Friday, February 15, 2013
2012 Birthday Socks
Since Lawson and I have been dating, each year I have knit him a pair of socks for his birthday (OK, often they are actually finished a bit after his birthday... you can see the last couple years socks here and here). After making him fingering weight socks the first year I have stuck to heavier weight yarns since then... I am always amazed by how much larger his socks need to be than mine, so this helps me get them finished without getting totally frustrated. Sport weight yarn seems to be the perfect weight, yielding a really wearable slightly heavy weight sock, and actually I have been knitting my own socks with sport weight yarn more and more too, and enjoying how quick they are to make and how they are more durable.
So I am always keeping an eye out for nice sport weight sock yarn, and looking online last year I asked Lawson what colorway he preferred of Heritage 150 Paints sock yarn, and I have to say I was surprised when he picked this colorful red and orange one! It was certainly more fun to knit with than some of the drab solid colors I've used for his socks in other years and he seems very happy with them.
I finished them a good month or two after his birthday this year, and then the first time he wore them (just around the house) they somehow got a huge run in the sole of one foot. I don't know if there was a problem with the yarn or if they just got caught on a nail or something and ripped, but I took them back to fix and didn't get to it until early this year. Since I had knitted them from the top down, I just took out the foot starting where the rip was, and reknit the foot and toe. Lawson was very patient but has enjoyed having his finished socks back!
One of my favorite knitting books is Sensational Knitted Socks, since it lets you come up with a customized pattern for socks based on your gauge and the repeat of the stitch pattern you want to use, and I used that again for these socks. I just did a simple mistake rib (alternating rows of k1 p1 and rows of knit) for the pattern, with a bit of a rolled cuff at the top and my regular heel flap heel and standard toe.
Socks are one of my favorite things to knit, but I really didn't knit as many pairs last year as usual - between getting caught up with knitting hats and cowls last winter/spring and then baby sweaters as gifts and for our baby most of the summer and fall! I had bought this Shibui Stacatto sock yarn almost entirely because I loved the colors, and cast on a pair of socks for myself on Christmas eve when I didn't have another project to work on and didn't have anything else ready to start.
As I was knitting I loved how soft the yarn was (its a beautiful blend of soft merino wool and silk with just a touch of nylon), and just hoped that they would wear well over time. I am so thrilled that after several washings they are still in very good shape and deliciously soft - I am definitely planning to find more of this yarn and make myself some more socks with it!
I kept these socks even more basic, with just simple stockinette stitch after a cuff, and they were really quick to knit up since the yarn is sport weight. I referred to a new book, The Sock Knitter's Handbook, (by the same author as my favorite Sensational Socks book), in knitting these - it has the key formulas for heels and toes and other essential sock-knitting info, and is a smaller more portable size. I'm excited to have a new handy sock reference book!