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Posts Tagged ‘socks’

Just so you don’t think this is turning into a spinning blog, I do have an old FO to show you. It was started and completed within two days in the month of April. Behind a bit with my blog posting? Me?

I made it through three rounds of Sock Madness 2, and these are the last pair of socks I knit. By the way, I did make it through this round, I just chose not to continue with Round 4 since I was on vacation. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Pattern: Slippin’ Stripin’ Socks by Tina Lorin (Ravelry)
Yarn: Knit Picks Shadow: (1) skein Juniper, (1) skein Vineyard
Needles: Knit Picks Circular size 2.75 mm / US 2

Raveled Here

The yarn is laceweight. Yes, laceweight. There’s no cast on of 130 sts and size 00 needles because you are knitting with 2 strands of yarn held together, which in essence makes it fingering weight. The brilliance of the pattern is that you’re constantly changing the colorway of the 2nd strand of yarn. Not only does this give you great color variations, but will also hold your interest and attention. At least, it did mine.

For example, the ribbing is knit with 2 strands of colorway A, but for the next few rounds, you knit with one strand of colorway A and one strand of colorway B. After a few rounds of that, you drop the one strand of colorway A and add a second strand of colorway B. It goes on like this throughout the pattern and you have to pay attention to get the color sequences just right.

To make things easier on yourself, I recommend splitting your yarn skeins in half, although you can use the inside and outside strands of your skein to eliminate that extra step. Since I was knitting both socks at the same time (because I’m crazy like that), I had to split each of my skeins into these cute little yarn cakes. If you keep each socks yarn in its own plastic bag, it makes everything semi-manageable.

The designer was kind enough to release the pattern as a free Ravelry download, so I’m going to highly recommend you check it out. In fact, I may be knitting this again in the future and experiment a little with adding a 3rd or fourth color. I may even do it with handspun.

And before I forget, I’d recommend weaving your ends in as you go. I’d say trust me on this, but I think this photo speaks louder than words.

Even though I participated in Sock Madness for only 3 rounds, I must thank Carole and Hillary for putting together such a great competitive knit-along. Sock Madness 3 is scheduled to happen next year, so are any of you up to the challenge?

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I’d missed out on Sock Madness last year so when rumors of Sock Madness 2 started circulating, I signed up immediately. I thought that my sock knitting skills had vastly improved over the last year and that I knit socks fairly quickly and felt pretty comfortable with any difficulty level. One thing I’d recommend though to anyone who decides to take on something like Sock Madness is to arm yourself with lots of movies for entertainment and motrin for the inevitable pain.

Movies, Madness and Motrin

Pattern: Zombie Socks by Sheryl Giles designed for Sock Madness 2
Yarn: BMFA Socks That Rock lightweight in Obsidian
Needles: 2.0 mm / US 1 Knit Picks Circular Nickel (2) 24″
Ravelry Links: GuiltyPleasures and Sock Madness
Started: 3/13 11:00 am; Finished: 3/15 8:30 am

Zombie's Rock

Thursday morning at 10am as I sipped my morning coffee, I did as I do most mornings at that time and checked my email. There it was. The sock madness email I had been anticipating. As I sprung from the sofa and into my office / craft room, I started up my office PC and printed out the sock pattern while searching for my swift and yarn. Normally there would be no searching, but the craft room is in the midst of a remodel and so things aren’t in their usual places. Hubby came into the room to see what all the bustle was about, and in my best panicky voice I said: “I can’t find my swift, I can’t find my swift.” As he holds his coffee in one hand, he reaches over to the top of my double wooden filing cabinet and calmly says: “It’s right here”. I gratefully smile at him as I grab the pattern from the printer, my needlecase, the yarn from its container, and rush to the dining room table to turn my yarn hank into a ball.

Zombie Madness (legs)

I quickly read through the pattern. Zombie Socks. Sounds interesting enough. I cast-on and after the necessity of the ribbing was completed, I excitedly began knitting the stitch pattern. I was definitely thankful that there were no jobs, or children to get in the way of my knitting time, and although I miss hubby while he’s at work, when he walked out the door at 2 pm I was anxious to knit all evening until he returned home at 1 am. I had the stitch pattern memorized immediately and since there are dropped stitches, I wondered why the instructions didn’t have me knit through the back loop (ktbl) of the stitches before and after the dropped stitch to reinforce them. Then I finally realized that since Zombies are a bit on the disheveled side (although I’ve not personally met one), and by not reinforcing the stitch, it makes it look less “neat”. Besides, I’ve already knit the “neat” version of this pattern before. It’s the Tangled Up In Blue pattern by Judy Becker. You know the one .. Judy of Judy’s Magic Cast On. There were a few minor differences, in Judy’s pattern but overall I kind of felt like I was knitting the same sock pattern twice.

