Tag Archives: socks

Days 42-44: The Color Pink

February Socks Finally Finished

Dear Reader:

As the summer begins its inevitable wind-down, I find myself winding down as well. My feet hurt from hours of walking through museums, parks, and monuments. My brain is overwhelmed with information, my senses are overloaded, and my creativity’s flow has ebbed to a trickle. I’m clumsier. I bump into people in crowded subway trains. I say the wrong thing. I can’t get my umbrella closed on the bus and someone yells at me. The self-deprecating remark made to the grumpy cashier at the bookstore earns me a snide comment. I want to curl up with a cup of tea and a book, stay in bed for the day, and catch my breath.

We all have these times of slowing down, hibernating, or simply laying low for awhile. Knitting is one of my favorite slow-day things. What can be better than some soft yarn, a soothing color, repetition, and the gentle click of the needles as you wind and slip and knit and purl your way to something beautiful?

Pretty in Pink Lacey Socks

One of my goals for this year was to knit one pair of socks per month. These are my February socks, so you can surmise how well I’m doing with this resolution. I found this pattern in the Lion Brand JUST SOCKS book. It is the “Chevron Lace Socks” pattern on page 51, and is supposedly for experienced knitters . . . which I’m not. However, when I read over the pattern, I didn’t think it was particularly difficult, and really I had no problem following it. The only caution I would give is this: don’t drop a stitch. With all the yarn-overs, it really would take an experienced knitter to be able to rework the dropped loop into the pattern.

I used a soft “baby” yarn made of acrylic in hopes that it would wear better than the wool socks I’ve made in the past. I love natural fiber, but this was fun to work with. It has a pretty sheen to it. The pattern called for size 4 double-pointed needles, and because the gauge piece turned out too large, I went down to a size 3. The socks still came out a bit on the saggy side, so when I do these again, I will maybe try a size 2 needle.

Local Virginia Wine

In the spirit of localism, I decided to try a local Virginia wine. This Rapidan River Raspberry was on the less expensive side, a grape wine with raspberry flavor and slight carbonation. It is vinted and bottled by Prince Michel Vineyard in Leon, Virginia. Virginians have been making wine since Jamestown. In fact, the Virginia House of Burgesses passed an article in 1619 saying that every householder should plant 10 grape vines per year in order to promote wine making. I found this information in an article by Alexis K. Brown called Thomas Jefferson and the History of Wine in Virginia. Always knew I liked Jefferson.

The beverage was reminiscent of Boone’s Strawberry Hill wine which, if you were a college girl in the late 1980’s, you are probably familiar with. Poured into a glass with a couple of ice-cubes, it was refreshing enough for patio-sitting and conversation with Hubby. Next time, though, I may splurge a little and go for a more expensive, serious bottle. Their Prince Michel 2008 Barrel Select Chardonnay sounds heavenly.

Then again, the Rapidan River Chocolate–yes, chocolate wine!–at $12.99 might just be too interesting to pass up.

Capital On Monday

While the economic outlook doesn’t look particularly rosy for the foreseeable future, at least Congress was able to get it together enough to pass the debt-ceiling legislation with an imperative to do even more in the coming months. Like I wrote in response one of my more conservative friend’s Facebook post this morning, I’m beginning to feel about the economy and politics the way I feel about the “impending dooms” of peak oil, energy depletion, global warming, and terrorist threat. I believe they are impending, but that the problems are like huge trains speeding toward a cliff, too fast and too heavy to stop completely, especially as we do not seem to have the will or the cohesiveness to make tough decisions and tougher implementations. The best thing, in my opinion, is to go as local as possible, as soon as possible.

What that means for you, I don’t know. As for me, I’m gonna keep knitting and learning how to spin fiber into yarn and maybe start saving seeds and definitely start collecting old-fashioned “know-how” books–not just for me but for whoever has need of that information in the future. Positive action, even small things like this, is better than no action at all.

How have some of you, my dear readers, transitioned to a more local way of living? Feel free to leave a comment and share you ideas and inspirations. You may just trigger similar inspiration in others. We need to collaborate, not compete. Compromise, not cat-fight. Thanks again for reading, and in the spirit of February . . .

Artwork by "The Teen"

{{Heart}} Love ya.

A Day Late and A Sock Short

January's Striped Wool SockDear Reader:

For those of you who have been following this blog, you know that part of my “living locally” philosophy includes going back to some of the traditional skills, means, and ways that have been shoved into a dusty, hard-to-reach corner of our hot, flat, and crowded world. (See Thomas Friedman’s book HOT, FLAT, AND CROWDED.)

I’d like to see the world get a little rounder again. I’d like us to live in our own communities, not simply sleep there. I’d like us to buy bacon from the farm just outside of town, to shop at a food co-op set up in an old convenience store that’s been shuttered for three or four years, and to browse the weekly craft/farmer’s market for locally produced veggies, fruits, bread, jam, cheese, and wine along with hand-knit sweaters, locally-made floral bags and sundresses, maybe even furniture. I’d like us to head down to the old town hall to see a community theater production of a play written by a local author rather than drive to the nearest cineplex to see the latest 3-D extravaganza offered to us by Hollywood. Or maybe someone could open a small movie theater right on Main Street.

Well, a girl can dream, right?

Because I don’t have the energy to make my own crafts, create a food co-op, open a farmer’s market, start a community theater, AND open a movie house, I will stick to what I can do right now. Buying locally when possible. Shopping at locally-owned stores here in town first and then widening out to the larger community. Experimenting with jams and pickles and traditional recipes. Knitting.

Which leads me to today’s topic: January’s Sock of the Month. I realize that today is February 1st. I am also sad to report that I managed to finish only one sock of the pair. The other cuff has been started on my teeny-tiny double-pointed needles and will go faster as I’ve already gone through the directions once.

For this pair of socks, I chose Patons “Kroy Socks” Jacquards yarn in blues, browns, green, and cream. www.patonsyarns.com. The yarn is a soft, washable wool/nylon blend. I’m hoping that the nylon will help prevent the socks from wearing out on the bottom, something that annoyed me when I made slippers out of pure wool.

I already had a sock pattern from the Plymouth Yarn Company called Happy Feet (#1311) for textured rib socks and fingerless gloves. I’d made the gloves in black for my daughter last year and found the directions clear and easy-to-follow. The cuffs are a basket-weave sort of design which paired with the self-striping sock yarn makes for pretty, patterned footwear.

For those of you who think, I could never make a sock; too complicated, let me reassure you a bit. I’m not an expert knitter by any means, but once I learned how to divide the stitches onto three needles and use the fourth needle to do work the stitches, knitting in the round on double-pointed needles required only the most basic skills: knit, purl, knitting two stitches together, and slip slip knit. That’s it! As in cooking, following the directions step by step will lead to success . . . and warm, toasty toes on a cold January (er, February) day.

February’s socks will have to be rosy-hued in honor of Valentine’s Day. If you have a fool-proof sock pattern that would look pretty in pink, drop me a note. Better yet, I challenge you to knit up your own pair of Valentine-inspired socks and send me a picture to post Outside the Box.