Elinor Brown Knits

Knitting Designs by Elinor Brown

Category: socks

Little Child’s Sock

You guys are great for moral support! With test day approaching in two weeks, I’m a mess. I feel confident and prepared one minute and nervous and stupid the next. One thing that should help is that Aaron will be taking Beatrix to visit his mom and stepfather in Montana for the week before the exam. I will be alone for an entire week, a prospect that both relieves and sickens me. I’m trying hard not to think about it.

All of this reviewing, studying and preparation has resulted in a lightning fast pair of near knee socks!

Little Child's Sock
Pattern: Little Child’s Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Aqua
Needles: US 1 1/2

Pam and I traded some yarn back in Philadelphia and this is what I received. I thought lacy and/or cabled patterns would be too much for such a pastel so I found a neutral Nancy Bush pattern for the yarn. I’m slowly making my way through Knitting Vintage Socks and with this pair, I can cross off another pattern on my list.

Little Child's Sock

The texture comes almost exclusively from different alignments of 2×2 ribbing, which makes for an easy yet still interesting pattern. I always knit my own heels and wedge toes so those were the only modifications I made to the pattern.

Little Child's Sock

Isn’t the texture great? I could not be more pleased. However, let me tell you that this was by far the ugliest WIP I have ever had. The ribbing pulls the sock in at funny places when it is not modeled on an actual foot. Consequently, the WIP looks like this:

One ugly sock

It was beyond ugly; it was truly hideous, actually. And since I was knitting mostly at the coffee shop where I study, I spent altogether too much time answering the question, “WHAT are you knitting?” and explaining to non-knitters that no, really, it will be a lovely pair of socks. I almost cast on for a second, more appealing looking pair just to avoid having to talk to people about my fugly knitting. But see? A lovely pair of socks!

I already have my next pair of knee socks going, Gentleman’s Half Hose in Ringwood Pattern, also from Knitting Vintage Socks:

Gentleman's Half Hose in Ringwood Pattern

Actually, I just turned the heel on this sock so perhaps I’ll have another finished pair by the end of the weekend.

Alright, that’s enough fun for now, exam prep calls.

Tying up loose ends

Thanks for your sweet comments about my remaining five weeks of dread MCAT preparation. I’ll let you know how it goes! Until then, there will be little in the way of knitting, sadly.

We celebrated my grandfather’s 90th birthday in Cincinnati last weekend and rather than take the increasingly heavy aran sweater in progress, I decided to finally finish the Drunken Bee socks that Stella started for me so many months ago. No wonder we travel with socks – they’re so portable! I finished the second sock on the way there!

Finished Drunken Bees from SSLM
Pattern: Drunken Bees
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock in “Pondscum”
Needles: US 1.5 and 2
While this was a relatively clear pattern, I must say that I loathed knitting the honeycombs. I could not keep track of the twisted stitch rows. I think this is the most intricate pair of socks I’ve ever knit (by “intricate” I mean, of course, there was no ‘knit every other row’ business). Since socks are usually my mindless projects, it took me a while to devote the time to finishing these.

The beautiful pattern/yarn combination was what kept me going through all that honeycombing! I had never used STR before and now I understand the hype! It’s just marvelous to knit! We’ll see how it holds up to regular wear!

Next up is some baby sewing I’ve been promising for too long. This is one last version of the Butterick B4712 pattern. I say last because I hate working with this pattern. The layouts don’t work at all with one-way prints, the armholes are too shallow in every size and the interfacing does not fit inside the dress in any of the sizes. After the first few versions of this, I just traced out my own interfacing.

Cherry Sundress, Butterick 4712
Pattern: Butterick B4712

Overall, I’m pleased with the result but I most certainly would not recommend the pattern to anyone. Baby tank dress patterns are so easy to find – you should look for a better one than this!

Welcome, summer!

