Adventures in Sock Knitting
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Three Fates Design Challenge Part 1: Swatching


Remember the Rastita Design Challenge? Well Cory and I are at it again. You can see Cory’s post on swatching here.

This time we’re using aquae singles – a 100% merino fingering weight from Three Fates Yarns. The colors I chose are “tears of joy”, a really pretty periwinkle, and “black beauty” which, as you may have guessed, is black.

One of the things that I discovered while getting ready to write this post was that swatching is really tough for me. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really design on the needles. I might swatch a stitch pattern if I’m not sure how it will look, but I don’t usually come up with my design through swatching. Because of this, I often have my pattern mostly written before I start a swatch. (For socks I will admit that I usually just start knitting the sock and call it a swatch.)

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Sometimes I change my mind while I’m knitting, and if I’m already knitting the sample that can mean a lot of ripping back.

This time I charted the main cable motif I planned to use, and used the swatch as an opportunity to make sure it would look the way I had envisioned it. Swatching was also helpful because as I knit my swatch I had an idea for the two color section that I hadn’t thought of before. Now I can incorporate that into the final design without having to rip back on my sample.

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I knew there was a reason to swatch besides having a pretty picture to show you!

If you read Cory’s post you’ll notice that she is a marvelous swatcher. One of the things I like the most about these design challenges is getting to work with Cory and seeing how she does things. (Hint: very differently than I do!)

It’s a great experience to watch someone else’s process and see how different our finished products are!

WIP Wednesday #8 – “C”


On April 30, 2011, I started a pair of socks with a skein of stripey yarn I bought at Sock Summit. It was intended to be a design sample, but then I found out the dyer had stopped dyeing, so I put the project on hold.

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(Yarn only, because the pattern isn’t out yet and is top secret!)

When this pattern finally does come out, I’ll probably want a pair to wear for myself! Right now the little socklets are about 2.5″ of leg each.

Verdict: Finish them!

Yarnbox Socks!


Back in December I got an email from Hannah at Yarnbox asking if they could use one of my patterns for the very first Yarnbox Socks. They had a dyer back out and there wasn’t time for the selected designer to design a new pair for the new yarn, so they decided to use Intercalate. Hannah started knitting up a sample in their chosen yarn, Koigu KPM.

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Looking at the beautiful color selections, I can’t wait to see people get their boxes and start knitting up their socks! Following the KAL and seeing new projects pop up will be a lot of fun!

Later this year, I’ll be designing a custom pattern for them for a different yarn.

Silver Falls


My first new pattern of 2015, Silver Falls, is out now!

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I knit the first version of it back in July from Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails, thinking it would be a great pattern for those or sock leftovers. As I decided what to do with the pattern, I decided to send it to Knit Picks IDP, and it was accepted! So the final version is knit in Knit Picks Capretta, which is really soft and squishy!

A little help from my friend Kelsey as model and Heidi as photographer, and MJ doing the pattern layout and it is now ready on Ravelry and soon the Knit Picks website!

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There are small and large versions of the cowl. It’s a great pattern to knit with a gradient set – as one of my test knitters did – or sock leftovers. Plus it’s quick and easy! I think I might have to make one for myself.

Beads and Sparkles


Today was a busy shopping day at the yarn store, especially for people buying gifts for their knitter friends and family members! I still had time to finish a project, though!

I’ve mentioned before how work knitting gives me the chance to knit things that I wouldn’t normally knit for myself. This Simple Beret from Knitbot in Tiara yarn is a prime example.

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I’m not really a big hat wearer, and although I do have a secret love for sparkles, I probably wouldn’t knit with thisĀ  yarn for myself. But I got to use it to knit this sample hat, and it turned out really well! Also, it’s giving me the idea for several beaded knitting designs…

It Begins


I came home to a sauna instead of my usually very cool apartment. Something is wrong with the thermostat, and the heat was blasting even though it’s only set at 60. I managed to get it to turn off, but it keeps attempting to come back on – you can hear it come on and turn off in a few seconds, but it does it several times in a row. I think my thermostat is confused.

In any case, sitting here comfortably in a T-shirt and bare feet, I’m getting to work on the stocking I’m knitting for my little cousin. The request included that it have her name on it, and I had a super cute idea for a simple stripey stocking with a sparkly white cuff with her name, so I started to chart out her name.

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Now to see if this crazy idea works! I’m going on a little trip next week, and I think this project will be perfect train knitting.

Finally Finishing


I may have been a bit misguided at the beginning of the year when I vowed to cut my number of WIPs in half. I started with 36 (not exactly an accurate count, as it turns out) and said I would have 18 or less by the end of the year.

Well, now I have 32 31! At least it’s progress in the right direction!

Hot off the needles:

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A while back Stephania had an idea to design a sock using mini skeins, and here it is. The pattern won’t be out for a little while, since I’ll have to get official photos, but look for it relatively soon.

Toe-up


I generally am not a fan of knitting socks toe-up. All of the “advantages” claimed by other knitters are kind of lost on me.

1. You can knit until you’re out of yarn! – I never use all the yarn. Plus I don’t want my socks some awkward place in the middle of my calf.
2. You can try them on as you go! – Using magic loop you can try on cuff-down socks as you go too.

I don’t mind picking up stitches, I don’t mind grafting. Really there isn’t a part of a cuff-down sock that I find unpleasant.

I do find starting with the toes extra fiddly. The tails get in the way and I am forever trying to stuff them into the proto-toes. Mainly I don’t like toe-up socks because of the heels. As I’ve said before, short row heels don’t fit me well, nor do afterthought heels. The best option I’ve found for toe-up socks is the gusseted short row or “hybrid” heel, which requires a lot more calculation than a cuff-down heel flap. What can I say? I’m lazy!

But I’ve been knitting this toe-up pair lately, and I’m really enjoying it. I especially enjoy when the heel looks like this:

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There’s just something so tidy about the shape of the bottom of the heel before you start the decrease section. It’s pleasing to me.

Today my friend Sooz who I was teaching socks on Sunday sent me this picture because I had forgotten to take one.

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She’s nearly finished with the ribbing, and noticed after taking the picture that the socks match the project bag! I need to ask her about that super-cute project bag too!

A Good Mystery


I have to say, I enjoy a good mystery. Whether it be a book, TV show, or movie, it tends to grab my attention. And then there’s one of the best kinds of mystery – a Mystery KAL!

I’ve done a couple Mystery KAL patterns with Three Fates Yarns, but this time it’s time for a little something new.

I’ll be the designer for the December / January Mystery KAL for the Solid Socks group on Ravelry. I can’t say much about the sock pattern since that would spoil the mystery, but I will say that I’m using this really pretty yarn from Blissful Knits.

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I’m really excited to work with Raya, who I met recently at the Yarnie Fluevog Evening in Portland. I haven’t worked with her yarn before, and I have a feeling it’s going to be great.

Ideas


Sometimes a design idea pops into my head, and I just have to knit it. Strangely for me, this often involves traveling stitches, like Diverged:

socks in grass - horizontal - print

Even stranger, right now it’s two ideas. One is a cowl, the other a sock. Guess I’d better stop writing and get knitting!

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P.S. Designing is often fraught with scribbles.