Tag Archives: socks

Completed: Sea Wall Socks (Also, dad update ♥)

15 Sep

As much as sewing is my very first love, I’m really glad that I learned how to knit. The repetition is extremely therapeutic when I’m stressed and need to calm down – on me, it has almost the same effect as doing an hour of yoga. It’s very meditative, giving me something to focus on with my hands while allowing my mind to quiet down. Even just sneaking in a couple of rounds at opportune times – before I’m rushing out the door, while I’m sitting in my car in the parking lot trying to work up some nerve to go inside (tbh, usually because I’m about to walk into a first date, ughh), at the end of the night after a class when I’m having trouble turning my brain off. I’m not a crazy enough knitter to where I can manage it during a walk (yet!), but I do drag my little Field Bag with me everywhere, because you never know when you need to bust out those needles for a moment of zen. Really, the only place I’ve found so far that you can’t take your needles is in a courthouse (that was a sad moment for me – literally, I shed a tear when they told me I had to put my project + needles back in my car… at least they didn’t make me throw it away!).

Seawall Socks

Socks are my #1 project of choice for de-stress knitting, as they are small enough to carry around and work on somewhat discreetly. I love knitting sweaters, but they get large and unwieldy quite quickly and they tend to require multiple balls of yarn to complete. Socks are a lot easier when it comes to portability. I’ve mentioned this before, but I try find the local yarn store with each new city that I visit, and pick up a skein of sock yarn as my souvenir. Sometimes it’s from a local yarn dyer (the best!), sometimes it’s something I can’t find here in Nashville, and sometimes it’s just something pretty that reminds me of the city I’m in.

My latest sock project is the Sea Wall Socks pattern from Tin Can Knits, which was offered for free last year as their 12 Days of Christmas celebration. I actually don’t mind paying for knitting patterns – seriously, people who complain about a $5 pattern drive me mad – but I extra extra don’t mind free patterns 😉 I love the interesting cables on this pattern and I think it looks especially nice with a variegated yarn. I knit a size 6 using size 0 needles with sock weight yarn.

Seawall Socks

Speaking of sock yarn, isn’t this one super pretty? I bought at Gather Here last year, while I was visiting Jenny in Boston after my retreat at A Gathering of Stitches in Portland (which I just realized was almost exactly a year ago from this posting, wow!). This is my Boston yarn (ok, Cambridge – whatever.). The yarn is Knittink, which I can’t seem to find any info about online but they had a ton of it in the store! The colorway is actually called “Unicorn Snuggles,” which is admittedly a big part of the reason why I chose it 🙂 There are sparkly silver threads running throughout, and the yarn is extremely soft and easy to work with. I had such a wonderful week up in New England last year, and I think about it every time I look at this yarn. I love that.

Seawall Socks

Seawall Socks

Seawall Socks

I knit these socks as instructed by the pattern, however, I did not block them after knitting as you can probably tell. In the past, I have dutifully blocked all my socks after they were finished (using sock blockers and everything)- but I really don’t like the way the yarn feels after blocking. The fibers tend to relax, the stitches flatten and spread, and then the socks just feel loose on my feet and don’t stay up. So now, I don’t block them at all. To wash, they get a cold wash in the machine (along with the rest of my clothes) and thrown right in the dryer. I’m sure some people hand wash their socks, but not me. Not anymore. Yolo, etc.

Seawall Socks

Anyway, this post isn’t really about the socks. I’ve been absent the past couple weeks for a few reasons – first, I was in Rhode Island for work (which was WONDERFUL – seriously, I could not have asked for a better week). I came home on Labor Day, and then on Wednesday, my dad had to go to the ER with a bout of pneumonia. Long story short, he was admitted to the ICU that night due to several problems, and he’s been on a ventilator since Saturday morning. For those who don’t know, my dad was diagnosed with cancer almost exactly 3 years ago, and so while this shouldn’t be a surprise – it’s still a big, huge shock. My entire family is basically living at the hospital at this point, and while I’m so grateful for their support, it’s been really scary and just downright shitty. I don’t know what is going to happen, as we are just stuck in this awful limbo state of waiting.

I wasn’t planning to write about any of this – I felt like it was too personal and sad for an otherwise pretty fluffy blog. And posting finished projects seems downright silly and trite when you’re dealing with much bigger issues at hand. However, I’ve started getting emails from people wondering why I haven’t posted in 2 weeks, and while I don’t think I owe anyone any sort of explanation about my personal life – it doesn’t seem right to just ignore this, since it’s impacting me pretty hard. Also, I really need this escape. My entire week has revolved about a hospital at this point, and it’s downright depressing.

