Friday, February 12, 2016

Fresh Off The Needles: Slutty Pumpkin Socks


The weather lately has been cold and wet, which I kind of don't mind since that means I can still wear hand knitted socks in my rain boots. This is awesome because the sock knitting has been prolific as of late and it's good to know that I'll be able to wear and enjoy these fresh FOs before the weather warms up. The second pair of socks to be completed this year is a pair that I had cast on last October for Socktober, when I thought it was a great idea to cast on a handful of socks all at once, and had finally bound off the last stitch last month in January: the Slutty Pumpkin socks.   

This colourway was such a fun knit. This is my second time knitting with Nomadic Yarns, the first time being when I had knit the Halloweenie colourway a few years ago. If it weren't for the crappy Canadian dollar, I would've totally stocked up - especially when Ashley retired her Game of Thrones colourway (I still cry over that one!). It's probably for the best though, as I'm sure I would've gone completely broke as I can't make the choice between "The Infinite Abyss", "I Woke Up Like This", "Paradise", "Wanderlust", or "Knit Night" colourways and my weak willpower would've given in and I most likely would've added them all to my cart. I don't think telling my family, "sorry, we can't eat this month...but look at all this gorgeous yarn" would fly. One day though, one day some of these will be mine. For now, I'll just enjoy my Halloweenies and Slutty Pumpkins.

There's not much to say about these, I stuck to my usual and most basic plain vanilla sock recipe with an afterthought heel so that all the focus could be on the oh so eye-catching colours. The pink is so spectacular and bold that both my camera and smartphone can't handle it. 


Actually, I don't know if many people can handle it either...unless you're a fan of pink. But I figured, if you can't have fun with your sock yarn choices, then when can you?

I made this pair a little longer than previous pairs, mainly because I wanted to use up as much of the yarn as I possibly could. Which isn't that easy when you've got short legs. But I think I did an A-OK job as I had only 16 grams leftover.


To eat up yarn I made the cuffs a little taller than usual by knitting them to 2.5" high, an extra half inch more than I normally have them at. I then finished them off with Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, my most preferred bind off for socks. I know a lot of people don't like this bind off because of either the flared look the edge takes on when not worn, or because it's simply "too stretchy". I don't know about that last one, but the flared edge thing doesn't bother me because it doesn't look flared when the sock is worn. As long as the bind off does its job and I can keep my hand knit sock up on my leg without the edge becoming a woolly tourniquet, I don't give a hoot if the ribbing looks pretty or not. After all, I keep my all hand knit socks folded up in my sock organizer anyways.


Anyhoo...like with all the socks I've knit, I'm pretty pleased with how this pair turned out. With minimal effort and without sacrificing too much yarn, the pair turned out practically identical. It was by sheer luck that once I finished the cuff on the first sock, I only had to cut out whatever was left of the stripe the sock ended on in order to start the toe of the second sock on the same colour as the first. This was the same for the afterthought heels.

I'm a little nervous that my luck will run out when it comes to my sock knitting. Or maybe I've knit enough socks to finally know what I'm doing?  Ha! Wouldn't that be something?


:: Sock Details ::
Pattern: My own plain vanilla sock recipe with an afterthought heel
Yarn: Nomadic Yarns Brit Sock
Colour: Slutty Pumpkin
Needles: Hiya Hiya Sharps Fixed Circulars in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Slutty Pumpkin 




Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Knit In Progress: Cheesecake Socks


I really don't think I could ever be a monogamous sock knitter and I can't remember the last time I had only one pair of socks on the needles. As I was tidying up my knitting needles (re: finally putting away all the needles that I stuck into a leftover yarn cake on my desk...come on now, don't tell me you've never done this before!), I was shocked to find that I had quite a few pairs of sock needles with nothing on them. What? I took a quick inventory of my sock WIPs and sure enough, I had only one pair of socks on the go. Surprised doesn't even begin to describe how I felt at that discovery. So I grabbed the closest skein of yarn and quickly cast on another pair of socks.

