About jingersnaps

Knitting, baking, reading, studying, and crafting in New Orleans.

Sockpocalypse Summer, part 7 – Mirkwood Socks

You would not believe how many sock patterns are named after characters and locations from Lord of the Rings. In searching for patterns for this past project and other socks, I found Bombadil socks, Rivendell socks, Faramir socks, Treebeard socks…and so many more that I can’t even hope to list them all here. However, the simplest and loveliest of all of them were these.

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Rebecca Wilder‘s Mirkwood Socks.

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Although I am a proven die-hard fan of Knit Picks sock yarns (which I have been working with a lot during this project), my yarn snob side was starting to get antsy to work with something a little more…special.

My friend Adrienne, as part of my self-imposed Sockpocalypse Summer, chose this exquisite skein of Mountain Colors Crazyfoot in Harmony Lake for her custom pair. When I saw the pattern’s simple mirror-image cable design, I knew the combo of yarn and pattern would be absolutely perfect. Mountain Colors is often some pricey stuff, but the deep color saturation and inventive colorways make for one-of-a-kind long-lasting garments.

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Crazyfoot is a tightly-spun multi-ply that’s mostly superwash wool, which provides for unmatched stitch definition, often causing me to step back and just gaze adoringly at long expanses of plain stockinette stitch.

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Speaking of plain stockinette stitch, there was one point where I deviated from the pattern as written, just to take advantage of that precise stitch definition and to not detract from the simple, elegant cable. I did the heel flaps as plain stockinette, slipping one stitch at the start of each row to help with picking up the gusset, rather than the published garter stitch or eye of partridge options.

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It just felt like this created a more streamlined, smoother appearance, which would call more attention to the mirror-image construction than the nuts and bots of sock pattern writing.

However, this project wasn’t without its own tiny drama, although not as dramatic as last time.

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As I was humming along on the second sock, I got nearly all three 18-row repeats into the “leg” portion and suddenly had a horrible realization. There was no row 15.

I went back and looked at the directions for the right sock, and yes, there was a row 15. But no row 15 on the left sock. So…my brain exploded as a I realized I’d been knitting each cable pass 1 row shorter than the previous sock, resulting in a sock that was three rows shorter overall and cables that visibly (at least to me) didn’t match. There was absolutely no way that my brain was going to let that slide.

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So, I ripped out nearly the entire thing and counted back to start over the whole section, now with row 15 intact. I sent a message to the designer through Ravelry, and she was very gracious about it, so hopefully it gets fixed soon. I just couldn’t have lived with myself knowing that the other sock wasn’t a perfect match.

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And just look at how beautiful those cables are in the Crazyfoot. So simple, but so elegant.

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We’re in the home stretch now, as I just cast on for the third-to-last pair of Sockpocalypse Socks on Saturday. There might be a bit of a delay as I study up for my NP certification test next week and attempt to not panic every single day. We’ll see how that goes.

Sockpocalypse Summer, part 6 – Yarn Chicken Pomatomus

We are just now over the hill of our Sockpocalypse Summer (confused? Here are parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5), and my fingers are getting tired as well as my brains. And it’s all the fault of this gorgeous pair of socks.

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I mean, beautiful, right?

When my knitting friend Leslie from Colorado requested this particular skein of Knit Picks Hawthorne in Irvington (not discontinued for once, but on back order…foreshaaaaaaadowing…), I knew I had to pull out the big guns. When you knit things for other knitters, you better make sure you got game. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they just make it for themselves?

Seriously, this is a real concern.

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I knew that Cookie A. would save me by providing a pattern with lots of wonderful fiddly bits, and I was right. Enter Cookie A.’s infamous-in-the-knitting-world (and should be famous in the real world) Pomatomus Socks. When these socks hit the scene, people lost their minds. There are over 5000 pairs of Pomatomus socks on Ravelry, even though Ravelry wasn’t developed for another two years after its publication in 2005.

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At the yarn shop where I worked for several years, I helped people pick out hundreds of skeins of sock yarn for this very sock pattern, plus the multitude of variations that other knitters have created over the years, like hats, fingerless gloves, and shawls with that instantly recognizable twisted stitch fish scale lace.

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I even knit a pair myself, for my friend Tillie, back in 2009. It’s got a boatload of twisted stitches, patterning every single row, and non-rectangular charts with mysterious stitch-shifting to get the pattern to line up correctly.

