Stock, and the taking thereof

I was going to tell you just now, as I unpack and repack my suitcase to head out the door for St Andrews-By-the-Sea, that I was feeling a little tired today. So I sat at the computer, typed all that in, and then glanced up at the screen to check for typos, and realized that my keyboard hadn’t been plugged in. Yeah. So maybe more than a little tired. I’ll go to bed early tonight and be chipper as all get out tomorrow. (Well. If you know me, I’m seldom outwardly chipper, but I’ll be chipper on the inside.) I’ve spent the day trying to pull together the disaster that is our house and lives – Joe and I have both been travelling and working a lot, and things are getting a little dodgy around here – If by dodgy, you understand that I mean that there are dust bison roaming the floors, the only food in the fridge is condiments, and neither of us have a pair of clean socks.  More than that (since my priorities are still – well, mine… I’m not currently really knitting anything. The knitting situation is a mess.

Now, don’t take that wrong, I don’t mean I’m not knitting, I’m totally always knitting, but since finishing that last sweater, I’ve just sort of filled in a few gaps – I have a pair of socks for someone almost done, and while I was at Rhinebeck I worked out that the yarn I’d brought to make the thing I wanted to wouldn’t work – so there was a Harrisville purchase – and a cowl started.

winterslongstart 2015-10-22

That’s Harrisville Watershed (what a great yarn) in “Eastview” and the cowl is Bristol Ivy’s Winterlong – a beautiful, sculptural piece that’s knitting up really quickly. Those are both snacks though, just little bits of knitting to tide me over the disorganized gap.  They don’t count. Especially the socks. I need a knitting plan, the next big thing.

winterslongstartball 2015-10-22

That’s what I was thinking about today as I tried to pull everything together, and decided to focus on the way Joe and I both had no clean socks, so I got a load of laundry together, looked out the window at the weather (we’ve had our first snow here – although it was air snow, not stay on the ground snow) and decided it was time to make the switch to warm, handknit wool socks for both of us.  In they all went to the wash, and as I washed them all, I realized that my handknit sock drawer is in crisis.  Joe’s in pretty good shape, he could use another pair or two but (gasp) Christmas is coming. Me? I’ve got just a few serviceable pairs, and that’s after a festival of darning. So, knitting dilemma solved. I’m going to bang out a pair or two of socks for myself over the weekend, make a mental note to stop giving them all away,  and make a new plan on Tuesday morning.  Two birds, one stone.

94 thoughts on “Stock, and the taking thereof

  1. Classic case of “Cobbler’s children have no shoes.” Good for you on knitting something for you so close to the holidays!

    • When I was 10 to 15 years old, our neighbourhood version (since we lived half-a-block away) was “The psychiatrist’s kids are completely insane!!” OK, what we really said was “The shrink’s kids are nuts!”, but we were far less PC-aware then. (Tries not to roll her eyes, ends up hurting herself — owie.)

  2. I am extremely envious that you can “bang out a pair or two of socks” in one weekend. Takes me three weeks to knit up one pair and then only if I spend at least three to four hours a day at it. *sigh* Maybe someday I’ll be that fast. 🙂

    • I’m pretty sure I can “bang out” a cast-on and (possibly) one ribbed cuff.

      Appropriately, I have to ‘touch the foot’ to post this 🙂

  3. Wait. Joe has hand knit socks now? Did he start keeping his nails short enough to take care of them? Does this mean there’s hope?

    My husband just isn’t there yet and I have never knit him any. (Not that I knit a lot of socks anyway, just, if anyone deserved a pair from me it’s him.)

  4. I love the cowl pattern! A purchase from Bristol Ivy’s Ravelry page is next. I do believe there’s only one stitch involved, so it just might be right for ‘Short Attention Span’ Knitter, whoever she may be, to practice lever knitting 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration. I hope you find time to rest soon or, at least, have only relaxing knitting projects in the queue

  5. All the way through, I was listening for the C word, impressed that it didn’t show up until five lines from the bottom. So I’m either impressed at your calm, or terrified at your medical condition. Still, if you wanted to really worry us, you could have announced the plan and never mentioned the word — it would have been like waiting for the other shoe to drop..