I needed a plain vanilla sock on the needles anyways. While the Harvest Dew socks stitch pattern is super easy to memorize, I needed something extremely simple and mindless to keep in my handbag, to take with me while I waited in the school pick up area, and to knit on while I continue to embark on a Star Trek: The Next Generation marathon (yes, all seven seasons...would you believe the Mister has never watched them before??). The yarn that I just happened to have by my desk is Regia's Pairfect in colourway #7117. Such a thrilling colourway name, wouldn't you agree? Although, if you look on the Regia website you can find out what the actual names for their colourways are. The one I'm using in particular is called "Cheesecake". Why? I'm really not sure. But whatevs. I'm going to call these socks my Cheesecake socks from now on.

I had no choice but to cast on a cuff-down sock due to how this yarn works. In case you're not familiar with Pairfect, Regia decided to create an "incredibly easy way to knit two identical socks from one skein" (their words, not mine). There's no need to weigh the yarn or to divide the skein in half. All you need to do is grab the yellow "Easy Start" starter thread (they even make this fool proof by wedging it into the notch on the label!!), cut it off and cast on the first sock. Once you're done the first sock all you have to do is unwind the yarn until you get to the next yellow starter thread and repeat the whole process again. Crazy, right?

Now, if you're the type that only knits two-at-a-time, this isn't for you. And if you only knit from the outside-in then this won't be for you either. These skeins are of the center-pull variety. I suppose you can start from the outside in but then you would have to know for sure how much you would have to knit before you get to the fun self-striping bit, and be ok with not utilizing the stripes to its full capacity. Also, as far as I can tell, this line is pretty much for those who knit cuff-down socks. You can try toe-up but again, you'd have to accept the fact that all the fun would be on the foot and not the leg, or go from the outside-in and risk cutting off the striping section pre-maturely. If you're determined enough I'm sure you can go against the grain and still produce a beautiful pair of socks, but I think that would beat the whole purpose of Regia's sock yarn innovation for easy peasy, fool-proof matching socks. If you have accomplished this feat though, please let me know! I'm quite curious.

So far I'm pretty happy with how my sock is turning out. I've cast on my usual amount of stitches (64 sts, in case you're wondering) using the twisted German cast-on method, and started knitting a 2x2 rib. I'm quite chuffed that the cuff turned out to be 2" high - exactly the length I prefer my cuffs to be! I was a little worried that the sock will be too long since I know my legs are much shorter than the typical leg that this yarn was meant for, so I decided to start the heel immediately after the last stripe. I should have gone with a traditional heel flap but without thinking I started a Fish Lips Kiss heel. I was too lazy to rip it out. Oh well, next time.

I'm knitting this sock up much faster than I had anticipated, so I might take a mini break from it and knit a baby item...since SO many pregnancy announcements have happened in the last few weeks! Or I could cast on another pair of socks. Hmm...


♥ 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Fresh Off The Needles: Foxy Slippers


In my last post I mentioned that I had cast on a pair of slippers from a book that I had reviewed, 25 Stylish Knitted Slippers by Rae Blackledge. Of all the slippers featured in the book, the Foxy Slippers were the ones that really jumped out at me and demanded that I knit them. Pronto.

So I did.

I figured these slippers would be a quick knit and so I didn't feel guilty for casting them on. I'm pretty sure I needed a break from the other WIPs that I have on the needles...right? Anyhoo, I didn't have any suitable chunky yarn in my stash or colours needed to create the foxy look, and my LYS doesn't carry the yarn brand used in the pattern. Since no one has made these slippers before, or at least, there are no projects listed on the pattern page, I had no idea what yarn I could use as a substitute. I took a chance and decided to use Cascade 220 doubled - as it was the only yarn that I could think of that was within my budget and in a colour I liked. Luckily, this all worked out for me and I not only achieved gauge, but a well-fitting slipper. Yay!


