What’s new?

Wow. With all that’s been going on lately, January fairly flew by. Now it’s nearly Valentine’s Day. Five years ago on Feb. 14, my darling husband proposed to me. Hard to believe it was that long ago!

I’ve posted a few “new house” photos since we moved, so I’m sure you’re all rather sick of looking at the same landscape. But when I saw the sun making the distant hills rosy this morning, with twilight still in the foreground, I had to snap a few. Check it out here: Sunrise

Finally, lest you think I’ve been letting my knitting slide, here are a couple of photos. First, the “Frozen Feet” socks, made out of 100 percent alpaca. These suckers are going to be W.A.R.M.

Frozen Feet Socks

Next, a quick pair of “Fetching” gloves:

Fetching

I designed a neck warmer to go with them, but haven’t taken photos of it yet. I’ll try to be good about writing it up, because it turned out to be quite cute!

Hey, did you notice the fab Fiesta Ware sugar and creamer set in the Fetching photo? LOVE the color!!! And the price…I found the set for $15 at an antique store in Cape May, NJ last fall. Fun ;-)

Well, back to work. Duty calls, and all that. Until later, happy knitting!

PS. I HATE how WordPress works with photos! But Blogger doesn’t let me post PDF files of my patterns for you…So. What’s a girl to do? Guess I have some research to do on blog options. If anyone has suggestions, I’m open to hearing them!

Blue Friday

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomatoes by Bonnie Rollin (my mom), photographed in her Sacramento studio.

On Wednesday, a wonderfully balmy day in DC, I did the unthinkable: I left the house without my knitting!

Now, I was kind of in a rush, since Chris was working late and we wanted to have breakfast together. But I’d planned on sitting out in Dupont Circle in the afternoon, listening to podcasts and working on a pair of socks.

We were a block from home when I noticed my project was still at home…in our fourth-floor walk-up apartment. Really, really did not want to climb all those stairs again, to say nothing of the back-tracking I’d have to do to get home.

So I decided to do what any self-respecting knitter would do. I hopped on a bus, went all the way up Connecticut Avenue, and headed for the Stitch DC-Chevy Chase Circle store.

After a lot of squeezing, stroking, petting, and general yarn fondling, I purchased a bag of jewel-toned, rich blue yarn: two skeins of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk in a soft periwinkle blue, and two skeins Nature’s Palette Fingering in Lupine–a lovely violet blue. My plan was to make Jane’s Hedgerow Socks, which I’ve been eyeing for quite a while now.

So, yarn wound into a nice little cake, new Addi Lace circular needles in hand, I took the bus back down the hill to Dupont, and settled in on a nice sunny bench to knit in the glorious sun. The temperature was more than 70 degrees, no breeze…just a warm, wonderful day.


Knit four, purl two, knit four, purl two…The strand of Nature’s Palette felt so silky running through my fingers, even more so than in the skein. Jane’s Hedgerows were going to be mine.

But wait! Something’s happening…Oh, no. Not again! The color, the texture—I realized with a sinking feeling that this yarn was not destined to be the JH socks after all. My “creative genes” were kicking in, not to be ignored.

What became obvious to me was that the Lupine was perfect for a pair of socks I’ve been dreaming up for about six months. Later that evening, I pulled out the pattern notes I’d been keeping and started charting the pattern and swatching.

I was almost derailed when I realized I’d have to knit these socks from the toe up (which I’ve only ever done on one pair of booties), but I persisted and all is well. My excitement is growing…This is going to be one cute pair of socks :-)

So here I am, knee-deep (well, almost) in blue yarn. And someday soon, I’ll have a little surprise for you. Meanwhile, I have plans for the Pure Silk; a Chevron Scarf and my second Pink Granite sock to finish; and a halfway-designed cloche to complete.

Wish me luck…

Manly Socks (free pattern)

My gift to you: A free sock pattern. Why? Because I feel guilty for spending so much time on Ravelry lately that I’ve totally ignored my blog. (Sorry.)

These socks have a long history.

We ordered a Christmas gift for my step-father, Walter, last December. The person selling the product (son of the artist) said he was out of town but would send the gift when he got home. We were fine with that–my family is perpetually late with Christmas gifts anyway. After a month, however, Walter had still not received it.

Bonnie (my mom) and Walter (my step-dad) at a pretty Italian restaurant on a scorching hot day.

This went on and on. We contacted the guy, who said he sent it but would look into the matter. We contacted him again and he said we needed to deal with the post office, not with him (he hadn’t even insured it!). Well, that didn’t go over too well with us. To be honest, I wonder whether the gift was ever sent at all. We firmly requested our money back and eventually received it.

So now it was April, and I felt guilty. So I called Walter and asked him what he’d like “for Christmas.” I had a feeling he’d like something handmade, and it turned out I was right…he said he’d love a pair of socks. Thus began the great sock hunt: right pattern, right yarn, right color.

Manly Socks

Overwhelmed by perfectionism, I cast on and frogged a few socks, bought a few different types of yarn, and generally drove myself nuts trying to make everything just right. Finally, feeling frustrated and even more guilty about how much time had passed, I decided to “just knit,” rather than follow someone else’s pattern.

I pulled three skeins of Koigu (purchased about a year earlier) out of my stash and cast on, designing as I went along. One-by-one ribbing at the top to hold the socks up; a slipped-stitch rib from the More Sensational Knitted Socks stitch dictionary that looked about right; an eye-of-partridge heel just for fun; my usual purl row before starting the toe decreases…

And suddenly they were done! Just in time, too, as I was one day away from boarding a plane to visit my parents in Sacramento. Yes, that’s right. Walter finally got his gift for Christmas 2006–in August 2007. But he was pleased as punch, and that made it all worthwhile. I hope to get a photo of him wearing the socks soon :-)

These socks are great. They’re warm as can be (I wore one on my arm for several minutes and noticed that it really trapped my body heat. That’s because the stitch makes a lofty fabric with lots of air pockets. So they’re perfect for winter or for people whose feet are always cold (like me).

