You might have noticed a glimpse of these in recent posts: they are one of the three pairs of socks on which I sewed in the ends the other day, after doing the same on the big baby blanket.
Here's the story:
Yarn: This is Lucia by Posh Yarns, in Pillar Box red. Lucia is 70% merino, 30% cashmere, so it's hand wash only. So soft and yummy, and it's a really true red.
Pattern: From the immortal Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. If you have a copy, it's the Beaded Rib five-stitch pattern on page 39. The pictured socks are all beautifully blocked; I didn't block mine, mainly to preserve the maximum possible elasticity in the ribbing. I'm very pleased with the way they turned out: they're stretchy and very, very soft.
The sock was knitted toe-up: my first try at that particular technique. The toe and the heel are constructed alike, using short rows with a lot of 'wrap and turn' and a lot of stitch markers. I think of myself as a good knitter and I was surprised and frustrated at how easy it is to lose your place - the stitch markers, which I normally regard as helpful little souls, just compounded the problem. I eventually solved it by charting each row. The line-by-line instructions defeated me and I started the first sock about 8 times before eventually charting. I'm only used to charting for colour work, so it seemed odd to go to all that trouble just for the sake of a bit of shaping, but guess what - with the chart at hand, I finally produced a good-looking toe and it was relatively plain sailing from there.
Most of the actual knitting was done ages ago, last summer, and the socks then sat in my finishing basket for months before having the ends sewn in. They were destined for Justine, to commemorate the publication of her short story in a real book: Tales of the Decongested (it's for sale on Amazon). It's a delightful story about her grandfather who was a travelling sock salesman. As an avid sock knitter, I could imagine the lustrous yarny treasure in his salesman's suitcase. I wanted to make Justine some socks of the type he might have sold, and I knew she'd ask for a bright, clear cherry red. I don't see Justine very often so I knew I had lots of time to sew in the ends.
I finally saw Justine the other night, and gave her a finished, gift-wrapped pair of hand-knit red socks. She padded around in them in her kitchen, looking adorable. Sorry it took so long, Justine!