Friday, April 27, 2007

free pattern friday: footies

The footie is my most favorite sock style, probably because I wear a lot of cropped pants and skirts with clogs or sneakers. Better than going sockless, the footie lets you show a little colorful sock, avoid blisters and bare your ankles to the warm spring breeze, all at the same time. They're also great for lounging around the house in your PJ's on a chilly morning. Best of all, no yarn purchase is necessary. Just use up some of the leftover sock yarn from your stash. Did I mention they're twice as fast as regular socks?

I almost feel guilty for posting this as a pattern, since many of you battle-worn sock knitters could whip these up without more than a glance, but Anita requested the pattern, and so you all receive. Enjoy!

size: child large (women's medium, men's medium).
* For lots of tips on changing size and gauge, see my Intro to Socks.

  • around 200 yards superwash sock yarn (more for men's size), fingering weight
  • size 1 or 2 DPN's
  • stitch markers in different colors.
The footies in the photo were knit (mostly) using Lana Grossa Meilenweit Colortweed (80% virgin wool, 20% polyamide). I ran out of yarn near the end and finished the second toe with another yarn, for which the ball band is long since lost. See what I mean about using up leftover sock yarn?

gauge: 7 st/in in stockinette stitch.

Cast on 52 (56, 68) st using two needles held together.
Distribute st evenly across 3 needles, place marker, join for knitting in the round. Knit 6 rows in K2P2 rib.

The stitch marker marks the center back of the sock; it will be at the center of the heel as you knit the rest of the sock.

heel flap
K 13 (14, 17) in st st. Turn work.
Slip 1, P25 (27, 33). These 26 (28, 34) stitches will form the heel flap. Place the remaining stitches on 2 DPN's to act as stitch holders until the heel flap is finished.

Row 1: *sl 1, K 1. Repeat from * to end.
Row 2: sl 1, purl to end.

Repeat these last two rows until you have knitted 26 (28, 34) rows for the heel flap.

turn the heel
Sl 1, knit to marker. Sl M, K2, SSK, K1, turn work.
Sl 1, P 5 st, P2tog, P1, turn work.
Next row: Sl 1, K to 1 st before gap. SSK using one st from each side of gap. K1, turn work.
Next row: Sl 1, P to 1 st before gap. P2tog using one st from each side of gap. P1, turn work.

Repeat these last two rows until all heel flap st have been worked. 16 (16, 20) st of the heel flap rem.

heel gusset
Sl the first st of the row, K to end. Pick up 13 (14, 17) st along the left selvedge of the heel flap. PM (using a new color of marker). Knit across held instep stitches, maintaining K2, P2 rib pattern. PM (again, don't use the same color as the "main" center marker). Pick up 13 (14, 17) st along the right selvedge of the heel flap. K to center marker. 68 (72, 88) st rem on needles.

Begin at the center back heel.
Row 1: Knit to 3 st before first M. K2 tog, K1. Sl M, knit in patt to next M. Sl M, K1, SSK. K to end of round.
Row 2: Knit.

Repeat these last two rows, decreasing 2 st on every other rnd, until 52 (56, 68) st rem on needles. Be sure to maintain the ribbing pattern over the instep (the heel gusset is knit in st st).


Work even in patt until sock measures 6 (7 1/2, 9) inches from back of heel (or about 2 inches shorter than overall foot length).

The toe will be knit in st st (no more ribbing). Begin at the center back heel.
Row 1: K to 3 st before first M. K2 tog, K1, sl M, K1, SSK. K to 3 st before next M. K2 tog, K1, sl M, K1, SSK. K to end of rnd.
Row 2: Knit.

Repeat these last two rows, decreasing 4 st every other row, until 26 (28, 34) st rem on needles. Now repeat only row 1, dec 4 st every row until 12 st rem on needles.

Begin at center back heel. Remove M.
Continuing with the same needle, K to 1st M, remove M. Using a new needle, K 6. You should have 6 st on each needle. Now graft the toe closure using kitchener stitch.

Weave in loose ends. Wear with low-top Chuck Taylors on your next Casual Friday.

important notice: This is a free pattern and you are welcome to use it for all the non-commercial purposes you like. However, you may not reproduce this pattern to sell, and you may not sell what you make with it. You may donate what you make with it to charity, and you may use it for charity fundraisers only if 100% of the proceeds are donated to the charity (and by charity I don't mean your kid's college fund). Thanks for understanding!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

false starts

Several times I've sat down to write and been hung up on what to say. I've tried to compose a short memorial, but somehow everything I wanted to say seemed truncated and shallow, like all the well-intentioned but clumsily innacurate newspaper articles about him. I've tried writing about the beauty that has emerged from this terrible crisis, but it felt Pollyanna-ish and again, shallow, to attempt to describe a community's pulling-together in its profound pain and grief. What to say?

