Handspun Hurry-up Holiday Socks for Hubby

My husband is one of the most low-maintenance people I’ve ever known. He almost never wants anything more than what he already has, and he rarely feels he needs anything either; he certainly never wants anyone to go to any trouble for him. As someone whose temperament is rather the opposite of this, I find this quality in him admirable. However, it makes gift-giving a huge challenge.

This includes gifts of the handknit variety. In a decade of knitting, I have made him the following: 2 hats, 1 sweater, and 1 vest. The end. That’s it. The only reason he let me make him two hats is that he lost the first one (sometime after I made the second one, he found the first one; he tried to give the second one away, since he didn’t feel he really needed it, but I wouldn’t let him). The sweater, early in my knitting career, was an unmitigated disaster, though he did try to make me feel better by wearing it once or twice.

I wanted to knit him something for Christmas, but the question was what. I didn’t have the time for a sweater, he doesn’t like mittens at all (they are not utilitarian enough for him – he wants basic, functional gloves), and he has less than zero interest in a pair of slippers. When he’s not wearing nice dress socks for work, he prefers to walk around the house barefoot (this is a thing with all three of the guys I live with, and I will never understand it). Regardless, I decided to knit him a pair of socks.

I selected a yarn I spun in 2013, one of the first on my then-new Cherry Matchless.
Tour de Fleece :: Day 1

176 yards chain-plied Pigeonroof Fiber Studios Superwash Merino in “Calico.” I had intended to spin something finer than aran weight, but I was still getting used to spinning in double drive (something I still don’t feel super-comfortable with – I spin almost exclusively in scotch tension).

I dug this yummy yarn out of my stash, made a gauge swatch, and then used David’s Toe-Up Sock Cookbook, as I usually do, to determine all my sock numbers. I’ll tell you what, aran weight socks on size 5 needles with 36 stitches are fast. I decided to make them even faster by employing the same technique I used with my son’s socks – I made the cuff 3×1 garter rib. Five days later, BOOM, a pair of socks.

handspun hubby socks
Here they are Christmas morning (hence the Christmas mess in the background). He opened them and immediately began wearing them.

I did that thing again, where every modeled shot I took was either blurry, or had poor lighting, or both.

photo 1-10

photo 3-6

photo 2-10

But you get the idea.
photo 2-8

I love, love, love the earthy tones of this yarn.
photo 3-5

I was very, very happy with how these socks turned out. I have never gone wrong using David’s sock calculations. The fit of these is absolutely spot-on. And I’m thrilled with how they look.

in situ

And the best part is, he wears them all the time. They have been totally perfect as housesocks during this cold, cold winter. He totally loves them.

We were both a bit surprised by how much he loves these socks. All this time of knitting, and I could’ve been making him socks, but neither of us had any idea he would like them or wear them. So not long ago, I was enthusing over how, now that we know, I can make him handspun, handknit socks all the time. Perhaps I should have expected his low-maintenance response: “Why? I already have a pair.”

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knitted, gifted :: The Fisherman’s Wife (Cowl) + Whitefish Point Armwarmers

20131226-112114.jpgThis is my stepson’s adorable girlfriend and she rocks so hard. In addition to many other things I love about her, she also has a true appreciation for things that are handmade (as a massage therapist, she understands the care and energy that go into working with your hands). So when my stepson showed me a picture of a cowl that she had indicated on Facebook that she liked, I knew what to do.

First, I got to work reverse engineering it – I thought perhaps it was a neck warmer from a store, rather than a handknit; the picture on Facebook didn’t indicate. But before long, I found a pattern for it – The Fisherman’s Wife on Ravelry.

The Fisherman's Wife

The Fisherman’s Wife

This knit is about as fast and easy as they come. I rarely knit with super-bulky yarn, but when I do, I am astonished all over again at how quickly it knits up. If you don’t mind the feeling of knitting with tree trunks, it’s pretty fun. I used Cascade Magnum, which I’d never used before, and I really liked it.

After that, I decided to create some armwarmers to go with it, so, as I’ve already mentioned, I designed these Whitefish Point Armwarmers.

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I think she likes them:

cuteness

cuteness

I also designed some boot toppers (pattern coming soon), but I only managed to get one of them knit before Christmas (so the gift is coming soon, too). This continues a long tradition of mine, of giving partially-knit gifts. Sad but true.

aren't they adorable?

aren’t they adorable?

It was very fun to give gifts so well-received. Her gift to me included a gift certificate for a massage, so as you can imagine, that was mighty well-received, too!