Every year I look forward to my vacation at the end of December. It's a time when we traditionally go to Florida with my parents (and sometimes my brother) and relax for a week or two, and it's a time when I traditionally get more knitting time in than usual and as a result tend to overpack on the yarn (would you believe that this year I had more yarn than I needed but forgot to pack a bathing suit?). Oftentimes the knitting is purely for pleasure, but, as is often the case when my brain is freed from the stresses of work and the daily grind, design ideas do tend to pop up.
One thing that I'm always sure to take with me on this trip is sock yarn, usually enough for a couple of pairs of socks. I usually have a sock in progress in my carry on to work on while we're on the plane and a spare skein in my checked bag, as we spend time in cars or at the movies -- perfect times for working on a simple sock. This past December, we went to see more movies than usual (more, in fact, than I usually see in a theater in a whole year), and it occurred to me that I could have gotten a lot more sock knitting done if I had been able to just continue knitting in the round without having to shape a heel and gusset. So, when we got in the car to drive the two-plus hours to the other side of the state to visit some family, I decided to try out the idea: knit both socks in one long strip. It seemed like it would work in theory, but would it work in practice?
I'm happy to say that it did, and the pattern I'm premiering today is the result. I've called this one Kissing Cousins because although the two socks in the pair are closely related, they're not identical (though you'd have to look very closely to know the difference).
These socks are knit in one long tube, the first sock cuff down and the second toe up; they "kiss" at the toes. With some waste yarn used to mark the place where the afterthought heels will be added, the only shaping you need to do is for the toes. Once you've bound off the cuff of the second sock, you add the heels, and then the final step is to separate the two socks and graft the toes.
One of the fun features of this construction is that if you're using a self-striping yarn with more than two colors in the stripe sequence, the sequence will appear reversed in the second sock -- so you end up with socks that are much more dramatically fraternal that if you'd knit both socks in the same direction. Of course, if this sort of thing bothers you, it's easy enough to manipulate your yarn so that the striping sequence is the same. Personally, though I can be a stickler about things matching in other areas of my life, hand-knit socks are one arena where I rather like a mismatch.
The pattern has been graded to four sizes, to fit a foot circumference of 7 (8, 9, 10) inches/18 (20.5, 23, 25.5) cm, and is fully adjustable to foot length. For most people, one 100 g skein of sock yarn should be sufficient to knit a pair, though if your feet are wide and long, you might need a second. If you've got a wild self-striping or self-patterning skein in your stash, this is the pattern to use it for!