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Preparing to Make the Most of Summer

Hey Everyone!

Over the weekend I finished up knitting the pair of Rouge KnitPicks Palette socks I had had been working on. They are currently sitting in my to be washed basket, as I really didn’t feel like washing them today because I am waiting until I have more socks knit up before I wash socks. Beings that it is only still May, and we still have all summer ahead of us, I don’t have to use every 80+ degree day we get at the moment, as we still have all summer to be able to wash socks and have the hot weather to put them out on the line.

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I had knit a 20 round cuff for these socks plus a 50 round leg. The 50 round leg is a bit shorter than the leg I have switched most of my socks to now. I had made the legs of these socks a bit shorter than I am making my other socks now because of having to split one of the balls of yarn in the winding process. Beings that I was working with a solid color I didn’t want to have to tie on any yarn in the knitting process. I like having it all be one strand without any knots or tie-ons when I am working with solid colors.

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My longer legged socks, I am making the length of the sock blockers that I have so the cuffs will sit along the angled part at the top where I have yarn strung through to be able to hang the blockers from the clothesline outside. I am liking the longer socks because they give more protection and coverage. They help keep my legs and feet warmer in the colder months and also help protect against blisters in more areas while wearing my hiking boots.

Once I finished up the Rouge socks I had been working on, I cast on a pair of Finnley Heather Palette socks, which you can see to the left. I am loving how these socks are turning out. I have definitely fallen in love with the Heather yarns. I love the variation in the colors. While the variation is not so obvious in the ball, it becomes very obvious when you are working with it. I love how it looks, and how unlike stripes or true variegated yarns, the variations are within the same color shade and are just lighter/darker of itself, but doesn’t change from one color to a completely different color.

Here in Portland, we have already had quite a few days over 80 degrees, several close to 90 degrees, and a couple at or above 90 degrees already this month, and summer doesn’t officially start for another month. So if this summer is going to be as hot as I am thinking it is going to be, I need to be pumping out the socks so I can get them washed this summer, and put away. I am kind of tired of having a ton of sock yarn sitting around and feeling like I am not really making any progress on knitting through it. It doesn’t help that I have kept adding to it for a while. Now I am in stash busting mode and trying to knit up as much of my yarn as possible. I would like to go back to knitting sweaters for kids in need, but I have way too much sock and shawl yarn sitting around to get knit up first.

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Taking Advantage of the Summer Like Weather

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday and today have been way to hot, yesterday got up to 90 and today got up to 91.

Yesterday I really didn’t feel like washing socks, but today I made it happen and then put them out on the line to dry.

It still amazes me, even after all the pairs of socks I have knit up using KnitPicks Palette Yarn, as to how much excess dye remains in the socks once they have been dyed. It might also have to do with the processing, and the chemicals used to spin the wool.

I know when I work with it, it is so rough and stiff, and once I wash the socks I have knit up, that stiffness from the waxes and whatever else they treat it with is gone, so it softens up and is no longer so stiff. With those waxes and chemicals that come out, as does the excess dye that is left behind in the wool after the dying process.

I really learned about excess dyes, waxes and other chemicals put into natural fibers in the processing, dying and spinning process while I was working at the studio. When I had only been working with Acrylic and Fishermen’s Wool, I never really realized or thought about the fact that yarns were processed with waxes and such to make them easier to work with. It wasn’t until I was working with Cashmere and my hands would be sticky in under 15 minutes from the amount of waxes and such in some of the yarns that it dawned on me. Now that I am working with more natural fibers for my own projects its not so much that my hands are getting sticky, its more a before and after being washed effect and seeing what comes out of the yarns when I am washing them. The stroll yarn doesn’t seem to have as much excess dye left behind, as compared to the Palette.

I had washed the cobblestone heather pair of stroll socks I had knit up as well as the pair of ash palette socks. While the cobblestone heather socks are darker, the ash socks had so much excess dye come out, and it was this weird blueish grey color. It was weird.

I do like using the warm weather to my advantage when I have socks that need to be washed. I never tumble dry wool, I always block it, and let it air dry. I like washing on the warm days, because the items that I washed dry a lot quicker, and I don’t have to bring them in at the end of the day still damp and try to figure out where to put them up so they can continue drying. I like bringing them in at the end of the day, or a few hours later if I wash them in the morning and it’s particularly warm / hot that day, they dry super quick.

