A Tale of Three Socks

Toe-up socks knit in Estelle Sock Twins by Deborah CookeSocks, socks, socks. I need socks this fall and have been casting them on for myself, but my efforts have been disappointing. Here’s the first one – I’m sufficiently unimpressed by it that it doesn’t have a partner yet.

The yarn is Estelle’s Sock Twins and I bought it because of the gradient colour. This colourway is called Sunset. It’s packaged with two balls like the one shown – the second (obviously) has been knitted into that sock. I knit it toe-up because I wanted to use the whole gradient. I cast on with the yellow in the middle of the ball, then began alternating stripes with the navy from the other end.

I didn’t love the yarn as it was splitty. And I remembered that I really don’t enjoy knitting socks toe-up. (Actually, what I like about knitting socks is that I don’t have to think about my familiar pattern. In contrast, I have to follow the instructions for toe-up socks.) I knit the sock first without stripes and didn’t love how it looked, so I frogged it back and started again. The pattern I was using had a short-row heel, which I didn’t love either, so I frogged it back after I’d turned that heel. I feel like I’ve already knitted a pair of socks in this yarn and I probably have.

Because I did four rows of yellow before starting the navy, it worked out that the heel would be navy instead of yellow. Hmm. I’m not sure I love that.

Now I have to decide whether to make the second sock the same, or the other way around, with a navy toe and yellow-orange heel.

Cuff-down socks knit in Fleece Artist Cottage Socks by Deborah CookeIn the meantime, I treated myself to a skein of nice squishy Fleece Artist yarn. This is my usual cuff-down sock pattern, the one I have memorized. The yarn is Cottage Sock and the colourway is Vintage. I love Fleece Artist yarns and colours—the hardest thing is always making a choice!—and even better, they’re in Canada. (This isn’t the 100-mile yarn diet because the Maritimes are farther away from me than that, but it’s still kind of buying local.) The colourway did a spiralling pooling thing, but since both socks are the same, I’m good with that. I love these socks!

I also indulged in some sock yarn from Biscotte Yarns in Quebec. Mini-Metamorph is a gradient-dyed sock yarn, which comes in two balls, much like the Sock Twins above. The colours are gorgeous—you can see them on their website here. I ordered Tropical Lavender. The yarn is squishy soft.

My plan was to knit this pattern, the Meta-Morph sock, which has a chevron pattern. I kept mucking up the pattern stitch and having to pick it back, only to discover that after I turned the heel, the sock was too snug for me. I wish I’d taken a picture. It was a pretty sock. It just didn’t fit me.

Sock knit in Biscotte Yarns Mini-Metamorph by Deborah CookeYou know what happened next. I frogged it back and cast on again in my usual cuff-down pattern. I added a stripe, an unbalanced one this time to try to keep the contrast high for the whole sock. I guessed when to turn the heel, hoping to use most or all of the yarn, but it’s clear now that I turned too soon for that. I’m not frogging it again. I’ll just figure out what to do with the yummy leftover (red) bit.

Here’s the first sock:

I have the same question again: should I make a matching pair, or should I knit the second one in reverse? It would start with deep red with purple stripes which would look good. Hmm.

At least I have one new pair of finished socks!

New Socks for Me

I finished a pair of socks this week. Not only are these for me, but I like them a lot.

Socks knit of Diamond Sock Yarn by Deborah Cooke

This is my usual pattern. The yarn is Diamond Luxury Collection Foot Loose, which I had in my stash from half a zillion years ago and discontinued. It’s in a red mix colourway. (This pic makes the socks look more pink than they are in real life.) The blend is 90% merino and 10% nylon, and is quite soft. When I was knitting, I thought it might be too soft and worried a bit about how the socks would wear, but they did some magic with the twist – now that the yarn is knitted up, it feels sturdy but yet still soft. It’s also superwash, but doesn’t have that superwash feel.

Here’s hoping they wear well!

Next week, I’ll show you some hats I’ve been knitting.

What’s on your needles right now?


A Tale of Two Skeins

It’s Fibre Friday and today’s post could have been called Second Sock Syndrome. Second sock syndrome refers to the a knitter’s tendency to make the first sock then not quite get around to making the other. It’s a lot like Second Book Syndrome, which writers are said to experience – the first book is written in a glorious rush, making the process look so easy, then the second one is fraught with problems, and sometimes doesn’t get completed.

I’m having an issue with a pair of socks.

They’re knee socks, or they will be when they’re done. I’m not sure why I’m fascinated by knee socks and always want to knit them. I don’t ever wear them when they’re finished. I just like the idea of knee socks, the funkier the better. Here’s a pair I knit in Noro Kureyon a few years ago.

