the unseen

I finished my Sunday Swing socks, which are kind of a Frankensock because I used the body pattern of the Sunday Swing Sock and the heel/gusset pattern and the toes from the Sleepy Hollow socks. I think they came nice.

I don’t think I chose a good yarn for this pattern. You lose the “swinginess” of the pattern in the way the yarn changes color. They’re good socks, though, and I love how they fit.

When I showed the first finished sock to my mom-prayer-group (the other two members who were there happened to also knit) I explained about the yarn. One of them said, “No, it’s beautiful.” Β And the other took the sock into her hands, turned it over, looked for a while at it, and then said, “Your tension is very even.”

(If you care enough to see that for yourself, you can click the photo above and it’ll give a larger view.)

It surprised me that this was what she noticed, but at the same time, it was exactly the thing an experienced knitter would observe. Not the color of the yarn, nor even the pattern, but the way I’d knit it up.

Thinking about it later, I’m convinced that’s how it works in our souls as well. We’re not experienced craftsmen (craftspeople?) at the making of a finished soul. We know ourselves, and that’s about it. We can’t help the raw materials we’re given to start with, and extra incidentals are like the patterns we use to model ourselves.

But an expert creator would look at us an take note of the way we build ourselves up, the way we cultivate our spirit, the choices we make as we live our lives and bring ourselves to maturity. We look at ourselves and say, “This was a bad choice, and that wasn’t ideal,” and God says, “But look at how you worked with what you had.” And then notices things about ourselves that we didn’t think to note during the process.

At any rate, the socks are cozy, and they match my son (whose eye still looks puffy from conjunctivitis. Don’t your eyes just itch looking at him?)


  1. Ivy

    Poor kiddo. πŸ™

    The socks are fabulous. The first thing I noticed was the color, and the second, the pattern. What yarn is that?

    I’ve knit that pattern twice, and the colorways really matters. I don’t think they’ll work in a solid color (too plain) but the purple ones I have are way too busy. The red ones have longer runs and fewer colors and that works. They were designed for a yarn that has two colors, evenly distributed, and they work especially well with that. I think you have a good colorways for that pattern–enough to keep it interesting, not so much to overwhelm the lace.

    I’m not sure I’d notice tension with something like socks unless it was crazy off. You’re knitting at such a tight gauge by necessity, it’s next to impossible to not have even tension.

    1. philangelus

      It’s not really that tight, though.

      At any rate, the yarn is Colinette Jitterbug. It’s a little thicker than regular sock yarn but that was fine because even though the gauge was off, I knit a smaller size sock than I’d normally make for myself, and it all worked out. πŸ™‚

      1. Ivy

        Socks are always knit to a tighter gauge than most garments for strength.

        Once, in my early days of sock knitting, I picked up some fingering weight yarn. The ball band called for a gauge of 6 stitches to the inch on size 4 needles. I got gauge and started planning.

        Typically, ball bands give the sweater gauge, not the sock gauge, and I didn’t know that at the time. Socks go down two to three needle sizes. I should have been using size 1s to get a tight, firm gauge. The socks were pretty and done quickly and they wore straight through in three hours.

        1. philangelus

          These socks wanted to be 8 sts per inch and I think I ended up with 7.5 sts per inch. So not terribly off, but enough to give me some extra room. Which my duck-feet need. πŸ™‚

  2. cricketB

    I think it’s a good balance. I see the yos and the general feel of how the columns dance, but I can’t quite see enough to reverse-engineer the decreases. It stays a mystery. The lines from the colour jump just a bit at the yos, and angle a bit at what I think are the decreases — again, teasing the eye, drawing it to the details. Very pretty.

    1. Ivy

      The pattern is great fun. It’s from Knitty. Your decreases line up, moving one stitch closer to the start of round each time. Your YOs do the same with a plain stockinette gap between them.

  3. HannahG

    Just curious, how did you learn to knit and what resources would you recommend for a beginner?

    1. philangelus

      Ivy is a good resource fora beginner. πŸ™‚ She has videos on YouTube teaching a beginner to knit.

