While visiting my family over Thanksgiving, my grandma showed me her sock drawer. It was filled with handknit socks of all different colors and patterns. I did not snap a picture: grandma was almost in bed and I didn’t want to keep her up.

I noticed some of the older ones were (finally! thankfully!) gone – I don’t like it when grandma mends her socks, I’d sooner just knit her another pair. This old soul was still hanging on… Each pair reminded me of a time in my life – so many memories… some good and some bad.

She showed me her sock drawer as testimony that she has plenty of socks, and I don’t need to knit her more with any kind of urgency. Quite the contrary, grandma: the way you cherish these gifts and the happiness they bring you will propel me to knit pair after pair.

In fact, between the car ride there (7 hours), the car ride back (3.5 hours), and standing in line to visit the Statue of Liberty (2 hours), I finished the newest addition to grandma’s sock drawer:

Pattern: simple 60-stitch stockinette sock with picot edge (à la Claudia), short-row heel (à la Wendy), flat toe (à la Nancy Bush), and herringbone stitch detail (à la Stitchionary, volume 1).

Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted Yarns fingering weight 100% merino wool, Butter Pecan, 2 skeins.

Needles: US 0 dpns, set of 5 (these ones).

The yarn is one of the softest I’ve ever worked with, very squishy. This led to some initial sizing mishaps, but in the end I was able to correct for the yarn’s stretchy nature. I had grandma try on the first sock, and the fit received an enthusiastic ‘thumbs up’ :).

The weird pooling, however, continued to haunt me, more evident in the second sock of the pair. As they say, that is the nature of the Handpainted Yarn Beast. What bugged me more was the way the colorway knit up, more muddy and mottled than you’d expect from the skein:

Not surprisingly, the next yarn I reached for was the tried and true Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in old rose (44ns); a gorgeous colorway, reminiscent of raspberry yogurt.

Ellen’s Stockings from Nancy Bush’s Folk Knitting in Estonia (I know this book is hard to find, but I think it’s worth the hunt).

What’d you expect?!? I’m the queen of chain-knitting socks for grandma, and the next pair is well on its way. It is my mission to have the most spoiled grandma on the face of this Earth :-D.


52 thoughts on “Spoiled

  1. Heide

    Could you knit any faster? I’m having sock envy out west here just reading about your Grandma’s sock drawer and seeing how fast you crank these beauties out. You’ve motivated me to go cast on some Christmas socks… cheers.

  2. Saun

    Mending clothing is a “grandma thing”. Older generations are less likely to discard items just because they are worn out. She cherishes the socks too much to throw them out and she’s not going to stop wearing them.

    It’s so nice to have someone that appreciates your gifts and inspires you to make more.

  3. Danielle

    I was just looking at the Ellen’s stockings pattern last night. I think I may make a pair for myself. I love Nancy Bush’s sock, although I’ve only made a couple pair so far…

  4. CatBookMom

    The love you feel for your grandma and that she feels for you, socks or not, is so vivid in your posts. I wish I’d been able to do something so loving for my grandma. Thanks for sharing your stories and your family love.

  5. Ashley

    Woman, you are a speed demon! Lucky grandma.

    I really do have to track down Folk Knitting in Estonia–I want to knit everything I see from that book!

  6. Aija

    The colorway does look delicious, aptly named.

    You can order Folk Knitting in Estonia directly from Nancy Bush’s store, The Wooly West (www.woolywest.com)… and buy.com often has it on order (1-2 weeks for shipment right now).

  7. Maris

    Your grandma sounds like a wonderful lady. You’re so lucky to have her, and have her appreciate your socks and other knitted gifts. It sounds like she’s a pretty lucky grandma as well.

    It makes me wish that I was able to share my love of knitting with my grandma, who passed away before I got the knitting bug. But I’m able to cherish the things she made for me!

  8. Adriana

    I know exactly what you mean. I learned how to knit last year and made socks for my parents and my granny. This year I just made socks for one person, the person who says they are the nicest socks she’s ever owned, the person who hand washes them at night so she can wear them the next morning, my granny. This year’s socks are made with Austermann Step, the yarn with aloe and jojoba. Nothing’s too good for my granny 🙂

    I hope one day she’ll have a sock drawer like your grandmother’s.

  9. jody

    lovely stitch pattern to go with the handpainted yarn!

    and i’ve always loved ellen’s stocking (and latvian lace, which has a similar chevron lace pattern). the old rose color is a really nice choice with such an old pattern!

  10. Carrie

    Oooh, that colorway was aptly named – it reminds me of the way the caramel swirls off into the surrounding ice cream, and now I’m HUNGRY! Lovely socks, lovely gramma. I think it’s adorable that she mends her socks, even though you can whip out new pairs so quickly. Just shows how much Gramma loves them, and you!

  11. Sarah

    These socks are really lovely, I’m just started on my first pair and am really enjoying them. I think they will have to be for me as there are a few too many mistakes for a gift but soon I hope to fill my family’s drawers with socks. Great work.