    • I am dense, when you mentioned the C word, I thought “cowl” but that didn’t make complete sense, until I went back to the post… now I am terrified. It is as if it doesn’t happen every December. Every year I manage to forget.

  6. glad to know I’m not the only one to discover that my handknit socks mostly have holes in at least one of each pair (I have one pair nearly done (on the gusset of the second sock) and yarn for at least one more pair, but I can’t bang out two pair in a weekend, one probably, but not two.


  7. In re darning socks: who says your socks have to match. Sure, they start out that way, but life happens to them too. Similar colourways do it for me,

    That yarn is the perfect mix of YH colours.

    • I was at Rhinebeck, staying at a house in Salt Point, and Sunday morning, we woke up to SNOW…air snow, but still….freaked me out, but we went to the festival anyway. It was very chilly, but the snow stopped thank goodness

  8. I have only ever knit your plain vanilla sock pattern. I would have my second pair of socks finished if gremlins had not run off with “Knitting Rules.” (I tried what I thought was the next step, and ahem, my foot isn’t that weirdly shaped). So, I started another pair of socks and ordered another copy of your book. 😉 Maybe I should try a fancy sock. Thanks for all the inspiration and happy travels, always!

    • If you can make a gauge swatch, do simple math, and can pick out some basic stitches, than you can make your own basic sock patterns. I use “The Sock Knitter’s Handbook” myself. Shows you some really good options and it’s great as reference material for your library.

    • I wrote this out on a double sided postcard enough to guide me through the tricky bits and then laminated it…it never leaves my knitting project bag. Sorted!

  9. When I sent my sister a picture of the Baby Surprise Jacket I knit for her granddaughter for Christmas and asked her what she would like, she responded “socks would be fine.” Last I heard, the ones I sent for her birthday three years ago were “too nice to wear.” I guess I should get started, it’s definitely going to take me longer than just a weekend…

  10. I highly advise it -stop giving them all away and your sock drawer will fill up as if by magic. Mine did. You as the Knitter deserve warm feet too!u

  11. I’m currently doing this for myself. Everyone else is getting tons of socks, but I need to remember to keep a few pairs. It’s hard, because I feel like wool socks are almost universally appreciated if you live in a cold place, and having people appreciate you knitting is the best.

  12. Socks for myself has been my goal as well. I have three pairs knit to the gusset (that is the hardest part for me) and then will finish them all up together.

  13. Okay, wait a mo… did just say that you were going to bang out a pair or two over the *weekend,* correct?

    It takes me months to make a pair of socks. In the case of one pair, years….over two now.


  14. I love the Winterlong pattern – I have made three of them and more will be in the future. I recognized that pattern immediately – and you know that Bristol is just as delightful and beautiful as her pattern! I am thrilled to see her work show up on your page – I know it will get a Harlot bump! She also has a new class on Craftsy that is on my Christmas list. (Sounds a little like a Bristol Ivy commercial!)

  15. Love the fallen leaves and “spinners” on the ground in your cowl photo. Cool cowl, too! Keep on knitting those socks and I’m sure the next BIG thing will surface from your subconscious by Tuesday. It just needs to percolate for awhile.

  16. St Andrews by the Sea?! What luck! Please take many pictures. It will make an excellent backdrop for new socks. 😀

  17. As more of a spinner than a knitter, are you ever going back to Tuesdays are for Spinning? It’s not that I don’t knit, but I love, love, love to spin! Just asking. Love your blog, even without spinning!

  18. You are so good about knitting socks for other people. I knit a bunch for my husband until he told me to stop (he said he had enough), so I just continued to knit for me. And now I have two sock drawers that are bulging and probably other socks that won’t fit in them. I’d offer you some of the overflow if I thought they’d fit you. 🙂

  19. I pulled out my hand knit socks last weekend, and most of them have holes in the bottom of ONE. So, there will be a lot of sock knitting going on.

