Hello, there! Did you miss me? Did you even notice that I’ve been gone? Guys, this season has gotten out of hand. I won’t bore you with the details but I have good excuses. I’m lagging seriously behind on everything (I haven’t finished Christmas shopping yet, oops!). I’ve been letting just about everything go. Keep reminding myself that it’s ok to resume life after the holidays.
Anyway, let’s talk about socks. That usually makes things better.
Let’s hop in our TARDISes and take a trip back to Rhinebeck, shall we? When I’m off on a trip and I have nothing on my needles, I dive into my stash and cast on some socks. The Simple Skyp Socks were on my queue. I was really looking forward to doing some car knitting on the way up to Rhinebeck. (Knitting in the car is just the best, right? You could drag me just about anywhere, I won’t complain as long as I have my needles.) The drive upstate at that time of year as the sun sets is always gorgeous and wonderful!
These are made from Holiday Yarns FlockSock yarn in Artemis that I got last year in a Yarnbox. (Jon got me a subscription for my birthday.) It was a great treat and I loved getting sock yarn.
This pattern is just great. I’ve never fallen so hard for a sock pattern! It’s very straightforward which I like. It was a perfect pattern for the car and then the house, something I could work on while playing Cards Against Humanity over a cider or after a long day at the fairgrounds.
I liked the pattern so much, I immediately cast on two more pair! Remember how I mentioned that Jon loves handknit socks? This pattern is so masculine and looks just delicious in Into the Whirled’s Manchester Sock in Qualinesti. Now he and I have matching socks and he’s worn his so much they’re pilling like crazy. I also made a pair in Into the Whirled’s Bukavu Sock (that’s a BFL/nylon yarn which should wear really well!) in Crow for my dad. Didn’t have time to snap a photo of his socks before he got them for Hanukkah but they look great.
I guess I ought to take a break from socks for a little while but I think this pattern has become my go to for gifts!
What’s your favorite sock pattern?
For Valentine’s Day, Jon and I took a little adventure upstate. My cousin got us tickets to a wine festival so we took a little weekend trip to get tipsy. It was cold up there but we made it thanks to fast food (my favorite road trip indulgence), an endless music selection, and the scenic route.
The trip was a lot of this:
But that means a lot of knitting. I generally am completely restless for long car rides (I hate flying because you can’t take a break!) and being behind the wheel makes me a little twitchy (until I decide to drive 85mph the whole way because I am in. a. hurry.) so I try to avoid road trips. But a long journey means unadulterated time with my two favorite things: needles and yarn.
I’m probably pretty sore for it now but I managed to pump out a good portion of this pair of socks.
After taking Kate Atherley’s class at VKL, I was very excited to make a pair of socks. I’ve been itching to make a pair since I learned so many awesome tips. While I know how to make a good sock, now I know how to make a great one! It’s an ankle-down sock with a square heel. I must admit that I didn’t quite nail this time around. You can see in the photo below that I went a bit too short on the foot so the heel is kind of pulling. I really wanted to make sure there was proper negative ease. Maybe this is too much.
I picked up this skein from Into the Whirled at Rhinebeck. It was nearly impossible to pick a color way but Jon really liked this one and I love how it stripes. I’m definitely looking forward to taking my new sock knitting expertise to more projects. Expect more socks soon!
Socks are my favorite road trip knits. What about you?
So I’ve completely lost track of things. I just have to get that out there because I keep kicking myself and I think you all have sympathetic ears. I gave myself some time off for the holidays and I just haven’t been able to get all of my plates spinning again. What a mess. I have just a pile of 2013 stuff still going on in my brain and none of it is complete. One thing at a time, though, right?
Anyway, let’s talk about stuff that is finished so I can feel a little bit accomplished, shall we? These are the only two knitted holiday gifts that I gave this year. I am pleased to announce that they were both completed on schedule. (Which doesn’t mean that they had time for proper pictures. What can you do?)
When I received three skeins of this purple Candy Skein sock yarn in a Yarnbox (Jon got me a subscription for my birthday, more on that sometime soon!), I immediately started working on a pair of socks. I figured they’d be socks that I would gift since I’m not so fond of purple and I had about 1200 yards of it. Regardless of the color, I loved working with the yarn and the dyeing looked fabulous.
