Thursday, December 30, 2010

Monster sock

At the Ravelry sock group, we're trying to use up our left-over sock yarn before the new year begins.  Here's my second pair of left-overs sock in progress:

outfit for a little girl

I made this outfit for my niece, Libby, for Christmas.  The patterns were all from Ottobre magazine, the fall 2010 issue.  There was a cute bubble skirt with a machine-embroidered mushroom on it, a blouse with pin tucks, and a velour jacket to go with the skirt and blouse.

It was my first attempt at machine embroidery.  I put a piece of stabilizer under the fabric while I stitched the lines of the mushroom, and that helped a lot.  It was pretty easy and didn't require a fancy machine, as the only stitch required was a straight stitch.

The blouse fabric is Liberty Tana lawn. I had a blouse that I made for myself out of it, but I never wore it, so I took it apart to make a smaller blouse.

Here's the jacket on Libby:

 And on the floor:

 Blouse detail:

Skirt detail:

Friday, December 17, 2010

stashbuster socks

On, there's a group called Sock Knitters Anonymous, and this month we're all trying to use up our leftover sock yarn from other projects.  I made these socks from a pattern in Anna Zilboorg's book Socks for Sandals and Clogs, called Betelgeuse.  It's an easy pattern, but the accent yarns sort of pop from the background in a good way.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Monkey Socks

The April sock challenge was to knit a Cookie A design.  Cookie A is a celebrity sock designer.  Bet you didn't know there was such a thing.

Anyway, there's a free sock pattern on Ravelry by Cookie A called Monkey.  Apparently twelve thousand and sixty-seven people have made these socks.  I found that so amazing that I made some too.  Imagine.  12,067 pairs of Monkey socks, and that's just the ones that are documented on Ravelry:  that is, there's a picture of that many pairs.  There must be thousands more that have never been photographed.

Can thousands--nay, tens of thousands--of sock knitters be wrong?  That was my reasoning when I set out to make my very own monkey socks.  Also, a sock yarn web site had just given me a skein of their space-dyed yarn to try, and Monkey socks are sort of designed for space-dyed yarn, so it seemed like a good time to try making Monkey socks.

The pattern was really easy yet not so easy that it was boring.  It is kind of lacy, and kind of stretchy.  I like the socks a lot.

The yarn, not so much. It bled like crazy when I washed it, and the bright colors faded almost immediately.  Not sure why the dyers have not figured out how to make their dye colorfast. It's not that hard.

Anyway here are the socks.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"Beautiful Vines" sock

I finished one of the March Mystery socks:  it's called Belle Vitini, or "beautiful vines" in Italian, and it was designed by Kristi Geraci.  You can see how well the name fits:

The vines are created by an interesting combination of cabling and lace.  It was my first time to try to do cables in knitting, using a cable needle. At first it was very awkward, but now I'm somewhat better at it.

The yarn is Trekking Pro Natura, by Zitron, which is a blend of wool and bamboo.  Most of the sock yarns I use are blends of wool and nylon; we'll see if this blend has the same durability.

Now for the second sock...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Entrelac socks finished, finally

The Sock Knitters Anonymous challenge for February was to make some entrelac socks.  You have two months to accomplish the challenge, and it took me the full two months to make these socks.

I used hand spun for the tops and mill spun Ultra Alpaca Fine for the bottoms, and so far they seem to be wearing well.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Entrelac socks


Entrelac is a knitting technique that has fascinated me for a long time, and I finally learned to do it.  The February sockdown challenge on Ravelry was entrelac. I used a pattern by Kathryn Alexander that uses handspun.

Entrelac is kind of fiddly, but really not that hard once you get past the first few rectangles.  You have to turn the knitting a lot, unless you learn to purl back from the front, which I can sort of do, but it's so slow that it seems faster just to turn the knitting.

The great thing about entrelac is the fun of changing colors for each row of squares.  I had a lot of colorful handspun that I wanted to use up, so I used that yarn for the top.  But when I got to the foot, I was afraid handspun wouldn't be durable enough, so I used some millspun sock yarn (with nylon in it) in closely matching colors.  You can sort of tell it's different yarn, but the change is not too jarring I think.

Kathryn Alexander has some really cool entrelac hat designs that I'd like to try some day. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hermione's Everyday socks

I had time to do another pair of knit-purl decoration socks on my way home from DC.  I used this pattern:  Hermione's Everyday Socks.  It was easy.  I used some yarn that my sister gave me a long time ago.  I like the way these turned out.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fulled handspun beaded socks

Finished these socks a few days ago and fulled them for about 9 minutes in hot water in the washing machine. I had knitted them about 10% longer than my foot, so as to have some room for shrinkage.  My idea was that if I fulled handspun sock yarn, it would tighten up and the socks would be more durable.

ONe of the socks has beads and the other doesn't.

We'll see if they last longer. I gave them to my sister and asked her to let me know about their durability.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Handspun Socks

I want to use up more of my stash of handspun, so I am making the January mystery sock (on Ravelry) out of handspun.  The problem, again, is durability. I fulled the yoga socks for last month so hard that they lost their elasticity and became hard to get on and off.

My new idea is that instead of fulling in the washing machine, which makes the whole sock dense and inelastic, I will just full the parts that usually wear out first:  the sole and heel.   That way, the sock top--the part that has to slip over your heel--will still be elastic. In theory.

To do that selective fulling, I need a washboard, so I can full by hand.  Today I found out that my local Ace hardware store could order me a washboard!  It will come next week.  I won't be done with the socks by then--the last clue comes out the last week of January--so I might have to take the washboard with me to Houston in early February. What will the airline suitcase inspectors think?!?  "That poor child:  still washing her clothes on a washboard, in this day and age!"

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fulled Monster Handspun Stash-busting Yoga Socks

The December sock challenge on Ravelry was to use up your stash of yarn, and possibly also to make a sock that wasn't quite a sock.  I decided to use up some of my handspun and make some yoga socks. Yoga socks don't have a heel or a toe so that you can grip the mat better with your sticky feet.

I decided also to full the socks pretty hard, to make them more durable.  Fulling knitting means washing it in hot water and maybe drying it in the dryer so that it shrinks on purpose. This makes it thicker and more durable, and also warmer.  Of course, it shrinks the piece too, so you have to plan ahead and knit it bigger.

The question is, how much bigger?  In the process of fulling these socks, I learned a few things.

Fulling for 12 minutes in hot water in the washer makes socks shrink a lot.  If you do this, you  have to add 15% to your wanted circumference, and 27% to your wanted length.  For example, if you want your socks to be 8" around and 9" long at the foot, then you have to knit them 9.2" around and 11.5" long!  Twelve minutes of fulling makes a very stiff sock, and I didn't like the feel of it so much.

Fulling for 6 minutes in hot water in the washer doesn't change the dimensions of socks at all, though.  But fulling them 6  minutes and then drying them for 20 minutes in the dryer causes a moderate amount of fulling that seems just right.  In this case, you add 10% to the wanted circumference, and 20% to the wanted length for plain stockinette stitch.  For Fair Isle knitting, which draws knitting in somewhat by virtue of the floats on the back, the percentage is more like 7% and 15%.  It's always a good idea to make a swatch.

Yoga socks are a good way to make a swatch because fit is not critical.