FINISHED: Building Block Socks

They’re so finished that he’s even worn them to church already.


Pattern: #216 Beginner’s Lightweight Socks, by Diane Soucy of Knitting Pure & Simple (my favorite sock pattern!)

Yarn: Knit Picks Felici Fingering Weight in “Building Blocks” colorway (colorway discontinued), 2 skeins with very little leftover.

Needles: US 0 (2.0 mm)

Modifications: I used the wrong needle size somehow. It should have been a US 2 (2.75 mm).

These were supposed to be done in time for Christmas, so I had to enact the “public shaming” method of pressure to get myself to work through to the end despite missing my original deadline. I will say that this method definitely works for me.

I did use the wrong needle size somehow. The last pair of socks that I made for him, I didn’t write down what size needles I used, and just looked at the picture of them to guess what needles they were and then hunted down a similar-looking set and got knitting. I think I may have a set of gold-colored US 2s and a set of gold-colored US 0s, and…there you go, mistake made. As a result, these are a dense fabric and a little on the snug side, but he says they work well in his church shoes, which are a snug fit, as most church shoes are.

He likes that they’re bold and peppy. I wasn’t expecting that. He’s more of a “dark, monochrome colors” for his socks kind of guy. I was trying to use up stash and I’d had this yarn since 2013.


A Case of the Februaries Demands More Knitting

I do have a finished project post to show you, but I also keep procrastinating driving to the post office and actually mailing it off to its intended recipient, so…I could spin it to sound like the USPS is sucking at its job, but it would be an absolute lie because it’s really just me.

Although, the USPS is taking its sweet time getting a package of yarny goodness to me that was supposed to be delivered last Monday, but then it disappeared from their radar for a couple of days, and magically popped up at a regional distribution center yesterday. Hmph.

As predicted, February has cast a grayish pallor on everything in sight, and I’m feeling it, hard. I keep telling myself that it is a temporary feeling, that life really isn’t just cold and dreariness, and that spring will be here soon with sunshine and birds twittering and flowers, but then you have to stop thinking about spring and re-focus on what’s in front of you and…it’s February. Usually there’s some crazy weather going on to distract me, but not this year. Just cold and drizzly rain, and a lot of fog, which is just unsettling. There’s not supposed to be fog when you’re driving to the school to pick up your kids in the afternoon. It gives me the heebie jeebies.

We are having a couple of nice days right now, but I absolutely do not trust them at all and I refuse to allow them to get my optimism engaged, only to have it crushed and ground into the asphalt next week. No. This is fake spring. I’ll try to get outside and soak up some desperately needed sun, but I’m not going to let my heart get carried away. It would be a great time to do some clean-up in the garden, though…

I think the fabric and yarn companies have figured out this February sloggy feeling, because geez, the sales and deals coming out of ’em right now are incessant. It’s been bad, people. But oh so good. But I may need to set up a temporary email filter on any incoming messages from the crafty stores because this past week has shown that I have no known defenses against their February sales. Dear goodness. Cara, it doesn’t count for much if you’re trying to reduce your stash and UFOs, only to then gorge yourself and bring in more stash.

The Yarn Harlot wrote up a blog post in recent days that echoes my sentiments about February, and she admitted that she’s just giving in to every “start a new project” impulse that rises in her heart. And I kinda sorta love that idea, because I am in desperate need of dopamine hits at the moment and indulging in some Startitis to achieve the effect is far friendlier to my bank account than retail therapy.

So I’ve started making wild promises to my kids about knitting them things and I will probably regret it in a month’s time, but whatevs. Michael’s socks are finished, and I was looking through my Ravelry project page to figure out which family member has gone the longest without receiving a handknit from me, and it turns out I’ve not knit a thing for my boy since he was in the first grade. (That’s five years for those of you who are also experiencing the Februaries and don’t want to do the math.) I called him over and we perused the Ravelry pattern database, and he finally decided that what he wanted his dear ol’ mum to knit him was a pig hat. Because he’s sad that his monkey hat doesn’t fit anymore.

ca. 2010

Guys, I knit that monkey hat for his first winter of his life. He’s worn it ever since, and would probably still be wearing it except that I outlawed it because it’s simply too small. I don’t care that he can technically stretch it over his noggin…it’s too small. The boy is knitworthy, to say the least…but only if it’s an animal hat, apparently, because I made him a fair isle hat in the first grade, and he dutifully wore it that year, but then reverted back to the monkey hat in the second grade and I don’t think I’ve seen the fair isle hat on his head ever since.

ca. 2015

The pink yarn listed in the pattern for the pig hat? I ALREADY OWNED IT. Can the Universe be any more clear on what a great idea this project was?!?!

