FO – Spring Forward Socks

These are a bit of a flashback, since I finished them more than a year ago, but I still really love my Spring Forward Socks.

These are probably the pinkest, most feminine, girliest socks I’ve ever made, and I just adore them.

Pattern: Spring Forward by Linda Welch, free pattern from summer 2008 Knitty; my project is here on Ravelry
Size: US women’s 9
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy fingering weight, in Petal Shower, 100% Merino wool; I used 90.9 grams, which was approximately 360 yards/ 329.2 meters
Needles: Knit Picks size 1.5 (2.5 mm) nickel-plated double-pointed needles, set of 5
Modifications: worked toe-up, with a short-row heel

Started: January 3, 2009
Finished: April 5, 2009

As you may have surmised, these socks are practically perfect in every way. The fit is wonderfully comfortable. Because I had so much yarn (seriously – the yardage for Smooshy is so generous already, and I still have 20 grams leftover!), I was able to make the leg as long as I wanted.

The lace pattern was wonderfully easy, and fun, and I love the way it looks. The springy shapes are playful and move the yarn in pleasing ways, while still maintaining an almost solid fabric, so they’re not too open to wear as trouser socks or what have you. When I actually worked on these socks, they moved as quickly as, say, Monkeys, which made them very satisfying.

I still haven’t found a heel I love as much as a short-row heel (which is probably not a bad thing), and these were worked with 10 stitches on each side and 13 in the middle.

Apart from a wonderful pattern, I think what really made these socks for me is the yarn. I love this yarn so much I want to sing songs about it – the springy quality of the heavenly soft Merino is ideally suited for this bouncy lace, the colors are just variegated enough to stay interesting without getting distracting, the colors are lovely blends of pinks and creams so beautiful that I love every one, and the finished sock feels downright decadent on my feet. For the time it takes to make a pair of hand knit socks, it is very rewarding for them to feel so cushy and refined, like the luxury they really are. I will definitely be using as much Smooshy as possible in the future!

As for these socks, I can tell I will be getting a lot of wear out of them, starting right away.

Previous Entries on this Project:
Pink

Sock Happy

I was perusing my hand knit sock drawer (yes, I finally have a drawer devoted to hand knit socks, and no it’s not a very large drawer, but still, it exists), and I realized I had five pairs I haven’t photographed yet, some dating to over a year ago (though two from last month, which, yknow, woohoo).

That also means I have five pairs I haven’t been wearing, because I wanted them to be clean and new for their debut photographs… which is quite silly of me.

Today we finally had proper sunshine, not the little peeks here and there that have been passing for daylight the past few weeks, and I took advantage of the opportunity for some sock photography. I’ll try to post a pair a day (or so) as I get the chance to write about them.

But you can bet I will be wearing them immediately.

Hooray socks!

Two new cast-ons

In every aspect of my life, I have trouble finishing what I start. I could say a lot more about this, but since this is a knitting blog, I’ll just leave that as a fact.

Still, is there any thrill so great as starting a new project? I love gathering the materials, poring over the pattern again to anticipate the process, and finally getting the first few stitches going on the needles, knowing that at some point, all of it will transform from a pile of materials and pattern and ambition into an actual, knitted thing.

This is the beginning of the Diminishing Rib Cardigan by Andrea Pomerantz, from the spring 2009 Interweave Knits (my project is here on Ravelry). I’ve been wanting to knit this cardigan since I saw the preview more than a year ago, as it is exactly the type of sweater I like to wear over dresses and camis in the spring and fall.

I went with this magenta because I am absolutely obsessed with this color lately. It also goes nicely with a lot of my spring and fall clothes, and I think that saturated hues kind of transcend seasons, so I can get a lot of wear out of it.

I’m contemplating types of fasteners, and after reading the designer’s notes on this on her blog, I still haven’t decided, but I do think I’d like it to close at the waist.

The second new cast-on is probably very predictable for me, another pair of socks.

