Boyfriend Socks, and Flaming Socks of Doom

A few weeks ago, P. and I had just come home from a long, lovely walk enjoying the spring greenery, and as we plopped down on the couch feeling pleased with ourselves, I pulled on a pair of handknit socks. I basked in their lovely softness, their perfect fit, and the proud feeling of having knitted the article of clothing that was exactly what I wanted at that moment — and I suddenly had an epiphany: I should knit P. some socks, so he could feel this too. (Well, instead of pride in the accomplishment of knitting, I suppose he could feel pride in having selected such a talented girlfriend. Or, you know, love and appreciation or something.)

In southern California, it’s pretty hard to knit for boyfriends. You can’t make them hats or scarves or mittens, because they’d never wear them, and despite the chilly evenings you can’t make them sweaters because of the curse. I offered to knit P. a vest recently, and he was not interested. But socks! Who doesn’t love a snuggly-warm pair of socks? I treat my hand-knit socks more or less like slippers — I fear shoving them into shoes, and my Birkenstock-and-flip-flop California lifestyle doesn’t permit me to wear socks with shoes very often, anyway. But my circulation is pretty poor, so I wear socks or slippers in the house for at least half the year to warm my little tootsies.

Before the evening was over, and without even checking Ravelry and obsessing over possibilities, I knew which socks I would be knitting for P. — Anne Hanson’s Lacunae Socks. I’d had my eye on them since she posted the pattern a few months earlier, and I figured that P. needed socks with some kind of all-over ribbing because his feet are very wide — so if a sock was going to be wide enough for his feet, it needed to be able to contract around his not-so-wide leg so as to not fall down. And they came out great!

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The yarn is Schaefer Anne, in some hand-dyed gray-blue colorway that I’ve lost the name of. It seemed pretty skinny for sock yarn, but it worked out well on US 1 needles. It’s got a little mohair in it, which gives it some nice fuzzy softness. The pattern is very nice, though it did get a little boring after awhile. When I knit socks for myself, I’m usually knitting a size small, but P.’s wide feet demand the XL — which means that socks for him are not quite the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am projects that I’m used to them being.

That said, I am also working verrrrry slowly on a pair of socks for myself that I have named the Flaming Socks of Doom:

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These are yet another Anne Hanson pattern, her Woodsmoke Socks, and the yarn is Fearless Fibers Tight Twist Superwash Merino in the “Flame ” colorway. These socks are shaping up to be both gorgeous and outrageous, which I’m very pleased about, but those lovely mock-cables are the result of what is by FAR the most complicated chart I have ever attempted to follow. I basically can’t work on them in front of the television, which means I basically never work on them. The progress you see here was made almost entirely in the car (when it wasn’t my turn to drive) on our spring break trip to San Francisco, while we listened to 10+ hours of a biography of the Beatles that started from each of their individual births and followed them through the break-up of the band. I’ve gotten through turning the heel, and now that I’m about to be in gusset-town I’m excited about only having to do the cable pattern on half the stitches, and yet I still predict that it will take me roughly six million years to finish them.

Yarn Porn

Hello again! I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus, because first it was spring break and then it was the beginning of a new quarter, and I had a lot of non-knitting business to take care of. Spring break, though, was lovely — the boyfriend and I went to Monterey and San Francisco. We saw the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the new Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, the Museum of Craft and Folk Art, The Homosexuals, and we visted my Cairn hat and its owners. But what you are undoubtedly most interested in, dear knitters, is the following:

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The spoils! These are all from Imagiknit in San Francisco, which you absolutely must visit the next time you are in town. It is hands-down the best LYS I have ever been to — it was mind-boggling. It’s huge, the yarns are delicious, and it was also the only LYS I’d ever been to that seemed to actually cater to my age bracket. The people working there were all 20-something hipsters, and while they had lots and lots of the basics, they also seemed to understand that we young, hip knitters crave color and style (and yarns like Malabrigo that we can buy on a budget!). Basically all of my actually-local LYSes seem to be run by and for old ladies — so I really had a field day. My lovely, patient boyfriend brought a book and read quietly for the multiple hours it took me to shop for and then wind this yarn (there are some duplicate skeins not pictured). Clockwise from the top, we have: Malabrigo Lace in Azul Profundo (I have two of these), Malabrigo Aquarella in some apparently unnamed teal colorway, Malabrigo Lace in Black Forest (I have two of these, too!), Curious Creek Fibers Meru in Mysterious Night, and Malabrigo Lace in Stone Blue. Friends, Malabrigo Lace is $9 per 470-yard skein, so I went a little nuts.

We also visited Article Pract in Oakland, specifically so I could get these:

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Be Sweet Bambino in Spearmint. It’s a bamboo & cotton blend, hand dyed by women in South Africa who get some percentage of the profits. This yarn is remarkably difficult to buy online — only a few online retailers carry it at all, and each of them carries only a few colors. I bought eight of these, which in the not-so-distant future will become a “Nadine” from Kristeen Griffen-Grimes’ new book, French Girl Knits. Article Pract turned out to be a lovely little store —  much smaller than Imagiknit, but well-curated and also staffed by & apparently aimed toward young people.

Coming soon: sock progress photos, and a brand-new pattern!