Well Look at That

After arriving here yesterday (I’m in Port Ludlow, where we’re merrily setting up to be invaded by knitters for the latest retreat) I finished the latest socks, which sounds like I got something done, but I didn’t really, since I actually finished these on the tour – mostly. 

I can’t remember where I was exactly when these were almost finished, but I do remember that I was on a plane, went into my change purse for a darning needle, and came up empty handed.

I figure it was because I had an episode in the Baltimore airport days prior, when while standing in line for something I’d accidentally flipped the change holding part of my wallet over – except it was open, and a shower of change (and my darning needle, apparently) hit the ground.  I would have left it all but for two things.  1) If you are Canadian your change can be a lot of money, because we have one and two dollar coins.  2) I guess it’s a sort of littering, and I wouldn’t want to be that person, so I scrabbled round on the floor of the airport, taking great care to pick it all up and somehow missing the darning needle. 

Miraculously I had the presence of mind to grab another one yesterday before I left, and today it was just a quick matter of grafting the toes, and so there you have it.  A finished pair of socks.   They’re basic socks, no pattern really, just round and round and a short row heel on half the stitches, then round and round a bit more – but it makes me so incredibly happy that it randomly worked out that one chunk of colour made half the heel, and the next chunk made the other – absolutely perfectly.  How does that happen? It’s like a miracle that my particular gauge over that particular number of stitches (60, if you’re going to ask and I know you are) gave me heels that perfect. 

Amazing.  The yarn was String Theory Continuum, and I love it. Partly it’s the base yarn (merino, cashmere, nylon) and partly, it’s just the stripes.  I love the wide, simple stripes.  There’s gonna be fierce competition when I get these home, and actually, I think I might keep them well hidden through the retreat too.
Knitters can be sneaky.

143 thoughts on “Well Look at That

  1. Those look awesome! You could totally claim to have worked hard to get them to line up like that.
    Off to scope out that yarn. I want wide stripes!

  2. Off topic, but I noticed last night that MY Kenmore Mr. Washie was made in Toronto, Canada. Coincidence? Or reincarnation?
    My Mr. Washie is very picky about what kind of towels he likes to wash, by the way. Even as to color.

  3. Yes, yes, great heels. But I admire your taking the time to find the proper place in the repeat to begin the second sock. Having that kind of perfection in only ONE of them would have sent me right over the edge. (Granted, the edge isn’t too far away these days, but still.)

  4. Don’t let anyone else wrest those socks away from you! You deserve the miracle of the perfectly-striped heel.

  5. I’ve knit many pairs of socks with narrow stripes, but never any with wide stripes. I’m totally coveting those socks! I must find that wool (it sounds yummy-soft, too).

  6. Wonderful! Sometimes life just works out, and thank you for celebrating it when it does. 🙂

  7. Hi, Stephanie,
    I don’t know how you can jump right from book tour to teaching/organizing retreat, but more power to you. You must be a secret super woman with an auxiliary nuclear core that surreptitiously cuts in for power when you need to do two strenuous things back to back.
    Lovely socks, especially the yummy yarn, wide stripes and tidy heels.
    I got a great deal on 2 bags of 10 sock yarns a few months ago, so all the men in my family are getting socks for Christmas this year. Working on pair number 8. The first one was for the 6 foot 9 brother-in-law with the size 15 shoe. Those were some big socks!
    Have fun at the retreat!

  8. My first thought: Those are adorable!
    My second thought: How did you take that picture of the matching heels? 🙂
    Hey, I enjoyed seeing and hearing you in Dallas but didn’t have time to stay and meet you. This is the first time I’ve come by here and seen less than a 100 comments…so, here I am.
    I’ve been thoroughly enjoying your book. It puts me to bed every night!(Not to sleep.It actually makes me laugh out loud.) Thanks.

  9. I want some of that yarn!!! Oh My Gosh!!! how incredible, any way so are you for all this traveling, good job. It is so hard to be organized for this long of a periond. Great Job.

