The Dissertation Socks

Over the past ten or so weeks, I’ve been busting tail to finish up my dissertation. For six of those weeks, Aidan was already in Cincinnati starting his new job, which left me alone in our apartment with nothing but our cats and my writing-related guilt and anxiety. It sucked about as much as you’d imagine. One day when our landlord stopped by to take some pictures of our place, she asked me, “So what do you do to let off steam and relax while you’re doing all this writing? Just drink a lot of beer?” Yes. But also, re-watch all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and knit socks.

Stack of Handknit Socks

Socks are like my knitting homeplace–they are how I developed so many of my knitting skills early on and they are the thing I come back to when I need an easy, feel-good project. (I have similarly romantic thoughts about Buffy. Season Five is an amazing piece of television, even though I can’t stand Dawn–it’s just beautifully written. And that musical episode in Season 6! Anyway…) I felt myself drawn back to sock knitting when the pressure to finish the diss hit hardest, and then I just kept on knitting tubes and turning heels until the writing was done. All in all, I finished six pairs.

Pair #1: Denim Socks

Denim Ribbed Socks

  • Made for: Me
  • Pattern: A Nice Ribbed Sock from Glenna C.
  • Yarn: Regia 4-ply Terra in Denim (discontinued)

Pair #2: Blue Yonder Socks

Blue Yonder Tonal Socks

  • Made for: Me
  • Pattern: Top-down, boring stockinette
  • Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in the Blue Yonder Colorway
  • Notes: I salvaged this yarn from a scarf I made a few years ago but rarely wore. I didn’t really like wearing this bright blue near my face–it suits me better as a cheery pair of socks.

Pair #3: Ringwood Socks

Plum Ringwood Socks

  • Made For: Me
  • Pattern: Gentleman’s Half Hose in Ringwood Pattern from Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks
  • Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in Lost in Plum
  • Notes: This yarn was also salvaged from a scarf I never wore. I didn’t strictly follow Nancy Bush’s pattern–I really just drew on the 2×2 ribbed cuff and ringwood stitch pattern, but substituted my own cast on numbers and heel and toe shaping.

Pair #4: TMNT Socks

Socks in Stroll Tonal Canopy

  • Made for: Aidan
  • Pattern: Improvised top-down socks in 2×2 ribbing worked over 72 stitches
  • Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Canopy

Pair #5: Spike Socks

Ribbed Socks in Stroll Tonal Train Station

  • Made for: Aidan
  • Pattern: Improvised top-down socks in 2×2 ribbing worked over 72 stitches
  • Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Train Station
  • Notes: I love this yarn! I want to order another skein to make myself a pair of socks with. And maybe a second skein for a scarf or cowl?

Pair #6: Drusilla Socks 

Zigzagular Socks in Stroll Tonal Gypsy

  • Made for: Me
  • Pattern: Zigzagular socks
  • Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Gypsy
  • Notes: It’s nice that this pattern has a few different sizing options, but if you knit these at the recommended pattern gauge it seems like you would end up with sock that has zero ease, which just makes for a baggy sock. My foot circumference is 9″ and I cast on per the instructions for the 9″ size with smaller needles that were giving me 8.5 stitches an inch (pattern gauge is 8 stitches per inch) and it was clear about 4″ in that these were going to be way too wide despite my tighter gauge. I ripped back and cast on again for 68 stitches, which required adjusting the numbers for the rest of the pattern but resulted in a much better fit. I was also pleasantly surprised at how colorfast this yarn was. I was expecting a bowl of pink water when I blocked them, but the yarn didn’t bleed at all.

I’m honestly surprised to say this, but I don’t even feel burnt out on sock knitting at this point. If I had more sock yarn in my stash, I’d probably just keep chugging along. But I’m out of sock yarn and have once again witnessed the final destruction of the Sunnydale Hellmouth, so I’ve switched gears and am now watching Grace and Frankie while I knit up Bristol Ivy’s Winterlong cowl.

Our movers are coming today and it will be almost two weeks before our stuff arrives at our new place. Naturally, I’m bringing about three months’ worth of knitting with me when I drive down with the cats. I’m looking forward to lots of knitting and no writing.

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11 thoughts on “The Dissertation Socks

  1. Those are really nice socks. I love the colors that you have. Are you planning to do anything with your leftover sock yarn? You could always make a scrappy sock out of all those colors to get another pair of socks out of the mix.

    • I haven’t decided what to do with the leftovers yet. I know a few people having babies in the coming months, so I was thinking about making a few newborn hats, but the idea of scrappy socks might win out!

  2. Knitting and BTVS, a match made in heaven. Still watch all the reruns on TV, even though I can speak all the parts of most of the episodes……such a well written show (we won’t talk about the last season….)

    Karen

  3. Being partial to reds, I’m very drawn to the socks you made using the Gypsy tonal colourway. The pattern choice is great for showing off the beautiful yarn!

  4. I’m so behind in my blog reading because I was away all last week and part of the week before scoring AP essays in Kansas City, so I’m just now reading this, but I had to say something because I’m watching Buffy for the first time right now and I’m on season 5! I don’t like Dawn either, but I think the story involving her is so interesting. I love your Spike and Drusilla socks!

  5. Pingback: Moving and Knitting | Sweet Alchemy

  6. I knit the zigzagular socks with the same yarn! They turned out way to baggy for me so my friend got them (she is thrilled when I do this). I liked the pattern and I liked the yarn so I think I need to knit another pair for myself.

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