Anyway, I’m not trying to turn this into a sob story/woe is me sort of post – yes, everything is real shitty right now, I won’t deny that – this is just currently what we are dealing with at the moment. My dad is fighting the fight of his life right now, but I know that he lived his life exactly the way he wanted to, and he has 0 regrets for anything. After his first bout of chemo, he swore it off completely and has been treating himself holistically, which has really made him feel incredible this past year. He actually ran 55 miles the weekend before he went to the hospital, right after tearing up a bunch of carpet and laying new hardwood floors. I look up to him in so many ways, and could not have asked for a better role model – he’s taught me so much about life and love, and this year especially has really strengthened the bond we have. I have a lot to be thankful for, which is what I am choosing to focus on right now.

Positive thoughts and prayers for all of us are appreciated. Much love to all of you ♥

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Completed: Skyp Socks

29 Jan

Mmmm handkit wool socks. I don’t want to say there’s nothing better, but… handknit wool socks are pretty dang good.

Skyp socks

This is my most recent sock project, and I really mean recent – I just finished these a couple of days ago! Fresh off the needles and all that!

I’ve mentioned numerous times that I love sock knitting because it’s SO good for traveling – the project itself is super portable, relatively mindless (well, depending on the pattern I suppose haha), and you can always squeeze a little ball of sock yarn in your bag as a souvenir! This is my latest sock-travel project, and the first of my sock-yarn souvenirs.

Skyp socks

Is this not the coolest yarn? It’s a Crazy Zauberball, which I picked up at Knitwit Yarn Shop in Portland, Maine, when I was there for my sewing retreat in September. I was looking for a unique yarn and this is definitely unique. I’ve never seen anything like it – the colors gradually fade into a new color at random intervals, and the color combinations themselves are a bit of a surprise. I almost left with a grey/black/white gradient, but my shopping buddies convinced me to get the orange/blue combo because it was a lot more unexpected. I’m glad I did, because it was pretty fun to watch the colors change as I knit each round!

Skyp socks

The pattern is the Skyp Rib socks, which I’ve seen get rave reviews on Ravelry. I like that the socks look like they have a bunch of tiny cables, but there’s actually no cabling in this pattern – it’s just a series of passed-over stitches. The name of the pattern is the name of the stitch – a “skyp” stitch is slip 1, knit 1, yarn over, pass slipped stitch over. You do these in alternating rows of 3 and it looks like cables 🙂 It’s also fairly mindless – except if you are unlucky enough to drop a stitch. That shit was a nightmare and I can’t even tell you how many times I unknit these things to try to correct my stitch counts. The rest of the pattern is relatively easy – top down, knit in the round on DPNs (I used circulars via Magic Loop cos that’s how I roll) with a size 0 needle. Honestly, the Skyp pattern probably wasn’t the best for this yarn as it gets a little lost in the color gradients, but that’s ok!

I don’t have a lot of pictures because it’s surprisingly hard to get good photos of your feet when you’re flying solo! Especially if you don’t want them to look like giant paddles (which is an accomplishment in itself, because I actually have pretty small feet – like, I can wear kid’s shoes. They looked HUGE in some of those photos, though, ha!). So here’s some detail shots. How many photos of socks do you really want to see, anyway? Right? Right. Don’t answer that if you err on the side of a foot fetish. Let me keep my innocence.

Skyp socks

Skyp socks

Skyp socks

Skyp socks

That’s all! Short and sweet 🙂 I would absolutely consider knitting this pattern again, because it was just interesting enough to not be boring and the Skyp stitch is so pretty, but I have a few more patterns in my arsenal that I want to try first 🙂 And I DEFINITELY want to knit with more Zauberballs! Every single one of the colorways is just fantastic.

I think I’ve asked this question before – but it bears repeating. What you’re favorite sock pattern? What’s your favorite crazy sock yarn? What you’re favorite ~normal~ sock yarn? What is a horse shoe? What does a horse shoe do? Are there any horse socks? Is anybody listening to me?

Completed: Little Cable Knee Highs

13 Nov

Ugh. I know, I know – two sock posts in a row. I hate to do this to y’all because I know it’s boring AF for the non-knitters (and to be honest, I’m almost borderline boring myself at this point haha), but this is what I got as far as photos! I’ve been back for a couple of days, but shit’s been hectic and I haven’t had time to fix my hair and stand in front of a camera. So, you get socks! Merry Christmas!

