Birthday Socks ... all caught up

Two weeks ago I shared the idea of Birthday Socks, you can read it here, but the punchline was, rather than clumping up all my knitting gifts around Christmas, I would spread them out with people's birthdays.

The other thing I mentioned in that post is that I had a pair due on January 24th for Jim's (my brother-in-law) birthday, and a way past overdue pair for my mother.

Well this weekend I managed to finish up both pairs!


My mom's socks are a tad bittersweet, KnitPicks decided to discontinue the Felici sock line, however, they never communicated this to their buyers, so most of us thought new colors would be coming out this spring.  Well Felici sport was discontinued a year ago, but now the fingering is going too. As the current year colors didn't really hit me, the way they have in past years, so I didn't really buy much from this year, however I did buy 2 balls (enough for a pair of socks) of each of the remaining colors that I didn't have in my stash already.  Now, I am way over stashed in Felici, but I expect my current stash will last me long enough to be willing to shell out for hand-dyed self striping yarn (which is not nearly as cost effective as Felici is).

Also, I feel like I've come full circle.  The very first pair of socks I attempted were with Felici Sport and using the Jaywalker pattern. They were completely the wrong size so they got frogged and I made different pair from the yarn, but this pattern has stuck with me as one I wanted to knit.


Jim's pair represent much more excitement for me, I designed them myself.  I'm currently working on getting them written up, (and as the Queen of the run on sentence this is a bit of a challenge for me) and then tested and then hopefully published in the spring.  With their simple knit/purl patterning they are plain enough for most guys (and to make them easy to memorize) but complex enough to keep the knitter engaged. 

So with those to obligations knits done, and a shawl I've been (not) working on since summer frogged, I have a clean knitting slate.  As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling guilty about embroidering instead of knitting, and now that I'm free to go back to embroidery I have regained my knitting mojo and just want to keeping on knitting.  

I've cast on a new hat, using the Sweet Georgia pattern North Wind Hat.  I made one of these last winter, and I LOVE it, however I made it from a doubled up silk/merino fingering weight yarn and so while it is nice and warm the band has all sacked out and despite a reblocking last weekend I can't make it tight enough around my ears for deep winter.  So I have a skein of aran weight yarn in my stash in a one-off color that is getting tagged in for this project.

I have also started a new embroidery sampler, Satin Stitches.  I'm terrible at satin stitch so this will be great practice, although I don't think it will go as quickly as the last two.

My color palette for my next embroidery project

My color palette for my next embroidery project

So hat, embroidery, and a short wait for some awesome new yarn that I hope to get by the weekend for a pair of socks for me and a new shawl.

Birthday Socks

I know many knitters punish themselves between October and December 24th to make Christmas gifts for the knit worthy (and not so knit worthy) friends and relatives.  While I have many family members who would welcome a knit gift, I'm terrible at deadline knitting.

So instead of making all my knit gifts due at once, I've switched over to the Birthday Sock system, where those who have earned the right for knitted socks get a pair around their birthdays.

I started doing birthday socks for my mom in 2011.  Not only were they the first pair of birthday socks, they were only the third pair of socks I had ever knit.They were not a success. I'm not sure if it was the yarn or the gauge or the knitting, but she always found the socks really bumpy on the soles of her feet.

The next year was more successful.  This may have something to do with the fact that it was the 11th pair of socks I had knit in 2012.  She quite likes this pair and I get some joy out of knowing that my mom has a pair of stripey hand knit socks in her drawer.

Sokka Socks (Ravelry)

This year's pair was not what I had planned. I had planned on making her a pair of Jaywalker's in Felici Cochineal (a yarn she had spotted in my stash and called dibs on), however when it got to be Christmas and I hadn't even turned the first heel, I went to plan B and gave her one of my Felici Sport pairs.  For those who didn't get to enjoy the wonder that was KnitPicks Felici Sport, this is a magic yarn.  It self-stripes but is a heavier weight yarn which makes for warmer, socks (and if you knit it at fingering gauge makes socks that don't show any wear after dozens of machine washings and dryings).

I'm not as self sacrificing to use up on of my few remaining skeins of Felici Sport on my mother (who is a rock-star who I love greatly), but it also happened that I managed to make the feet a tad too long and they fit her perfectly.

Her other pair are still on the go. I'm currently working on reducing the gusset on the second sock, so I have just two feet and toes left to knit on that pair, so I'm thinking she might get them for Mother's Day and I will do another pair for her for her birthday in October.

Now, onto the reason I'm talking about this, my brother-in-law Jim's birthday is this Friday and I think he is only going to be getting one sock.  I gave it a good go to have a pair done for him, but a few changes (including me designing my very first pair of socks for him using a new-to-me yarn) have held me up.  

However, I still think the birthday socks idea has merit.  I get to knit socks, something I love deeply, without causing my sock drawer to overflow and because my knit-worthy family members have the decency of spreading their birthdays around the year (January, May and October) I have a fighting chance of getting all the pairs made without making myself miserable.

I already have Carla's birthday pair all lined up. Also, because she likes an afterthought heel on her socks, I will have an excuse to try a very cool technique I haven't used before and know that they will fit the recipient reasonable well.

So what about you?  Do you try to do the Christmas knitting thing or do you spread your gift knitting out over the year?  Or are you one of those who is always knitting for Christmas so when it comes time to give gifts you just have to dive into your gift box and the knitting is all there waiting for you?