FO: Embossed Leaves

Last Friday being Daffodil Day took precedence over my usual FO Friday post. Here it is instead for you…

I mentioned in my February Round-up post that I had put a pair of socks back into circulation. Amazingly, this was the first time I’d ever shown these socks to you! I hadn’t even put them up on Ravelry, til now.

Embossed Leaves

 They are “Embossed Leaves” from Favorite Socks, published by Interweave Press. I don’t remember when I knit them – that information is lost in the mists of time (which sounds more lyrical than “my brain”) but I think it was around this time of year in 2009. I did a lot of knitting that year that I never really blogged about – or maybe it was 2008! Details shme-tails!

I absolutely loved these socks: loved knitting them; loved wearing them. I knit them in 10 days – that much I *do* remember! I also remember that I left out the last repeat on the foot to make them the perfect length. The special thing about this patten is that the design of the star-toe, which finishes the final leaf shapes on the foot. A design-feature which prevented me from trying to reverse engineer them as toe-up socks. For once I was forced to stick to the pattern.

The yarn is  Bergère de France Cho’7 – an absolutely fabulous sock-yarn. This is gorgeously soft to the touch but wore like iron. I was highly taken-aback when I wore through one toe. This is the fault of the sticky-up-ness of my right big-toe, not the yarn.

So they languished for at least six months in a holey, unwear-able state. You may remember one of the promises I’ve made to myself this year is that I’ll put socks back into circulation by darning them. This was my first crack at it and I succeeded. Darning is a challenge for me, and something I put off forever. I used the deadline of the Sock-a-Month KAL to spur me to action. A bit cheaty from the point of view of the KAL but it worked as a motivator for me. I am re-united with my first love in socks.


An FO-making extravaganza

So, regular readers here will have seen my mentions of WIPdown. Today is the day for the big reveal of all the FOs it got me to make:

In chronological order of finishing during WIPdown – which started on St Stephen’s Day and ran on until The Epiphany:

Pilates Socks:

Started these tabi-toe style socks on the plane over to Rhinebeck.  My plan was to have a quick knit that would be done by the end of the month for the Sock-a-Month KAL and I made excellent progress over the Rhinebeck weekend. They’re based on Lickety-Split from Knitty and I worked them according to the that pattern from the toe to the heel.  I thought I’d make a cabled pattern for the legs – just to jazz things up a bit. To my horror, when I was cabling with out a needle – Annie Moddsitt style – the yarn snapped in the row below the one I was working on. They were shelved for a while until I figured out what to do with them. I had picked them up again and was torturing myself with a tedious 1 x 1 rib on the legs when the WIPdown call went out. Being egged-on by other Tweeps is all that made me perservere. 

Tunisian Hand-warmers:

These were started after my class with Irene Lundgaard to learn Tunisian Crochet in-the-round. I had finished them and then ripped back the last few rounds of one of them ages ago – I had forgotten to do some decreases on one before casting off. They languished for most of last year and only saw the light of day again, thanks to WIPdown.

Hamma Hamma Hat:

This is an experimental try to see if I could convert the Urchin pattern by Ysolda Tegue into Tunisian Crochet. While googling Tunisian words for Urchin (for a word-play name for the hat), I found the story of Hamma Hamma –  a fourteen year-old Tunisian street-child (an urchin) who rocketed to celebrity stardom after appearing in a Ramadan television series. Hamma plays the role of a homeless child in the series entitled “Casting”. source:

I also started this hat/experiment on the plane to Rhinebeck and ran out of yarn with one section to go. While I was re-organising my stash before Christmas I found to part-balls that I reckoned could work to finish the hat. The power of WIPdown got me back on track and while the additional yarns work very well the overall hat turned out too small. I don’t know if I can consider this WIP truly whupped but as experiments go I learned something even if the result was not a success.

Chemo Cap#1:

The story behind this hat is rather sad – it’s for a toddler that was diagnosed with cancer last year. I didn’t enjoy making it, mainly because of the yarn. I didn’t much like the structure of the hat either: you make two rectangles; one in entrelac tunisian crochet and the other in back-loop doubles (single crochet to American readers!) then sew them both together; seam the sides and gather up the top. Actually it worked out very well and I’m delighted that WIPdown came along and made me give this WIP life. Now to send it off in the post and hope the little toddler has had a nice (healthy) Christmas.

