I rarely walk out my front door without knitting in my purse. Having a simple project to keep my hands busy while I’m in line or killing time in a waiting room is a must. Plus, I enjoy it more than playing the same game over and over on my phone. Vanilla socks are my favorite purse projects, but a pair can hang out for so long that I get incredibly bored with them. I try not to chuck the offending socks into a WIP bin never to be seen again though. Instead, I make myself finish knitting, so I can start something new guilt free. Need fewer needles that way too. That’s why I finished this pair of socks, which I cast on way back in March. Going Cold Sheep and #YarnFort definitely had something to do with it too.
The yarn, Turtle Purl self-striping Absinthe, was a gift from a good friend of mine, and caught my eye when I was rummaging through the stash. The stripes seemed like the perfect thing to keep a pair of vanilla socks interesting. I didn’t even have to do any work to make sure the socks matched since the dyer did all that work for me. I made a lot of progress because I kept telling myself to finish just one more stripe. And when I was figuring out when to bind off, the stripes made it so easy to make sure each cuff was the same length. Self-striping yarn keeps getting better and better.
This pair followed my default vanilla sock pattern: toe up, a simple rib, about 6.5” of leg, and Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. I wanted the stripes to look the same over the entire socks, so I skipped the heel flap and gusset for an afterthought construction. However, instead of adding an afterthought heel, I worked an afterthought leg with instructions from the Houdini Socks by Cat Bordhi. Knitting the toe, foot, and heel in one go was so much less work than making the usual tube and adding a heel later. I didn't worry about having enough yarn for the heel or have to find the right spot in the stripes to join. The technique worked even better than I hoped too. Not only was I able to bind a ready to wear pair, the heels used enough of the stripe repeat to put me back on the green I needed to start the cuff! Adding an afterthought leg is going to be my default method to make afterthought socks from now on.
Before I get started on the next pair of socks, I’m stepping on my soapbox to talk about blocking for a moment. Blocking works wonders for knitting, even on a basic pair of socks. I soaked the socks in cold water - the water turned a little blue, but the color didn’t fade in the slightest - with a little Eucalan and hung them up to dry. That’s it. I didn’t worry with sock blockers or shaping the socks at all. Once dry the stitches were much more even, and the yarn had relaxed and softened. The socks look better, fell better, and fit better. Okay. Getting off the soapbox now, and putting this pair in the drawer to wait for a cold snowy day.