Tuesday, April 23, 2013

New Release: Unisox

Unisox have arrived!  

Thanks to the help of a wonderful group of testers, the finishing touches have been put on this pattern and it's ready to go!  Whether you have (US) Size 5 women's feet or Size 12 men's, one of the 5 sizes offered in this pattern will be a perfect fit for you!

The cabled repeat is easy to memorize (you only actually cable on 2 of the 6 rows of the repeat), and looks great for either a men's or women's sock.
This sock pattern is a toe-up sock with a short row heel.  The instructions are written for use with double-pointed needles, although it's easy to convert the instructions for use with a magic loop or two circular needles if this isn't your first sock rodeo.  
Gauge is 32 sts x 44 rows = 4" x 4".  I used three different yarns [Dream in Color Everlasting Sock (blue), Malabrigo Sock (green) and Jawoll Color Aktion (brown)], and ended up with three gorgeous and comfortable pairs of socks!
 You can find the pattern for sale in my Etsy shop and on Ravelry.  Questions?  Feel free to post in the comments or e-mail me through the link under the "contact me" tab!

If you'd like to see more examples of finished Unisox, check out the contest thread for our test knit.  Click the "love" button on any pairs that you adore and help one of the testers win a skein of yummy Malabrigo Sock yarn to use for her next project!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rookie Mistake

So I've been working on a new summer top for the past week.  I love how it's coming together, but, for now, I'm keeping it under wraps.  I suspect that I'll be submitting it to a print publication for summer 2014 instead of publishing it independently, and I know that some magazines have strict rules about submissions being "never seen anywhere on the web" prior to publication.

The top uses a couple different stitch patterns.  I swatched diligently, washed the swatch, laid it out to dry, measured my gauge, did the math for the top.....  As I was knitting it up, it was coming out smaller than I expected.  Was it because I switched between flat knitting and in-the-round knitting?  (The swatch was done flat because I thought it was going to be a seamed design, but then I changed my mind and switched it to in-the-round once I actually got started.)  I didn't think there should be much of a difference in gauge though since the stitch pattern alternated pretty evenly between knit and purl stitches.  So I pressed on.  Maybe the yarn I'm using grows a lot more during blocking than I remember.  So tonight I'm just about half-way finished.

I measured it again.  I'm aiming for a 36" chest.  The chest I'm knitting is 25" across.  What is going on??

I pulled my swatch back out and re-measured.  The stitch pattern that I have written down as 26 sts x 37 rows now measures, upon reexamination, 42 sts x 42 rows!  What the heck?

I was dealing with an allergic reaction earlier this winter that required me to take benadryl more than I would like over a long period of time, so maybe my first attempt at measuring was done on one of the days my brain was in an antihistamine fog.  Other than that, I have no idea how I could have possibly been so far off in my gauge count!

At any rate, I'll block the section I have done tonight so I can double-check that in-the-round gauge is indeed the same as my flat gauge, then pull it all out in the morning and start again.  It'll be totally worth it in the end, and I am consoling myself with the knowledge that I've "only" knit up one skein of fingering-weight yarn so far, so it's really not that much.

This might be a blessing in disguise though, because I was on the fence about raising the neckline up a little higher, but I didn't really want to rip back just to get an extra half inch of height before the neckline.  Although, now that I know I need 42 rows to make 4" instead of just 37, I'll probably end up still knitting it to the same target height as before....just with the correct number of rows this time!

So take heart knitters....this stuff happens to us all.  And once the beautiful project is complete, the bumps along the road will just be a faint memory!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Yesterday was a very exciting day at my house.  It was YARN DELIVERY DAY.  You know how that goes, right?  I has been waiting with great anticipation for the delivery of my "dream yarn"....6 skeins of Madelinetosh sock yarn in Composition Book Grey.  It is quite a few shades off of how it looked in the photos (photos were a very pure gray, and these skeins tend quite a bit toward purple), but I still love it and can't wait to make it into a sweater!

