DIY Sock Blockers

Last weekend I went to purchase sock blockers but the shop didn’t have any stock of the size I needed, turns out sock blockers were popular that day as they sold out of the size I needed that morning. The shop assistant suggested perhaps I could make my own so I went online and found a free template. Maryann who made the template also has a tutorial on her blog that goes along with it but I didn’t follow the tutorial. I have made so many sewing patterns I was confident I could make the sock blockers myself with just the template.

As I was doing a clean up of my house I found some template plastic in my stash that you normally use to make template pieces for quilting and decided to use that to make my blockers. I just traced out the template twice to create a pair of blockers. In the comments on Maryann’s blog post about this others have also suggested beside the cardboard Maryann has used that you could make them from foam, old placemats or plastic tiles.

The size of the template is for a ladies small sock. I wanted medium sock blockers so I added about half an inch around the template as I traced it out. They are a bit short so I should have added more to the length if I want to use them for calf length socks but for ankle socks they will be fine.

I tried them out in a pair of socks that I wanted to photograph. Now I will be honest I won’t be using these for blocking but for photographing socks so that I can show them here on the blog. They will work if you wanted to use them for blocking but I have never actually blocked socks before. I am still going to buy a medium set of sock blockers when I can and actually use them to block a sock to see if it makes a difference but for the mean time these will do just fine. These didn’t cost me anything and took about 15 mins to make plus I decluttered some template plastic from my stash.

Cassiy

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Correa Wrap – Attempt 1

Last year I first saw the Correa Wrap by Ambah O’Brien when Skein Sisters held a pop up shop at my Knitters Guild meeting. They had a finished wrap on show and I really liked it. I don’t normally like gradients but with the contrast colour in the middle breaking up the colours I really liked it.

Skein Sisters sold the wrap as a pack with the 4 skeins of yarn and the pattern. The sample on display was in the original colour way of orange. Not my colour but they had it in blue colour tone pack which was more me. I put it on my wish list and when Skein Sisters had a sale in February I purchased the pack. The colours are gorgeous. The pattern is a lace pattern. Lace knitting scares me. It looks fancy and complicated and there is counting involved. Normally I run from patterns like this but I got a taste for simple lace knitting in my Miramar cowl.

I’ve just finished my first Stephen West shawl which took me out of my comfort zone but I enjoyed knitting. This week I decided to bite the bullet and try the Correa. The pattern has both written instructions and a chart. I can’t read chart symbols yet. I can read basic colour charts but not symbols so I was following the written instructions of the pattern highlighting each row as I finished it. I have made mistakes and will take this off my needle and start again. One side of the stitch markers looks ok and I seem to be on track but the other side is too messy to continue with. I’m not beating myself up about having to restart it. The first few rows of the lace section were scary but the last few rows I knitted were a bit more easier. The pattern is starting to click in my head now. Lace knitting is just a serious of yarn overs, ssk (slip, slip, knit) knit stitches or k2tog (knit 2 together) when you break it down like that it isn’t so scary, it is just like knitting socks but you have more of the stitches. The shawl is done in 2 triangles that you then join. The first triangle I’m going to be following the written instructions but I will see how I go and maybe on the second triangle I might try and follow the chart. I’m actually enjoying knitting this even if I was a little tense at first. Instead of thinking of it as scary lace but just knitting stitches I know I can do it.

Cassiy

Miramar Cowl

In February Wool Gathering Australia held their 2019 KangaKiwi KAL. It is annual knit along or crochet along where knitters/crocheters from Australia and New Zealand create an item with local yarns and patterns. The only rule is that both the yarn and the pattern must be from either Australia or New Zealand. I decided to join in this year for the first time.

Months ago when I purchased my Sock Ruler from Kathy’s Fibres I also added to my cart a skein of yarn. Silly me has thrown out the yarn label before I wrote this but the yarn was a merino/bamboo/silk mix. The colours in this skein really caught my eye, there was lots of grey, teal and white in it. I wear a lot of teal and darker colours so this really jumped out at me.

The pattern I used was Miramar by Sezza Knits. In 2017 I won a prize pack when Wool Gathering Australia held their It’s New To Me knit along and I got to choose a pattern from Sezza and this was the pattern I chose. Miramar is a suburb in Wellington in New Zealand, I have a family connection to that suburb so that is why I chose that pattern and also I really like the look of the pattern. I like the repetitiveness of the pattern of the lace sections, it wasn’t a messy looking lace pattern it was in line and consistent.