These slippers could easily be whipped up within an hour or two, or broken down and completed over a weekend. I'm a procrastinator, especially when it comes to weaving in ends and seaming, so this project took me a couple of days to complete. Embroidering the faces took me forever to do, as I kept hemming and hawing over whether or not if one of my slippers looked more like a bear rather than a fox. How you embroider a face on could really make or break an expressive knit (especially a stuffie, it really gives them their personality). In the end, I kept the suspicious looking face, as I was reassured on Instagram that the face does indeed look like a fox's. On the other slipper I used only one stitch for the eyes and slanted them down slightly to give them a more foxy look. I think where I went "wrong" on the first slipper was that I used two stitches and slanted them downwards a bit, and in my opinion, this makes them look a little droopy and bear-ish. The pointy noise is what saves the face.

I usually dislike having to sew up my knits and worry about having too many ends to weave in on such a small item, but found that the texture of the seed stitch really helps to not only hide any imperfect sewing but also gives plenty of spots for those ends to get woven in to. I surprisingly quite enjoyed weaving in the ends on this project (crazy, I know!! Did I hit my head??) and trust me, there was a lot

There isn't anything I would change about this design. I thought the construction was really clever - you start with the heel flap and then pick up stitches along the sides to start the foot. I have abnormally narrow heels and was concerned that these slippers would just slide off my heels every time I took a step but the straps worn diagonally across the ankles eliminates any chances of slippage and really nips in the heel area, making for a nice snug fit.

I have a fair amount of yarn leftover, I think more than enough to make another pair of slippers. Which I think I just might do as I can see myself wearing these to death and would like to have a backup pair for when these bite the dust. Or it would be nice to have an extra pair for when summer rolls around and BBQs and gatherings commence. I always feel weird being bare foot in other people's homes (I'm not a fan of feet and sometimes assume others do as well) so having super cute slippers could just be the answer. Or, I could just be grasping at straws here and am trying to find a reason to knit another pair. Meh. They're too cute. I'm going to knit another pair just because I want to.


:: Slipper Details ::
Pattern: Foxy Slippers by Rae Blackledge

Yarn: Cascade 220
Colours: Burnt Orange (7824), Natural (8010), Black (8555)
Needles: Hiya Hiya Sharps Interchangeable Circulars in 6mm (US 10)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Foxy Slippers


♥ 

Monday, February 1, 2016

25 Stylish Knitted Slippers :: Review & Giveaway!!


My house has been stupidly cold this winter. We're talking arctic proportions here. I like to blame it on the fact that my city has a love for single-paned windows (which is probably due to all the old houses in this heritage city...and possibly the area's humidity factor which leads to crazy mold issues...but I digress), and the fact that all the base heaters in my house, except for the one in the Kiddo's room, are completely useless. And racks up the hydro bill. For nothing. So we just don't bother with them. Before we replaced our space heaters back in November, I was layering up in practically every thermal garment and then hand knit I owned, then wrap myself in a million blankets, and then park my butt on the couch. The Mister got on my case about wearing socks cause funny story: for someone who knits a lot of socks, I don't really wear socks when I'm at home. The second I get home I usually take off my socks pronto and prefer to be barefoot. Not this winter. No. This winter I was sporting at least two pairs of socks at any given time and the Mister urged that I invest in some slippers. The thing is, I couldn't find slippers that I liked. 

So this was back in November. Fast forward a few weeks to December when Stackpole Books offered me an opportunity to review a new knitting book. Get this: it's a newly released book about knitted slippers. 25 Stylish Knitted Slippers by Rae Blackledge, to be more specific. Universe, you have perfect timing!! 

I did a quick flip through the book to get the gist of it and noted a visual index at the very back of the book - a feature that I think every knitting pattern book should have - and that each chapter was about a different type of slipper, such as felted and boot style, to name a few. Each section had a good mix of of styles that will suit most tastes. All yarn weights were used, from fingering weight to super bulky, which I greatly appreciated as the majority of popular slipper patterns on Ravelry seem to use worsted or bulky weights. As for sizes, there's something for everyone, mainly women. To be more specific, I recorded 19 patterns just for women, 2 patterns just for kids, 2 patterns sized for both women and kids, 1 pattern sized for men and women, and 1 pattern sized for everybody. 

