Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Cupcake Socks with FLK Heel: All DONE... FINALLY!

Cupcake Socks


These socks are called "Cupcake Socks" because that is the name given to the yarn colorway by the yarn dyer.  The yarn dyer/company is called "Biscotte", although when I bought this yarn I think the yarn company was called "Biscotte & Cie".  Anyway... this is yarn I purchased way, way, WAY back in June 2013, when I was in Oregon visiting Mom and Dad. The yarn shop, which is located in Beaverton, Oregon, is called "For Yarn's Sake."  Cute name, right?  My project notes showed I started knitting these socks way, way, WAY back in October 2013.  No, that is not a typographical error.  I think I really wanted these socks to be super perfect because this yarn was a big splurge. Yep, it was probably the first time I spent $25.00 on a ball of yarn for a single pair of socks.  Yikes, right?  Truth be told, I've gotten over the sticker shock. I routinely pay that much or more for sock yarn.  I look at it this way. Each sock is close to 10,000 stitches and I've been working on these socks (on and off) for nearly four years, so I've gotten $25.00 worth of enjoyment out of this yarn and now I get to wear the heck out of these socks, too. 

I kept putting these socks aside because I kept having problems with them.  For various reasons, one sock was bigger than the other... so I ripped it back. Then I put the socks on magic loop so I could finish them two at a time. Then I couldn't decide what heel to put in the sock because I did not want to disturb the perfect stripes going on.  I inserted waste yarn for an afterthought heel, but still the socks sat lingering. 

A few weeks ago, I figured out how to work the "Fish Lips Kiss Heel" and I really wanted to use this new heel in a pair of socks.  I did not want to start a NEW pair of socks so I inserted the Fish Lips Kiss Heel in the Cupcake Socks and it worked out pretty well.  I lucked out and the stripes did not get disturbed too terribly. I am pretty happy with the results and it feels so good to have these socks done... finally!

Heel Pattern: Fish Lips Kiss Heel (LINK)
Yarn: Biscotte (LINK) / Yarn Biscotte & Cie "Felix" in the Cupcake colorway.
For these socks, I cast on 64 stitches on needles 2.25 mm.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

FLK heel

Fish Lips Kiss Heel

No, that's not a typo.

Yes, the Fish Lips Kiss Heel is a REAL thing. In fact, in the knitting world... it's a pretty big deal.  This heel pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry for just one buck.  Yep, just $1.00 and it's worth every penny.  I kept seeing folks using this heel in socks and purchased the pattern over two years ago. Imagine my surprise when I downloaded the pattern and I printed out 16 pages of instructions... just for a heel.  I was so over whelmed that it took me over two years to finally sit down and make heads of tails of this heel.

A few weekends ago, I sat down with the instructions and worked through the heel process.  I found a spot in the pattern on page 8 where the instructions for inserting the FLK heel in a cuff down sock begins so that's where I started.   I just cast on a sample sock, knit ribbing for about 10 rounds, knit in stockinette for about 10 rounds, and then dove in head first with that heel.

The pattern has great video support on YouTube with links contained in the written pattern.  There are two special stitches used in the heel and the videos were an amazingly great help. I worked the stitches several times following the videos.  In fact, I had two windows open on my computer so I could alternate between the two videos.  The two special stitches are "Twin Stitch Knit" and "Twin Stich Purl" and I kept watching the videos over and over until I finally got these stitches memorized.  You end up using these two stitches so many times that you eventually memorize the stiches, but they seemed rather tricky at first. 

After making my way through the FLK heel process on a sample sock, I tried out the heel in a sock I've been working on FOREVER.  It turned out great!  I look forward to finishing up this pair of socks and seeing how I like the feel and fit of the FLK heel. I'll be sure to give you a full report and share those socks when they are all done.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Building in Color Afghan: Sneak Peek

Building in Color Afghan Project: Sneak Peek

I've been working a lot on my Building in Color afghan project lately and finally decided to unroll my panels, lay them out side by side, and get an idea what this afghan will look like. You can see them all above.  The alarming thing I noticed was that some of my panels are significantly longer than others.  I am optimistic that I can remedy some of this with REALLY AGGRESSIVE blocking.  The lesson I have learned is that these various color work panels all take on a life of their own and behave very differently.  Some want to stretch vertically and some want to stretch horizontally.  I think sewing them all together will be challenging, but like I said, I hope I can get some of them stretched a bit longer with blocking.  I don't want to have to take out any of the bound off edges, add more yarn, and add more length!  Above you can see... 7 of 10 panels done.  Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Building in Color: Panel #8 Complete

Building in Color: Panel #8
Butterfly Stitch


I am trying really hard to remain focused on my Building in Color Afghan project.  You probably have not noticed, but #7 and #8 are done but I skipped over #6. I need to do #6 next. I have the first several rows of #6 done. I worked the pattern just enough to bring it to class for instruction but have not worked on it since. 

The panel I am featuring today incorporates the Butterfly Stitch.  In this stitch, you slip stitches three in a row, at regular intervals across the work, and you hold the yarn to the front (right side) of the work when you slip the stitches.  Below you can see a taupe horizontal strand of yarn, and above that there is a blue strand and a pink strand. 

To make the Butterfly Stitch, you take your right hand needle and you go under the horizontal strands from the bottom to the top (like a tunnel) and then you knit the prescribed stitch on the needle.  Then you take the tip of your right hand need back through the tunnel.  It's difficult to describe, but HERE is a link to a video if you'd like to see how it's done.

