things i make for maddy: socks!


Somebody is pretty happy with her new pair of socks!

Showing off her new socks.

I finished them this weekend, and she’s already worn them around the house and gotten them completely embedded with cat hair. (This says more about our poor housekeeping skills than anything else, really – goodness, our floors are gross!) To her chagrin, they lack the “grippies” that are on the bottom of her Day of the Week socks from Old Navy, so she’s already wiped out on our wood floors a couple of times. I don’t really want to paint the bottoms of these handknit socks with puff paint, so I think she’s just going to have to live with slightly slippery socks (or, she could actually take my advice and wear her slippers over them – but what 3.5 year old actually wants to listen to her mama’s advice?).


I’m pretty pleased that I was able to remember enough to knit a passable pair of socks despite not having knit any in AGES! And these were perfect for using up the leftover yarn from my own socks. M likes the picot/eyelet detail at the top of the cuff, which I used to mirror the detail on my own socks. And I really like the way the slipped-stitch “arch support” section worked out!

For anyone who’s curious about the details, here they are:

Shoe Size: M is currently wearing size 10 (wide) shoes, and her foot is ~6.5″ in circumference.

Cast On: 52sts on size 1 needles using backwards-loop cast-on.
Picot Cuff: Knit 5 rounds plain, then *yo, k2tog* around, then 5 more rounds plain, then knit each stitch together with the corresponding cast-on loop.
Garter eyelets: purl one round, then *yo, k2tog* around, then purl the next round.

Then I knit plain for a few inches, and did a heel flap over 26 sts and 20 rows:
RS: *sl1, k1* to end
WS: sl1, purl to end

Then I did a heel flap (about which see below – I wouldn’t do it this way again!):
RS: Knit to center stitch, k1, ssk, k1, turn.
WS: Purl to the stitch before the “gap”, p2tog, p1, turn
(Continue in this fashion until all the stitches are used up, then pick up stitches around and rejoin for gusset – I did the standard every-other-round gusset decreases until I was back to 50sts – I meant to go to 52 but I goofed up on the first sock so replicated it on the second)

Then I did the slipped-stitch “arch support” over the central 12 sts of the sole, for 14 rounds:
Round 1: starting 6 sts before the end-of-round marker in the center of the sole, *s1, k1* 6 times
Round 2: knit all stitches

Then I knit plain until the toe, where I did the standard toe decreases:
Round 1: knit 9, k2tog, k2, ssk, then knit until 15 sts remain, k2tog, k2, ssk, knit remaining 9 sts.
Round 2: knit all stitches
(Continue decreasing on either side of those central 2 sts until 22 total sts remain, then distribute them as evenly as possible over 2 needles and kitchener the toe – now you have a finished sock!)

New socks!!

The one part I’m not totally happy with is the heel flap – I don’t think I quite remembered how to do the turn right (it ended up weirdly pointy), and they don’t actually stay in place on her foot very well, either. I think the heel flap might be ever-so-slightly too long, but I’m also curious if a different style of heel would fit her better. On her next pair of socks (oh, yeah, there’s a next pair – I already cast on for them last night!) I’m going to try a garter-stitch short-rowed heel, just to see if that works better.

After I finished M’s socks yesterday, we went to an organ recital at my church. We brought M with us, because she loves music, and we thought she’d enjoy hearing an organ. She was…well, not really THAT well behaved, but pretty decent for a 3 year old at classical music concert! She did love the organ, and the viola (they played a Bach piece that was originally for harpsichord and viola da gamba, but worked beautifully with organ and harp), but got too wiggly and had to hang out with A in the lobby during the part with the Mezzo Soprano singer (who had a lovely voice). We were by far the youngest folks at the concert, but we got absolutely no judgement, and in fact got lots of props (and compliments on our “bravery”) from everyone there for bringing a little one to an organ concert. I figure that I want to cultivate her interest in music, and going to low-key concerts like that is the only way she’ll learn how to behave at a more formal concert. So, we’ll call the concert a success!


Think On Your Feet Socks, now available


So, after deciding it made more sense to just obsessively check my math and directions than to knit the second sock and do the obsessive math-checking, it didn’t take all that long to get the pattern ready to go. So, here it is:

pattern preview

If you click on the image, you’ll be taken to the pattern page here on my blog, where I’ve posted information about the pattern, as well as lots of photos. If you’re more of a Ravelry person, you can find the pattern page here.