I wasn’t the only person taking part in WIPdown. If you’re on Ravelry and would like to see all the others take a look at  this search for WIPdown2010 or search under #wipdown on Twitter.

FO: Better Mousetrap Socks

It took a while, but my April socks are finally done, albeit in the middle of May.

First time you saw these it was as a curl of 240-odd stitches on a too-small cable-needle.

Cast-on 1st Sock

Then I wondered if the effect I was getting, with the yarn choices I’d made, was right for the construction method of the project.

Mottled-effect: more Matrix than Mousetrap!

After much deliberation – and knitting one half of the sock – I opted to de-ply the yarn I had double-stranded and re-wind it so that I could make the second half in alternate stripes of variagated and solid.

DH declared it to be a Wampum Belt but, for me, this project was the sock-equivalent of the Baby Surprise Jacket – only you know that it’s a pair of socks. More importantly, you don’t know that it’s really going to fit until you sew it up. The project had a different surprise in store for me, however: I ran out of yarn 10 rows before the end.

Sock Surprise; now with added surprises!

I was quite daunted by the idea of grafting the 200-odd stitches on the seams – four times over! However, Debbie New describes a Super-simple grafting method that helped me get the job done without fear or stress.

Then, the final test: trying them on…

They fit; he likes them; I'm happy!

Serial Adultery

The other day I had cause to introduce one of my work-colleagues for the first time to a senior manager in our client department. Upon shaking her hand, he said his name and added “Serial Adulterer”. My work-colleague didn’t know where to look or what to think; and I quickly launched into some work-related topic to spare her blushes. Afterwards, we both agreed it was the most bizarre way to make a first impression.    

However, it got me thinking about being a serial adulterer and has caused me to fess up! While the cat’s away; the mouse is at play: DH is out of the country on business at the moment and meanwhile I’m being unfaithful – to his cardigan. I think when I realised that there was no chance of getting it done by January my eye started to wander and my fingers started to itch. Last night I knit a swatch for a Calyx Hat in Noro Big Kureyon and cast-on for a pair of fetching. I got a bad dose of “Startitis” – I thought I was immune!    

To prove to you – after such a sordid confession – that DH is truly the apple of my eye, the F.O. I present to you this Friday is his Christmas present: socks. Quelle suprise!    

Cat Bordhi's Ridgeline Master in Jawoll Silk by Lang


  • Pattern: Cat Bordhi’s Master Ridgeline sockitecture on either side of the racy-lace detail of Oriel stitch pattern from Charlene Schurch’s book “Sensational Knitted Socks” up the front ridge and the leg above the heel to the rear.
  • Yarn: Jawoll Silk by Lang in Blue (Colour no. 130.0035)
  • Size: 9&1/2″ feet
  • Verdict: loved this yarn and look forward to using it again. I loved how the lace pattern was mannish but a bit racy at the same time. DH is delighted with them.  

Racey-lacey detail

Oriel Stitch Pattern from "Sensational Knitted Socks"

In the spirit of full disclosure, however, I have to admit that DH was not the original intended recipient. I started knitting these intending them as a birthday present to a friend of mine & DH’s but I didn’t finished them in time. I’m glad I didn’t post them to him, as it turns out, as his parcel went AWOL in the postal system – very frustrating!

Then I decided I would give the completed socks to one of my Clerk-of-Works. He’s been a fantastic help to me over the past year and is someone I rely on and trust to steer me right. At the same time, I worried about doing this because I’ve another Clerk-of-Works that I also think very highly of. The faux-jealousy between the two of them is great source of banter between the three of us. One feigns umbrage if I interrupt our discussion by answering the phone to the other; I can wrangle a slice of a cream bun during a site visit by mentioning I got chocolate biscuits when I visited the other’s site. 