Above, you can see where I've just worked the Butterfly Stitch on the right and, on the left, you can see where the next Butterfly Stitch will be completed. Pretty cool, right? I thought so too!

I must tell you, I have some helpers working with me on this project.  Sandy lays her head on my yarn to ensure my yarn tension is not too loose.  Brutus brings me his ball (so I can throw it).  Brutus believes that dog drool on my knitting will come in handy when it comes time to block the panels.  The dog drool does have a rather sticky consistency after all.

One more thing I'd like to say about the very cool Butterfly Stitch is this.  Michelle Hunter points this out in here video as well.  The Butterfly Stitch looks dramatically different when you work it in a solid color.  Below is a Butterfly Hat photo; the pattern link is HERE.

In this hat pattern, the Butterfly Stitch is worked over five stitches (in the photos above, it was worked only over three stitches).  Also, in the Butterfly hat, the Butterfly Stitch gathers up a total of five horizontal strands (in the photos above, the Butterfly Stitch only gathered up three horizontal strands).  But the technique is the same. You can really see why this is called a Butterfly Stitch when you see it worked up on a solid color.  Almost makes me want to cast on a hat, but I really need to work on Panel #6!

Happy Knitting. I have a number of other projects to share. I'll do that soon.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Building in Color: Panel #7 Complete

Building in Color: Panel #7
Mosaic Knitting

I feel as if I have gotten really behind in my craft projects.  Sure, most craft projects don't have a deadline, but I am teaching a class where we are making the "Building in Color" afghan and I found myself teaching a new panel in August, and I still had not completed the panels we had started in June and July.  This week, I buckled down a bit and got the July panel done.  This panel is Mosaic Knitting. 

I am sure I've seen this technique in other knitting patterns and projects on Ravelry, but I've never tried to knit any of those patterns or projects.  If you ever see a pattern that calls for Mosaic Knitting, don't hesitate to try it. It's actually really easy and fun and the results you see above are created by just slipping stitches.  There are a few rules in Mosaic Knitting.  This project calls for two colors of yarn.  You work two rows in color A and two rows in color B.  You are not carrying both yarns across the row.  When you slip stitches, you always hold the yarn to the wrong side of the work so all of the slipped stitches are on the wrong side.  In Mosaic Knitting, the pattern usually does not spell out the wrong side rows because, on the wrong side rows, you are simply repeating what you did in the row below.  Not too difficult.  Mosaic Knitting creates a dense fabric.  I think I might look for a hat using Mosaic Knitting.  But before I get working on a Mosaic hat, I should probably finish up the panels we worked on in class in June and August.  I also have a lot of other UFO's/WIP's I have been working on.  More about them another time.

Friday, September 1, 2017

String Bag (Crochet)

Crochet String Bag

I visited my sister back in July and I helped get her started on a crochet project. Ever since then, I've been on a bit of a crochet kick myself.  I made the bag pictured above from yarn called Berroco Weekend.  It is a acrylic/cotton blend.

The pattern is from a book called "simple crochet" by Erika Knight. It's a great book; I've made a number of patterns in the book including the Turkish Slippers pictured on the cover (see below).

I am going to be teaching a class on this project at my local knit shop so I wanted to make up a second bag using yarn currently available for purchase at the knit shop.  For the second bag, I used Lily Sugar 'n Cream.  I ended up using about 1 1/2 balls of yarn for the bag. I did add a few extra rows around the handles to make them a little more substantial.  I used the leftover yarn to make a nice dish scrubber.  Here are the bags on display at my local knit shop.  This part of the shop is called "Cotton Corner".  I love it! 

You can see that the bags really stretch out when you place objects inside.  I've made this pattern before using cotton kitchen twine. This kind of bag is great for many uses.  I took my cotton bag to Mexico a few times and it's the perfect bag for carrying sunglasses, sunscreen, and a paperback book to the pool or beach.  You could also use a bag like this to carry your lunch.  The pattern suggests making the bag using multipurpose polypropylene string, which can be found at hardware stores.  My mom called me recently to tell me she had found some polypropylene string in some great colors at her local Dollar Store. I will have to check my local Dollar Store as well, but I do really like the bags made with cotton and cotton/blend yarn.   

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Entrelac Socks: No. 1 is FINALLY Complete!

Entrelac Socks
Knit from the Cuff Down

A really, really long time ago, I took an Entrelac Sock Knitting class at my local yarn shop.  I started the socks over a few times. At first I did not like the yarn combination I had chosen.  On the second go around, I realized the foot had way too many stitches in it (the sock was too big).  So I ripped out the portion after the entrelac cuff, and the project sat there lingering... FOREVER.

I resumed knitting on this sock within the past week and just finished up sock no. 1. The fit is pretty good so I am determined to cast on sock no. 2 very soon before I forget what I did.  I altered this pattern a lot. It's a pattern by Vicki England and I can't seem to find it on Ravelry. The green yarn is Knit Picks Stroll and the colorway is "Peapod" (yarn from my mom's stash... Thanks, Mom!). The colorful yarn is yarn from Western Sky Knits... leftover from another pair of socks. 

I was really trying to figure out when I took the Entrelac Sock Knitting class so I would know how long this project has been sitting around.  I looked on Ravely and figured out I took the class in February 2015.  Crazy, right?

Yesterday, while I was at the knit shop working on this sock, we had a horrendous rainstorm with lightning and thunder.  My husband texted me this photo of Sandy.  He said he had to go looking for her during the storm; she wouldn't come when he called. He found her in the bathroom hiding under the shower curtain. Poor thing!