    • I have umpty-ump things to knit for various swaps, through mid-December at least. I’ve declared January/February “Knit For Me Months”!

    • Ariel,
      Learn to knit for you too. If you don’t one day you will put your needles down and not pick them back up. That happened to me with crochet. I never made me anything and began to resent the entire endeavor. I put my hooks down and did nothing for years. It was because I felt used and unappreciated. I wanted the approval of those I made things for and got none. Sometimes folks just don’t say thanks and expecting them to do so is not good for you.
      Don’t let that happen. You are important too. It is not selfish to knit for you. It is a reward and will make you feel extra special. Be good to you and you will not end up resenting what is done for others.


      • Socks are the one thing I generally make for myself only. I can bang out a ton of little things like hats or scarves and I just give those away, but a person really has to mean something for me to make them socks. I’ve made my boyfriend one pair, but do have a pair on the needles for myself at the moment 🙂

  20. I just finished my first pair of socks. It took me about a year.
    You can bang out a pair in a weekend. **sigh**. I started my second pair two weeks ago. I am taking as a good luck sign that I got the foot to prove I am real. Good Luck and can’t wait to see what you come up with” **Joe’s gansey** cough cough.

  21. My two favorite things in this post:
    “air snow”, and that you seem to have an entire drawer dedicated to hand knit socks. Or did I mis-read that?
    I am from Ottawa, and I’ve never heard the term air snow…just asked my household what we call that not really snow stuff, and they came up with pre-snow? light flurries? not serious snow? fake snow. (oh dear, we sound staid). Thanks for the new term.

    • Don’t know if it’s the same stuff, but here in the UK we have something generally known as ‘sleet’, but which my husband refers to as ‘lumpy rain’.

  22. When socks are completely shot and can no longer be darned, is there a way to reuse the leg part or do you just throw them out? Also, I think this is in one of your books somewhere, but would you show us how to darn socks properly?

    • You can do Elizabeth Zimmermann’s ingenious Moccasin Sock, where the whole sole can be removed and replaced. The instructions are in “Knitter’s Almanac” and “Knitting Around”.

      If you want more conventionally constructed socks, you can do an Afterthought Heel, which can be carefully snipped out and replaced. EZ shows those in “Knitting Without Tears”, and there are several other patterns on Ravelry. And of course, with any cuff-down sock, the toe can be raveled out and replaced.

    • I have converted the legs into wrist warmers by removing the foot, picking/catching stitches with yarn & needle, finishing with a sewn hem. This pair of socks was near felted. Excellent wristers!

  23. Though I seem to recall Stephanie having petite feet (and thus, smaller socks) I’m still continuously impressed by her knitting speed. I second Joe’s gansey.

  24. …I am in that sock boat with you. Hubby needed new socks as his drawer was pretty dreadful. He had no hand knit dress socks so, out came the jet black yarn and…day light knitting only! I have hand darned socks also so, into the sock stash and my socks need done too. Promised hubby house slippers for two years, those got finished yesterday…just need to felt them and his 9 finger gloves need done…cast those on this morning.

    Nice to know what MUST be done when you have nothing planned. That way time does not slip by and the dreadful sock drawer is not forgotten for another winter.


      • Yes 9 fingers. He has one that just does not work anymore. It is bent down toward his palm at the joint and will not straighten. It is not a dead digit, it just seems to be locked in place. Won’t go the the doc to get it fixed so…hubby with the 9 fingers.

  25. Did I miss something somewhere along the line? I’ve been waiting for a reasonably close-up picture of the Rhinebeck sweater–worn or draped on a piece of furniture or something. Those of us who followed the race want to see the triumphant finish. Maybe I was facing in the wrong direction??