I will be totally honest I never thought I might actually be able to do this pattern. It was a lace pattern, lace knitting scares me. It sounds complicated and fiddly, there is counting and you need to concentrate. As I think I have mentioned before I am not good at counting in knitting and crochet projects as I like to do a lot of mindless tv yarn work which means counting is hard to do. Once I got started in this pattern I found it really it easy to do. Admittedly some areas were a little off in the stitch count and to be honest most times I was too lazy to go back and fix them but for the most part my stitch count was correct. This actually flew off my needles and I finished it within 2 weeks.

I love the stripes that the yarn has created within this. This colours in this actually match a lot of the clothing in my wardrobe so I look forward to wearing it this winter. I cast it on with 4mm needles then switched to 3.5mm needles, I have a very tight cast on so I did the trick that you do in crochet if you chain tight by going up a needle/hook size to chain/cast on then switching to the smaller size on the first round.

Cassiy

Seeds Of Bendigo

When I was planning my Frocktails outfit for this year I decided I wanted some soft of wrap or shawl for over my shoulders as I hate air conditioning. I had plenty of black cotton in my stash so I went hunting for patterns to make. On Ravelry I came across Seeds Of Roan. The border detail really stood out and I liked the look of it.

Knit wise it was fairly easy. I did stuff the border a couple of time in parts but it isn’t that noticeable and frankly I’m not that much of a perfectionist to care about it and go back to fix it. For the most part it was really mindless knitting. The pattern called for DK cotton which is what I thought I had in my stash. When I pulled my yarn out I discovered it was only 4ply so I used 2 strands to make it DK. This was the first time I’d ever knitted a project with double strands and it fairly easy to do. From memory I didn’t have any issues with it.

 

Wearing wise it was really comfortable. It gave me just enough coverage over my shoulders that I needed and didn’t feel too hot or cold. I was worried a bit that it might not stay on my shoulders and maybe I would need a shawl pin or something to keep it in place but I didn’t have any issues with it falling.

I call this my Seeds Of Bendigo shawl as the yarn is from Bendigo Woollen Mills. I got it a while ago maybe in sale to make another project but never did so it had just been sitting under my bed doing nothing. I still have a fair bit of the yarn left over as even knitting this double stranded it didn’t take up that much yarn. I will use it in other projects but it was good to use some of it up at least in this project.

Cassiy

Sock Ruler

I first saw the Sock Ruler about 18 months ago on the Grocery Girls podcast and thought if I really get into sock knitting it is a tool I’m going to get. I looked at buying it from overseas, the ruler itself wasn’t too expensive but the postage to Australia was a killer with the costs working out to be way more than the ruler. Luckily I found a local shop Kathys Fibres in Australia that sold it so I was able to get it from there – I may of also picked up a skein of yarn when I was there….

So what is a Sock Ruler? It is a rigid piece of plastic that is a measuring guide or as the name suggests a ruler that you can use when knitting socks to see how long each section is. Pretty simple when you think about it but really handy and useful as measuring socks can be a little tricky, it has a rounded tip so you can place it inside the sock to get an accurate measurement. It has both inches and centermetres marked on it so it caters for imperial and metric measurements – I always use inches when I measure things

At the moment I knit my socks cuff down. This is perfect for measuring how long the cuff and leg section is. You place the rounded tip inside the cuff section then flatten your knitting down the ruler to see how long it is. If you were to knit toe up socks you would place the rounded tip inside the toes and measure the foot section from there. For cuff down this is brilliant as I can measure how long the leg section is before starting my heel section.

Again on cuff down socks once you finish the gusset section you can measure to see how long the sock is before beginning the toe decreases. You fold your sock over and place the rounded tip snug into the heel turn to measure the foot length, on toe up socks you would place the tip in the same area but this time measure how long to make the leg section before beginning the cuff. I knit magic loop and my knitting tends to roll a bit when I try to measure it but by placing it on the ruler I can get it to sit flat and accurately see the length.

I have found that I’m not only using this on socks, it is a handy ruler to measure small items like the width of cowls. I’m so glad that I purchased this tool for my knitting. If you like sock knitting I urge you to go check this out, there are other sock rulers on the market but I really like the rounded tip that this one has.

Cassiy

 

Finished Ankle Socks

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!

Cassiy

Ankle Socks – Attempt?

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

Cassiy