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It has this brilliant heel section where the scales morph into the heel and continue the all-over pattern without disrupting the construction somehow. It’s a Cookie A. nightmare-dreamscape of knitting, and I absolutely love it. It’s definitely the kind of big swing that one experienced knitter takes for another.

However, this time, things took an unexpected turn.

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As soon as I had finished the first sock, I knew something was off. The amount that I had left over definitely didn’t feel right. I took it to my scale to see if I could figure it out.

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Standard sock yarn skeins come in 50g and 100g weights. This first sock, made to accommodate Leslie’s perfectly normal size US 9 feet, weighed in at 51g. Meaning that I only had 49g left to make the second one. No matter, I thought. Maybe there’s a tiny extra bit in this skein, just to make me happy.

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The bit of cuff that I had knit, plus the remainder of the ball also came to 51g, BUT that was including the 3 sock needles currently in use. I knew that this was a losing battle. (However, I did feel pretty chuffed that I could tell the 2g difference completely with my special knitting-based mind powers.)

Now, yarn chicken is a game that I have played before many times. When it works out perfectly, and you have only a tiny bit of yarn left but the project is complete, it is the greatest feeling in the world. When you lose…you just feel like a crazy person.

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The entire second half of the second sock I felt like I was knitting through molasses, my fingers slowly prodding through those twisted stitches just in case knitting slower might make the yarn last longer. I just kept praying that it didn’t end in a weird spot, right in the middle of those glorious fish scales. Luckily, this is what I had left over when I got to the toe shaping.

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However, it didn’t last very long. A few minutes later, the yarn was all gone, and I still had 18 rounds left to go.

I looked online to see if Knit Picks still had the Irvington colorway, but it was listed as on back order until July, meaning that there was no way on Earth I’d be able to get the same colorway or any yarn at all until August. I checked on Ravelry to see if anyone was willing to sell or trade a skein with me, but there was nothing available. I had to admit defeat and that I had lost this terrible round of yarn chicken and resign myself to the fact that these were not going to be the perfect Pomatomus socks that I had planned.

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Fortunately, I keep all of my sock yarn odds and ends, so I had plenty of options to give to Leslie as to the yarn that would finish off this second toe.

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Leslie chose this beautiful bit of yarn, which some of you may remember as the stunningly beautiful Pagewood Farms Denali from my Drachenschwingen socks a few years ago.

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I have to admit, the gold, purple, and blue tones in the yarn really do look lovely in there.

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So, even though I played yarn chicken and lost, I still managed to make something unique and so-very knitterly for a fellow knitter. She can wear these with pride, showing off those fish scales…

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…while always having a special secret toe hidden inside her shoes that no one else has to know about.

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It doesn’t get any better than that.

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Sockpocalypse…an interlude

Lest any one think that all I do all day is knit socks, I wanted to take some time to brag about show off catalog the other things that I’ve been working on during the Sockpocalypse. In addition to the studying for my NP board test that I’m supposed to be doing, of course.

Like everyone else in the world, my first thought was to take advantage of the extra time to make bread!

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Foccacia and soft pretzels were enjoyed for many, many days. I’m not sure what it is about humans and the need to do clever things with yeast when we’re bored, but I’m certainly happy that the phenomenon exists. Then the baked goods kept on coming.

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Brownies and cranberry cake made appearances, which is not unusual in this house.

Then, I had to start getting creative. We did Grow Dat‘s CSA box again this year, and got inundated with amazing fresh mint, basil, and both hot and sweet peppers that I had to figure out how to deal with. (Please do click on the Grow Dat link! I cannot say enough good things about this amazing place and the wonderful work that they do!)

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So, mint lemonade.

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Dried lemon balm for tea.

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Vegan pesto with tons of basil, sundried tomatoes, and walnuts. (Not that I don’t love regular pesto, but Dan hates cheese, so I had to branch out. Turns out I like it way more this way!)

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Sweet pickled jalapeno slices! Which is the only way I can even approach a spicy pepper.

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I’ve made these several times now, and they taste just like homemade barbecue sauce. So freaking good.

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And I made blistered shishito peppers for the first time! Grow Dat exposed us to so many new delicious things this year, and it was really wonderful to enjoy something that I would have never known to purchase for myself before. Then I got out the big pickling/canning guns and made spicy dill pickles out of the abundance of cucumbers from our backyard garden.