In the end, DH got them by default or by subterfuge – you tell me: as I was finishing them off, I asked DH to try one on to check the fit. He did so, all the while remonstrating me, playfully, because he wasn’t the intended recipient. Then, as I was weaving-in ends on the second sock, he forgot he was wearing it and went outside to check something – without pausing to put any shoes on! That brief excursion was enough to make one sock look decidedly worn in comparison to the other. Given my concerns about upsetting the delicate balance between my two main Clerks-of-Works, I decided Fate had come in to play and my own true love was the most deserving of all.

Monday’s Musing – And the Winner is?


Congratulations to Bionic Laura ! Your parcel will be sent in the post to you later this week (as soon as I get your address!). I hope you enjoy this little windfall.

On second or third glance through the book I noticed a pattern or two that I thought I might like to try; so I have to admit that I took photocopies of two sock patterns before I posting it off. I don’t think that’s breaking copyright laws – considering I bought the book in the first place; the designer still gets royalties.

The Muse

It was great fun to have people participating in my little Bonanza. The contributions from Mairin, Sarah, Laura and Katalysis really put a smile on my face. It made me wonder what might have been, however, if other people – regular readers and sock-knitters to boot – had put in their entries (these are all written by me and I hope the subject each enjoys having her leg pulled a little!). 

Bridget’s haiku: 

Three kitties has she
To chase and chastise her yarn
As she knit 10 pairs

Sinead’s haiku:  

O Prodigal Sock
Left alone in a glovebox
Will you forgive me?

Helen (OfTroy)’s haiku: 

Oh Sensei*! I am
But a grasshopper to your
Vast Knitting knowledge

*Japanese word for teacher or mentor 

My head is in a Spin


And where would we be on a Monday without me being a little bemused, eh? 

This time, it’s the Elsica pattern again – in particular how it was printed in Yarn Forward. I finished mine on Christmas Day – a day late to give it to my sister for Christmas, however. I warned you I might have more comments to make about the pattern as I worked through the crown. Sure enough, it appears the chart for the crown has been printed with the legend over-laying it – such that you only get half of the information you need to complete the crown. Again, I’d blame those behind printing the magazine, rather than the designer. 

My recommendation is that you refer to the written instructions. They are pretty straight-forward. To help me keep count I broke the pattern into three sequences that repeated all the way around – I called them A, B and C. In the first round of decreases the decrease happens in all the A parts of the sequence; next round all the B parts, next round – C. The next round – no decreases at all, just to keep me on my toes. So, kind-of like a waltz, I was counting “A,2,3,4 and B,2,3,4,5 and C,2,3,4,5”.  Once I got my rythm going I didnt’ need the chart at all.

From reading Wooly Wormhead’s blog about her pattern, it seems the rights to the pattern revert from Yarn Forward to her in six months time. I reckon you’ll be safe going straight to the horse’s mouth, as it were, for the best version of the pattern when that happens. This is a really lovely pattern and a very enjoyable knit. It’s just a pity that the magazine couldn’t have been more careful about how they printed it.

Thursday’s Tour: Circles of Hell!

“Nothing ere I was made was made to be
Save things eterne, and I eterne abide;
Lay down all hope, you that go in by me.”

from “The Divine Comedy – I: Hell” by Dante

Don’t say I didn’t try to warn you! I’m sure this photograph is a vision of hell for any sock-knitter. These are four pairs of DH’s socks that I’ve had to put out of service until I can figure out how to darn them.

It's a Hole-y Show

I’m tempted to try the Yarn Harlot’s approach: Shout “Darn!” before throwing them in the bin. However, I haven’t knit DH enough socks to be able to afford to do this. Indeed, the scant number of socks available is what’s leading to this in the first place – as I realised from reading OfTroy’s blog recently. She has over 30 pairs of hand-knit socks so no one pair gets enough wear to wear them out. I know, I’m reeling at the thought of it too!

My reason for exposing you all to this is not for the shocking “horror show” effect but because I recently got Cat Bordhi’s new book: “Personal Footprints”. In it, she introduces a novel method enabling you to make a template – your personal footprint – for each person you knit socks for.

Basically your first sock – your “discovery sock” – is your tension swatch with which you check and note your gauge and foot measurements. You mark all the information down on your footprint for the next time you knit a pair of socks – with the same yarn. That’s the important bit. Each personal footprint is only relevant for the specific yarn used. Hence my need to weed out those yarns that are not cutting the mustard i.e. this Motley Crew.