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs

Anyway, the truth is – even though they are socks, these totally aren’t boring because I made them and I endlessly entertain myself. So there’s that! 🙂

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs

The pattern here is Little Cable Knee Highs, which is a free pattern from Purl Soho. Hey, yo, my knitters – who else looooves the Purl Bee? Favorite online knitting tutorials, hands-down. When I’m looking up a new technique – not just for knitting, but with anything, really – I find that I can’t really follow a video. I prefer a well-photographed tutorial with lots of words! In my experience, Purl Soho has some of the best – I especially love (and revisit, and revisit, and revisit) the ones for Kitchener Stitch and short rows. I find the new layout of the website really hard to navigate, btw, but that ain’t nothing Dr. Google can’t work around.

Anyway, Purl Soho has lots of beautiful, *free* patterns, and these Little Cable Knee Highs are pretty cute! I first saw the pattern when Michelle made a pair, and I decided that I needed a pair as well. Never mind that we are talking TALL-ASS socks knit in FINGERING WEIGHT yarn. Spoiler alert: these things took foreeeeever to finish.

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs

I started these waaay back when I left for Peru in June, 6/4/15 to be exact. I cast on the first sock while waiting at the airport. I knew I wanted to bring a knitting project with me while we were traveling, but since I was just packing a carry-on (a backpack carry-on, nonetheless – for two weeks of travel! Whyyy), I didn’t have a lot of room for a big project. Socks seemed like a great idea because they are so tiny, and knee-high socks would keep me entertained for a really, really long time. So I took my sock project to Peru, where they were knitted all over Lima and Iquitos – even in the rainforest! These socks are so cultured now.

Still, two weeks later – I’d finished about half a foot. Then I put the entire project on hold in order to finish my Vianne project, since that one had a deadline. Once I picked them back up again, it was an endless circle of knitting and tiny cables until I finally finished back in September – just in time to wear them while I was in Portland, Maine! So, again – traveling socks!

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs

Length of time aside, the project itself was fairly easy and mindless. These socks are knit toe-up, and the pattern is written for DPNs. I followed the DPN instructions for the foot, but once I got to the leg I switched to circulars for Magic Loop, which made things soooo much easier and faster. The little cable is really fun to knit and breaks up the monotony of knitting endless circles. Knitting 5″ of ribbing was not very fun, but I managed. I used a Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off for the BO, which ended up being a little too stretchy and I think doesn’t look as good. It doesn’t bother me enough to rip out and re-knit, though, but I did keep that in mind for the second sock. I also did a poor job with knitting the heel on the first sock, so it’s kind of sloppy – but again, I was able to do a better job on the second sock. That’s one good thing about having two socks to knit; it gives you a chance to improve the second go!

This was my first toe-up sock project, and I don’t think I like it very much – joining 8 stitches in the round is really, really hard! Those stitches are left live and grafted together after you finish the sock, which I somehow managed to mess up on my first sock – and as a result, there’s a strange little bump at the toe (I don’t even remember how I messed it up. I think I dropped a couple stitches and then tried to pick them up and just created a disaster. My knitting group meets at a bar, and while I probably should not drink and knit – I do, and drinking makes dropped stitches ok. Right?!). I was able to mostly block it out, though, so it’s no thing! For the second top, I grafted the toe closed as soon as I had enough knitted yardage to grab onto, which worked out quite well and meant that I was finished when it came time to bind off.

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs

I bought the yarn at my local yarn store, Ewe & Company, in Kingston Springs TN. It’s Dream in Color Everlasting Sock Yarn and it was soooo nice to knit. I think the color is a bit too variegated for cables, so they don’t show up that great, but I’m ok with that because I think the socks turned out lovely regardless! This yarn was a major splurge for me – I needed 2 skeins, and they were $25/skein. So yeah, a pretty expensive pair of socks! It was part birthday gift to myself (don’t you buy yourself birthday gifts? Because you should, it’s the best), but I don’t think I’ll spend $50 on another pair of socks anytime soon hahaha.

That being said – the amount of money I dropped on these socks did make me more inclined to actually finish them, rather than let them sit in UFO purgatory once I started to get bored with how long they were taking, especially when I got to the second sock. I always consider my entertainment part of the price of anything I make as well (since I’m not spending that money going to, say, a movie or the bar. Bars other than knitting night, I mean :B), which I think is important. For me, sewing and knitting is just as much as entertaining/relaxing hobby as it is a way to clothe myself, so that is part of my consideration when it comes to my budget.