Zombie Madness

During that day I was able to complete the leg of both socks, and at bedtime I was grateful that I had a bottle of muscle relaxants in my medicine cabinet. The next morning as I worked on the heel flaps, my body told me that it needed a day off to rest. As I opened the bottle of Motrin I told my body to be quiet since there was no time for rest and things would be fine. As I continued to knit, I noticed my knitting was quite labored and slow. I also noticed that the pain had not been helped by the Motrin and when I finished the heel flap on the second sock, I noticed that things weren’t lining up. Riiiiiiippppp. I recounted, I repositioned stitches, and started again. I then realized my problem was that I was trying to watch new tv programming, and new-to-me movies, so my concentration wasn’t focused enough on the socks.

Zombie Madness (heel & leg)

I glanced over at the 100+ DVD’s in their dilapidated shelving unit and figured that this is the ideal time to re-watch movies I know and love so that I can more fully concentrate on the project at hand. I knit and knit and knit and when hubby arrived home at 1 am, he found me in the same position as when he had left that same afternoon. He could tell I was in pain since non-stop knitting and fibromyalgia are not a great combination, and he highly recommended I go to bed. I assured him I wouldn’t be up much longer, and whether he believed me or not, he must have been too tired to argue with me and put himself to bed. I doubt he was surprised much when he woke up at 7 am and found a completely exhausted wife sitting on the sofa with socks in hand working on the toes.

Zombie Madness (toe)

By 8:30am hubby was off to work and I had finished knitting, photographing, and uploading my sock photos to Flickr. I sent off my email to notify the Sock Madness maidens that I had completed my socks, and breathed a huge sigh of relief. I gathered up my finished socks, the bottle of Motrin and the strewn about movies, put them in a pile on the table and went to bed.

Zombie Madness

One final note, it’s now 4 days later and in my division only 23 people have completed their socks. Since the top 40 people continue on to the second round, I was obviously a little over-zealous with pulling an all-nighter to complete my socks. Damnit.

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I know many of you are waiting to see the Tangled Yoke Cardigan, but you’ll have to be patient for a few more days. First I want to share with you my latest pair of socks.

Illusions Socks

Pattern: Illusions by Laura Patterson

Pattern Source: Fiber Dreams (Ravelry)

Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino in Java

Needles: Knit Picks Circular in size 2.25 mm / 1 US

Modifications: 3 additional pattern repeats on the leg

Ilusions Socks closeup

These are probably the quickest pair of socks I’ve ever knit. I was motivated to get them done quickly because this was a test-knit for my girlfriend Laura, but also because my mother said her feet were freezing and she wanted another pair of socks. She’s just recently discovered the pleasure and warmth factor of wearing handknit socks, but when she commented that if I knit them she’d pay for the yarn, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Pay for the yarn? I think if she knew the yarn was somewhere around $20, she’d have a heart attack. I bet all the socks that she currently owns don’t add up to $20.

Illusions Socks

I knit these socks at the same time on two circular needles, and the only trick for me was remembering that the socks are mirror images of each other. I did mess that up a time or two, but that’s because I was paying too much attention to the movie I was watching at the time. I can’t imagine how much worse the mess would’ve been if I’d been watching a subtitled movie.

Illusions Sock foot close-up 2

The pattern has been released and is available at the Fiber Dreams pattern site, and don’t forget to put this in your Ravelry queue. I think the best part of the pattern is that it’s so versatile. Although I knit these for mom, my husband (who is Mr. Picky) loves these socks and has decided to find himself some yarn when we go to Stitches West next week so that I can knit this pattern for him.  No problem.  I’d knit this pattern again in a heartbeat.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the “sweeties” that frequent my blog. Without you, I probably wouldn’t continue to do this.

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Designer spotlight

This was going to be a post about my adventures at TNNA in Long Beach, but it makes no sense telling you what I saw at this tradeshow, without first explaining why I was there. For those of you who are unfamiliar with TNNA, it is the National NeedleArts Association which is a trade association for professionals in knitting, needlework, and stitching. Each year they have two trade shows for members and it is huge! For our purposes, I’ll only discuss the knitting side of things. If you are a yarn store owner, a TNNA tradeshow is the perfect venue to go check out what’s new in the industry, place orders with vendors, meet designers, etc.