Jon’s grandmother lost her husband just a few months ago and when Jon asked me to make her something extra special this year, I really wanted to do my best. Socks aren’t much when it comes to mending a broken heart but I do find that there is something to them as a gift as opposed to other pieces of knitwear. They say, I really want you to be warm and comfortable. They’re simple and often unseen so they are very personal. For her, I knit the Froot Loop socks. The cables had been calling out to me for a long time.
Of course, you can never just knit a holiday gift for one person. I knew I should knit socks for my own grandmother because she is an amazing woman who is a total badass. You hear about a lot of grandmas that are tough as nails, mine would put them to shame. I searched all over Ravelry for a pair of socks with celtic-looking cables. (This year I thought it would be best to stick to a pattern instead of improvising as I often do with socks.) She received a pair of Oden socks. I kinda wish I’d gone with green so you could really get the Irish feeling from them but purple was happening. Maybe next year, Grammy.
I think I’ve gifted socks more than any other knit. I just really love them. I’ve said it a billion times: They’re quick and portable and kind of mindless but still interesting because there’s lots to play with (color work, cables, lace, etc). And they’re just so special. I am lucky to have a wonderful grandmother who checks the seams on my sewing and recites old sayings and never takes no for an answer. Who always had jello pudding waiting for me in those fancy dishes and watched interior decorating shows with me when I was a kid. And now I am doubly blessed to have Jon’s grandmother in my life, who rattles off intricate recipes from memory for me to recreate (if I can find a pen before I forget whether she said teaspoon or tablespoon). Socks alone can’t let these two know how special they are to me.
What do you make for the women you look up to?
ps. Who’s going to be at Vogue Knitting Live this weekend? I’m working desperately to finish Faro in time on top of everything else. I think it’s possible. These events always stress me out (I’ll say it every time) but I’m really looking forward to this year’s show.
As we count down the days to Christmas, I have been talking a lot about gifting. Today I’d like to offer the chance for one of you to get a little gift. You deserve it, don’t you? Interweave Press would like to give a copy of Op-Art Socks by Stephanie van der Linden to one lucky reader!
I am a sock lover so obviously I’m really excited for this book. There is a ton of colorwork and a lot of fun construction. As I’ve mentioned before, socks are a really fun place to play around with techniques and motifs and this book is kind of a living embodiment of that idea. The book also includes swatches of all of the colorwork in black and white so you can really get a good idea of what’s going on without the wild colors. So useful!
Enter to win a copy of Op-Art socks by leaving a comment below with your favorite pattern from the book. (US residents only, sorry!) I’ll pick a winner next Monday. Thanks, Interweave!
So, which pattern are you dying to get on your needles?
I don’t have big plans for holiday making this year. I know that I just don’t have the time for it. But I did want to make one or two gifts. I mean, come on, what’s the point of being a knitter if you don’t make a gift? I figured a few gifts would be manageable (Christmas is still a few months away, right?) until I found out that Chanukah is the same week as Thanksgiving this year.
So now I’m a little stressed out. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines!
I feel like hand knit socks are amazing gifts. They’re warm and lovely and they look really complicated like you spent a long time on them but they’re actually pretty quick. Something about giving a gift to keep your toes warm makes me really happy.
Luckily, socks make great car knitting and there will be plenty of opportunities for that in the near future (Rhinebeck!). Also luckily, Jon got me a subscription to Yarnbox for my birthday so last week I received some beautiful of Candy Skein yarn. Everything about this yarn is perfect for socks.
I love solid colored fingering weight yarns! Especially for cables. I was trying to find a pattern slightly more challenging than Hermione yet easy enough that I could put down for a few days and not get lost. Also a big must was doing a pdf or web-based pattern because I need something I can carry around on my phone. I don’t like fumbling around with books while I’m in the car.
When I went over my Ravelry queue, I found the Froot Loop pattern by Kristi Geraci. I can’t believe I haven’t knit this pattern sooner. It’s really really easy without being boring but it looks really gorgeous and the cables are super satisfying. It doesn’t require a cable needle so it’s the best for knitting on the fly. (I’ve knit cabled socks on the subway before. It gets messy.) It’s basically just exactly what you’d want in a sock.
The pattern knits up so quickly, I’m not nervous at all about finishing in time for the holidays. Socks, you are the best! (Sorry, sweaters, nothing personal.) Now I just need to keep my sanity until Thanksgiving.
Have you already started your holiday knitting? Do you have big plans or are you staying small?
