in which i announce a winner and have a sock epiphany

I don’t like this part; the part where I announce the winner of the contest. Actually, it’s not all bad. The winner is all – ohmygosh i never win anything!! – and that’s pretty sweet. But then the rest of you are disappointed. I’ve been there. It stinks.

If you didn’t win (I’m so sorry!) I hope you’ll consider ordering Phoebe’s Sweater anyway. If only so you can have a moment like this with your daughter/son, neice/nephew, favorite kid:

Maggie "reading"

She’s reading it (but not really because she doesn’t read in the traditional sense of the word). She’s flipping through and adding her own words. So cute!

The winner of the giveaway is Cheryl, who was chosen by Jerry from slips of paper that were in a bag, contacted by email and left this comment:

Congrats Cheryl!

In other news, I have had an epiphany regarding socks. See, my usual sock knitting pattern is the toe-up You’re Putting Me On pattern by Judy Gibson (see my 16 projects using this pattern here). I love toe-up socks because I have big feet, and knitting socks toe-up makes me feel confident that I won’t run out of yarn. I also love a simple 2×2 rib, because I can knit most of the socks without thinking too much.

But then I knit the Socktoberfest Mystery Socks. They weren’t toe up and they weren’t a simple rib. And yet I really, really enjoyed knitting them. I think I had some notion that anything other than ribbing would require a lot more attention, but that simply was not the case. Sure, I needed the pattern close at hand, but most of the time I had enough attention to spare for watching TV or whatever else was going on around me.

mystery socks

Pattern: TTL Mystery Sock 2010 by Kirsten Kapur.
Yarn: The Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga! <- It’s supposed to have an exclamation mark.

With that small revelation and a whole pair of socks under my belt, I decided, on a whim, to buy Cookie A’s new book, Knit.Sock.Love, with the digital version and see if there were any socks that spoke to me. There were many, but I settled on Cusp, printed out the necessary pages, and cast on.

my first cookie

I found that I could knit these socks without my brain exploding (crazy, I know) and I have already finished the first sock and started the second. GO ME.

This is my first time knitting a Cookie A. pattern and I must say, it is brilliant. Yes, I’m late to the party, but wow. She really writes the heck out a pattern.

Nonetheless, I still worry continuously about running out of yarn and wonder what I would do if that actually happens. But for now, I’m enjoying knitting a wonderful pattern, with a wonderful (but sadly discontinued) yarn, and getting a whole pair of socks out of the deal.

plain socks

I’m in the home stretch on a pair of toe-up, plain socks.

current wipmost of sock#2

I find plenty of beautiful, intricate sock patterns that I’d love to make, but I always fall back on my old standby. The pattern is You’re Putting Me On by Judy Gibson.

Generally, I start a sock without even thinking much about the numbers or the eventual size.  I start with what I like to call a “10-minute Swatch” just to be sure my needles and yarn are happy together. Then I cast on using the sort-of tricky, but ultimately kick ass Figure-8 Cast On. The toe increases are accomplished with a kfb or sometimes a m1, whatever I’m feeling in the moment.  It’s before I complete the toe increases that I locate my scribble laden copy of the pattern and make sure I match one of the numbers given.

The Generic version of the pattern lets you choose from a slew of foot stitches (from 32 to 80 foot sts, depending on your yarn, gauge, and desired finished size) and gives you all the numbers to plug in for your size. These particular socks started with 12 sts on each needle at the toe, and I increased to 64 using kfb. I’m knitting them on 1.5 (2.5mm) needles.

Socks, to me, are what I knit when I have nothing else to knit. Or when I need a small something in my bag. I don’t love knitting socks like I love knitting other things, but I do love wearing them. I also have a very important person in my life who wants for nothing…but handknit socks.

It’s just coincidence that these will be ready by Mother’s Day, but I couldn’t have planned it any better!

All I can hope for now is that I didn’t just curse myself by saying “these will be ready.”  Now something crazy will happen like I sit on a needle and break it. Oh, why did I just say that?

current wipall of sock #1

sock love

her socks, just laundered

Yesterday at my mother-in-law’s house, I found a clay bowl filled with the handknit socks that I knit her. It was only surprising because they’re usually on her feet. The story was that she has just washed the socks and they had been hanging on the stove handle, and when she began cooking our dinner she moved them to the bowl.

her socks

Noreen taught me how to mend socks, and when these started wearing thin I gave her the leftover yarn and she darned them herself. They are wearing thin in places and are due for another mend.

her socks

These were knit in Trekking XXL, color 100. I don’t think they make these colors anymore, which is a damn shame because it is one of the best colors ever for socks. Noreen calls them “the green socks” and they are her favorite.

The others were knit in Lorna’s Laces, and she wears them, too, but prefers the Trekking ones.

her socks

The Lorna’s socks haven’t needed mending. The bottoms are fuzzy, but with no apparent holes or weak spots. She owns another pair that were knit in Lion Brand Sock-Ease and of the three pairs, she likes them the least.

I have another pair of socks-in-progress for her, and I really should get to finishing them. No one loves and appreciates their handknit socks more than Noreen. I always say, she would give you the shirt off her back if you asked for it, but she would not ever give away her handknit socks.

Speaking of socks, I’m working on a new design! When Elinor announced her new sock contest, it sounded exciting and I was instantly inspired to take up the pins!  In the next couple of weeks, I should be ready to show you! It’s colorwork!