So lets get back to why I was there. My dear friend Laura is a very talented designer and a member of TNNA. She graciously asked me to attend with her so she could meet with yarn companies, show them her patterns, and hopefully gather enough interest from them to possibly design some patterns in their yarn. It’s really a win/win situation.
One of the items I was wearing on the 2nd day we attended was a pair of socks that she designed that I failed to post about when I finished them in November. I’m going to remedy that problem right now because this is a pattern I definitely would like to show off!
Pattern: Candy Wrappers by Laura Patterson of Fiber Dreams

Yarn: Socks that Rock Lightweight in Rose Quartz
Needles: 24″ circular 2.25 mm (US 1) and 2.5 mm (US 1.5)

Modifications: I cast on with the 2.25 mm needles to work the ribbing and then switched to the 2.5 mm needles to knit the rest of the sock. I didn’t do this because of any problem wit
h the pattern, but because I was too lazy to swatch & realized when I completed the ribbing that I better go up a bit in needle size if these were going to fit.
I also added an extra 1/2 repeat of the pattern on the leg because I’m somewhat strange and always like my socks a bit longer than any pattern I’ve ever knit. It seemed like a good idea at the time until I figured out that I had to shift my stitches on the needles to work the heel flap in the pattern stitch. It took some math skills on my part to make it work, but I think I executed it fine.
Notes: The cabling technique in this pattern is beautiful and very unique and something I’ve never ran across before. I was unable to figure out how to do it without a cable needle, but when I knit this pattern again, my goal is to figure it out. That is, unless someone does it for me first, which would be wonderful.

I don’t recall ever knitting this type of toe decrease before, especially since I usually knit all my socks toe-up, but it’s so pretty I felt it needed its own close-up. At TNNA I got compliments left and right every time someone saw these. In fact, the VP of Brown Sheep Company was practically gushing over them and said if they weren’t on my feet she’d steal them. The glint in her eye at one point led me to believe that she may indeed be serious.

As can be the case with some patterns, you have to be careful as to what yarn type and colorway you choose, so that the stitch pattern doesn’t get “lost”. I think this skein of Socks That Rock showed off the pattern very well, and I was very lucky to win this skein in a blog contest awhile ago from Tiennie Knits.
The pattern is written top-down (cuff to toe), on dpn’s, but I found it extremely easy to modify it for two circular needles. Dare I say that it would be just as easy using the Magic Loop?
Now if this fabulous sock isn’t enough of a designer spotlight, I’ll tease you a bit here by showing you her current design that I’m test-knitting. It’s called the Garden Party Shawl, and with all the beautiful flower and leaf motifs, I can definitely see why. Some of you may remember her last design, Pacific Islands, which can be knit into a shawl or a scarf. It got quite a bit of attention when Wendy Johnson (Wendy Knits) test-knit it for Laura, and the pattern went flying out of Laura’s online store. I suspect the Garden Party Shawl will too … once it’s available.

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Happy Birthday baby sister (who’s not quite a “baby” anymore). Not only is she one of my sisters, but even if she weren’t, I would like to think that we still would be close friends.
My sister is a very talented artist and a delicious baker, so last year she combined the two and started making one-of-a-kind cakes. I’m always amazed at the fantastic confections she creates and I hope that someday I’ll be lucky enough to be the recipient of one of her cakes.
Last year on her birthday I let her choose one of four fabulous gifts, but this year I figured it out all by myself. Since her favorite color is green, and since I know she doesn’t have any for herself, I decided to treat her to some hand knit socks. Unfortunately, they didn’t get complete in time to make it in her mailbox for today, but they are going in the mail on Monday (along with the delayed socks I knit for her daughter’s December birthday). Do we see a horrible trend here or what?
A Twinkle in the Congo

Pattern: Twinkle Toes by Cookie A.
Yarn: Cider Moon Glacier in Congo
Needles: 3.5mm (US 4) 24″ KnitPicks circulars
Pattern Notes: This is definitely a great pattern to try if you are intimidated by other patterns written by here. Since it’s knit with DK weight yarn, it knits up fairly quickly, but still introduces you to Cookie’s fabulous design work. I knit these two at a time on 2 circular needles, and cast on using Judy’s magic cast-on (of course). I knit 5 pattern repeats before starting the instep increases, but I should have only knit 4. In the heel section, I used the yarn over method that Cookie demonstrated on the Knitty Gritty episode instead of wrapping the stitches as written in the directions. I knit 6 pattern repeats on the leg which makes them a bit long, but hopefully she prefers a longer leg like I do. I used the sewn cast-off for the very first time and I’m wondering why I never tried it before. Brilliant.
Yarn Notes: It’s super soft, squishy, the color variation is beautiful, and it smells great. The downside is that in Sept 2007, the Cider Moon blog said that due to a legal matter, they’ve stopped doing business. It’s such a shame because I’m not one to typically purchase DK weight yarn, but I really think this is one I’d purchase again. Hopefully whatever the issue is, it will be resolved soon.

Final Thoughts: While I’m pleased overall with how these turned out, I’m afraid they may be a tad too big for her. Then again, she could just wear them around the house as big slouchy socks, right?

Thanks to all of you for your comments on my last post. I’m still trying to sort through all the emails and read each of your blogs, so bear with me while I try to catch up this week.

