Many Happy Returns

Oh, my—it's been two months since I posted! We can mark the beginning of my long silence to my return to full-time work, which has been quite an adjustment after a couple years' dissertation writing. (This is not to say that the dissertation is finished, just to say that it's no longer my full-time focus—which underlines the extremity of my lack of blog time.) I have continued to knit, though, plus I taught two classes and have developed another original design for one of the classes I will teach this winter.

I thought it would be nice to mark my return to blogging with a return to the Pagewood MUMTU socks I made in conjunction with the sock class I taught over three sessions in October. When last I wrote, I was thoroughly enamored with the Pagewood Farm Denali Hand Dyed Sock Yarn. Seriously enamored with it... just look at the subtle sophistication of the gorgeous Butterfly colorway!

When I returned home from the final class—where I had let two of the students practice Elizabeth Zimmerman's stretchy cast-off on my socks because they hadn't quite finished the cuffs on their own—I couldn't wait to pop them straight in the Eucalan.

If you haven't tried this soak for your woolens, I highly recommend it. I just swish a few drops into my favorite mixing bowl (which also happens to be the perfect size for soaking hand-knits), drop the socks in, let them sit for about 15 minutes, pull them out, and block/dry them. No rinsing required—it's great!

I love the way the reinforced Eye of Partridge heel looks. If you scan the above picture up to the cuffs, you can see how pretty the twisted rib looks in this yarn and how nicely it harmonizes with the heel stitch. And the yarn continues to woo me with its squishy goodness.

Some of the ladies in my class said they would not reinforce their toes or heels again because they thought it made the fabric too stiff. This was before they actually finished their socks. So I brought in several pairs with reinforced toes and heels as a demonstration: Even though it may seem like you've crafted your socks in Teflon while you're knitting, the yarns full together during washing and soften so much that you never notice the reinforcing thread when you wear them. (But they still wear like iron!)

As for this particular finished pair... and the wearing...

The socks are very pretty. As predicted, nobody else notices that they're two different colors, which I pointed out in my previous post. I'm not sure I'll knit another pair for myself in this Pagewood yarn, though. My reason has less to do with appearance than wear. These socks may actually be a little too soft. That sounds whiny and way over-privileged, so hear me out:

Remember how surprised I was that my primary stitch count was 60 for these, when I normally use 64 PSC for MUMTUs on fingering weight yarn? Well, the resulting fabric is much less dense than I prefer:you don't get the same stable feel from the fabric. And this means that while the socks are still thick and cushy feeling when I hold them in my hands, the fabric shifts and stretches so much when I put them on my feet (and into my shoes) that I worry they won't wear well over time.

Finally, they're a little thicker inside my shoes than I usually need in Seattle. If I still lived in Ohio's snow belt, they'd be much more necessary. But for Seattle's usually milder climate—I say "usually" because I've been snow-bound at home four days thanks to two storms that dumped more than 5 inches in my yard and frosted our hilly streets with a thick sheet of ice, making them completely impassable given our lack of municipal infrastructure for snow removal—for Seattle's usually milder climate, the socks aren't all that comfortable.


Virtuous said...

Welcome Back!! So glad to see you again and to know all is well!

Happy Holidays Z!!

Elizabeth said...

The socks look great! I don't know about in person, but in these photos you can't see a color difference. I'm in total agreement on the whole to reinforce or not to reinforce issue. Bummer about the wearability. House socks are nice to though, especially with all that cold weather!!

knitngardnr said...

Do you know where my socks where out? right after the heel... yep, the start of the straightaway of the foot. all store socks. yet to see it on handmades. if I reinforce it will prob be on the transition and into a few rows there--but that is a weird spot.