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Socks socks baby...VANILLA socks socks baby

I've been an avid crocheter for more than a decade and really didn't have much desire to knit until a few years ago. I tried to crochet socks but I didn't like how the material came out. It had nothing to do with the pattern or the yarn. Both were great. It was a personal preference thing. I prefer a knitted sock over a crocheted sock. I know. Shock and awe, right?! I felt the same way.

So I picked up my needles again and began tinkering with the knitting and the purling. After about 14 years, I remembered how to cast on and work the knit stitch, but I still couldn't get the hang of purling. Thank goodness for YouTube! It was the one thing I didn't have all those years ago and I was thankful to have it then to guide me through the purl stitches.

After making a few knit projects, I took the plunge and made my first pair of socks using Merino Nylon Fingering from Yarn Enabler. I read through a few basic sock patterns and settled on My Favorite Vanilla Socks by Meaghan Schmaltz. Love love LOVED it!! It's a very simple, straight forward pattern with no charts, which is just what I needed (knit charts and I aren't getting along right now but I will talk about that some other time). This first pair isn't perfect but they are just right for me and that's all that matters. The yarn is cozy and while they're a bit long on me, they're a dandy pair of socks. This first project set me up for the knit socks that I've wanted for ages using my skein of Simple Sock from The Lemonade Shop in Stormy Day.

I first got to know The Lemonade Shop's rock star, Heather Rhoads, when I began buying her crochet hooks with adorable polymer clay tops. My favorites are a wee little sheep I named Baahb and a handsome garden gnome I refer to as Gnorman. In 2014, though, Heather switched gears into dyeing yarn in her Castle Rock, Colorado studio. Her keen eye for color, admiration of all things candy sweet and her inner child of the 80's carries through in every skein.

I've had this skein of Simple Sock in my stash since October of 2014. I know...seems like a while but believe me, it's not as long as others in my deep fortress of fiber. In fact, I still have my very first skein from Heather, a lovely hank of Grey Speckled, that I'm holding on to for a special sock project (don't ask me what that is; I'll know it when I see it).

I've spied a bit on people making all sorts of wonderful projects with this yarn and it's little blips of rainbow happiness. One of my favorites are the vanilla socks where people purl the rainbows instead of knitting them. I would love to make a pair like that but haven't been able to decide between the colorways Blue Fluffy Unicorn, Bad Day or Undies. Another is the Sockhead Slouch Hat by Kelly McClure. The rainbows stripe so nicely with this pattern. Plus, Kelly specifically notes that it's a rookie knitter friendly pattern so, of course, it's on my short list to make sooner than later.

But this magnificent skein with its little streams of color was meant to be delicately stitched into a pair of plain Jane vanilla socks that I would soon fall madly in love with.

Simple Sock comes in a 438 yard (100 gram) skein and is a 2 ply, 80/20 blend of Superwash Merino Wool and Nylon, making it ideal for...well...simple socks! It's equally great for more intricate patterns with cables and other designs which are currently beyond my personal knitting ability. Someday...though...someday, I will cable! But I'm a-ok with good old vanilla for right now.

So about this fabulous pattern...

When I gave myself the goal of knitting socks, I had no idea the decisions I was going to have to make before casting on. Do I use circular needles or DPN's? Do I do two at a time or one at a time? Toe up or cuff down? What kind of heel should I knit?


I read feedback from others on Ravelry about their first pairs of socks and also consulted some friends about how they started. Of course, there is no one good answer; it's what you feel most comfortable with pursuing. I decided to go cuff down on DPN's. And that's when I chose the My Favorite Vanilla Socks pattern.

Meaghan's instructions are AWESOME and absolutely perfect for my uber basic knitting skills. She's written the pattern to use the Magic Loop technique but I haven't gotten the hang of that yet. The DPN's were more my speed and her pattern is still easy to follow with this preference adjustment. When I made my first pair of socks, I started them on size 2 needles but found that that my stitches needed to be tighter. I sized down to 1.5's for both pairs. This pattern also features a modified Eye of Partridge gusset heel which I found easy to follow and very comfortable to wear. The toe closes with the Kitchener Stitch. I still need to practice it a bit but it worked out well both times (whew!). And did I mention that this pattern is free? Such a wonderful gift! Thank you, Meaghan!

Can I tell you how soft these socks are?! The yarn knits up so smoothly and with superb stitch definition. Very comfortable to wear, this project has me craving more Lemonade Shop yarn! With my budget being tight right now since the Chicago Yarn Crawl and Stitches Midwest are just around the corner, I have to settle on putting my favorite colorways on my wish list.

In the mean time, I'm digging my first two pairs of knit socks! I can now add sock knitting to my list of post-apocalyptic life skills.

Shop the dyers mentioned in this post!

You can find both The Lemonade Shop and Yarn Enabler on Etsy.

Also, Meaghan Schmaltz's My Favorite Vanilla Socks pattern is available for free download on Ravelry.

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