No soup for you. NEXT!

I need to have a sock project going at all times. It’s really weird and not at all surprising. My bag feels empty if there isn’t a little sock project in there. What will I whip out while I stand in line at the post office? What will I knit when my computer at work takes 20 minutes to process my images? What will I take to the lunchtime Stitch ‘n Bitch? It’s not the Kimono-inspired sweater, which already has four pages of notes associated with it, it’s not that lavender-colored lace scarf, a project which I can summarize as follows: no recipient, no progress, and it’s not grandma’s shawl, which I am not planning to start until the new year anyway.

Socks, socks, socks. Must knit socks. For (who else?) grandma. I am so happy that grandma likes wearing wool socks, because I’m not sure who else in my family would like a pair. Dad got one pair once, and hasn’t asked me for another since. Grandma, on the other hand, asks (love the grandma!). I’m hoping that one of these days I will absolutely overwhelm her sock drawer with beautiful handknit socks, to the point of convincing her to toss some of the older, worn, darned pairs.

Since I finished the last pair a few days ago, it was time to start a new one. Off to the stashette!

My original thought was to use up some Louet Gems Opal leftovers. The regulars know that this is one of my favorite yarns – quality superwash sportweight, which behaves beautifully. I had some silvery gray, dark blue, and pink left over from former projects, and I weighed them to determine if they would be enough for a pair of socks. The verdict: not quite. I have nice amounts of the silver and blue, but the pink scraps didn’t bring up the total to a usable weight. Okay, fine. I decided to combine the silver, blue, and a brand new hank of crabapple blossom, a deep, dark pink. I cast on, knit three rows, and the whole thing looked incredibly patriotic. While fine for some, this look does not fly over very well with grandma. NEXT!

I inspected my stashette of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock. Don’t even look at me like that. I know some of you have stashes that are ten times the size of this! While these colors are yummilicious, they are all too bright for grandma. NEXT!

(the answer to the obvious question – since these colors won’t work for grandma, I will have some lucky pals in future sock exchanges)

I looked at my Sock It To Me! Essential 4 Ply from elann, which was purchased with grandma in mind. I petted it, and looked at it from this angle and that, but it just wasn’t speaking to me this time around. I think I’ll knit it up at some point, just not right this very minute. NEXT!

This left only one candidate – two skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in cranberry. To be perfectly honest, this isn’t exactly a grandma color – a little too bright – but I think it can be pulled off. The yarn is a lovely 100% superwash wool, incredibly soft and completely inappropriate for a sock. It’s okay, it’s for my grandma, but I think these will not last more than a month or two – too soft. Then again Twosheep June tells us, “I suspect a looser-spun 3-ply would wear quite well, maybe even better than a tightly spun 2-ply yarn.” June, I’d like to let you know that Emily, Carrie, and I discussed this at lunch the other day, and we are skeptical ;). I’m looking at this stuff, and I just cannot imagine it would wear any better than the Shepherd Sock, which seems so much more durable to me.

Choosing a pattern for this yarn was a bit tedious, and I tried Whitby (N. Bush, KotR) and Fancy Silk Sock (N. Bush, KVS) before finally settling on Gentleman’s Fancy Sock from Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks. Again, highly ironic to be knitting these socks for grandma (remember her Child’s First Sock socks? Haha!). I modified the pattern for this thicker yarn, and although my instinct was to poo-poo the calf shaping, I’ve decided to leave it in and see how it goes. Here’s what I’ve got happening so far:

Oh yes. I think we have a winner ;).

23 thoughts on “No soup for you. NEXT!

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  1. PumpkinMama

    I’m really surprised to see the Sock-it-to-Me in your stash. Its pretty scratchy, thin, splitty stuff – definitely not what I’d imagine you tolerating. I knit a Devan sweater out of it, and even after many, many runs through the washing machine (active toddler gets goop on it all the time) it does not got a soft hand at all. I have several balls left over and cannot bring myself to knit with it again.