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs

When it comes to buying the materials for these sorts of projects, I try not to cheap out too much. For ME (and I’m only speaking for myself – I know that budgets and the like can be a very sensitive subject for people, so I’m not trying to preach at anyone here!), I value quality over quantity. Rather than buy a bunch of cheap yarn and fabric for a dozen projects, I’d rather spend that whole wad on ONE really nice project. I know I’m going to value the time I spend working on the project, and I’m going to really put my best effort in with fit and ripping out mistakes. With cheaper materials, it’s easy for me to give up and get sloppy since shit was so inexpensive to begin with. But you better believe – if I’m spending $30 a yard on a nice piece of fabric or $80+ on a single sweater, I’m going to really do my best work so that I get my money’s worth out of it. Not to mention, the enjoyment I get from working with really nice materials! I’ve noticed that a lot of people who start with really cheap yarn or fabric are more likely to abandon a project (or leave mistakes because they don’t want to take the time to fix it) before it’s finished, because they didn’t invest a lot of money into it. Even if the materials were super cheap to begin with, that can add up over time!

This is not to say that the most expensive projects are always destined to be the best ones, or that it’s impossible to make something nice with cheaper materials. I know that budgets differ wildly, and while $20 might seem inexpensive to me, that might be a lot for someone else! But I do think there’s some value in spending as much as your budget can comfortably afford (whether it’s $10, $20, or $100 – enough that you have to really think about what you’re spending that money on, enough to make you sweat just a little bit) for a single project, and then giving that project your best effort so that you really get your money’s worth out of the end result. It makes you more conscious of what you’re buying, which means spending less in the long run. Especially at the rate that I plow through my projects – this makes me slow down and appreciate what I’m doing. All good things, in my book!

Grey Little Cable Knee Highs

Anyway, I know everyone has a different perspective when it comes to budgeting for your crafts, and that’s just mine! I’d love to hear yours! Do you choose quality or quantity when you’re shopping for yarn or fabric? Does a more expensive material make you super careful with what you’re making, or do you get paralyzed at the thought of using it? Do you value inexpensive materials or not? You know my thoughts, now tell me yours!

Completed: Vanilla Latte Socks // +My sewing retreat at AGOS

2 Nov

I am on a sock ROLL these days, you guys! Trying to up my sock drawer game before the cold weather really sets in – there’s nothing like a cozy pair of hand-knit socks to keep your feet warm! Not to mention, socks are THE BEST travel knitting project. I love that the project is small enough to fit in a Bento Bag (my Bento Bag is actually homemade and pretty terrible looking, but this is the one I want and HINT HINT MOM CHRISTMAS GIFT HINT HINT ::ahem::) so I can carry it around in my purse for whenever the maker’s urge strikes. Plus, I don’t need to carry several skeins of yarn to complete the project – or lug around a huge half-finished piece (as is with the case of a sweater). AND, sock yarn makes a great travel souvenir. Done and done.

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

I’m going to skip out of order and share my most recent sock project first (oh yes, there’s an unblogged sock project before this one hahaha) because I also want to talk about the trip I took while I was working on sock #1 from this pair! Oh yes, these are totally my travel socks.

But first, I will talk about these socks a little bit more! The pattern is Vanilla Latte Socks, which is a free pattern on Ravelry and makes for a simple top-down sock, knit in sock weight yarn. This is one of those projects that has thousands of makes, and for good reason – it’s easy, it’s straight forward, and it makes a really nice pair of socks. I like that the pattern includes different options for knitting the heel flap and finishing the toe. It was a GREAT travel project, as it didn’t require a lot of my attention, but it was interesting enough to knit so that it didn’t get boring.

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

For my socks, I knit the size small (I wear a 6.5 shoe) and followed the instructions for the Eye of Partridge heel flap and the rounded wedge toe. I knit the pattern via Magic Loop on circular needles, as I reeeeeally don’t like to travel with DPNS because my stitches always fall off!(even with the little rubber stoppers. Or they poke through the stoppers and stab me through my bag! This happened in Peru with the aforementioned Previous Pair of Socks haha) Changing the pattern to incorporate Magic Loop was as easy as just switching the needles. Seriously. Really easy. Although I would recommend if this is your first pair of socks, follow the instructions exactly as written before you start changing needle type, as patterns written for DPNs will have you put a certain number of stitches on each needle, which can get confusing if you’re a n00b. Once you figure out the anatomy of the sock, though, changing things up is a breeze.

