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!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

PAIRfect Socks No. 2: Complete

PAIRfect Socks No. 2

I've been on a mission to complete partially finished projects and it sure feels good!
Here is my latest completed project. 

I don't ordinarily block my socks but my knitting in these socks got a bit wonky here and there. I think it's a problem with my tension.  I blocked these socks by soaking them in a little tepid water with a tiny bit of Eucalan, and the knitting looked much better.

I was reading a pattern recently. It's a sock pattern called Rolled City Rollers; I will make this pattern soon.  The pattern author indicated she knits her socks with five needles (the sock stitches divided on four needles and then knit with one needle) because she felt it helped her keep her tension more even; I ordinarily knit my socks with four needles (the sock stitches divided on three needles and then knit with one needle).  This was a "light bulb" sort of moment for me because I do notice, when I have a larger number of stitches on one needle when knitting socks, that is where I notice my stitches getting significantly looser.

In these socks, I used a "Strong Heel".  You can read more about the Strong Heel here:

To me, the Strong Heel is just like the Fleegle Heel.  I have not studied them well enough to know the difference but they sure seem similar to me.  The only difference being that you use a Fleegle Heel when knitting socks from the toe up and you use the Strong Heel when knitting socks from the cuff down.

The Strong Heel is not ideal for this yarn.  The yarn I use is Schachenmayr Regia "Pairfect" Design Line by Arne & Carlos.  You can see, in the photo below, that the socks are designed to end with pink at the toe.  When you knit a Strong Heel, you use more yarn than with a traditional heel flap, heel turn, and gusset.  This happens because, when you knit a Strong Heel (and also a Fleegle Heel), you continue to knit the instep stitches WHILE you work the heel. When you knit a traditional heel flap/turn, gusset, the instep stitches are placed on hold (unworked) for a while.  I used up all my pink heel yarn and then had to use some of the pink yarn intended for the toe in the heel.  I made it work but it meant I had to fiddle with the yarn in spots to get the right color where I wanted it.  And the beauty of the Pairfect Design Line yarn is that you should be making two perfectly matching socks without having to work so hard at it.

I have one more pair of PAIRfect socks to make.  But I need to finish up more unfinished objects before casting on.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Bamboo Socks

Bamboo Socks

I visited a yarn shop in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a few weeks back.  It's called Wooly Works.  Everything was on sale (15% off) so I did a little shopping. A colorful ball of sock yarn caught my eye and I had to have it, despite the fact that I already have a ton of sock yarn.  I also found some Cubics knitting double pointed knitting needles.  Cubics are made by Knitters Pride and the needles are actually square shaped, not round like most knitting needles.  I already have lots of knitting needles but they were on sale so I just had to have them, too.  My friend, Belinda, got some yarn that she wanted to get wound at the store, so while I waited, I cast on the sock with the new yarn and the new needles.  I did not need to start any new socks... I have SO many pairs of socks in various stages of completion in my craft room.

After I finished up one of my Building in Color panels this past Saturday, I loved the feeling I had from actually finishing something. So this weekend, I buckled down and finished up this pair of socks.  Ta Dah!  Another completed project.  I love it!   As I was finishing up this pair of socks, I was thinking about what unfinished objects I have in my craft room.  I think I'll tackle another pair of unfinished socks and try to work on them until they are done.  Sometimes having so many unfinished objects or works in progress makes me feel kind of overwhelmed. 

Off to work on those socks... and maybe some laundry.  The lawn needs to be mowed but it rained last night so the grass is too wet for mowing right now.  The bathrooms probably needs cleaning, but this girl has her priorities!

Oh! In case you are wondering about the fun yarn I used for these socks, this is On Line Supersocke 4-fach Bambus-Color (it is a German yarn).  The fiber content is 50% superwash merino wool, 25% viscose, and 25% polyamide/rayon from BAMBOO.  I am thinking the "Bambus" in the yarn name must be German for Bamboo.  The yarn color way is #2109.  I sure love the summery colors in this yarn.  For these socks, I cast on 60 stitches and I used my new Knitters Pride Cubics needles in 2.5 mm size double pointed needles. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Building in Color: Panel #5 Complete

Building in Color: Panel #5

This is Building in Color Panel #5 and it is finally complete. I've been getting very behind when it comes to these panels. I am also working on Panel #6 and Panel #7 at this time.  I am teaching this class one panel each month and there are a total of 10 panels.  It's July so we just started #7 yesterday.  I told myself I had to get #5 (May's Panel) done by Sunday. I got it done just in time!

