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Lacy Ribs Socks Fit for a Czar

Last summer, I had the good fortune of taking an Alaskan cruise and finding yarn shops at every port.

While in Sitka, I came across a hobby store that had a few skeins of yarn in it.

That’s when I spied this…

I fell in love with the rich colors.  Despite the hefty price tag ($29.50), I splurged.  The yarn is Bear Feet, and the colorway is Jewels of the Czar…fitting given that Alaska was owned by Russia way back when.

I finally got the chance to cast on a project with this yarn, so after much searching (choosing patterns is DIFFICULT work), I decided to make Wendy Johnson’s Lacy Ribs Socks from her book Socks from the Toes Up.

The pattern was super-easy.  In fact, I memorized the lace pattern after only a few repeats.  I used size 0 needles and made the small.  I began the project on March 15 and finished on April 27.  I would have finished sooner, but as you know, I have a hectic schedule.

I should have stuck with the medium size I started out making, but I was concerned that the socks would be too big.  They’re not too small, but a medium would have been just right.  This project only took 90 grams of yarn to complete.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the yarn stripe.  I do like striped socks.  In fact, I went through a knitting spree when I bought tons of striping yarn.  heehee

Something very bad happened, though, after I turned the heel of my first sock.

The yarn stopped striping and started pooling.

Oh my goodness.

It was ugly, and I considered frogging.  What happened was that at first, the patterning only ran across one needle…the top of the foot (these were made toe up).  When it was time to start the patterning around both needles and, thus, around the entire leg, the length of yarn required for each round increased, throwing off the striping pattern.

I was not happy.  I figured this would be the ugliest pair of socks ever.

I persisted, finished the first sock, and began working on the second one.

Something really strange happened.

After turning the heel, the striping resumed.


Now I really do have the ugliest, mismatched pair of socks ever…

Oy.  This will probably drive me nuts every time I wear them.  I’m that anal.  However, I am not about to go back and reknit that sock.  No way, Jose.

So, I think I’ll stick with my mismatched socks.  It won’t matter once I pull a pair of pants over them.  All people will see are the lower legs and feet.

Enjoy the rest of the pictures!

Oh, and for the record, yes, the pictures are a little off-kilter.  I propped my camera on a small box, and I didn’t realize that it wasn’t sitting evenly on the concrete.

Oh well.

The socks are off-kilter too.

It’s just par for the course.

Day 5 – Sitka

I woke up on Day 5 of The Great Adventure to discover that the ship was nearing its next destination…Sitka, Alaska.

The view from the Lido Deck provided these picturesque scenes…

This area is dotted with small islands, and houses are tucked in here and there…

I think that I saw a small lighthouse…

I saw a long bridge, which I believe takes residents into “town…”

Sitka is a coastal town, as evidenced by the row of houses and businesses that line the shore…

We had to take a tender to reach the shore from the ship.  The ride lasted about ten minutes as we waited for our driver to back into a “parking spot” at the dock.  From there, we had a good view of the shops that awaited us…

Sitka is a very old town, originally settled by the Tlingit Indians.  Eventually, it came under Russian rule before Alaska was purchased by the U.S.

So, it has a rich history, and the shops and other sights really reflected this.

We hopped in the first store we saw.  It actually turned out to be a large building with a collection of stores and bathrooms (very important when you’re on vacation).

This was the first sign I saw…

I kid you not.

I was destined to buy yarn on this trip…a fact made even more clear when I found the women’s restroom located right beside the yarn store with this picture window in the hallway of the bathroom…

Unfortunately, the store was not open yet, but I made a mental note to return.

Meanwhile, my group began to shop, heading deeper into Sitka…

The main street splices off at the church you see dead center…one of the oldest churches in Sitka (front of it displayed below)…

We walked.

We shopped.

Several of the stores sold Russian-made items.  Chicky bought Guy Friend’s mom a teapot that was edged with 24K gold and made in Russia.  I wish I had a picture of it for you.

There was a shop that sold Russian-made barrettes and jewelry.  Although I was tempted, I didn’t buy anything.  I regret that now.

We found a gorgeous retirement home that had a gift shop inside…

This building had been a government building but had recently been renovated to accommodate retired citizens.  The gift shop was tiny, but it was run by residents and contained a few items made by the residents.  It seemed like a happy place inside…with light pouring in from the large windows.

The gardens were something else, let me tell you.  Sitka gets a lot of rain during the year (not that you can tell from my pictures or anything…LOL).  All of the landscaping in Sitka was green, and the flowers were in full bloom.  You can see a hint of the foliage in the next picture…

For lunch, we ate at a small Mexican restaurant.  Go figure, eh?  Mexican food in a Russian/American city.  What delicious food too!