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This isn’t even all the cucumbers! Those vines were going crazy.

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Trip was mad that he couldn’t get on the table, but I think he approved deep down inside.

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And even though I bought the wrong thing and ended up having to use a mix of dried dill leaves and dill seeds, they were still delicious. And, to wrap it all up, I made a whole boatload of ice cream.

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Making ice cream from scratch really satisfies a love of fiddly things and rigorous mise en place in me. I love getting out all of the different bowls and prepping all the little whisking stations for myself.

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And you just get the thickest, creamiest, most delicious stuff in the world. All recipes from the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home book that serves as my ice cream bible.

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I think we’re set for a while.

Next time, a return to your regularly-scheduled sock programming. I just needed to give my fingers and my brain a break.

Sockpocalypse Summer, part 5 – Mountain Retro Ribs

Today’s Sockpocalypse socks go out to my high school friend, Cammie.

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Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking, wow, Jinger, it’s kind of ridiculous that you, someone who will be 38 years old in two weeks, still has so many friends from high school to send knitted garments to. And yes, you are right. For some reason, I hung out with the best people, and even if we aren’t still in each others’ everyday lives, there are still deep connections there that only take a second’s worth of interaction to restore.

Case in point. Cammie was my “big sister” in high school, meaning that she was a senior when I was a freshman, and she showed me around the school and helped me get around the first few weeks. She seemed to get me immediately. She was warm and friendly and sassy as all get out. She introduced me to Drama Club and the fabulous weird wonderful people of the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Club, establishing a now undying love of theatre and the arts that may not have existed without her prompting. She had amazing mid-90s style, captured in pictures that I used to have, but got destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, unfortunately.

She went above and beyond and became my real, actual friend, rather than just showing me how to get to my classes on time. Of course she deserves a pair of socks.

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Cammie chose a skein of Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Mountain Pass, which is a rich mix of grassy greens, teals, and blues. (And we appear to be back on the discontinued colorway train, people! It’s seriously the colorway used in the gauge swatch on the website, and you can’t buy it! Get it together, Knit Picks!)

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The pattern is Retro Rib Socks by Evelyn A. Clark, from my now-getting-worn-out copy of the Interweave Favorite Socks book. I’ve made a pair of socks from this pattern once before, three years ago when I filled my summer with socks in much the same way I’m doing now. That pair was for my dad, and knit with a much darker and more rigid yarn.

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I really like how different the pattern looks with just a change in yarn. The softer colors and softer hand of the yarn really let the vertical twisted stitch ribs pop out of the background fabric in a striking way.

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I did the same heel modification here that I did back then as well, carrying up the twisted stitches as slip stitches in the heel flap while leaving the rest of the heel in stockinette stitch. I just really enjoy how it elongates the foot, letting the vertical elements of the pattern go all the way down to the sole.

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It just makes for a very elegant sock, in my opinion.

The only requirement that Cammie wanted was for her socks to be “slouchable” if possible.

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The fact that the ribbing doesn’t pull too tight makes it so that these socks can be slouched, folded, or pulled all the way up and still look and feel good. Plus, Stroll has a ridiculous 462 yds. per skein, so you can really go crazy on the leg length if you want.

We’re officially halfway on the Sockpocalypse Summer train, and the official first day of summer (which is my birthday, woo wooooo) hasn’t even arrived yet. My hands are getting tired, but my resolve stays strong.

Sockpocalypse Summer, part 4 – Shadow Braid Socks

For today’s Sockpocalypse update, we have a whole lot of purple.

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Ooooooooooh.

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My friend Kirsten from high school, the personification of a ray of sunshine, chose this gorgeous skein for her own during this Sockpocalypse Summer experiment, and I couldn’t have been happier to make it into something lovely for her.

The yarn is Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering Kettle Dye in Goddess. (And, miracle of miracles, it isn’t discontinued! You can actually buy it! Go get your hands on some of this goddess goodness.) It has multiple shades of royal purple, fuchsia, and lavender, giving the whole thing this wonderful depth without so much variation that you can’t get some stitch patterns in there.

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Also, as we already know, dark purple socks are impossible to photograph perfectly, so these socks look like a bajillion different colors in these pictures. The picture of the skein by itself is the truest to life, if you are a stickler about these things.