I've read through the book several times more thoroughly and noted the use of different methods of construction, several of them are quite clever too. At the back of the book there's a great and comprehensive section dedicated to techniques and tutorials that touches down on topics like yarn, sizing, sole and anti-slip options (re: how to add a pre-made leather bottom to your slipper!!), and how to block and felt your slippers. Each tutorial is actually a photo tutorial, which I think is awesome, and especially great for techniques like surface slip stitch crochet (which I've never done before) and picking up stitches as you go i-cord. With the help of this last section I think even advanced beginner knitters can knit any of the slippers from the book (or even a fearless beginner!). I should point out though that I did notice a few iffy, not really clear instructions on a few of the patterns. I don't think this is of fault to the designer (who is quite a prolific designer, judging by her Ravelry designer page), but more likely due to the editing (by a non-knitter maybe?) and space restrictions.

I was listening to a podcast in which Rae Blackledge was interviewed to help promote 25 Stylish Knitted Slippers (if you'd like to have a listen, you can here), and she had mentioned that in order to ensure that any and all knitters could knit something from the book, she would knit the first slipper and then had a fellow knitter from her knitting group knit the second. Not only did this avoid "Second Sock-itis" (after all, I'm sure she designed more than 25 pairs of slippers for the book), but also hit the two-fer button in accomplishing test knitting and a bit of tech editing. Genius, if you ask me.  

Anyhoo, it's hard to pick a favourite, the designs are all varied from clogs to moccasins to Mary Janes (both the foxy and faux kind!) so I thought I would show you which were my favourites from each chapter. Please check out the Ravelry page if you'd like to see all 25 designs.

:: Felted Slippers ::

Spiral Clogs

The first chapter is about felted slippers. Probably the most easiest of the slippers to make, and hey - if you make a mistake in the knitting, no one will notice because you'll be felting that baby out! I like that Rae gives you stitch gauge for both before and after felting, to give you idea of how much shrinkage should happen so that you can make a better decision on which size to knit. 

Right out of the gate, the very first pattern is the Two-Tone Slipper, a slipper for everyone in the family. Yes, this is the pattern that is sized for men, women, and children. But my favourite is the one pictured above, the Spiral Clogs. I wish this pattern was sized for all (it's women sizing only) as the style and shape is classic and would make for a great pattern to whip up for gifts. I can totally envision personalizing these clogs with an embroidered monogram and gifting them to family members. Or knit yourself a pair for every day of the week. Cause you know you'll definitely appreciate it!


:: Fun and Fantasy ::

Beatrix

The second chapter, Fun and Fantasy, is hands down my favourite chapter out of the whole book. As the title suggests, it's all about the playful, cute, and fun slippers. Like Beatrix, the aptly named bunny slippers you see above. I love how they look like you took your favourite stuffy and turned them into slippers. I wish was sized for more than just women, as I think these would make any child really happy to wear! Don't you think?

Buckaroo Boots

Another pattern that I wish had more sizes to it - more specifically, was also sized for women - is the Buckaroo Boots. I would totally rock these around the house!! When I first saw these I thought it would be awesome to knit up a pair for myself and the Kiddo and we can pretend we're Woody and Jesse from Toy Story. I'm a nerd, I know!! But in all seriousness, from a knitter's point of view, they'd be an interesting knit. There's so much going on in this design: short rows, duplicate stitch, surface crochet, and the fun colour combination possibilities!

Foxy Slippers

My absolute most favourite slippers out of this entire book? These super cute Foxy Slippers. Admittedly, they are the main reason I said yes to doing a review of the book (I swear on my stash that I would only review stuff that I would honestly use and knit, and would purchase myself). And these are the slippers that I have actually cast on for and knitted up, but I'll save that for another post. But what I can say for now is that the construction for these were clever (like a fox!! Sorry...couldn't help myself) and were very quick to knit up. My LYS doesn't carry Willow Yarns (the yarn company that Rae Blackledge is the "Design Coordinator" for), so I had to substitute yarns. I held the yarn doubled for this project and I still had plenty of yarn leftover, enough that I could possibly whip up another pair. Which I just might, cause these slippers are just so, so, SO cute!!


