I have a finished pair of ankle socks!!!
After all the trials and tribulations I went through starting these last week I finished my socks. Once I got over sock 1 I easily breezed through sock 2 knitting it within a matter of days I think or over a short period of time anyway. Writing my notes after sock 1 really helped. For sock 2 the only time I needed to consult YouTube was doing the kitchener stitch at the end. For sock 1 I did it from written instructions and got a little bit lost but there was only 4 stitches on each needle so not many to do. Looking at this picture I can’t tell which is sock 1 or 2 but for the 2nd one I decided to sit and watch YouTube, more to just familiarise myself with it again in visual terms as I am a visual learner.
Before I took this photo I did actually give my socks a good “testing” wearing them on a 35 deg day walking to gym then walking around a shopping centre. Now normally in regular socks by the end of all that I would be racing to get home to tear the socks off my feet as I get heat trigged eczema on the tops of my feet and my feet would be red and itchy. I wore these without any problem, not an itch. The yarn I used is by Twilleys of Stamford called Gorgeous DK and yes just my luck it is now discontinued. I found this out earlier this year and purchased most of the remaining stock that my yarn shop had of it so I know I will get a few pairs made. It is a bamboo / nylon mix. They have survived their first wash well although I haven’t put them back on. I must admit they look bulky but in my sneakers they were really comfortable. The yarn is a sport weight so a 5ply and gave a little bit of padding under my feet.
I have started a 2nd pair over the last couple of days but today had to take them off my needles this morning to start again as on the instep decreases I decreased too much on one side and my stitch count was off (this will teach me for knitting socks after only 3hrs sleep) They had a couple of gaps in other sections where I didn’t pick up the stitch fully so I am not too worried about starting them again. They are a quick make so I know once I get started and actually watch what I am doing I will get another pair done in no time.
My sock knitting bug has bitten again!
I mentioned in my Rose City Rollers post that I was going away last week and wanted to take socks to work on. I searched Ravelry and came across the Super Stretchy Sport Socks by River City Yarns. The pattern looked perfect, it was using exact same ply that I was using, the design looked just like what I was after. In my mind I thought I could easily get ankle socks made in a weekend so I packed up all the supplies I needed included a darning needle and written instructions on how to do the kitchener stitch. Well things didn’t go to plan….
I cast on my first sock knitting the cuff without issue. I knit socks magic loop when I started my heel flap I knitted on the wrong needle so my heel flap stitches were on the outside of my sock not on the inside. Ok start again this time I managed the cuff, heel flap and even turned the heel then it came to picking up stitches. The pattern is written for both DPN’s (double pointed needles) and magic loop but when it came to picking up stitches I got a bit confused in the pattern as to when I was meant to pull my cord through and pick up the next needle. I had way too many stitches on my needle and then I got confused as to where to place my stitch markers. I was frustrated because I have a very long sock “To Knit” list yet I can’t manage to knit a pair of ankle socks even though I have knitted a full pair of socks within 2 weeks before when I made my Pumpkin socks. I pulled the sock off my needles and then worked on another yarn project for the weekend, luckily I had packed 2 projects so I wasn’t left with idle hands.
Ok so I think I am on attempt 3 of these particular socks. I have done a 2″ cuff as I want a longer sock that sits high on my ankle, on one of my other attempts I only did 1.5″ and I don’t think that will be high enough. When it came to the gusset I watched Very Pink Knits Learn To Knit Socks Magic Loop Part 4 tutorial. I love watching Stacie’s knitting tutorials, she explains things very clearly. Whenever I search YouTube for knitting tutorial I always check to see if she has done one first. After watching the clip I knew where to pull my cord through for the magic loop and where to place my stitch markers. She has her needles set up differently to what the pattern for these socks say (well that’s at least how I interpreted the pattern to say) Once you pick up your gusset stitches you rearrange your stitches to effectively split your heel and cuff in half so the stitch markers for your decreases are in the centre of your needles, this is how I have knitted socks before and I am comfortable with the set up. I can go on autopilot now knowing depending on what row I am on if I have to decrease when I come to a stitch marker or not.
I have gone a step further than what Stacie or the pattern says and have placed extra stitch markers so I know when to stop decreasing for my gusset. I read the pattern to see at what stitch count I needed to stop the decreases and counted them out on my needles so I know when I get to the green stitch markers it is time to stop the decreases and just knit until I get to the toe section. Just had a quick look at this picture and my knitting and have readjusted my stop stitch markers as they were wrong in this picture. Also just discovered I am down a stitch on one side so when it comes to doing my decreases the side that has 2 orange stitch markers I’ll skip a decrease on that side to get my stitch count even. The extra decrease stitch markers will help with my autopilot knitting which I like to do. I am actually enjoying knitting the sock now. When I get to the toe section I will watch the clip in Stacie’s clip on how to set up my needles for that.