Except, when I went to go unearth it from the stash, I couldn’t find it. I scoured the stash from top to bottom three times, went through the knitting UFO bin twice, and then looked around in every other UFO bin just in case it randomly got put in them when we moved, but alas, none of the perfect pink yarn could be found. I think I got rid of it when we moved? It’d been sitting in a partially-knitted state for years because I bought it to make a vest for Nathaniel when he was little, but it turns out that he gets heat rashes from wearing vests, so I never finished it, and I was trying to cull crafty supplies and it wasn’t a shade of pink I particularly liked to begin with…so, I think I got rid of it. There’s no notes in my stash listing on Ravelry, but I can’t find the stuff, so I’ve now marked it as “given away.” But I honestly have no idea what I did with it.

Undaunted, I hunted down various shades of pink bulky-weight yarn, screenshotted them all and cropped them into a grid, then texted the image to Nathaniel and asked him to pick one, and he picked one of the most brightest shades of bubble gum pink and he is thrilled that it will be adorning his head in a few weeks’ time. I love it that he loves pink, it’s adorable.

Since I was paying for shipping anyways, I figured I’d throw in some more yarn to my order and looked up which family member was next due for a handknit, and it turned out it was Renaissance, who I last crafted for three years ago. She wasn’t terribly interested in anything, but then I had a bold flash of inspiration and reminded her that football season will be back all-too-soon, and wouldn’t a pair of fingerless gloves with fold-over tops just be amazing during the outdoors flute-playing season? She immediately agreed, and I added in some maroon superwash merino to my order. I did also add two more projects’ worth of yarn for things for myself, but then got rid of them because knitting season will inevitably wind down come spring and gardening and English paper piecing time, and most of my stash is comprised of these kinds of orders–the extra skeins I buy because I was paying for shipping anyway. If I’m still interested in the projects for myself come autumn, I’ll buy the yarn for them then.

Sooo…not exactly “knitting from the stash,” but I am excited about two new projects. And while I was rifling through the stash, trying to find the perfect pink yarn, I noticed that I had a lot of blue & green sock yarn leftovers in the yarn scrap bin, and I thought they’d probably go together fabulously in a linen stitch scarf. And since my yarny goodness package fell off the radar for half a week and I finished Michael’s socks and I think I may have knit them on the wrong size needles but won’t know until he finally tries them on but it’s a busy week and we’ve really only seen each other as we turn off the light to go to sleep, that hasn’t happened yet…and I don’t want to start another pair of socks for him from the stash because I don’t know what size needle to use anymore, but it’s February and darn it I need a project, so I cast on for a linen stitch scarf with those sock yarn scraps:

I think the scraps go together a little too well, actually, so it will lack that fun contrast that I like in this pattern when you use colorways that don’t match perfectly, but it’ll still be a pretty, analogous scarf. It took me a year to knit the last linen stitch scarf I made, so I’m not expecting a quick finish with this. I think it will be my couch knitting project.

And, just for fun, I’ll finish with another picture of the Monkey Hat of Yore:

Hopefully he’ll love his pig hat just as much, minus the yarn-chewing. Good luck surviving the rest of February, however you choose to do it.

Progress: Building Block Socks, and Notes on How Long it Takes to Knit a Pair of Socks

Getting close to the end of these, which is good because I may or may not have fallen prey to a yarn store-closing sale that is now shipping seven new skeins of sock yarn to me as we speak…sorry/notsorry.

As I’ve been knitting on these, my brain keeps trying to make me feel bad about how far behind I am on these, and it occurred to me that I might have a faulty sense of how long it actually takes to knit a pair of socks, thereby dooming myself to always feeling like a failure whenever I knit a pair of socks. As it stands, it feels very comfortable to knit a stripe’s worth of yarn each day on these, and so I counted up the stripes in the completed sock, and it’s 23 stripes. That’s a little over three weeks’ worth of knitting at a comfortable pace. Multiply that by two (because two socks in a pair) and you get 46 days, which equals 6.5 weeks to make a pair of socks for Michael.