I wanted to try self-striping yarn for this pair, and HOLY SHIT I AM INFATUATED. For those of y’all who don’t know what the deal with self-striping yarn is – those stripes are all the result of the way the yarn was dyed. I didn’t have to switch yarn colors or weave in ends or anything. Self-striping yarn is AWESOME, you guys!! Instant striped socks, wheee!! 😀 And this particular yarn is pretty cool, too – this is Jawool Color Superwash by Lang Yarns, which I’ve never heard of, but my local yarn store totally sold me on it. It comes with a little spool of reinforcement yarn, which you can hold double with your regular yarn to reinforce the toes and heels (or darn future holes with). I reinforced the toes, but not the heels – only because I forgot to when I was knitting the heels 🙂 There are tons of color options for the stripes, but I really loved the unusual color combination of this one. Since it’s fingering weight yarn, I knit the socks with size 0 needles.

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

I found the pattern really enjoyable to knit, and waiting for the next stripe color to appear was way more entertaining than I could have imagined. I started this pair en route to Portland, Maine, where I had a sewing retreat a little over a month ago. I finished the first sock exactly one week later, while I was waiting in the airport to fly home. The second sock took a couple of weeks to finish – mostly during weekly knitting group meetings, or watching TV with Landon. Not a lot of memories attached to that second sock, ha!

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

I did want to talk a little bit about that trip, because it was a really wonderful week! As I mentioned, I had a Sewing Retreat held at A Gathering of Stitches (or AGOS, as we call it 🙂 ), which is located in beautiful Portland, Maine. Y’all. I was warned by some people that I’d really like Portland, but I had NO IDEA how much I was going to fall in love with that city! Portland is absolutely amazing – it’s a beautiful town with cool little shops (like an entire shop dedicated to SOCKS, ahh!) and places to eat, there’s a big emphasis on local food and culture, and the place is so small that you can really just walk to anywhere you need. So many cool old New England houses, so many cool businesses, so much amazing coffee (my very favorite was from Tandem Coffee, which of course I brought a bag home and I’ve been trying to drink it as slooowly as possible. It’s the weirdest, yet most amazing coffee I’ve ever tasted. Trust.). If it wasn’t for the awful winters, I would move to Portland in a heartbeat. I won’t even pretend that I didn’t dream about it while I was there. I had my house picked out and everything hahaha.

agos2

So, the retreat was a pretty loose, relaxing 4 day weekend of sewing. I had 11 awesome women who showed up at the studio every morning, and each had their own individual project to work on. AGOS Studios was the perfect spot to have this – it’s a large space, with plenty of room for everyone to spread out. There were cutting tables, multiple irons (including, of course, a gravity feed iron – which I think most everyone was planning on buying one after the week was over haha! Gravity feed irons are AWESOME!), sergers and sewing machines (everyone had their own machine, whether they brought one or borrowed from the studio). Each student was given a little goody bag of small sewing supplies and notions – stuff like seam gauges and tape measures and my favorite Chaco Liner and candy. It was a really good goody bag haha. Samantha (the owner of AGOS) also had a selection of additional notions and fabric and supplies (such as thread and interfacing) on hand in case anyone needed to buy last-minute for their project.

We were provided lunch every day – and it was always something amazing and local, with dessert included. The food was REALLY REALLY good!! We had a “get to know each other and eat pizza” night the evening before the weekend officially started, which was a great way to get to know all the people who showed up, and learn a bit about each other. And we had a multiple-course, incredible farm-to-table dinner at The Well at Jordan’s Farm on the last night. I still have dreams about that meal, tbh.

agos3

All the students who signed up for the retreat were just amazing. There was a huge variety of projects and skill levels – from beginners to people who have been sewing for 40+ years, learning basic construction, tailoring, fitting, and even making jeans (I had 2 students who made Ginger jeans! And another who made some awesome red pants). I wasn’t sure how exactly the weekend would work out, since there was only 1 of me to help 11 people, but it ended up working really well! Everyone was fairly self-sufficient, and while I certainly stayed busy, there was never really a long wait if anyone had a question. People were also keen to help each other out, which is my favorite part because I love eavesdropping in on that shit and learning a thing or two myself! We had one woman at the retreat who wasn’t a student, but just there to check things out the first couple of days – her name is Adele, and she rents studio space at AGOS and is a master at bridal alterations (or, rather, a master at every sewing project she puts her hands on. Adele is amazing!). Adele actually made me a custom sloper; she wants to teach a class on this technique that she perfected and she needed a body model. The accuracy of that sloper was incredible – I think the only fitting we did needed a small change to the shoulder, and that was it. Plus, she drafted it up in about 20 minutes, on less than a dozen measurements (it’s my understanding that body slopers usually need something like 40 measurements). Pretty neat stuff! Plus, I have a sloper to play around with now, yay! 😀