:: Everyday Slippers ::

Moccasins

I had mixed feelings about the Everyday Slippers chapter, which contains the most designs out of all the chapters (there's beautiful 10 pairs). I think this is due to personal tastes and ideas as to what would be considered everyday wear. Like, I think Moccasins (pictured above, and what I would like to knit up eventually) are the definition of an "everyday slipper". Sew pre-made leather soles on these babies and you're golden! But the Boardwalk Loafers and Degas slippers? While they are both pretty, to me any slipper that involves a length of ribbon or yarn that you have to tie up to keep your footwear on is neither convenient nor slippers you can quickly slip in and out of in case you need to chase your neighbourhood postal courier down the street. Not that I've done that before...

Caramel Twist

Moving on...aside from those two laced up slippers, the chapter has a really good selection of slip-on anklet type slippers that ranges from cables (like Caramel Twist above) to lace to "deceptively simple" colour work. The Tilted Espadrilles are very Toms shoe like, are super cute, and would make for a very impressive gift. Or be the gateway to a slipper knitting addiction. 

Mary Jane

There's also two patterns for slipper socks, the funky Color Study Slipper Sock and the mega adorable Mary Jane (pictured above). The latter is sized for both women and children and I had immediately thought of 'Mommy and me' matching slippers...if you're into that kind of thing. I also thought about how fun it would be to make these for a little girl who likes to dance (or spin endlessly) around the house. Makes me wish I had a little girl of my own to knit for.


:: Boots ::

Cabled Cappuccino

The last section is dedicated to boot-like slippers (with the exception of the Weekender Slippers, I'm not sure why that pair is in there, unless it's an error in my copy of the book). The Kaleidoscope Knee-Highs are knit in a fingering weight yarn and could double as slippers and socks. My favourite out of the bunch are the Cabled Cappuccino boots (above photo). They're knit using a bulky weight yarn and I can just imagine myself padding around on the hardwood floors of a cabin somewhere in the woods, sipping a mug of piping hot coffee and curling up by the fireplace. Very Instagram-y.


All in all, out of the 25 designs in this book, I would knit 12 of them for sure. My rule of thumb when it comes to buying knitting pattern books is that I must want to knit at least half of the patterns and when it comes to 25 Stylish Knitted Slippers, I do want to knit half! What do you think? Any slippers that caught your eye? To get your very own copy of the book, check out Stackpole Books, Amazon (affiliate link), and Google Play

OR you can enter the giveaway below!! I'm very lucky to give away a hard copy of the book to one lucky reader, but I am SO sorry to my fellow Canadians and International Friends, as this giveaway is for US addresses only. If this is you, please read the details below and enter!!


** Giveaway is now closed! **
** Thank you to all who have entered! **


:: THE PRIZE ::
One lucky reader will receive a print copy of 25 Stylish Knitted Slippers

:: THE RULES ::
:: Giveaway is open to US addresses only (sorry my dear Canadian and International Friends!)
:: Giveaway is open until Monday, February 8, 2016 at 11:59pm PST
:: All comments must include a valid email address or Ravelry ID so that I can contact you if you are the winner
:: Winner will be chosen via random number generator and will be contacted within 48 hours after giveaway ends

:: HOW TO ENTER ::
Leave a comment telling me what pair of slippers are your favourite? Don't forget to also include your email or Ravelry ID with your comment, because how else can I get a hold of you if you are the lucky winner?


Good luck!!


♥ Happy Knitting! ♥


* Please note: all unmarked photos in this post are © Rae Blackledge.


