I have adventures knitted into my socks. They’re the ultimate in portable knitting and as you never know when you’re going to have a few moments to sit and knit, especially in a life that involves commutes on the train, three children that love play parks and a husband that can be persuades into taking a few moments to sit and sketch, there’s usually a sock in progress in the bottom of my handbag, hopefully also with the right amount of needles. It means that there’s a pair of socks in John’s drawer that I made on a trip to Paris, another pair that I think went to Vencie, or perhaps to Spain, and there are socks that could tell stories of road trips around Europe and some solid stints on the motorway back home in the UK.
But more than that, they are often the souvenirs I buy of the places we visit; I have a very good radar for yarn shops (thank you Ravelry), and a ball of sock yarn is so nice and neat and doesn’t have to match anything else in my stash, it can be it’s own little reminder of somewhere we love.
This yarn came from Hebden Bridge, which we passed through on our way back from the Lakes earlier in the summer. It was bucketing it down for most of the day and, not wanting to rush too much on the last day of our mini child-free escape, we pottered our way along the streets, dipping in and out of anywhere that took our fancy, a rare luxury not afforded when the children are around. We browsed bookshops, took shelter in the Arts Centre (and came out several cards and a butter knife later), and then we found ourselves at Ribbon Circus. And while I picked out a couple of buttons for Pip’s Snowflake Hoody and looked at all the pretty things, John started to peruse the sock yarn.
It is by this that I know that I have irrevocably changed my husband; not only does he appreciate a hand knit sock, he’s even happy to get stuck in and pick out the yarn. And with that much effort put into the choosing (and our unpacking revealing just how many overly ventilated socks he currently owns), they were an easy choice the moment my sock knitting needles became free.
The yarn is Stylecraft’s Head Over Heels sock yarn, in a colour which they’ve called Everest. All of their colours are named after mountains but while I get some of them; Etna and Fuji have lots of hot reds and yellows, Everest isn’t the first mountain that comes to mind looking at those socks.
To me, it looks far more like the hills behind Ullswater; the views along the route that took us high up into the hills, to sit at the shore of Red Tarn and gaze still even further above us to the tiny dots on the skyline as a steady trail of raincoats and backpacks climbed up to the summit of Hellvellyn.
The greens are the grass and the bracken, the blue the sky, the indigo is the colour of mountains off far away in the distance, beyond another lake, and the red and purple are stone and heather bathed in the evening sunlight. That holiday, even all the way back in July, is still stuck in my mind as the two days when we switched off from the world and went to live in a bubble. It’s not sustainable in the long term but for two nights it was pure bliss and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I suspect that the socks have absorbed that memory, and that they carry with them love and hope and relaxation. Because I finished them on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday John headed off for a trip to Majorca, where hand knitted wooly socks are not traditionally the choice of footwear, even if the temperatures have dropped a smidge for September, and the socks went along for the ride.
For Knitters Notes on this one, it’s a 72 stitch sock with a heel flap heel. On the leg I knit to the first colour change past 60 rounds of plain stst (on top of the 20 rounds of ribbing) which really helps to get identical socks when working with self striping sock yarn. Or at least it should. I did everything I could to make these identical and yet …
Sometimes you just have to laugh with the knitting furies and move on!
The final note is that this is a very sticky yarn and trying to use the ball pulling out from the centre I got horrible tangles time and time again. I’ve got another ball from Stylecraft in the stash and I will definitely working from the outside in, no matter how much that makes the ball of yarn run away from me on the train!