Tags: cable, candy skein, car knitting, chanukah, fingering weight, froot loop, gift, hermione's everyday sock, holiday, knit, knitty, kristi geraci, sock, sock knitting, sock yarn, travel knitting, yarnbox
You’ll have to excuse my few days of absence. Last week was one of those weeks where all you want to do is hide from life on the couch with a big cup of tea and some really good knitting, when you want to give hugs to everyone you know. When you’re feeling pain and sorrow, nothing can snap you out of it like a good sock. Of course, those rough weeks are also the ones that keep you too busy to sleep let alone get some stitching in. The end of summer has been hectic for my family and I was hoping that it would begin to settle down after Labor Day weekend. I was wrong, I’ll leave it at that.
I still feel dizzy with all of the work that I left unfinished over the past few days, there’s just so much to catch up on, and of course, there are plenty of deadlines looming. But I’m excited to say that I’ll be filling up my month with lots of great projects. It’s going to be a heck of a ride and as much as I stress, I love the feeling of importance that comes from one too many commitments.
Anyway, where did we leave off?
I finished the first sock just before the holiday weekend and immediately cast on for the second. I had so much time in the car and having a drink that by the end of Labor Day weekend, I’d already turned the heel and was working my way towards the foot. It all happened so fast. It was like an inverse second sock syndrome. The second sock just kind of happened like magic.
I finally turned to my knitting Friday night, just exhausted and drained, and was so happily surprised that I had just a few more inches to go before my sock was complete.
Together, they are so soft and comfy. These are definitely my new favorite sock and I look forward to purchasing more yarn from Jill to make a second pair. Maybe those will be gifted. Maybe.
Knitting, my friend’s mother (a fellow knitter) told me in college, is something that control freaks love to do. We love being able to preside over every inch, manage the perfect fit, and obsess over tiny stitches. Sometimes when life becomes that blur, when things happen that we can’t change, when we are thrown those proverbial curveballs, it is huge therapy just to sit down with needles, to make something as perfect as we need them to be, and to feel that peace that comes with completing a pair of socks.
Did you finish your socks? Don’t forget to post photos! Judging starts tomorrow!
Today is my birthday! So let’s talk about socks!
Well, first I want to talk about brunch. And we will because (did I mention) it’s my birthday! I had a really lovely brunch at my place over the weekend with a bunch of my best friends to celebrate (and also as a very belated housewarming). I just felt super lucky to have so many people that I love there and FINALLY being able to have a proper party since we decorated a bit. It felt kind of grown up and lovely! My friend Holly made me a birthday cake which was so super special. I think that as long as I’m surrounded by awesome friends and family, this is going to be a great year!
Anyway, you’re here for the socks. I’m pretty happy with the way my first Hermione sock is turning out. It’s been a few months since I’ve worked on a sock, boy, I love sock knitting! Did I mention that before? I just love the tiny little needles and the shape. They’re so simple yet so complex!
Speaking of complex, I ripped out the heel flap four times before I was happy. I think that I was reading the pattern wrong but I ended up knitting the WS on the RS (kind of wish that the pattern had specified which rows were which) a few times and then I was worried that it didn’t look right. I was thinking that it should look like a regular slipped stitch heel (so, more like a faux ribbing) than the eye of patridge (more of a dimple texture). Jill and I chatted about it and she set me straight. I was just over-complicating things.
I’m not much of a top-down sock knitter. I really love my toe-up socks. But this pattern is starting to sway me. The garter stitch edge to the heel flap makes picking up gusset stitches seamless. Everything looks so neat. I absolutely love it! I will be making all of my heel flaps with garter stitch borders from now on, thank you very much.
Now, I want to talk about turning the heel. Turning a heel is just like knitting magic. It’s like turning a boring tube or a flat piece of fabric into a three dimensional object. I mean, it was always 3D, obviously, but I mean something that goes from being just a blob of stitches to being an actual recognizable garment. It’s like origami with needles. Is there any other knitting technique that is as satisfying and simple yet clever and ingenious!? I’d love to hear what you think. I don’t really know how to explain it but if you’ve done it before, you know what I mean.
The best comparison I’ve got for you (and it’s not very good but, hear me out) is that moment when building a ship in a bottle (I’ve never done this but I’ve seen it on TV) when you pull the string and the whole thing stands up and you’re like, “Yay! Look it’s a ship! Magic!” That’s what turning a heel feels like. (Yes, I Youtubed ships in bottles. It’s my birthday, you cannot judge.)
