Are you sick of socks yet? I kind of am! I should say, I am kind of sick of writing about them. I still find it enjoyable to make them.
I took a picture this morning of another custom order going out. These monsters are another pair of size 16. The last pair was reported to be slightly short and an additional inch was requested.
I also dyed these as well. Dyeing seems to be a little hit and miss for me. These are brown, sort of. They’re supposed to be chocolate brown but in person, they look almost purple. I also dyed some yarn “true black” the other day and they came out almost navy – dark, but not black. Maybe I’m not using enough dye.
But, aside from those issues, I seem to be getting better at some of the dyeing methods. This is one of many skeins I did last weekend.
You may see some strange out of place threads in there, but those are just extra ties I hadn’t cut off yet, so ignore those. But pretty decent, right? I was at least encouraged to keep trying, so you may see some more skeins pop up if there is anything worth showing. At least it wouldn’t be socks, right?
I did it again. I stuck myself with a bunch of custom work for friends and family. And, of course, I said they’d go out this week. I’m really good at setting myself up like this. They didn’t even ask, I offered. That’s how good I am at sticking myself with work.
I decided I was going to attempt to make self-striping yarn. It started off pretty well. I prepped my yarn by creating a makeshift warp board with some clamps so that I could organize the skein of yarn into stripe sections. I dyed them in colors close to what was requested and then set down to wind all the yarn back into a ball so that I could knit with it.
And, that, is where the problems started. It didn’t occur to me how hard it would be to get it all back into a ball. It took me hours for each skein. So many knots… so many…
I tied it all up like I had previously, but I must be missing something that would make this easier. I’ve watched plenty of videos on it but no one ever shows the last part, they just set it all up and dye it… those sneaky bastards. They could at least warn people.
Regardless of my troubles, I finished the socks and now they are hanging to dry before being shipped off.
I’m happy to report all my research and planning on my mother’s birthday gift was a complete success. I was worried about it but she reported that the socks fit perfectly and even sent me a picture.
Did you know my mother is also a crafter? You should check out the stamping and card making she does over at her blog. http://craftiblog.wordpress.com
For my mother’s birthday, I tracked down a skein of my favorite yarn to date, Feza Uneek 3002. It’s no longer produced, so that was a challenge, but I was able to do it. Then I made her a pair of socks… which I’ll have to wait and see how successful I was once she gets them and tries them on.
My machine is a 72 needle machine, which I bought to make socks for larger feet. Trying to make smaller socks was a challenge. It wasn’t horrible, but for a beginner, it wasn’t easy and took a lot of guess work especially when those feet aren’t around to try them on. I had to remove 8 needles to bring it down to a 64 needle machine and constantly put in and take them out throughout the sock making process. It took several tries but I think I was successful.
I was told (by the manufacturer) that putting it through the wash would tighten it up and those missing needles wouldn’t be an issue. You can see some lines down the length of the sock where the needles were removed, but I kind of like the faux ribbing look.
Along with the socks, I tracked down my favorite bag of reserve coffee from the Starbucks Roastery, which also is no longer produced. But after working some contacts on the inside I was able to get my hands on a bag.
I just hope my gift works out and is enjoyed. I know the effort will be appreciated, but I’ll be a bit sad I gave up my favorite yarn and find out they don’t even fit!
I was pretty excited when I realized the bag in the mailbox was my YarnBox shipment. Or maybe I should say YarnBag shipment. I ripped it open right in the car. To be honest, I wasn’t that excited once I saw it. Last month, I really didn’t appreciate the skein I got until I started knitting it up, then I absolutely loved it. So I hoped that would be true of this month’s yarn as well.
This month’s skein comes from Lucky 13 Fibers out of Chicago and is dyed Purple and Gray (which doesn’t show up that well in my photos). I’ve never been a fan of the colors mixed with gray, it usually comes off looking a lot like it is worn out or some of the colors didn’t take. Purple, on the other hand, is the best color on the planet, but I don’t really wear purples in my wardrobe.
I put it right through the sock machine last night and stitched up the toes during lunch today. I know, my socks are pretty boring and basic, but this is what I like to wear.
It came out better than I was imagining and they are nice looking socks, but they still weren’t anything exciting. With that said, the purple is on the darker side and the gray does tone it down a bit putting it more on the masculine side, so I can appreciate that. Most commercial sock yarns are very bright so it’s nice to get a yarn like this now and then.
I was going to cool it on the sock posts for a while. I didn’t want to bore anyone who might eventually read these posts. But I made the best sock yet and I’m excited about it, so I thought I’d show the internets.
I wore them yesterday and they fit perfectly. The stretch over the day was minimal and they still were snuggly pressed to my ankles when I took them off last night. I think that’s because this is wool and I’ve mostly dealt with cotton/nylon mixes.
