A weekend of yarn

pile of new socks

I received another Craftsy box last Thursday, which contained a Worsted 3-Way Scarf Kit I bought during one of their latest sales.  I really do love their sales.  Generally, you can’t even get the yarn for the price these kits go for.  Even if I wasn’t going to knit a scarf, I’d probably still buy the kit just for the deal on yarn.  So I got the kit, picked out one of their 3 designs that came in the kit and got to knitting.  This started off a weekend of yarn.

knitting a scarf

I picked the kit in the color “Denim”.   It turned out to be a pretty simple pattern, which is basically knit the right side and a 1×1 rib on the back which gives this texture.   I generally put on a documentary when I work on crafts and sometimes I get sucked in and lose count of my stitches.  I’ve already screwed up several times. You might be able to see my mistakes at the top right. But as I go it’s getting easier and easier, so I may just rip it all out and start again.   Or I might leave it, because — who cares.

When I needed a break from that I started knitting socks.  Turns out you can screw those up pretty badly as well.   Take these socks for instance:

forgot to knit the heel

Somehow, I completely missed an ankle and heel on one of the socks.  It was going to smoothly and then when I preparing to sew up the toes to all the socks I made, I saw this. I thought about ripping it up and trying again, but I’ve done that before and it really isn’t worth it.   The way the toes and heels are made basically knots the yarn together, so it’s very difficult to reclaim the yarn.   I’d rather just not.

As you can tell, I was totally winning at everything last weekend.

pile of new socks

In the end, I still came out with a pile of finished socks.   And that sock on top is made from the yarn I was excited about in my last post.

And when I wasn’t playing with yarn, I was deep cleaning my room.   I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a bit of a craft supply hoarder.   So I went through all my dresser drawers and started tossing anything I haven’t looked at in years.

Who needs this drawer full of shirts?  Not me!   This drawer could fit so many hanks of yarn in it.  And this other draw would be perfect for paint brushes!

So yeah, I love plenty of drawers empty now and waiting to be filled with supplies that are hiding throughout the house.

Getting the Sock Machine up and running

Last weekend, I noticed that some of my socks have been wearing out.  It’s been about a year since I’ve made socks and my feet can destroy shoes pretty quickly, so it wasn’t a surprise to start seeing holes in my socks.  I wanted to play with new toys, but I decided to get the sock machine up and running instead.

It took a few tries to remember how to make a sock, which was frustrating, but I eventually remembered all the steps and started pumping out new socks.

I started with some cheap yarn because all the steps were still stored in my head somewhere and I wasn’t 100% sure I was remembering the pattern for my foot correctly.  For a while I sat there staring at the machine and thinking how much easier it would be if I would’ve just written it down somewhere.  Even after making these socks, I still haven’t written it down.   You know what would be smart?  Putting a basic pattern here while I’m thinking about it, so I remember the row counts next time I bring the machine out.


Basic Men’s Ankle Sock – Size 12/13

72 needles
~100g/400m wool fingering yarn

Knit 50 rows
Hang Hem to form cuff
Knit 25 rows for leg
Work Heel
Knit 65 rows for foot (or length necessary for foot)
Work Toe


I visited the local yarn shop on Saturday to get excited about making socks again and found some really beautiful yarns.   The picture doesn’t do it justice.  In real life, it’s pretty dark and has touches of color throughout.   It’s surprisingly difficult to find yarn appropriate for a men’s sock and requires quite a bit of hunting and scavenging.  Most yarns are too bright and too colorful and it’s hard to find more muted colorways that are still interesting enough without being a boring solid color.

Now that I know what I’m doing again, it’s time to produce another truck load of socks.  Get ready for another avalanche of sock posts.   Lucky you. 😉

Pom-Pom Makers

yarn pom pom

pom pom maker set

Apparently, I’ve taken up late-night shopping on my phone.  All of a sudden plenty of amazon and craft company boxes started showing up.  I didn’t realize how many buy buttons I clicked in the past few weeks but everything I ordered seemed to show up all at once!   At least I will have plenty of things to write about.   The first item I opened up was this set of pom-pom makers.

Now there are plenty of pom-pom makers out there, but this was the one marked as amazon’s choice, which means it’s inexpensive and has good ratings.  Most of them look the same and they’re all made of cheap plastic, so why pay for a name brand when you can pay half price for the same thing, amirite?

I bought this because I’ve been knitting beanie hats like a mad man the past week and some of those hats are going to need a pom-pom dangling from the top.  The directions are simple, just fold out the little arms and wrap each pair of arms in yarn and push the arms back in.


To be honest, I hated this part.  Wrapping the arms was easy, but tedious.  Then, something amazing happened.   I started cutting the yarn down the center guide and the pom-pom started popping open in the most satisfying way.

cutting yarn to make a pom pom
It was so satisfying that now everything in the house will need a pom-pom.  Good thing I’ve been saving all my scrap yarn from the million socks I’ve made!

After cutting each side, tie a piece of yarn around the center, pop open the arms again and the whole thing will fall apart to review your almost-perfect pom-pom.

yarn pom pom

Pretty good for my first try.  A few little snips here and there and it’ll be a perfect little ball for my hat.

Cloudborn Basic Hat

Cloudborn Basic Hat Started

Cloudborn Basic Hat Started

Craftsy.com had one of their big sale last week and I ordered a few beanie kits.   I’ve never knitted hats, or knitted in the round really, so I thought I’d take advantage of a sale and give it a shot!   The first kit I ordered was the Cloudborn Basic Hat kit in red.

As the product name suggested, it’s a pretty basic slouchy hat.  A few rows of ribbing, a bunch of knits and then reducing it until it’s time to close up the top.

Cloudborn Basic Hat Finished

It was really hot this weekend in Seattle, so I pretty much locked myself up in my air conditioned room and knocked this hat out pretty quickly while listening to some documentaries.

I’m pretty happy with it being my first hat.   I sat down last night and started the next hat, which uses a chunky yarn, so I’m almost done with that as well.  Once I get a few of these under my belt I’ll probably break out the fingering yarn and knit some finer stitched hats.  I have lots of fingering weight yarn from all my sock stuff so I should probably figure out how to use some of that up!

Oh yes, more socks

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handmade size 16 socks

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.

hand-dyed skein of sock yarn

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?

Trying my hand at self-striping yarn

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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.

Birthday Gift Success

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

 

Birthday Socks

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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!

August 2017 YarnBox Socks

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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.

The best sock yet

fezauneek alt 3008

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.