I have been making myself notes along the way. Sometimes I need to write things in my own words for them to make sense to me. On this page I have my notes about the stitch markers, on the first page I have notes on how long I have made each section so when it comes to making my 2nd sock I make them the same. In my notes I have even reminded myself I took a picture for Instagram of my set up so I can refer back to it and of course now I will have this blog post too.
To recap for myself for sock 2
- To measure for long tail cast on wrap yarn around the needle 8 times then measure that fold 7 times + tail yarn to cast on 56 stitches
- Knit 2″ cuff (16 rows in total)
- For gusset stitch markers need to be near cuff and not heel
- Place first stitch marker after 1st set of picked up stitches
- Place second stitch maker at start 2nd set picked up stitches
- Divide sock in half from toe and cuff to knit magic loop
- On row counter odd rows are decrease rows, even rows are knit stitches
Ok back to my knitting hopefully I will have sock 1 finished soon!
Update: Instead of skipping a decrease stitch on one side I did KFB in the cuff section on that needle to get my stitch count correct in that section
I started these socks back in April after seeing a friend make them a few times. I was looking for an ankle sock pattern so I thought I would give it a try. The pattern is Rose City Rollers and is free on Ravelry.
The pattern has 3 sizes to choose from. I first cast on the largest size then decided it was too big so I took it off my needles and tried again. The second time I did them I messed up a row in the heel pattern and didn’t pick up enough stitches when I did the heel turn leaving a gap which I wasn’t happy with. I thought third time lucky and cast them on again. That was back in May and to be honest I haven’t touched them since. I think the reason is that I am not really liking the style. I have been analysing my socks over the last few months (yes I do random stuff like that) and I have come to realise with my store brought ankle socks the ones I was wearing the most were the ones that were fitted around the ankle with a cuff. In this pattern there is no cuff it is just stockinette stitch that rolls over on itself, it is very lose around the ankle. My sneakers eat all my older socks where the cuff is stretched out and not snug around the ankle.
I’m going away later this week and I am looking at what craft projects to take as I am going to have a lot of time on my hands including a 6hr train ride home. I was going to take these socks but the more I think about it the more I know I am not going to like the finished product so I have decided to take these off my needles and know the pattern isn’t for me. The reason I wanted to make ankle socks is last year I did a 14 kilometre fun run/walk and I got really bad blisters on toes from the toe seam in my sock. With knitted socks I won’t have that toe seam but I need socks that are fitted around the ankle so they don’t move down into my sneakers causing me to keep pulling them back up.
I’m glad that I at least tried to knit these socks. They weren’t a waste of time as it made me think more about my feet and what my needs are. I want to make things I am actually going to wear so its ok to try thing and find out they are not for you.
Last week I finished a tote bag which according to Ravelry I started in December last year. The pattern is based on the bag Lucy (Attic 24) has on her blog. I say based as me being me did things slightly different in some areas. That is the great thing about making your own things you can improvise and make things as you wish.
The yarn I used was 2 Lincraft cakes. Lincraft, if you are not familiar with it is a chain craft store in Australia. When Caron cakes became really popular a few years ago Lincraft brought out there own generic version. The yarn is dyed to allow colour changes within your project without the need for you to physically cut yarn and change colours. Fibre content is an acrylic / wool mix. I was given a Lincraft gift voucher by a friend so I purchased 2 cakes of Clear Sky and they sat in my stash for ages before I finally decided to crochet this bag. I love the colours, it looks great.
The bag holds a lot. This size bag would make a great beach bag, project bag, shopping bag. It doesn’t look big when it is hanging but it is kind of like the TARDIS, much bigger on the inside. The pattern was really easy to follow and didn’t require a lot of thinking. I made my handles different to the pattern Lucy has. My handles are directly part of the bag and not joined on afterwards like Lucy has done. Also I haven’t done any flowers. The majority of the bag is done in UK trebles and from the part where I started making the handles upwards I have done in UK double crochet. Once the bag was the height I wanted I started doing a row of double crochet until I reached the area I wanted my handles to start then I chained a length of the stitches I wanted for the handles then joined them to the bag with a slip stitch. I then kept doing double crochet until I reached the other side of the bag and then repeated the set up for the other handle. Once I joined it to the bag I just double crocheted backwards and forward over the handle until it was the width I wanted. I then double crocheted back around until I got back the other handle and repeated the same steps. Once I was happy with the width I just kept doing row after row of double crochet going up and over the handles as if they were part of the regular row, The bit underneath the handles you never go over again. You can see it better in the picture below. I just kept doing row after row of double crochet until I rang out of yarn.