:: Disclaimer ::
I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in this post. I received no monetary compensation for my review. I was sent an eBook copy for review purposes in exchange for the possibility of posting a review. The wording and opinions I've written are my own. For the sake of transparency, please note that some of the links below are third-party affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Knit In Progress: Harvest Dew Socks


Last week I received the first installment of Red Sock Blue Sock Yarn's three-month fingering weight yarn club subscription in the mail. I knew the theme for January's colourway was Alice in Wonderland's Mad Hatter but I really wasn't sure what to expect (after all, there's a lot to the Mad Hatter that you can take inspiration from). I was delighted when I opened the package and saw this beautiful skein of vibrant oranges and reds. I immediately thought of a sock pattern that has been in my queue since forever, like the beginning of Ravelry kind of forever.

Harvest Dew

Since I had a few pairs of sock needles with no WIPs on them, I decided that I needed to cast on a new project. Pronto. So I did. The pattern calls for a twisted German cast on, which I've never done before, and after watching a few videos on Youtube I gave it a try. The cast on was easier to execute than I had anticipated and the end result looks polished and definitely much stretchier than the usual long-tail cast on that I typically do. I like this cast on enough that I'm tempted to cast on another pair of top-down socks just to give it another go.

Right off the bat, I made a pattern modification. I had cast on my usual stitch count (64 sts) because I knew the cast on number for the small size would not fit my leg and the next size up would have been too big. I then proceeded to knit an accidental mod: I started knitting my usual 2x2 ribbing and not the k3,p1 ribbing called for in the pattern. Oops! This is what you get when you half-ass read the pattern, assume you know what the pattern is asking you to do, and just start knitting. Oh well, I'll take Tim Gunn's advice and I'll try to "make it work".  

All photos taken from my Instagram feed

On the last round of the ribbing I decreased my stitches to match that of the pattern's in order to work the elongated stitch design. I opted to not screw around with the stitch pattern to make it match my numbers because I had read on several project pages that the socks tend to fit on the larger side and that the design looks better stretched out anyways. Even the designer recommended going down a size because of these two main factors.

So far I'm really enjoying this project and find myself stopping more often than I should to admire the colours of each and every elongated stitch. This is my first time knitting with Red Sock Blue Sock Yarn and I'm thoroughly loving it. The yarn is soft but sturdy and has a nice, smooth twist that allows for beautiful stitch definition. The colours are intensely vibrant and deep, and I have yet to encounter a spot in which the dye didn't take. A part of me is now wishing that I had used this yarn to knit a shawlette or wrist warmers because the colours are absolutely too beautiful to cover up with shoes or boots. Maybe I'll switch it up and do that with next month's skein?

Speaking of the next installment (the inspiration will be the Queen of Hearts, can you say exciting!!), I was kind of hoping to have these finished before it arrived but lately my hands have been feeling a bit achy. I've been able to knit a little bit here and there and have to switch projects often when I do get the chance to knit (sock knitting to projects that use much larger needles and/or heavier yarn). I just might have to take another few days off from knitting, just in case. Grrr!!

In the meantime, if you would like to check out Red Sock Blue Sock Yarn too, please click on any of the links below (and no, these are not affiliate links...I'm just enabling):

:: Website :: Blog :: Instagram :: Ravelry ::

I also heard that a few more spots were just added for their Winter Yarn Club (which contains the colourway I'm knitting with now), so check that out here!


♥ 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Fresh Off The Needles: Star Night Socks


Apparently January has become the official month of socks for me. To knit, to photograph, to talk about, and to blog about. I blame this on several things: my need to always have a sock WIP on the needles, my sock yarn stash that I like to keep on the corner of my desk...and on my dresser...and on my nightstand...which all then gives way to me wanting to cast on allll the socks all the time, and my new hand knit sock organizer that I got earlier this month that made my collection look a little weak (you can see it in my Instagram feed). Ok, weak to me. Ok, Ok, it's an excuse to knit more socks. OR, it could be because I had cast on a handful of socks back in Socktober October and only lately have I been able to actually finish any of these socks. As a result January is the month in which you get to see my sock show-and-tell. 