Here's what I'm making:

It'll be my third Leap of Faith.  During May and June, we're having a Sweater Knit-along in the Trappings and Trinkets Ravelry group.  Have you joined yet?  The more, the merrier, so please come and play with us!  As a bonus, signing up in the group thread will get you a coupon code worth 50% off of your chosen sweater pattern!

I might be finishing this sweater a little differently than my first.  I love the zippered hoodie, but I'm not sure I need two sweaters that are identical except for the color.  So for my gray one, I might either leave it as an open cardigan, or do a clasp at bust level....not quite sure right now.  I'm sure I'll be able to decide one it's finished.

You don't need a Leap of Faith sweater, you say?  Well, I have 10 sweater patterns to choose from, and they're all eligible to be part of this knit-along.  So take a look at my designer's page and see if any of them strike your fancy.  If you want a light-weight one that would be good for warmer weather, may I suggest a few?

Guacamole is great for layering on those cool summer nights.....

 Maybe your little girl would love a Waltz of the Flowers sweater to wear over her leotard, or over her sundresses?

Or maybe you'd like a loose, casual pullover that looks great over a summer tank top?  Check out Tiny Dancer (or Tiny Dancer, jr., a modified version of the adult sweater made to fit your 6-14-year-old.

Come and join us!  You can ask questions, see other people's projects, and let them cheer you on and motivate you to get your project finished!

Click here and post a note in this thread to sign up!  "Official Start Date" is May 1!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Live & Let Live

Do you follow Yarnista?  (You should.)

She is the dyer, happy color genius, and magician behind the yarn known as Three Irish Girls.  She also writes a blog that you can find here.

I popped in yesterday to see what is up, and thoroughly enjoyed the post she had written about "knitting excuses decoded".  There's this interesting thing that happens when you knit in front of people (and it is often the topic of discussion on Ravelry message boards).  People are either interested in what you're doing, impressed by it, curious about it, asking you questions, making suggestions, etc. or they act like it's the weirdest, biggest time waster that it has ever been their misfortune to witness.

I knit in public a lot, so I've had my fair share of conversations with strangers about it.  I have to say, for every 1 person that makes a weird comment to me, I've had a nice conversation with probably 15-20 people.  I find that most people either actually do find it an interesting hobby, or they have the good sense to follow mom's advice: "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all!"

By now, I have a couple stock answers to the weird comments I get.  And really, those comments boil down to three things.  It's either a variation on the theme of "I don't have time for things like knitting", "My grandma used to do that", or "That looks way too hard for me."

The last one is the easiest to deal with.  I typically give a lighthearted laugh and say, "You know, there's lots of places on Earth where 5 and 6 year olds are taught to knit, so I am confident that if they can do it, you can, too!"  I just want to make the point that this is not brain surgery.  It's not nearly as difficult as learning a second language, mastering a musical instrument, or learning how to draw well, and people do those things all. the. time.  The closest thing I can equate it to is cross-stitching.  In cross stitching, you look at a charted grid that shows you exactly what color "X" to sew over each tiny square on your fabric.  It's like paint by numbers.  Look at the chart, put that color on the fabric in that exact spot.  Now, not everything in knitting is charted, but most patterns (especially ones written for beginners) tell you step-by-step, row-by-row, exactly what to do next.  Maybe it's 3 purl stitches followed by 50 knit stitches, then another 3 purl stitches.  Often we don't even have to do a lot of counting as we work because we use markers to show us where the stitch patterns are going to change.  It's actually all very logical and basic knitting is very simple.  Chinese first graders can do it, and you can, too.

Being told that you remind someone of their grandma isn't actually bad.  I don't usually take this comment as "Knitting is only for old people".  You can tell by the tone of voice that a person is telling you that because it brings up a fond memory in them.  So rather than being insulted by this comment, I enjoy asking people about what types of things Granny used to make or whether the person still has anything she knit.  Occasionally the tone of voice behind "Granny did it" makes the comment seem more like, "Ugh, women's work.  Gag me with a spoon."  In that case, I enjoy telling people that, "In South America, it's the men who traditionally do the knitting.  It also used to be an important skill for sailors to have."  Not too many people would argue with the masculinity of the Sailors of Yore.