I had such an amazing time at the retreat – hanging out with and getting to know all the awesome people who signed up, and falling in love with Portland! Samantha was really great to work with, we got along right off the bat and she was so helpful with any Portland-related questions I had. Plus, she put together this entire retreat on her own – from the space, to the catering, to booking my AirBNB for me (which was ADORABLE, btw!). I just had to show up on time haha. I’m a shitty planner, so this was perfect for me. While I like doing project-based classes, I really thought the loose layout of this retreat worked out really well, since everyone got to work on projects that they were actually excited about. Plus, it was really fun to go from talking about finishing knits, to hammering in jeans rivets, to figuring out the kinks in a FBA. That might sound stressful to some teachers, but I was in heaven!

agos1

Post-retreat, I took a Megabus up to Boston and spent a couple of days there before flying home (at that airport was where I finished my first sock haha). That was more of a personal trip than anything, so I’m not going to go into detail about everything I did there. I did, however, spend my days with Jenny, where I saw the Appleton Dress pattern right before it was released! And I had Shabu Shabu with a bunch of awesome Boston sewing bloggers! And I had drinks with Norma and we talked about bras! And I got to go shopping at Grey’s Fabric and Gather Here! And I saw robots at the MIT Museum! So yeah, Boston was great!

So yeah, good times in September! Like I said, I reallllly loved Portland, and I am dying to go back! Samantha and I have talked about doing another retreat for 2016, and hopefully we’ll be able to work something out. I really loved doing the bring-your-own-project style that we had going on, and I’m certainly keen to do more. If you’d like to read more about the retreat and see more photos, Sam has a post up on the AGOS Blog about her experience. And if you know of any other places where I should be stretching my feelers about one of these sorts of retreats in 2016 – holler! I’d love to travel more for this sort of class next year, I’m just not sure where to start asking!

Self-Striped Vanilla Latte Socks

I’m actually headed back out this week for another sewing class – the Pants Making Intensive at Workroom Social! YAY!! I am really excited to see the new space that Jennifer has, and super excited to get to making some pants! Speaking of which, I think we have one more space open in that class – so if you’re a last-minute kinda person and were thinking about signing up, go check it out 🙂 In the meantime, I will see y’all next week!

Completed: Basic Ribbed Socks

1 Sep

I finished these socks a while back – at the end of May, to be specific – and I just realized that I never got around to posting them. Whoops! Better late than never!

Handknit red socksEver since I finished my first pair of socks, I knew I wanted to try again and improve on what I had learned. The biggest issue I had with the first pair was my yarn selection. Since I used an alpaca blend (and before you tell I should have asked the yarn store for yarn suggestions- I did! That was what they said was best for sock-making, for some ungodly reason), the socks tend to slouch and stretch out of shape, and I never liked the little fuzzy halo of fibers that is typical with alpaca. I wanted to try with an easier pattern – one without lace – and a better sock yarn. And here is the result! I think they turned out pretty nice 🙂 Handknit red socksOh, about that random pig in these photos. Ha! That is our pet piggy and her name is Kevin Pancho. Yes, Kevin is a girl (we were under the assumption that we had a boy pig, and then she ended up being a girl whoops hahaha). She’s a potbelly and still just a baby, but she will eventually get pretty big. Before you ask – we have no plans on eating her, she’s just a pet (I mean, unless doomsday comes around and we all start starving to death or some shit. Then, Kevin will be a Food.).