This is the most detailed pattern I’ve written to date, so if you find any errors in the pattern, please let me know. Also, I’d love to see photos of your Manly socks if you decide to knit a pair!

(Note: The pattern appears below; if you’d like me to send it to you a PDF, just e-mail me at KnitSix@gmail.com)

Well, there you go. Walter’s Manly Socks. Finis!

Now, how many knitting days left before Christmas 2007?

The lovely Tower Cafe, in Sacramento

MANLY SOCKS

Yarn: Koigu KPPPM, 3 skeins, color P304
Needles: US 1.5 (2.5 mm) — I used a 32” needle from Knit Picks, and the Magic Loop method
Notions: 2 stitch markers (optional), tapestry needle
Gauge: 28 stitches x 40 rows = 4 in.

Slipped-Stitch Rib (SSR)
Multiple of 6 stitches
Row 1: *K3, P3; repeat from *
Row 2: *K1, Slip 1 WYIB, K1, P1, Slip 1 WYIF, P1; repeat from *
Row 3: *K3, P3; repeat from *
Repeat Rows 1 – 3 for pattern

Cuff
Cast on 78 stitches using the Old Norwegian method, and arrange with 39 stitches on each needle.
Work 11 rows of K1, P1 rib.

Leg
Switch to SSR pattern as described above and continue in pattern until piece measures 9” from cast on edge, ending with Row 3.

Eye-of-Partridge Heel Flap
Important: To prepare for heel flap: Knit across 18 stitches; turn, and knit across 39 stitches; this should “center” the heel flap so that it begins and ends with “P3.” The instep stitches should begin and end with “K3.”

Turn work (You will work the heel flap back and forth on one needle; ignore the stitches on your other needle—these will become the instep stitches after the heel is turned)

Work heel flap as follows for 40 rows:
Row 1 & 3 (WS): K3, Purl to end
Row 2 (RS): P3; *K1, Slip 1; repeat from * to last 4 stitches; K4
Row 4 (RS): P3; *Slip 1, K1; repeat from * to last 4 stitches; Slip 1, K3

Turn Heel
Next Row: Slip 1 as if to purl, purl 23 stitches, P2Tog, P1, turn
Next Row: Slip 1 as if to purl, knit 10 stitches, K2Tog TBL, K1, turn

Row 1: Slip 1, purl to one stitch before gap, P2Tog, P1, turn
Row 2: Slip 1, knit to one stitch before gap, K2Tog TBL, K1, turn
Repeat these two rows until all heel stitches have been worked, ending with a RS row (If, for some mysterious reason, you finish the heel stitches on a WS row, you can fudge here by working a RS row without decreasing at end.)

Pick up gusset stitches
Using needle holding heel flap stitches, pick up and knit one stitch in each garter stitch bump (a total of 20 gusset stitches); place marker if desired; pick up and PURL the stitch below the first instep stitch; transfer this stitch to the instep-stitch needle

Using needle holding instep stitches, work across instep stitches in pattern (you should be on Row 1 of SSR chart); pick up and PURL the stitch below the first stitch on the other side of the gusset gap; place marker if desired; pick up and knit one stitch in each garter stitch bump (a total of 20 gusset stitches)

You should now have 41 instep stitches; from here on, always purl the first and last stitch on the instep-stitch needle, forming a column of purl stitches that sets off the edge of the instep pattern.

Heel-stitch needle: Knit across heel stitches; next, knit each gusset stitch you picked up through the back loop.
Instep-stitch needle: Purl 1; work instep stitches in pattern; Purl 1; next, knit each gusset stitch you picked up through the back loop.

Decrease gusset stitches
Round 1: Heel-stitch needle—Knit to 3 stitches before instep; K2tog, K1; Instep-stitch needle—P1, work instep stitches in pattern, P1; K1, K2Tog TBL; knit to end.

Round 2: Knit to instep stitches; work instep stitches in pattern (including the P1 you’ve established at either side); knit to end.
Repeat these two rounds until 78 stitches remain (37 on the sole, 41 on the instep).

Foot
Continue working sole and instep stitches in pattern as established until piece measures 10” (or desired length)

Next row:
– Knit sole stitches AND the purl stitch at edge of instep; transfer this stitch to needle holding heel stitches
– Purl across 39 instep stitches; knit the purl stitch at end of instep stitches and transfer this stitch to needle holding sole stitches.

Toe
Decrease row: Knit to last three stitches on Needle 1, K2Tog, K1; K1, K2tog TBL, Knit to last three stitches on Needle 2, K2Tog, K1; K1, K2tog TBL, Knit to end of round.
Next row: Knit to end.

Repeat these two rows until 38 stitches remain
Work decrease row only until 11 stitches remain on each needle.
Using tapestry needle, graft stitches remaining on Needle 1 and Needle 2 together with Kitchener stitch.

NOTE: These socks are very lofty and springy, so blocking is not necessary. If you do wish to block them, lay them on a towel and spray with water until damp; pat into shape and allow the socks to dry thoroughly. Enjoy!

For a PDF version, click here.

© 2007, Hannah Six. All rights reserved.
For more information or permission to reprint, e-mail me at knitSix@gmail.com or visit http://www.knitsix.blogspot.com