As you can tell from my absence from these pages, life again overtakes my leisure pursuits.  Still, even though I haven’t had much time to write, I have been able to fit little scraps of knitting into my not-so-copious free time.

First, I knit a pair of replacement socks for Friend Alexx.  They’re replacements because I had made a pair for him over the holidays that failed to fit.  Since my socks come with an unlimited warranty, I was honor bound to replace them.  Friend Alexx requested a pair of heavy hiking/slipper socks – preferably purple variegated.  It took a bit of searching to find a purple mix in DK weight washable wool that didn’t trail off into prissy pink or boudoir lilac.  But I did.  Cleckheaton Tapestry 8 Ply, in Color #4.  The pair is now done and waiting for me to darn in the ends and send them to the recipient.  No pix – they’re pretty standard stockinette in screaming purple, but they’re dense and cushy.

In a coincidence, I stumbled across a briefcase I had been using three years ago.  In it I found a pair of socks I had started for Alexx’s wife, Friend Kestrell.  At that point, Kes was learning to knit and wanted to make socks.  So I decided to make a pattern just for her.  This presented a couple of challeges because Kes is blind.  I wanted to use a simple knit/purl brocade that made a deeply embossed texture, and that would be relatively easy for a new sock knitter to memorize.  Having worked with Friend Rosie (another non-sighted knitter) I also wanted to make a pattern in which one could use feel to determine one’s location.

My best intentions at that time led me to finish out one sock, and make my way through the heel of the second.  Then for whatever reason something happened and I stopped working on the project.  Around that time my job world changed, and the briefcase holding the socks was “retired.” The socks were forgotten in the ensuing turmoil.

In any case when the pair resurfaced,  I had a finished sock but no pattern written down.  I know I had drafted out the textured brocade, but I couldn’t find it on my archives.  Another friend came to the rescue.  My stitchpal Kathryn saves everyhing.  I had shared the original chart with her way back when, and she was kind enough to send me a copy.

But there was a complication.  The chart I sent Kathryn was for a 14-stitch repeat.  My done-sock was worked on 72 stitches – an 18-stitch repeat.  Yes, I had the finished sock, but it can be surprisingly difficult to graph up a piece from as-knitted, especially when the knitted object is done at tiny gauges with a variegated yarn.  But between the sock and the logic of the pattern I was able to noodle it out and continue.  I present both the 14 stitch and 18 stitch repeat.  The 14 fits neatly on any sock worked on 56 stitches.  If you are partial to working with a set of five rather than four needles, you will find that one full repeat will fit on each needle, and each needle will be worked in the same way.  Also, being top-down symmetrical, this pattern wil look pretty much the same for toe up and cuff down socks.

Here’s a set of quick and dirty charts.  Yes, I know that Kes and Rosie would have problems reading a *.jpg chart.  See below for full prose instructions.

Kes’ Brocade – 14 stitch version, transcribed for knitting in the round only

Row 1: (Right Side) P2, K3, (P1, K1)3 times, K2, P1
Row 2: (Wrong Side) P3, K3, P1, K1, P1, K3, P2
Row 3: K1, P3, K3, P1, K3, P3
Row 4: K2, P3, K5, P3, K1
Row 5: K3, P3, K3, P3, K2
Row 6: P1, K3, P3, K1, P3, K3
Row 7: K1, P1, K3, P5, K3, P1
Row 8: (P1, K1)2 times, K2, P3, K3, P1, K1
Row 9: K1, P1, K3, P5, K3, P1
Row 10: P1, K3, P3, K1, P3, K3
Row 11: K3, P3, K3, P3, K2
Row 12: K2, P3, K5, P3, K1
Row 13: K1, P3, K3, P1, K3, P3
Row 14: P3, K3, P1, K1, P1, K3, P2

Kes’ Brocade – 18 stitch version, transcribed for knitting in the round only

Row 1: (Right Side) K3, P4, (K1, P1)2x, K3, P3, K1
Row 2: (Wrong Side) K1, P3, K4, P1, K4, P3, K2
Row 3: K2, P3, K7, P3, K3
Row 4: K3, P3, K5, P3, K4
Row 5: K4, P3, K3, P3, K4, P1
Row 6: P1, K4, P3, K1, P3, K4, P1, K1
Row 7: K1, P1, K4, P5, K4, P1, K1, P1
Row 8: P1, K4, P3, K1, P3, K4, P1, K1
Row 9: K4, P3, K3, P3, K4, P1
Row 10: K3, P3, K5, P3, K4
Row 11: K2, P3, K7, P3, K3
Row 12: K1, P3, K4, P1, K4, P3, K2
Row 13: P3, K4, P1, K1, P1, K4, P3, K1
Row 14: P2, K4, (P1, K1) 3 times, K3, P3

The astute will notice that the thing is symmetrical on two axes.  The 14 stitch repeat mirrors around central stitch #8, and row #7.  The 18 stitch repeat mirrors around stitch #9 and row #7.

And for good measure here’s a close-up showing the final texture.  Or as good a photo as I could manage given my limited photography skills, the dark color and speckled nature of the yarn I used.  Which yarn is it?  I believe it’s Ancient Fortissima from the pre-merger days.  The 100g ball (now long since separated from the ball band) is sort of ragg-style tweedy, with haphazard stripes being produced when one or more of the constituent plies shades off to a new tone.  In real life it’s more deep burgundy/blood red than it is magenta/blue.  The striping effect though isn’t uniform.  Sock #1 has a far more demonstrative striping pattern than does on-the-needles sock #2.

I’m about half-way through the brocaded cuff of sock #2 right now (not shown).  As soon as I’m done, I’ll pack up both pairs along with the finished pattern and send them to my friends.

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