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.

FO – Farnkrautsocken

Remember when I joked about renaming this blog “Vickilicious Knits Green Socks”? There is some comfort in being predictable, no?

In many ways, these are a Greatest Hits of my favorite aspects of knitting: green wool, toe-up, small gauge, fast-moving, vine lace, socks… I mean, what’s not to love??

Pattern: Farnkrautsocken (Ravelry link) by Silke Pieper, available as a free Ravelry download; my project page is here
Size: lady’s US size 9 with 9-inch foot circumference and 9.5-inch foot length
Yarn: Schachenmayr nomotta/Regia Uni 4-ply fingering weight, color 2082 Green, 75% new wool/25% nylon; I used 76.1 grams/2.67 oz or 349.6 yards/319.7 meters.
Needles: Knit Picks 6″ nickel-plated double-pointed needles, set of 5 size 1.5 (2.50 mm)
Modifications: Used figure-8 cast-on and swapped jojo heel for short-row heel

Started: July 29, 2009
Finished: August 26, 2009

I knit these socks as part of the July Sock Knitters Anonymous Sockdown, a challenge that included Homegrown Designers who are members of the group. I found this pattern clearly written, well-organized, and just lovely through and through.

The pattern called for a jojo heel, and while I was looking forward to trying this new technique, I ended up using my tried and true short-row heel. I really like the look of it and, frankly, I didn’t have the pattern with me when it came to heel-turning time, so I just went with what I knew.

I’m sort of glad I did because these are some of the neater heels I’ve worked, and I really love the way they fit.

Everything about these socks was easy and satisfying. I am a huge fan of vine lace (as you may note from the scarf and two Jellyfish shrugs I’ve knit that incorporate the vine lace pattern). It’s a four-row repeat, with two plain knit rows and two essentially identical pattern rows that differ only in being off-set by one stitch. It is fast, intuitive, has a pleasant rhythm, and at this point, I can work it in my sleep, which is helpful because much of the time I spent knitting these socks was while half-awake on the train or subway.

I like the way the front and back are divided by narrow bands of stockinette that frame the vine lace. In the past, when I’d considered knitting vine lace socks, I thought I wanted an all-over lace pattern, but the way these bands absorb the off-set stitches and draw a neat line down the leg just charms me.

The yarn was quite a treat as well. I kept finding myself surprised at how soft it was, for such a durable, workhorse type of yarn. I’m happy I have a few other colors of this yarn in my stash, and I will certainly keep an eye out for it in the future – I just love it. I also must say, this is perhaps the most perfect shade of green I’ve ever worked with, and I’m thrilled to have socks in such a great color. (I’m also happy to have nearly 25 grams leftover, which I hope to use in some kind of accessory.)

All in all, I couldn’t be happier with this project! It’s revived my interest in sock-knitting, lace, and knitting in general, just in time for fall.

Also Blue

In contrast with my ever-so-pink socks, I am also going through quite a bit of a blue phase as well. I’m obsessed with navy and deeper, richer blues in ways I’ve never been before.

I started a Sunshine sweater, a beautifully-detailed top-down raglan designed by the lovely Auntie Amanda.

I remember when Amanda submitted this design to a Craftster “One Stitch to Rule Them All” challenge (where I submitted my Garter Lace Tote) and I thought I’d never be able to make something that complex and stylish.

I’m pretty chuffed that I’m making it through with nary a worry. This is a wonderful pattern and easy to customize for a perfect fit. I just split off the sleeves and am making my way down the body. I can’t wait to finish this sweater!

It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t also cast on for a new pair of socks. These are Eleanor socks, a pattern I’ve made once before (with not such great success).

This yarn is quite a treat. The varying shades of blue are combining so nicely, and I love working with it.

I’m working the eyelets the same this time, so I think I should be really happy with these socks.

Meanwhile, I’m relishing the blues.

Pink

When I was a child, my favorite color, without question, was pink. Everything I owned was some shade between the palest blush and the most scorching vibrant hot pink the 1980s could produce.

Over time, this enthusiasm waned, and I started to hate pink. I’d say “I’m just not a pink person,” even as I admired delicate pink flowers or bold swathes of magenta in paintings. Quietly, I’d slip it into my clothing choices, thinking it was just another color, until the other day I looked in the mirror and saw pink pearls with a pink blouse (and pink camisole and underwear underneath).

I realized I have definitely returned to pink, in all its delicate and delectable shades.

The yarn for these socks is unabashedly feminine and pink, tempered with a creamy white that makes it so very pleasant to work with. The heavenly soft merino of Dream in Color Smooshy is making the entire experience one of great sensory delights, and I’m thrilled with how these socks are coming along.

I never thought I’d be so happy making something so… pink.

FO – Komet Socks

I neglected to even mention that I was working on these, but I finished a pair of Komet socks this week.

These are like no socks I’ve knit before.

Pattern: Komet Socks by Stephanie van der Linden, originally published on the Socken-Kreativ-Liste Yahoo Group, but now available free on Ravelry
Size: lady’s size 9 with 9-inch foot circumference and 9.5-inch foot length
Yarn: Schachenmayr nomotta Regia Color 4-ply /4-f├Ądig fingering weight, color 1900, 75% wool / 25% polyamide (nylon); I used less than 2 100-gram skeins
Needles: size 1.5 (2.5mm) Knit Picks nickel-plated DPNs
Modifications: Inverted pattern to toe-up, with short-row heel

Started: October 5, 2008
Finished: November 25, 2008

This isn’t exactly a formal theory, but I think a knitter is either a lace person or a cable person. I would have considered myself firmly in the lace camp, as I gravitate toward open, flat patterns with simple repeats.

Then I got hooked on these socks, which have both cables and lace, and I couldn’t decide which section I enjoyed more. Fortunately they were worked simultaneously, so I got to indulge in both. While I have cabled in the past, I didn’t really love it the way I love lace, but this time the cables clicked for me. The maneuvers finally made sense, and I looked forward to the crossings, which thankfully only occurred every 14 rows.

By the time I got past the heel on the first sock, I’d memorized the pattern, and I really enjoyed working from memory. This was, though, one of my first times working a pattern purely from a chart, without writing it out for myself, and it went a lot more smoothly than I expected.

The yarn was delightful, as I’ve come to expect from Regia. I bought a lot of colors of this particular yarn from WEBS close-outs, and it’s a truly fantastic go-to yarn. This color seemed an anomaly among my typical choices, in that it is so subdued, with such subtle variations within a gentle range of tones. It ended up being a perfect counterpoint to the architectural quality of the cables and lace pattern, providing visual interest and delicate movement without distracting at all from the stitching.

I hope it’s not immodest to say I think these socks are beautiful.

I would definitely recommend this pattern. It was very intuitive, enjoyable, and I think the outcome is great. The fit on these socks is fabulous, and all in all I just couldn’t be happier with them. It figures that I waited until the rainiest, darkest day of November to photograph them, but they are much nicer in person.

Now that I’ve gotten my (probably) last selfish project off the needles, I must concentrate in earnest on gift knitting for the rest of the year. I’ll just have to admire my feet while I do it!