My first foray into Lara Neel’s excellent Sock Architecture book (and my seventh pair for 2015) were the Bootstrap socks. Why these socks now? Well, I heard about an idea that seemed fun, called the Personal Mystery Sock Club. You take sock yarn from your own stash and make mystery grab bags, such that random drawing determines which pair you knit next. While I swore I’d never set a goal as ludicrous as knitting 12 pairs of socks in a year, by May I already had 6 pairs done. So I took 6 skeins of sock yarn – some new and shiny yarn, some ancient stash, and a mix of yarn I intend to be socks for me and for other people, at least one of which will be a Christmas gift – and put them in 6 brown-paper lunch bags. Then I let my 3-year-old draw.
The first skein he picked was the Knitting Boutique‘s Anacostia fingering in the Amish Farm colorway, a lovely variegated orange that was a birthday gift this year from my best friend. I’d been eager to try out some new heels from Lara’s book, which includes instructions for individual heels and toes but also includes whole sock patterns. I’d been seeing the Bootstrap socks everywhere – in fact, my brain more often than not thinks of them as “Bootstrap Bacon” socks, thanks to Knitting Daddy’s version. Additionally, the Balbriggan heel is just so different from a anything I’ve ever tried.
I knit these on US size 1 (2.25 mm) needles at 9 stitches per inch over 64 stitches, a smaller needle and tighter gauge than I’ve ever knit before. However, I wanted a tight, sturdy fabric since I plan to wear these in my hiking boots and because they are 100% Merino with no nylon content. They knit up really quickly, and turning the heel was lots of fun. However, I have to confess that I don’t love the Balbriggan heel on my foot. The heel depth and the way it hugs my high arches are great, but I can feel the line under my foot. It’s not so annoying that I won’t wear these socks, but I certainly won’t knit it again.
The yarn seems to be doing well. The variegation is lovely, with no pooling. It feels hard-wearing. It wasn’t the softest yarn I’ve ever felt, but it wasn’t not soft, if that makes sense. It’s very smooth and softened up nicely after blocking. Besides, soft yarn in socks usually pills or wears out quickly. Good thing I liked it, since I have three more skeins of Anacostia fingering in my stash.
So that’s pair 7 done. My son drew the next yarn, which turned out to be some Lana Grossa Meilenweit Colortweed that has been in my stash for 8 years. Whoops. The Personal Mystery Sock Club is making me knit yarn that I wouldn’t choose for my next project, yet I bought it for a reason, and I still like it enough not to destash it. I’m loving this little experiment! Hermione’s Everyday Socks, anyone?