This panel was a slow knit.  The skills learned in this panel include Make 1 Purl (M1P) and a Star Stitch.  Make 1 Purl is an increase and the Star Stitch makes something that I could call a cluster.  To complete the Star Stitch, you knit three and then cross the first knit stitch over the second and third knit stitches.  The Star Stitch results in a decrease of one stitch.  This panel's design results in a really nice, dense fabric.  It's a fun panel to knit but just seemed to grow rather slowly. 

If you'd like to see my other posts about the Building in Color afghan project, click HERE.

Getting Crafty with My Sister!

Happy Colors Baby Afghan

I went and visited my sister last week. We had a great visit and we got crafty... very crafty. She has been interested in crochet for awhile now.  We went to Michael's craft store and we found this free pattern on a bin with yarn.  The yarn is "Ice Cream Big Scoop" by Lion Brand and the pattern is called "Happy Colors Baby Afghan".  This yarn comes in a big skein; this is DK weight yarn and the skein contains just over 1,100 yard of yarn.  So for this project you just start in the center and just keep crocheting until you run out of yarn. It's a great beginner project.  I learned the basics of crocheting from my mom when I was still living at home and I've learned more over the years from trying to figure out various patterns. I feel as if I lack confidence teaching others to crochet or how to work through a pattern since I am not the most experienced crocheter, but I got my sister started on the project.  She was pretty addicted to working on this project by the time I left for home.  My sister selected the Ice Cream Big Scoop yarn in the "Lemon Meringue" color way.  My color way is "Cookies and Cream".  I love the names of those yarns. Kind of makes me hungry for dessert.

While visiting my sister, we also took a quilt class at a JoAnn's Store. What a fun time we had. My blocks are the top two; my sister's blocks are the bottom two.  You can definitely spot a difference in the two blocks on the left hand side.  The block on the bottom is correct.  My block on the top is wrong.  Oh well!  I learned so much in this class. I might just become a quilter yet.  If I lived nearer to a JoAnn's store, I would be tempted to take more classes there. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Building in Color: Panel #5 in Progress

Here's a sneak peak of Building in Color Panel #5. I adore the look of this panel but it is very slow to grow.  I keep telling myself that I must not work on any other projects until I finish this panel! But I keep picking up Trillian Shawl No. 2, and I cast on another pair of socks, and I started a Granny Square Baby Blanket.  Terrible!  Just terrible!

Maybe I should set a deadline for myself. If I make that deadline public, maybe that will hold me accountable?

Okay, my goal is to complete this panel by Sunday, July 30, 2017.  But first, let me work on that heel on that sock I am knitting. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Building in Color: Panel #4 Completed


Building in Color: Panel #4

I've had this panel done for a little while now but it took me a bit of time to get around to blocking it. Then my computer died.  I was not a fan of this panel. It was a good technique to learn.  In this panel you learn the skill "stitch one in the row below". I did not find this to be a difficult technique, but I thought the panel looked a bit sloppy on the Right Side.  I actually like the look of the panel on the Wrong Side a little bit better.  Below you can see a close up of the panel on the Right Side and, at the very end of this post, you can see a photo of the panel on the Wrong Side. I guess it will be my choice when I sew all the panels together. I can chose to make the Wrong Side the Right Side if I prefer.

I am also slowly working on Panel #5. I love panel #5 but is slow to grow. I've also started Panel #6 but have not worked on it much since class one month ago. Tomorrow I will be teaching class on Panel #7 so I guess I better get busy!

Above (Right Side)

Above (Wrong Side)

Friday, July 14, 2017

PAIRfect Socks

I've been knitting... really I have.  I have just not been taking the time to blog about it all very much.  This summer has been busy.  What they say about retirement is true.  "How did I ever get anything done BEFORE I was retired? I feel so busy now. There are just not enough hours in the day!"

We've been hiking and biking a lot.  I enjoy cooking and exercising at home too, and my Etsy shop keeps me busy.  I did finish up this sock several weeks ago and sock #2 is in progress. I am also making good progress on my "Building in Colors" afghan project.  I'll post more about my progress very soon.  Also, I am working on "Trillian" shawl #2.  

I hope you all are having a great summer and finding a little time to knit.

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

PAIRfect Socks #2: In Progress

My last few posts have been about PAIRfect Socks.  As soon as I finished up a cotton pair of PAIRfect Socks, I grabbed a ball of wool blend PAIRfect yarn off the shelf at my local knit shop and cast on right away.  This yarn is fun and yields great results.

The heel looks a bit unusual, doesn't it?  While I was at the knit shop last week, I bumped into a knitter friend named Robbie.  Robbie showed me the socks she was working on and said the heel is a "Strong Heel".  I had heard of that!  It's basically a Fleegle Heel.  I need to do a little more research about this, but I am thinking you use a Fleegle Heel when you knit socks from the toe up and you use a Strong Heel when you knit socks from the cuff down. 