  26. Did I miss something? I’ve been waiting to see a reasonably close-up picture of the Rhinebeck sweaterf–worn or at least draped over a suitable piece of furniture.

  27. Sorry folks! This is the second time that a reply of mine has been repeated after I was informed that something that I had omitted something in the posting procedure. Generally speaking, what I say isn’t really worth repeating.

  28. I was wondering if you always wash socks that you haven’t worn for a few months? Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but if you put them away clean and didn’t wear them for a bit, aren’t they still clean? I started wearing my wool socks a few weeks ago and didn’t go near a wash place first. My feet do a good job of adding scent to the socks.

  29. You’ve solved one of my knitting problems at well — Winterlong will be just perfect for some skeins I have sitting in my stash. Not enough for a sweater and I don’t want a hat, but this would be great.

  30. I was expecting you to say you had no clean socks, so you started knitting new ones instead of doing laundry. 😉 I guess I wasn’t too far off….

  31. I give about a hundred hand knit gifts every Dec, so I use a spreadsheet to organize it all. It’s color coded, so when I wonder what to knit next, the red ones are critical to start soon, the yellows are in need of work , and the greens are all done. Never wonder what to do next. I recommend it.
    Julie Lanner in San Diego, where it is coolish tonight

  32. “Bang out a couple pairs over the weekend” Boy, don’t I wish…

    I’m sort of working on a sweater. I really need to get going because this is supposed to be done by next Sunday and I’m only about 2 inches in and haven’t knit on it in a week (no, I made a hat, but it’s just a nibble, not a present. My head was cold.)

  33. Love that expression – air snow. Yes we’ve had it too here west of Toronto mind you you really had to squint to see it. I’ve never made a pair of socks – started some but the first one is still sitting on it’s needles years later. Think I’ll vow to make some this winter. Good for you making something for yourself!!

  34. Arthritis be darned, I am knitting two shawls for myself right now and a pair of mittens are in the works for my husband. Twinned ones from the book, “Ultimate Mittens” and a couple pairs of socks on the list for myself. I just have to take longer than I used to because I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and my hands don’t work the way they used to. But I am determined to find new ways to knit and continue to fight this disease.

    I always love seeing your adventures. Someday before my legs are taken from me I will get to one of these events. Thank you for the uplifting photos of your last trip. Thank you Stephanie.

  35. Stephanie–don’t you have any comments to make on yummy Justin Trudeau? Are you going to find an opportunity soon to have him pose holding one of your WIP socks?

  36. Knitting, or doing anything else, for yourself is not selfish, it’s self-caring. Knitting socks for yourself, especially when you live where the winters are cold and snowy, is self-preservation.

  37. Steph,
    Thanks for the Rhinebeck pics. I am in Texas and wish I could go there every year.
    Love to hear about your ability to bang out a pair of socks so fast.
    Be safe in your travels!

  38. Yea I hate that in-between period where you don’t have something you really feel you “need” to do. I love to have a project where anything else I have to do is an obstacle between me and that project. I’ve been filling in the space lately quite productively with knitted tits.

    • Yeah, I’m trying to get mine (at least the little ones) out of the way so I will have enough time to get the big projects done. Plus the little ones give some variety while the big ones drag on.

  39. Hey, Have you guys seen this : REGIA PAIRFECT – A new dimension in sock knitting! This innovation by Regia makes it incredibly easy to knit two identical socks from one skein. Thanks to “Easy Start” it is easy to find the beginning of each sock and to start knitting.

    It’s very easy: The yellow starter thread marks the beginning of each sock. Simply cut off the yellow starter thread and begin knitting the first sock. After the first sock is completed, unwind the yarn to the next yellow starter thread and cut it off. Then simply knit the second sock.

    Fiber Content: 75% Virgin Wool and 25% Polyamide.

    Yardage: 459 Yards in each 100 gram skein (one skein for a pair of socks for most sizes).
    It’s on sale at I’m gonna get some for my Christmas knitting…
    Julie in San Diego

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