These are called Oh So Nikki socks, by Judy Sumner (PDF of the pattern here), another “underappreciated” pattern, for the SKA February challenge, which I described in my last post. My project page for these is here on Ravelry.

The name comes from a rather charming story related in the Designer’s Notes:

These socks were hiding in a container in my family room and I found them recently and said to myself “These are oh so Nikki!” Nikki is one of my twin granddaughters and she had requested “grandma socks with bright green and orange”
and these fit the bill and then some. I hope you have a Nikki in your life who will love them too.

Isn’t that sweet?? How could I resist?

It also doesn’t hurt that the stitch pattern is super easy, fast, and fun.

For such a simple pattern, I think it has a lot of visual impact, and I’m really enjoying this project!

I am still working to finish one of the socks from my January pairs, as well as that lace tunic and admittedly some things I haven’t even shown yet. I think I’m going to put some thought into how to get WIPs under control this spring…

Neue Socken

When I first started knitting, casting on a new project was an event. I put so much time and thought and energy into it, and I was so excited by the time I started that I couldn’t wait to take photos and document it, even if all I had to show was a few rows of a sock toe or the beginning of a sweater back.

I was worried that I was getting blasé about it, that starting a new pair of socks when I had so many already on the needles was becoming old hat (I’ll address my rather alarming WIP problem in another post).

The typical prompt for me to cast on new socks is the Sock Knitters Anonymous Sockdown challenges on Ravelry. This is such a fun, vibrant, and active group that it makes it utterly compelling to participate, and it’s extraordinarily satisfying to finish a pair within the group’s (very generous) timeframe.

The February Sockdown challenge included an option for Underappreciated Patterns, which of course intrigues me, as a big fan of the obscure and less recognized. I kept wondering what makes one particular pattern skyrocket in popularity while another equally beautiful (or perhaps even more beautiful) one gets overlooked.

In most cases, I realized that I personally overlook patterns which are photographed in a way that obscures the details (blurry, too dark or light, too far away to see the pattern etc) or, far more commonly, where an overly busy yarn is used. I think some hand-painted yarns are truly works of art, but not all yarns are suited for all patterns, and it drives me nuts when a great pattern is completely obscured by a high-contrast, crazy variegated yarn. Or, when such a yarn is forced to fight with a pattern rather than used in a simpler way that showcases its unique qualities.

All these obsessive issues of mine aside, I am pretty confident that the reason this pattern is underappreciated is because it is written in German. I of course don’t know any German, but I found the photos of this pattern so lovely that I really needed to make a pair of these socks, and I had this green Gloss yarn just begging to become fern lace.

It turns out it’s rather remarkably easy to figure out a German pattern, especially one such as this, which has the lace charted out. I found this super-helpful website which translates common German knitting symbols, and combining this with Google Translator, I pieced together the stitch count and instructions.

I’ve finished the first sock already, and I’m pretty stoked with the way they are coming out. More to the point, I’m actually enjoying the process, each component, and the whole experience of knitting. It’s a lovely change of perspective.

For the love of Nancy Bush

I purchased my copy of Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks quite some time ago, and it wasn’t until this past September that I knit my first project from it.

When I saw that the January Sockdown for the Sock Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry had Nancy Bush as the featured designer, I couldn’t resist starting two new pairs.

The first is the Child’s Sock in Miranda Pattern, which I am working toe-up over 64 stitches. This is my portable, train and subway type knitting, since the pattern is effortless to memorize and easy to pick up at any point and work a few rows.

In starting the second pair, I surprised even myself, as I was following the instructions and knitting them from the top down. They are the Fancy Silk Sock for a Child of 5 or 6 Years, though I am calling them my Fancy Merino Socks. I probably could have knit these toe-up, but I love the lacy cuff and the way the heel shaping forms a geometric counterpoint to the delicate lace pattern. I guess Nancy Bush really is that good.