What is January without New Year’s resolutions? I love the promise of a new start, the chance to shift my focus to different projects after the holidays. For those of us in the Northern hemisphere, the still short yet steadily lengthening days and relative cold of winter encourage building a warm nest on a free part of the couch and supplying yourself with a good book, wool, and needles. My thoughts turn back to last January and February, when I took on Thomas Mann’s Der Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain) and embarked upon a series of scarves for myself and for friends. The novel was disappointing, yet another story of a man who projected his own fantastic, illusory ideas onto a woman, refusing to see her as she really was, and who romanticized tuberculosis, which despite better treatment options remains the second leading cause of death by infectious disease worldwide. The scarves, however, turned out quite well.
This year I’m rereading John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, and my focus will be on perfecting my sock technique in what I have officially declared to be The Year of the Sock. I have resolved to knit 15 pairs of socks in 2015. I’ve completed three pairs already and have enough yarn stashed to make at least five more before I need to go scouting for new wool. TC is thoroughly enjoying his Autumn Leaves socks shown above. I am worried how the yarn will hold up because I knit my very first pair of socks with the same yarn. Unfortunately, they didn’t hold up well. The only reason I agreed to use this wool again is because he picked out the yarn, drawn to the colors. The pattern is Woodsman’s Socks by Elizabeth Zimmermann, the radical DIY grandmother of knitting, a mentor to freethinking knitters, a woman who possessed a fine sense of humor. It is fantastic when you find a pattern that you don’t need to modify at all, and these fit TC perfectly. They knit up so quickly that I don’t think I’ll get upset when they wear out and need to be replaced.
The socks above don’t count – they were finished last year and merely serve as a placeholder for a picture of the other two finished pairs of socks. The latter are made of extremely warm Icelandic wool (to the tune of Swanee: Lopi, how I love thee) left over from sweater projects. One pair is for TC, who must have been good, and the other is for me. The pattern, Leistar, required tinkering with; I ended up knitting the child’s size for me and the women’s size for TC. Pictures of them will be forthcoming when the replacement lens for our camera arrives. It fought valiantly but lost when confronted with Wisconsin wind and snow. The last picture it took gives you a better idea of how I perceive the world when I don’t have my glasses on.
So three pairs of socks down and 12 to go in the next 11 plus months. I am hard at work on pair #4, black ribbed wool/nylon knee-highs. They represent one small step toward replacing the cotton blend knee-highs and sundry wool socks with holes that I got rid of as I tidied up my wardrobe under the influence of this post. No, I don’t plan to make 12 more pairs for me. That would be overkill, plus my newly organized sock drawer won’t be able to handle more than four more pairs. I’m confident there are people out there who would love to have a nice pair of handknit socks and when the time is right, they will make themselves known.
My second knitting resolution for 2015 is to knit six sweaters including at least one turtleneck, one cardigan, one pullover, and one involving steeking. I have enough yarn lurking in the depths of my newly organized wardrobe to make six sweaters, which was my sweater average in 2014, the year of the frog (to frog = to ravel a project). I reused yarn from three of my own sweaters to make one new one for TC (above) and two different ones for me (one shown below).
My last two knitting resolutions are to learn brioche stitch and to knit something using lace weight yarn. What are your resolutions for 2015? Hope your feet stay warm and you find a good book to tide you over until spring.