Traveling sock

Adam looked down at my sock the other day and said. “Those colors are HIDEOUS.” Whatever–as my friend pointed out yesterday, I bought these truly hideous white T-strap Birkenstocks ten years ago, and they have since become the height of fashion. (She was like “God, people are still wearing those horrible shoes you bought in 2000.”) I have an eye for hideousness that crosses the line into cool. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

I’ve been reading, and  though I actually (and occasionally) review books for money in real life, I am not a great book reviewer on my blog. Generally, I just read books and absorb them and that’s it. Though my friend recommended reading The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, which I’ve owned for a couple of years (it was a gift) and I never read it. I was like, “Oh, I was worried it would be one of those ethnic identity books that I am not very into,” and she said, “No, it’s written in the culture of nerds, in NERDESE.” Apparently, the whole book is all about Lord of the Rings, so I will retrieve that book and read it this week, while the Hobbits are fresh in my mind. Same friend firmly vetoed Twilight, claiming it ruins your brain, even though she read all three. As I am not particularly into vampires (though I do enjoy a high school romance), I think I am safe.

Anyway, this week, I read America America, by Ethan Canin, which was kind of a crappier version of All the King’s Men. I understand that novelists–particularly male novelists–are fond of these epic, sweeping “And lo, this is America!”-kind of books, but they don’t always work out. I should write not-so-enthusiastic flap copy for books. America America could be described as:

*crappy All the King’s Men

* Primary Colors, but in the ’70s

* The Emperor of Ocean Park, but with white people!

I guess I secretly do read a lot of these political campaign books. I actually have read another Ethan Canin book–For Kings and Planets, and there were definite similarities between the two books. Both books are very into class and moving from the lower-middle class into the upper-middle class, a topic I do find interesting, but Canin is always so obvious about these issues I find his writing a little frustrating. Plus, I think in his efforts to ennoble the working class, he ends up being condescending. Whenever novelists start singing the praises of the working man, I groan, because I know that it’s all downhill prep-school  envy from there on out. Personally, I prefer my class warfare hidden within romantic machinations, hence my deep allegiance to Gossip Girl.

Posted in book reviews, Socks, Uncategorized at June 15th, 2009.


I’ve taken up sock knitting again, and moving my socks out of hibernation. The squares and the sweater are just too difficult to knit on the subway. I’m trying something new with these Loud Monkey socks–I’m knitting them on 9″ circulars (Hiya Hiya brand). It’s definitely a different feel than DPNs. I think I prefer DPNs, but there is something incredibly quick about knitting on these needles. Also, the pattern (Cookie A.’s Monkeys, which is the most knit sock pattern ever) is really fast and easy to memorize. Now I must abandon you, my readers, to read the second half of LOTR: The Two Towers. 

Posted in Socks, travelingproject, Uncategorized at June 5th, 2009.

Civil War Socks

Pattern: Basic sock recipe from More Sensational Socks.

Yarn: Three skeins of Koigu, from Knitty City. Two in navy and one in grey. Two packages of navy reinforcing thread, one package of grey reinforcing thread.

Needles: Size 0, Susan Bates DPNs.

Project started/ended: Started December 1, 2008 or so, finished March 24, 2009.


Civil War Socks

I promised these socks to Adam a long time ago, and they finally were finished! In time for his birthday, at least, even if I might have promised them for his birthday last year. Oh well. Anyway, Adam took these photos himself in his office, so they seem to fit pretty well. They’re pretty standard top-down socks, with decreases along the back of the calf, a slip-stitch heel, and a round toe. Adam picked out the colors himself, saying he wanted more blue, because, as he said, the “North won the war.” I made each blue stripe 18 rows high and each grey stripe 7 rows high, but for some reason, I fear that one sock might have still come out shorter than the other.

By the way, if you’re not reading Errol Morris’s blog on, you really should. He’s got a great interview with this guy about this mysterious Civil War photo, and it’s really interesting. And I say that as an average person, and not as someone who went to see Mary Todd Lincoln: The Musical.

The one skill I learned on these socks that was really helpful was how to weave in the ends as you go, which is really useful for stripe-y projects. I followed the instructions on this site here

Posted in Finished Objects 2009, Socks, Uncategorized at March 31st, 2009.


