Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Socks

Knitting socks in the summer means I can knit with wool and alpaca fibers without accumulating heavy warm fabric in my lap. This summer I knit two pairs of socks from green yarns. After a long cold winter, I longed for the green of summer. I knit the first sock of each pair on a road trip to north central Minnesota. I cast on the first sock of the second pair while knitting with my sister at their lake home so it seemed logical to finish that sock on the trip home. As the miles ticked away, I stitched together memories of loon calls in the evening and my grandson's joy at catching (and releasing) small frogs along the shore.

Both pairs reflect my preference for socks knitted in simple textured stitches. Once I made some lace socks only to have the cuffs stretch and sag around my ankles. Last winter I wore out the first two pair of socks I knit for myself. They were simple stockinette stitch socks but they warmed my feet for seven or eight years. Hand knit socks are my insurance against Nebraska winters.

Before we left on vacation, I cast on the skyp ribbed socks.  The Bluestocking yarn spun from the wool of blue-faced leicester sheep. It also has 20% nylon content. While it is not quite as soft as merino or a merino/cashmere blend, it is sturdier. I have knit another pair of socks from the same yarn and pattern and they have worn well.

I knit the second pair of socks from a pattern called Couplet.  Since I have a narrow foot and knit at a slightly looser gauge, I adapted the pattern to knit a sock that fits my foot. The pattern by Bonnie Sennott is well written and easy to knit. I knit these socks from Malabrigo Sock, a soft merino yarn without any nylon content. The lightweight fingering yarn is not as sturdy as other sock yarns. I wonder how it will wear over time.

I finished both pair of socks at home. Even though I count rows and write notes on the pattern, I find it challenging to knit two socks that are exactly the same. While I used the same set of needles on the second skyp sock, it looks slightly wider.  Perhaps knitting in short spurts at home changed my gauge. As my grandson frequently asks, "How does that happen?" Rather than reknit the sock, I am embracing the variation that occurs in anything crafted by hand. I am also looking forward to wearing the socks this coming winter. They will warm my feet as I remember summer afternoons at the lake and knitting with my sister on their screened-in porch.