This blog post is brought to you by other people. No, really. I didn’t knit anything I’m about to show you. Neat trick, eh?

To begin the story, we must hearken back. To…um. When the hell are we hearkening back to? Not sure. Let’s start with July, at least I remember that one.

My in-laws, who have been married 50 years come December, had a party this past July. (So people, especially the grandkids, could come during their vacations.) It was a lovely time, but the most lovely thing was that I learned something Very Nice. My FIL’s sister, Tanta Renata, knits. A lot. I hadn’t known this before, and my MIL told her that I knit. So as you maybe can imagine, we had much to discuss.

I found out she loves Nancy Bush. With a very unholy passion. (Can you blame her?) We talked about TONS of stuff: stashing, socks, nupps, Estonian knitting, just to name a few. This last thing is also very important to Renata. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but my FIL is German. But he was actually born in Tartu, Estonia. I’m not sure if Renata was born there too, but she was certainly loves those Estonian knits. So much so that she knit my FIL a pair of socks, “sometime a long time ago,” she said. “He never wore them. He probably threw them away.” I kind of doubted it, and I told her so. Nels got his pack-rattage tendencies from somewhere, after all. But Renata didn’t agree. “He didn’t appreciate them. Be grateful you have someone who appreciates your knitting,” she said, smiling at Nels. He had already pulled up his pant leg to show her the handknitted wool socks he was wearing in the July heat.

Renata left the next day, unfortunately. I wish we had had more time to talk. She lives in Albuquerque too, so I don’t see her often. But she did mention how happy she was to have someone to inherit all her knitting supplies. (She’s around 80, and seems not squeamish about such things.)

About a week after she left, I decided I needed to know what happened to these socks. So I asked my MIL if she remembered them. “Oh yes!” she said. “Peter still has them! Do you want to see?” And she ran upstairs to get them.

Hell, I thought, that was easy.

And then she gave them to me. Yes, really.

Estonian socks

My FIL never wears them, she said. His feet get too hot. But goldang, they are in beautiful condition. I wonder if he wore them even once.

I’m sorry I don’t know what the pattern is. Renata said they were an Estonian pattern, and I think she knit them while she was still living in Germany, many years ago. They are certainly not superwash wool. But I love the details. Especially the twisted stitches down the heel flap, and the broken ribbing that runs along the sides of the foot.

heel

The little purl ridge after the ribbing is also a nice touch.

ribbing and tops

I’m not too familiar with Estonian knitting, so I don’t know how traditional the fair-isle pattern is. It’s pretty, though.

pattern

And since I’m curious like that, I flipped the sock inside out to see the floats. I’m a bit ashamed of this, because it always feels a bit like I’m peering into the knitter’s underwear drawer. But look at this underwear!

the flip side

Dang!

She finished the sock off with a star toe.

star toe

Just lovely. And the best thing? They fit Nels!

They fit!

He didn’t want to take them off after I took this picture. But I made him. I’m so afraid he’s going to wear them out! I’m thinking of weaving some nylon thread into the heel, so it lasts a bit longer. It’s just knit plain, no slipped stitches or ribbing or anything. Anyway, he pouted. I told him they had to be hand-washed, but he didn’t care. Watch him chuck them into the washing machine. Gaa.

I haven’t told Renata yet that we found the socks. I think I’ll just send her a copy of that last picture. That would be a nice surprise, yes? Blast from the socky past. Yay.

So there’s that.

The next thing is not old, but it IS also Estonian. My FIL is a retired professor, but he still does these speaking tours from time to time. This past spring, he and my MIL went to Estonia to give a lecture or two because his very famous book had been translated into Estonian. (I don’t know how many languages that it’s been translated into now. I think it’s around 20 or so.) This is what they brought back for me.

Estonian yarn

240 grams of light fingering/heavy lace weight yarn. In Estonia’s national colors. It’s kind of scratchy but smells very sheepy so I like it. I don’t know how many yards it is. A lot. Enough for a nice stole. For Renata, maybe? I think she would like that.

I didn’t know it at the time, but that wasn’t the only thing they brought back from Estonia for me. I got the other on my birthday.

more stole

A handknitted stole! For me! My MIL said she got both yarn and stole at this outdoor market thingie in Tartu. Pretty! But kind of hard to capture on camera.

even more stolestole

That’s the general idea. It shifts colors, kind of like Noro. But it’s not. This yarn is also very sheepy and kind of scratchy. But I will wear it anyway. It’s nice to know that that quality extends beyond my own knits. I think a bath in some wool wash will do it some good.

So yay, I had a happy birthday despite the auspicious beginning. Thanks to everyone for all the nice birthday wishes! And I would also like to say a very special thank you for this last thing, which was a package I received shortly after my birthday. It wasn’t really a birthday present. It was more like a “hey cheer the hell up” present. And it didn’t cheer me up so much as made me laugh so hard I almost wet my pants. That’s cheerful, yes?

Anyhoodle, it was sent to me by the lovely and most wonderous Weeza. The things inside the package are a bit beyond description, but for simplicity’s sake I will call them “socks.” She suggested that I use them to make some sock monsters, and they will make the most kick assingly awesome sock monsters on the face of the planet. I couldn’t think of a better way to thank her than to make a happy sock dance video. Which I accidentally filmed upside down. I thought I could flip it over later, but it seems I can’t. I’ve decided this adds to its charm. So here you go, Weez. A very happy thank you video, very charming and containing cat for scale.

(Sorry for craptastic quality. I need to turn up the resolution on my phone camera thingy.)

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