Thursday, December 27, 2012


It's the moment you've all been waiting for. The super-duper extra-secret secret surprise, REVEALED!

Shockingly, counter to EVERYONE'S expectations, I made some Hanukkah presents for my family. Socks for everyone!

Here is a pretty picture of papa, mama, and baby bear socks all together:

It took a while. I started my dad's socks the second week I got back from New York, and they took me almost a MONTH to finish. That month was constantly interrupted with holidays, of course, so I wasn't able to get in a lot of quality knitting time. My mom's socks took ten days, my sister's, 12 days. I feverishly finished everything up in a burst of productivity before my friend Noa (for whom I also knit a Hanukkah present) left for a visit to New York. I washed, blocked and packaged them up in a matter of a few days. I blocked them on cut-out shapes I made from cereal boxes which was kind of genius if you ask me. Knitting them, the wool was a bit scratchy. I used Lion's Brand Sock-Ease, which isn't the fanciest of sock yarn, but the price is right, the colorways are nice and most importantly, it's washable. However, I was worried about the feel of the fabric. After I put them through the washing machine, though, they were soft as soft can be.

I sewed my personalized labels (see my mom's sock below) on the back upper calf of one of each pairs of socks, wrapped them up, wrote cards, stuffed them in envelopes and sent them off with Noa, who FedEx'd them from New York, and both packages-- the one to my parents, and the one to my sister-- arrived during Hanukkah. A real miracle.

By far the simplest of the three. I used a very basic knit and purl block pattern and a demure color so my dad can wear them to work. It was difficult to gauge size since my dad has gigantic feet, so trying them on was a little useless, but he tells me they fit perfectly:

Here's a picture of my kitty, DJ, admiring the socks from his favorite vantage point on my parents' cable box. My dad says he loves them, and he had been requesting another pair for quite a while now, so I think it was a win-win. I love knitting for my family. There's literally love in every stitch. Unusually sappy for me but true.

Now my mom's socks were a little more complicated. I started with this pattern:

And I got pretty far-- up to the middle of the foot-- before frogging. It just wasn't working out. The pattern was written toe-up, which I dislike, so I changed it to top-down, but I guess I didn't stretch the floats enough because the calf was really tight and the foot was baggy and ill-fitting. I pulled the whole thing out and started again, choosing a fairly straightforward lace pattern and making them nice and high since my mom said she wanted knee socks. I was stressing out pretty much throughout the entire second sock that I wouldn't have enough yarn, but I DID, and quite a few yards to spare. Love when that happens. I was able to see my mom open them because we happened to be skyping when she mentioned that she had gotten a mysterious package from FedEx. So that was cool, she really loved them. It was very cute when she started waving her foot in the air trying to get it on the webcam.

Here's a few pictures:

She really liked the color too. When I was home over the summer I had to darn the first pair of socks I made her because the ball of the foot had worn out on one of them, which made me SO happy. (Funnily enough, I used a totally different color yarn to darn the sock and then went into the attic and found the remnants of the yarn I'd actually made the socks with. Oh well.) Do non-knitters understand the joy that comes from seeing one of your hand-knit items stained, torn, shrunken or stretched, and just basically destroyed with lots and lots of use? I think a lot of people are way too careful with their hand-knits and never use or wear them because they're afraid to ruin them, but the truth is, that's the best thanks that a knitter can get. I don't like knitting for people who will just fold things away in a drawer. So, another success!

Rebecca's were the most complicated. It wasn't a difficult stitch pattern but an unusual construction, which requires a LOT of close attention. And that is not ideal for someone like myself who likes to watch TV while she knits. The pattern was also confusingly written and I couldn't really understand what I was doing until the first sock was finished, so it was like forging blindly ahead with no idea of how or if it was all going to work out.

It did:

Since my sister takes after my dad in the foot area, I was hoping they would fit. They look a bit big here but she assures me they fit pretty well. I chose that neon yellow colorway because my sister hates the dark cold winters so I thought it might help cheer her up. They came out nicely in the end but I don't think I'd make that pattern again.

After being forced to admire the socks I was making for my family for the last three months, my roommate Vered decided she wanted her own pair. I liked a pattern on Ravelry with a sort of lacey stitch up the back of a plain sock-- I thought it had a cute little touch-- but I didn't like the lace pattern so I did it my own way with a little mini cable on the back.

Here's a pic of them blocking:

And finally a few NON-sock projects:

Noa made the startling revelation to me that she had no winter hat, while trying on and coveting my lavender silk slouch from last year (which I have since lost somewhere in my house). It also happened to be her birthday around that time, so I said I'd make her one. I went to my favorite yarn shop in town and got some very soft very pretty black alpaca. I don't like knitting with black because it hurts my eyes, but that is what she wanted. I chose a classic sort of ribbed/eyelet pattern. I don't have any good pictures but here's one in the meantime:

That's me modeling it, I'm still trying to get a picture of her. She also wants me to sew in one of my labels which I forgot to do.

My INCREDIBLE best friend/life partner Jill sent me an UNBELIEVABLE care package and in an attempt to thank her even the littlest bit I made her a hat too. She also doesn't have one, what's with people not having winter hats??

She requested a slouchy, but I was a bit worried about running out of yarn so her hat is not SUPER slouchy, but still a little slouchy. Currently I am blocking it on a plate to make it slouchier. Here's a picture of that:

I really LOVE the pattern of dwindling braid cables. If I made it again I'd make it a little slouchier, but it was crazy how fast my yarn ran out. I do still have a bit left but definitely not enough to have done the extension in the pattern. Hope it's nice and slouchy when it's done and that Jilly likes it!

And finally something for me....

Loyal readers may remember that I started these last year when my white alpaca pair started to felt in the rain. Well, finally, eleven months later, I finished them. I did the second one in about two days. Here they are:

And that's all for now folks, I should hope it's enough for a while! However, now that I don't have a knitting project for the first time in months, I'm feeling a little lost...


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  2. so beautiful!!!! i am so excited to get it my hat!!! you are incredibly talents, abs!!


  3. I love this blog! You are so talented!! I LOVE my socks so much but I must say that now that I've seen Jill's hat I think I need that for my next birthday!

  4. Am counting down the days til our package arrives so I can get my winter hat 2.0 on!