By the time I finished lunch, I was ready to go back to the yarn store, so I went off by myself and half-ran there, doing my best to avoid puddles along the way.

Knitting With Class is an adorable store.  It mostly contains yarn, but it does have one side dedicated to bead fanatics.  Maybe it’s actually two businesses.  Hmmm.  I’m not sure.

There’s a smaller room in the back.  This room contains a table for lessons and knit-nights along with more yarn.

I got busted when the Mr. walked in as I was paying for this…

That is Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn.  And yes, I know that I can find this in a lot of yarn stores and that it’s not local (although it is made in Seattle, which is sort of vacation-related, right?), but I could not walk out of that store without buying something.  It’s knitting etiquette, after all.  And those of you who knit know this, right?

The Mr. didn’t seem bothered though.  He had actually noticed a felt bag that had a hefty price tag on it, commenting later that I should sell my felted bags, with as much money as that one had been marked for.


While I had been making my purchase, I had asked the owner of the store if there was any locally dyed or spun yarn.  She told me that a resident does, in fact, dye her own yarn and that she has a good eye for color.  After giving me directions to the store that sold this yarn, I bade her farewell.

I hoofed it back in the direction from which I’d come…back toward the church and the line of stores…to a quilt store…Abby’s Reflection.  She sells quilts, cross stitch kits, souvenirs, and a smattering of yarn.




I know that all five of you who are reading this don’t knit, so let me direct you to this post, which my friend, Nancy, recently shared with me.  You simply MUST read it.  It explains why sock yarn is so addicting.  Go read it and then come back and read the rest of my post.



Let’s proceed.

I could not resist the yarn that was before me…

I’m not gonna lie.

It was pricey.

But, I was looking for something that represented Sitka…not something I could find in any tourist shop.

Heck…the name of the colorway is “Jewels of the Czar.”

You can’t get more Russian than that.

The yarn is a blend of superwash merino, cashmere, and nylon.

And this will be on my feet one day.

Uh huh.

I pick good souvenirs, do I not?

After my small purchase *cough*, I headed back to find my family.

They were in a shop that sold moccasins.

I had been wanting a pair, let me tell you.  So did Chicky.  So did Rooster.  So did Guy Friend.

No, Guy Friend was not on the trip, but he was living vicariously through Chicky, so he might as well have been with us.

We were moccasin crazy.

I sat down to try on a pair and discovered just how wet my feet were…

Those are my Hedera socks, by the way.  You know me…my knitting travels everywhere with me.

I did not get the pair of shoes I tried on.  Chicky did, though.  So did Rooster.  Chicky also bought Guy Friend a pair.

I was disappointed, but I had yarn.

Meanwhile, we had more sights to see.

Here is what we saw on our walk…

I saw the local high school…

I also saw the Old School…

Every bend in the path gave us another unique, beautiful view of the scenery…

The yards were gorgeous, really putting mine to shame…

I know I keep showing you pictures of the ship in harbor, but it really was a sight.  It reminded me of a toy boat in a pond…

Rooster is becoming quite the shutterbug as well…

We gradually made our way to the Sitka National Historical Park

One of the primary focuses of this park is that of the native arts and cultures of Sitka, including totem poles…

There was a lovely exhibit of ceremonial robes…

The rest of the family went on a nature walk.  I passed and spent my time reading the various descriptions beside the exhibits.  I am, I am slightly embarrassed to admit, not much of a nature walk type of person.  I appreciate nature’s beauty, but I really don’t enjoy walking, in the rain, to look at it up close.

After the family got back, we made our way back to the tender.

I was, at this point, freezing.  My feet were soaked to the bone, and all I wanted was a hot bath.

The first thing I did, however, was take photographs of my yarn, with the landscape as the backdrop…

Day 5 was our second formal night, so we had to get all gussied up.

As we got ready, we bade a rainy farewell to Sitka…

Dinner was good, from what I recall.  I didn’t take pictures of it, but I trust it went down well.  😀

We were all a bit drained from the day.  Rooster put on a little singing show for Chicky and me in the room.  He’s a very laid back kid who doesn’t usually sing or dance, so he had us in stitches.

Day 5 or rather “Night” 5 was the Dutch Chocolatee Extravaganza on the Lido Deck.  This is when the pastry chefs work their fingers to the bone to create divine chocolate works of art.  I’ve gotta tell you that I wasn’t overly impressed and did not take any pictures!  There weren’t as many items as what I’ve seen on past cruises.  The family was so tired that hardly anyone ate anything but, instead, headed to bed early, where we found this towel animal…

We were excited about Day 6…which loomed only a few hours ahead…

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