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In fact, this yarn was so dark and difficult to see when I was working with it, that Dan had to rig up a little extra lighting for me so that I could tell what the hell I was doing. I needed an overhead floor lamp, plus my usual over-the-shoulder lamp, plus I had to use some lighter bamboo and rosewood needles because I couldn’t see anything with my fancy-pants green variegated ones.

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The pattern is Cookie A.‘s Angee socks from her fantastic book, Sock Innovation. They are a perfect distillation of the Cookie A. sock playbook. If you are an adventurous knitter, you’ll know exactly what I mean. First of all, the pattern itself looks like cables, right?

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Nope! It’s actually a cleverly-disguised lace panel pattern, with the texture coming from strategically-placed decreases. I made these while having a resurgence of watching numerous favorite detective shows like Sherlock, Endeavour, and Monk (I guess I’ve got a thing for prickly detectives…), so the Shadow Braid name for these seemed appropriate. They look like they are full of depth and shadow, but it’s all an illusion. (ooooooooo…imagine I just waved my hands around like a magician when I said that.)

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Secondly, there’s an odd number of repeats of this lace panel, five to be exact, which is definitely not typical. Most sock patterns with a panel-type structure either have three, four, six, or eight repeats spread out over the cuff of the sock. This makes it so that you can use only 3 or 4 double-pointed needles in the process and not have to worry about trying to use stitch markers to keep track on such teeny tiny needles. (Not that I haven’t had to do that before for a Cookie A. pattern, but she’s definitely not the norm.) Instead, for this pattern, we have to figure out how to keep track of five repeats, so…five needles it is! It felt like reaching into a bag of porcupines every time I had to start a needle, but it did make this fun little pentagram shape for summoning friendly sock-loving spirits.

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And thirdly, in true Cookie A. fashion, there were three different charts to keep track of as the pattern transitioned from cuff to heel to instep, and that stuff just pleases me to no end. The fiddilier, the better. Cookie A. sees every single stitch pattern through to the end with these really pleasing and harmonious designs, and making them, although mentally-taxing at times, is truly a delight.

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Plus, this week I had some really cute nail polish going on, and I couldn’t stop ogling it next to that purple. I felt like a mermaid.

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See? Cute!

One note about the Hawthorne, just in case you jump on that Kettle Dyed Goddess train with me. These kettle dye variants often feel very…crunchy when you first wind them up and knit with them. I’m not sure why it happens so often with kettle-dyed and tonal variant yarns, but I imagine it has something to do with the dyeing process. They tend to have a lot of residual dye sitting on the surface, which leads to that crunchy and plasticky feeling, and will also tend to stain your fingertips and nails if you work with the yarn for extended periods of time. However, with this particular brand, when you block the yarn, that extra dye washes out easily, leaving the rinse water bright pink but the yarn now very soft with a light brushed halo around the strand, not sacrificing the base color you fell in love with. But, if you combined this yarn with something lighter, like with stripes, you definitely run the risk of bleeding and staining occurring, so just keep that in mind.

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I sent these off today to Kirsten in Florida, sending all my love with them. It was hard to part with their jewel-tone loveliness, but I hope she’ll love them just as much as I do. We all need a little bit of extra love right now.

Sockpocalypse Summer, part 3 – Hot Tiki Flamingo Ribs

It’s been a very gloomy and rainy day over here in New Orleans, so I feel the need to warn you to put on some sunglasses to protect yourself from these fabulous socks.

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Hot damn, that’s pretty.

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In this, the third installment of my Sockpocalypse Summer (missed parts 1 and 2?), I made some crazy colorful socks for my equally colorful and joyful friend, Lui.

Lui and I went to high school together, did drama club together, and have even worked together in our adult lives at the same hospital for a few years (he as a doctor with impeccable penmanship, which was invaluable back in the day of paper charting, and which I still appreciate even now). He is kind and caring, bubbly and fun, with a real zest for the good things in life. He has an Instagram where he posts about all the best food in New Orleans (@luieats!). He radiates positivity, and I honestly think he doesn’t realize how his presence, despite it mostly just being on social media, brightens my life.

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When he chose this skein of sock yarn for his custom socks during the Sockpocalypse, I just knew it was meant to be. No other human that I know could rock anything with quite this much insane color with the same flair as Lui can.