In my head…I thought it took four weeks. So of course I always feel like I’m behind when I’m knitting socks for him. It’s good to figure out the numbers on stuff, because numbers generally don’t lie, and I like knowing exactly how things are going to go and numbers are the way to figure that stuff out. It takes seven weeks to knit up a pair of socks for Michael. No wonder I can never finish the “started in December” pairs I always try to make for Christmas. This timetable has been noted in my Christmas preparation notes.

More Progress: Michael’s Building Block Socks

I aim to knit one stripe a day if I can. I’m now about halfway through the heel flap. The plan is to have these done by the end of the month, which should be an easy goal to achieve. What are you slogging away on?

Still don’t know what hand stitching project I’m going to work on once these are finished. I’m really tempted to just keep cranking this pattern out over and over again simply because I don’t have to do a lot of thinking when I’m working on it. I like that.

In other news, today is Emms’ 18th birthday! So weird. If you don’t hear from me in the next few days, it’s because I’m still crying. 😜

#craftygoals: February 2022

Y’all hanging in there? January’s a hard month to survive, I think. Good job making it to February! Alas, I think February often gives January a run for its miserable money most years, which makes me feel like…

But we’re just going to keep our heads down and go to work on those awesome crafty goals, and we’ll pass this gray, cold month with color in our hands and beautiful stitches to chase away the days. Sounds like an excellent plan! Go forth!

I had a plan for February, but as I went about to start prepping for it, I asked the person I was going to make a thing for if they wanted the thing I was planning to make for them and THEY SAID NO. So…I need some new plans. (It was a dress for Rachel. She’s so thrilled with her new Halloween skirt that she said she didn’t need anything new at the moment, and anyways, that particular dress was something she was “only into for, like, last summer.” 😒 This is why, more and more, I’m against surprise crafting. It often ends poorly. Just ask people what they want and then tell them it’s going to take forever to make. Everyone ends up happy. Even if it takes ten years to finish the thing. Trust me, I have A LOT of experience with this.)

I didn’t mention it in my January #craftygoals post, but I want to try to sew up an article of clothing each month this year. (I didn’t mention it because it would have hinted that “Rachel’s Birthday Gift” was a piece of clothing. Which ended up not mattering because I had to spoil the secret anyway. Gah.) I like the idea of making well-fitting clothes, but it’s a very new skill for me and I avoid it because it’s still kind of difficult to do well. It’s way more gratifying to crank out quilts because I’m already good at them. Clothes, though…eek. Practice, practice, practice.

1. So, with Rachel’s dress off the table, I need to come up with another clothing item to make, and I need a little time to figure that out because reasons.

The other #craftygoals for February are:

2. Finish the Rainbow Coin Strip quilt. I don’t think I’ve ever posted about this quilt, but I started it in December 2019 as a kick-off for the coming year being devoted to sewing up my scraps, and almost got the top completed, actually. And then my first shipment of Blank Quilting fabric arrived and the Rainbow Coin Strip quilt went into hibernation very quickly. The Convoluted Formula™ dictates that it be the next thing I work on. I’m pleased it’ll be completed soon. It’s cute.

3. Continue (maybe finish?) the Far Far Away quilt.

4. Brick House Scrap Quilt blocks #5-8

5. Clementine Quilt Along Month 3 & 4. I didn’t quite finish the Month 3 blocks last month because of my back, but they’re close. Hopefully I can railroad through the fourth month’s blocks, too.

6. Berry Blocks. Not even started, annoyingly.

7. HST Leaders & Enders. Also not started, extra annoyingly. But we’re not going to worry because Scrappy Thursday is for working with scraps at the pace that I can work. There are no deadlines in the Land of Scrappy Thursdays, just a love of scraps. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN, DARN IT.

Hand Stitching-wise, I’m still knitting away on Michael’s Building Blocks sock, and really should be able to finish those up by the end of the month.

I have NO idea what I’ll work on after that. I think I need a portable project for taking to work, and an “at-home” project that is more involved or larger or whatever. Maybe a pair of vanilla socks for work, and resume working on the Stalagmite socks that I started three years ago? Or the Better Days Sweater? I don’t know, but it’s gotta be something yarny. My fingers are so cold in the winter that I have a hard time with hand sewing.

