Christmas Consolation Socks

Everybody got a handknit in their stocking this Christmas.

The Bookworm got fingerless gloves (which she hasn’t taken off since Christmas morning)

IMGP1752and a lace shawl (oh, she has been asking for years for a lace shawl. I think she loved it). I finished it last summer and squirreled it away –

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The Boy got minions. Lots and lots of teeny, tiny minions –

IMGP1591The Princess got a hat and scarf. When I finished knitting these in November, I asked her to model them for me. She had no idea they were for her!

IMGP0962_medium2The Munchkin got hat and mittens to match her Strawberry Sweater

IMGP1576_mediumFor The Fraggle, a hooded capelet. I love how she tucks her arms up into it. She is so cute!

IMGP1745 IMGP1747And for The Dancing Queen, socks. She had been asking me for handknit socks for years, but I always say no. Her feet grow far too fast! Oh, how sadly true that is, for when she tried to put them on Christmas morning, I realized they were too small.

IMGP1644She wanted them, bad, though. And she is such a gracious girl, I know she didn’t want me to feel bad, so she crammed her huge feet into them and thanked me heartliy. Later, I saw The Princess wearing them and I knew I had failed.

So, I took The Dancing Queen aside and I gave her a a few choices. I could fix those socks, I told her, to make them fit better. Or, if she wanted to pick out a different yarn, I could knit a whole new pair and she could give the small ones to her sister. She chose the latter. I gave her the run of the stash, any yarn she liked. She chose this Family Pendragon which has been in my stash for ages. I guess I was saving it for a really special project.

IMGP6820_medium2It fit the bill perfectly. And then I started knitting. I knit that first sock as fast as I could. Then I had her try it on, and wouldn’t you know it? Too small. Dang! When did this kid get so big? So I ripped back and started again. But by this time, I was burned out. Bleh. For a week I just played with my wheel instead, because I knew she was watching, so I couldn’t knit something else, but I DID NOT want to knit that! So I spun. See my merino/yak? oooh, purty!

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But it turns out that I am a good mom after all, and so I pushed through and finished the socks. The Christmas Consolation Socks. They turned out pretty darn good.

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Turkish Bed Socks in Family Pendragon 80/20 Fingering (discontinued), Ice Dragon 

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IMGP1737All’s well that ends well. And there might be enough left in that skein for a pair of socks for me! Woohoo!

But now I can’t wait to get back to that merino/yak. It is yummy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asking Too Much?

Is it too much to ask that one skien of yarn make three pairs of socks? Apparently it is. Meet my latest finished knit, the Asking Too Much Socks –

IMGP8868It’s a good thing that I like contrasting toes!

IMGP8871Asking Too Much Socks in Family Pendragons Armor Superwash Sock, Purteal, with Knit Picks Stroll Kettledyed, Eggplant
Ravelry Project page here

Family Pendragon Yarns is no more (a moment of silence, please……….), and so I really wanted to stretch the last few yarns that have from Melissa.

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I could rip them both back and make the toes the same length. I could work at it and make this pair of socks more pleasing to the eye. But, they fit well, I don’t care that much, and I am glad to be done knitting them so I am leaving them be. I will be wearing them with shoes anyway, right?

IMGP8867All in all, I think I did pretty good. I had already used this same skien to make some Turkish Bed Socks for a swap back in December, and The Bookworm got a slightly smaller pair of the same for Christmas.

IMGP8874It may have been asking too much, but I did get three pairs of socks out of one skien of yarn. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself!

 

 

 

 

Easy Peasy

When I don’t feel very well, easy knitting is the only knitting that I can do. So I have a new pair of socks! 🙂

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My own pattern in Yarn Love Elizabeth Bennet Romance with Knit Picks Stroll Tonal Sock Eggplant toes. Ravelry Project Page here

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This is my super easy made up sock pattern. I can just churn out socks mindlessly following my little formula (written out on the Rav project page if you’re curious).
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This yarn comes in 50 gram skeins, but I like the contrasting toes, so I don’t mind running out of colorway before the end of the sock.

I have already started the next pair. I can work on it in the evenings when I am so exhausted that all I can do is stockinette in endless circles. Plus, we are watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy this week (it takes us six days with the extended version!) and I need something to keep my hands busy while the good guys slaughter orcs!

Knitting a Rainbow

Three things I learned from knitting this pair of socks.

1. You can’t stay blue when you’re knitting a rainbow. Try it. I dare you. Just staring at this riot of color is an amazing mood enhancer. And they make me happy when I wear them, too. Feeling blue? Knit a rainbow.

