Category Archives: socks


I’m going through a trying time. In short, I’m having my second miscarriage in five months. But I have two lovely children, I have faith, I have friends and I have people who love me, so it’s all better than it could be.

But the other weapon in my arsenal, against the monsters lurking in the dark pools of my psyche waiting for an opportune moment to leap out and drag me under, is my knitting.

Stephanie has a theory that knitters are not patient people, but that while knitting, we exist in a bubble of artificially-induced calm. I am using my bubble as needed.

After I lost my first baby, unexpectedly, at 12 weeks two days before Christmas, I cast on a lovely, complicated, decadent, and beaded lacy cowl. I worked on it and made it as beautiful as I could. It was a challenge and it was delicate and beautiful and comforting. And I finished it, which felt like quite an achievement, in the circumstances.

On Monday as I sat in the waiting room, wondering if we were going to see a heartbeat or not, I couldn’t take out my current project in case the news was bad and the project was soured by association.

But after I heard the bad news and was dispatched to another waiting room, I pulled out my sock and looked at it. The yarn, TOFUtsies, is supposed to have antibacterial properties.

“Oh well,” I thought. “You can be my healing socks.”

(Then I immediately thought, gack, you can be disgustingly perky sometimes!)

But don’t worry, the wallowing in self-pity comes later with me. When it tempts me (when I get a chance, with two small children running around) I pick up my healing sock and it makes me happy. I love the colours, the delicacy, the way the yarn-overs spiral one way and the colours of the sock spiral the other. I love the feel of the yarn, and I love the stitch-after-stitch repetitiveness and the knowledge that if I get it wrong, I can rip back and fix it.

TOFUtsies Tidal Wave

I love that it keeps me focussed on the moment, on the present. And none of those moments are awful. I read about an author who lost her (eight year old?) daughter and turned to knitting to help her get through. How could she live through that, I wondered. That must be so much worse than my troubles. She must have had days when she needed the knitting to make her want to move at all. I’m guessing got through it stitch by stitch.

And that’s what I shall do.

Starting Projects

A week or two ago I had one, (count it!) ONE work in progress. OK, there are probably a few things in the back of the cupboard that are unfinished but I don’t consider them works in progress since, for that, there would have to be some, well, progress.

So I was working away on my Durrow Durrow Sleeves and had abandoned my Jaywalkers and was waiting for Sock Wars and so didn’t want to start a new sock.

I was strong for a few days, and then I cast on a baby hat, currently homeless (the hat, not the baby. I’m not sure who I’m knitting it for. I just wanted to knit it, but I do know a bunch of pregnant ladies on a message board I frequent, so it won’t be homeless forever).
Homeless Baby Hat
(Sorry, the natural light was very dull this morning when I took this pic)

Then I was buying my sock wars yarn and some Lorna’s Laces Rainbow accidentally fell into my online basket. I knew #1 Son would love it, so I had to have it. It’s not quite how I thought it would be though (I’m terrible at looking at hanks of yarn and figuring out how they’re going to look. I should have realised that the fact that all the colours were in blocks on the hank, meant that they were short lengths and wouldn’t actually make rainbow stripes (on anything other than a teddy bear’s mitten. Maybe). However it is still very pretty and nice to knit with and so I am knitting a scarf for #1 Son for next winter. Forethought! Usually I start knitting for a season when it has actually started, thereby finishing things only when the season too is drawing to a close (if I’m lucky and the project is small).

Rainbow Scarf

THEN, after my Sock Wars debacle (which I really got over very quickly), I searched around for something to do with the yummy TOFUtsies yarn I had bought and settled on a pattern published by the company that makes it. The price was right (free) and the slight laciness was right, and I was off. I’m almost finished the leg of the first sock. I find socks go much faster when I’m working on a pattern rather than just doing plain knitting, because I always want to see how it’s going to look, and that means knitting a few more rows, then one more row plain and then, well, I might as well see how the next part of the pattern turns out…

Tidal Wave Socks

I also remembered that I had promised to make a lap blanket for my granny. I had started it, with yarn left over from my prayer shawl (I do hope one of Christine’s daughters or granddaughters, or maybe even her tiny great grand-daughter, is enjoying it now that she has gone to her reward). I remembered to order extra yarn, in other colours to complement the left-overs, and it arrived the other day. I ended up frogging what I had started (twice) and am now working on a feather-and-fan blanket that I hope works out to be a decent size.
Lap blanket for Granny

So there you have it. Lots on the go now. My favourite current project is my Tidal Wave Sock in TOFUTsies, but I’m soldiering on with, and still enjoying the Durrow, in spite of the fact that I keep making mistakes. It’s getting to a point (cabling AND shoulder decreases) where I really shouldn’t pick it up unless I can concentrate and finish a whole row across both sleeves at one time. Otherwise I end up getting lost and making mistakes).

Toe-Up Opals — Finished!

Toe-Up Opals

I started these socks (details at Ravelry) in December, as soon as I ripped open the package from my Secret Pal 11 pal.

I paused a little after finishing the first sock, because I needed to make something decadent and delicate and self-pampering (not that these socks aren’t pampery).