Speaking of the yarn, this is the first time in history where I knitted an entire project with completely unknown yarn. It came as a freebie during a big yarn sale, and it either was missing a tag at the time, or the tag got lost over the years. All I know is that is a big crazy riotous rainbow mess, and I love it.

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It took a few false starts, trying out ribbing patterns (because no other stitch pattern would be able to show up in all that rainbow insanity)¬†with different stitch counts, to get something that didn’t look like complete clown barf or a pooling/flashing nightmare.

The pattern that I went with was my absolute favorite for bare-bones basics, A Good, Plain Sock by the Yarn Harlot herself, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, from her amazing book Knitting Rules!. I have made socks from this pattern at least eleventy-billion times (8, actually), and this book is just an integral part of a knitter’s arsenal, especially if they want to get into pattern writing or enjoy following advanced patterns or deciphering patterns that weren’t originally written in English. It’s just full of good things.

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Knitting these socks up was just nothing but fun. Nearly every single row looked like this wondrous rainbow gradient on my needles.

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Those spiral stripes are just too good.

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One thing that I did notice that was really interesting was the fact that the spirals moved in two different speeds on the tops of the two socks. The one on the left was the first sock that I knit, with yarn that was presumably from the center of the skein as it was dyed. The sock on the right was knit second, with the yarn that was on the outside of the skein. That 1.5″ worth of difference in the dying process led to a sizable difference in the final appearance, although happily not enough to change the overall effect.

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For Lui’s US men’s size 11 feet, I settled on 68 stitches with a 2×2 rib pattern and a simple slip-stitch heel. I love the way that the colors pop up differently in the slip stitch, almost looking pastel as they rise above the background colors.

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It was hard for me to send them over to their rightful owner today, but I knew it had to be done. I just don’t have the chutzpah to rock this hot rainbow mess every day.

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Oh, but we all can dream right?

Sockpocalypse Summer, part 2 – Go with the Flow Socks

Today, I sent off a lovely pair of lacy socks to a really lovely friend.

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Let’s talk about Bonnie. You may remember her from this adorable baby blanket and elephant combo that I made her a few years ago, when she was expecting her first baby.

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Bonnie is just the sweetest person out there, and I am so grateful that we have managed to stay in touch after nursing school. She is compassionate and kind and encouraging, an amazing nurse, and honestly one of the highlights of my day is seeing her adorable family pictures. You can imagine how delighted I was to see her name pop up on my Facebook post requesting this beautiful yarn. (Confused? Read all about the Sockpocalypse origins here.)

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Bonnie picked this gorgeous skein of Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Foraged, which is also crazily discontinued! Am I ever going to knit with a yarn that people can actually attain ever again?!

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It’s a really subtle mix of grays, with both light and dark shades of both cool and warm values. It’s really hard to catch on camera, but you get the idea.

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Bonnie requested something lacy, and this pattern delivered. The pattern is Go With the Flow Socks by Evelyn A. Clark, also from the fantastic Interweave Favorite Socks book. Evelyn just makes a great sock, you know.

It features a very open, lacy stitch pattern with pleasing vertical lines, especially when you make the tops really long and slouchable. I’m especially enamored of that little border lace panel at the top with the doubled yarnover pickup. It’s good stuff.

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Now, since I made Bonnie that original blanket, she had two babies, and her feet underwent some…changes. I was up for the challenge that size 12 feet presented me. Bring it.

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I’m happy to say that knitting this pattern with no changes other than sizing up the needles (up to a US size 3, if you’re curious), combined with the natural stretchiness of the lace pattern, makes this sock a comfortable fit for a lady with feet on the larger side. I’m pretty sure we got up to a US women’s size 12 foot with room for comfort. However, my feet are much shorter than that and my cedar sock blockers were made for me, so I can only estimate with my measuring tape. Just wanted to include the detail so that you guys (all 5 of you who read this and know what I’m talking about) know that the sizing-up trick works without creating a loose or floppy fabric. You can actually barely tell at all, which is great, plus you’ll have more than enough yarn with the extra-large Knit Picks Tonal skein. I like having this new tool in my sock-knitting arsenal.

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These socks got sent off today, with a substantial portion of my love as well, to grace this feet of a truly wonderful, warm, welcoming human that I am so glad to have in my life. Put your feet up, my dearest Bonnie. You deserve it.

