Monday, 11 April 2016

Little cable knee-highs

Finally, I'm able to share with you my first completed socks of 2016 - indeed, my first pair since 2009. I brought the yarn with me when I came to Stockholm, and cast on a few weeks after my arrival. The pattern is Little Cable Knee Highs by Purl Soho, my first time knitting toe-up socks and an absolute joy to make. Even so, I didn't quite anticipate how long it takes to knit a knee-high sock. I have pretty shapely calves, and the socks' stretching out in width has caused them to be reduced slightly in length: you can see they fall about an inch short of the bend of my knee. I was damned if I was going to me knitting them for any moment longer though, and cast off according to the pattern's measurements. Word of advice: don't let your first pair of socks be knee length. 

I struggled a bit with sock construction initially - I'd forgotten all the stages it involves in creating the heel: gusset, short row heel, then heel flap. For some reason, my slip-stitch heels turned out looking completely different from each other, and I have no idea why. I can live with that though. My favourite aspect of the socks, aside from the glorious colour they showcase, is the line of cables running up the back of the leg.

These socks have been a long time coming. I bought the yarn at the first Edinburgh Yarn Festival back in 2013. You can read about it over on my old blog archive. It's a hand-dyed merino sock yarn by Old Maiden Aunt. I always intended them to be knee-highs, but initially planned some elaborate, 18th Century-inspired stockings with gorgeous clock motifs on the ankles. Needless to say, I intimidated myself with these grand plans, and put off designing and making them for three years. In January, I decided that I didn't want to hoard the yarn any longer. It was better to knit a simpler pattern designed by someone else, than to procrastinate and never make the socks at all. I'm really glad that this glorious yarn is no longer sitting at the bottom of a drawer, guiltily stuffed in a plastic bag.

As I wrote in my last post on sock making, pure merino just isn't a hard-wearing yarn. Soft and beautiful as it is, it's not ideal for everyday socks. On my first outing, the heels already showed signs of wear, with rubbing and pilling on the fabric surface. Though I'd love to wear them all the time, I'll have to keep these socks for special occasions.

Lastly, I wanted to mention the wearing of handknitted socks. These are always much thicker than machine-knitted cotton socks. For someone with large and wide feet like myself, it is usually not possible to wear my handknitted socks with normal shoes. I long to be able to clack around in socks + wooden clogs or sweet mary janes, like I see others do on the Internet. But for me it's just not possible. I'm like Cinderella's ugly sister in the German versions of the tale: I'd have to cut off a toe, or a portion of my heel. This is how I style myself to overcome this problem: Dr Marten boots paired with a girly 1960s babydoll dress. Always a riot of pattern and colour, here's me looking most 'Scandi un-Cool' (trademark) by the waterside.

Outfit details:
Beret - vintage
1980s Cardigan - vintage
Scarf - vintage
1960s Dress - vintage
Bag - vintage
Wedgewood cameo necklace - vintage
Boots - Dr Martens, c.2013
Mittens - from Estonia
Socks - handknitted
Coat - Hobbs, c.2012

I will never, ever, ever look like a Stockholmer. Mad London style always. 

Have you made any socks recently?


No comments:

Post a Comment