Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Knitting from a Sock Blank

A few posts back, I told you about my recent trip to Interweave Knit's Yarn Fest in Loveland, Colorado. They had a nice Marketplace at the event and of course one always has to buy some souvenirs at an event like this, right? One of the things I was hoping to find in the Marketplace was a "sock blank" to knit some interesting socks.  I had seen sock blanks at the Sock Summit in Portland, Oregon, a number of years ago, and also just recently, I saw Susan B. Anderson writing about knitting from sock blanks in a post HERE on her great blog.

Sock blanks are machine-knit rectangles of yarn that have been dyed.  You un-ravel the knit fabric and knit your socks directly from the rectangle.  The sock blanks I have seen before were knit up with one strand of yarn; as you can in the photos, my sock blank is knit up with two strands at a time.  As a result, I am un-raveling the two strands and knitting them directly into two socks at a time.  I am using two sets of 2.50 mm dpn needles (I cast on 56 stitches per sock), but this would be a great for folks who knit socks two at a time using Magic Loop on a long circular needles. 

The sock blank I found was from Eugene Textile Center out of Eugene, Oregon.

On Susan B. Anderson's blog, she is using a sock blank from a GREAT looking Etsy shop and you can see that shop by clicking HERE. 

I am really enjoying knitting these socks.  Sometimes I struggle a bit since the yarn is a crimpled up but I would definitely knit socks from a sock blank again.  Seeing this dyed sock blank got me looking into dying yarn myself at home!  I know I have to try that at least once.  On the Knit Picks website, I found bare yarn wound into hanks and also bare yarn knit up into sock blanks.  The sock blanks are rather expensive (about $20.00 for 100 grams), but the yarn wound into hanks is rather reasonable (about $7.50 for 100 grams).  I might just have to give hand dying yarn a try!

Bare fingering/sock weight yarn from Kniy Picks. 

Bare sock blank from Knit Picks. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Autumn Leaves Necklace

"Leaves": a design by Petra Breakstone
This pattern calls for about 40 yards of fingering/sock weight yarn and some small beads.
The pattern link can be found HERE.

What a fun, rewarding knit!  I hurried up and finished up some socks Friday night so I could reward myself with a sweet pattern and a new little project on a Saturday afternoon.  I had this knit up in no time. The only thing difficult about this pattern is keeping track of rows.  I used a sticky "Post-It" note to keep track and that did the trick.  I did have to rip out one leaf because I lost track a few times.

For this project, I used a leftover bit of Zauberball yarn in the Burnt Almond color way.  I used the rest of the yarn for an Infinity Cowl which you can see HERE.  As you can see, the color does change from deep red to a rusty orange in this yarn, although it is not as noticeable in my Leaves Necklace. 

I've already been digging around in my yarn stash and I found some great yarn for another Leaves Necklace.  The beads I used were clear beads but the holes in the beads were painted with gold metallic paint.  I think they go nicely with the yarn but it's hard to tell in photos since the beads are rather small.

This project would make for a great last minute gift for someone special.  I did block my necklace with pins on a blocking mat and spritzed it generously with water to flatten out the leaves a bit and also give the leaves a bit more definition.  I think in future Leaves Necklaces, I'd like to figure out how to add a few more beads to each leaf for a little more bling. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Autumn Leaves Necklace

Leaves Necklace: Knitted Wearable Jewelry

A few weeks back, I noticed a pretty shawl on Facebook. I read the comments that other folks wrote. I just don't get rude people on the Internet. One woman wrote:

"Why would anyone BUY a pattern?  There are so many free patterns available."  

How rude.  What a negative thing to say! My mom always told me that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. 

I was so ticked off that I bought the pattern as if to tell the designer that I think the shawl is great and understand the value of everything that went into creating the design and the pattern. I look forward to casting on the shawl some time soon. I have the yarn ready to go. It was a gift from Belinda who bought the yarn for me on a trip to New York!

The shawl designer and I are are now friends on Ravelry and Facebook. Last night, she posted a photo of a knitted necklace. I bought the pattern and madly worked on finishing my Fruit Stripe Socks on Friday night so I could make the necklace my Saturday knitting project. 

I had this knit up in nearly one sitting and it was a super fun knit. 

My Autumn Leaves Necklace includes beads and I used a bit of leftover Zauberball yarn in the Burnt Almond color way. The project is blocking and drying right now. I'll post a photo soon. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fruit Stripe Gum Socks

Do you remember this yummy gum?