Sockpocalypse Summer, part 1 – Waving Lace Socks

When I was finished my Stacy Pullover, I felt like I needed another project right away. I needed to keep busy. So, into the stash I went.

And when I did, I turned up 10 skeins of sock yarn just sitting there and begging for my attention. Two of these were special ones that I had picked out just for me, but the other 8 were sort of a mish-mash of free stuff and presents and parts of multi-packs that I bought to get a specific color. Gorgeous stuff, but not things that I desperately needed to have on my particular feet.

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Here they are! Pretty, right?

So, I got to thinking, I may not need 10 new pairs of socks, but surely I know 8 people who need some handknit sock love in their lives right now, right? So I posted that picture above on Facebook and told my friends that the first 8 people to pick their favorite skein would get a new pair of handknit socks from me, custom-made to their size and style preferences. I figured that some people, mostly knitting friends would be into it, and that the replies would trickle out over the afternoon and evening.

It only took 35 minutes.

Eight lovely people, scattered out all over the country and from a million different times in my life, all so deserving of sock love, jumped right on the bandwagon. Hell yeah. That’s all of my summer knitting ready to go! Stash-busting and spreading love through the glory of handknit socks all summer long.

So, of course, to start, I had to make a pair for myself. Just to get the sock mojo flowing.

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Ugh. So pretty.

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This yarn was one of those special purchases just for me because this colorway of Knit Picks Stroll Handpainted was just calling out to me and forced me to buy it. It’s called Coffee Shop, and it now appears to be discontinued for some insane reason (seriously, can we stop getting rid of all of the beautiful colors, commercial yarn makers?). This makes zero sense to me.

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I mean, look at that! Shades of brown and gray and then these gorgeous pops of sky blue and purple!? What kind of monster discontinues this color?

Any knitter can tell you that part of the true joy of knitting with variegated yarns is awaiting the moment that the color that you have arbitrarily chosen as the “best” one comes up, even if it’s only for like 2 stitches. It makes you stupid happy for no goddamn reason. And this yarn had 2 (two!) of those showstoppers. So good.

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The pattern is Waving Lace Socks by Evelyn A. Clark, part of the amazing Interweave Favorite Socks book. The stitch pattern is super simple, just decreases and yarnovers, but it makes this undulating wave that looks rich and complex.

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So, now that I’ve got my own feet covered, stay tuned for the next sock pair in our Sockpocalypse. That is a really hard word to type, and spell check refuses to help me with my stupid pun. Here’s hoping I don’t fuck it up a billion times before this is over.

Knitting Through – the Stacy Pullover

At the start of the new year, I realized that it had been 10 (ten!) years since I had last knitted a full-body garment for myself. Sure, I had made approximately eighty million hats and pairs of socks, but nothing to cover the top half of me since we moved from Boulder.

I’ll be honest, part of this is because I am not such a huge fan of the top half of my body. I am a big girl with short legs and broad shoulders, not exactly the ideal for the body-hugging fabric that knitting produces. Knitting smaller things for myself was always more acceptable because I didn’t have to take a bust or waist measurement to make them.

At the start of 2020, before the madness began, I said to myself, screw that. It’s the last semester of school, you’re coasting right to the finish line. You need a simple stress reliever project that you can feel good about! You scored a decent amount of this lovely worsted yarn during a clearance sale that is begging to become something lovely. You’ve got this!

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Well, I was right about the yarn, and wrong about pretty much everything else.

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My last semester of DNP school turned out to be anything but a coast to the finish line. I got a whole new faculty chair, who had a whole lot of things to say about my project that forced me to do a crazy amount of work in a short amount of time. The pandemic shut down school, shut down clinicals, and shut down our DNP project defense presentations. Instead, we did everything online, and I tried to boil down years of crazy hard work into a 25 minute slideshow where I talked way too fast but miraculously passed.

I didn’t get to finish clinicals or get a graduation. I got an award, but my family didn’t get to see me receive it. I rarely get to work at all, because my PRN status means that I get cancelled a lot to save money for the hospital. I gained even more weight because of…well because of everything. I tried to stay calm and bake and try to cook new things and knit, but inside I’m a simmering pot of anxiety. Never have I ever felt that I have less to be proud of, even though my brain knows better.

However, through it all, I made this sweater.

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This sweater kept me looking forward.

