Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer Knitting -- What Else?

What Else But Socks?

I've finished off a few socks that I haven't shown off properly yet. Some of these were actually knit in the spring, but socks do make good summer knitting. They don't demand too much attention, and are small enough not to block too much sun when I'm outside basking in the warmth. And of course, in the torpid summer weather we get around here, they're a lot more appealing than a big woolly lapful of sweater-in-progress!

First up were my good-humored-brother's Christmas socks. (As I recall, I joked that I expected to be finished with my Christmas knitting by about the 4th of July. Some joke, it turns out!) These socks are my own design; I call them Sidecar Socks. They're knit with Trekking XXL on US size 1 needles. My brother seemed to want something pretty plain, so I kept them as simple as I could stand. Even so, I couldn't resist giving them a little ribbing down the front and clocks to their sides. They're with their owner now, and I hope they fit. But in the hot weather, I didn't have the heart to demand that he try on his new woollen socks.

The bad news about knitting large men's socks is that they take more than the standard 100 grams of yarn and I end up scrambling for more. Some yarn-shopping day, maybe I'll remember that large men's socks are best knit with yarn that comes in 50-gram skeins so I don't need to buy so much extra.

The good news is that I tend to end up with plenty of leftovers. Which means... more socks for me!

This is another pair of my own design. I call these my Blackthorn Socks. It's the same Trekking XXL yarn, of course, and US size 1 needles again. I really like the color variation in this yarn. It's brown, but there's a world of purples and greens and golds in there if you look closely. I entertained myself with a little more decoration and a few slightly tricky features on these.

And bringing up the rear are these. This is the Dublin Bay pattern, knit in Socks That Rock lightweight in the Scottish Highlands colorway. Clearly I have some sort of pan-Celtic thing going on here. I enjoyed the colors, and thought of gorse and bracken, heather and brooding mountains as I knit. The high-contrast striping was entertaining and created a particularly nice effect in the eye-of-partridge heel that the pattern called for.

Of course, with a high-contrast striping yarn and a standard gusset-heel sock design, there are hazards. When you turn the heel and pick up the gusset stitches, you change the number of stitches in each round. And as you gradually decrease back to the original stitch count, the color repeats that create the stripes are drifting around, until almost inevitably -- eek, a splotch!

Well, phooey. Why get excited about it? Just bring on some more iced tea and summer reading, and we'll all be fine.

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