Before rows 3, 4, 5 I added a row of double crochet to make the “stem” a bit longer than it was in the original design. It would be a bit more game accurate to make it thinner/taller but then it might need some reinforcement to stand up. As my 5 year old immediately put on the hat and started headbang-smacking his dad with the leaf, I think I made the right choice to avoid any stiffeners or wire in this project.
I own a lot of those books. They’re mostly too long and serious for my kid still. He prefers books about dogs and animals and science and silliness. And that’s ok. The books will wait. So many of the books about people we get from in the library “mystery bags” are also about pain, about history, about overcoming. It’s no wonder he only wants to read things with dogs in them.
But this pull quote got me. I was… Maybe 7 the first time I remember being told about the Japanese interment in Canada? I asked my mom why dad didn’t want to come to a remembrance day ceremony at my school and she gave me some age appropriate answer about how dad didn’t really want to remember being locked up by the Canadian government.
I remember reading Obasan as an older kid on a road trip to Fundy National Park. I think maybe that was the youngest book available at the time, other than the history books. I read Sadako and the Thousand Paper cranes and folded a thousand with a friend in high school.
I’m glad that there’s a lot more stories available now, and gutted that so many of them are being “challenged” in the US because so many people don’t know about the internment camps or really a lot of the less savory parts of history. And it matters to what we do now to understand at least some of it.
Since I’ve got a PhD in computer security, I spend a lot of time talking with colleagues about privacy, and there’s a pervasive “I don’t have anything to hide so privacy isn’t a big deal” attitude in many places. People are appalled when I explain that privacy concerns sound a lot more reasonable when you consider the history the US government has of, for example, using census data to destroy minority communities or incarcerate them. This isn’t just a thought exercise for ethical technical folk to consider when setting up privacy, this is a lived experience for many people — just not always the people in the room. And not teaching that experience is having real word consequences right now.
Anyhow, I don’t really know what I’m saying except that books matter, which you all know. And I don’t know how I’m going to explain internment more deeply to my kid either. But I will have to, one day soon. And I’m glad I have more books, more stories to help us get there.
[Note: I wrote this up last year/summer of 2022, never quite finished it, and never published it as a result. I don’t know if I remember enough here to finish writing this up properly without knitting the socks again. I don’t want it languishing in my drafts and I’m not sure when I’ll feel inclined to write it up as a real pattern. So I’m just gonna publish it anyhow and I hope it helps someone else who wants to play with a fun technique!]
The folk at Knitted Wit had a fun summer bingo this year, and one of the squares was “I tried a new-to-me sock technique” so I decided to try knitting two at a time socks with the socks nested inside each other. One of the people in my old Saturday knitting group used to do this somewhat regularly and I was intrigued. I wasn’t up to knitting full sized socks just to try a technique, so I worked from the knitted mirror socks pattern and scaled it down to 24 stitch mini socks and took out all the colour changes.
Since I couldn’t find anyone else who’d done a tiny version of this, I’m writing up my notes in case you too want to try a new technique but don’t want to commit weeks of your life to doing it!
Tips before you start
Choosing yarns: make sure they look very different. Ideally you want high contrast and not a single speckle that matches. I used one speckle and one solid to help me differentiate and because I was using leftovers from previous projects. You might find it easier to just use two solids for the least stressful experience. It doesn’t matter in the finished project since the socks will be separated, but it’ll make the learning experience easier if you can tell your yarns apart even when you can only see a little stitch sticking out.
Choosing needles: you want sharp needles with long tapers at the tips because p2tog through the back loop is a pain on blunter tipped needles. I used chiaogoo size 1 because it’s what I have on hand that suits the fingering weight yarn I used. I think this pattern would have been frustrating if I’d tried to use my Knit Picks or Addi needles, even though the addis are my usual go-to for socks. I used a long circular and had a “top” and “bottom” needle. Two dpns (with a third working needle) would work just as well.
You’re going to be knitting top-down with the two socks nested, with the outer one inside out. This arrangement keeps the yarns to the correct side of the socks slightly more easily. If you’ve done double knitting before, it’ll feel pretty similar, you just have to be very careful about not crossing your yarns inside the tube.
CO 24 stitches in the round. Do 4 rounds of k1, p1 ribbing. (You could do this two at a time but it’s only 4 rows and this way you get to start on something easier.)
Get a second set of needles, do it again. (Cast on 24 stitches, do 4 rounds of k1 p1 ribbing)
Decide which is going to be sock A, the outside sock that you’re going to purl in reverse stockinette, and which will be sock B, the inside sock that you will knit in regular stockinette. If one of your yarns is a bit thicker than the other, you’ll want it to be sock A because the gauge is going to be slightly bigger and you might as well have the yarn help. This wouldn’t be as important on full sized socks, but it’s noticeable on such tiny ones. (Guess how I know…)
Arrange the two socks on one set of needles so that the stitches alternate. Sock A, sock B, A, B, A, B and so on. I put 24 stitches on one needle (12 of A, 12 of B) to be the top of foot, and the remaining 24 on a second needle to be the bottom of foot.
Move yarn A to the front and B to the back. I hold both yarns in my left hand, so I found it easier to keep A in front with my thumb while working B.