Ha! I just looked at my Ravelry project page. I finished these in 2009!!! And they’ve yet to be worn. They sleep, neatly folded, in my sock drawer. This isn’t because I don’t like them. I love them! I just never wear them. And I loved knitting them, too, which maybe is why I cast on another pair.

This newest pair of knee socks are knit from handpainted yarn, so they’re making a kind of a spiral stripe on their own. It’s actually the pooling of the colourway, not a stripe, per se. The yarn is Fleece Artist Trail Socks, a yummy scrummy yarn in beautiful colors, and the colorway is Hercules. I bought two skeins, because well, knee socks. One skein contains 305 yards, which is enough for a pair of regular socks but not enough for knee socks.

My Ravelry project page says I started these in 2015. The first one was knit quickly, then things went awry. Here’s why:

Fleece Artist knee socks knit by Deborah Cooke

It doesn’t even look like I’ve used the same colourway for the second sock, does it? I thought the issue was where I started in the cast-on, but I’ve done it again and it’s still not right. The second sock has languished, because I’ve been perplexed. Then last week, I wondered if the YARN was different between the skeins. I know that Fleece Artist doesn’t have dye lots and that each skein is unique, but I’ve never had two that were so very different.

I decided to have a closer look. Here, I’ve laid out a single colour repeat from one skein beside that of the second skein.

Fleece Artist skeins

So, there’s a little bit of difference but not that much. It must be where I cast on.

I was thinking I would live with this and had kept knitting, but it’s driving me crazy. I’m going to frog both socks and make two pairs of regular socks instead, one pair from each skein. Then, they’ll match each other and I’ll be happier.

Have you had any projects you needed to restart lately?

Socks and a Scarf

I’ve been travelling a bit lately so we haven’t had a Fibre Friday. Today’s the day!

First up, I finished a pair of very bright socks, knit in Patons Kroy Stripes. The colourway is Sunburst Stripes. I used two balls and just barely got the pair out of that – I thought I’d have to buy a third ball for the toes!
Socks knit by Deborah Cooke in Patons Kroy Stripes

They’re brighter than what I usually wear, but they’re socks – and they’ll be cheerful in the winter.

I’ve also finished a scarf knit without a pattern. I had this thick-and-thin yarn in my stash – I found it in the mill ends at Spinrite, which means there’s no label. I liked the colours, though, and thought there was enough for a scarf. It’s more like a cowl, but I really like how it knit up in garter stitch.

Scarf knit in mystery thick-and-thin yarn by Deborah Cooke

I knit it diagonally. Where you can see the end at the bottom, I cast on three stitches. I increased once stitch at each edge on every right side row (and knit every wrong side row) until I thought the point was wide enough. After that, I increased on the lead edge of every right side row, and finished each right side row with K2tog, K1. I continued to knit the wrong side rows. In this picture, I’m just at the point of starting the decreases for the other end.

In this picture, I’m just at the point of starting the decreases for the other end.  (Yes, I weighed the first point, then knit until the remaining wool weighed just a few grams more than that.) From here, I decrease at both ends of each right side row until there are just three stitches left, then cast off. I haven’t decided whether to leave it as a short scarf that I can wrap across the front of my throat, or I should join it into a cowl – either by grafting the ends together or adding some loops and buttons. What do you think?

Knit, Knit, Quilt

We haven’t had a Fibre Friday in a while, so let’s fix that today.

First of all, I finished that pair of socks, the ones I cast on so I could tell my niece how to knit socks in Patons Kroy Jacquard. (You might remember that blog post. I wrote out my sock pattern for her, once I figured out what I do.) Here they are:
Socks knit by Deborah Cooke in Kroy Sock Jacquard

You see that the toes don’t match exactly. I had a lot of knots in one of the balls, so did a bunch of joins. I decided just to use one of the little balls up to finish the second toe, instead of winding through what was left to find a match. That was the lower sock – it also had some sections where the yarn wasn’t dyed as much. See the white bits on that pink and purple stripe above the heel?

I have been knitting away on my Bohus-inspired pullover and am almost done the ribbing at the bottom of the body. About sixteen rows to go! The stockinette from the bottom of the yoke to the hip ribbing seemed endless but it’s done. I can’t wait to cast it off and try it on. I should be able to show you next week. The yarn is lovely. Then I’ll knit the sleeves, which have the treat of a little bit of colour detail at the cuff. I’m thinking of that as a reward for slogging through all the stockinette. 🙂

And, because I have the attention span of a flea when it comes to knitting projects, I cast on another sweater at Christmas. It’s been an addictive knit, so I’ve completed the back. This is Wilhelmina in Rowan Colourspun, a yarn I’m already missing. (It’s discontinued.) I was waiting for a brighter day to take pictures but it’s still snowing and still dingy, so the pix are a bit dull.

