For months now, I’ve noticed a few bloggers I follow posting ‘Once Upon A Sock,’ appearing on the first Thursday of every month, coordinated by Paula @ Spin A Yarn! I’m a day late, but I’m hoping to jump in on this theme! It’s always interesting to see what other people are looking at, it’s like sock yarn eye candy!
I love knitting socks, and I’ve professed my love for socking knitting before. I always have at least one pair of socks on the go because they are the perfect purse project. My sock drawer may be brimming with socks, but really, one can never have too many socks to keep your feet warm, especially with the winter we’ve been having here in southern Ontario.
So, with that said, what do I have on my needles right now sock wise? This may sounds super boring, but I have two pairs of plain ol’ vanilla socks on the go. The first I’ve been working on intermittently since October; they started as conference socks, something to knit in between taking notes. I hate to say this as well, but I find these socks a little boring. I love the yarn, Knitting Fever Painted Desert, with its gradual tonal changes, but I think I’d feel differently if these were made a little more exciting with lace, cables, SOMETHING. I needed conference knitting, and this yarn was in the stash. I’m really excited that all I have to do is kitchener the two and get them blocked.
Sock number two of vanilla socks is more exciting because of the yarn. Who doesn’t like a good self patterning yarn! This is a ball of Opal doing its magic, and I’m at the point with these socks where the foot needs simple knitting. The heel is turned and the gusset shaped. These are currently on hold, because they will make amazing movie knitting.
I’m hoping to join in on the Once Upon a Sock blog party once a month, but I also know myself and my blogging habits, so I may not be quite as diligent at hitting these targets. For now, this has been fun to do!
Is there a knitter out there that doesn’t have some sort of scrap yarn/left over yarn memory blanket forever on the go? It is something that gets picked up and put down so very frequently, where you only work on a square or two at a time, with perhaps many weeks in between. It’s a comfort, knowing you’ll always have something familiar to turn to, and yet perhaps a test of patience knowing that it is a long term friend who may stay a UFO for quite some time.
I started mine in May 2016, and It will only have one square made from each skein of sock yarn I use, because a girl’s gotta have some rules! The squares get added after the project the yarn was initially used for or is complete, and, because of my Type A personality, I try to save the tag that came with the skein and a small sample of the yarn in a binder, where I might write some notes about the yarn, where I bought it, what it was used for, truly making it a memory blanket, attaching these memories to the pages.
I first blogged about this blanket in late May 2016, and uploaded this picture.
I provided a blanket update in August 2017:
And I’m really excited to compare that picture with this one:
For a project that feels forever going, seeing the progress is really a happy thing.
I found a new favourite pattern. It has a silly-ish name, but it’s well written and works up quickly: Balls Up ! by General Hogbuffer. I’m always on the mission to use up those left over bits and bobs of yarn; a few endevours have been my sock yarn memory blanket, the Ex-Boyfriends shawl, and socks that I’ve lovingly referred to as my ‘ugly’ socks, an inappropriate moniker because they are one of my favourite pairs to wear. Why ugly socks?
There are four different remnants of Opal sock yarn being used in these socks, all joined together with the Russian join method. It’s a little bit of a colour cacophony, but I kinda love them.
With the holiday season in full force, I wanted to expand on my knitted ornament collection, which is where I found the ‘Balls Up!’ pattern, and my goodness is addictive! It’s especially satisfying when using self striping yarn, because you get the pattern without any effort. Also, when I say it’s a quick knit, boy is it ever! I can get one knit throughout an evening. It is a wee bit finicky, specifically the beginning when you’re knitting in the round with only eight stitches, and it’s awkward knitting at the end after you’ve inserted your ball form.
Something about these make me really happy.
Last week I wrote about a ‘Simple Pattern’ for socks, taken from a book written in the 1800s. I had fun experimenting with this pattern, using rather old yarn from my stash. I made it about 12 rows or so into the body of the leg before I frogged them.
This was how the pattern was shaping up – lace panels in between garter stitch. I was happy with it, but this has now taken a back seat. The socks were ripped out so I could free up the needles for vanilla socks. I was at a conference last Thursday and Friday and knew I would want something simple to keep the hands busy while still listening and engaging with what was being presented.
These, I must say, are shaping up to be perhaps the most boring socks ever.
The yarn is slowing fading into different shades; the top has more green with the purple, and the heel looks like it’s doing the same thing. It’s all very subtle, and no texture is making these seem just a little yawn. Again, I dove into the stash for these socks, and really, they are serving their purpose very well, simple, transportable socks that require no thinking at all. Although they are a wee bit boring, there is nothing wrong with that. Socks are socks and they will keep toes warm regardless of the simple yarn.
This is where self patterning or self striping yarn shines. A simple vanilla sock becomes so much more interesting because the yarn is doing all the heavy lifting, the yarn is dazzling while you are simply repeating the knit stitch over and over.
While I soldier on with these unremarkable socks, the ‘simple pattern’ is still on my mind, and I have an idea of how I want to tinker with the pattern. Going at this rate, it’s safe to say my toes won’t be cold.
There are many divisive issues in knitting: to swatch or not to swatch, process v. product, but perhaps one of the most controversial is whether sock yarn counts towards stash. One would think that the debate is settled when the Yarn Harlot decreed that sock yarn isn’t really stash yarn. Maybe I just think of ‘stash’ a little differently.
Take this beautiful skein of sock yarn. I bought this lovely skein of Indigodragonfly CaribouBaa in the fall of 2016. I had no idea what I wanted to do with it, but I knew the colours were pretty, and when I bought it, it was my first ever Indigodragonfly, so I was excited. There it sat for almost a year and a half; other projects came and went, but inspiration had yet to grab me for this yarn. And then it did.
In March/April I purchased two skeins from one of my LYSs (one two separate occasions, as it turns out). After chatting with a friend about this yarn and how to use these two together, she encouraged me to take a closer look at Stephen West and his brioche patterns. While brioche wasn’t in the future for this yarn, The Doodler was. I saw the pattern, I saw the skein of Indigodragonfly on my shelves, and I knew these three had to be used together.
I have a hard time buying more than one skein at a time if I’m just buying yarn. Some of this is budget, and the rest is practical. I’ve been stung too many times by not buying enough to complete a project that I’m either running out and buying more or ripping back and buying new. If I have a project in mind that needs ‘x’ amount of metres, then cool, I’ll go out and buy what I need, but to buy ‘x’ skeins just because, that I just can’t do. But sock yarn, oh lovely sock yarn. You can buy one skein of fingering, and you have enough metres to make a plethora of things. A hat, no problem! Socks, duh. A shawl/cowl/neck accessory, done and done. Or, like my lovely blue/green Indigodragonfly, it can just live there until the perfect project comes along.