Category: Knitting (Page 1 of 5)

Day 7 – Fingerless gloves

If you ever want to knit something that impresses your friends but is actually quite simple – I highly suggest you look into cables. Cables are a really simple type of stitch that LOOK really complicated, but it’s nothing more than knitting out of order. You typically put a few stitches on a stitch keeper, move it to the front or back of your piece, and then knit the next stitches, then go back and knit the ones you put on your stitch keeper.

That’s it.

It looks complicated watching someone else to do it because you’re dealing with extra needles and/or a stitch keeper hanging out some place, but the stitch itself is simple and you can typically just ignore whatever bit you’re not working with. The overall effect is fancy and impressive. My fingerless gloves are about half way done and I’m slowly working gusset increases for the thumbs. The yarn is a merino / bamboo blend that knits up wonderfully and shows the stitches off – exactly what I was hoping for. I expect this gloves will get a lot of use (I hate full gloves that cover my fingers) and it’s the first time I’ve attempted gloves at all, so I’m pretty proud. For some reason I’ve found them more intimidating than the sweater I knit as well as socks. Probably because I have to knit them on DPN and that can be an awkward procedure (I know I could knit them on 2 circulars, or a smaller circular, or do magic loop, but I’m quite comfortable working with DPN so why not).

I’m also contemplating starting up some Christmas knits early. In specific christmas balls to go along with the Star Wars themed one I knit last year. I’d like a set of 6 (I have one), and I’d like to knit christmas balls for everyone in the family with their names and birthday on it. We’ll see how that goes (if it goes).

Day 4 – Mitered Memory Blanket

So I completed the first ‘goal’ of my mitered memory blanket – a 3×3 square. 9 squares total. Then I had to make a decision. I could continue adding to it, making it larger and larger until it’s the size I want – or – I could start on a second 3×3 piece, and then crochet them together with a border around it.

I decided to go with the second choice for a few reasons. Number one, I don’t have a ton of different colours of sock yarn scraps, and I’m bound to repeat colours each 3×3 block. If I break those blocks up into chunks with a black border separating each section I think this will help combat the repetitiveness.

I also just think it will look neat. So instead of being one giant blanket of smaller squares, it will be small squares within squares within a square blanket… teehee. Next step is to begin a second 3×3 – then I can practice crocheting the two together and see how it looks.

Day 3 – Mitered Memory Blanket

I love the yellow swatch in the blanket – and the whole thing is starting to feel so soft and comfortable! I am hoping to complete at least one tile a day, but I know that’s a pretty optimistic goal. Still, I’m not doing too shabby!

Day 2 – Fingerless Gloves

I’m beta testing some amazing yarn which I’ll get into in another post – but I wanted to show off how awesome the cables look, neat and defined. I’m knitting a pair of fingerless gloves (my first) and have learned a few new terms.

LC (left cross) and RC (right cross)

These are cable terms, at least for this pattern here at Purl soho (which happens to be free if someone else wants to give them a knit). They’re not particularly complicated terms, but I’m used to doing cables with a simple C6F or C6B and I’ve never encountered these stitches before. Once I’m done 2 rounds of cables it’ll be onto the thumbs – sigh. Gussets. The bane of my existence. We shall see how that goes.

I also had a quick refresher course in M1L and M1R (make one left, make one right) but seemed to pick it up without too much issue. Hopefully these gloves turn out, because the yarn is just yummy and I can’t wait to wear them!

Inspired – Day 1

I love inspiration. It motivates me to be a better person, to try harder, and to not give up when things get difficult (which they always do). My inspiration this week comes from a very special blog where the writer has been posting just about every single day for a year about her creative endeavors. I am pretty sure I won’t be able to post every day or even do something creative every day (especially since Wednesday I’m expecting my daughter to arrive) BUT that doesn’t mean I’m not still motivated, and that I wouldn’t love to at least try.

I figured it was fitting since this ends her first year that it marks the beginning of my first one. So let’s consider this day one, and see where we end up. Hopefully we get some neat creative things done along the way – but if not, that’s OK too. Remember the goal here is to challenge myself and to inspire and motivate myself to keep up, not to berate myself if I fall behind or have a few days where the creative juices are just not flowing.

For today I’m starting off with a square on my mitered memory blanket. I’m up to 7 now and it’s starting to feel more like a piece of cloth rather than just weird squares of yarn. It’s soft and squishy, and as I knit it I imagine Llama Bean or Nugette taking it to college with them to keep warm and remind them of home. It doesn’t LOOK like much right now, it will require blocking and a boarder (and to be much larger, of course) but I can see it in my mind. Each square tells a story. Not all of the yarn came from my stash, either. A lot was donated through a christmas exchange (if you’ve got spare fingering yarn you want to donate it takes less than 25 grams to make a square, just drop me a message here or on twitter and we can see about an exchange!) that I’m very grateful for. Some squares tell my story of learning to knit socks, staying up late working on baby clothes, or just trying to de-stress from the day. Other squares tell the stories from other people. That’s what I love about projects like this. Plus you can never have too many home made blankets…

