Thursday, March 27, 2014


Socks Underway

Sunrise approach to Key West
Socks, socks and more socks have been knit in the last few weeks. First, there was plenty of time to play with the double-pointed needles while we were underway from Honduras to the USA. It was too rough to do much else except sit down, clip on to the boat, and knit. But also, as we got farther north it actually got a little chilly out in the wind at dawn! Perfect conditions for playing with wool!

We went digging around in our cubby holes on the boat and found some old clothes that haven't been worn in a very long time. Proof? Here's a photo of me at the helm maneuvering through the ship channel on approach to Key West (yes we had to hand-steer that last leg) wearing a LONG-SLEEVED t-shirt! Yowza! And not only that - it was layered over another cotton tank top!

I'm still working on my "Knit 52 pairs of socks in 52 weeks" challenge so all these combined factors meant that several (as in 7) pairs have been completed since I last shared my progress.

Self patterning + white
Now, you might think I'm a little optimistic to think that I can knit that many (104) single socks in a year, but if you consider that these socks can be any size then perhaps you'll consider it feasible too. I may be nuts to try, but I'm not stupid. Many of the socks I've been knitting are in child sizes because they are not only needed at the orphanages in Kazakhstan, but they require far fewer stitches, thus hours to make.

Most of the yarns in this last batch come from the past donations from my fellow knitting retreat campers. I get a kick out of trying to combine the leftover yarns to make something that a kid wouldn't mind wearing.
Two tonal yarns combined

These first brightly colored socks were knit in one 24-hour period! I actually wore off the skin on one of my knitting fingers working these while underway at the helm.  It was a little challenge-within-a-challenge just to see if I could do it. No, my finger tip has yet to heal as I'm still in a knitting frenzy. The first solution was to use band-aids on that finger so that I could still knit.
But band-aids don't last long - I keep getting them wet as I wash my hands so often on this salty boat-house.

Finger sleeve
What to do? I tried to use a plastic & leather thimble for quilters but it was too thick and made knitting difficult. I even tried changing my knitting technique to not use that sore finger. It worked, but the knitting was slow and I got cramps in my fingers.

Glitter blue + white
Leather. That was the solution. I happen to have some scraps of leather onboard (what? of course I do, I'm a crafter) and so I made my own little finger protection. I cut a little strip of leather about 1/2" wide by a little less than 2" long. I punched a hole in each end and threaded an elastic cord thru them. A couple of knots tied in the ends and voila! a finger protection sleeve.

What I didn't do is share all of this with Jonesy, so when he found my finger protection loose in the dinghy he quickly tossed it overboard thinking it was some form of nasty organic trash. I sadly watched it float off. OK. Make another one. So I did.
Anyway, here's a photo of my newest knitting tool. By using this I was (and still am) able to continue on my knitting adventures.

5x1 Ribbed Socks
I'll just add the photos below of the finished socks. Although no patterns were used (other than what is in my head), I did write up a little pattern for the green socks with the wide ribbing for the Holiday Mystery Gifts group members. After completing our "Learn to Knit Socks Knitalong" some of the more adventurous knitters are yearning to add some stitch patterns to their socks. There are a couple of tricks that need to happen to properly line up the stitches for a visually attractive sock so I decided to start writing up some of these easier-to-knit patterns.

Big socks w/leftover solids
I like to show how the ribbing pulls in the fabric of the sock making it look way too skinny. But when the sock is worn, or put on a sock blocker, then you can see how it really looks and feels.
Cuff pocket socks

These pink/white/purple socks are a kinda wild combination of leftover self-patterning yarns with a little twist...there is a secret pock in the double cuff. The buttons are functional, not just decorative. Into this cuff you can slip a little treasure. I put a small coin from one of the countries that we've visited in the cuff as a surprise for the kid who selects these next winter.

Once these socks are knit and all the loose yarn tails are carefully woven in (using the duplicate stitch technique), they are washed, blocked, dried, measured, labeled with the foot size, recorded in the database of the Mittens for Akkol organization, photographed and finally put away in a special cubby.
Living on a sailboat does present a problem when it comes time to find a space to dry socks. My favorite solution is to simply hang them over the hand-hold rails on the ceiling in our salon. Heck, these are mounted so high that neither Jonesy or I can comfortably use them anyway so the socks are out of the way. The open hatch provides some breeze to help with the drying, and I get to admire all the pretties as I dream up other ways to use up the sock yarns on the boat.

Life is good.

Gorgeous socks, Terry. Hope your finger is healing. Are you going to share directions for your "secret pocket cuff" to the HMG sock knitters? Cute idea! ;-)Glad you had a safe trip back to the USA. I love traveling with you vicariously. Thanks for sharing. Love ya, Marilyn in CA
I have used NuSkin, for covering blisters/cuts and it stays on pretty well. Or just even some super glue. I also shared your blog with "Karen in the woods" who blogs and is eventually returning to motor-homing without a home. She is a great sock knitter and weaver and also has an antique socknitting machine. And no her blog is not a spam sight like yahoo thinks. Think she will contact you.
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