Thanks for your sweet comments about my new cowl pattern. You should see some of the others too: Nova’s Birthday Cowl, Caro’s Philly Cowl and I’m certain that Ashley and Minty are working up their patterns as I type! Look for them in the coming weeks because nothing says summer like cowl knitting.

While mowing last week, Aaron found a rabbit nest a mere five feet from our tomato garden. I had already noticed some leaves nibbled down to stumps. Sadly, this could not remain. The rabbits can have any plants but tomatoes! Lawanna told me how to move the burrow and so that’s what we did this weekend.

Moving a rabbit nest

Between this and a trip to a nearby farm with chickens, geese, turkeys, ducks, peacocks and ponies, Beatrix squeezed a whole childhood’s worth of Nature into two days. She was delighted, terrified and, most importantly, exhausted.

What's in the bucket?

And as for the bunnies, there were five of them and all five are still alive and settling nicely into the new burrow. I feel terribly guilty about uprooting helpless babies so I’ve been checking in on them every day.

I took some time this weekend to work on a few sewing projects. Here is the latest addition to the toddler wardrobe.

Blue daisy dress

Pattern: Butterick 3782

Fabric: Feedsack III Daisies – Blue by Windham Fabrics

I bought three yards of this on eBay last winter so you will certainly see more of it in the future. I used about a yard of it and made the size 2 dress, which is a little big (wide) but otherwise fits well. These tank dresses make diaper changes a breeze and allow lots of room to grow. I also like the idea of dressing my daughter in something that is not bubblegum pink from Target.

It's not my best zipper

While my zippering skills have improved, I admit that I ripped out two zippers this weekend. I am surprised and relieved that this zipper looks clean (there was a great deal of cursing setting it in).


The pleats were supposed to be basted in place until the bodice and skirt were sewn together. However, I rather liked how the stitching looked so I left it in place.

She thinks it's OK.

Lastly, I keep meaning to blog the lovely socks I knit in transit to Philadelphia last weekend. As I was catching up on blog reads this morning, I saw that Tiennie practically wrote my post for me! As it turns out, we both started a pair of socks with some Sundara yarn on the way to Philadelphia, we traveled to the same yarn shops and we finished our socks on the way home. The travesty is that we missed each other by mere days!! I suppose this means I should be looking for excuses to travel to Seattle!

Fancy Silk Socks

Pattern: Fancy Silk Socks for a Child of 5 or 6 Years from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush

Yarn: Sundara Sock in “Dahlia” from Nova

Modifications: I separated the cuff and the leg with two rows of purl. Also, I did not knit the lacy cables down the stockinette ribs because I thought it looked like overkill in the book. As it turns out, I should have waited a day or two for Terhi’s magnificent version. I might need to give these another try. Katy also just started a pair. See? All the cool kids are doing it. You need a pair.

Fancy Silk Socks

As it turns out, I missed a glaring error with the one sock until it came time to take the FO pictures: one of my lace panels abruptly stops on its way to the heel flap. I would never frog a sock back to the heel once the pair is deemed finished so I will live with a little imperfection. Pam sealed the deal by pointing out that less lace will make the heel more sturdy in shoes.

See how that lace pattern doesn't continue? Oops.

In the end, a 72-hour pair of socks? What a deal. I wonder if this is what it would be like to be unemployed and kid-free (or, in college) as a knitter. I could knit the world socks! Stay tuned for more sewing and a mad rash of startitis!


Latvian Socks

Just after Beatrix was born, I bought a skein of J. Knits Superwash Me Light Sock yarn in the Newburyport color. It was most certainly an impulse buy, driven both by post-partum boredom and nostalgia for the time I spent in Newburyport as a teenager. My boarding school was a few miles outside of Newburyport and the school ran Saturday morning vans into town. I’ve been thinking a lot about the old school lately, in part because my 10th reunion is coming up this June but there’s more to it. I must say that my greatest disappointment with adult life is the incredible lack of community in my life. By this, I do not mean friends. I mean community. Let me explain by telling you a little bit about this school.