Memory Blanket

In keeping with my goals of learning new techniques and at least getting SOME knitting done in 2018 even if it wasn’t a lot of knitting, I picked up my mitered memory blanket from a few months back and added a few more squares to it. I’m not sure why I initially found the project difficult but my last two squares turned out much better and I’m finding it a simple relaxing knit (which is something I need right about now). As you can tell by the picture, my 2nd square (the blue and white one) is actually backwards. Long term that may bug me, it’s facing wrong side and it’s pointed the opposite way from the three other squares – but I decided to embrace this mistake. When the blanket is done, it will be a reminder of my learning, and getting better at something like this. It will be proof that I have improved.

Same can be said about the very first square, the black one. It’s not sized properly as I miss counted some rows and made some very simple mistakes. The two most recent squares (the gold/grey and the pink) are much nicer, show off the stitches, and are done ‘properly’ – but I think that even heirloom items need mistakes in them, it’s what makes us human.

Originally I had grand ideas of knitting one square a day and completing a year-long project (that resulted in a nice blanket) but I think I’ll continue to just work at it here and there when I have time between other projects, or the urge strikes me. It doesn’t take long to complete a square, and this is a fantastic way to stash bust those little ends of yarn that I’ve been collecting for absolutely zero reason (well, now they have a reason). Eventually once I find the blanket is as large as I want I’ll trim it with a black crochet boarder to complete the ‘look’ and to give it a cleaner appearance. I’ll also block it which should help make it look more uniform.

Remember, you shouldn’t be afraid to try new projects, even if they don’t turn out perfect the first time. There’s nothing wrong with growing from your mistakes, and there’s nothing wrong with showing your human side and even embracing those mistakes you’ve made. We all started from somewhere.

Why Knitting (and Learning) is Important to Me

My twitter timeline lately has been filled with knitting. I haven’t been doing a whole lot of it this year, but back in December I had set myself some goals that I wanted to accomplish, and they were goals that were really important to me. One of those goals was to learn the “fish lips kiss heel” – an alternative to doing gussets.

A bit of backstory – I’ve been knitting for almost 3 years (this September). I’m completely self taught. I found out I have a bit of a knack for it, and I find it really (really) enjoyable and relaxing. I purchased the FLKH pattern almost 2 years ago for $1 (that’s all the designer charges) and was COMPLETELY intimidated by the booklet that came along with the pattern. It was 18 pages of explanations and examples and instructions. I set it aside and went back to gussets.

I decided this year would be THE YEAR. I would FINALLY learn how to do these magical heels. Why are they magical? The designer claimed there was zero math involved, that there would be no gaps, and that they’d fit perfectly. If you’ve ever knit a gusset before, you know these are pretty big claims. I was still terrified.

I read the instructions. Watched the youtube videos. Re-read the instructions, and then just dove in, knitting my sock toe up for the first time ever and then following the pattern (which may be 18 pages long, but only one page is the actual instructions).

I should have done this 2 years ago. The heel is everything it claims to be and more. I am pretty sure I will never go back to a gusset type heel and that this is going to be my new favourite. I’m not 100% sold on the toe design I decided to use, but that’s the great thing about knitting, there are tons of options.

The best part is how proud of myself I am. I set a goal. I stuck with it. I accomplished it. I learned something new that works and it makes me feel good about myself and my skills.

Don’t let that little voice in your head hold you back. Go after your goals, no matter what that voice is telling you. It’s a huge cliche but the only regret I have is not trying sooner. Even if I failed (and trust me, I have failed in knitting many MANY a time before) I would have at least tried. I didn’t even give myself the opportunity to fail.

So here’s to my awesome looking socks – and now I can knit some for my very knit-worthy husband, because I don’t have to be so afraid.

Experiment – Socks without Math?

Any time I start knitting socks, I have to do a bunch of math – even for my own foot, which is also one reason why I’ve only made socks for myself (and a pair of baby socks but those ones don’t really count). This isn’t because you HAVE to math, but because the components of a sock that I have chosen to knit so far have required it. The reason this frustrates me is because it means stopping my knitting, going to do the math, and then painstakingly counting during those portions so I don’t mess something up and end up with a sock that would only fit a fish.

There’s math to figure out the cuff size (based on yarn and gauge), there’s math to figure out the heel turn, there’s math for a gusset, etc.

I would like less math in my socks, and I know there are lots of patterns that allow you to do this, so I decided to challenge myself and figure it out. I wanted to also learn TAAT (two at a time) but you need two balls of yarn for that (or at least two ends) and my yarn is already in a ball so I decided I had enough techniques on my plate and to save TAAT for the next pair.