These socks remind me of Fruit Stripe Gum!  This is Diversity Yarn, which I've used a number of times before. I love that I am focusing on one project at a time. I am enjoying finishing up some works in progress. 

I have a small project to make tomorrow. Hopefully I will be able to share that project soon!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Funfetti Socks

Funfetti Cake?  Pretty cool looking, right?

At the Yarn Fest, I was particularly drawn to the Western Sky Knits booth. Belinda and I bought some black and neon colored yarn there so we could both make a pair of Aquaphobia socks just like we saw knit up in the booth. 

I also saw a pair of socks knit up in a knit 3-purl 1 ribbed pattern and I just loved the look of them.  I did not buy the yarn but I kept thinking about THOSE socks knit up in THAT yarn. I kept calling the yarn "cupcake yarn". I think the yarn reminded me of Funfetti cake batter like the photo at the top. 
When Belinda and I were sitting and knitting in our hotel room the night before our sock class at the Yarn Fest,  I asked...
"If we went home right now and did not re-visit the Marketplace before the left, what yarn would you regret not getting?
For me, it was easy.
That "cupcake yarn" was calling my name!
I bought a skein of it on Friday 
So pretty...

It's funny how yarn looks so different when wound up in a hank...

...compared to wound up in a ball...

... compared to on the needles...

I was a good girl and knit up a gauge swatch on 2.25 mm needles. I got 8 stitches per inch so I cast on 64 stitches and am making one of my favorite patterns called "Ribbed Socks for Bigger Feet" by Susan B. Anderson.  The pattern is not for BIG feet per se; it's just adapted from Susan B. Anderson's child-child sized ribbed sock pattern.   

After knitting dozen or so rows on my Funfetti Cupcake Socks, I remembered I had another pair of socks in progress so I am going to try to finish up those socks before knitting much more with newly acquired yarn. The other socks I am knitting are a funky striped socks in fruity colors.  For the striped pair, I am trying to master a short row heel I've tried before.  I'll post about those socks soon. I just finished up turning the heels on both socks so now I am racing toward the toes. 

Until next time... Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Traffic Island Socks

Traffic Island Socks

I made some modifications to this pattern. I made an afterthought heel instead of the heel flap and gusset called for in the pattern. I wanted the stripes to stay consistent so I stitched in a scrap of yarn where I wanted the heel to be. After I finished the toe, I went back to the heel and opened it up. I found it was helpful to insert the needles into the stitches above and below the scrap yarn before removing the scrap yarn (see below). 

Then I could safely remove the scrap yarn (below). 

Then I started knitting in the round again. I did pick up and knit two stitches on the right and left sides of the heel (4 stitches total). Then I completed decreases every other round just the same as the decreases for the toe.  The photo below shows the heel opened up before I started to knit again. 

In other words, a afterthought heel is also a two toed sock! Below is a close up shot of the heel. 

I wish these fit a bit more snuggly. I learned a bit with the afterthought heel. If I would have done fewer rounds in the heel, I think I would have had a snugger fit.  I also wish I would have decreased a few stitches in the foot portion for a snugger fit as well. I am glad to have these done. I am looking to ***hopefully*** finishing one more pair of socks in progress before casting on with some new yarn from my recent trip to the Yarn Fest!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Interweave Yarn Fest

My friend, Belinda, and I are back from Interweave Yarn Fest in Loveland, Colorado. We had a great time!  The event was held at the Embassy Suites Event Center which was an ideal facility. We drove to Loveland on Thursday, leaving Belinda's place at 9:00 am. We got to Loveland at lunch time. We enjoyed checking out the Yarn Fest's marketplace. Of course we did some shopping.  We stayed the night at the Embassy Suites Hotel and we took a class at 9:00 am on Friday. 

Our class was "Socks at Any Gauge" and the instructor was Ann Budd. Belinda and I were never really taught much about how to knit socks. I figured out how to knit them by following a really good pattern and asking questions of knitters at my local knit shop. Fast forward a few years and I taught Belinda some of the basics I had learned and she really took off from there. She did not need much instruction; she's a smart cookie and a very quick learner. Belinda has even completed a pair of entrelac socks!  

