Des Chaussettes du Mal


Pattern: Baudelier
Designer: Cookie A.
Fiber: Crystal Palace, Mini Mochi (autumn rainbow)--remnants;
Knit Picks, Stroll Kettle Dyed (wine)--approx. 400 yds
Size: 8" foot circumference/9" leg circumference
Needles: 2, US2 circular needles - Addi Turbo Lace
Methodology: toe up, two at a time, short row heel turn
Modification(s): CO 24 stitches instead of 16 

    I had a great time knitting these socks!  These were made for mommy dearest (M.D.)--Joan Crawford reference intended. I always try to have fun naming my projects which is obviously something I share with Miss A. My ravelry name for these, "Des Chaussettes du Mal" literally means "Evil Socks" and have, of course, a double entendre. A little history--Charles Pierre Baudelaire was a nineteenth century French poet, translator, critic and drug addict. His first, and most famous, published work was a book of poems entitled, "Fleurs du Mal." (Flowers of Evil)  Hence the original title by Miss A. I took it a step further and decided to poke some fun at my mother, a.k.a. M.D. No, she never beat me with a wire hanger (it was plastic) or made me scrub the bathroom floor on my hands and knees with a scrub brush (I had to use my tooth brush). It's actually become a little term of endearment between us. A darkly humorous pet name if you will (afterall, that's how I was raised--like an animal). It's like when she calls my cell phone and the ringer is set to the musical score from the movie, "Psycho." It's just a little playful banter from Son to Mother. Ahhh...good times! 

    These aren't the first pair of socks that I've knit for M.D. Oh no! I knit her a lovely pair of socks out of my favorite colorway of Mini Mochi (pictured left) and she was given explicit instructions on how to care for her beautiful hand knit socks her son lovingly created. Well, a couple of months after receiving those socks, M.D. comes up to me and says, "Your Father shrunk my socks and now they don't fit!!!" Hmmm, let's think about this.  My father hasn't touched a washing machine or dryer since 1989 and that's when he put the machines in!  In fact, I think he would probably need a map to get to the laundry room because he probably doesn't remember where it is.  Didn't you always teach us growing up, Mom, that we are responsible for our things and have to learn to accept consequences of our actions?  I mean, I may have a little lapse in memory from repeated blunt trauma to the head as a child, but it seems as though I remember you lecturing something about taking responsibility for our doings and not blaming others for our mistakes? 

    My only logical response was to tell her that those socks were her test and she obviously can't be trusted to care for nice things, so if she wanted another pair of hand knit socks she would just have to learn how to knit! Well, since Mother's Day was fast approaching I thought I'd surprise M.D. with a pair of new hand knit socks; hence the name--Evil Socks. I, being the evil son I am, decided to cleverly include left over yarn from the first pair she shrank in the toe and cuff just as a friendly little reminder of her ruining the first pair!  The piece de resistance was presenting them to her on, what else, a hand made pair of sock blockers made out of wire coat hangers!  I RULE!!!  Don't you wish I was your son?

    So, down to the knitty gritty.  Cookie A. has to be one of my favorite sock designers.  Her designs are architectural, yet whimsical.  She not only produces esthetically pleasing patterns, but really gives thought to the construction and fit!  She's so great at combining creativity and practical knitting anatomy.  That girl is one smart...well...cookie!  This pattern was very well written and I love the fact that she had the foresight to realize the lace pattern's lack of flexibility and incorporated options for increasing the leg circumference of each of the three sizes for ease of donning and fit.  That's simply good design! The only modification I made in the pattern was to start with a cast on of 24 stitches (12 on each needle).  I like a wider, rounder toe.  I also knit the first 3 increase rounds in succession instead of every other round.  I ended up increasing to the number of stitches this pattern called for.  I cast on using Judy Becker's Magic Cast On (my absolute favorite) and knit them two at a time on two circular needles.  Tip:  I used a 24" and 32" size US2 circular Addi Lace Turbo needles.  I like the super sharp points for sock knitting, especially when knitting lace and cable patterns.  Additionally, one cord is blue and the other is red, so it helps you to keep track of using the correct needle end when you switch from one needle to the other.

    I used felted joins to switch from the variegated Mini Mochi to the Stroll Kettle dyed.  I continued to knit the pattern as written opting for the larger leg option for the size medium (which I highly recommend--remember it's written not for the exclusive purpose of making the leg wider, but for easing the foot into the sock).  I knit one additional chart repeat than the pattern called for before knitting the 11 rounds of 1X1 rib.  I cast off using Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.  I initially tried a couple of picot bind offs, but was fearful they were going to be too inelastic.  Cat Bordhi, another favorite sock designer, has an excellent demonstration video on JSSBO (pictured below) and makes it super easy.  I also like her method for finishing off knits in the round which is also included at the end of the video.  I've used the method for years, initially learning it as a crocheter, and it is a virtually undetectable joining technique for needlework in the round.

    That's it guys!  Stay tuned for my upcoming inaugural hat design utilizing my "Fleur de Cadien" fair isle chart coming out in the next couple of weeks.  I will also be posting a picture tutorial on blocking socks in a couple of days. Now, go and knit something!!!


    1. I love your sense of humour.
      Aren't the interwebs great! I get to read your blog because I saw your comment on lilsa's question on rav's techniques group.


    Search This Blog