      I used “Knitting And Crocheting For Dummies” as a starter, made a lot of mistakes, got knowledgable people to correct me when I could find them in person, used the videos, and made more mistakes. πŸ™‚

      THere are a lot of learning to knit websites out there, though. Ivy…? Cricket?

      1. HannahG

        Thanks, I’m interested in your stories of how you learned to knit, resources, and also how long it took. I’ll check out the video links.

        1. philangelus

          The reason I learned is that my son wanted to learn. Of course he stopped but after a while I picked it up again. There was one point in time where I was grieving and Ivy suggested making scarves in the person’s memory. I thought it was worth a shot, started by crocheting scarves, then moved on to knitting them. I discovered it was meditative and it helped me forget a bit, and I could pray while crocheting. My grandmother had taught me to crochet, so it didn’t take long to pick that back up.

          Learning to knit so I felt comfortable doing it took about a year of constantly having a project going. But even at that, I think I was getting angelic help because I’d be knitting and suddenly think, “I wonder if my stitches are twisted,” and look up twisted stitches online, find out such a thing existed, see that mine were indeed twisted, and then figure out how to keep them untwisted right before I needed to have that extra room so I could decrease the hat I was working on. That kind of thing. πŸ™‚ I still don’t really feel like I’m a “knitter.” Ivy and Cricket are knitters. I happen to knit. There’s a difference. πŸ™‚

          1. Ivy

            If you knit, you’re a knitter. You don’t get a membership card after your first Estonian lace scarf.

          2. philangelus

            I’m not looking for my Knitter’s Badge. The difference seems to be the difference between being a cook and being a chef. (All rude jokes aside there.)

            As you said on your podcast, knitting can either be straight craft or it can be art and creativity.

        2. Ivy

          A great resource, maybe not a first book, but a must read once you have the basics down, is Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann. Her Knitting Workshop is available on DVD. It’s pricey, but it’s worth it, and some libraries have it.

 is a knit and crochet community with thousands of knitter eager to help a new knitter out. There is a forum for techniques, and if you ask a question you’ll get a chorus of people jumping in to give you answers.

          The book I found most helpful was I Taught Myself Knitting

          It comes with needles and notions to get you started. Everything but yarn. As to yarn, you want to start with a firmly spun wool. Cascade 220 is usually available, inexpensive, and good quality. Cotton is a bear to work with. Under no circumstances should anyone start with mohair. That way lies madness. Most importantly, get a color where you can see the stitches well. Light colors are easier to work with. Black is a nightmare.

          Like Jane and Cricket said, I do videos at and if you have any specific questions, you can drop me an e-mail ( and I’m happy to help.

          Learning to knit is a lot like learning chess. You can pick up the basics in an hour, then spend years mastering the intricacies.

  4. cricketB

    My mother taught me, she was taught by her mother, and Grandma was taught by the mother of her friends, who insisted her girls knit for an hour after lunch every day.

    Ivy’s series is “Knitting Step By Step”. Some great projects, in a good sequence for beginners. is great. She shows both English and Continental ways of holding the yarn. Some people find one easier than the other.

    Does your local yarn store have lessons? Mine has them on Saturday morning, so it’s easy to go shopping and see if the instructor is patient and helpful or not, and if the group is enjoying it, before you sign up. She also offers private lessons.

    Definitely watch some videos to start out with. Much easier than from a book. The illustrators always miss some detail that drives you nuts. (We won’t mention the book that created Continental pics by mirror-imaging the English ones.) is a great resource for all levels. Tons of friendly people. You can also search Ravelry for local groups.

    Jane’s approach is the best one.

    1. philangelus

      Making mistakes is the best way to learn? πŸ™‚ Yeah, I guess in a way.

      I forgot about the craft store thing. AC Moore had a knitting Saturday where I went and the woman told me I knit like a crocheter. πŸ™‚ But she showed me what to do and that made it lots easier. Observing it is better than reading about it.

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  6. Mary Nicewarner

    You are a woman of many talents πŸ˜‰ The socks are cute, but your kid is cuter!