  10. You mentioned these socks a few days ago, and so I decided that not only did I *need* some of that lovely yarn, but I also really needed to get over my dislike of short row heels. I wound the yarn and dived in as soon as I got it — I found some that has 8 rows of 3 bright colors with 3 rows of black between each row of the bright colors — and *just* finished my first heel, when I decided to go look at your old post and look more carefully at how your stripes worked out, and you’d done even better and just put up this post. I’m quite impressed — you managed to make the colors line up SO nicely for the heel! Mine, with the short black segment, doesn’t look anywhere as nice, but hey, there are no holes, so I’m counting my blessings. 🙂
    You really do inspire me to be a better knitter. Now if only I could be a *richer* knitter and afford to come to one of your wonderful retreats!

  11. I love those. There’s something so comforting about striped socks. I always think they knit up more quickly too. I’m easily amused and always want to see how the next stripe will look. Even if I already know how the next stripe will look, I still want to see it.

  12. I’m so pleased to see a good Maine yarn get such good press. String Theory has a lovely store in Blue Hill in an old farmhouse and is my favorite name of a LYS ever.

  13. I bought some of that yarn just because you had the stripes posted the other day. I hope my heels turn out like that too!!!!

  14. Awesome socks! Love the big bold stripes!
    Really wish I could have been at one of the stops on your book tour but things were just too crazy (plus you never really came close enough). Hopefully next time.
    (sorry for the sort-of double post…trying to do it on my iPhone and my baby daughter smacked the screen)

  15. for the next time you lose your darning needle: techknitter has a way of grafting using your knitting needle rather than darning needle

  16. T-riffic the colors divvied up so nicely. Perhaps something about the ‘string theory’ part of that colourway. Amazing really – both socks!

  17. Those heels are nothing short of Amazing…glad they made you happy.
    When you catch up on emails, snail mail would be appreciated,( I am having fun with it) hope you do when I can send you some.

  18. I do two at a time socks and they don’t turn out as identical as those did. It was the knitting gods smiling on you after all the h&%% you went through for that sweater 🙂

  19. I gasped when I saw the heels!! They are wonderful. (By the way I’m wearing my first fully complete and matching pair of socks tonight. And I got several compliments.)

  20. That was some excellent luck! They are very good looking socks…and I don’t even like stripes!

  21. I love the socks. Coincidentally, I’m working on a pair in Regia Nation Color, with the same kind of wide stripes, and loving them.
    They are knitting up so fast! It’s such fun working toward the next color that you don’t want to put them down.
    Which is why, I guess, it’s 1:20 in the morning and I’ll pay for it when it’s time to get up in a very few hours.
    But worth it.

  22. I LOVE your socks!!! I love the stripes and the heels are BEYOND PERFECT! I’m very anal, so like my socks to be identical twins. You’re very wise to keep a close eye on those babies! (you might wanna think about security tags)

  23. Cool socks! I love the heels – both how they pooled perfectly and how they match — how often does that happen in self-striping socks? Very fun socks!

  24. I learned how to do kitchener stitch with the DPs a while back when I couldn’t find my darning needle. It’s REALLY easy and the result is just the same as if you used a needle. I like that I now don’t need to stop to close up the toes- I just keep going.
    I know you usually do socks from the toe up, which negates that problem, but I also have used my DPs for darning at the top as well.

  25. I am in awe of how perfectly aligned that heel is. Utterly fabulous. Sometimes, the knitting gods smile down upon us! (Maybe they own you one for that cabled sweater?)

  26. How did you get them to match? not just the heels, but the whole thing? Mine always end up like fraternal twins at best (usually look more like second cousins, actually). Have fun this weekend.

  27. Loved the little short Knitpicks Harmony needles I saw in those socks in Brookline, MA. Think I’ll try some of those.

  28. Jealous!! I would love to have a pair just like that. Guess I’m putting that yarn on my wish list this Christmas! They’re absolutely beautiful.

  29. I am SO excited! We have snow on the ground and I don’t HAVE to go anywhere thus I get to work on my socks! I’m using Hand Maiden Casbah, and absolutely love how the stitches look so perfect. I’m lusting after those stripes though, but just don’t dare purchase anymore sock yarn. I have enough right now to last me for the next two years, or more……..