The colorway name of this yarn is “Secret Garden” and at first I was like yeah, right, if by “secret garden” you mean NEON*, but I went to the Orchid Show at the Bronx Botanical Garden this weekend, and it’s true, many flowers do come in shockingly bright colors. (*Also, the name “secret garden” sounds like a euphemism for some sort of un-ladylike things to talk about, but anyway. I do like the book The Secret Garden, but that book is actually about a GARDEN, and not um, other things.)

The Orchid Show

Aren’t these orchids wild? I loved their colors.

The Orchid Show

The show also had a whole wall of these white orchids, which were pretty neat. (Traveling sock pattern, is, of course, Cookie A.’s Monkey, which according to Ravelry, is the most knit sock pattern ever.)

Posted in Socks, travelingproject, Uncategorized at March 16th, 2009.

The sock and I had to go out of town. Where is the sock? (There is no prize, um, except bragging rights that you guessed right.)

Posted in Socks, travelingproject, Uncategorized at March 9th, 2009.

hat 002

Adam’s sock. In the picture above, I used the white balance function, in the one below I did not. Small things. Big differences. Anyway, both of these photos were taken outside my window…it’s like that movie Smoke, but with knitting.

sock 3/02

We had a big snowfall here in New York (the top photo was taken last Thursday). It felt like a real winter, but I was also kind of like okaaaaaaaay winter, think it might be time for you to head on out.

Posted in Socks, travelingproject, Uncategorized at March 2nd, 2009.

Rainbow Jaywalkers

Pattern: Jaywalkers, by Grumperina

Yarn: The elusive Regia Nation 5399, aka Rainbow. This color is a little hard to find (and now discontinued) so I grabbed two skeins ($8/each, for a total of $16) when I saw them at The Point.

Needles: 0 and 1, Susan Bates

Project started/ended: Started July 3, finished September August 30

Notes and Modifications: Since everyone has knit a pair of these (and many people in this colorway), I’m not sure anyone needs my notes, but here they are!

I cast on for the small/medium size and knit following the instructions for the red and orange stripe with a size 1 needle. Then I switched to a size 0 needle and knit for yellow and green stripe. Then I decreased eight stitches by working one row without the k f/bs, allowing the decreases to be hidden within the pattern. When I got to the purple stripe, I switched back to a size 1 needle (to try and increase the ankle area a bit, even though it’s still tight), and then back to a zero once I had made the heel flap and started turning the heel.

When I got to the toe, I knit a round toe, making six evenly spaced decreases (k2tog) every other row, because I find that the regular toe suggested in the pattern often results in stretched out sides when worn. Just something new I am trying.

Posted in Finished Objects 2008, Socks, Uncategorized at September 7th, 2008.

We went to the Jersey Shore for a week, and I did a little knitting.


Here is Zoltar, the magical fortune teller who transformed Tom Hanks into Big. Well, or one of the Zoltar’s kind. He is skeptical about the sock. “But how can I grant your wish, sock?!?”


The sock appreciates the view down to the beach.


Keep out, sock!

Posted in Socks, travelingproject, Uncategorized at August 2nd, 2008.

 So the shawl is pretty much done–it just needs to be cast off and blocked out. I had wanted to finish it before the 4th of July, but you know, life gets in the way.

We headed up to Ithaca for the holiday weekend and I took along a ball of rainbow sock yarn, intending to make a pair of Jaywalkers.


I cast on on the bus, and knit through to yellow in front of the Cascadilla Gorge…


…next to the Taughannock Falls…


…in the car…


…in front of the Beebe Dam..

but it was all for naught. The damn sock is too tight! I had cast on fewer stitches than the instructions said–and with size 0 needles, instead of 1s–because I am under the impression I have narrow calves and feet. Well, I measured my leg and foot, and it turns out I have average sized (and width) feet. Anyway, the whole leg–all the way through to the V of ROY G. BIV–is ripped, and waiting to be reknit. Grr.

Posted in Socks, travelingproject, Uncategorized at July 9th, 2008.

Sprial sock, complete  

Pattern: Swirl Socks, by Sulafaye

Yarn: One skein of hand-painted merino fingerling (or maybe sport-weight?) wool from Traveling Rhinos, color: Northport, 440 yards. I bought this last year at the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn [see the yarn in skein form here]. This year’s fair is coming up again in June, if you’re interested.