I have to admit to some amount of trepidation in publishing the pattern for sale, given that it’s rather long and complicated, as one might expect for such a crazy looking sock! But I hope that people will enjoy knitting it, and won’t be too frightened off by the length. I went back and forth about whether to publish it for free or for sale, but in the end decided that the immense amount of time I spent designing and then creating the cable charts (and I really do mean immense amount of time!) wasn’t something I should really give away for free. I’ve published it under a creative-commons license, just like Stripes!, and as with Stripes!, will be donating a portion of the proceeds to my charity of choice, Heifer International.

I’m so grateful to Elinor for spurring me on to create this pattern, which I’ve had kicking around in my head for several years now. I hope you enjoy it!

sock #1, done.


Today, instead of doing the work I really ought to be doing, I sat at my computer and watched the latest episode of Glee on Hulu, and finished the first of the neuron knee highs:

neuron sock, toe!

In case you were wondering, it’s rather difficult to take a picture of your own leg in which everything is in-frame and in-focus, particularly on a cold, rainy day. But I did my best. Here’s a back view:

neuron sock #1, finished!

Now, the question that remains is whether or not I can knit the entire second sock, and also put the finishing touches on the pattern, in the next 9 days (that is, before Elinor’s deadline). If not, well, c’est la vie, but I think it would be nice to be able to enter this design into the contest that served to spur me on to actually create this crazy sock I’ve had in my mind ever since I started seeing pictures of neurons on a semi-regular basis here in my graduate program. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve ripped and started over on this sock, but I’m hoping it’s all worth it. The second sock should certainly be easier to knit than the first one, since I’ve worked out all of the kinks already! And I hope y’all will love the pattern, once I get it ready to go. There’s even a little lesson on neurons included!



Well, once again it has been awhile since I’ve posted. I’m now through the end-of-semester craziness, and as of Friday, have completed all of the requirements for my graduate program besides, well, actually putting together a dissertation and defending it. Which is sort of the most important part, but hey, progress is progress, even if I’ve been having a hard time feeling particularly good about it, lately. Oh, grad school.

I’ve made progress on something else, too:

neuron sock, on me

After I-don’t-even-know how many rips and reknits, I’ve finally got the neuron sock past the heel flap, and onto the gusset. I’m pretty pleased with it, I have to say. I do fear that no one on Earth is going to want to knit this sock, given how complicated it is, but I’m trying my best to make the pattern easy to understand. We’ll see how well I succeed on that front.

The heel flap caused me a lot of trouble, because I had two conflicting goals: to carry the end of the neuron pattern down such that one set of terminals ended at the heel, and to have a nice sturdy slip-stitch pattern in the heel. I resolved the conflict by combining the two:

heel flap, detail

I’m pretty happy with it! To me, a sock just doesn’t feel right without that sturdy slip-stitch pattern above the heel-turn, but I didn’t want to give up on those terminals, so I carried them about halfway down the flap, and then switched to slipped stitches. It feels great on the foot, and I think it looks pretty nice, too.

Ren and the sock, front view

Here, you can see a little hint of the second “branch” of the axon, which wraps around the leg to run down the foot. This branch will have terminals at the toe. I can’t wait!

At this point, the pattern is basically written, except for some math that I’m putting off for a bit later. I’m writing it for 3 sizes, with the possibility of mixing sizes (if, say, your calf is a small but your foot is a medium, or something like that). So now I’ve just got to finish off this sock, and then knit the second, so that I can have a little photoshoot before I put the final touches on the pattern. Who knows, maybe I’ll actually get it all done in time for Elinor’s contest (with the new deadline of May 21st).

Last but not least, Happy Mother’s Day to my beloved mom, and to all of you crafty mamas and mamas-to-be out there!



Thanks for all of your lovely comments on my last post! This is a rare mid-week post from me, I know, but I just did not want to wait until the weekend to share the newest thing I’ve cast on for. Basically, I ignored all y’all’s suggestions, and cast-on for something that wasn’t even on the list of yoked sweaters I gave in my last post. Here it is:


Stripes! I’m quite excited about this one, really. I guess I just wasn’t really in the mood to follow someone else’s pattern quite yet, so I cast on for a yoked sweater of my own design. I’m using Cascade Eco Wool and a rainbowish colorway of Noro Kureyon, and it’s working beautifully. I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do when I get to the yoke. Right now, I’m doing wider stripes of grey than of color, and I could reverse that; or, I could do the colorful stripes in purl instead of knit to make an interesting texture. It’ll be awhile (but let’s be honest, given the pace I seem to be knitting sweaters lately, not that long) before I get there, so I’ve got time to contemplate, but what do y’all think? (Yeah, I realize that I just said that I ignored all your suggestions on my last post. I still like getting suggestions!).