Ok confession as much as I love this bag I am probably never going to use it. I just don’t like the feel of the yarn, I am really sensitive to yarn and for me the wool in this is too scratchy. I am glad I used it in a bag pattern and not a poncho like I first considered. I could use it as a project bag but to be honest I already have enough large ones. This will most likely be used as one of my charity bags next year. I’m not upset by that, I have so many memories of this bag making it. I started it the day I attended a medical appointment with Mr StitchNSew. I worked on it Christmas day whilst spending time with my nieces. In January I did a 4 day work training course where I had to stay in a hotel and this was one of the projects I took with me to work on in my downtime. When Mr StitchNSew had a medical procedure done and I had to sit in a hospital for 8 hours I worked on this, his nurse actually gave me the idea of how to do the handles. As crocheters do she came up to see what I was working on and told me how she does her handles. There are a lot of memories in the making of this bag but I don’t need to actually have the bag itself to keep those memories. For me it wasn’t a waste of time making this bag – I tried out a new yarn, I made a pattern that I had been wanting to make for along time, working on this calmed me in stressful situations because I was doing something I was comfortable with and could focus on. If I can pass on this bag on to someone who needs it then it was worth every stitch.
The day after my double knitting class with Sockmatician I pulled out my needles and some cotton yarn from my stash and started to play. This is what I come up with.
I find it hard to just knit unless I am making an actual project. My mindset is that if I am spending time doing something I want it to be useful otherwise my mind thinks this is just a waste of time. Dishcloths are something that are very practical and are a good way to practice knitting or crochet skills or to test out a new pattern. If you have never used a handmade dishcloth I urge you to try them out they are magic.
To make this one I never followed a pattern as such. This is kind based on the swatch we made within the class with Sockmatician but with a twist. I have never written a knitting pattern but below is how I did it. I just made it up in my head. I did make 2 small errors in this one but fortunately they were both on the same side.
Cast on 25
Rows 1-5 – Double knit plain colour
Rows 6-10- Double knit 5 plain, switch colour for 15, switch colour for last 5
Rows 11-15 – Double knit 5 plain, switch colour for 5, switch colour for 5, switch colour for 5, switch colour for 5
Rows 16-20 – Double knit 5 plain, switch colour for 15, switch colour for last 5
Rows 20-25 – Double knit plain colour
I used 10ply cotton so doubled up it is like 20ply and almost feels like a thin sponge. I didn’t weave in my ends on this one. To be honest I am lazy and if it is a dishcloth for home I mostly don’t weave in my ends I just knot them a few times. This was really fun to make and I easily finished it within a couple of days of knitting it only after work. I am still struggling with moving my yarns from the front to the back each time. I need to work on carrying yarn in both hands so that I can then increase my speed when double knitting. Think I may need to make a few more dishcloths to practice.
It has been a while since I finished a project then jumped on here to blog about it straight away but I just had to with these water balloons.
I started these water balloons back in January. This morning I weaved in the ends of the final balloons. In total I got 123 balloons made from the 8 balls of chenille yarn I purchased. I will divide these up between 5 families with a total of 12 kids. My next task today will be to wrap these up in packs of 10 with some getting 11 and give them as Christmas gifts this year. The pattern for these can be found on Ravelry. When I first saw them I thought they would make wonderful gifts. To recap you don’t fill these up with water rather soak them in a bucket for a couple of minutes then toss them around. Once the water is gone from them pop them back in the bucket to be used again. If they get dirty you can pop them in the washing machine.
I got a mixture of sizes made of the balloons. I must admit on some I may of missed a row or even added an extra row. It doesn’t matter as the kids won’t care. I also used a mixture of hook sizes 8mm and 9mm which made the sizes differ. Sometimes I would go weeks without making any and couldn’t remember which hook I used. Throughout the year I would just grab the yarn and start crocheting a few in front of the tv whenever I felt like it. I left the weaving in the ends until the end. I used a 4mm hook to weave them through then tucked in the final piece into the balloon. Again the ends didn’t take long to do, mindless tv work or listening to music. They are surprisingly quick to make.