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One Done, One More Started

Hey Everyone!

I am finally (like a day and a half later lol), getting around to writing this post.

Sunday evening, I finished up the pair of Cobblestone Heather Stroll socks I had been working on.

I have been making some longer legged socks with a shorter cuff. This is partly due to the fact that my sock blockers stretch out the ribbing of the cuffs when I block them. I am not a fan of that. The longer leg is also in part to be some added protection against potential blisters on the backs of my heels when I wear boots. I also kind of like the look of slouchy socks with boots.

The Cobblestone Heather socks were the test run for the newer pattern. I have started tweaking it a bit more with the latest pair of socks that I started yesterday. I cast on the first sock of a pair, using KnitPicks Stroll yarn in Hollyberry. It is a really pretty deep red.

To me, it’s interesting to see how the Palette and Stroll yarns work up, and doing side by side comparisons. The Stroll and Palette yarns are like comparing Fuji’s to Granny Smith’s. They are made by the same company (KnitPicks), they are both Fingering weight yarns with a similar thickness, they come in balls of the same weight and yardage, and I used to same size needles for both yarns. Even though they are similar they do work up completely different. The Palette yarn is rougher and knits up a little bit looser / doesn’t shrink up quite as much as the Stroll. The Stroll yarn is so soft straight out of the ball. I have noticed the the Palette also seems to hold in more excess dye, which comes out when washed the first time.

I still have a pair of black trillium fibres socks in the works. Comparing the black trillium fibres yarn to one of the KnitPicks yarns is like comparing apples to oranges.

I am not the biggest fan of the black trillium fibres yarns for socks, and once I finish up the yarn I have (I have another ball in addition to what I am working with), I am using up what I have and not buying anymore. You don’t know how you will like a yarn until you work with it.

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Frogging

Hey Everyone!

I quickly realized that I wouldn’t have enough yarn to finish the sock I was working on and then knit up the second one. So I frogged this sock and restarted it, to make the leg section shorter.

So I wound it from the end that had been on the outside of the ball of yarn, which was the most colorful, so now this sock has the most colorful part at the top.

The pink sock is coming along great, I got the heel turned and the gusset done.

With starting two new sock back to back, the second grey sock I have had in the works has been sitting. I really want to get it done so that I have another pair complete. Having three pairs of socks and like three shawls going all at the same time is crazy, but that is how I roll. Not to mention all the yarn I have stashed, waiting to be knit up into something amazing. I guess that is how life is for a knitter, a zillion projects going and a plethora of yarn waiting in the wings for its turn to be used.

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The Sock Gauge Swatch

Hey Everyone!

Over the course of the last couple of days, while having the second Cobblestone Heather Stroll sock in the works, I have also cast on another couple socks for two different pairs of socks.

I cast on the first sock of a pair of socks using KnitPicks Palette Yarn in rouge, as well as the first sock of a pair of socks using Black Trillium Fibres Fingering weight yarn in Morgana.

For the Palette yarn I am using my second pair of 2.50mm size 1 double pointed needles, and for the black trillium fibres yarn I am using my 2.00mm size 0 double pointed needles.

Each of the three socks have a bit different of a pattern for the top parts of the socks. My Cobblestone Heather socks have a 10 row ribbed cuff and an 80 row leg, while the Rouge Palette socks have a 20 row cuff and a 50 row leg, and and the black trillium fibres socks, have a 20 row cuff and I am aiming to fit the leg to the sock blockers.

Beings that the black trillium fibres yarn is thinner than either the Stroll or the Palette yarn, and I didn’t like how it was working out when I was work it up on either of the size 1 needles, the 2.25mm or the 2.50mm, I am giving it one last try with the size 0 needles. I am hoping they turn out better being knit up tighter. Though I am not a fan of how rough they are working up, I am hoping that will work itself out with being washed, and line dried. It also may be partly due to the fact that the yarn is 25% nylon. I don’t know what’s worse, rough socks or gaping holes from the slipped stitches along the sides of the heel where you pick up to knit the foot, that is the issue I am trying to resolve by using the size 0 needles. I am also winging the pattern on this first sock since I haven’t worked with the yarn enough to know how many rows is enough to make the leg of the sock long enough.