The first comment, the one about "not having time" is, by far, the trickiest.  I'm a "live and let live" sort of person.  I don't have the same interests as many of my friends, and I like that.  It makes them even more interesting to me because they know about things that I don't know about.  So, as much as I enjoy knitting, I don't labor under the delusion that everyone needs to be a knitter.  (Although, just maybe, the world would be a little calmer place!)  So when I get the comment about "I would never have time for something like that", I'm not sure if it's a "dig" at me (as in, "If I sat around and knit like you obviously do, my kids would starve and my house would be condemned, so I assume that's what is going on at your house!"), if it's a "dig" at knitting (like, "Why would anyone want to waste their time knitting a sweater when they can buy a perfectly decent one at Old Navy that some child in Bangladesh was given 5 cents to make!") or if the person speaking genuinely has no concept of making time to do the things they enjoy.

I mean, the same people that throw the "no time" bomb out there probably watch tv.  They probably go to their child's sports and occasionally ride in cars when someone else is driving.  They probably find themselves waiting outside a school to pick up their kid, or in a doctor or dentists office waiting for their turn.  They probably read books or magazines, they probably go shopping "just for fun".  They might take long baths, they might play video games or spend time on Facebook.  They might talk on the phone and they might exercise.  They might enjoy baking or playing board games, listening to music or podcasts.  And that whole list is just stuff that many people do...I haven't even cracked into the list of specific hobbies that people take up, because I think most people that enjoy their own hobbies don't make comments like that.  They understand that you make time to do the things that you love, but that no one has time to do everything at every point in their life.

So here's the secret about knitting.  It is compatible with so many things that it's actually EASY to make time for it.  I wish I was able to section off a few hours every day to sit & knit, but that's not my reality. If I'm knitting, I'm almost always doing something else.  Maybe I'm spending a couple hours at a Knit Night, socializing with a group of ladies that I've come to really enjoy.  Maybe I'm catching up on Gray's Anatomy and "Glee".  Maybe I'm watching or listening to pod/videocasts about knitting (which not only entertain me, but also help me improve as a designer).  I have two school-age kids and one does a number of after-school activities, so a few times a week I bring my project with me and knit in the car while I wait for him to finish up at practice.  I bring it along any time I anticipate a wait at an appointment, too.  I have attended countless gymnastics lessons, basketball & softball games & scholastic bowl meets, and I always have my projects with me there.  I find I get a lot done in the time before things begin, during breaks in the action, and sometimes during times that my kid isn't actually participating.  I also have a husband who is nice enough to drive most of the time when we're in the car together.  So whether we're heading into the nearby city (20-25 minutes each way) or whether we're in for a longer trip, I often knit next to him while he drives.

Since knitting fits so easily into my life, I don't really have an honest, lighthearted response for people who say they don't have the time.  Chances are in my favor that it simply isn't true.  Until the President of the United States, who also volunteers as a doctor at a free clinic on the weekends and still has 3 kids at home says this comment to me, I'm going to assume that people really can find time for the things they love.

So instead of trying to come up with a snappy response, I could just be honest and reply, "I'm sorry."  Because I really am.  If they truly don't have time to do anything they actually enjoy, then they really have taken on way too much.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


 I've been wanting to fiddle around with headbands for a while now.  I have a couple ideas sketched, but I have never knit a headband before, so I figured I'd better do that before I go attempting any of my ideas.

