Timing is everything

It’s freezing in the house today. At first I chalked it up to my antique furnace not being able to cope with the extreme cold, or maybe the fever I still have on and off, but this morning it’s not extremely cold or windy out, and I’m feeling a lot better (I napped, then had pizza, two glasses of a nice shiraz and watched Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. Still a classic.) and it’s still frosty inside here. I think it says something about my priorities that I didn’t check the furnace, but instead I finished my toasty warm socks.


Beauty, eh? I just love them. Adore them. Want to hug them and kiss them and call them George. I have a crazy bold affection for them. If I only had one pair of hand knit socks for the rest of my life, these could be them.


The astute among you will note that these are not my usual sock pattern. Normally I knit a plain, good top-down flap heel sock (immortalized in Knitting Rules, for those who will ask) but with this special yarn I wanted to be able to use every single centimetre. To make that possible, I used my ball winder and scale to divide the yarn exactly in half, then cast on 16 stitches at the toe (I use Judy Beckers Magic Cast-on. She’s a genius) , increased at the sides of the toes (4 increases every other round) until I had what seemed right (60 stitches).


I knit plain until I got to the right place for the heel, then did a short row version so as not to disrupt the stripes. (Laura’s tutorial here is very good, and almost exactly how I went about it.) From there it was just around and around and around until I had accomplished about 14 cm – then I switched to 2×2 ribbing. When I got to the bottom of the calf muscle I began to increase to accommodate it.


I hid the increases in the ribbing at the back of the leg (made sense to make the sock bigger where my leg was getting bigger) and carried on until I ran out of wool – then did Elizabeth Zimmermann’s sewn cast off to make sure that the edge was stretchy. It is.

Yarn: Laurie’s (Yeah, That Laurie) hand-dyed, hand-spun, three-ply, one of a kind, self striping sock yarn. Needles: 2.25mm, pattern…cobbled together.


I love these, and I haven’t taken them off since finishing them. I’m sure someone else with socks exactly this length is going to ask if they fall down, and it’s true. I stopped mid calf muscle (as opposed to above or below it) so even though they fit perfectly and I knit all that lovely vertical ribbing, they do have a slight tendency to slouch. It doesn’t matter though. They are just so beautiful that I’m willing to cut them some slack in the function department. (For the record…I think that’s how this girl I knew in high school graduated, but I digress.) It’s a good thing that I finished them when I did too, because once I had them all done, pictures taken and blog entry written, I noticed that even though I was wearing a lot of wool (socks, slippers, sweater) and even though I’d turned up the heat twice, it was still really cold in the house.

Turns out that the socks were a great idea, and I’d better keep knitting, because the furnace isn’t working. Joe’s on his way home to do battle with it now, and the upside of having an antique furnace is that they aren’t very complex beasts. (Insert the furnace scene from A Christmas Story here, and know that you are not very far off.) Keep your fingers crossed that it’s something like old wiring. Joe can totally fix that. If it’s any more than a minor problem we’re going to be cold for a while….The downside of our antique furnace is that it is one of the original Octopus Gravity furnaces – so we would need some ducts installed before we could even buy a modern furnace. (If you’re wondering what the hell an octopus- gravity fed furnace is…..there’s a great blog post on it here.) Our furnace has run, silent and obedient for decades and decades and decades. Here’s hoping it’s not fatally injured.

Fingers, toes and needles crossed.