Friday, June 21, 2013

We interrupt this shawl-slog to bring you...socks!

ARE YOU MY HUSBAND? THEN SOD OFF! Thanks and lots of love and kisses. Mwah.

I continue to work away on the third iteration of my shawl's ruffle, but I decided to give myself a good zing of feeling productive and finish some socks I've been working on.

The first pair is for my dad - he's getting two pairs of socks for Christmas, and this is the second pair. I'd already finished the knitting of both socks a few weeks back, but had two concerns. The first was that I suspected I'd made the feet too long, and the second was a concern that the cabling around the ankles would make them too snug. My husband is extremely close to my dad in both foot length and ankle/calf girth, so I wanted him to try them on and see. However, invariably, all the times I remembered to ask him to try on the socks were right after he'd finished doing something sweaty, like mowing the lawn or unloading skids at work, that sort of thing. And of course it's far less icky for my dad if the socks he's gifted with haven't been imbued with sweat from another person, KWIM?

Anyway, I finally managed to ask DH to try the socks on very shortly after he'd showered, and the verdict was that they were just the teensiest bit long in the foot, and snug-but-still-acceptable at the ankle.

The snug-but-acceptable verdict was particularly relieving, because it meant I didn't have to rip back the entire leg on both socks and redo them more loosely.

The a-bit-long-in-the-foot verdict was a bit annoying, but not horribly so. It meant that I had to redo the toes. Not a huge deal. See, I know from experience that my dad's feet are about a quarter-inch shorter than my husband's, and that if socks are just a touch too snug on my husband, they'll be a perfect fit for my dad.

So yesterday I redid both toes and sewed in all the (vast multitude of) ends, and by the end of the night, I had completed socks!


And now we get to the part where my husband needed to go away for.

Is he gone?



Over two years ago, I started making Aragorn socks, a design by Janneke Maat. I made them in the largest size because I was thinking they'd be for DH. These socks are drop-dead gorgeous, with Bavarian-style twisted cables all done up to look like something elven from the Lord of the Rings universe. Fancy and fiddly, yes, which DH doesn't really go for, but elvishly so, thus I thought it would be well-received (he's a big Tolkein fan), especially since I made it in blue (read: a "manly" colour). Hey, it doesn't get more masculine than Aragorn, amirite?

For some reason, I put them aside after finishing the heel on the first sock (they're top-down). But this month I finally picked the socks back up again, thinking that maybe they could be DH's Christmas present this year. And guess what:


I think they look fabulous. Marvellous design. Gorgeous result.

The problem, I must warn anyone who's thinking of knitting them, are the instructions themselves. Now, a great many allowances must be made for the fact that the designer's native language is not English. As well, this is a free pattern, so I understand that there is very little complaining one can legitimately do about a freebie. However, all this aside, there is one big problem which really got my frustration-o-meter going. These socks are quite unique in that there is a single gusset at the top of the instep, as opposed to on the sides of the foot near the heel. So once you get to the bottom of the leg, you start increasing at the centre of the instep for this gusset. This gusset section begins with its own header, and the instructions talk in detail about what you're supposed to do all through the increasing for the gusset, and then the instructions for the gusset end. Full stop. There is then a completely new header (and all the headers are in a fancy Quenya-esque font, so there's no mistaking them for regular text) called "Faux Heel". And this new set of instructions begins, "At the same time..."

:::insert temper tantrum here:::

But if you set the re-doing of the entire gusset section aside (probably twice, since I imagine I got caught by it on the first sock, too, even though it was so long ago now that I can't remember), this was a lovely project, as you can clearly see. I'm not sure if I'll make anything else knitted for my husband for Christmas, but if I don't, that means I have three gifts done already (including my mom's shawl and my dad's two pairs of socks).

Next up: Owlie Socks! You really should follow that link to see what they look like - aren't they amazing?!? I'm going to make them in white with yellow (bead) eyes for DD1 and call them Hedwig socks. :) They're top-down, so my plan is to knit the leg, heel, and some foot for each sock, and then wait until closer to Christmas (when she will have grown more) to finish off the feet.

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