Clockwise from the top we have:

  • Schachenmayr nomotta Regia “Color 4-ply /4-fädig”: yarn becomes black with wear first and then wears through – at the toes;
  • Yarn Addict “Superwash Fingering”: that’s a slipped-stitch heel that’s worn through – can’t believe it!
  • Lorna’s Laces “Shepherd Sock Multi”: not only holes but the colours faded with wear – compare the ribbing on the leg with the soles!
  • Artesano “Hummingbird 4 Ply”: that’s linen stitch that’s worn through there, I’ll have you know!

On the other hand, the socks made with the following yarns look as good as the first day they were made:

  • Lana Grossa Meilenweit “Mega Boots Stretch”
  • Zitron Trekking (XXL)

So, if I’m going to set up a Personal Footprint for DH it will only be with these yarns. I will blog separately about my conclusion for my own pairs – similarly, only two out of five yarns used so far “make the grade”. So, I just have to figure out what to do with the stash of sock yarn I’ve acquired to date. Keep on knitting until my number of pairs is in double-figures at least, I suppose.

Extra! Extra!

When my e-friend Bridget – a regular commenter here – mentioned on her blog that she had an article in the Winter Issue of Interweave Knits I was gutted. Yes, gutted. Why? because my subscription was up so I’d have to employ devious means to get to read her article.  

Or so I thought…  

When I arrived home yesterday, I was greeted by a pleasant surprise: Winter 09 is my last issue. And they’re none-too-subtle about pointing it out to me! “FINAL NOTICE” !!!!! You’d swear I’d forgotten to pay the gas bill and they were threatening to cut me off!  

Read All About It!!!


After I recovered from my bemusement, I remembered that I had got my issue of IK Winter 07 from a member of the Irish Knitters Board, Gilraen, on Ravelry in exchange for my copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting. So, hurrah for me and for IK’s original delay in starting my subscription – every cloud has a silver lining; it takes two years to realise some of them.  

The first thing I did – after ripping off the plastic wrapping – was to read Bridget’s Article. It was a great story about her trials and tribulations as she slogged her way through a year of knitting ten pairs of socks to give as gifts the following Christmas.  

It made me realise that I still haven’t given you all a full accounting of myself after I embarked on my own Year of Socks: my naive promise – in Christmas 07 – to knit DH a pair of socks each month for the following year.  

I say “naive”. Clearly, I mean “plain-dumb”. When I made the promise I had knit exactly one sock. NOT pair, One! I made the promise as a spur-of-the-moment decision because the present I had *planned* on giving him was this self-same PAIR of socks. Of which I had half. And I had ONLY half a pair because that first sock had taken a twice as long as I’d expected. Not to mention, the foot was an inch longer than it needed to be.  

This should have been a warning sign. Alarm bells should have been ringing in my head. In hindsight, there probably were alarm bells but I’d assumed it was Tinnitus brought on by the stress of knitting this sock.  

To keep me motivated I also joined the Sock-A-Month KAL. So, I may I present my Calender of Socks 2008:  

Click on image for Rav-link to project

January: Sock-A-Month KAL = 1/1


January: Socks for DH = 0/1


Click for Rav-link to project

February: Sock-A-Month KAL = 2/2


Click for Rav-link to project

February: Socks for DH = 0/2


Click on the image for Rav-link to project

April: Socks for DH = 2/4; SAM5KAL = 4/4


Click on image for Rav-link to Project

March: Socks for DH = 1/3; SAM5KAL = 3/3


Click on image for Rav-link to project

July: Socks for DH = 4 out of 7


Click on image for Rav-link

May: Socks for DH = 3/5; SAM5KAL = 5/5


Click on image for Rav-link

September: Socks for DH = 6/9; SAM5KAL = 8/9


August: Socks for DH = 5; SAM5KAL = 7


Click on image for Rav-link

November: Socks for DH = 7; SAM5KAL = 10


Click on image for Rav-link

October: Socks for DH = 7/10; SAM5KAL = 9/10


January: I started the year by trying to finish the Christmas-Present-Socks. Unfortunately, I decided to knit the second sock on metal circulars; whereas the first was knit on Bamboo DPNs. When I realised the socks were cursed (I was getting a pair of Little’n’Large) I abandoned them and opted instead to knit a pair of kid’s socks so that I’d at least get a credit on the Sock-A-Month 5 KAL. It wouldn’t do to just knit a pair of plain – oh no! I had to design them, based on EZ’s Fishtrap Aran. My Cheer-Me-Up Socks – which were intended for my DD, but which ended up only fitting her younger brother – were finished on the last day of January.
January’s score: DH – 0; SAM5KAL – 1 