The newest pair I'm going to show you is my first FO of 2016, my Star Night Socks!! I fell in love with the yarn the second I saw it on Instagram. The yarn is Regia Design Line by Arne & Carlos. First off, let me just say that Regia is my favourite sock yarn. It's a fantastic workhorse sock yarn that not only wears, but washes, very well. Even when they're accidentally thrown into the washing machine and dryer... So I was ecstatic to learn that Star Night was made by Regia.  I immediately went to my LYS to see if they had any in stock. They didn't. But they were expecting a shipment and so I put my name down on the to-call list for when it arrived. 

I had cast on these socks in October and they became my designated "purse knitting" project. I made great progress on them from all the times I had arrived at the Kiddo's school for pick-up a little on the early side and before the month was even over I had the first sock almost completed. I had doubts about the sock w knitting of then I started the heel but chose to ignore my gut. I motored on, completed a gusset heel, and then proceeded to knit a good three to four inches of the leg before I stopped and realized that I really didn't like how the sock was looking. Something about the gauge and the heel was bugging me. So I did what any sane knitter would do, I shoved the sock back into its project bag and cast on a new project. 

*...ahem...*


I didn't touch or even look at the sock for the longest time, but it did stay on my mind. I loved the yarn too much to let the project languish in the recesses of my knitting basket. I had to resurrect the socks somehow.  The idea of using a contrasting toe/heel/cuff constantly came to mind. I was really hoping my LYS carried Regia in solid colourways because I have this weird thing about wanting my sock yarns to be made by the same company if I'm mixing and matching yarns to make a pair of socks. I'm hung up on this idea, probably because then I'm kind of guaranteed that the quality will be the same across the board and the yarns will look visually equal in fibre composition and hand (the look and feel of the final fabric). It was a sad ten minutes when I discovered that my LYS did not carry Regia solids. They did have the teeny tiny skeins of My First Regia (made for baby items) but not in the colours that were featured within the self-patterning yarn I had. It took a while, and several trips to my LYS, for me to let go of the notion of using a Regia solid and to find a matching substitute.

What did I find instead? Drops Fabel in a steely blue. It even had that same rustic, woolly look and feel as the Regia. Score!! But did I re-start my socks the second I got home with the contrasting yarn? Nope. Instead I finished my Zipping Along sock on Christmas Eve, finished my Zombie BBQ sock on Christmas Day, AND THEN on Boxing Day I decided it was time to revisit the Star Night socks. I took it out of its project bag and promptly frogged it without a second thought. I re-cast on the toe using the Drops Fabel and just before I switched yarns to start knitting the foot, I decided to weigh the ball of Star Night. I suddenly got this brilliant idea that I was going to try to eek out a pair of socks with just one small ball of the Regia (the put-up that I had was the 210m/230yd one, so essentially one sock). Based off of my personal sock knitting knowledge, I knew that the yardage I'd get from the Regia mixed with the Drops Fabel, I was bound to end up with a decent pair.   

So did it work out? Well, once I hit the halfway mark with the Regia I measured the leg height. It was 5.25" from the waste yarn/afterthought heel placement line. I usually knit my sock legs to either 6" or 7" before I start the ribbing. I thought about continuing on simply to add another 3/4" of height, but decided not to since I'd have to break open the second skein and then I'd have a fair amount of leftover yarn. The whole point was to knit the one skein anyways. I could deal with a slightly shorter sock. Right? I thought about making up for the shortage by knitting the cuff longer than usual but nixed the idea. Once I saw how 2" of cuff looked, it was clear that anything bigger would just eclipse the sock and the lovely patterning of the yarn.