  30. Those are lovely socks, BUT… Where are the pictures of you in the Rhinebeck sweater??? You seem to have a habit of getting us all caught up in the drama of finishing an ambitious sweater in a ridiculously short time frame. We laugh and cry along with you and then … you leave us hanging with no photos of the finished product. Please, show us that gorgeous sweater!

  31. You are good to hide them from knitters. If I could steal it through the Intarwebs I would so have a new pair of socks (though I’d at least swap you a pair of socks, so you wouldn’t go cold).

  32. I suspect that wearing them continually until post-retreat might be the only way to keep ownership. Also, what Kristin @ 9:51 AM said.

  33. I LOVE these socks (as soon as you posted that photo a while back, I went searching for the yarn). Just as importantly, my boyfriend also really likes them (he’s a lot like Joe in terms of acceptable colors schemes for his body). If you still have the ball band, would you please be able to post what colorway they are? I searched through the String Theory site, and found some yarns that seemed similar, but not quite it. If it’s still available, I would be so excited to buy a skein (or, probably more like 10, really). Thanks!

  34. Well, you’ve done it again. String Theory Continuum’s website has crashed. Looks like they’ll be busy this weekend!

  35. LOVE!!!!!!!
    And the fact that you did not make that heel half one, half the other is more delightful evidence of the Universe’s serendipity in action.

  36. I love the stripes too! But I’m wondering, having tried short row heels with no success, what secret there might be to getting them to fit. Do you have one handy?

  37. Absolutely love these – now I really wish I was coming to the retreat, if only to see if I could get away with the socks……

  38. DUDE!!! I love those! My first thought was basically, “Dang, I wish I had the patience to clip my yarn like other knitters to get perfect color placement like on those heels…” But it was just destiny instead! Like some handspun I had, which I made into a Minuet Tam (AWESOME pattern) and the first color repeat landed right where the purl bump row was on the had and totally looked on purpose, but it wasn’t. I love it!

  39. I’m one of those people who can have her day RUINED if 1. the darning needle is not in her purse 2) nor is the nail clipper 3) or a clip-on marker. Yes, the day is IN SHAMBLEs without those things. Wait, this girl needs her iced coffee too, otherwise, the day is shot at a VERY early hour. If this girl doesn’t knit that the day, those yarn-related thingies mentioned earlier don’t matter.

  40. LOVE the socks!! And, as soon as I’m done commenting,I’m going to order some of that yarn! Not that I need it for stash!! Dumb question: were you just incredibly lucky with the match on the second sock or did you wind the yarn to the spot so they’d match??

  41. Just out of mild curiosity, when did folks start grafting the toes? My mother taught me to make my first socks in 1949, and everyone just used the 3 needle bind off (pull the yarn thru, turn em inside out, 1/2 back on the needle and off you go) I’ve tried and tried to make grafted toes look nice but have failed miserably..I’d get some of that yarn and make those yummy socks, but I think people would laugh at granny in wide striped socks…..:)

  42. Great Fall sox…but nothing I say hasn’t been said by a hundred other folk. So glad to know you had another darning needle to finish up your project. Phew! That your misadventure happened at BWI makes me sad…and that I was only an hour away from your yarn-lovin’ self….
    Only good adventure from here on out!

  43. It could be your high level of skill, but how did you ever get such a neat short row heel? I’m about to try only my third short row heel in 25 years of knitting, and even the pattern photo doesn’t look as tidy. Which short row directions do you recommend?

  44. How do you get such good photos of your FOs? Do you co-opt a photographer or model somehow? Or do you just set the timer? I’d love to know any tips you might want to share!

  45. MIraculous! Incroyable!
    I once made a pair of socks from one of those self striping fair isle yarns (which I have come to loath – those little grey dots just look messy). Even though the cuff cast on was at a different point in the colour repeat, the stripes on the feet lined up perfectly.
    I think these sock yarns just have minds of their own.

