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.

Autumn Approaches

 

Beautiful cascades of yarn I’ve over-dyed  plum and purple, to Eldest Niece’s specifications, for Autumn sweaters.  Jacquard acid dyes : pink dyed over light blue yarn, and then lavendar over heathered grey.   The over-dye and the original colors will make a lovely subtle  varigation in the stockinette fabric that I just can’t wait to see, and since there are two nieces, there will be Autumn Sweaters  (x 2) .  Take a look at the  other colorway  overdyed from the same yarns which I bought a boat load of in a closeout sale.   Superwash 100% Merino wool.  Drinks in the dye, and exhausts the dyebath so nicely ! But committing to overdyed colors , I have found,  is strenuous at times, because there’s no “I’ll just exchange these 5 skeins for another color” sort of thinking. Nooo… I have to make it work, in a sort of determined marriage to the yarn.  So far I’ve casted on after switching needle sizes and swatching four times !

*    *    *

Meanwhile,  Classic Socks pair number two continues to grow.

(Yes… more purple.)

Happiness Is…

My first pair of regular ol’ socks done & dusted !

:: claps wildly ::

And now I think I’ll start another pair just the same as I finished, in lavendar heathered yarn, and they will be for my nieces’ mom.

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