The thing I am most in love with on this sweater is the corrugated ribbing. I just love how it looks with the color shifts in the Noro against the columns of solid grey stockinette. So nice:


Love love love.

This new sweater isn’t the only bit of stripey goodness in my life right now, actually. There’s also this:

more stripes!

This is my current sock in progress, which I keep in my backpack, in case students don’t show up to my Writing Center appointments, and for a certain weekly meeting whose content fascinates me, but which is so very long, and whose leader has such a very somnolent voice, and which is so late in the day on Friday after a busy week, that I need something like a sock to keep my hands busy so that I don’t fall asleep during it. Everything below the ribbing there, I knit during the last such meeting. The yarn is Vesper Sock, and I believe the colorway is called “Sweetwater”. I love it…it is so bright and juicy, which is exactly what I need during these dreary mid-winter days.

Well, I’m off for a busy day of TA-ing, swimming/physical therapy, a seminar, and a meeting with my advisor, so I’d best get off the computer and get myself to campus. Here’s hoping I get a little more time with my stripey sweater this week.

another week, another FO


Not a sweater, this time, though. Remember how I used to knit socks? Well, I finally finished a pair:

socks! [365.236]

Pattern: A hybrid of what I remembered from the “Giotto” cuff pattern, and the Yarn Harlot‘s “Basic Sock Recipe”
Yarn: Fly Designs Lace Wing Sock, in “Petrol”. Way less than one skein.
Needles: Size 1 Knitpicks Harmony dpns
Time to knit: For-freaking-EVER.

These are the socks that I cast on for when we took our trip to Ohio last summer, as part of the final theme for Project Spectrum. I finished the first one at the end of September, and kept the second one in my backpack, knitting a few rows here and there. Obviously I don’t get a ton of time to knit when I’m on campus, since it took me until the end of January to finish! I actually finished them (except for kitchenering the toe shut) on Friday, during an utterly interminable meeting. My Fridays are utterly killer this semester, by the way; I go straight from 2 hours of tutoring writing, to 3 hours of a Pragmatics seminar, to 2.5 hours of lab meeting, and then we run our weekly errands. Oy!

Progress continues apace on the second Cobblestone sweater. Here’s where things stood as of this morning:

cobblestone progress

I finished the first sleeve yesterday, while we watched the first Star Trek movie (thanks, Netflix!), and got a decent start on the second one. Later today I’ll be knitting with some friends from my department, and I’m hoping to make some good progress on sleeve #2. I’ll have another yoked sweater, soon enough!

PS. I think I know what my next yoked sweater’s going to be

a sock!


What better way to both close out Project Spectrum (I almost typed “Project Runway”, because that’s what I’m watching on TV right now!), and welcome Socktoberfest, than with this:

The sock.

A sock! Namely, the sock I started while I was in Ohio, with WATER-themed yarn, for Project Spectrum. I’ve been knitting on it at my office, but brought it home with me this past weekend, because I like to try the sock on while I finish the toe, and I felt like it might be nice to spare my dear officemates the experience of my bare feet after a day in socks and shoes that they would have to endure should I try on a sock-in-progress while at the office. It turns out I’m pretty darn good at eyeballing the length of a sock, as I’d stopped at exactly the right distance from the end of my toes before starting the decreases at home. It’s a perfect fit for my smaller foot (which is the one for which I tend to knit the first sock of a pair, for some reason):

the classic "foot-to-foot"

So, there’s that. I still haven’t cast on for its partner yet; I’ve had a crazily busy week, and just haven’t found the time to do that while I’m at the office.

But no worries, there has been other progress on the knitting front…I just bound off for the fronts of my husband’s sweater about 15 minutes ago! My plan is to put the fronts and back together (to make a vest), and pick up and complete the collar before continuing on to the sleeves, which I plan to pick up and knit from the top down so that I can make adjustments to the length and width. I’ve got a couple of weeks left to finish it before his birthday…wish me luck!