Only this, I think: love and friendship are the most important forces in our lives. Don't waste time being angry, feeling guilty or wishing things were different. Just call. Just go over there. Just hold them close and love them openly and without regrets. If you miss someone you love, don't feel guilty for not calling or writing enough. Call, write, tell them you miss them. Love and friendship make all the pain and suffering in this world bearable.

It's too bad that often we don't appreciate the love and frienship in our lives until the pain and suffering force us to take stock of the web of support around us and lean on it, hard. Over the last week I have been kicking myself, again and again, for everything I've taken for granted, every call not made, every chance missed. But I'm also so grateful for the opportunity to wake up, and to see that all the anguish is shared, and that healing will only happen together, through love, and through friendship.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Jason Lundberg has written a very moving and personal memorial to Jamie. And I keep returning over and over to Jamie's beautiful online portfolio.


Sorry for the long absence, especially the long absence from knitting and from the real world, in which Earth Day and a shocking Supreme Court decision on abortion went by unremarked (by me). The real world has seemed a little unremarkable to me, lately, but this will pass. Thanks for being patient.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Hug your loved ones tight tonight. Don't take a minute for granted.

I don't think I'm going to have anything readable to say for a while. Maybe check back with me in a week or so.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

step it up!


Today was the National Day of Climate Action in the U.S. I decided to take action.

Step 1. Make a stencil of a species that is urgently threatened by global warming (besides us humans).

bear stencil

Step 2. My first appliqué.

bear shirt

Step 3. Wear it to the National Day of Climate Action Rally. Yell and scream. Call my congressman.


Step 4. Join with many thousands of others across the country calling for a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions, and an end to the global climate disaster that threatens our future, not to mention that of the polar bears.


Don't go home without learning more about what you can do.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

thanks, pal!

When we got home from work last night a special package was waiting for me...

It was full of little prizes, each one carefully wrapped in pretty tissue papper. Everything was color-coordinated (green!), even the card. A package from my Secret Pal! Yipeee!

She (she?) is very thoughtful. Look what she sent me:

beautiful stitch markers (did you make them, thoughtful pal?)

fancy note-cards (for sending notes to my grandmas)

a book to hold CD's when i go off traveling

and some very very yummy yarn. i love this color! it's one i've never seen before, harrisville "orchid yarn." it's a blend of virgin wool, mohair and cashmere... purrrr....

I am feeling quite spoiled. I am looking forward to using my pretty shiny new stitch-markers. I think they will be much more elegant than the Scünci "munchkin minis" rubber bands I use as stitch markers right now. They will be so elegant that I'll need to dress up a little, and order a glass of champagne. That wouldn't be bad at all.

I am also feeling quite inspired. Bugheart's post yesterday on Sew Green gave me a great idea for my forthcoming Top Secret Project. I'm going to unravel a fabulous plum-colored sweater I got at the clothes swap tonight. I haven't knitted from a recycled sweater before; only felted recycled sweaters and sewn them into something else. Look what Stacie did with recycled knitting this week! Recycling is the new rock & roll.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

a bit of knitting critique

Just when I finished the Pullover Flair a few weeks ago, it suddenly turned rather balmy here. With the premature onset of eighty-degree weather, I began to worry that I wouldn't get to wear the thing until next winter. But then this strawberry-freezing cold snap set in, and major bummer on the strawberries, but hey! I'm wearing the sweater!

Pullover Flair FO

It has a few problems. Quite a few, actually. I won't go into them all here. This won't be my most stylish sweater, but it's warm and comfortable and will be a good companion on many winter evenings to come (you know... in the future). If I were going to knit this pattern all over again, I'd definitely still knit it in the round, bottom-up, but I'd be extra-careful about the decreases that make the raglan sleeve line. In struggling to maintain the ribbing, I got ugly raglan lines. They aren't quite ugly enough that I'm willing to rip out the whole yoke and re-knit it, but they're not pretty.