But recently it’s been cold here and I’ve been rueing all the super-short socks that I made in the spring. So I got back to my longish Opals.

Yesterday we went out for a drive and I got most of the leg done, which surprised me no end as it wasn’t that long a drive. This yarn knits up really quickly, though. It’s very satisfying.

This morning we planned to go out for a walk in the park, so I quickly did my sewn bind-off (finishing it, again, in the car) and popped on my new socks right there and then. It felt great.

On the way home I cast on for a pair of kid socks made from the left-overs. Otherwise, I’d only have had one project on the go!

(OK, apart from the sideways scarf, and the buttons I need to sew onto that little sweater, and thing things stuffed in the back of the cupboard of which we do not speak…)

Sock Crazy

I’ve been waiting to post until I had some pictures, but Vista is confounding my ability to share and upload pictures, so I’m posting pic-less for now.

Since my last post I’ve been working feverishly on warm black socks for the mister, who commented on how cold his feet were and how slightly-too-big his shoes were and how he had a knitting wife who never knitted him any socks, sniff, sniff.

Well, my dear knitters, you know what kind of an invitation that was, so within eight days he had four brand-new homeknitted socks. I’ve called them “Wool-Ease 44s” because they are knitted out of Wool-Ease worsted, on 44 stitches. I also rib 44 rows for the leg, turn the heel and do 44 rows before decreasing for the toe. Neat!

In the interests of not-going-insane-in-the-dimly-lit-basement-laundry-area I have added a grey stripe to the top of the first pair and a multicoloured strip to the top of the second pair. In all other ways they are interchangeable.

I’ve slowed down a bit after my sock-every-two-days initial burst. I’ve got the first sock of the next pair done, though, and now that I have a simple pattern I needed to vary it, of course. The heel and toe of this one are done in a salt and pepper colouring, which reinforces them as well as making them more obvious in the laundry. I’m not sure the toe was completely successful, but luckily the mister is so keen on the home-made socks he’s not liable to complain.

Nice to have found something I can make for him. And it’s so nice to think of his feet being warm and cuddled all day due to my efforts.

Homemade socks: a portable hug.

Too Tired To Knit?

It doesn’t seem like knitting would take much energy, does it? But sometimes I am honestly too tired to knit. The thought of holding the needles up and telling my arm muscles what to do is too much, sometimes. Pathetic!

I’m excited too because I was commissioned by Husband to make him some thick warm socks, the night before last. It’s such a treat to have a husband ask you to knit something for him (that he’ll actually wear) that I’m keen to get them done. I actually have finished on all ready (yay, left-over black Wool Ease!) but this morning my arms are rebelling. I guess they need a rest.

Trekking Cable Socks

Trekking Cable Socks
Originally uploaded by jwordsmith.

I must write up the pattern for these since they are the first socks I’ve made that I am unreservedly pleased with. They fit great (I like a short sock); I’ve finally learned what “pick up and knit” really means, which makes a huge difference to the quality of my work; and I even took time to fix mistakes.

(Look Ma, our little knitter’s growing up… )

I wasn’t keen on these flap heelps when seen in pictures (and in my first, fudged attempts at socks in chunky yarn) but in a real sock yarn the make for an incredibly comfortable and well-fitting sock.

And the colours and feel of Trekking XXL, don’t get me started. It is taking all my reserve not to order more right now. All hail the Yarn Harlot for showing the way.



I'm Dead

Death arrived in the mail today, from Wyoming , not the West Country as I had expected (I had read the sidebars of Yarn-Monkey’s site incorrectly).

The socks are lovely, made of Plymouth Colorspun DK (75% Acrylic, 25% Wool), which means they’ll probably last longer than the ones I made. They fit perfectly and are in a colourway I’d wear any day of the week. (To be honest I’d have worn even the most horrible of colours anyway, simply because they were my Socks of Doom and would make me smile).

The blow was further softened by a handful of Ghirardelli Caramel Chocolate Squares and a lovely postcard of a landmark near her home, the Devil’s Tower.

Sock Wars Killer Postcard

Death Becomes Her

I received a message from the assassin of my assassin (in Sock Wars, of course).

Jaycee is so very dead,” it read, “and we mourn her passing….but she died happily with alpaca/silk blend socks for her feet!

Ah, it comes to us all. It just hasn’t come to me yet.

I checked the package tracking facility at USPS and my victim’s socks were in her mailbox as of yesterday morning, so she should be dead by now and thinking about mailing her work-in-progress to me.

If it arrives before my West Country socks I’ll be able to add a few rows before sending it on to Texas. If not, I’ll be providing my victim with the address of the assassin of my assassin. Who then gets to knit for the victim of my victim.

Confused, yet?

In other news, I think I might be ready to get back to work on the Never-Ending Aran. Although there is the Cyberman Sweater to consider, and I have most of a pair of socks knitted from my Trekking XXL…but I might be socked out.

The weather is definitely cooler here, and I feel the need to knit with speed.

All's Well

My poor victim contacted me this morning, as did her potential victim.

The socks are in the mail.

I’m still a terminal case, but I feel happier about it now that the system is working as it should.

But then, I’m Roman Catholic, so you know, I like things to stick to their proper structure.