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This sweater gave me concrete goals.

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This sweater made me really care about matching up the gradient on the sleeves, and then matching it to the front panels, which is no small feat, I must say.

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This sweater made me happy when nothing else could, and I am thankful that the person I was in January gave me the gift of being able to finish it now.

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Now, enough mushiness, let’s hear about the knitting!

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The yarn is Cascade Tangier in the sadly discontinued colorway Lakeside. It’s a very strange blend of silk, acrylic, rayon, and cotton that resembles a slubby wool blend like Noro Kureyon, but with better stitch definition and a smoother drape. Some of the rayon sheds while you’re working with it and mine inexplicably had some random tiny bits of gold sparkly stuff in it, but otherwise it was very nice to work with.

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The pattern is the Stacy Pullover from Big Girl Knits, designed by Terri Shea.

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I have owned this book for so long and never knit anything out of it. Not sure why, as it is the perfect book for analyzing the fundamentals of knitted objects and how to make them work best for your body. Every pattern is labelled with the body feature that it is best suited for, plus there are a ton of helpful notes on how to modify things to your specific tastes.

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The Stacy Pullover is specifically designed for people with a lot of boobs and butt to spare, so there was very little I needed to do to make it work for me. The only modification that I made was giving the ribbing an extra two inches, as I can’t stand it when sweaters are too short.

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I didn’t even try to match striping on the front and back, because nobody has that kind of time and gradient yarns always manage to have knots in inopportune areas. However, I knit both of the sleeves at the same time, and made sure to make those match each other and line up with the armscye from the front, just to keep it from looking like too much of a circus.

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I’m in love with the detached keyhole neck detail as well. That, combined with the fact that the transition from honeycomb to ribbing makes it look like a tailored waist, man that’s some good stuff.

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As soon as the world calms down and the weather drops below 80 degrees everyday, this sweater will be joining me frequently, reminding me that I have something to be proud of despite all of the insanity. I have a doctorate. And I have a sweater. It’s all going to be okay.

Thankful for Pie 2019 Edition

It feels a little silly to have a big round-up post riding on the heels of so many catch-up posts, so we’re going to do things a little differently this time.

Less talk, more reminders of the things that I loved this year, in no particular order.

Now, what did I love most?¬† Well, what’s always the closest to my heart at all times? Yep, you guessed right.

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It’s pie.

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And ice cream. Homemade is best, always.

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But let’s not forget the whole world of treats available to us. Snoballs from Hansen’s…

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Fresh beignets and frozen coffee from Cafe du Monde with a walk in the park…

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2019 roundup

Homemade birthday cakes…

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And brownies!

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And cookies!

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And waffles!!

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And, most especially, super fancy birthday brunch with my very dear Internet friend Alon Shaya. Or at least at his restaurant when he probably wasn’t there.

It’s all so good.

But we made sure to appreciate our vegetable friends this year, as in previous years, through growing our garden and participating in Grow Dat’s amazing CSA program.

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And what to go with all those veggies and sweet treats?

Alcohol, apparently, if my camera roll is any indication.

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All the best things.

And what else did I love this year?

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Dan. I mean, just every day.

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There just no one else I’d rather live my life side-by-side with. Dan is the best.

And of course, our children.

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Just the sweetest, fluffiest babies ever. Bowie and Trip bring us joy every day, unless they are actively destroying the house. Well, sometimes those things happen concurrently.

I’m thankful for quiet moments.

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And little adventures.

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And several booty-shaking opportunities.

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Seriously, Planet Booty and KP will make you dance so much you lose 10 pounds, every show.

But most of all, the thing I loved most this year, probably because it came in such few and far-between moments, was making things.

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Effervesce.

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Tiny kimono.

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What? My DNP project totally counts. I birthed that thing from my womb.

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Mary Blanket Squared.

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Night Sky Saurey.

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Sandworm!

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Cardamom, and the Little Dragon Hat.

And this year, unlike most years, I got to experience the beauty of mending together things that were once broken.

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I’m not going to go through the arduous process of counting my patient load this year or the amount of pages I wrote, which were considerable, because it only reminds me of the time I spent away from the things I really love the most. So please, as you look back on this year with me, take the time to remember the things that made you most happy, the things that made the year worth living.

And just remember that all of you reading this just made the list for me.

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Happy new year, everyone. Let’s make it a good one.