String Notes Rotating Header Image

Ice and socks

Or rather, socks and ice, with a digression on birds, but that didn’t sound as titular.

You remember the never-ending Jaywalker socks? They’re done, and I can model them as long as I tug them firmly onto my feet.

Jaywalker sock

I didn’t think they would fit my mother – very disappointing, as I chose the yarn specifically to appeal to her – so I started a non-neverending pair of socks. These were the mystery project XXXX that I spent much time knitting on airplanes, and have been christened the “Nebraska socks”. They are a bit larger than the Jaywalkers, and so a teeny bit baggy on me.

Nebraska sock

The yarn is a Regia sock yarn that I got on sale at Webs last spring. I have the ball band around somewhere if anyone really cares what the colorway is. To add some interest, I put a tiny lace pattern along the ankles.

Nebraska sock

Amazingly enough, I even remembered to make them mirror-images! I would have felt like a complete doofus to have made identical socks. The second Nebraska sock was lacking a toe when I mailed the Christmas packages, so it became a New Year’s present. My mother tells me that both pairs of socks fit her just fine. I’m perplexed, since there’s at least a size difference between the two, but nonetheless quite pleased that she likes them, and they fit. It’s hard to guess at sizing to knit surprise gifts for someone you don’t see frequently. I’ve done some sewing for her by guesswork as well, and that came out nicely as well. After two successes, I’ll probably completely mangle the next one…

Bird digression. I walk to work most days. There have been an awful lot of broken small branches on the sidewalks along one of my preferred routes. I thought at first that the trees were suffering from recent windstorms, but, well, there were also plenty of signs of avian occupation on the sidewalks as well. I finally saw (and heard!) the culprits on Friday: crows.


Lots of crows. Loudly and messily occupying the treetops all along that stretch of sidewalk. This time of year it’s usually dark when I go home, so the crows are already asleep, but last Friday I escaped a bit early.


A Cornell ornithologist says this roosting behavior is common in the fall and winter. I see crows regularly, since they like the tree outside my office window, but not often something like this.

State College has a New Year’s Eve tradition of ice sculptures. As I was walking home Friday (and well past the crows), the street was already blocked off, and work crews were setting up the big ice blocks. Unfortunately, State College also has a tradition of rain and warm weather for New Year’s Eve, and some sorry-looking ice sculptures.

This year, though, New Year’s Eve dawned cool and snowy.

snowy garden

Some of the sculptures were already up, and a bit snowy.

ice sculpture

Others were all wrapped up in their insulating blankets.

ice sculpture

This was my favorite moment.

ice sculpture

I happened to walk past just as the sculpture was catching the morning sun reflected from the window across the street (and right before my camera batteries died). It reached well above freezing that day, but the sculptures still looked quite nice by that afternoon, when the street was full of people out to enjoy the day.

ice sculpture

Happy New Year!

2 Comments on “Ice and socks”

  1. #1 Katy
    on Jan 7th, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    I saw the socks in person yesterday… they were quite lovely! I shall have to go back and see how it was making them, as I’ve been thinking of making a pair of Jaywalker socks for myself.

    And in a small world moment… I go to church with your mother, and she has often told me your SCA news, as I am one of the few Scadians she knows. I didn’t realize until she told me to look at your blog that you were, well, you, that nice stringpage lady whose site I’ve used so often. Maybe I even took a Pennsic class from you long ago.

    Anyway. Hi. Very nice socks. Happy new year.
    – Elsa von Heilbronn, Barony of Cynnabar, the Middle Kingdom

  2. #2 Phiala
    on Jan 7th, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Katy/Elsa!

    I found the Jaywalkers very slow to knit, and they tend to both run small and not be very stretchy – I know several people who’ve had trouble with the sizing. Cast on more stitches than you would usually and you should be fine. They do look awfully cool!

    As for the stringpage, I’m glad you have found it useful. I admit it – I like getting positive feedback! :) Plus, it inspires me to keep working on the site, adding and updating. Thanks for the comment.

    Tell my mom she should go to a local SCA event, since she even has garb!