I Want To Believe Socks

Val is one of my favorite people to knit socks for because she is always so excited by the socks. After Easter I ordered some yarn from a few different places (I now have an actual stash of sock yarn!) and from one I picked a mystery skein. This could be something that was a mistake when dying, a discontinued line, something new or just a random skein, but you don’t get to pick color or fiber etc when ordering. I like surprises with my yarn, so I went for it and I am SO glad I did.

As soon as I pulled this one out, I knew it was socks for Val. Blues and greens, some neon green even, and a really soft feel. I worked my way through the socks that were on my needles quickly and then cast these on. I went with a step above a plain sock and I think the pattern ended up working really well with the yarn.

Thankfully Val liked them as much as I hoped she would. The heel, a different construction for me, didn’t work as well as my regular heel, so that is good feedback for the next pair I make her (which is already planned and may involve sparkly yarn). But I am really happy with these.

California Blanc de Blanc

  • Producer: W. Donaldson
  • Location: Sonoma California
  • Year: 2017
  • Price estimate: $20 (Naked Wines)
  • Tasting notes: Straw colored in the glass with good bubbles. Notes of apple and yeast on the nose. Very fresh and clean tasting. Apple, pear, some yeast and a bit of cut grass. Not a long finish, but good.
  • Conclusions: Good wine and for the price, I don’t mind opening a bottle of bubbly on a random weekday. This isn’t a wine to really savor and contemplate, but it is a good drinking wine and it paired really well with the cheese we had one night. (It also paired well with Pad Thai).
  • Notes: This was one of the wines we got in our Naked Wines case, so it isn’t something you can pick up at the store. It was a tad sweet to drink on its own – for me, that is, I just prefer a really dry bubbly – but it did go really well with dinner and actually made some of the stronger cheese better.

It’s not socks!

2020 is the year of the sock for me. I knit my first pair over Winter Break in December and have become, I’ll fully admit, addicted to knitting socks. There is just something about the length of the project (about 2-3 weeks usually) that is long enough to feel like a project but short enough that I don’t get bored. There are enough milestones in each sock to give the sense of accomplishment along the way, and each pair only uses one skein of yarn so I can create lots of different socks.

But … there is more to knitting than socks (although maybe not so much this year). One of the groups I follow on line did a knit along for a shawl this year, and I decided, why not. I don’t really wear shawls, but figured it would be something different to knit and give me a chance to use some yarn from my stash. So . . . I knit a shawl. I’m still not sure where I’m going to wear it – possibly in the office – but it’s pretty and super soft.

Dakine Vineyard Merlot

  • Producer: Longboard Vineyard
  • Location: Sonoma, Ca (Russian River Valley)
  • Year: 2015
  • Price estimate: cannot remember for the life of me
  • Tasting notes: Garant in color and opaque in the glass. nose of black fruits and baking spices, with nutmeg coming through. Flavors of blackberry, current, really ripe raspberry and a little licorice. Long finish – some tootsie roll, black forest cake and lots of cherry on the end.
  • Conclusions: This is not your typical Merlot. It has the typical Merlot flavors, but turned up and deep. Every sip was slightly different and I was so happy with this wine.
  • Notes: I bought two bottles of this somewhere around 2017. The first bottle we drank shortly after buying, but it wasn’t to my taste. There were a lot of tannins and it just seemed harsh, so I put the bottle away with a note to not open it until 2020. Well … it’s 2020 and we decided to give it a go. The day we opened it, I was sad. It was harsh, hard to drink and had a ton of tannin and vine taste. It was fine with food, but not something I could sit and sip. We put it away for the night and tried again the next day. Holy cow was I glad we did. The transformation in the wine was amazing. It became everything we love about Merlot and had none (and I mean none) of the harshness, tannins or bramble flavors it had the day before. It was amazing and one of the best wines I’ve had all year. Now I’m sad that I don’t have any more of it, but I do have a bottle of Malbec from Longboard that I’m going to open the day before I want to drink it. Fingers crossed it just needs to open for a day to be as amazing.

Socks for Bob

After I got a few good pairs of socks down, Bob and I started talking about what kind of socks I should knit for him. He wanted something warm – really warm – and thick. Yes, we live in Florida, but as he put it, if he is going to wear socks, he wants warm socks. Okay, worsted weight or DK weight yarn it is, now for color and pattern. This took a little more time. We kept trying to go through yarn in my (every growing) stash of yarn, but nothing was coming up just right. So, after Easter when I was ordering some yarn for a specific pair of socks for me, I added a pretty grey/black/white DK weight yarn for Bob’s socks. the color is called Grey Tabby, so I liked it immediately.

I was really surprised at how fast these knit up. The patter was super simple and with the heavier weight yarn I managed to finish the pair in just under a week. It took the entire skein of yarn (larger feet = more yarn) but they came out really well and fit pretty much perfectly. Bob was happy with his new socks and has started planning for the next pair. I did mention I have a queue of about 7 pairs before his next pair, but we will get to another pair for him soon-ish.