Leg Row: Purl A, Knit B 24 times being careful not to cross your yarns.
Knit for about one thumb width of stockinette/reverse stockinette, checking periodically to make sure your yarns haven’t crossed. My thumb is around 2cm or 3/4 of an inch if you prefer to use a ruler, but since this sock doesn’t have to fit anyone I’m sure your thumb will be good enough too. Or you can just eyeball it.
Go to whichever needle you’ve designated as the bottom and start the heel flap. This will be knit flat over only the bottom needle’s stitches.
Row 1: slip A, slip B, then [Purl A, Knit B] 11 times, turn work.
Row 2: slip B, slip A, then [Purl B, knit A] 11 times, turn work.
Repeat these rows 6 times, so you should have 6 slipped stitches up the side.
You’re going to be doing decreases now, which means you’ll have to rearrange the stitches so two A and two B yarns are next to each other.
Row 1: [purl A, knit B] 7 times, rearrange stitches for decreases, dec A (p2tog), dec B (ssk) turn.
Row 2: [purl B, knit A] 3 times, rearrange stitches dec B dec A turn.
Row 3: [purl A, knit B] …
Continue like this until dec is at end of each row 8? stitches per sock
Pick up 6 stitches along edge of flap, continue as before across sock, pick up 6 on other edge.
You likely will have a little hole at the heel, particularly on the outside socks that are stretched out a bit more. Rather than fussing over it, just plan to sew it closed at the end.
Foot Row (same as leg): Purl A, Knit B 24 times being careful not to cross your yarns.
Knit in stockinette/reverse stockinette until the foot looks long enough to you. I once again used my thumb to measure and made it about the same length as the leg section.
Now here’s the part with the awkward p2togtbl so that you can match the k2tog. If you find it hard, sharper needles will tend to help. Also, since no one’s going to wear these and likely no one will care if the decreases don’t match, you could also just do a p2tog and call it a day if you want. You can graft the last few stitches if you want but these are so tiny that running the end through the last few stitches and pulling tight works fine.
I still have some stuff queued for him and a bunny kit I haven’t started, but I feel like I’ve met the goal regardless. There will always be more fun things to make!
Hand Dyed, Hand Spun
The lighter lavender and peach colours in the gnome above were dyed by my kid, and I also used one of his minis for the egg. I still haven’t gotten around to using my own handspun so that’s still on my list. Maybe doing Tour de Fleece (starting today!) will help get me in the mood for that?
I haven’t even made a dent in this goal, other than finding some yarn for the Lucy Hauge pattern that I bought. I’m going to have to prioritize that shawl for the fall, I think. And I’ve got a half-formed idea to go with a rainbow yarn I got in the spring Gauge Dyeworks club, but I haven’t even swatched that yet so I’m not sure if it’ll fit into the rest of the year.
Right now I’m back to finishing a sweater plus two things I cast on for travel (some Socks on Vacay/Pride socks and a big shawl), plus I’d like to start some socks for my mom’s birthday which should take me to mid August. It’s funny to think that I only have enough time for maybe 3 more shawl-sized projects before the end of the year, but I’m not a fast knitter and I’m planning to do baubles in November then advent/countdown something in December, so that really leaves me Aug/Sept/Oct to do something and each shawl takes me around a month so… not much time left for cables! Maybe I better make sure some of my baubles have cables? Or socks with cables?
Patterns I own
I’m currently working my way through the Golden Poppy Sweater that has been in my queue since it released:
And I started the “Bubbles of Joy” shawl which I bought as a kit intending it for travel in 2019 and then by 2020 I wasn’t doing travel so it’s been sitting in my stash for a while.
The story with the pattern is that it’s supposed to help you capture memories of joy, so I started it and took it on my first trip to Ottawa since 2019. I particularly enjoyed how well it matched an afghan made by my grandmother that my mom’s using in her house now. I’ll try to get the picture up later — wordpress is complaining it’s too big and I don’t feel like dealing with manual resizing right this second.
I’m also currently revisiting the Stumptown Socks pattern which I already owned:
Plus I finished some Glitz Mitts from a book I owned back in January and I finished an advent from 2022 in the beginning of 2023 too so it counts. So the current breakdown of knit/crochet/weaving I have listed on Ravelry looks like this:
4 patterns I owned before 2023
2 plain weavings (no pattern to buy exactly although I did take the course)
2 free patterns (amigurumi heart, a sock pattern I haven’t shown yet)
2 patterns I made up (rainbow + socks, feather shawl)
5 new patterns I bought (the gnome, romi mystery shawl, easter egg, good bear, rcyc mcal)
On the embroidery front, it’s all been stuff from stash including the Constellation Sampler and Floral Necklaces, plus I’ve got a summer sampler and a bee sampler on the go now. (I did buy a couple of extra samplers this year but on average I’m using more than I purchase. Which is definitely not something I can say about my yarn habit.)
So even though it’s only a few patterns, the ratio of “cast on new exciting thing” to “actually use what you have” is feeling pretty good. Plus most of the new things I bought were to go with knitalongs, which scratch a bit of a community itch that’s been a bit hard of late so I don’t regret finding a few opportunities for that!
I’d say 2 goals are pretty much done, the 3rd has some progress, and the 4th has a plan. Not bad!