I started out with a simple idea - mostly stockinette stitch with a little seed stitch to keep the edges flat. I sewed on two buttons underneath and made 3 button holes in case it eventually stretches out and I have to button it tighter.   The flower was a bit less of a production than I intended, but that's only because by the time I got around to making it, I had already made 3 headbands and used up most of my yarn.  Future flowers will be a little fancier. :)

I started working on these around 10:30 in the morning and had completed 3 of them by 4 in the afternoon.  Also during that time, I ate lunch and spent an hour volunteering at my son's school (althought, admittedly, I spent most of that time knitting since all I had to do was sit at a table and sell raffle tickets - and no one was buying them!)  Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that these whip up fast.  I was using worsted/Aran weight - or I think I was.  The yarn label is MIA, but it was Lion Brand "Jiffy", and I was getting 4 stitches per inch on US 8 needles.  Each headband took about an hour to complete and the flower was maybe 30 minutes.  And those time estimates include the time it took me to measure gauge, figure out how the short row pattern would work, and write it out.  So chances are, you might be able to knit yours faster than I did.

Let me just say how exciting it was to use my new knowledge of Japanese short rows, recently gained from the Craftsy Short Row class from Carol Fuller.  This was the perfect application for them.  They worked beautifully and you really can not see where the short rows turned.  There's not even the slightest difference in the stitches that are next to the gap.  Very exciting for a short-row lover like me!

This won't be the last you hear about head bands from me.  I'll need a bit of time to work out exactly what I want to do next with them, but now that I have the basics down, I'm looking forward to coming up with something original to add to the category!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

...and it only took me 10 months!

If you've been reading my knitting blog for a while, you may recall Salsa, a shrug I created last July.   It was a pretty easy knit, and I enjoyed making it quite a lot, but I stalled on writing it up as a pattern.

My dilemma was that the measurement the main part of the sweater was based on is the distance from the front of one underarm, around the back, to the front of the other underarm.  This is not a measurement that appears on any size charts I've seen thus far.  I briefly thought about measuring people of different sizes and figuring it out that way, but I didn't find a lot of willing volunteers, especially in sizes over about a women's large.  It's a little awkward asking people if you can take thie's kind of like asking ladies to tell you how much they weigh.  While I could have that conversation with my mom or sister or a couple very close friends, it's not something I'm going to ask people I'm only casually acquainted with!

I knew there had to be a solution, and I just needed time to figure it out.  I also thought about purchasing some similar patterns and seeing how they figured the sizing, but I don't love going that route.  First, there might be reasons that a similar pattern might be figured with a little more or less ease, and I really want to start out clean with the exact measurements I need so I can decide what sort of ease should be added.  Second, sometimes I, probably like you, have trouble knowing (until I actually make the purchases) which patterns are going to have correct, complete information (including a schematic!) and which ones are going to have been written by "hobbyist designers" who might not include the information I need.  So again, I just decided to give my brain the time it needed to come up with a solution.

I'm a big believer in this.  I think "sleep on it" works for almost everything.  If I don't have an answer after the first night, I'll sleep on it again.  Sometimes it takes days, weeks or months to figure out the perfect solution to a problem I'm working on, but it almost always happens.  This time it took me ten months.  I'm sure my subconscious was working on it more than I was aware, and I certainly did think about the shrug quite a bit when I was working on other things this winter, but the answer didn't hit me until yesterday.

I was blow-drying my hair yesterday morning, and it came to me.  It really felt like the answer landed with a thud there in the bathroom with me and slapped me across the face.  It actually made me do a head-jerk the way a cartoon character might upon getting a brilliant idea.

The distance from the front of one underarm, around the back, and to the front of the other underarm is EXACTLY THE SAME as the circumference around the chest MINUS the width of the back (both very commonly found measurements on sizing charts.)

It's one of those things where once you know the answer, it seems glaringly obvious and you can't believe you even had to give it a second thought.  It makes me laugh that it took me 10 months to figure it out.  I didn't even ask the question in the Ravelry designer's forum that I've gotten advice from in the past because I was thinking, "This is a totally obscure measurement and no one is even going to know what I'm talking about."  Ha!  I bet someone would have come up with that in about 30 seconds.

So, as silly as I feel for taking so long to figure this out, I'm thrilled that Salsa can now go back on my list of things to do.  I'll have to dig up my notes for the pattern and make sure I still understand what they all mean, but hopefully this will be a pattern I can begin grading and release sometime this summer!  Yippie!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Duh, duh, duh.......MATH!!!

