Featuring Feet

I spent three days last week at the photo shoot for my upcoming book, tentatively titled Designing Handknitted Socks. As much as I’d like to take credit for all the amazing socks that will be included in this book, I’m even happier to report that most of the socks were knitted by true sock divas, including Cookie A, Cat Bordhi, Nancy Bush, Evelyn Clark, and Anna Zilboorg. I don’t want to let the cat entirely out of the bag (or handknitted sock) so I’m not going to reveal all of the designers just yet.
Photo shoots can be grueling in the best of circumstances, but socks add their own hurdles. For one, feet are as far away from the head as they can be. That makes it hard to include the rest of the body in the image if the socks are to be the focus. Second, there just aren’t many ways to photograph feet that look natural. The challenge is to come up with images that are interesting, inviting, and informative.
Thanks to Joe Hancock’s ability to get down and dirty, I think the images for this book will be creative and fun. Here are a few photos I took of Joe taking photos. This is one shoot where I might have liked to be a model.
Thanks to Joe Hancock’s willingness to get down and dirty, I think the images for this book will be creative and fun. Here are a few photos I took of Joe taking photos. This is one shoot where I might have liked to be a model.

A Couple More Pairs of Socks

As predicted, I’ve been knitting socks instead of mending the holes in my old socks (but I still plan to get to them).

Remember the Sanguine Gryphon Eidos yarn I picked up at Sock Summit (see my blogpost Why I’m a Spoiled Brat—#4)? I just finished working it into my favorite k3, p1 rib pattern along the leg and instep. I worked a standard heel with heel flap and gusset and, just for fun, I worked Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ short-row toe with a bind-off ridge on the top (this ridge is NOT uncomfortable in a shoe). I took advantage of the sun shining through my living room window to highlight the amazing colors in this “brown” yarn.

I also recently finished a pair of twisted rib socks. For this pair, worked in Footpath from the Wooly West, I used a tubular cast-on and worked a zig and zag near the top of the sock. I worked a basic heel with heel flap but for a little change, I worked the gusset stitches in the twisted rib pattern.

Being the spoiled brat that I am, I planned that both pairs would be for me. But I have a serious character flaw—every time I really like a pair of socks, I feel compelled to give it away. What is wrong with me?!

Don’t forget to submit a recipe to get included in Friday’s drawing for free book (see last week’s blogpost What’s for Dinner?).

A Stitch in Time

A couple of weeks ago, a friend proudly remarked that she had done all of her mending over the weekend. Knowing that some of my socks have been in need of attention for more than a couple of years, I was duly impressed. Whenever asked about mending socks, I’ve answered that I’d rather knit a whole new pair than mend an old pair. But ever since hearing about my friend’s virtuosity, those holes and worn areas have haunted me. So today I gathered all the projects needing attention and put them in what I have now designated as my mending basket. Although it doesn’t count as mending, I also included the sweater I finished in January but haven’t sewn together yet. In all, there are nine pairs of socks and one sweater in the basket. (I also need to mend a knitted afghan, but that’s too big to include—either in the basket or in my intentions.)

My plan is to keep the basket in plain view to nag me until I get around to it.
I wonder how many new pairs of socks I’ll knit in the meantime.

A Fine Pair of Socks

When Abby Franquemont ( gave me two skeins of her precious handspun yarn to make a pair of socks last fall, I vowed to knit them right away. I did wind it into balls, but, well, one thing led to another and before I knew it, several months had passed. When I photographed the yarn last week for a blog post (Why I’m a Spoiled Brat—#2), I decided it was high time to get started.

Like a good knitter, I knitted a swatch to determine the needle size. I started on size U.S 5, but the fabric was too loose for my liking.

So I swtiched to size U.S. 3 needles for a nice snug gauge of 7 stitches per inch.
Because I knew that I’d never get more of the same yarn and because I wanted to be sure not to run out, I decided to knit these socks from the toe up. I followed the general pattern for toe-up socks that I wrote for the Beyond the Basics article in the Summer 2007 issue of Interweave Knits (Working Socks from the Toe Up; pages 24 to 29). I worked my favorite k3, p1 rib across the instep, then tried on the sock to tell when it was time to start the short-row heel.

After the heel, I continued the rib pattern all around the leg and finished with an elastic sewn bind-off—thank you Elizabeth Zimmermann. There was even yarn to spare. (I used markers to count rows along the foot and leg so that both socks would be the same size.)

To block, I soaked the socks for 20 mintues.

Then I spun out the excess water on the spin cycle of my washing machine and put the socks on blockers to dry.

There are a couple of interesting things about this particular pair of socks:

  1. I was so worried that there might not be enough yarn that I left very little tail when casting on. It wasn’t until the first sock was nearly done that I realized that the bit of charcoal yarn at the tips of the toe must have the been the leader yarn Abby used when she began spinning the yarn—it doesn’t appear anywhere else in the skein. It’s a nice reminder that this is handspun yarn.
  2. Although the color patterning is different for each foot, it is remarkably similar along the legs. How did Abby manage that?!

I’m teaching a workshop on knitting socks from the toe up this weekend. I’ll keep this pair pristine to use as an example, but then I plan to wear them until they wear out.