soft as rabbits.
I slipped my feet into them
as if they were two cases
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin,
Violent socks,
my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons,
my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.
They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.

Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere as schoolboys
keep fireflies,
as learned men collect
sacred texts,
I resisted the mad impulse to put them
in a golden cage and each day give them
birdseed and pieces of pink melon.
Like explorers in the jungle
who hand over the very rare green deer
to the spit and eat it with remorse,
I stretched out my feet and pulled on
the magnificent socks and then my shoes.

The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter.

Sock Pattern :  “Classic Socks” in “Folk Socks”  by Nancy Bush
Yarn : 75% Superwash Merino/25% Nylon, in fingering weight
Find on Ravelry.

Sock News


I am sort of taking a break from any projects which require  a lot of creativity, for a spell.   Sometimes I want to just defrag and knit a basic project, and contemplate more logical ideas.

For instance, sock knitting. Very basic sock knitting, I’ve decided, is extremely under-rated. I want to cultivate the utilitarian-ness of basic-sock-knitting, and I can’t really see myself ever becoming very decorative about them.   Just two knit/two purl rib sock knitting , where the numbers are multiples of 8, and really, for the adults and teens I know and love and knit for, and using fingering or even sport weight yarn, I’m figuring there are likely going to be two common sets of numbers to work from ~ total stitches being 56, or total stitches being 64.   Sport weight yarn with 64 or 56 stitches,  on #3 needles will be a large-ish sock, maybe a little snugger on size#2 needles (like for Kilt Hose !) , and I’m seeing that fingering weight yarn with 64 or 56 stitches and size#0 – #2 needles is a good variation of size range too. I’m knitting my second pair of Regular Ol’ Socks and  keeping very vigilently to #2 needles ~ this time careful to not accidentally knit with the #3 needles.

(Question: How can one so easily and so often mix them up? Answer: too many needles heeped in a cigar box, unlabelled).

I knit very snugly, and these stitches are super duper fine and …. well these puppies are tight! Imagine what I could do with fine fingering weight, my tight knitting, and size #0 needles !!! I could change the world ! Or… at least… I could knit some very fine, very nice socks for my wee hoofish feet, using 64 stitches, or even introduce a new number of 68 or 72 stitches… just imagine…knee-highs…with delicious rib decreases…and even increases !  I’m salivating !

So here is another observation I’m making : Using two 16in circular needles (a pain, yes, and having to adjust needles every half row is high-maintenance knitting for me, but must be done, because the 56-stitch socks in fine fingering weight yarn, stretched around one 9in circular needle is a job wrestling the whole way, pushing stitches along at their widest possible girth is also high maintenance.

Here we have progress with two 16in circular needles…


And here is progress with one 9in circular needle…

I must admit that I prefer low maintenance for something as ‘easy’ and ‘simple’ as a Regular Ol’ Classic Sock.  I’m thinking that streamlining the two 16″circular needle method is the best bet for a sock that’s not big (like for gent)… but for my feet, which are more like wee hooves of a baby burro… but   I still am sleuthing out the best method.

Edit In : Okay, for the second time , on the second pair of socks, I’ve decided a set of 4 double-pointed needles are actually the least bit fussy and least maintenance.  Suprising, since I have to switch out 3 times in one row !  Most importantly the yarn loops don’t get stressed when getting pushed between the fine cable and over the needle join.. where I’m constantly having to really pull and that I’ve decided , is the agitating ‘fiddly bit’ I can do without.  DPNS are IN.