Long story short, I hope you’re all uploading your sock progress to Kollabora! I want to see more sock photos! I demand sock photos! My birthday wish is more sock photos and world peace and to eat a piece of chocolate cake for dinner. Three birthday wishes!
How are your socks coming along?
ps. Since we’re talking coupon codes, turns out Bristol Ivy and I have the same birthday! I must encourage you to buy one of her gorgeous patterns since she’s having a birthday sale! 28on28 for 28% off! Happy birthday, Bristol!
Tags: birthday, brunch, discount, eye of patridge, hand dyed, hand knit, heel, heel flap, hermione's everyday sock, Jill Draper, jill draper makes stuff, knit, knitalong, kollaboar, kollabsockalong, ship in a bottle, slipped stitch, sock, sock knitting, sock splendor, turn heel
I’ve already cast on for my KAL Hermione socks and I’m making good progress. It’s been a few months since I’ve knit a sock and I’ve forgotten how fun they are! I really love love love working with small needles although my wrists aren’t so happy about it anymore. I guess it’s time to break out the support gloves! (Do you guys use those? Do they work?)
I used this tubular cast on for the socks. It’s a really clear description To be completely honest with you, I don’t use tubular cast ons as often as I ought to. They’re a lot of work and I always manage to screw them up. That being said, there’s something so satisfying about the clean, finished edge it leaves. It’s definitely worth using for socks.
Of course, I was very busy watching Ghostbusters and totally stopped paying attention to the stitch pattern and screwed everything up. This always seems to happen to me when it comes to knit/purl patterns. I can knit huge cabled insanity and eye-straining faire isle without batting an eye. But P1, K3 needs extra attention from me. After about 1/2″ of wonky stitching I realized that I was reading half of the chart backwards and the other half forwards. I know. Like, the pattern is so simple it doesn’t even merit me reading a chart.
Anyway, I ripped back to the ribbing and now everything is beautiful. And knitting with Jill’s yarn is absolutely amazing. It’s fab.
How’s your sock coming along? It’s not too late to cast on!
New York has been wonderfully cool this week. The weather has me day dreaming about big comfy sweaters and apple cider. And socks! I can’t think of a better occasion than this autumnal preview to announce this knit-a-long! I really love making socks and I want to make them with you!
So here are the details I’ve been promising! We’ll be knitting the Hermione Everyday Sock pattern which is available for free under that link. The KAL begins Monday (August 19th) and will end around September 9th. Jill will be helping to select her favorite executions and there are prizes! Three winners will receive Jill’s newest yarn Esopus, a hand dyed fingering weight 100% superwash merino at 500yds/4oz.
I’m really excited to have Jill involved in this KAL. Her yarn is absolutely gorgeous and filled with love and she is just lovely. She recently announced some big changes to her brand and I think it’s going to be wonderful. All Jill Draper Makes Stuff yarns will be entirely sourced and spun in the US. Hooray for keeping small farms and the American textile industry going! I must say that I highly recommend casting on for this with some of her yarn. (Check the update below for ordering info!)
To participate, upload your Hermione socks to Kollabora. It’s really that simple. Be sure to post WIP pictures, too! Go crazy, make them your own, and have fun!
And, dear lurkers (hello!), if you’re maybe nervous about starting a sock for the first time but possibly ready to take the plunge maybe! Kollabora has just added this really cool feature for those of us in need! Besides WIP and FO statuses, if you’re having trouble, you can mark you projects as “Stuck” and the lovely people and community at Kollabora will lend you some advice. I am totally loving this feature. It’s such a fantastic way to encourage online knitters to help each other out and hopefully to get those that are tentative to dive in! We’ll be your life jacket!
I’ll also be doing some sock-centric posts along with WIP photos in the upcoming weeks to help you along so check back for more!
So, will you join us? Tell your friends!
Quick update! Jill is offering free shipping in the US for KAL-ers with coupon code KOLLABORATION13. Do it!!!
As I mentioned earlier, I put my crafting away to get moving done. Knitting is my number one distraction. When I’m working on a project, I can sit for hours watching season after season of Law and Order: SVU, ignoring the rest of the world. Laundry, editing, even friends are all ignored when I’m knitting. I’m sure you can relate. I was really afraid that my craft addiction would keep me from my strict packing schedule. So I put my needles in a box and taped it up so I had no choice but to get the worst of the move over with. It was tough and my fingers felt like they were itching to work. I couldn’t sit still in front of the TV when we were taking breaks. I was going cold turkey from knitting.