All in all I'm pretty happy with how the socks turned out. Yes, they are a smidge shorter than my other hand knit socks but I honestly can't tell the difference when I wear them. I definitely prefer the look of the contrasting toe/heel/cuff and think I'll do again for my other skeins of Design Line. I know someone will ask so I'll just say it now, the reason why I didn't like the look of the sock without the contrasting heel was because the patterning became wonky and looked obviously off at the area where I had to start knitting the heel. Every time I tried on the sock or took a look at my progress, all I could see was that uneven line of patterning. I tried to tell myself that I should stop looking so closely at my work cause that's when you start to notice stuff (like how, on one of the heels there's a gapping hole...crap! I better not keep looking it...). But it really bugged me and I just know that if it bothered me so much now, it will continue to do so each and every time I wear the socks. For the sake of my sanity, I couldn't leave that wonky line of pattern.


In my Zipping Along socks post I gave a tip on how I get clean, crisp stripes on the ribbing of my socks using self-striping yarns. Now here's my tip on how I get a clean transition from self-patterning (or self-striping) yarn to a solid/contrasting yarn: I simply knit one round with the solid/contrasting yarn in stockinette and then I start the ribbing. You don't see that solo knit round in the solid yarn at all and it prevents those randomly coloured purl bumps from appearing. Again, such a simple trick that yields a very polished end product. I'm sure this is a fairly old and commonly known tip but lately there have been a good amount of newbie sock knitters reading the blog, so I thought it would be a good idea to share it!

I still have one skein left of this colourway, since I had bought two to knit a pair. Unfortunately I don't have the receipt anymore so I can't return it (me?? Return yarn??). I'll think of something to do with it. Or put it back in the stash and when this pair is worn to strands of fibre, I can knit a replacement.

Hmmm...this kind of thinking...maybe this is why I have so much sock yarn in the stash?


:: Sock Details ::
Pattern: My own plain vanilla toe-up sock recipe with afterthought heel

Yarns: Regia Design Line by Arne & Carlos and Drops Fabel
Colours: Star Night (3653) and Grey Blue (103)
Needles: HiyaHiya Sharps Fixed Circulars in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Star Night Socks




Wednesday, January 20, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Unfinished Business


My hands have been feeling achy and off lately so I'm forcing myself take a few days off from knitting. I'm trying not to get too hung up on this because, you know, I've gots things to knit! But don't we all? I'm also trying not to get too tempted to just knit through the pain. This, of course, is NOT a good idea. So don't worry, I'm not going to do that. I might be crazy, but I'm not that crazy.

Instead, I'm making myself use my knitting time to do the things I should have done long ago. Things that I should be doing either right away or when I finish a project, and that is to complete ALL the finishings that are required to make a project truly completed. I have WAY too many WIPs that have had the knitting part finished months, sometimes years, ago but neglected even the simplest finishing tasks, like weaving in the ends. I have shawls and cardigans that I have yet to wear because of this. 

Yes. I'm a lazy, lazy knitter!!

I keep telling myself, especially if it's a project that involves stripes and/or a lot of ends, I should weave in the ends as I go to save myself the work and trouble later on. But do I ever listen to myself? Obviously not. Do you weave in ends as you go? Or do you wait to the very end? Or are you like me and wait forever and then realize the pile of knits is getting outrageously big and it's just time to do it? I spent the last two days weaving in the ends of two shawls that were finished last year and am currently weaving in the ends of a shawl I had finished two years ago. I know, I know...it's insane. And this shawl is gorgeous. I have no excuses. And yet here I am procrastinating like a mofo.

*sigh*

I'm also determined to get to at least one of the cardigans this weekend. I have to shake my head at myself because the reason I'm not wearing these cardigans that I once coveted and couldn't wait to wear, is because I couldn't be bothered to sew down the pockets, weave in the ends, and sew on buttons. Completely ridiculous, right? And I could really use these cardigans now while it's still sweater weather! I have a strong feeling that for the next few weeks I'll constantly have a knit drying on the living room floor. Oh well, at least knits are getting the attention they deserve. Not to mention that maybe it's a good thing that I have such a backlog of FOs because if I take a little longer to pick up the needles again, at least I have something to share still.

That is, if I ever get off my butt, pick up my tapestry needle, and start weaving in those pesky ends. Oh ends, you are the bane of my existence! 




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