I hope you read that title like the "duh"s were a scary music introduction to the word Math (not like I was all, "Oh, math?  Duh.")

I know that both the fear of math and the simple lack of understanding of math are two main barriers that keep people from tweaking knitting patterns to better fit their needs.  I can help you with the second.....the first problem is one you'll just have to get over.  (I get it...I have a close family member who claims to "not be good at math".  Yet she's quite intelligent in all other areas of life, so I refuse to believe it's anything other than a mental block.)

So, let's talk about basic resizing.  Michelle, this one is for you!

We'll start with a hat because that's just about the easiest thing you can resize.  (Well, maybe a scarf is easier, but scarves don't really have to "fit" to begin with, so we'll just jump to hats.)

Let's say you have a hat that was written for head sizes of 19" (21", 23").

Typically, hats include a little negative ease, so the finished size might be something like 18" (20", 22").  (More on this in a minute.)

The gauge is 20 sts x 24 rows....maybe it's worsted weight yarn on size 5 needles.  (Ignore the ball band people....always start swatching with the needle size in the pattern.  In the case of winter hats, the needle might be significantly smaller than what you might expect because the designer wants your hat to have a structured fabric that will keep the wind out.  Not a drapey fabric that is going to smoosh around all over the place and be full of holes that will be very un-cozy.)

Ok, first things first.  You already know that to figure out how many stitches per INCH you're using, you just divide the gauge numbers by 4, right?  So this hat should have 5 stitches per inch and 6 rows per inch.  (Stitches are horizontal, rows are vertical.)

Remember how I said we'd come back to figuring out the finished size of the hat?  Well, some patterns don't include this information, so here's how you figure it out.  If it's a bottom up hat, look at the cast-on stitch counts.  (If it's top down, look at the "final stitch count" numbers before you get to the brim.)  Let's say that in this case, it's bottom-up and the cast-on numbers are 90 (100, 110) sts.  To figure out how many inches around these hats are, jut divide the stitch counts by your stitch gauge per inch.  So this hat's finished sizes are indeed 18" (20", 22")!

But let's say you want to remake this hat for a newborn.  Her head is only 15" around.  By looking at the numbers this pattern already gives you, you can figure out that each size includes about 1" of negative ease.  So for a 15" head, you actually want to make a 14" hat.  Just multiply 14 x 5 (your stitch gauge), and you'll find that you need to cast on 70 stitches.  Obviously, you'll have to knit the hat to a much shorter height, and unfortunately there's no "conversion" rules for this.  Designers just get this info from sizing charts or measuring appropriately sized humans.  But if you spend a moment on the interwebs, you can find charts like this great one from Tot Toppers.  Or, if you have that baby in your possession, just keep trying the hat on while it's in progress and knit it to the length that seems right.

Pay attention now.  This is going to be on the quiz.

The one caveat you'll have to anticipate for resizing hats is that the decrease instructions may no longer work.  For a hat like this, the decreases are probably based on 10 stitches, since all the stitch counts are evenly divisible by 10.  (So the first round of decreases would be *(K8, K2tog).)  But let's say you have a pattern where the stitch counts are 90 (100, 110) and you decide to cast on 75 stitches because you want a hat that will fit a 16" head.  You may want to refigure decreases entirely (although 75 doesn't give you any great options for evenly's either 5 stitches or 15), but the easier route would be to decrease 5 stitches in the first round [*(K13, K2tog)] so you go into the next round with the correct multiple (you're now down to 70 stitches which is again a multiple of 10.)

Another thing that can be a little tricky is if the hat uses a stitch pattern that won't allow you to cast on the exact number of stitches that your gauge tells you to.  For instance, imagine a hat that is done entirely in 2 x 2 ribbing.  All stitch counts will have to be a multiple of 4 in order for the stitch pattern to work.  In our earlier example, only the 21" size is divisible by 4.  The stitch counts, adjusted for the pattern, would not be 90 (100, 110), they'd have to be 88 (100, 112).  And when you decide to make your newborn hat, 70 is not divisible by 4, so you'd have to decide if you want to cast on 72 stitches or make it a little smaller and cast on 68.