The first thing I had to learn was toe-up socks. Socks can be knit toe-up or cuff-down. I’ve only ever knit socks cuff-down before. I find them easier, I’ve never really been a fan of learning toe-up. In order to start a toe I had to learn a new cast-on, so I went with a figure-8 cast on, where you weave the yarn between two needles in a figure 8 pattern, then you knit across the top, and bottom, and slowly start increases. You can see my progress so far pictured above. It was actually a LOT easier than I thought, I love using DPN (double pointed needles) so I didn’t have any issues aside from the toe being a smidge more loose than I would like. That will come with practice though.

So my toe is started, it’s looking like a toe, I’m doing increases. Before I started this, I made a cardboard cut out of the bottom of my foot, and marked the ankle bone, also called the hinge. For my heel I’ll be using a technique called fish lips kiss – a ravelry pattern for $1 that claims there is zero math and you’ll get perfect sock heels every time (as long as you can learn the stitches). Once I’m done the toe, and the foot, I’ll start learning that technique and see how it goes. I’m pretty excited to be done with gussets. One of the reasons is because if you look at store bought socks almost NONE of them come with a gusset. Instead they use negative ease to make socks fit us all perfectly. Sure there’s also a bit more elasticity, but most of the magic is through negative ease.

Here’s hoping I get some beautiful ankle socks by the end of this experiment, and that I learn a few techniques to help me with future socks.

Socks and some Progress

My hands have been too sore and swollen lately to do much gaming (or blogging) but I’ve still been trying to get some knitting in here and there. After four days I’ve got the cuff and leg done, and I started the heel flap. I have a few more rounds to do on the heel flap and then I will turn the heel and start the gusset. Then it’s onto the foot, and toe, and done!

Socks are a nice quick knit, relaxing once you know what works for your foot size and are confident with the pattern. I still have goals though. I want to learn TAAT (two at a time) to try to prevent second sock syndrome, and I want to learn the fish lips heel which I bought off of ravelry for $1 ages ago and have just been too intimidated to learn. The booklet that comes with it is huge, though a lot of that is back story and not about the actual pattern. I want to learn it properly, so I want to follow the directions which include making a cardboard version of your foot with markings so you know what is going on. I’ll get to that eventually, I hope.

I find it satisfying to wear socks that I’ve knit, not to mention their comfort and durability if you take care of them. I know I’ve mentioned in other posts that they’re some of my favourite things to knit for multiple reasons. After I made my last post I actually ended up ruining my favourite pair of socks by having them go through the dryer. They shrunk to a children’s sized sock, and felted so badly that there was no longer any lace work. I don’t have enough of the yarn to knit another pair, and it has been discontinued, so you can imagine my pain. It’s a harsh reminder that knit articles of clothing should be hand washed and hung to dry in order to keep them optimal.

After this pair of socks I’m currently working on I’ve got another pattern lined up – kitty cat socks. I’m eager to see how those ones go. I think I’ll try knitting them TAAT so I can stave off that second sock syndrome (where you get bored after knitting one of them). Plus it would be nice to finish an entire pair at a time instead of having to knit one and then start a second one. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

Happy knitting!

Why Knit Socks?

I’m a completely self taught knitter of 2 years now, picking up what I know from various YouTube videos and Craftsy classes. One of my goals from the start was to learn to knit socks, and I attempted that 3 months into my knitting adventure. They weren’t perfect, I had to re-do the toes numerous times, but I was so proud of them.

Knitting socks quickly became my preferred project. I absolutely love it. They’re small enough to take along with me in my purse where ever I go and living up in Northern Canada like I do, they’re functional and required.

Socks may seem intimidating, but once you learn the parts to a sock you gain an understanding of how simple they are. Since they’re also sized to your own feet (or the feet of your recipient) they’re also going to be the most comfortable socks you’ve ever worn – as long as you take care of them they’ll last years that way, too.

Taking care of hand knit socks is a bit of a pain. You’re best off hand washing them and hanging them to dry, don’t put them in the dryer or they may shrink and the size may change or they may felt. There are superwash types of yarn you can use to help prevent this, but my suggestion is still to hand wash and take care of these precious knitted garments. You’ll also want them stored properly so bugs don’t eat them, nothing worse than finding moths gnawing away at your most comfortable pair! I keep mine in a wooden box along with some lavender in a satchel.

I’ve knit four pairs of socks for myself so far, along with a pair of my son (who promptly outgrew them) – and I have every intention of knitting a pair for my more than deserving husband, though I admit I have been lax on this. Socks are a fairly quick knit depending on the time you can dedicate to them – one more reason I love these projects, if you’re the type that thrives on instant gratification, I simply can’t suggest trying to learn them enough.

Once you get over the initial complexities you realize that every single sock is made exactly the same, with a few variations here and there – but the sock parts remain constant. This allows you to branch out from creating very basic socks to more complex socks like the lace one I’ve knit above (hard to see the holes from the lace work in that picture, but they’re there)! You can switch up the heels, the toes, the leg, and create so many different types of combinations. You’re sure to find a pair that suit your creative mood.

Socks. That’s what I am happiest knitting. What about you? Let me know in comments, and happy knitting!

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