Warm weather. Free time to knit. But not a heavy sweater or bigger than life shlanket. Single skein project that fits in a small project bag, tuckable in a beach or poolside tote? Why socks, of course! And holy smoke, do I have socks to knit!!!
It seems that I do this every year. The warm weather rolls in, I have travel plans that require small, portable projects, and voila! My passion for knitting socks resurfaces. But here's the rub. I rarely finish a pair. Sometimes not even a single sock. What that means? A very large collection of sock needles holding all flavors of socks in various stages of completion. So this year, rather than finding a new, exciting sock pattern to knit, I pledge to confine my efforts to my deep basket of already started socks, and actually finish a few. Let me share just a few, and some of the funny things that happen on the way to a pair of socks.
Shell Cottage Socks. This is a design from Curious Handmade's second ''Handmade Sock Society" - six new secret sock designs released over the year, inspired by the beautiful Cornish coastline. As Helen writes, "The second season of The Handmade Sock Society takes us on a voyage away from the complexity and clutter of our modern schedules to a seaside retreat where we can steal a little time for ourselves, our thoughts, and our handmade projects. There will be moments of rest and of excitement, the joy of the unknown and the ease of the familiar, and most of all, the indulgence of as much sock knitting as our hearts desire." I'm in!
I actually started this one just a few months ago, upon its release. A delightful pattern that is super easy to memorize, with a 4 row pattern repeat. Love, love, love Helen's patterns, as she writes out each round in all three sizes (makes for a very long pattern, but amazingly easy to follow), and includes notations along the way telling you what percentage of the sock you've competed. I also subscribed to last year's Society, and finished a pair, which once complete, I realized were too big. So for this pair, I went down a size. Well wouldn't you know, this little guy is a smidge to small. Enough yarn is left to knit two more, so I'm making the next size up, but with a smaller (US 0) needle. Hmm, maybe I should gauge swatch.
Route 66 Socks. Inspired by a traditional American patchwork quilt pattern called Tumbling Blocks, Stephanie Van Der Linden's design is one of my few forays into colorwork socks. I chose Knitted Wit's PDX colorway as the main color, paired with white, to give my Route 66ers a unique Portland vibe. One sock underway (leg about half way complete), with the second ribbing cast on. These beauties are a little slow going, but so much fun to see the blocks of color evolve. A little less easy to travel with - a 2 skein project. But the perfect at-home, sipping my morning coffee knit.
Red Robin Socks. Another sock design from Helen Stewart's 'Handmade Sock Society,' this time from year one. Another fabulous, simple to follow pattern. 4 row pattern repeat, with a contrasting color for the cuff, heel and toe. And hip hip hooray - it fits! I finished the first one on the plane ride home from Orlando in May, and am now working my way through yet another ribbed cuff. Its pink! Can't wait to wear them with my pink Birkenstocks. Bwaaaahahahaha!
Renesmee Socks. A design from Rachel Coopey's "When Vampires Knit Socks" club, I chose these for the lovely ruffled cuff, not knowing they were inspired by the characters from "Twilight." Not into vampires, and didn't read any of the books. My daughter did, however, and rolled her eyes when I asked her about the character the socks are named after; apparently the daughter of the two main players, Bella and Edward. Such a different and intriguing way to start a sock, casting on 240 stitches, then quickly decreasing each round to create a frilly, ruffled cuff.
Here's the funny thing about this particular project. And a window into my flawed knitting habits. When I knit socks, I like to do two at a time, but on two separate needles. Not a fan of the two socks on one long loop. Usually I cast on both socks, finish the ribbing on one, then the other, knit the first leg, then the second leg, and so on. Well, with this one, I was so captivated by the ruffle unfolding as I knit, I didn't stop and cast on sock number two. And (this is the biggie), I failed to make a note as to which size sock I was knitting. Yup, you guessed it. When I started sock number two several months later, I cast on 216 stitches for the smaller size rather than the 240 stitches I had in sock one. The ruffle takes a bit of work, culminating after 22 rounds. It wasn't until I was confounded by why my pattern repeats didn't work out for the leg that I discovered my mistake. Lesson learned - when starting a project, CIRCLE THE SIZE YOU'RE MAKING!!!
There are many more socks in my UFO collection (I actually have a UFO bin just for socks), but these are the ones that have my attention right now. Nose to the grindstone, fingers crossed that no other tempting designs cross my path. Wish me luck!