Here is where I found the instructions for the Strong Heel:

I've used the Fleegle Heel before, but in case you missed that, here is some information about the Fleegle Heel:

PAIRfect Socks: Done

I finished up my PAIRfect Socks when I was at the knit shop last week.  I love how they turned out.  These socks were made from one ball of Schachenmayr Regia Pairfect Cotton yarn. I used 2.25 mm Karbonz double pointed needles and I cast on 56 stitches. They fit me really well.  I snapped these photos at the knit shop.

I loved making these socks. Sadly, it appears the cotton version of Regia Pairfect socks has been discontinued, but I did buy a wool version at my knit shop and cast them on right away.  I'll show you those soon. I am nearly done with sock number 1 already.  

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

PAIRfect Socks

PAIRfect Socks

I am making a PAIRfect pair of socks.

Have you seen this special yarn at your local yarn shop?  I found this PAIRfect cotton sock yarn while visiting my mom and dad in Oregon. My local knit shop is now carrying this sort of yarn in a wool blend.  I am wondering if the cotton version has been discontinued. 

This yarn is designed to take the guess work out of making a perfectly matching pair of socks.  The yellow yarn you see is waste yarn.  To begin the socks, you pull the yarn from the center of the ball and you cut away the yellow yarn.  Then you start the cuff.  I cast on 64 stitches using 2.25 mm needles but the socks were way too big for me. I started over with 56 stitches.  The cuff, as you can see, is k2, p2 ribbing. When the yarn changed to blue, then I switched to stockinette stitch for the leg. When the yarn turned to blue again, I began the heel. I took detailed notes about the rows in the heel, the heel turn, and the number of stitches I picked up along the sides of the heel flap.  Right now I am working on the foot and the color has turned blue again.  I just need to keep on knitting until it's time to start the toe based upon the length of my foot. 

The leg portion of this sock is quite a bit longer than I would have ordinarily knit for a sock for myself, but that's okay. I am just following along with the design and concept of this yarn. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Building in Color: Panel #4 in Progress

Building in Color: Panel #4
I just began working on Panel #4 of my "Building in Color" afghan (pattern link HERE). Above you can see a photo of the "right side" of the panel; below you can see a photo of the "wrong side of the panel".  The new skill in this panel is "knit below".  You can see a video of this technique by clicking HERE.  This new skill is not too hard although I kind of like the wrong side of this panel a bit better than the look of the right side of the panel.  I think when I started knitting this panel, my tendency was to try to knit really loosely, kind of like I feel I need to do when there are a lot of slipped stitches in a pattern. I think knitting loosely was making my panel look rather sloppy so I am working on my tension a bit. 

My class on Panel #4 is tomorrow at my local knit shop (The Yarn Shop at Words of Life).  I sure am looking forward to seeing all of my friends at the knit shop; it's been awhile!

Norah's Vintage Afghan: Block #11 Complete

Norah's Vintage Afghan: #11 Complete

Wow!  This was a quick block.  It looks so tricky and complicated but this block was one of the easiest yet.  Most of the rows in this block were simply knit 3, purl 3.  Cable stitches occur on only 8 rows in the entire block if I am not mistaken. The cables themselves are a bit tricky.  The cables are worked over 9 stitches. After you work the first 3 stitches from the cable needle, you do have to move some stitches from the cable needle BACK to the left hand needle and work those stitches,  and THEN you work the last 3 stitches on the cable needle.  Not too hard but just enough to make you feel as if you are all thumbs at times.

The yarn in this block is Berroco Vintage Worsted weight and the colorway is "Smoke".  I am not sure if I am going to start another block right now, or if I will work on some other WIPs.  I have two classes to teach this coming Friday (my "Building Blocks" and my "Building in Color" afghan classes at my local knit shop... the Yarn Shop at Words of Life).  I spent most of today making pillows for my Etsy shop and preparing for Friday's classes. 

Up next, I'll show you my latest Building in Color panel.

Also, if you'd like to see all of my posts about my Norah's Vintage Afghan project, you can see all of those posts by clicking HERE. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Norah's Vintage Afghan: Block #11 in Progress

Norah's Vintage Afghan: Block #11 in Progress

This block is knitting up quickly.  Although this block looks complicated, the block is mostly a repeat of knit 3, purl 3 as you work your way along. Cable stiches are completed on only three rows of the pattern repeat.  Above you can see one pattern repeat (the pattern repeat is 24 rows).  I'll have this block done in a jiffy and will be sure to show it to you when it's all done.