You with me so far?  Nothing hard, just a lot to think about!

Ok, let's talk about something slightly more complicated.  (Michelle....wake up!!)  We're gonna resize some socks!

Let's say we have a pattern that is written for Men's 7/8 (9/10, 11/12).  They're toe up socks that begin with 18 (22, 26) stitches at the toe and ask you to increase to 66 (74, 82) sts.  The gauge on the pattern is 32 sts x 44 rows, which makes the stitch gauge 8 (32 divided by 4 = 8).  So if you divide the stitch count numbers by the stitch gauge [66 (74, 82) divided by 8] you can see that these socks have a finished circumference of 8.25" (9.25", 10.25").  

But alas, your husband has the Biggest Feet on Earth.  He's now retired from the NBA, but he got to keep his size 14 hooves.  So you want to figure out how to resize this pattern for Mr. Big(foot).

First, look for patterns in the numbers the pattern already gives you.  Each of these sizes are already 8 stitches apart.  Each size is 1" larger than the last.  If we continue the sequence of sizes already given [7/8 (9/10, 11/12)], you would say that the next size up would be for size 13/14 feet.  Perfect!  So, in this example you need only add 8 stitches to the largest size to get the correct stitch count....90 stitches it is!

But that's not the cast on, is it?  Again, just follow the sequence.  The cast-on numbers at the toe were 18 (22, 26), so just continue the sequence.  You'll cast on 30 sts.

When you get to the short-row heel, you'll just work back and forth on half the stitches, regardless of what your stitch count is.  I wouldn't make a re-sized pattern your very first project of any particular type (for example, toe-up socks with a short-row heel), but if you're familiar with how to work a short-row heel, then doing one on any number of stitches is pretty darn easy.

Once you're past the heel and on to the leg, your stitch count probably remains the same as before (unless you're working an extra-fancy pattern that requires a stitch multiple that your foot stitch counts won't work for....if that's the case, the patterns may have you working a row of increases as you begin the leg in the round.)

And that's really all there is to it!

• Know how many stitches per inch you need

• Know what you're "target measurement" is - either by measuring the body part you wish to clothe, measuring a similar article of clothing you already own, or by using a sizing chart you found on-line

• Follow the sequences in a pattern to size it up or down and figure out stitch counts

• Be aware of pattern features that require that you use a certain multiple (such as a stitch pattern other than stockinette, or the decreases at the crown of a hat.)

• Use multiplication and division to convert inches into stitch counts or stitch counts into inches.

It's all pretty basic math, you just need to know which numbers to look for and how to use them!


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Back at the Outdoor Office

We're having a beautiful spring break here in Central Illinois.  The birds are singing, it's a sunny day in the mid-50's (made even cozier by my new short-sleeved sweater), and I've moved the patio furniture out of the basement.  I'm going to get a little work done, then head out to Knit Night!

Those cookies followed me outside.  I've only eaten one so far, but it's not looking good for me!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sock Test

Remember these guys?  I've got the pattern all written up and ready for testing!

If you're good with deadlines, willing to follow the pattern as written and provide feedback, and you know how to set up a Ravelry project page and post clear photos of your finished socks, I'd love to have you on board!

This test will run for 2 weeks and testers are only required to have one sock finished in that time.

This test knit is going to end with a "favorite sock" contest at the conclusion of the test where the finished sock that gets the most votes will win a skein of Malabrigo sock yarn for it's maker!

If you want the details, check out the testing thread here.

I'm still in need of a tester for women's size small (US Size 5/6 shoe) and men's large (US Size 11/12 shoe).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hearth Sweater for Women

At long last, the Hearth Sweater in women's sizes is ready to share!