  46. Amazing! I thought somehow you did it on purpose. Athena was smiling down upon you that day. 🙂

  47. Love these…absolutely fascinating to me that the stripes come out so clear and even…Thanks for showing them off! Have fun on the retreat.

  48. I totally love them, but now I’m afraid the knitting goddess might – you know – smite. They’re so cute, the heel is so perfect, it all worked out (except for the loss of the darning needle), it’s just too much. Good luck!

  49. OK, this has nothing at all to do with your blog post today, but I feel like I know you, so I have to tell you. Today I had my last chemo treatment for ovarian cancer! My ca125 is down to 6, which is really good, and I have had the required six treatments. What is my rward you ask? A trip to Webs!

  50. I want those socks!!!! I’m not even the identical twin type, but I must have those socks. I was getting ready to go on the website to order when I read that the website has crashed. I had to laugh — it has happened before. (There were no silk hankies ANYWHERE after your silk mitten post!!)
    Just think — if you set your mind to it, you could singlehandedly jump start the sagging economy…. Do one of those trés cool Christmas Lists designed to assist family members of knitters all over the world!

  51. I think it might be past time to put a lock on your sock drawer, but that all depends on how good you are at keeping track of your keys. 😉
    I like how they turned out.

  52. This seals it. it’s past time that i learned to make some socks. it’s gotten cold early this year in the PNW and comfy socks will be required

  53. I love those socks! Lucky I’m not there! This may well inspire me to learn short-row heels – awesome!

  54. Great socks. they couldn’t have come out better if you had actually planned it!
    I love your latest book along with all of your books! I love how you make me laugh and how even though I am much older than you — we think alike about knitting and so many things in life.
    We moved away from the Portland area this year otherwise my husband and I would have been to your book signing there.

  55. Those heels were just your reward from Knitting Karma International for all the angst the orange cabled sweater caused you.

  56. i love those! and i wish there were a pattern, cos i’m that kind of knitter.. the kind who clings to a pattern. also… it looks like your feet are currently in a very nice place! all that open space and nice woodwork with airy views.

  57. Love those stripes. I don’t always love stripes, but the colors and the width of these stripes are perfect!! Love the seriously perfect alignment of the heels and toes!!

  58. So, is it bad that I have been trying to count the number of rows in each stripe from the photographs? OCD, or something like that? Or am I just a knitter? Love the socks!

  59. There is definitely something mesmerizing about those socks! I don’t usually like ANY white in a sock at all, much less big honking stripes of it, but those look super. Plus there’s cashmere?
    better hide them well!

  60. I am struck dumb with envy at the perfection of those heels. Thank you for the photo, I am not worthy.

  61. Those heels are so perfect that I am actually tempted to abandon My beloved heel flap, if only for stripes.

  62. Aw, if you hadn’t gone and told us it was completely random, I would have fully considered you a genius for knowing how to make the heels do that.
    Awesome socks. They’re just pure happy.

  63. May I suggest running the darning needle through a bit of fabric or keeping it threaded with a bit of brightly colored wool while it’s in with your coins? That way, should the change-dumping happen again, it would be much easier to see when picking up. Not to mention easier to find it while it’s in with the change.
    That heel color matching on these socks is awesome!

  64. I love it when that happens. Makes a perfect project just that bit sweeter. For me even more so when I had nothing to do with the effect.

  65. Better hide them quick! Almost all knitters are extremely honest but those would be hard to resist

  66. Saw the pictures/ notes on you and Leonard N. And B. Shatner via a LN sight. I am rabid about yarn too, but a crocheter. Pls. HELP ME! I’m looking for a crochet pattern for an LLAP or Spock’s gesture (\\//), on a potholder, which I could also use for a scarf. Havn’t found anything at any of the Interweave sights. PS Signings at ST conventions also go at warpspeed!