After we got into the new place, I promised myself that I’d keep my WIPs out of sight so I could focus on unpacking and getting back to normal. And I was pleasantly surprised by how long I was able to stop myself from thinking about stitching. I got a lot done around the house, I baked cookies, and then I became strangely obsessed with cleaning the kitchen (the building is brand new so I want EVERYTHING TO STAY SHINEY AND CLEAN FOREVER PLEASE.) I finally dragged out a sock who never got a buddy from my stash when the weekend rolled around so I’d have something to knit during the Super Bowl. (My faire isle sweater needed to be blocked before I could move forward and I didn’t think that that was a project that should be tackled with boxes all over the place. We also didn’t have a floor lamp for the living room yet so it was too dark to do any cross stitching. So I decided to go with the hibernating project.)
I realized upon completing this second sock, that I’d never written about the first sock here. I’d posted a few photos on instagram when I made it back in June but other than that, it’s story has not been told. I can’t believe I left the pair unfinished for so long! (But I did start Maxfield right after I completed the first sock. That might explain it!)
The yarn is Lorna’s Laces Solemate which I picked up in a Soakbox at Vogue Knitting Live (2011). This was an early Soakbox so it only had yarn, a small Heel lotion, and a travel-sized Soak wash packet. (I love the new ones with nail polish! I love nail polish, guys.) I have to admit, the Outlast climate-control technology in the Solemate yarn (I still have no idea how it works but it sounds really magical) was what really sold me. I love it when there’s “technology” in things that are otherwise not technological. (I also know that everything involves technology. You know what I mean.)
Here’s the thing: I don’t really like variegated yarns. (Omg, Am I racist against multicolored yarns? I love all yarns. Except cotton. I am a little racist against cotton yarns. Sorry! Just being honest.) I mean, I like hand-dyed yarns and their variations within but I don’t buy yarns with lots of different colors (unless I really like them). I think it has to do with my minimalist style. Also, purple is not one of my favorite colors. But I bought this anyway because it sounded cool and I was at Vogue Knitting for the first time and I kind of assumed this would go into my stash for a long long time.
I can’t tell you what made me pull it out and design this pattern with this yarn I felt so iffy about. It was a long time ago. But I promised myself I’d design a pair of socks that showcased the different colors in the yarn.
Here’s the other thing: when it comes to knitting socks, I refuse to knit cabled/lacework socks with variegated yarn. Makes me dizzy and I really want to show off the stitch pattern. That stuff gets lost with yarns that aren’t solid colors. I guess that’s why I don’t like variegated yarns as much because it means that I either knit a plain sock that looks cool because it’s variegated but is boring to knit or do a variegated/solid stripe which would involve some forethought because I’d have to buy a solid yarn to go with it. Not so good for my fast and loose stash-busting sock-knitting style. So that’s why, when I’m enhancing my stash, I try to stay away from those variegated yarns. (I’ve written ‘variegated’ a lot in this post.)
Long story short (too late) I made these. I used the linen stitch for the first time. I like that it is still elastic but looks totally unique. It really lends itself to the variations in the yarn. (In fact, a lot of people have mistaken my instagram photos for the Broken Seed Stitch Sock which is actually knit with a solid and variegated yarn since this colorway has white in it. You can tell by the toes that it’s one skein but I like the illusion that it might be two!) The pattern is toe up (because I refuse to believe that ankle down socks are a thing, there’s another thing I don’t like!), knit on size 1s with a slip stitch heel. Slip stitch heels are not my favorite and I think they’re kind of baffling but I wanted to break my short-row heel habit. It also has the perfect look with the linen stitch and actually kind of mimics it, too. I like that part!
I’m really pleased with how these turned out. I love that they took a skein of yarn I was otherwise stumped by and turned them into something unique that looks a little complex, too. Maybe I don’t dislike variegated yarns after all! We’re all kind of like variegated yarns deep down inside, aren’t we?
I love designing sock patterns. I recently realized that I’ve improvised more of my own sock designs than I’ve made from patterns. I’m always looking for new projects so I’m tempted to turn some of my sock designs into proper patterns.
What do you think? And how do you feel about variegated yarns?
Tags: broken seed stitch sock, design, FO, heel lotion, linen stitch, Lorna's Lacces, Maven, multicolored, original, oulast, pattern, second sock syndrome, slip stitch heel, soak, soakbox, sock, Solemate, toe up, variegated, Vogue Knitting Live, yarn