Knitting Knecklace

See what I made?

Wanna make one, too? Here’s how I did it. (If you want to just buy one, I got the idea here. Mine are not as dainty and elegant as the ones in this Etsy shop. Drool city, I tell you!)

This necklace takes only one yard of laceweight yarn, two brass ring stitch markers and a necklace chain. You will need scissors, pliers and cutters (I used my leatherman), and two tapestry needles (or skinny DPNs or something).

First, I made a teeny, tiny skein with one yard of yarn. Wrapping it around four fingers (slightly spread apart) seemed to give me the right size. I used the needles to hold it while I twisted the loop into a skein.

And finished it off with this little manuever.

(That looks like the yarn is thread through the eye, but it isn’t. I just used the end of the needle to pull the one end of the skien through the other)

Next, I cut my chain in half. My chain was a little long, so I actually cut about an inch out of the middle.

Using the pliers, I then opened the brass ring and thread it through one end of the skien and one end of the chain. Then I bent it shut.

After repeating that last step on the other side, I put on my new necklace delightedly.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Yarn used was Knit Picks Shimmer Hand Dyed in Elderberry; brass rings were from Knit Picks also, found here (mine were used and so no longer look brassy, but have faded into a more silvery look); necklace chain was found in my jewelry box (no link… haha!)

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.

Cabling Cable Needle Free (No Fear!)

I have gorgeous cable needles – the Knit Picks Harmony ones with the pretty colors. I never use them. I did once. I was making this sweater, which uses a cable needle every three stitches or something totally nuts like that. I got pretty good at juggling the extra needle, though, sticking it in my mouth like a cigarette when it wasn’t in use. I didn’t even realize that I did this until my two year old asked, “I help, Mama?” and proceeded to hold the cable needle between her lips! But I digress.

A cable needle is totally unnecessary, and the sooner I figured this out, the happier I was. It isn’t really as scary as it is made out to be. Yes, you do have to slide live stitches off the needles momentarily. Breathe. Just breathe. I have never lost any stitches doing this. It will be okay. So, here is my little tutorial –

Cabling Free the woolandchocolate way:

1. Get ready to cable. Take a deep breath. Don’t run for your cable needle. You can do this.

2. Read your pattern and determine how many stitches are involved in the cable. My pattern says to work a 6 st LC (which is written out in the pattern like this “6-st LC = Sl3 sts to cn, hold to front. K3, K3 from cn.”- in plain english that means that three stitches are going to cross over the front of the next three. Pass all the stitches involved in the cable to the right needle (in my case, 6):

3. Determine which stitches are in the front and which are in the back. My cable is a left cross, that is the first three stitches cross over the front of the second three to make a left cross cable. This means that I will need to bring my left needle to the front of the work and use it to grab those front stitches.

4. Now it’s time to pull your right needle out of all stitches. Use your left hand to hold all the stitches in place and gently slide the right needle free of the six stitches of the cable.
 Observe the three live stitches sitting there waiting patiently. They are fine. They are patient. All is well. 

5. Use your right needle to rescue the three free stitches.

6. Now pull the right needle across the back and put the second three stitches on the left needle.
 

7. Knit across the six cabled stitches.

A right cross cable is cabled to the back. In that case, when you get to step 3 you will grab the first three stitches in the back of the work and then (in step 6) bring your right needle across the front to rescue the live stitches. In this way, the second three stitches are pulled across the front of the work while the first three stitches are held in the back.

Now you are free from the cable needle juggling forever! But don’t throw away those beautiful little needles – they make great shawl pins!

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?