January’s #craftygoals went really good. I finished the Cat Lady quilt, Rachel’s Halloween skirt (pictures coming), the Mini Charm Chiffon Baby quilt (pictures waiting on delivery), and was able to start working on the Far Far Away quilt.

Scrappy Thursday-wise, I got the Brick House blocks for the month done and almost finished the Clementine blocks. As previously stated, I did not get to the Berry Blocks or HST Leaders & Enders. Not much I can do about that. Hopefully everything cooperates in the universe and I’m able to work on them this month.

And in the sphere of Hand Stitching, I finally finished the Nereid Mitts! Huzzah!

Good luck with your #craftygoals for the month!

Progress: Michael’s Building Block Socks

Now that the Nereid Mitts are finished for my bestie, I’m moving on to the pair of socks I had hoped to gift to Michael for Christmas. I really love the idea of knitting him another pair of socks each Christmas, it seems so homey and cute. This/last year’s socks are a little more bold than I normally go for him, but I unearthed this yarn in my stash, and, eyeing the atrocious shipping times on everything last autumn, decided to work with the yarn I already had on-hand.

(A little funny: I was in the midst of deciding whether or not to use the stash yarn or order new yarn, and I mentioned it over lunch with the kids. Nathaniel said I should definitely use the stash yarn because it would “make your husband glad you didn’t spend any more money, which might feel like another gift.” Which made me laugh, but then also made me wonder what’s going on in that kid’s head regarding husbands and wives and their money?)

Socks-in-progress for the husband, made from KnitPicks’ Felici Sock Yarn in “Building Blocks” colorway

So, this is my hand-stitching project for the next little while, and I’ll update you with its progress each week until it’s done! I’ve got one sock already finished, so I just need to power through this one.

The real question is: What hand-stitching project will I work on next? This is the last hand-stitched overdue Christmas project, so I can kind of do whatever I want after this. Work on a UFO? Start something new? Decisions, decisions. Maybe I need to dredge up the list of knitting UFOs and my Ravelry queue, so I can make an informed decision. I am monstrously green-eyed as I scroll through my IG feed and see the many oh-so-lovely knitting WIPs going on at the moment. Hmmm…there’s also EPP and historical sewing to consider, so there’s a lot of potential projects to choose from. What’s a girl to choose?

Fourth Monday in January

Monstrously behind in my crafting schedule, but there’s just not much I can do about freak nerve pinchings, and I really needed to get that COVID booster shot. This week has a little bit of extra free time in it because the kids don’t have school on Thursday and Friday, so I’m hoping to get a little more crafting done on those days. We shall see.

The fast and dirty rundown:

  • Cat Lady Quilt: Done and blogged.
  • Rachel’s Birthday Gift: In-progress, near completion. With the loss of almost two weeks of creating time, I had to give up on the idea of keeping this secret, so Rachel knows about it. It’s another circle skirt, this time made from the “Cast a Spell” floral print in the “Spooky & Sweeter” collection that Art Gallery Fabrics put out last year. It works well that she knows because I needed to measure her and then I figured I’d ask her if she even liked the idea before sinking hours of time into making it. It’s been super cute–she “wanders” into the craft room and stands behind me while I’m at the sewing machine and watches as the skirt gets stitched, and then wanders away, only to reappear an hour or so later to check on my progress.
  • Mini Charm Chiffon Baby Quilt: I ran into a hiccup on Rachel’s skirt and needed to take a break from it, so I went around and gathered up the various materials I needed to work on this and prewashed everything that needed it. Ready to baste. Could potentially finish this week.
  • Far Far Away Quilt: Also prewashed everything for this with the Chiffon stuff. It’s A LOT of fabric! So excited to hopefully get to working on this.
  • Brickhouse Quilt: Blocks 1-4 done.
  • Clementine Quilt: Almost done with Month 3. Probably finish this week.
  • Berry Quilt: Haven’t started, but will probably start this week.
  • HST Leaders & Enders Quilt: Haven’t started, probably won’t get to this month.
  • Nereid Mitts: Done! Need to photograph and blog.
  • Building Blocks Socks: Putting in the time, so they’re coming along.
Skirt with pockets!

It was a very productive weekend after many weeks of feeling poorly. It’s amazing how much you’re actually capable of doing when you finally start feeling better.