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thank you for all your condolences on the first version of manLace. really, it wasn’t SO tragic—i started again right away and am already very happy with what is coming off the needles. here is a shot of it stalking the wilds of the front flower bed

i think we’re on the right track now. meanwhile, the stitch i used in the first try, i will use again in the second. we really love it that much . . . i want to do one of these shawls in cashmere, and i’m thinking that the first stitch might relax out more in the cashmere, which does not have the spring that wool has. we’ll see.

i stayed up late again last night trying to do two things at once. i really, really, really wanted to get a jump on the new man lace, but i also wanted to get the point of the casino shawl settled once and for all. so i spent about 2 or so hours on the man lace, and then the rest of the evening finishing up that second casinoMini.
i had worked the point a few times by yesterday and still wasn’t happy with it (not happy enough that is, to make it final in the pattern). and it turns out that two very late nights and all that obsessing seems to have paid off—a point has been had that is the point of all points. or at least, it is the one which allows me to sleep at night, and for that i am grateful.

i know i’m being ridiculous, but i just can’t knowingly leave something in a half-fudged state in a pattern. after all, i have students to answer to!

so, i signed up for socktoberfest, you know, since i make so many socks, and indeed, october came again this year, just in time for socktoberfest. so i signed up in the spirit of feeling festive about october, and i am just realizing now that i should probably DO something to show that i am part of the group. but the group is so loosely defined! there really aren’t any rules.
aha! but, today i am seeing that some people are telling their own sock stories, or histories if you will. so i figured i could do that.

  • When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
  • i taught myself to knit socks sometime during the 1980s. i had been knitting all my life and never made them, because my mom had told me they were way too hard. she knit socks during the war and had always said that turning heels was the worst! finally, i realized that i ought to try them myself. i bought a booklet (probably one of those wonderful bernat booklets) and followed the instructions and voilà—i had socks.
  • What was your first pair? How have they “held up” over time?
  • i really can hardly remember the first pair, but i think they were dark green, and almost surely i gave them to my brother. i’m sure they are long gone, but they ruined him for any other type of christmas gift. he is a handmade sock whore. ditto my husband. in fact, i have coined a phrase for it:
    knit socks for your man, and he will be your love slave. (obviously in the case of brothers, it is just “slave”)
  • What would you have done differently?
  • i might not have gotten the men in my life addicted to socks . . . i was so busy knitting for them, that i did not start wearing them myself until very recently, when we moved into this drafty old house. and now, i, to am a handknit sockaholic.
  • What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
  • well, nothing tops handspun for knitting socks! i also love love love fearless fibers and briar rose sock yarns. i like lorna’s laces and trekking too!
  • Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
  • i always knit them on DPNs, and i almost always work top-down. i don’t like toe-up, but i will do it if a stitch pattern requires being worked the “wrong” way (heh, evil grin.)
  • Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
  • i like to work the short-row heel best, but i read today that mim thinks the flap heel fits a narrow foot better, so i my revisit that to test it out.
  • How many pairs have you made?
  • oh jeepers! ha—that’s like asking how many balls of yarn in my stash—it’s an ethereal number. well this year i’ve already made 15 or 16 pair (i lost count of how many i gave away). and most years i make between 6 and 20 pairs. times let’s say 20 years . . . . conservatively, that would be about 150 pair. but really, who’s counting—most of them are dead by now . . .

5 thoughts on “

  1. I totally forgot about being afraid to turn a heel! I read so many places about how hard it was, and how to try different types, and how hard that was, blah, blah. My first pair fit perfectly. I should have known, knitting has just never been difficult for me. And turning a heel? One of my favorite things, it just tickles me to no end every time I do it.

  2. 150+ pairs of socks. I am sitting here like Aladdin’s genie, all slack-jawed, buggy-eyed.

    I hereby glue together the ghosts of my broken Crystal Palace DPN’s and make a tiara and crown you the Queen of Socktoberfest.


    And I now beat a hasty retreat to my boudoir, where my ninth sock waits patiently for me to finish the foot so we can try a different toe shaping.

  3. You got a perfect point on the casino shawl. Good job! It didn’t look like an easy thing to work out but you accomplished it perfectly.

  4. New man lace is pretty spiff! I like how it has that nice little tension between being diagonal and being vertical.

    I have made exactly one pair of socks. Keep thinking I should make more, but never seem to get to it. Can’t imagine not being able to count how many pairs I have made!

    And I love the finish on casino. Holding my breath until I turn blue! LOL

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