Needles: No. 2 Inox DPN, set of 4

Project began/ended: Started March 18, ended April 27, or a little over five weeks.

Notes and Modifications: First off, yarn review: This yarn has a ton of yardage. I had a lot left over, and the legs of the socks are pretty high. It’s also nice and warm and wooly, which I liked. (Koigu, which I used for my Berkeley socks, felt oddly crisp, and un-wool-like. However, Koigu feels great on the feet, so who knows?) The socks seem like they’re be nice for hanging around the house in the winter, or wearing when it gets cold. They’re hand-wash only, which is probably why they’re more wooly feeling than my other socks, and are nice and soft. The bad part about the yarn is that there were definitely spots where you could see that the dyer had tied the yarn in a skein for dying, and so there were white bits that showed up randomly throughout the skein.

As for the pattern, it’s great. It’s a nice way to break up hand-painted yarns, while remaining fairly simple. I also liked the sculptural quality of the raised stitches on a stockinette background. The pattern called for DK yarn and bigger needles, so I followed the instructions for the medium size, with smaller yarn and smaller needles. I think my socks are actually a little too stretched out, so maybe I should have followed the large size instead. Oh well. Also, for some reason, in my right-swirling sock, the traveling stitches that form the swirls were less plump than in the left-swirling sock, though I’m not sure why.

I used the crochet cast-on from Wendy Knits, and I used Cosmic Pluto’s short-row heel instead of the one suggested.


Since I had so much yarn, I made them taller than suggested, and it’s pretty easy to hide the increases under the swirls. I think my increases did end up pulling the fabric a little, as you can see in the top photo. Anyway, if you want to increase, here’s how I did it:

On the first, left-swirling sock: Instead of doing the left twist, as instructed by the pattern, slip the first two stitches on the LH needle off. Reverse them so that the second stitch is closer to the end of the needle, with the first stitch in front; knit in the front and back of this (original second) stitch. Slip purl-wise the next stitch (the original first stitch) onto RH needle. Continue on. (Basically slip one to the left as you’ve been doing, and kfb in the non-slipped stitch.) I increased two stitches per row (in the fatter space between the swirls) over six rows, and then knit plain for a few, and then increased at the same rate over another six rows, etc. I tried it on as a I went along, so it wasn’t super well-planned. I did write down at what rows I increased though, so I could try to match it on the other sock.

On the right-swirling sock, you will need to do a different type of increase, because the kfb gives you a raised bar on the left, which is hidden by the swirl on the first sock. So, on the second sock, what I did is slip the second stitch on the LH needle onto the right needle, and now, ALSO slip the original first stitch (in back of the second) onto the right needle. Now turn your work around, and purl into the front and back of that stitch (which is the closest one on the tip of your now-LH needle/your former RH needle), so that the bar is closest to the swirl. Turn your work back to its regular position, with the stockinette side out. You’ve essentially created a reverse kfb. Continue, bringing the yarn behind the slipped stitch. (This sounds more complicated than it is, and will make more sense if you just do it. I probably should have taken photos, but I didn’t.)

Increasing, particularly on the right-swirling sock, leads to some loose stitches and uneven tension. You will need to adjust the tension (or at least I did.) I learned this from Stitch and Bitch, and it’s is a pretty basic technique, I think, but in case you don’t know how to do it: Pull one arm of the loose stitch out until it is big and floppy. Try to figure out where the stitch connects to (in the case of the swirl, it may be the strip between the “v’s,” rather than the “v”-itself). Yank on the bar or the “v,” and continue along to distribute the tension through the adjoining “v’s,” so that the tension is less noticeably concentrated in one area.

One final non-knitting note. I am rather impressed by how New Yorkers ignore all weirdness around them. Pretty much everyone ignores me when I make Adam take photos of my socks around town–though at the Cherry Blossom Festival last week, one lady was heard to say, “Is that a sock in the tree?”–including when I am wearing my socks (and no shoes) in public places. Maybe they just think we’re odd sock feti*hists or something.

Posted in Finished Objects 2008, Socks, Uncategorized at April 27th, 2008.