  67. Not a fan of striped socks but LOVE the heel. You really need to post a tutorial about short-row heels. I make either French or Dutch heels, mostly French since dear Elizabeth kindly made it so easy for me to learn them. I don’t suppose that short-row heels will convert me, but I’m always keen to have another string to my technical bow. I looked at some of the other tutorials and was unimpressed.
    Also, I got spoiled while you were on tour, with a post every day. I know it’s a lot of work, and I know you’re incredibly busy; but I do just want to mention that reading your blog totally makes my day.

  68. I’m getting really envious watching the yarn crawl for the new book – is there any plan to revisit the UK? It’s too long since iKnit.

  69. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the socks!! The heels are just too perfect, and I like the wide stripes.
    Oh, I can feel my stash yarn saying, “Oh, no – there she goes!” because I may have to find this yarn.

  70. What an amazing trip you have had…and I don’t just mean this last book tour.
    The socks are awesome. I have not made socks,yet. I have been sticking with flat patterns! Not ready for the deeper waters, I guess.
    I have purchased your book and am enjoying it immensely. You are so articulate and so “Every man” in your presentation. Thank you so much for being brave enough to share your thoughts in book form and in your blog,of course.
    Mary Jo

  71. Hang on for a sec…. I have made at least 10 pairs of socks using your “standard sock recipe” (I’m wearing some now) and mine never have that sweet 90 degree-ish turning point on the heel, mine are all an obvious square. Looks like you did some decreasing on your heel flap….can you explain the heel method you used? Because those socks? Are wicked pretty.

  72. Hey Harlot ! Blog needs an update to include your latest and greatest book ! Did you know that it’s on Chapters.ca as an ebook ??? Not just a book book ? OK, you probably did know that. Does anyone else know ?

  73. Love them heels! I’d given up on short-row heels…they always come out nice on 1 side then messy on the other, and never came out the right size but those are so cool it makes me wanna give them another try.

  74. Those are some seriously…happy colors. I really don’t know how else to put it. Love them. 🙂

  75. If you are worried about sneaky knitters, send the socks to me. I will take excellent care of them for you.
    (Short-row heels? I thought you preferred flap and gusset. I much prefer short-row heels myself, and occasionally wonder if I’m a little weird.)
    (Because of liking those heels, I mean, apart from anything else.)

  76. Darn! I wanted to ask how you got the heels so perfect, then I saw that you stated it was through a miracle. Oh, well. I’ve got to get some Continuum; the big stripes are cool!

  77. In reaction to the just-twittered pic of the baby sweater: Please, please, please – tell about it. It’s BEAUTIFUL!

  78. Even my son (seventeen years old, unimpressed by most knitting) was impressed with how your heels turned out! The only thing I’ve ever knit that he will wear are his boot socks for outdoor events! Love your socks!

  79. Love, love, love the sox. You got the stripes perfectly matched up too! How much yarn did you have to waste to get each one started in exactly the same place?

  80. I discovered your blog on Amazon when a book I was reading about led to another book, which led to another, then another and then I saw something about a “yarn harlot”–my kind of woman. So I followed and read. Just what I needed this morning. Thank you for the laughter and the photos (I really wanted to be in Portland!). I knitted a few things 20 years ago in another lifetime between children and jobs and school and too many other things going on and have just registered for a “how-to” class at a local knit shop in Birmingham starting next week. I was already excited and now I cannot wait. I think I will go visit this afternoon just to be sure they are where I think they are… And I ordered your book. You brightened my day. Thank you–it needed some sunshine.

  81. I love those socks!
    But I´m so sad…no news from you for lready a whole week. You spoiled me with everyday news. 🙂
    Greetings from Germany

  82. Not only saddened by no news but worried. A week is a long time not to hear from our “Harlot”. Everything OK?

  83. Wow! Love those socks. Not sure I’d be able to get the heels to look that awesome but I’m glad they worked out for you 🙂

  84. Awesome yarn! Makes knitted socks worthwhile. I was so proud today when I took my laundry off the line and had 4 pairs of knitted socks on it. That’s a lot of warm socks for a girl in Arizona 🙂

  85. Every time I read a post you’ve written, I nearly wet my knickers I’m laughing so hard. Knitters are sneaky, indeed.

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