Wilhelmina knit by Deborah Cooke

Oh, so many modifications on this one! First, I’ve substituted colours. The pattern calls for a different red that is more rosy—Giggleswick—but I used Jervaulx, which is more blue. Because of that, I switched out the contrast colours. The pattern called for a taupey gold and a blue-green. I’ve switched those to two shades of grey, and for the fourth colour, I used Rowan Felted Tweed in Seasalter. The Bute cardigan used Felted Tweed and Colourspun together, even though Felted Tweed seems much thinner (It’s less fluffy.) Seasalter is the exact shade of the blue thread in Jervaulx, but in the knitting, it’s a bit too close to the value of the darker grey to stand out as much as would be ideal. In this pattern, it also seems thin. It’s just an accent colour, though, so I’ll carry on with it as the fourth shade.

Yarn choices for Wilhelmina knit by Deborah Cooke

I also modified the shape of the sweater. It’s hard to see in the picture on the Rowan site, but the body is very wide on this sweater and the shoulders actually slope down, almost to the elbows. (You can see it in some of the project photos on Ravelry, which are pictures from knitters who have made the sweater. I think it’s funny how many of them take the same pose as the Rowan model for at least one of their pictures.) I didn’t think this would be very flattering, given my pear shape, so I used the stitch counts from Bute, which is the knitted at the same gauge, but the fair isle pattern from Wilhelmina. It will fit like Bute but have reindeer, which sounds ideal to me. I’ll make a round neck at the front, too, instead of the v-neck on Bute.

It is interesting to see how muted and muddled the fair isle is—I would never have guessed that the grey and the red would blend as much as they did. I do like it, though, and have cast on the fronts.

A couple of weeks ago, I promised to show you some things I rediscovered in the reorganization of my fabric stash. Here are my little batik dragon blocks, which were forgotten in the stash. It looks as if I ordered them from Keepsake Quilting but it was a long time ago. I have to find a good use for them.

Batik dragon blocks

And here’s a partially pieced quilt which I totally forgot about. The turquoise border is a length of fabric from Africa, which I won in a raffle at a romance writers’ conference in British Columbia probably twenty years ago. It’s so pretty, but very stiff. I have no idea where or why I came up with this palette and this design, but I like it. I need to get this one finished.

Quilt top pieced by Deborah CookeI cut the border fabric to piece this center for the quilt and set in squares at the corners, too. There’s a wider piece of border, as well, which I’ll use for an outer border. It looks as if I intended to put more little squares in between the two borders, as I’ve made up some 9-patch blocks from the fabrics used in the center. It’s a bit of a jigsaw puzzle as the amount of border is limited. I’ll have to do something else in the corners. In the picture below, I laid the wide border against the narrow one so you can see what it looked like before I cut it.

border fabric from Africa

It is such pretty fabric. The gold is metallic, and that medallion in the black border says GCA. It seems to me (hmm) that there were two African fabrics in the raffle, that another quilter won the other one and we decided to split them both in half so we each had a piece of each print. I’m going to have to go looking for that second fabric in my stash!

What have you been crafting lately?

New Socks

It’s Friday again, and time to show off some knitting.

Socks knit by Deborah CookeHere’s a new pair of socks I just finished for Mr. Math. The yarn is Briggs & Little Tuffy – I bought the grey, which is called Smoke, and used up the blue (Blue Jeans) from the ends in my stash. You can see that I miscalculated a little and didn’t quite have the same amount of blue for the left sock. That’s why it has a bit more grey on the toe. There wasn’t a pattern for these – I just cast on and knit. The yarn does want to felt a little over time (because I don’t hand wash socks) so the ribbing ensures that the socks maintain some stretchiness.

Briggs & Little is an old Canadian mill, located in the Maritimes. I like their sock wool a lot. It’s tough and wears well, plus it has character. Mr. Math was pretty glad to see these come off the needles, given how cold it is here right now. They went straight onto his feet!

I’m determined to use up the bits and ends of Tuffy in my stash, so there’s another thick sock on my needles now. What do you think?