February: Started “Hidden Passion Socks“, from Favourite Socks, for DH thinking I’d get them done in time for Valentine’s Day – bleuch! Realised after I’d turned the heel of the first sock (some time in mid-Feb!) that I should have been working in stripes or I’d run out of one colour.  These got frogged while I quickly double-knit two tubes and stuck “after-thought heels” in on the last day of February in order to qualify for a credit in SAM5. Thank Goodness it was a Leap Year that year!
February’s score: DH – 0; SAM5KAL – 2 

March: I started the Hidden Passion Socks again but this time I re-wrote the pattern so that I could make them toe-up and two-at-a-time. What’s more… I finished them! And I started another pair, “Diagonal Cross-Rib” from Favourite Socks, in anticipation of April – I was wisening up. March’s score: DH – 1; SAM5KAL – 3 

April: Abandoned the Diagonal Cross-Rib socks in mid-April when I realised that the stitch-pattern was taking too much time. Cast-on “Back-to-Basics” instead. And finished them within the month! April’s score: DH – 2; SAM5KAL – 4 

May: My version of Undulating Rib from Favourite Socks were toe-up; whereas the pattern is written cuff-down. So I called them “Bir gNitaludnu” – that’s Undulating Rib backwards – geddit? May’s score: DH – 3; SAM5KAL – 5 

June: I got busy with knitting gifts and abandoned sock knitting this month! June’s score: Socks for DH – 3; SAM5KAL – 5 

July: Cat Bordhi’s book “New Pathways for Sock Knitters” must have arrived into my life around this time. Suddenly all my socks became a collation between patterns in Favourite Socks and one of her Sockitectures. July combined “Cable Rib” socks with her Upstream Sockitecture. Started in June, finished in July. DH – 4; SAM5KAL – 6 

August: I picked up my “April” Socks again and entered them into the Ravelympics under the event “WIPs-wrestling” And I finished them too!
August’s score: DH – 5; SAM5KAL – 7 

September: Another collation this month between Mock Cable Wave from Favourite Socks and Cat Bordhi’s Riverbed Sockitecture. Technically, my “Babbling Brook” socks were done in August but I fear I may have held off posting them on SAM5 KAL until September to make sure I got a credit that month. September’s score: DH – 6; SAM5KAL – 8 

October: I called these “Tornado Toes” because they started with a Whirlpool cast-on from Cat Bordhi’s book and the pattern is her “Spiraling Coriolis” which affected the colour-changes in the yarn to produce this gorgeous Whirlwind effect. I was thrilled with these socks – they fit DH beautifully too. October’s score: DH – 7; SAM5KAL – 9 

November: On my return from The Irish Knitter’s Weekend Away I discovered that, not only had DH been minding our three kids, he’d decided to do the laundry and had inadvertently tumble-dryed and felted his March socks. I quickly released myself from my commitment to knit him any more socks. My next pair of socks were for me – my long-awaited “Monkey” by Cookie A. I decided to make these toe-up, however, and Cat-Bordhi-ize them. I called them “Simian” because they’re not quite Monkeys – they’re … similar! November’s score: DH – 7; SAM5KAL – 10 

December: I’ve no recollection of knitting any socks in December and certainly I became disillusioned with the Sock-A-Month KAL. December’s score was zero all round.
Overall score for the year: DH got seven pairs of socks; I got one; I frogged 3 and re-knit 1. Overall: Socks completed =10. Socks started? Who knows, I lost count.
Edited to add a poll (really coz I want to figure-out how)
Vote for your Favourite pair all those I knit for DH