Knitting … looking back a little more than ten years ago …

Lucy Neatby's Fiesta Feet ... 10 years later

A bit over ten years ago, I went to Stitches South in Florida and took a class from Lucy Neatby. Actually, I believe I took more than one class from her as well as many other phenomenal classes that inspired me then, but I’ve since forgotten. But, what I clearly remember is all the buzz about a pattern Lucy had designed called Fiesta Feet, a rather intricate pair of socks.

I was fascinated by this design but took all weekend to talk myself into buying the pattern (I didn’t then, and still don’t often, buy other designer’s patterns … I guess I’m afraid subconsciously I’ll end up copying them or something).

Anyway, bought it I did. With yarn to match — but since I didn’t need wool socks (we lived in North Carolina at the time for pete’s sake!) and I didn’t know then what I know now, I bought cotton yarn. Cotton yarn that doesn’t have the memory (elasticity) of wool. But I loved the bright white with the muted dark striped yarn. I even bought a bamboo set of 0 (yes, that would be zero as in extremely thin, tiny needles) dpns. Up to that point in my knitting life, I had rarely used, let alone bought, dpns … and certainly NOTHING so darn thin!

It took about six months before I picked up the yarn, the needles and the pattern. I had other work to do (I had two baby/toddlers at home and two school-age munchkins to get off to school daily — ok, school was right down the street, but it did cut into my knitting time!).

But in reality, I was denying the truth — I was scared to try the pattern.

You see, I hadn’t knit socks in a long, long time …. I certainly had never knit a design that was so complicated … with a yarn that was not very forgiving … on such tiny needles. I was scared to try Lucy’s design.

But, then we decided to move to Austria and were traveling back and forth to my in-laws in SC to store our goods before moving to Austria so my dh could get a Masters degree. All those hours in the car … all that time to knit … was too good an opportunity to miss. I began THE SOCKS!

I worked hard on those socks … I made the first (learning ALOT and ripping ALOT and making copious notes) sock and thought, “hmm, maybe I could just hang it up at Christmas as my stocking for Santa”. But then dh dared me and I started the second of the pair. Somewhere about the middle of the second sock, I broke a needle … I thought it was Divine Providence suggesting I stop. Dh said, “no … keep going, you can do it.” So, we found a yarn shop immediately and bought another set of zeros. This time, I bought metal ones to avoid the wimpiness of bamboo.

By the time ourEuropean flight left in the summer of 2001 … those socks were done!

I said, “the cuffs are too loose” … “there are a few mistakes” … “they aren’t perfect.” Dh said “don’t wear them, frame them!”

I ignored the mistakes and dh’s suggestion and wore them as often as I could … I showed them off in my Birkenstock clogs and purposely kicked off my closed-shoes whenever I had THE SOCKS on my tender feet. Those socks traveled with me to Poland, Croatia, Bosnia, Ireland, England, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. They came back to the States and I was still wearing them.

I’m STILL wearing them to this day. The picture at the top of this post is what those socks look like 10 years after I kitchenered the toes. Yes, there are still mistakes … yes, I’m still immensely proud of THE SOCKS … yes, I still wear them as often as possible. WHY? Because they are THE SOCKS!

I decided to write this post to give encouragement to anyone attempting these amazing socks. They will definitely exercise every fiber of your knitting prowess … but they are worth it! Kelley Petkun, owner of Knit Picks and a knitter herself, has been chronicling her attempts at this design over on the Knit Picks blog. But she’s smarter than I was: she’s knitting them two-at-a-time, a technique I learned a few years after making my pair of THE SOCKS! Enjoy the journey, Kelley!

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