Handknit red socksAnyway, back to my socks (with some random piggy butt)! I used this Basic Ribbed Socks pattern, which is one of those free patterns on Ravelry that apparently everyone has tried (ok, not everyone, but 6k+ people can’t be wrong amirite). It’s a basic, easy sock pattern, knit with fingering weight yarn and constructed from the cuff down. The majority of the knitting is done with a 3×1 ribbing, which keeps the sock from slouching as much, and is a little more interesting than your standard 1×1 ribbing. Because the socks aren’t ridiculously tall, I was able to knit them out of a single ball of yarn. Which means they were quite economical to make! Handknit red socksI knit these for the size 6, which is pretty close to my shoe size (I generally wear a women’s 6.5). The socks fit perfectly, and they are super comfortable! They stay up pretty well, as promised, and the lightweight yarn means that they aren’t too thick to wear with shoes (which isn’t something I’m doing right now, but I’m sure I will be happy for that option come winter!).

For yarn, I used Cascade 220 Fingering. Again, I only had to buy one ball to knit both socks – and I still have a little yarn butt left over. I bought the yarn while I was in Philly for Maddie’s Bramaking class, ‘way back in January, on my evening ladydate with the wonderful Andrea. Andrea took me to her favorite yarn store, Loop Yarn, and this was my yarn souvenir for the trip. I chose this yarn based on the suggestion of the woman working there, and I am extremely happy with how it worked up. I use Cascade 220 worsted weight for a lot of my knitting projects, and while this was my first try with the fingering weight, it’s just as nice as the worsted. Easy to knit and looks good when finished. As you can see in these pictures, it does pill a little with frequent wear (I wear these socks a lot! I even brought them to Peru with me 🙂 ), but, they are socks. Whateverrrr.

I also bought metal DPNs to knit these socks; I was using bamboo before because I like how it grips, but those tiny little needles snapped like crazy on me. The metal ones don’t break (or, I guess, they haven’t broken yet haha), but I have bent them a little bit. As with my first pair of fingering weight socks, I used a size 0. So yeah, teeny little needles!

Handknit red socksHandknit red socksI really enjoyed working with this pattern. It is simple and relatively mindless (so, good for bringing to knitting night, or watching tv, or whatever), and the socks knit up pretty quickly. Turning the heel was fun and magical, and I didn’t feel like I was doing too much endless repetition with all that circular ribbing. I think it’s too soon to say that this will be my TNT sock pattern, however, it’s definitely a contender! I will totally knit this pattern again.

Handknit red socksHandknit red socksHandknit red socksI’m already working on my next pair of socks. Socks are great little portable projects that pack up small and are easy to bust out for a couple of rows at a time. They are especially awesome for traveling, since you aren’t lugging around a bunch of pieces or a big sack of yarn (and if you finish one sock, you can wear it! Yay!). That being said, I also love knitting sweaters, so don’t expect that to go away anytime soon. I haven’t knit as much as I used to in years past – not having a dedicated hour-long lunch break to commit to knitting will do that – but I’m making an effort to get at least a few rows done a couple times a week. Not even because I want to make progress (well, I do, but that’s not the #1 reason), but mostly because it’s an awesome stress-reliever. And it keeps me from falling asleep on the couch hahaha. Handknit red socksI’m including this last picture because Landon and I were arguing about which ~scenic~ spot to take photos. He said the cinderblock was stupid and ugly, I said the deck was even stupider and uglier (sorry, deck.). So you tell me – who was right? Personally, I think Kevin really made the pictures worth looking at 🙂

Completed: I Knit Socks!

24 Dec

I cannot believe it’s been 3 years since I learned how to knit! Where has time gone?

When I was first starting my journey into knitting, there were really only two things I was interested in making – sweaters and socks. The sweaters, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, have not been a problem – as of last count, I’m working on #18 (yes! I looveeee sweaters!). Socks, on the other hand, have remained a bit of a mystery to me. I made it worse by trying to be picky about every pattern I considered – I wanted to learn to knit socks on Magic Loop, I wanted to do two at a time, I wanted the yarn to be fingering weight, etc etc. I am pretty sure it was less that I wanted a ‘specific pattern’ to make my first pair of socks with, and more that I just wanted some more excuses to allow me to push everything to the backburner! Needless to say, I haven’t knit a pair of socks – or even attempted to knit a pair of socks – since I first started my Journey of the Knit ‘way back in 2011.

Dancetty Socks

UNTIL NOW HEH HEH HEH.

Dancetty Socks

Sorry about the pictures! It’s surprisingly hard to take photos of your own socks – who woulda thought? As you can see, my reupholstered chairs are well used and loved, and, yes, that is a ladder with a plant on it under an American flag in the background (results of some drunken “how hipster can we make this wall?” night. I always laugh when I see the Hipster Wall. It stays.).