As you can see in the picture above the difference between the two yarns and the gauge difference between the two needle sizes. When you are working with Fingering weight yarns and making socks, half a millimeter in needle size and in gauge / tension is huge. In the picture above, both socks have a 20 row cuff and are sitting at 30 rows in the leg. While I have more to knit on both before I get to the heel, I figured that this is a good starting comparison point to show you all. I should also mention, the sock on the left has a total of eight more stitches (2 more on each needle) than the sock on the right does, and still looks and feels narrower.

When I get the Black Trillium Fibres socks done, I will definitely update on that.

I am making the rouge socks a bit shorter because I had to cut one of the balls of yarn in the winding process, and I doubt I have enough yarn in the larger of the two balls from that original ball without tying on more, and I don’t want to have to tie on the smaller ball if I don’t have to.

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Testing out a Different Sock Pattern

Hey Everyone!

Since I started knitting up socks I have always done a k1p1 cuff pattern until I am about to where I am going to knit the heel flap. Just before I would knit the heel flap, I started out with two rounds of straight knitting and eventually went to ten rounds before starting the heel flap. While having a 40 – 50 row ribbed cuff plus 10 rows of straight knitting before the heel flap made a good length for me, I don’t like how my sock blockers stretch out that cuff as it is drying.

While the socks that Reese Witherspoon wears with her Danner’s in the movie Wild are bulkier than what I like for hiking, that scrunched down sock is something that I want to try, and I like making my own hiking socks, so I am in the process of trying out a bit of a new sock pattern for myself.

The biggest changes I am making on my go to sock pattern, is that instead of 40 – 50 rounds of ribbing at the top, I am only doing 10, and then knitting the rest of the leg portion of the top just normally. I am using my sock blockers as a reference guide, so the ribbing will end up drying on the slanted area at the top, and the leg part will just be straight and not be stretched out much by the blockers.

Part of my goal with this as well, is not having to use pins to secure my socks to the blockers while they are drying outside. There will really be no chance of them sliding off the blockers if it happens to be windy and they are hung on the line.

I am also testing out if this pattern will still work with the quantity of sock yarns I have. I tend to have leftover Palette and Stroll yarns when I do the 40 – 50 row cuff, I am going to see if this pattern will help me get more of each color used up without having a whole lot left over.

If you knit socks I would love to hear about what you do when you knit socks, and what patterns you use.

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Houston; We Have a Problem

Hey Everyone!

Today, I had another KnitPicks Package arrive (and have two more that will be coming in the next week or so). I definitely am a yarn addict. I have enough yarn to keep me knitting for years, which is a good thing.

In my order that came today, I got four balls of Stroll Fingering weight yarn, two balls each of Ash and Cobblestone Heather. I also got ten balls of Flagstone Heather Wool of the Andes Tweed worsted weight yarn.

Yes, I am well aware that I am ordering a lot of Grey yarns. I love grey yarn. Greys, natural tones and blues are my favorite colors at the moment. These are the colors I love to work with.

Most people are not a fan of grey, especially around here where we get so many grey, overcast, rainy days. That is exactly why I love grey. I love the grey, overcast, rainy days. I love them because (at least in this part of the country), they are cooler, and you don’t have the sun in your eyes. For me they are more enjoyable. As someone who doesn’t handle heat very well – it’s currently about 64 degrees Fahrenheit, and I am about at my upper limit for being comfortable – I prefer the cooler overcast days. As long as it’s not pouring down rain, I enjoy going hiking when it it is cool and overcast as well as just getting out and doing stuff.

The days that it is pouring down rain, are best spent inside with a nice hot cuppa tea and knitting. Or going and getting lost in my favorite yarn and craft stores.

Earlier this week, I had to go and run a couple errands and decided to get out of the city. I wound up in the foothills of the cascade range (the mountains that divide Western Oregon from Central and Eastern Oregon). I started seeing snow at about 1400 – 1500 feet. That day I would have given about anything to live out that way, and be able to have a fire going in the woodstove, a pot of soup going, a nice hot cuppa tea, Call The Midwife on the TV and my knitting.

While I grew up in the city, the older I get, the simpler / more old fashioned kind of life I want to live. The kind of life where I have a nice big garden in the summer, and some chickens, maybe some goats, and so much more.

When I started knitting when I was 10, I had no idea how learning a craft out of boredom would become a passion.