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Norah's Vintage Afghan: #10 Complete

Norah's Vintage Afghan: Block #10 complete

Since I've been sick this past week, I got this block done in a jiffy.  This is block #10 of Norah's Vintage Afghan and the yarn is Berroco Vintage Worsted in the "Cracked Pepper" colorway.  The cables in this square were pretty straight forward; it's just a four row repeat.  I placed stitch markers where the red lines appear on the chart.

I've already started to work on Block #11, which is going really quickly. Block #11 is mostly knit 3, purl 3. I'll show you my progress on that block tomorrow.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Skew Socks No. 2

Skew Socks No. 2

Here is another project I've had done for months now, but I never bothered to take photos.  This is a great sock pattern called "Skew". The pattern link can be found HERE.  This is a FREE pattern and the designer is Lana Holden.  At my local knit shop, these socks are affectionately known as "Jeri's Crazy Socks".  Jeri discovered this pattern and has taught oodles of folks how to work this pattern. I took her class sometime last year and have completed two pairs. I am sure I'll make this pattern again sometime soon.  This is definitely a pattern that you have to focus on quite a bit, as the sock construction is highly unusual. There is a right sock and a left sock and you start each sock at the big toe and work diagonally across the foot. The ankle construction... I can't even begin to explain it but you do end up grafting some stitches together in the heel area. It's really amazing and incredibly creative. 

Here, I am having such a hard time describing how unusual this pattern is.  Here's a quote from the pattern about the construction of these super cool socks...

Skew takes the concept of the bias design element to a new extreme by turning the entire architecture of the sock, including the heel, on the diagonal. Rather than attempt to compensate for the non-squareness of stockinette stitch, I chose to exploit it, resulting in delightfully anatomically correct toes followed by an innovative heel shaping which continues the diagonal flow of the stitches without interruption. This heel requires neither short rows nor picking up stitches, but it does require a little bit of faith until the origami moment when a short grafted seam transforms an unfamiliarly-shaped object into a finished heel. A fair amount of high-school algebra and geometry was resurrected for the design process, but the knitter only needs to be able to count.

Don’t let the clean stockinette swaths fool you; the unconventional shaping will keep you on your toes!

The only problem I seem to have with this pattern is that I am not quite certain when to begin the heel. Both pairs of my Skew socks have been a little long in the foot portion. I think you can see that in the photos.  Next time I just need to start the heel about 1 inch sooner.  In case you are wondering, the yarn I used in these socks is Regia Design Line Random Stripe by Kaffe Fassett.

Another note... it's best to work this pattern on one long circular needle or two smaller circular needles. The pattern notes recommend against using double pointed needles for this pattern.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Trillian: Complete


I am so very happy with this project.  This is another design by Martina Behm.  The Trillian pattern link is HERE.  This is not a free pattern but I am sure I will knit this a few more times. In fact, I am currently working on a blue Trillian.

Many of Martina Behm's patterns call for about 150 grams of sock yarn; much of the sock yarn I have is just 100 grams.  As a result, my Trillian is slightly smaller.  The pattern specifies that you continue to increase until you have a certain percentage of your yarn remaining and then you start the final border.  In the pattern, Martina specifies she increased to 191 stitches before beginning the border.  In my project, I was only able to increase to 157 stitches before I began the border. I ended up with very little yarn left over.  At first I was concerned my project was a little small when I tried it on, but this project grew significantly larger when I wet blocked it. 

I just love wearing this garment.  The yarn was a gift from my friend Belinda.  She got this yarn while on vacation in New York.  The Yarn is Liberty Fibers Merino Superwash Sock yarn and the colorway is called "Chinese Lacquer".  It's so soft and the color is beautiful. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Norah's Vintage Afghan: Block #10

Norah's Vintage Afghan:  Block #10

Lately I have actually been working on one project at a time.  This is a bit out of the ordinary for me. I tend to work on lots of different projects, a little work here and there on each project.  Since I am focusing on just one project at a time, I am enjoying the sense that I am actually finishing things.  This week, I have been working on Norah's Vintage Afghan Block #10.  This has been a very enjoyable knit.  I am using Berroco Vintage Worsted Weight yarn for this project and the color used in this square is "Cracked Pepper".  I'll have this done very soon and I'll be sure to share some more photos when it's all complete.

My labradoodles, Sandy and Brutus, are my constant companions. They love it when I sit and knit.  I looked up from my knitting the other day and this is what I found...

"Well, hello there BruBru!  Whatcha need, sweet boy?"

I never did figure out what he wanted or needed.  Maybe he was just checking on me.  He decided to hop up and join me on the couch.  And, just to ensure I did not leave, he plopped his sweet head over my legs to hold me down.  Sweet boy!