I think they also look great. That has nothing to do with me though, I just splurged on some pricey yarn. This is Feza Yarns Uneek 3008, or as I call it, “Bumblebee Massacre.” Unfortunately, I think this line of yarns has been discontinued but you can still find it on etsy and in some yarn shops for $20-30. I think I got this one for $25. Which, is more than I’d normally spend on my basic looking socks, but it looked so interesting on the shelf I couldn’t resist.
A month or so ago I signed up for yarnbox and I received my first shipment a few days ago. What attracted me to the service was that it sent me yarn (yassss!) and second, they had a sock box (double yassss!). I also hoped it would be a great way to get the yarn I either wouldn’t normally get for myself or get yarn that isn’t available to me locally.
This month’s “box” was a generous 434-yard skein of Corrie Sock yarn from Flying Goat Farm. I say “box” because it was really one of those gray bags that many magazines are sent in. Most box services I see are done really cute and presented well, but this was very much just yarn in a bag.
The yarn itself is not something I would normally buy, which made this even more interesting. I have nothing against it, but this is not something I would consider my style. So, I guess I got exactly what I was hoping for! I also wouldn’t buy this because it’s $28 and I’m more of a $5/pair of socks type of guy. My socks are for utility and allergy relief, not beauty, though I do like when they end up looking unexpectedly nice. Since the sock box is about $20/month and this is a $28 skein, I think it’s still a deal.
I also noted that the yarn was noticeably thicker than any sock yarn I’ve used, so machine knitting could be problematic but I was sure I’d get through it. I’d just be pushing the limits of my 72 needle setup.
I cranked away at the sock machine with only a few issues and I was pretty happy with what I saw being knit:
I was surprised how the striping came out and now I’m even more glad I ordered sock box. I definitely never would have picked this skein up off a shelf or internet store, but now that I have the sock in hand I can say I’d totally wear it… and I will. Tomorrow, most likely.
One thing you may not know about tie-dye is that once you mix it, you should use it all up within the hour. According to the instructions, it will become less effective as time goes on. I didn’t realize that until further into dyeing yarns, so I went and grabbed a shirt and used up my dye. I’m glad I did, I really like the how it came out!
For my next round of dying, I had a friend over and we tie-dyed some shirts. As we each took turns dyeing, the other would look through Pinterest and figure out what to try next. We had stopped off at the store earlier in the day and I grabbed some XL t-shirts to use as giveaways. He, on the other hand, made shirts for himself. Selfish, I know!
I ended up making 3 giveaways:
I stuck mostly to spirals. My friend seemed to enjoy rectangular and striped designs more. Here’s some of his:
I plan on dying more yarns (since I have so many undyed skeins), so I’m sure more dye projects will be popping up soon.
Yesterday, when I got up and got ready for work, I popped on my new jelly bean socks as I had planned. I was surprised just how loose the ribbing was. It stretches and lays flush with the ankle, but it really had no strength to it. It wasn’t squeezing around the ankle like a commercial sock would. But then, my ribbing has no elastic woven into it like a commercial sock would either.
By the end of the day, it was just as stretched out as my non-ribbed sock was. And to be honest, I didn’t care for how the ribbing looked once it was on my foot and stretched.
I can see how ribbing could be useful for a smaller ankle. But my ankle is quite large and it doesn’t seem to make any difference unless I decided to start putting elastic in my sock… which I won’t, because I’m allergic to it, hence the reason I’m making my own socks to begin with.
I could also see myself using ribbing if I was making socks for someone else, they do look more polished and commercial if you add ribbing. But for me, the amount of work and time that goes into adding ribbing is not worth it. I think my future socks will just have a plain hung hem (like the bottom sock in the picture).
I may play with adding elastic just to see how well it works out and for any socks I make as gifts.
Last night, I was so excited when I finally got through a ribbed cuff on the knitting machine. Until now, I kept dropping stitches. The way the ribber attachment is placed on the machine blocks the view of the sock until you remove it. By then, you’re usually pretty far into the sock and it’s so disappointing when you find it didn’t turn out and you’ll have to manually fix it.
But, I took my time and watch every dang needle grab at the yarn trying to figure out why I kept dropping stitches. It was painful and slow, but I got through the whole ribbing section without any issues. So maybe I just need to go very slow.
In case you were wondering this yarn is Red Heart’s heart & sole – jelly beans.
For lunch today, I stitched up the toes and hid all the loose ends. Tomorrow, I will have some jelly bean colored socks on my feet and I’ll get to test how much of a difference the ribbing makes. The colors aren’t really my style, but they’re the first with ribbing at the ankle, so I’m wearing them!
Just visually comparing the two styles of a hung hem and a ribbed hem you can see a pretty big difference. I know it’s hard to tell from the photo but that’s about a 2″ difference. The bottom one is about the actual size of my ankle, so the ribbed one should grip on pretty well. But then again, I’m comparing two different yarns, which by the size of the stitches look to be pretty different…. so who knows.
Once I get some more practice in on these hems I’ll be moving on to the next item on my checklist: rounding out the heels and toes better. I’ve been watching YouTube videos on it and it looks pretty simple, so hopefully, that goes quickly and easily.