The other thing is the fiber. If I had it to do over, I think I'd use a lighter-weight fiber as recommended in the pattern, perhaps a cotton/silk blend. The drape of this design would work a lot better in a less-springy fiber. This merino/cashmere/silk blend is too bouncy and makes the flairs stick out in a rather too-perky way. I have a feeling that would be true for any wool or wool blend.

But all told, I'm keeping it. This is the first grown-up long-sleeved sweater I've ever made, and I'm going to use it as a cautionary reminder to myself in the future. Speaking of which...

The Green Gable is coming along... slowly. Very slowly. Other than its pretty little lacy neckline, this thing is just a marathon of stockinette stitch. The K's never end! I'm a bit bored with it. Okay, a lot bored.

miles of stockinette

How many more rows???

Actually, not that many more. I am ever-so-slowly approaching the bottom edge, and the knowledge of what a very comfortable, cute and work-appropriate garment this will be is the only thing keeping me from dropping this thing in favor of the umpty-three other projects I've got doodled in my notebook right now. Sneak preview: octopus. I can't say any more.

I've also got some half-finished cat beds clogging up my knitting basket, and a pair of socks that's been 2/3 done for quite some time. Plus all this great yarn in my stash squeaking at me: knit me! knit me! But I'll resist and get this Gable finished up. The eighty-degree weather will be back before you know it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

kale and a big bunch of narcissus

That's what I brought back today from the Farmers' Market. The downtown Wednesday market is back - hooray! Here's the bouquet I bought, brightening my desk at work, and making my office smell like heaven:


Until last year, we didn't really have a farmer's market in town, except that we did. We have a big giant Official State Farmer's Market with big sellers of wholesale produce, but nothing organic to speak of, and many sellers who are just peddling wholesale produce from wherever.

Last summer our Downtown Alliance coaxed a group of local organic growers to start selling at a Wednesday market in the park just 2 blocks from my office. It became a lunch-time tradition on Wednesdays to go with some friends to pick up a baguette and locally-made cheese, a tomato and some basil and lettuce and eat a little local, organic feast for lunch. How I've missed it all winter!

Today I was there bright and shiny on opening day, with my bouquet and my kale proudly in hand. HWWLLB bought some beautiful rustic bread and fresh mozarella. I can't wait til next week!


Can you stand more exciting news? Today was also our first harvest from the garden. Swiss chard! We'll have some lovely braised chard with our dinner of carrot soup tonight. I also spent about fifteen minutes picking many little green caterpillars off the broccoli (those butterflies are such traitors). I hope that birds enjoy them, they were nice and plump from feasting on my brassica.

I'm really enjoying getting to know my Sew Green compatriots. I love their posts and the incredible diversity of topics and ideas so far. Soon we'll be settling in to regular themes (I hear a rumour that water is going to be theme #1), but for now we're all over the map, and I love it. It's been great fun to spend some time on their home blogs as well, reading about the Dutch Girl's adventures with Project Runway and blurriness with Shari and Lisa.

One other thing: I love these letters between Amisha and Melissa. They have opened my eyes a little wider to the place we inhabit as well.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


I was thinking about an April Fool's post today, but decided to spare you. These were some of my ideas:
  • Photos of the new car I got HWWLLB for his birthday: an H2.
  • Couldn't decide whether to spend my tax return money on ChemLawn or botox.
  • I've quit knitting (too stressful) and taken up golf. Backslid and knitted myself some club covers.
  • Checked into rehab and met Nicole Richie. She's awesome. We gave each other manicures.
  • Twisted an ankle while hiking with HWWLLB, then ran off with cute park ranger who rescued me. HWWLLB is bereft, but the park ranger is a hottie so I don't care.
Aren't you glad I spared you that nonsense?

Instead, I went on a little tour of the backyard with my camera. Moving into a house that was someone else's for fifty years is kind of a treat. We moved in December, so I have been looking forward to spring, to find out what was tucked into these old flowerbeds. Here's what is popping out right now:

This is a long flowerbed that spans the width of the backyard, along the back fence. It's currently full of sorrel and snowdrops.

We'd been wondering what color the azaleas would be - there are a lot of them. Apparently all hot pink!

This vigorous jessamine has actually been blooming on and off since January.

There are Johnny Jump-ups all through the lawn. These are along the driveway.

Dandelions, natch. I love a happy dandelion.


The dogwood tree is new. This was my sister's birthday gift to HWWLLB. Isn't she thoughtful? They are beautiful in the spring, but I love dogwoods best in the fall when they are blazing auburn - I can hardly wait!