2. Don’t let too much time pass before knitting the second sock. Especially if the pattern is all improv and you aren’t taking good notes. It’s a bad idea. Ask me how I know. How do I know? Oh, I am so glad you asked. I was knitting the simplest of sock recipes with a very basic stitch pattern and I had to rip the second sock out twice because it wasn’t looking quite right. But now they are identical. Mostly.

3. When you have fat feet, 50 grams of sock yarn isn’t enough, even if you are only doing short-legged socks. Hence the yellow toes.

 

Another pair of socks for the sock drawer. It is still funny to me that I am knitting socks now. I never thought I would. I am so glad that I do.

Socks of my own design in Shibui Knits Sock Spectrum. Rav project page here (where I did eventually write down what I was doing).

 

Dale & Dolly – His Socks Part 5

Tuesdays are comics days on woolandchocolate!

“Dale and Dolly” is the collaborative work of The Bookworm and I. After I sketch out my idea in goofy little stick figures and scrawled lines of dialog, I hand it over to my twelve year old daughter who works her magic. Her attention to detail and sense of humor make this comic strip what it is and I give her all the credit for this amazing series.  

Dale & Dolly His Socks Part 4

Tuesday is comics day at woolandchocolate!

“Dale and Dolly” is the collaborative work of The Bookworm and I. After I sketch out my idea in goofy little stick figures and scrawled lines of dialog, I hand it over to my twelve year old daughter who works her magic. Her attention to detail and sense of humor make this comic strip what it is and I give her all the credit for this amazing series.  

Call in the Reinforcements!

Yesterday I mentioned that I had reinforced the bottom of the foot section of my new socks. This is how I did it. (Inspired by this article in Knitty.com)

First, I turned the sock inside out and put it on my foot. Then, using a contrasting color yarn and a darning needle, I outlined my trouble area – the balls of my feet is where I always get holes in my socks.

If you are following along, outline your specific trouble area – do you get holes in your heels first? Your toes?

Yes, this totally tickled like crazy!

Next, I took the sock off and put it on a sock blocker (inside out). Alternately, you could use a darning egg or really anything that will hold the fabric slightly stretched.

Taking my matching yarn and my needle, I then began weaving up and down over the outlined area like so.

When I had covered the entire section with weaving, I cut the yarn and took my sock off the blocker.

Then I pulled out my outline yarn.

When this is done right, the reinforcement is totally invisible from the right side.

It is my hope and expectation that this will increase the lifespan of these most excellent socks. I will let you know how it works out.

Maeva

I had an epiphany. Are you ready? This one might blow your mind, not because it is particularly clever or new, rather because it took me so long to realize it.

Why do I knit socks with long legs when I clearly have a preference for ankle socks when I buy socks at the store?

How many times have I knit a pair of socks that take twice as much yarn and time as an ankle sock (which is what I’d really rather wear). And isn’t that the point of making socks? To make the perfect sock for me?  I mean, I don’t wear turtleneck sweaters, therefore I don’t knit turtleneck sweaters. I don’t wear long johns, therefore I don’t knit long johns. So, I made a decision mid-sock and knit a pair of socks that I would love to wear (fortunately for me, it was a toe up sock, so I could make that kind of a change).

Introducing my “Natalie Loves Me” socks (so named because this yarn was a baby shower gift from my knitting buddy who knows what makes me happy).

Maeva in Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, Foliage

Three things about this knit –

1. This yarn does what it does well. I am not saying that it is my new favorite, but for a pair of socks I think it will do just fine. I love the color and the way that I magically (and without trying at all) started each sock at exactly the same point in the colorway so that the semi-striping is perfectly matching. I love the sturdy feeling these socks have.

2. I learned many new things while knitting these socks, the least of which was the epiphany mentioned earlier in this post. I learned how to do Judy’s Magic Cast On, a truly wonderful trick. I learned that while toe up socks are fascinating, I would much rather start at the top and work down. I also learned that I actually do enjoy working socks one at a time (rather than both at once) and that knitting the second sock doesn’t have to be a painful chore (because this second sock was just as fun as the first). I guess you could say that these were educational socks.

3. I made many mistakes. Many. I mean it. A lot. I crossed cables willy-nilly with no thought to the way they were actually supposed to cross. I increased haphazardly. I decreased when I felt like it. I totally faked the heel flap without even peeking at the pattern. All of these mistakes are tiny, and really, (really) they make no difference (at all. whatsoever). I keep telling myself that I don’t care. But I do. (But not enough to frog them.)