  2. Zarah

    It looks really nice. I’m going to have to get that Vintage Socks book. Maybe your grandma can just wear them around the house or something — big squishy socks that are bright red, seems perfect to me!

  3. Judy

    Beyou-tee-ful! Grandma could use them for bed socks, too, since they might be too thick for wearing with shoes. Perfect for those cold Mass. nights!

  4. Scout

    I’m starting to feel like I’m going to become a crazy sock knitter too! There’s such satisfaction in making them. I turned the heel on my son’s socks last night and just love looking at it!

  5. Jen

    The nylon content lets you knit a thinner yarn for socks and it will still be durable. LL’s Shepherd Sport is 100% wool, and it will stand up very well, but you need to knit it more tightly – on a 2 or 3 needle – in order for it to be strong and wear well. My LYS lady told me this…apparently it’s why you can knit “sock” yarn on as big as a 2 and still have great socks. With sport weight you have to go down a few sizes. My favorite socks are LL’s shepherd sport (yes, they fit under shoes) and I could buy approximately 800 more hanks and never get tired of knitting with it. I’ve made worsted socks on #4s in this same way too, but it makes my hands hurt to knit with that.

    Pretty pattern, happy knitting and happy holidays!

  6. Kenny

    Just beautiful. I truly admire your flixibility when knitting… you can take any pattern and any yarn and turn them into something totally Grumperina!!! Oh, I bow down to you my Knitting Goddess!!

  7. knitzalot

    That color is gorgeous and the yarn looks so soft! Maybe not as durable, but if they’re just for hanging around the house, I’m sure they’ll last well enough. You’ve inspired me to start another pair of socks!

  8. Jen

    Gorgeous socks…I have knit a few pairs of socks on LL sport and LL sock yarn, and the sock yarn holds up really well, with minimal pilling, even when worn in heavy rotation and machine washed and dried. The LL sport, on the other hand, pills almost immediately (even when handwashing) and wears out pretty quickly (even knit on size 3). I knit a pair out of LL sport for my husband and they only lasted about 2 months.

    I may go down to a size 2 next time and see if that helps.

  9. beth

    I am glad I am not the only one who thinks she needs a sock in the works at all times. Your socks are lovely. I love seeing what new ones you are making! Jaywalkers are definately next on my list. I will send a picture when they are done. Have you thought of dyeing yarn for your grandma?

  10. gail

    You know, I get great results using wolly nylon on the soles of my socks. I hold it with the wool for the soles, then simply stand it across the instep of the sock, for the bottom of the heel and the ball of the foot. I cut the wooly nylon short periodically and then trim it when I’m done. The ends fuzz up and are not detectable when wearing. After washing, the ends really fuzz up to something very soft. In this manner, even if the wool wears thin, I have a framework to duplicate stitch if ever necessary, as a mending. it works every time for me, the wooly nylon (available from a sewing fabric store) is made in every color and it blends in perfectly with the wool. I will put a photo on my blog tomorrow–now I MUST finish my last paper, that was due yesterday!!!

  11. Purly Whites

    I love this color and hope Grandma does too. And this is a great pattern, it’s on my list to try.

    Are you going to reinforce the sole of the foot, or maybe just the heel like you did on the KFI Cashmereno socks? How did they hold up?

  12. Jan aka Warrior Knitter

    OMG! You knit at work while things are loading on your comptuer!! I do, too!! With the complete blessing of my boss! At least I’m getting something done in the meantime while it hourglasses!!

    Great socks! I’m knitting the Gentlemen’s Sock with the diamond pattern for my DH in Cascade Fixation (marine blue cuff, heel & toe with white leg & foot).

  13. Sue F.

    How funny! I am reading your archives, having discovered your blog about a month or two ago and am currently knitting this exact same pattern for my dad, in Lorna’s Laces camouflage yarn (he likes to hunt). I am probably going to steal your idea about weaving reinforcement thread through the sole in place of knitting with two strands for the heel & sole as this yarn seems quite soft and I’m not sure how it will hold up.

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