What’s that?

Hey! What’s that?

Wait a minute – show me the yarn, it looks familiar…

Oh, I remember! It’s the yellow and blue sock yarn from Sundara, when she was still “the secret dyer.” Didn’t you make a sock, like a really big sock, out of that?

Yes, yes! The Blue and Cream Stocking from Meg Swansen’s Knitting!


My friends, it’s time to exit my knitting funk.

Mountainash is currently the bane of my existence. I’m not knowledgeable in formal and legal marital terms, but we need that thing where we can see other people. Not quite a divorce, since I do want to come back one day and finish. Maybe a separation? A polygamous arrangement?

Whatever its proper name, I need it. What was joyous and interesting before is only mildly amusing now; what was slightly annoying before is now irritating beyond belief; what was dreadful before is simply unbearable now. The splittiness of the yarn, however slight (Lacey Lamb), the long rows, the uninteresting repeats, it’s just never ending funk, that’s all it is. Out of sight, out of mind!


Then there was the trigger: a sock with arch shaping in the upcoming Vogue Knitting… Meg Swansen… un-venting Elizabeth Zimmermann’s invention… I remembered! Oh the fun times I had with Meg Swansen’s stocking! The yarn, the charts, adjusting the whole thing for my shapely (ahem) calves.

But, alas, there is only one. So beautiful, but, oh, so lonely.

I never had an identical twin in mind, of course. When knitting just for process and show, and not for function, why not amuse myself (and you, my friends) and knit a friend? A perfect companion: so similar at first, but entirely different upon closer examination.

How similar? Enough to fool the unobservant and passersbys :). I’ll be using the same yarn – Sundara sock yarn, 006 and 024, and keeping the same basic knee sock shape. In fact, now that I have an actual knitted prototype in my hands, I plan to make slight improvements on the shape to fit my legs even better.

And the differences? First, the background color of this sock will be orange, and blue will be the contrast (reversed on the previous one). Second, the patterns will be completely different (more below). Third, I haven’t yet decided on the foot – will I use arch shaping in the background color, just like on the first? Or keep the pattern on the foot? Maybe arch shaping with two colors like the VK sock? I haven’t yet decided.

As for the patterns I plan to incorporate, another trigger: I have coveted (coveted, I tell you!) Nancy Bush’s Folk Knitting in Estonia ever since I saw Sundara working on Tiit’s Socks. For a while it was out of stock everywhere, and I boo-hoo-hooed and moved on to other projects. But I continued to look, setting up “e-mail me when product is available” alerts anywhere that would allow it. Finally, it became available here, and a virtual swipe of the credit card later, I have it. And I love it.

Oh, what a gorgeous book with such gorgeous patterns. Maybe one day I’ll make Laila’s socks like Sundara‘s, but for now I plan to incorporate some of the color patterns into a friend for the first sock. Makes sense, no? The first featured Fair Isle motifs (note: I’m not 100% certain they are actual FI, but text in the book leads me to believe that this is the case), and the second will be all Estonian.

The plan right now is to have a wide band at the top of the sock, and then a smaller repeating pattern down the leg. I’ve tentatively chosen the patterns – the top will be that dark blue and white chart you see in the lower left corner, and the rest will be the circular (or is it more like diamond?) pattern at the bottom center of the photo. Seems like it will be busy, doesn’t it? Good. I’m going for busy. Actually, nothing less than over the top will do for this particular stocking. I want it to be loud and bright and blinding. So you can see it from space ;).


32 thoughts on “What’s that?

  1. Laura Neal

    I saw a sock that would really interest you, it was in a book, I can’t remember the title but, it had the most amazing knit stockings in it. Who did I think of as I was perusing it at the bookstore? You. The stockings go all the way up to the thighs and have the most amazing cables and a really funky heel. I fell in love but, I don’t have that kind of time to deal with them. I will have to go back and write down the name of the book for you.


  2. Daphne

    Hm, and more process knitting because you’ll never actually wear wool socks? It bodes well for our bloggy entertainment if nothing else. 🙂

  3. Sundara

    Awesome! Awesome, awesome, awesome. Folk Knitting in Estonia rocks my little world. I’m so excited for these new socks. So much more interesting than mountain ash.

  4. Bottom

    When I spotted that beautiful sock in the Vogue preview, I immediately added it to my list of future projects.

    I look forward to meeting the next periwinkle and marigold sock!

  5. karen w

    WOW! I’ve been stalking that book for a while, too. I wasn’t ready to pay retail or higher. Thanks for the heads up. My copy is on the way!

    I think your sock is going to be magnificent. Loved the first one–can’t wait to see the second one progress. 🙂

  6. TracyKM

    Great looking sock to be!

    Poly-fidelity was a term used on Dr Phil to describe someone in two committed relationships when the other ones know about each other.

    I think you’d really like the book “1000 Great Knitting Motifs”. It’s catagorized by region/style, so if you want Nordic…go to that page. Or AFrican…or South American. I do believe there is an eastern European section. I could check later, but I don’t feel like getting up right now, LOL.