Also, these socks are kinda baggy, which is weird because I have huge feet and every other sock I ever knit for myself has been tight. Maybe I can shrink them up a bit in the dryer. (note to self – next time do a smaller cuff)

All in all, a satisfying knit and a new pair of socks in my drawer. It’s been good week.

Darning Tutorial

When I set out to teach myself to darn I found a few videos on YouTube and just went for it. What I was learning was a basic darning method in which a woven patch is formed to fill the hole. I was a little bothered by how this looked, but I figured that it’s on the bottom of my foot, so who cares? But, now that I have had to darn my socks multiple times, I have gotten bored with that method and discontent with it’s resulting patched-up look. How could I make it look like knitting? I wondered. I came up with what I thought was brilliance and thought I would write a tutorial to show you all my really super awesome new darning technique. I decided to call it “duplicate stitch darning”. Then I thought I had better Google that first to make sure that there isn’t already a such thing (surely I can’t be the first one to think of this). Lo and behold! I was not the first to think of it. Duplicate stitch darning has already been invented. Darn!

However, the way in which duplicate stitch darning, or Swiss darning, is done is actually quite different than my little invention. The idea is the same, the result is the same, and even the name is the same. But Swiss darning is done from the bottom of the hole up using thread guidelines, and mine is from the top down using yarn as the guidelines.

So, I have decided to go ahead and write my little tutorial anyway. This method of darning is more interesting to work and looks a lot nicer than a regular woven darning. Maybe you could use it, too? Okay, enough with the intro. Let’s get this thing going…

Duplicate Stitch Darning – the WoolandChocolate Way

Assemble the ingredients

I’ve got my holey sock and matching yarn, scissors, a needle, and my darning egg.

A quick word on the darning eggs. The Man picked both of these up at an antique store for me for Christmas. I love them. The one that looks a little like a shoe horn is a bit slippy and I haven’t actually used it yet, but it looks fabulous in my yarn cabinet. The darning mushroom with the silver band is an excellent tool and one that I use all the time. When I didn’t have a darning egg, I used a baby bottle. Okay, back to the tutorial.

Position the hole over the darning mushroom and trim away all the loose bits.

Now, take a length of yarn and thread your needle. Sew a running stitch square around the outside of the hole, about 3 stitches in from edge. This provides a good anchor for the patch.

Once you have made a square around the hole, starting from the top, begin stringing your guide lines from side to side, one horizontal line for every knit row.

As you can see, I use the running stitch square as my guide, setting the ends of the lines 3 stitches deep into good fabric.

Now, your yarn should be in the lower right hand corner. Weave your way to the top right corner of the square and begin working a duplicate stitch over the existing stitches. When you get to the hole you will use the horizontal guide lines that you sewed in earlier to complete the duplicate stitch.

Working from the top down, take your needle under the next guide line.

Now, take your needle from right to left through the “v” of the above stitch (as if to work the duplicate stitch).

And repeat, taking the needle under the next guide line from top to bottom.

Working in this way, stack your little “v”‘s in a nice, tidy column all the way to the bottom of the running stitch square, about 3 stitches from the bottom of the hole. Now, weave your needle through the guide lines to the top of the square.

And, starting at the top of the running stitch square, work your three duplicate stitches over the good stitches and proceed to work down the column as before.

In this way, build a knitted patch across the hole.

I like to push the columns to the right once I am finished with each in order to pack them in more tightly. Tension seems to be the trickiest part of this method. As you can see, I err on the loose side, but I am trying to learn to make the “v”‘s more closely matching to the gauge of the knitted sock.

When the hole is patched, weave in the ends.

And  you’re done!

Maybe I am crazy, but I really like the way that looks. I also happen to think that it is pretty hard wearing as well.

There. I did it. My first tutorial ever…..

…. does it make any sense?

Knitting Poetry, the Fourth

When lace has got you down
You’ve tinked more than you can count
Turn a heel

When silk has got you beat
Knit something for your feet
Turn a heel

When your knitting’s just too tough
Get your socks knit past the cuff
Turn a heel

When you can’t find your knitting mojo
Work some socks from cuff to toe… jo
Turn a heel

Turn a heel, turn a heel
Yeah, you’ll love how it will feel
Turn a heel

And maybe work some gusset rounds, too!

My Kai-Mei Socks are coming along rather nicely, if I do say so myself.