For years I’ve knit socks for my nieces and nephews for Christmas. I’m not sure when I started exactly, but I know it’s been at least eight years (I knit a blue pair and pink pair to be ready for what turned out to be a nephew born days before Christmas eight years ago). If that was the first year, that nephew was number 5; and the oldest at the time was 5. Since then, their number has doubled and the size of their feet, according to my very unscientific reasoning, has more than doubled. All that to say, it’s a lot more knitting than it was when I started.
When I began knitting years ago, sock knitting was one of my early accomplishments (a few missteps aside). We were like peas carrots, sock knitting and I. I churned out pair after pair, but last year the pressure of all those little (and no so little anymore) bare feet got to me. It just wasn’t fun. And if it wasn’t fun, what was the point? So I stopped.
Last year I made an offhand comment on Facebook about the Opal Advent Calendar. Much to my surprise and delight my aunt bought me one for Christmas. It was so much fun opening the little windows to see the pretty new yarn each day. I loved advent calendars as a child, but mine pre-dated the chocolate variety (or any other type of gift) and only had little pictures inside. Yarn definitely beats pictures and sometimes (but not always) chocolate.*
By Christmas I was left with 24 mini balls of sock yarn and some questions about what I would do with them.
My anal knitter side wouldn’t let me make mis-matched socks. I find Opal slightly scratchy so I didn’t want to make a shawl or scarf. My back up plan was squares for my sock yarn blanket, but that didn’t seem quite right either. Then I stumbled across a pattern for Christmas ornaments knit from small amounts of sock yarn. Perfect!
There are two varieties: spiral:
Chevron is my favourite of the two. I had trouble with the spiral pattern that was completely related to my inability to count and completely unrelated to the pattern, but it’s finally working out.
Because I remain totally, hopelessly delusional about the amount of free time I have leading up the Christmas holidays and totally, hopelessly delusional about the speed at which I knit, I thought it would be fun to knit an ornament a day, sort of a reverse advent calendar. So far so good, but I’m traveling for work this week and I’m pretty sure things are about to go off the rails. I’m posting a picture a day (hopefully) on Instagram, so please follow along there.
* I’ve never really thought of yarn vs. chocolate. That’s a debate I’m not ready to have.
Over the past year or so, I’ve been using an afterthought heel a lot, especially when knitting with yarns with long colour changes (Knit Picks Felici for example). I’m
a bit a lot anal about socks that match and I like that the afterthought heel doesn’t disrupt the colour sequence.
One of the things I don’t like about it is picking up the stitches from the waste yarn. I find it challenging to manipulate the second row of needles with the first ones already picked up; the sock becomes decidedly inflexible. It’s doable, I just tend to avoid it, which is why I ended up with 4 pair of socks waiting for heels in the week leading up to Christmas.
Once I’m done the hub bub of Christmas knitting I generally try to knit myself a pair of socks in January. The first of the month I cast on my socks from the Tosh Sock yarn I purchased at Knit East.
I finished the first sock around mid-month. I loved the vibrant colours; it reminded me of sprinkles on a cake (especially when applied by a small child):