Socked In: Knitting on the Road

I’m beat today. I’ve been on the road for a week and a half and still have a few more days to go on my trip—a full two weeks in transit.

What I’m most embarrassed about is my lack of knitting. I did knit waiting for planes and sitting on them, but when I was at my destinations (DC, Columbus, Amherst and Calgary), I simply couldn’t muster the energy. So my progress on my socks has been quite slow. Perhaps if I’d spent more time knitting than shoe shopping and real key lime pie eating, I’d have gotten farther.

I’m using Socktacular by KnitPicks book as a pattern. And though it was a bit less convenient for travel, it was so worth it to bring it along because there are so many fun choices to make. After much dithering, I selected top-down, afterthought heels with standard toe with a moss rib style.

Because it is a first pair in a long time and the second pair ever, I chose to use a “free” yarn that was gifted to me by the San Juan Fiber Guild,Zitron Trekking XXL Farbenspiel. This way I could experiment on the socks, make whatever errors I might and not care about the cost.

I’m making a one-day stop at home to get a few fresh clothes—but leave again this afternoon. Still I had enough time to drive out to Carnation, WA and get to Tolt Yarn and Wool for a bit of retail therapy. The socks that will come from these Shades of Earth, Dyed in the Wool by Spincycle Yarns in Bellingham, WA will be quite a bit more precious.

SOCKS: Es lo se que es

When I was a very small child my dad used to say the phrase “Es lo se que es” right after Walter Cronkite intoned “And that’s the way it is.” For the longest time I thought he was spelling socks—S-O-C-K-S. Finally, my mother explained it was Spanish for what the newscaster was saying.

My latest learning project is socks. Inspired by Rainier Knitter’s progress in this area—to not only overcome her knitter’s block, but to master it well enough to teach! I’m suitably impressed.

Years ago, around 20, I made my first and only pair of socks. It was prior to existence of Ravelry, so I don’t know where the pattern came from or if I invented it myself. I used to try and figure out stuff from garments back then, so I might have just done that. Suffice it to say, I made them and I was terribly proud of the work.

The yarn was some Noro left over from a sweater. I was careful during the first wash not to shrink them and on the first wearing, they developed holes. I darned them up thinking it was an issue with the that part of the skein, only to find that the holes developed holes the next time they were worn.

NOTE TO SELF: Don’t use single ply 100% wool yarn for socks!

Zauberbal Sock Yarn in Harvest, Stonewash and Heilix Bleche

Feeling that it’s time to get over this knitting block and inspired by my Instrgram pals like @thevaultblue, I picked up three beautiful balls of sock yarn at Stitches West. In part because my take along project was a pair of Mary Jane slippers for my mother’s birthday gift and I was struggling to get it to work. I thought it was the Zitron Trekking XXL Farbenspiel I was given by my (San Juan Island) guild so I could create the socks and not care about the cost (lovely ladies that they are!).

The problem turned out not to be the yarn, but the ancient Bernat pattern I was using. After three attempts I made the slippers with a design of my own creation out of some Caron One Pound I had left over from pillow covers teaching myself double knitting in the process. I hope to create a pattern to share, but explaining double knitting techniques, especially for increases and decreases is challenging.

The socks are underway and they are now my take along project for Interweave’s YarnFest in Loveland, Colorado.