  7. Vicki

    It should be completely fabulous! I must now buy that book also, those tiit socks are divine!! Probably a bit beyond my skill level, but that hasn’t stopped me yet 🙂

  8. Carolyn

    OH yeah, I am craving some FI. Seriously. I just ordered some new yarn from elann…Devon or something…no plans…but I gotta have it!

    Love the link to upcoming VK…interesting…

  9. Kirsten

    Oh, you evil thing. I am trying to get off my sock knitting binge, and there you go thoughtlessly throwing glorious socks around to tempt me. . .

    I love the idea of fraternal twin socks. So much fun to put in changes and see if anyone notices, like a little game. Glad you have come out of your knitting funk.

  10. Sue F.

    I have the book on order & it’s supposed to be in stock in a few weeks- I think your loyal fans cleaned out the current supply!

  11. Manise

    Believe it or not I actually thought of you when my Vogue issue came this week and I saw those socks. Looking forward to seeing this one progress! I like the idea of not a creating a twin sock; similar, but different and enough to fool the eye.

  12. Jody

    I’m so glad you decided to make the sock a friend. I’ve always felt a little sorry for the lonely critter cuz he was destined to be single. But no more – YEA Grumperina!!

  13. LaurieM

    I’m looking forward to seeing it put together.

    I also love Knitting in Eastonia. I’ve knit 4 designs from it so far. Anytime I want something quick and fun with a bit of a challenge, it’s where I go. And I learn something with every pattern.

  14. Stacey

    My library has that book and I take it out all the time to browse the beautiful patterns! Who says they aren’t a pair just because they dont’ match perfectly??? As long as you wear them together…

  15. kelpkim

    wow! such bee-yoo-tee-full yarn! and an even more wonderful pattern fit for such luscious yarn! I definitely agree that this yarn needs a great pattern for each sock and i can’t wait to see the socks together, as they were meant to be–to see them side by side, individual and unique, yet meant to be worn together, a pair of socks, bonded by the same yarn… :o)knit on!

  16. treehugger

    Oh sock knitting guru, I can’t wait to see sock number two! As someone who has never knit FI or from a chart (I knit leftie and am a wee bit afraid of trying to reverse charts) socks seem like an interesting place to explore these techniques.

  17. Liz Cadorette

    I saw one other person mention seeing the EZ/Meg Swansen socks in Vogue Knitting’s Fall preview. I have the issue, and none other than the original sock that inspired you has been patterned for that issue, shaped arches and all!

    See how ahead of the times you are? 🙂

    Can’t wait to see what patterning you go with, etc. For my knitting-maths-impaired self, I am so pleased that the pattern you were inspired by is now available to try and tweak for myself. No chance I’d have figured it out like you did. You inspire me so much! Thank you!

  18. hellahelen

    You are such a brilliant and dedicated knitter, perhaps you should do this for a living?? I find it frankly amazing that you’re a full-time grad student, yet you find the time & energy to put so much thought into your hobby. I consider myself an adventurous knitter of decent skill and speed, but only a cautious and occasional designer.

    I can’t wait to see how the sock shapes up! Literally and figuratively, of course.


  19. Miss Knotty

    That. is. so. SNAZZY! You really are so inventive, and I just love the stuff you do.

    As to Mountainash; I think the term is ‘trial separation.’ You still care about each other, but just ‘need to try it apart for a while’. You go off and do your thing, and it’s not as final as divorce, but you don’t also have to wake up and deal with its snotty glare and impatient stomps of incompleteness either.

    I’m totally gonna take a fair-isle class now, I’m so pumped for colorwork. As an aside, what is a good ‘tryout’ project for a first-time fair-isle attempt? A dishcloth? Just a swatch? Something felted? I’m a total fair-isle noob. In fact, aside from looking at it and going ‘oooh pretty’ I don’t think I actually knew the difference between Fair Isle and Intarsia (which I also don’t know how to do) until I looked it up just now. It was all just ‘colorwork’

    As a second aside, my brother and sister-in-law honeymooned on the ‘Fair Isle’ – Iceland – and she told me upon her return that apparently Fair-Isle sweaters are tourist fodder, that ‘no one actually wears fair isle sweaters there.’ Yeah, she had that tone, too. Just thought that was an interesting tidbit.

  20. elisabeth

    You and Mountainash need a nice separation agreement. And, if you were on “Friends,” some might say you needed a break. I would be happy to draw up the papers for you, gratis, of course. A knitter to knitter discount, so to speak.

  21. Margot

    Thanks so much for the heads up on the book! I’ve been looking for it for awhile too, though obviously not as assiduously as you!!

  22. Bliss

    Your socks are amazing. So cool!

    I too looked for a copy of Folk Knitting in Estonia for ages… finally scored my copy a few months ago from the same place you did. Now I just have to get up the gumption to make something from it…

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