Anyway – socks! My first pair, go ahead and feast your eyes!!

Dancetty Socks

Dancetty Socks

Every time I think about how ridiculous this must have looked to anyone who might have happened to peer in my window (Truth: We don’t close our curtains. At least not in the dining room, where this took place), it makes me laugh more. Oh, the things I do for blog photos.

Dancetty Socks

Imma try to keep this short and sweet, because it’s Christmas Eve, after all (sorry to give y’all socks for Christmas! Am I the worst ever or what?!). The pattern is Dancetty by Abbey Morris (keep reading for a coupon code!), and I used one skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine for both of them (with tons leftover). I’m just going to be totally straight and upfront with y’all – I ultimately chose this as my first sock pattern because Abbey offered it to me in exchange for a review. Otherwise, without that gentle push, I might still be spiraling down the endless turmoil of “I don’t know what sock pattern to knit fiiiiiiirst!!” Abbey assured me that, with my knitting experience (17 sweaters, man!), I would find these easy enough for a first time. The ladies at my local yarn store, Haus of Yarn, were confident I’d have these finished in a week. In reality, these took me two months. One month per sock. Ha!

Dancetty Socks

I knit these socks with size 0 DPNs (double pointed needles) – the 0 was based on my gauge swatch, and the DPNs are how the pattern is written. I actually really appreciated the way the pattern was written, because it kind of dumbed things down enough to where I could easily follow the instructions (pretty much blindly on my first sock, ahaha) and still get a good result. Each section tells you how many stitches to have on each needle, and there are separate lace patterns to follow based on what part of the sock you’re knitting. Apart from the whole lace sock thing, this was a somewhat mindless knit. The lacework… woof. That’s where things got interesting (and why these took me so dang long!). On at least the first sock, I think I unknit every other row, because I kept making so many mistakes. I’ve never been one to think lacework was super difficult, but something about it being in sock form was just ruining my brain (that, and I was trying to do this while watching TV and/or drinking. Whoops?). That being said, I was really happy to turn the heel – I’ve always heard that turning the heel is magical, and it kind of is!

Sock #2 took about the same amount of time as sock #1, but the process was much smoother. Since I already knew what I was getting into, I didn’t make as many mistakes – but I did take a lot of breaks, which was why this was so slow-going! I know that Second Sock Syndrome is a real thing for sock knitters, but for me, it was nice to be able to try again the second time around and make improvements when possible.

When I finished both socks, they were initially a little short in the foot. An overnight wet block (I used sock blockers, mostly because I wanted to buy something new, but you could just block them like a sweater too I guess, and pin the heck out of them) solved that problem. I’m also wondering about the cuff – see how it’s scrunching down? How can I get it to stay up? (A knitter’s lament) Should I thread thin elastic through the edge like I do with my hats?

Dancetty Socks

Dancetty Socks

Dancetty Socks

Anyway, this was a fun pattern to knit up! If you can do simple lacework, short rows, and knit in the round – you can knit socks. It’s really not much different than knitting a sweater (although it might take as long! Oh no, wait, that’s just me 😛 haha!). Next up, I want to try knitting socks with Magic Loop – while I didn’t think the DPNs were fiddly to knit with, it was hell on earth trying to transport the damn things. They kept slipping out of my stitches and wreaking havoc on everything, no matter how I tried to store my WIP. Also, note to self: don’t buy bamboo DPNs, you will snap those sticks like the toothpicks they are. Good way to feel like a Hulk Woman, though.

Next sock pattern in my knitting queue? Good question! I’ve had my eye on these Little Cable Knee Highs (have you seen Michelle‘s? Oh my god, Becky.), except, ugh, the DPNs again. Any good suggestions for fingering-weight socks knit on circular needles?

Want to try Dancetty yourself? Use the code “Lladybird” to receive 50% off any pattern from Abbey Morris Designs Ravelry Shop. This code is good through January 31, 2015! Thank you so much, Abbey!

Dancetty Socks

That’s all for now! Ravelry notes are here. I hope y’all have a very Merry Christmas and a lovely end to your December! I’m just now awakening from the throes of my DEATHBED (first time feeling human since Sunday night what up y’all), and I’m looking forward to spending some time with the family, the boyfriend, and my handknit socks. Yay!

Disclaimer: Dancetty was provided to me, free of charge, from Abbey Morris Designs, in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. And I am very happy to finally have a pair of a hand-knit socks in my arsenal. Christmas miracles really do happen.