The coffee socks are done! And my husband likes them, despite his frequent commenting about how much purple there is in the colorway. For the record, he chose this yarn over the solid brown.
Pattern: Spey Valley Socks, Nancy Bush, Knitting on the Road
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, Java
Needles: US1 Susan Bates sock kit dpns for sock A, two Knit Picks classic circulars for sock B
Best part(s)? Love the horizontal braid detail. And just look how much yarn was leftover!
The reason that this excites me so has to do with the first socks that I ever knit for him, the Socks That Hated Me.
Pattern: Gentleman's Shooting Stocking with Fluted Pattern, Nancy Bush, Knitting Vintage Socks
Yarn: Knit Picks Essential Tweed, Flint
Needles: started both at once on 40" Addi 0, magic loop, split and knit sock A on Knit Picks 0 dpns, sock B on Susan Bates sock kit dpns, size 0 (yes, I have knit a pair of socks on the same needles before, but what's the fun in that?)
Issues: As stated above, started on Magic Loop. Did not like it. Didn't particularly enjoy knitting the stitch pattern, although I like the way it looks. When I knit the first heel, I was being so careful to keep the stitch pattern on the heel flap that I didn't realize that I was wrapping the stitches on one selvedge when I slipped them, which created a ridge. I knit the gusset anyway, put it on waste yarn and made him try it on. Sure enough, uncomfortable. So I took a deep breath and told myself it was better to knit a heel twice than to knit a pair of socks that wouldn't be worn, and ripped the heel back. Put the socks away for a while. Felt guilty and pulled them back out, finished sock A. Husband tries them on, say's they're a little short. Put sock away. Feel guilty. Pull sock back out, rip toe, add a repeat to instep, reknit toe, start second sock. For the second sock I switched to blunter needles, and this made the knitting considerably more enjoyable (i.e., tolerable) because they didn't split the yarn. Kept telling myself that this second sock never did anything to me, despite it's evil twin, and powered through to give my man a pair of handknit socks. That is, of course, until I ran out of yarn halfway through the second toe. Sigh. I really don't understand this, either. Two socks, two balls of yarn. One is plenty long, the other is, well, plenty short.* We were on a road trip at the time, so I put the socks away until we stopped for the night, and then sat and carefully cut about an inch off of the top of the first sock. (That felt kinda good.) Washed the yarn to get the kinks out, and knit the second toe. Used a sewn bind-off on the cuff of sock A, but it looked kinda messy.* Attempted to do a single crochet edge around the top to neaten it up, but of course ran out of yarn again. Stuffed socks to the bottom of knitting bag and didn't look at them for the rest of the trip. A week or two after returning, carefully cut the second sock to match the first, and did a single crochet border around both sock cuffs. They aren't perfect, but they're good enough for a man who always wears long pants. I think they'd make excellent kindling (self-extinguishing properties of wool aside), but he likes them.
* Incidentally, the Knit Picks website now showcases the Shooting Stocking in Essential Tweed, in Flint no less, and they recommend 3 balls to complete the socks. I don't know what to tell you. Maybe my long skein was an anomaly.
** Have since read in Elizabeth Zimmermann that it is unwise to try to cut around on a single row (not to mention one knit at a very fine gauge!) because you will invariably get 'off.' Instead, snip a single strand and unravel it left and right, trimming the length if necessary, and then rip the cut-off portion from the raw edge. You can believe that's what I'll be doing next time.
In case you were wondering, his third pair is going swimmingly.