Every Saturday night, the headmaster and his wife would open their home to students, faculty and faculty families. There were pool and ping pong tables in the basement, a game or a movie on the television in the den, an informal chess tournament, lots of board and card games and a piano in the living room and a bridge game at 9 p.m. The food was a teenage treat as well: ice cream, chips, nachos and all the soda one could consume. There may also have been weekly bets as to whether my freshly charred baked chocolate chip cookies would bring the fire department but that is a story for another day. Nevertheless, Open House was a chance for people to relax after a grueling week, to catch up with friends and to spend time together.

Looking back on it, some of the most important lessons I have learned came from Saturday Open House. At the time, I valued being with friends. What I think is even more valuable now is the time I spent with people who were not my friends: faculty, acquaintances and even declared enemies! I think it is a very humanizing experience to sit around a table with people who are not close friends and have frank, honest discussions about life, the universe and everything. In fact, I believe these sorts of encounters formed the basis of the school’s strong community spirit. They are most certainly what I find lacking in my life today.

Would it even be possible to recreate Open House in a non-campus environment? I have my doubts. Most likely, it would involve cars, planning and the Midwestern bringing of casseroles – in other words, it would be just another party. A community supper might be another idea – and one that my garden could support, at that. I wonder if a supper could ever reach a critical mass, however. Still, neither is the same as walking in your neighbor’s back door, kicking off your shoes and grabbing a bite to eat before jumping into a bridge game.

What do you think? Do you keep any community traditions? Is Open House worth trying to recreate or is it something that should be left alone? Discuss!

Oh yeah, socks. They’re done, I’m happy with them and you should all go buy J. Knits. Specs below.

Latvian Socks

Pattern: Latvian Socks from Folk Socks by Nancy Bush

Yarn: J. Knits Superwash Me Light Sock (550 yards/skein!) in “Newburyport”

Needles: US 0

Even though these were knit on size 0s, I loved knitting these socks! The yarn was just wonderful. I have enough yarn left over for another knee sock! J. Knits = great yardage for big feet.

FO: More 3×1 Garter Rib Socks

Another Pair of 3x1 Garter Rib Socks

Pattern: A simple 64-st 3×1 garter rib sock with an 8-st decrease over 8 rows for calf shaping

Yarn: ShibuiKnits Sock in Bark

Needles: US 1 1/2

Since I’ve needed mindless socks to work on to get through some dense reading lately, I worked up a second pair of garter rib socks. I changed needles for the calf shaping for the last pair but I didn’t have smaller needles on me when I reached the shaping on these so I used decreases.

Calf shaping

I’m a bit ambivalent about which method is better. I think I prefer changing needle sizes but it’s hard to talk myself into using anything smaller when I’m desperate to get to the heel.

The yarn was a little disappointing, given the promise of no pooling. It did not pool with 56 sts on size 1 needles but there was plenty of pooling at the ribbing (64 sts), the heel turn and the toe. While it looks like Koigu or CTH, as Christy warned me at the time I bought it, Shibui Sock is a bit thinner than it looks (along the lines of Lorna’s Shepherd Sock). Nevertheless, that’s one more pair of socks for the rotation and two more skeins of sock yarn gone!

I cast on a pair of Latvian Socks from Folk Socks by Nancy Bush with some J. Knits, thinking that this lace pattern would be easy to do while reading. As it turns out, it’s not exactly mindless knitting so I might cast on some stockinette socks. I do love how the pattern works up, however. Isn’t the picot lovely?

Fine gauge picot

Latvian Socks

More on these next week!

Latvian Socks

Finally, I must thank Tiennie, Laura and Stella for tagging me for the Make My Day meme! I’m so flattered! I feel conflicted about choosing only a few people to tag because there are so many of you! Needless to say, my blog roll makes my day. I love seeing the beautiful garments you all create and I look forward to reading your posts about them so you’re all tagged! Have a wonderful weekend!