Belinda and I have both made several pairs of socks but we've both struggled with sizing. Mine we often too big and Belinda's were often too small. I knit more loosely and she knits more tightly. We were hoping the class we selected would answer our questions and help us how to figure out how to make well fitting socks each and every time. 

Turns out gauge swatches are necessary (drat!) and math is involved (groan!) but Ann Budd walked us through the process of meauring our feet and doing the mathematical formula to help us figure out how many stitches to cast on for our socks. I am looking forward to using what I learned in future socks. Ann Budd's book pictured above also walks one through the same mathematical formula if you are interested in learning more. 

Belinda and I did a bit more shopping before heading home on Friday.  I'll show more of what we got in future posts. Above is a yarn called "Rainbow Bright". This vendor had this yarn knit up in a pattern called "Aquaphobia" which is a free pattern on Ravelry. Belinda suggested we make the socks as a knit-a-long together so we both bought this yarn. Turns out we bought a few other projects which we both plan to make together. Very fun!

In the mean time, I need up to finish up some works in progress so I can cast on some new projects. 

Off to knit!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

From fitted sheet to diaper stacker

Diaper Stacker

I've know Jenn at work for a few years now. She and her husband, Jared, are expecting a boy in June. 

A few weeks back, Jenn showed me the bedding she picked out for the baby's room. She said she'd love a diaper stacker. 

I knew I'd never find fabric to match exactly. I had a light bulb moment. It occurred to me I could buy a fitted sheet and cut it up to make a diaper stacker.  

It worked!  I had just enough fabric.  When I make this pattern I like to add a piece of foam board to the bottom to give the diaper stacker some structure. I had enough fabric to make a little fabric sleeve for the foam board. That finishes it off nicely I think. 

I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I am not a perfectionist, but when I am making a gift like this, I notice little flaws. 

Here are some pictures of the other bedding items Jenn and Jared's baby will have. I sure like what they've selected. 

This bedding set is called Jungle Buddies. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Craft Room Organization


I took a little time recently to clean and organize my craft room. 
It doesn't stay clean very long, but I am happy to have the space better organized.
I got these great industrial shelves at Sam's Club a few months back.  They have given me a ton of storage space.

This desk used to be in Zach's room but I am re-purposing it for a sewing table. It's great to get the TV up high like that (out of the way). I enjoy listening to it while I sew and stuff pillows or knit.

I am trying to hide a big box of stuffing and fabric scraps under my cutting and ironing table.  This table was the best purchase ever!

The sun was shining in so brightly, this photo came out a bit dark.  The futon is opened up like a bed and stays that way anymore (as opposed to having it folded up "couch style").  It makes for a great place to knit if I lean up against the wall and the dogs like to pile around me and nap when I knit.  Zach loves to hang out in here too.  He can stretch out, plug in his phone, read, and watch TV.  The doggies also like the futon to be in the flat position so they can look out the big windows to the front yard. 

The cradle is something my Grandpa made.  It must have been made around 1930 and features hand painted flowers. I have all my current knitting WIP's (works in progress) in the cradle in gallon sized zip close plastic bags. 

It's a bit messy but I am trying to stay organized.  Oh, I even got a little inexpensive stereo so I can listen to music in my craft room.  I have a few dozen music CD's I've accumulated in the past 20 plus years and I don't listen to any of them except for my short commute to and from work, so I am enjoying the stereo as well.  Such a cozy space I have; I am grateful for it!

I am slowly plugging along with pillow orders.  Sales are pretty consistent, but not so hectic that I can't also enjoy knitting here and there.  When I organized my craft room, I found an OBSCENE number of UFO's (unfinished objects) and WIP's.  I ended up unraveling a few projects, knowing I was so unhappy with them that I would never finish them.  For now, I am trying to finish up some WIP's and trying my hardest to NOT cast on anything new for a little while.

Happy Crafting!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Watermelon Sockhead Hat

Photo bombed by a Labradoodle!

So I have a wig stand that I can use to take photos of hats; it's down at the knit shop with a one of my hats on display. 

So I apologize. I have to resort to selfies. 

What do you think?  
Do you like my new hat?

Oh, I got new glasses, too. 
And I love them. 

The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Hand Dyed and the color way is "Watermelon."

The pattern is free on Ravelry. It's called Sockhead hat. It's a great to make something other than socks with sock yarn. There are so many great sock yarns out there. 

I am trying to focus on finishing projects. It feel good to finish my hat so I can move on to the next work in progress.