I thought someone might find it interesting if I described the process that I use to determine what project to make when I get new yarn from Meg. Much of the time, that is how my projects arise – I get the yarn and then decide what to make. The first example I’ll cover is the socks I’m making with the Cherish colorway from Meg’s Creatures of Comfort Sock Club. This colorway is the same one as used for my cowl, though it’s more vivid in Duchess. (I’ll get a combined shot at some point to show the comparison.) The yarn Meg chose to dye for her own is her sport-weight yarn, Duchess. She was feeling the need of some really warm socks!
So that was my starting point – self-striping sport weight yarn in red-purple-blue to be made into warm socks. Meg doesn’t tend to want to specify anything more about the socks I make her, so I do my best to find things I think she’ll like. For socks, I very seldom follow an existing pattern. I prefer to roll my own. Meg tends to prefer simple stitches with her self-striping yarns. Clearly, anything lacy was out. I’ve made a lot of plain textures recently, so I thought not that. I had a feeling that I’d like a fancy rib. I looked through my stitch dictionaries and found a pattern called Crossed Ribbing 1 in my old Phildar Hand Knitting Stitches book, a multiple of 4 stitches. I’ve been making a lot of toe-up socks lately, but I still find top-down easier, so I decided to revert to that. For Duchess, I decided to go with US 2 (2.75 mm) needles.
Because the pattern wasn’t one I’ve used before, I wasn’t confident enough to just cast on and go, so I did a quick swatch. That both gave me a good idea of how many stitches to cast on and let me verify that I liked the pattern with this yarn. I did. Since the pattern stitch is a multiple of 4 stitches, I wanted to cast on an even multiple of 4, i.e. a multiple of 8, so that I could have the same number of repeats front and back. I still hate deciding what gauge to assign to ribbing. Everyone always says to measure ribbing “slightly stretched” and that is sensible, particularly for socks. You want the ribbing to be somewhat stretched in the wearing! I decided it was around 26 stitches to 4 inches. Meg’s legs are 8 inches around and you definitely want to take about 10% off for wearability. So 52 less 5 would be 47 and the nearest multiple of 8 is 48. So that’s how many stitches I cast on.
Since the pattern is a rib, I just started and knit for 6 inches, then started the heel flap. I went with Eye of Partridge because I love it dearly. Meg has high insteps, so I make the heel flaps a little longer for her than I do for me. That went smoothly. It always means that the gussets for her socks are longer than standard too. And in fact this time I made the gussets quite a bit too long. When I went to make the toe, I found that the sole was about 3 inches wide instead of a bit over 3 1/2 inches. So I frogged enough to get back to where it was the right length and am again proceeding to toe length. Here is a picture of where they currently stand:
I think they’re going to be beautiful when done.