Eventually I found Madelinetosh "Tosh Sock" in the 'Twig' colour-way -- not exactly variegated, but very nicely dyed indeed -- and ordered it from an online US retailer (there are online stores in Canada that carry "Tosh Sock" and a LYS in Edmonton that carries it and would mail order it, but none had 'Twig' in stock). The yarn arrived too close to Christmas for a finished gift...but with a January birthday...
That's what I aimed for. And...I seemed to find the perfect pattern in Clara Parkes' The Knitter's Book of Socks. I cast on, knit the cuff and first chart, and decided to see if anyone on Ravelry.com had made these. Good thing, too, because it seems that this pattern has one draw-back: it has a long leg (not to-the-knee but...) -- and a long, slender leg at that. Many of the knitters had had to move up from 60 to 72 stitches (it's a 12-row pattern repeat) and go up at least one needle size (up from 2.25 mm to...2.5, 3, 3.25...) just to get it over the heel (these are knit top-down).
Now, my daughter's legs begin somewhere close to her neck (grin); that is, her entire being is long and slender and a bit curvy, unlike her mother (built like a box -- a short, square box). Just after New Year's I wrote her for her desired leg length and the circumference of her calf at the top of her desired cuff -- something I hadn't needed for the plain vanilla socks in self-patterning yarns I've knit for her in the past. She was away; her reply took a while to arrive. When it did, there was some figuring...knit, knit, knit....and more figuring...
Suffice to say, as of this morning, I'm starting the heel flap on the first sock of the pair, and hope I've finagled the pattern sufficiently so that when I get back to the foot, it will flow with the leg.
Here's what it looked like on the needles, with 11 rows to go to the start of the heel:
And stretched over my hand for effect:
The pattern is "Elm" by Cookie A -- aptly named as the criss-cross ribbing resembles tree trunks. My specs are as follows:
- Cuff, Chart A and first 6 rows of Chart B: 72 stitches and 2.5 mm needles;
- Rest of Chart B, all of Chart C, first 11 rows of Chart A and onward: 72 stitches and 2.25 mm needles;
- Leg length: 7.5"
- Yarn: Madelinetosh "Tosh Sock" in 'Twig' - 1 skein: 100% super-wash merino wool, fingering weight (per label).
I am completely grateful to two gals on Ravelry -- Frey-ja and Raelin in the KBOS forum -- for their ongoing advice, encouragement and support as I work out this project.
Onward and heel-ward! :-)