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Birthdays Family Finished Knitting

Sock Subterfuge


My yarn stash lives in a cupboard or so in my sewing room.  You’d be forgiven for thinking that it looks like a whole heap of yarn just crammed into a cupboard but it is in fact exquisitely organised – if you have insider access to my brain that is.

I have categories for different types of yarn and the projects they might make and within each category I have a sort of geological strata in which purchases can slowly mature until their moment of glory arrives.  It’s particularly useful for helping H forget about the existence of yarn.

The forgetfulness isn’t needed to fulfil some tacky cliche about smuggling purchases in under the radar of ‘he who holds the purse strings’; a drawful of well worn fluffy socks confirms that this man appreciates knitwear almost as much as the serenity that making it bestows upon his wife, and he views my stash as as necessary as the paint tubes, pigments and brushes that line his studio shelves.

No, the truth is that he’s been to enough yarn shops and fibre festivals that he knows good sock yarn, and the right sort of fibre and colour combination to spin for socks, and so I have an entire mini stash marked up as ‘belongs to H’.  The trick is to leave it in there long enough that he entirely forgets about its existence and then is wonderfully surprised when it turns up in sock format for birthdays or Christmas.

June 1011

This year’s birthday socks he chose at the Sparkleduck stand at Knit Nation 2011, a merino/nylon mix (their Spirit base) that is reminiscent of a slightly looser spun Wollemeisse and a million miles from some of the larger commercial sock yarns that wear their ‘wears like iron’ badge on their sleeves.

June 1009

These are socks to show off the yarn, vanilla by pattern, with one little twist.  I wanted to do a short row heel to preserve the continuity of the stripes down the top of the foot, rather than my standard heel flap (where the increased stitches for the heel shaping would have created a section of thinner stripes that would have looked rather odd) but I’ve never been that keen on the traditional wrap and turn method.  Alice at Socktopus did a series on the different wraping methods a while back and her favourite, the shadow wrap, is my new favourite.  I used the tutorial on her blog which is here, and I’ve since discovered a sock specific tutorial using this method in the first (and incidentally wonderful) issue of The Sock Report.  The shadow wraps close up the annoying little holes formed by traditional wraps, and it’s really really easy to keep track of where you’ve got to, a distinct plus when knitting takes place in 30 second intervals between handing a budding artist the next colouring crayon, and singing Baa Baa Black Sheep for the 42,357th time.

June 1008

H wore them around London on Sunday and I rescued them from the laundry pile for a photo shoot hence the feet imprint and the fluffy edges, the mark of a true seal of approval.

The Bare Necessities

Pattern: A 72 stitch plain sock pattern embedded in my brain, with a shadow wrapped heel turn.

Size: UK10-11

Yarn: Sparkleduck Stripes
Needles: 2.5mm DPNs

Time to make: 1 week.

Would I make it again: Yes – this area of the stash appears to be multiplying faster than I can knit it.