Audio Socks

This past month, I’ve needed to listen to audio editions of my books to “proof” them. Taking a book to audio is a pretty interesting process, and one I hadn’t really thought about until I was already on the adventure. The narrator has to manage so many voices (especially in my books, which I’ve realized have lots of characters!) and keep them distinct from each other. He or she also has to show the emotional journey of the character, and pronounce all the words properly.

It turned out that I needed to follow along with the book on the first review of the audio files, just to make sure that no clauses or phrases were missing. This is a pretty intense process – the audio file for my first book taken to audio, The Rogue, is 13.5 hours long.

For the second listening, however, after the changes were all made and I was just checking the final version, I knit as I listened. I needed plain knitting, as I had to pay attention to the audio, so socks were the obvious choice. I don’t follow a pattern to knit socks anymore, since I’ve made so many pairs. I had some Patons Kroy FX in a yummy purple and blue set aside for new socks for myself, so I cast them on. I knit all but the second toe while “proofing” The Rogue, and here they are:morekroyfxsocks

The Rogue by Claire Delacroix audio editionAnd here’s the audio edition of The Rogue, available now on Audible, Amazon and coming soon to Apple.

New Stripey Socks

I started to knit these socks on the drive to and from Lori Foster’s Reader-Author Get-Together in June. (I was riding, not driving!) I finished the second toe on the last pair, so cast these on. As usual, this is my own sock pattern, the one I don’t have to think about anymore, and as usual, I’ve used a self-striping yarn.

This yarn is Patons Kroy Socks. Once upon a time, Kroy was available in a 3-ply yarn in solid colours. Now it seems to all be 4-ply, whether it’s solid or self-striping. I like the thicker version better – it feels more squooshy, although it does make a thicker sock. This is one of my favourite colourways of Kroy Socks, Summer Moss Jacquard. (Although I see on the Patons’ site that there are colours I haven’t seen before and like a lot – I’ll have to keep a lookout for Meadow Stripes, Mexicala Stripes and Fiesta Stripes.) I actually have enough of this colourway stashed to make a cardigan – the trick will be ensuring that the pieces are narrow enough so that the stripes work out well. I’m thinking I’ll have to put a seam down the centre back to make it work. Hmm. I did knit a pair of socks for Mr. Math in this colour of yarn, as well. (Ewww, now we can match!)

And here they are:

Kroy Socks knitted by Deborah Cooke

Wow, I feel so lucky. I have two new pairs of socks for the fall!

What do you think?


We’ve done a couple of road trips lately, and in my universe, road trips mean sock knitting. I started this pair of socks for myself last year, and they’ve been stalled for a while. I finished them on the way to Lori Foster’s RAGT in Ohio, and now I have new socks! I also knit the first sock of another pair, although there’s no telling when the socks will be done. (We have no road trips planned right now.)

Here are the new socks:

bluesocksThe yarn is a self-striping sock yarn called Lang Jawoll Color Aktion (yup, another German sock yarn) and it came with the dyed-to-match spool of reinforcement yarn. I used it in the heels and toes, as usual, but since my socks always wear out under the ball of the foot, I also wove some in there after the socks were done. We’ll see how that works out. The pattern  is my usual one – if it was ever in a book, I forget where. I bought this yarn on a stash enhancement day with Pam, the last time RWA National was in Dallas. I forget the name of the shop, but it was very cute.

It turns out that the new girl is a great liberator of knitting wool and knitted items. She doesn’t chew them or even lick them – she just relocates them. These socks have some miles on them already, and I haven’t even worn them yet!

Socks, Socks, Socks

I haven’t posted about my knitting for a while, mostly because I’ve been knitting gifts. Since they’re surprises, I don’t photograph or talk about them – that would spoil the fun!

But I’ve also been knitting socks for Mr. Math. I have this idea that I can clear out at least one corner of my stash. It’s a bit of a quixotic goal, but can’t hurt to try. I told you about the first pair of socks from that initiative, right here, and here’s the second pair. He really likes these ones.

They’re ribbed socks knit from Briggs & Little Tuffy, one of my fave sock yarns (and spun right here in Canada). The dark grey is called Oxford, and I used up some bits for the red (also Tuffy) and the black (mmmm, something else from the stash!) to jazz them up.


Also, here are the socks for him that are currently on my needles – one is done. You might remember that I knit a vest for him from this yarn – it’s Regia six-ply, with colourways designed by Kaffe Fassett. Well, there were three balls left, so he gets matching socks. Here’s the first one – the second is knit to the heel and will be just the same (because I have fussy knitter disease).

regiasockI also have some lace on the needles (because winter is coming, and I knit lace in the winter) but right now, it just looks like a lump. I’ll show you after it’s blocked.