It was interesting working with this thick yarn for the first time. It is so soft and squishy. Working with the larger hooks was easy too. The yarn would be lovely to make into a blanket, it is very light so it wouldn’t be a heavy blanket.
I am super pleased with these. They were an easy gift to make that took little time to make. This year has been a busy one for me so these were the ideal gift to make as you can give them to a child of any age to play with. My Christmas gift making isn’t over yet but this is a big chunk finished well ahead of time. If you like to make gifts for kids and you can crochet I urge you to give these a try.
Double knitting is a knitting technique which I tried to learn previously but at the time I just didn’t get it. If you are not familiar with the technique double knitting allows you to create a piece of 2 coloured piece of fabric which is reversible so the image you have on one side is the same on the other side but with the colours reversed. It looks really effective. I have liked the technique for some but unfortunately I tried to learn it I just couldn’t understand it, I didn’t know how to read charts which didn’t help and I wasn’t that used to switching between knit and purl stitches as I am now. I had some projects I wanted to do but I was scared cause I didn’t know how to the technique.
When I found out Nathan Taylor aka Sockmatician was coming to Australia and running a class on double knitting at Skein Sisters I thought here is my chance to learn. I’m not a total fan girl but Sockmatician is like the guru of double knitting. He has a knitting podcast and lots of tutorials on YouTube. His work is amazing so I needed to be in that class. I found out the date and time the classes were going to open on the Skein Sisters website to purchase a ticket and I literally sat there refreshing the browser on my phone every few seconds 5 mins before the time to ensure I could buy a ticket, I think I got like the first or second ticket. I’m so glad that I did he is an amazing teacher, from the minute he started speaking he had the whole room was engaged. The class was small with about 10 people and that was a good size as it allowed him to look around the room constantly as he spoke and make eye contact with everyone, as you student you could see the passion he had in his eyes as he spoke. He also has a slightly twisted sense of humour which matched mine so we got on really well. At the end we joked that we have the same hair style and by chance we have the same tattoo.
Sockmatician is a really great teacher, he has a lot of patience with every student, he is very reassuring to remind you that you are only learning you will make mistakes everyone does but when you make a mistake I’m going to show you how to fix it. He really broke down the components of double knitting into basic steps, and emphasized what part of your knitting you need to be concentrating on as you work. The sample we worked on was a basic square of 15 pairs of stitches, double knitting is always done in pairs of stitches in which you will knit the first one and purl the second one. The pattern we were doing was a square within a square, we didn’t even actually follow a chart he just told us the instructions. We didn’t change colour the first so many rows which allowed us to get a feel for moving the yarn forward and to the back of our work as we did our knit and purl stitches, he then told us knit 5 and change your colour for 5 stitches than the change back to the original colour. That bit did catch everyone up a bit including myself but he went through how to fix it, which stitches to concentrate on and after that I was fine. I found it really rhythmic to do.
I managed to half bind off my square before the class finished, had a I not stopped to listen and chat with a few people I would’ve got it finished. I am a very geometric person which is probably why I am drawn to double knitting. I am actually really proud of my test square. I really love it how the colours are reversed on the other side.
We were given a handout during the class which included a chart to make a little heart test square which is the pattern he normally teachers. On the chart not only is the picture but he has also broken down how many coloured squares are in each colour block, for me that is much easier to work charts if I can break it down to a small chunk of stitches. Before the class had even finished in my head I started a planning a scarf using that heart chart, as I have previously mentioned I adore hearts. In my head I thought I might actually do 2 repeats of the chart to make the scarf the width of a regular scarf, after the class I mentioned to him that I was planning a scarf now with the chart and he suggested doing the 2 repeats and I told him that I’d already thought of that. In my mind I can see how it will look. I purchased some yarn to make the scarf so I am hoping to get it on my needles very soon. I was so excited about the yarn I took a photo of it on the tram on the way home.
Sockmatician has an evil grand plan to take over the world with double knitting, each time he runs a class his aim is to get more people in his double knitting army. I’m part of that army now, double knitting has bitten me. Before the class I had 2 projects I wanted to do by the end of the class I had another 3. One thing he said is don’t be a student that is a serial class taker but doesn’t do anything with it. He wanted us to go away with the passion for double knitting and to use the technique, explore it and push the limits. That’s what I am going to do, maybe not push the limits at this stage but get out there and give it ago. If you ever get the chance to do a class with him I really urge you to do it as it was the best knitting class I have ever been too.