the aspen socks
Posted on 31 May 2016
So much love for these socks! Of course, I finished them just in time for warm weather, but I’m so excited to wear them on chilly evenings with my Lakeside Pajamas from Grainline Studio. They'll make the perfect pair.
My good friend Lucy and I went to Tolt Yarn and Wool when their Farm to Needle book was released earlier this year and were immediately drawn to the Aspen Socks by Dianna Walla. The pattern is just so classic and beautiful! Who doesn’t need a pair of Nordic inspired socks in their drawer? Lucy and I started our own mini knitalong - drinking wine and watching Harry Potter while working on our socks. Pretty much perfection.
I went back and forth for a bit about whether to make the sock or legwarmer version of these. Realistically, I know I wouldn't end up wearing the legwarmers without also wearing socks to keep my toes warm, I figured I should just take care of it all at once! I'll probably only wear thigh-high socks at home, so practicality wasn’t my main concern. I decided to add the suede slipper bottoms so that they didn’t get too dirty from being worn around the house…I don't have a good track record with keeping white things clean...
I’ve only knit a couple projects that have charts in the pattern, so I was a little intimidated to take this one on, but it was so much fun! I found myself saying “Okay, I’ll just knit until I finish this diamond” or “I’m going to finish this star by Tuesday!” It was a good way to keep myself motivated and to keep working instead of getting the inevitable Second Sock Syndrome like I usually do.
This pattern calls for an afterthought heel. Until now, I had only used an afterthought heel for a Christmas stocking, and I already love it for socks too - it's so easy and straightforward! I've already used the heel construction of the Aspen Socks on two more pairs of socks since I finished these ones. I'm officially an afterthought heel convert.
Blocking these socks proved to be a little tricky – how do you block something so tall?! I read some "tip" online that you should block tall socks while wearing them in the shower...GROSS. Can you even imagine how that would feel? It makes me cringe just thinking about it.
I ended up using my standard sock blockers to hold the shape of the foot, but then pinned the rest of the sock to shape the leg. I steam-blocked them, but I don't think it was quite as successful as a wet block would be for this yarn. The Snoqualmie Valley Yarn is awesome...it's incredibly strong and sturdy, but blooms really beautifully when it's blocked. Mine didn't quite get there with the steam blocking - eventually, I'll probably need to re-block them to get the yarn to bloom a little bit more.
One of the things I love about knitting is that there is always so much you can learn from every project. Each pattern designer has their own special techniques, approaches, and ways to do things. I learned a lot about texture with these socks, especially in the diamond pattern on the back side. By twisting stitches, the shape really pops...it's definitely made me want to play with twisted stitches more in future patterns!
Although the Aspen Socks probably aren't going to be one of the most worn pieces I've made (just in terms of practicality), I am so glad that I went ahead and made them anyways. You can't help but want to curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee when you have them on and they'll be perfect during the winter. Plus, they're just plain fun! They were fun to knit, fun to wear, and I can't wait for some cooler weather before summer hits too hard.