Recently in Ode to Eames Socks Category

Midcentury Socks


It's been a whirl of activity over here at Family Trunk Headquarters, but as October, and hence Socktoberfest, is HOLY CRAP almost over, I thought I'd show off these little beauties while they're still germane.


Along with what seems like every other American out there, I am deep in a phase of infatuation with Midcentury design at the moment, so David and I decided to have a little period fun with the photoshoot. The French cuffs on my shirt are a tad distracting, as are the bokeh-infused videocassette tapes visible in some of the shots, but other than that I think these turned out quite well. To establish the proper mood, Time Out was on the record player throughout, and our iPods and laptops were hidden in the other room.


The stitch pattern and general idea of these socks was suggested by Kate Gagnon's Ode to Eames pattern, but the final products are some of the more heavily modified objects I've made. I more or less stole Kate's stitch pattern and added:

  • A different toe-up cast-on (Magic Toe-Up rather than provisional);
  • a different number of cast-on stitches (72 instead of 64, as I like a firm gauge);
  • the stitch pattern continuing all the way around the foot, rather than becoming stripes on the sole;
  • a different heel, to accommodate the unbroken all-over stitch pattern on the foot and leg (I used Eunny Jang's short-row heel from her Entrelac Socks pattern, which reliably fits great whenever I insert it into a new context);
  • an increase in needle size about three-quarters of the way up the legs, to give me some wiggle room in the calf department;
  • a slightly different ribbing: p2, k2tbl, which I thought played well into the 1950's milieu.
Whew! Lots of mods; pretty socks.

One aspect of the original pattern I did keep, and which was new to me, was the round toe construction. In the final toe-related analysis, I'm a bit in two minds about it. It's very roomy, and I do like a round shape at the end of shoes and socks. On the other hand, the increases don't look as neat and tidy as a typical, flatter toe, which is a minus in my book. In any case, it's always fun to try a little something new.


The yarn, unsurprisingly given my other sock projects, is Sundara Sock Yarn, in the Arabian Nights and Spruce over Sage colorways. I had a ton of yarn left over, and if I weren't in the slow process of converting my sock leftovers to blanket squares (on which more later), I might have pressed on and found a way to make these into knee highs. As it is, they're very soft and warm trouser socks quite suitable for late autumn and early winter, and I'm pleased with them.


Stay tuned for lots of updates as soon as possible: finished sewing projects, something for Mr. Bingley, the start of a new Family Trunk Project pattern, and (hopefully!), the finish of another.



Historically, I have not loved super-geometric patterns. Having come of age in the 90's, anything too sharp-edged or boxy is tainted, to me, with the aura of the Hated Eighties. I think, though, that I am beginning to soften my absolutist stance on this controversial issue. Over the past week I've been poring over photos of textile and interior design from the 1950's (spending a lot of quality time over at this blog), and getting progressively more excited about them. There is at least one upcoming Family Trunk pattern which I think would benefit from a dose of mid-century modernity, and I'm now eyeing mosaic stitch patterns in a whole new light. Done in a mixture of easter-y and organic colors, they radiate minimalist, cocktail-hour charm without any overwhelming glitziness or or plasticky quality. Case in point:


This is the very beginning of my adaptation of Kate Gagnon's Ode to Eames socks, and they're providing me with a nice little laboratory in which to think about pleasing applications of mosaic stitch patterns. Vic Morine, my grandfather and the husband of Marjorie Atwell, was definitely a businessman in the 1950's cocktail mode (I still remember his mirrored bar and impressive array of glassware), and I'm thinking that something in the realm of a light-weight mosaic-stitch shirt or sweater would be very in keeping with his milieu.

Even when the 50's were not at direct issue, this weekend was all about geometry for me. We got some scrumptious herbs at the local nursery, and set up a delightfully mod little window-garden with these square, matte-black pots:


We have now made dishes with the chives and sage, and as today and tomorrow are supposed to be over 90 degrees, cocktails with the mint can't be far behind. For people living as citified an existence as David and I, this is pretty exciting. I can't wait to see the little plants start growing, and having a bit of living green around the place during the cold winter months is a certain pick-me-up.