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Drunk Blue Bees

I think it’s about time for a post regarding an FO, and although I wish it were the Tangled Yoke, I’m still yet to block it so you’ll have to settle for socks.

Drunk Blue Bees

click photo for bigger

Pattern: Drunken Bees by Domesticat
Pattern Source: Ravelry or Domesticrafts
Yarn: ShibuiKnits Sock in Midnight, 2 skeins
Needles: (2) KnitPicks Circular 24″ size 2.25 mm
Notes: The pattern is definitely not written for a beginning sock knitter since you need to be pretty familiar with the basic construction of a sock. Thankfully I’ve knit enough socks now that step-by-step instructions aren’t always needed anymore, and for the most part I’ve figured out how to substitute the heels and toes I want as well as convert patterns cuff to toe or toe to cuff.

Pattern Comments: If you’re experienced in knitting socks this would be a wonderful pattern to knit that will not only hold your attention while you knit it, but give you a beautiful sock in the end. It reminded me a bit of the Cookie A patterns that you can purchase, except this one was free. Had the designer given detailed instructions in multiple sizes, she could’ve easily charged money for this pattern and deserved it!

Yarn Comments: This yarn was even better than I expected and I’m excited to get off my yarn diet in a few days so I can purchase more. This particular colorway reminds me of the STR shaded solid colorways that Blue Moon Fiber Artisans so beautifully dye, and the yarn itself is soft, spongy and has a beautiful twist. Just in case you’re tempted to try some, I think The Loopy Ewe may have some in stock. Maybe.

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I can tell when I’ve been a “bad blogger” and haven’t posted for awhile because I had to log in to blogger to write this post. Can I use a family visit last week as an excuse? Today I thought I’d share with you all the projects (I’m willing to admit) I have on my needles.

I’ve realized that since I’m going to freezing cold southern Idaho for a week in December, I may need some real winter knit-wear. So, I decided to design a scarf for myself. This is the Cable Wave Scarf and I’m using Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted in Prairie Fire although I’ve also test knit it in Malabrigo Worsted. I’ve *got* to add more of that to my stash!

My sister’s birthday is in December and she requested a pair of fingerless gloves that convert to mittens. The pattern I’m using is Urban Necessity from MagKnits Sept. 2005, but honestly I’m not in love with all the yarn end weaving that this project entails. I do love the Cascade 220 superwash wool though so that definitely helps. I must admit though that after trying these on multiple times, I think I need to rip these back and make them larger. Drat.

I’m unsure why I was so excited to cast on for these Diamond Waffle Socks when I saw them in the last Knitty issue, but I think I cast-on in haste because I’ve not liked knitting these at all. I thought they’d be perfect for DH, but I’ve not liked the yarn (Cherry Tree Hill Supersock) nor the pattern and once I completed knitting the heel, I disliked the particular heel in the pattern, ripped them back, and threw them across the room. They’ve been sitting in time out ever since. Normally I love CTH Supersock, so that’s odd, but maybe it’s a bad combination of yarn and pattern. Regardless, since I’ve already done so much work on them, I’m going to pick them back up soon and maybe DH will have them in time for Christmas.

Tangled Yoke is completely knit and ready to be blocked. This is the first cardigan I’ve knit for myself (or anyone else for that matter), so I’m excited to almost have it finished. I suppose I should also be concerned about getting buttons too. Hopefully the next photo of this will be me wearing it.

I’ve had the Drunken Bees socks in my queue ever since the day I saw the pattern on Domesticraft’s blog site. Finally I received the perfect yarn (Shibui Sock) and cast on. Can I just tell you that both the pattern and the yarn are exceeding my expectations. I’m in love!


I’m test knitting Laura’s South Seas Stole and loving every minute of it. In fact, all the above mentioned projects have been sitting in limbo since I cast on for the stole. I already had the yarn in my stash which I coincidentally purchased from Laura a few months ago. I’m not sure what the yarn is comprised of, but it has very little, if any stretch to it, so I’m suspecting there is no wool. Maybe an Acrylic blend? I have no clue, but the finished fabric is beautiful. Finding the correct sized beads though that complemented the color was quite tricky though and luckily I’ve discovered (after 2 other stores failed to “wow” me) a wonderful store right by my house called Brea Bead Works.

I’ve knit the entire length of the stole and am now working on the border, but have discovered I’m running out of yarn. Hopefully Laura has more I can sneak away from her while I distract her with a German beer and deli sandwich from Mattern’s deli.

Thanks again for everyone’s comments. If I didn’t get to yours or your blogs recently, I’m sincerely sorry. My sister’s family was here visiting last week and my fibro wasn’t cooperating, so computer time was limited. Since this big desktop system won’t fit on my bed or my comfy knitting chair, I think it may be appropriate to start researching laptop computers.

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