  12. Abigail

    I love Folk Knitting in Estonia. I first saw it at my library, but it was falling apart, so I only kept it for a few days, but I was haunted by the awesome patterns and techniques. I found my copy at ecampus.com. I wonder why it’s so hard to find (Amazon doesn’t even think it exists), it’s such an awesome book, and all the other folk knitting books are everywhere.

    -awesome socks by the way, you really do have one of the luckiest grandmothers in the world, I just wish mine would wear handmaid socks, but alas, I must settle for dishrags, as that is all she ever seems to want from me.

  13. Alison

    What wonderful gifts you are offering to your grandmother – both the socks and the love!

    Frankly, I wish more of us mended clothes and socks. Perhaps we would learn that you cannot dispose of things simply because they’re a little worn. I wonder if this contributes to our “it’s not like new, so toss it and get a new one” mentality that so plagues our generation. Seems to affect everything from car purchases to marriage, sadly enough.

    I know, I know, I sound like a traditionalist. I suppose I am. And only 33 years old!! 🙂

    Gorgeous socks, Grump. May you merit to knit many more pairs for your family.

  14. SallyA

    I am your long-lost grandma that you never knew you had. I wear size 10 shoes. Let me know when you need my snail mail address. I wish…

  15. Nishanna

    Hey! i’m gonna ask a question. I just found a copy of new style of heirloom knitting. My question is, how the heck did you decipher some of those japanese characters? I was looking at mountian ash and i was hoping if you could impart some wisdom on me because i feel like i have no idea where to start!


  16. kristiface

    Your socks are amazing. After a year of knitting, reading your blog inspired me to finally take the plunge and make some socks! My first pair aren’t nearly as pretty as any of the ones you’ve knit, but I’m definately enjoying it!

  17. connie

    beautiful socks, kathy, even with the pooling. your grandmother is lucky to have such a prolific knitter as a granddaughter and you’re lucky to have such a grateful recipient! The only thing I’ve knit for my grandmother (who taught me the craft a long time ago) was the Lily Chen’s easy lace Charlotte shawl made with k1c2’s richesse et soie (a really lovely cashmere/silk fingering weight yarn).

  18. SueG

    Thanks so much for sharing, I miss my grandma, but now that I am one..I REALLY DO NEED TO KNIT MY FIRST PAIR OF SOCKS. You are such an inspiration.

    Thanks again LOVE your pictures


  19. Dianna

    You must take a photo some day of the sock drawer. A record (blog or otherwise) of the memories the yarns trigger seems to be in order! Keep knitting her socks, regardless of what she says – you’ll never regret it! I wish my grandmother was still with us to knit more for!

  20. Cathy

    What a special thing you do for your grandmother! She must be special!

    The raspberry socks are lovely! I have a craving for frozen yogurt now . . . raspberry flavored!!

  21. Heather

    I think it’s great that you have a Grandmother that appreciates the finer things in life, like handknit socks! Mine would complain, and probably toss them aside as inadequate due to their being handknit.

  22. Ann

    Wow – speed knitting! I second the sock envy comment.

    You’ve made me want to knit for my grandma, and that’s a good thing.

  23. Siow Chin

    The Butter Pecan socks are beautiful and another lovely design by you! I miss my grandma who’s gone since I was 12 🙁 And I miss my aunt too, she’s approaching her 80s and I’ve been wanting to knit her a shawl. Must. knit. faster.

  24. Anne

    It’s weird that Amazon and Barnes & Noble don’t have Folk Knitting in Estonia; you can buy it direct from Interweave’s website, or Powell’s, among other places.

  25. amisha

    wow, you are one fabulous granddaughter! and your grandma has got some well-dressed feet.

    i love knitting for my grandmothers… they are my craft inspirations and knitting for them makes me feel like i am giving a little teensy bit back. although i’ve only knit one pair of socks thus far… this post was an inspiration.

  26. tinymich

    Oh, this post and its comments made my heart well up. Your granny is so lucky to have you and you to have her. I’m about to start knitting my first pair of socks (out of Lorna’s – hey, they’re a gift, you gotta go with the good stuff) and can only hope they’ll be received, worn and loved as well as yours!

  27. Elisabeth

    The socks are lovely. I hope one day my grandmother will have a similar drawer.

    Am I the only one who’s confused how it took 7 hours to get there but only 3.5 to get back? Did you have a good tailwind or something?

  28. Liz

    Lovely socks!

    I’m really glad you posted the gauge issues! I just bought two hanks of the exact same yarn, and I’ll be happy to avoid ripping it out ten times before I get the sizing right.

  29. Beth S.

    Oh goodness, I LOVE the Butter Pecan socks! The little herringbone accent is just gorgeous, and it looks so beautifully “vintage” in that colorway, especially with the delicate picot hem. They are fantastic, just fantastic!

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