I have mentioned before that socks are one of the things that remind me I enjoy knitting. Since living in the Wairarapa they have been a great train project (there is an hour and a half train trip each way for work in Wellington) In 2023 I didn’t spend nearly as much time on the train between only working 2 days a week in the city and driving a lot more during chemo to avoid winter germs. Having done very little knitting even when travelling picking my socks up again and more importantly making progress through complex patterns was a sign my energy levels were returning.

Violets Rising

The pattern – Violets Rising was fourth on my Ravelry queue (September 2009) and was the first pattern I actually bought on Ravelry. I bought it specifically with a variant of this yarn in mind as I wanted a yarn that reflected deep purple violets in green leaves. For some reason violets have always been one of my favourite flowers for as long as I can remember (followed by poppies and tulips). I cast on in Malaysia in August 2018 when I was reviewing sock needles.

green and purple sock cuff on double pointed needles
The first photo back in KL on the DPNs

The yarn – Knitsch sock in one of the very first test colours when we were experimenting, so also 2009. I dyed it and this one wasn’t quite what I wanted as the colour intensity was slightly too bright. It had suffered from being carted around between countries, Aotearoa to Brisbane and back, then to Malaysia and Brisbane and back again in September 2023. There were half a dozen yarn breaks which added some extra ends to weave in – I am not convinced it was moth (no residue on the yarn) but could possibly have been silverfish which can also be fatal to yarn and create quite a clean cut.

Needle options:

These socks were started on 2.25mm Knitpro DPNs – I have a feeling I experimented with Nekos but went back to the DPN. When I picked them up again after collecting them in Brisbane they were about two thirds of the way down the leg of the first sock. After figuring out where I was up to (its not the simplest of lace patterns) I noticed I was making far more rapid progress and was happier settling into the focus of the pattern than I had been for some time. However the sharp points of the wooden DPNs were not comfortable for my post chemo finger tips. As I got to the heel I decided to switch out to Addi Flexiflips (Trios)

This shows the difference in needle lengths between a traditional Flexi flip and a circular.

The Addi points were better but my hands started cramping more quickly than before – for my particular style of combination knitting the short length of a flexi tip just doesn’t work for me. I switched out to an Addi Rocket circular which when I last wrote was top of my list for magic loop socks but a Rocket has a very sharp tip and that wasn’t much better than the wooden DPNs. So the winner was…

focus on three sets of needle tips showing differing points
Needle tips top to bottom – Knitpro Zing, Addi Rocket (Lace tip) normal Addi metal circular

My faithful 2.25mm Knitpro Zing. The tip was about perfect point wise and the circular needle length was great. I had also figured out how to magic loop the pattern and am putting the fact that I couldn’t before down to the grey spot in my pre-surgery brain. I am curious how the Zing DPNs would be in a pattern where that isn’t so simple – there is a Yarn Harlot men’s sock I started and frogged years ago as it needed to be done across three needles.

I was determined to finish at least one knitting project in 2023 and these ended up being it. I finished them on New Year’s Eve.

Extended feet wearing violet and green lace patterned hand knit socks.
Finished socks

What’s next

From a sock perspective I have another iteration (an unrepeatable experiment) of violets in leaves from the same time that I discovered was missing about 10 gms – I have figured out how to add in a yarn in a way that looks planned for the heel and foot. These were a rip back and fresh cast on last year when I was recovering from surgery. And they were cast on using my new favourite needle…

My book recommendation for the week:

The last 18 months I have read some amazing books and I have been thinking about how to create a non-transient place for recommendations. As I started to map out my plans for the year I thought I would have more than enough to add in here each week.

I am going to link books to Bookhub rather than Amazon in support of New Zealand independent bookstores

Welcome to the Hyunam-Dong Bookshop

Welcome to the Hyunam-Dong Bookshop is a gentle read. Someone I follow on instagram commented on needing a knitting palette cleanser after a sweater project hadn’t come out the way she thought it would and I think this book is a bit like that in the reading genre. I chose it because I had been thinking about Korea for some reason and I could envisage this in the area of Seoul we stayed in. This is not an exciting story – it feels more like you are wandering along with the characters as they live ordinary lives and yet even ordinary lives have decision points and difficult transitions. It is a mentally relaxing book rather than a challenging read but satisfying for all that. For me the translation captures the qualities of Asian language so beautifully (not suggesting all Asian languages are alike but there is a common flavour to how English is constructed in translation) It feels like you are sitting in the corner of the bookshop while the book is happening.

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