Does it mean anything, do you think, that the rate at which I bookmark sock patterns has seen a noticeable increase lately? I don’t think I feel any more inclined to knit a pair, but I’m all heart eyes for these:
TOP: Near and Far by Hanna Lisa Haferkamp — I honestly don’t know which is more mesmerizing: the cable or the color
Every December, I go back through the year’s New Favorites posts to see what patterns I had highlighted along the way and which of them I don’t want to lose track of as we head into another year of endless knitting temptations. The best of the best are always the ones I didn’t need reminded of because they’ve never stopped tapping a finger on my brain — I’ve gone back to them repeatedly, thought about yarns and colors and usefulness. This narrowed-down list leaves out so many beautiful and worthwhile patterns (scroll through the whole series to see) but these are ones I can most imagine having on my needles at some point. And by the way, I still want to make every single thing in last year’s list.
TEMPTATION OF THE YEAR
I’m reluctant to call Michele Wang’s simple-but-perfect Charles Pullover (above) the “Best” pattern of the year necessarily, but it’s the one I absolutely cannot get out of my brain, and definitely my very Favorite New Favorite. We’re into the time of year where I want to have on a big cozy turtleneck every single day, and my only one is 15 years old and looking it. So there’s an excellent chance this one will go from Fave to Made. (As seen in Mildly mannish cables)
Thoughts of my upcoming Rhinebeck trip have me dreaming of house socks — as is normal anyway for this time of year — for two reasons. One, I’m a little preoccupied with flannel pajama pants and thick socks for wearing around our rental house, which in my imagination is apparently quite drafty. And two, I need a small-scale project to take with me. I’m envisioning myself standing in the long unmoving lines — waiting for a falafel or an autograph — knitting out of the giant pocket of one of my beloved smocks. (I don’t even know what I’m wearing yet, but this is the persistent image in my head!) If it’s a sock I’m working on in that moment, I obviously haven’t made them in time for lounging around le chalet, and really my plan is to be starting a Cline sleeve by then. But regardless of any of that, I am sorely tempted by Andrea Mowry’s lightly textured Marluks (bottom left) while craving the cables of Irina Dmitrieva’s Hot Chocolate Socks (bottom right) and yet actually very close to casting on Purl Soho’s old-school Seamed Socks (free pattern) up top. Minus the fiddliness and plus the trip-worthiness, I can imagine actually completing a pair. The yarn is even sitting quietly in my stash …
On the morning of our first full day at Squam a few weeks back, my friend and cabin mate Mary Jane Mucklestone popped out of her room, declared that she was ready to go, and proceeded to make pretty much every single person at the retreat fall in love with her. In her effortlessly MJ way, she was wearing a sort of prim, navy, polka-dotted shirtdress with her Kanoko Socks and a pair of black Doc Martens boots, and nobody has ever looked cooler tromping around the woods of New Hampshire. (I couldn’t take a photo that did the outfit justice.) This adorable spotted socks pattern of hers had been among my favorites of the many stunning projects in the third issue of Making, the Dots issue, from the moment it arrived, but that was the day I went from admiring them to coveting them, and I may have to knit them, even if I’ll never be as cool as MJM.
Kathy’s been here this week working with me on the holiday photo shoot for Fringe Supply Co. (can’t wait to show you!) and while we were at it, she was kind enough to take these pictures of my latest finished object: a quickly knitted pair of slippers. I needed to be wearing slippers in one of the photos and mine are all a shabby mess — with my big toe having just recently broken through the end of my favorite pair. I’ll come up with a good patch for that when I have a minute to think about it, but since I also needed a break from the endless stockinette of my knitalong sweater, I thought these little quickies seemed like a good idea on multiple levels.
They are the Simple House Slippers from Temple of Knit, which are sort of a relative of the Tootsie Toasters, but much cuter. Going back through those Tootsie Toasters posts (from five years ago!) I was amused to see myself noting that Meg had cleverly converted the vintage flat pattern to in-the-round, and here I am now — as noted last week — converting Simone’s in-the-round rendition back to flat! In addition to that little mod, I also knitted the garter rows to 4.5″ instead of 32 rows, since at my row gauge that reached about to my ankles instead of the front of my foot. I wish I knew what Simone’s gauge is, or what dimension her 32 rows amounts to, in order to know how my version compares in that regard. (Note to self: then knitted to a total length of 8″ before toe shaping.) And on the last row of garter, I increased one stitch at each end to give myself selvage stitches. Since I was really just thinking of these as photo shoot props, I did the seaming pretty hastily and also had knitted them in Shelter, because I had it handy, which is not really a suitable yarn for a slipper. But I really like these little guys, so I’ll either wear them as socks inside my boiled wool scuffs, or maybe put leather slipper bottoms on them. And I’ll definitely be knitting more. Really fun, quick, satisfying and useful.
Here we are at that time of year where I start to imagine myself knitting socks — nice compact little projects to carry around all summer, resulting in warm socks ready for cold toes once the weather heads back the other direction. It’s so very sensible. It never happens, but I can’t let go of the idea of it! Two recent contenders:
TOP: Phyllis by Rachel Coopey looks like a fun stitch pattern to knit that also wouldn’t be irritating to wear
BOTTOM: Marlee by cabinfour (which happen to be named after my friend Marlee Grace), because you can never go wrong with a simple pair of ribbed socks
When I first saw these socks in @threehazels’ Instagram feed I got instant heart eyes, but the more she tells me about them, the more amazed I am. Three Hazels is a young German woman named Sina, living in Sweden, and her socks were inspired by the Perianth Mittens pattern by Barbara Gregory. But Sina wanted the flowers on her feet. Like most devout sock knitters, Sina knows her preferred stitch count and heel method (“I like [the short-row heel] the most when knitting the heel in a different colour”) and can cast on with abandon. I assumed she borrowed Gregory’s colorwork charts and reworked them to fit neatly into her counts, but no: “At first I wrote down a chart containing all the different flowers, rows and stitches for the top part of the sock, but with getting more comfortable with the patterns I started to place the flowers randomly.” That is crazy impressive, and the socks are beautiful. The yarn is a local Swedish wool, making them all the more special.
For more from Sina, check out @threehazels on Instagram, and she’s also vowed to post more about knitting and other subjects on her blog.
IMPORTANT UNRELATED SHOP NOTE: I previously announced that the final batch of army green Field Bags were earmarked for Stitches West. Unfortunately, I’ve had to cancel my trip and won’t be making an appearance in the YOTH booth at that event after all. ***So the last of the army green bags will be listed in the webshop in February instead.*** I’ll announce a specific date and time for that once the bags are finished and in hand. (Grey will be back in the shop tonight or tomorrow morning!) I’m super sorry to miss everyone who I’ll now be missing at West, but we will still be at Stitches South here in Nashville at the end of March, so put that on your calendars!