This classic cardigan hoodie knits up relatively quickly since it calls for dk-weight yarn.  The Berroco Vintage that I used for the sweater pictured here was an affordable $8 a skein.

The sweater is knit flat and doesn't use any skills more difficult than Kitchener Stitch and Double Knitting the belt (and video links are included to help you through the more advanced techniques!)

So treat yourself to a versatile new hoodie.  Knit it in a neutral for a piece that goes with anything, or in a fun color for a sweater that will jazz up your wardrobe a bit.  One of the testers even opted to use red and pink stripes in a sweater that came out looking fantastic!

This sweater is designed to fit with 0-3 inches of negative ease in the bust, with a "fitted look" at the shoulders and chest.  The waist is shaped with decreases, and pulls you in at the smallest point for most women - think "1950's-era waist" rather than the lower "waist" we are more used to today.  The ribbed waistband and skirt that eases over the hips both give a generous fit.

The reversible belt is double-knit, so both sides have the look of stockinette stitch.  The belt fastens to the back of the sweater with two buttons.  Removing the belt entirely is easy, and you won't be left with belt loops that make you feel like you're wearing a bathrobe!  

Don't be afraid of the double knitting.  I posted two videos to my blog's video page - one showing you exactly how to cast on for the double knitting, and one showing how to work the stitches.  My testers all agreed that the belt takes longer to knit than you would think, but no one had any real stumbling blocks with it.

I had fun photographing this sweater down by the river on a very foggy day.

Check out the background fog.  And I didn't even have to rent a smoke machine!

The sleeves are worked from stitches picked up around the arm hole, and the sleeve cap is shaped with short rows.  I'm working on a video this week that is intended to accompany a sock pattern that I'm currently working on, but it'll work for this pattern, too since it will demonstrate how to make your short rows look really nice.  So if you're a short-row novice, you might want to check the video page at the end of this week and take a look at the short-row video.

I loved the Berroco Vintage DK yarn that I used, but Knit Picks City Tweed DK,  Madelinetosh DK, or Dream in Color's Everlasting DK would all result in a beautiful project!  One tester worked her sweater in red and pink stripes for a modern take on this classic shape, and it turned out beautifully!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Birthday Socks

My mom's birthday is coming up.

A couple weeks ago, I started thinking about what we might give her as a gift, but nothing jumped to mind.  I was waffling on whether I should make her something, or go for something like a gift certificate to the garden center.  I think I've made most of the gifts I've given her for the last few holidays, so I was starting to lean away from doing that for this birthday.

Then she came to visit us last weekend.  I was working on the samples for the new sock pattern I'm writing, and I think she tried on the sample socks at least 3 times, declaring that they were a perfect fit!  I didn't think they actually were a perfect fit, since they were made for my feet, which are a full inch longer than hers, but I knew I could make her a pair that was a perfect fit.

Still, I waffled back and forth for a few more days.  Then, Thursday night, I decided to pick up some yarn and begin mom's birthday socks while I was at Knit Night.

By bedtime that night, I had just turned the heel of the first sock.

The next day, I spent a lot of time knitting.  I finished the first sock, and worked on the foot of the second one while I was on a coffee shop date with my husband.  We came home, I turned the heel of the second sock and got about 3 inches up the leg by about 10:30 that night.


I am nothing if not consistent.

So I frogged it back down to the heel before going to bed.

The next morning, we woke up and headed to my parents' house for a visit.  It's a 2 hour car ride, which would have been enough to finish the sock, if I hadn't made that silly mistake.  As it was, I got almost the entire leg done on the ride up, then finished the binding off and weaving in the ends later Saturday afternoon while I was running around with my sister.  I was thankful that I had chosen a project that didn't need blocking to look "finished"!

Sunday, we celebrated my mom's birthday along with my grandma's and my daughter's.  Here's mom opening her socks.  I think she liked them.

She even played foot model for me and let me take a few pictures to use for the new pattern.  

I'll be working on releasing a new pattern tomorrow, but the next thing on my to-do list after that is to get the test knit started for these socks, so they can be a late-April release!