With the heat of the summer beginning to settle in, it’s time to start projects that are A: not heavy in your lap. B. suitable for year-end giving and C. car trip worthy. Socks fit that description beautifully.
Today I am starting a sock pattern that has been in my library for some time. Hermione’s Everyday Socks, available on Ravelry, are simple to knit, but have a lovely texture created by working purl stitch sprinkled evenly throughout.
I have chosen to use a monochromatic colorway from Ewetopia that drifts from light to dark and back again. I’m hoping that the color doesn’t vary so much that it overwhelm the subtle stitch pattern. This yarn is called Wisco Sock, and is milled and dyed in Wisconsin.
The colorway is Superior, as in, the Lake. I’m very drawn to it – not a green but not a blue, rather a cool-ish grey such as how the lake surface may appear on a cloudy day. While I started these socks as a potential gift, it could be that I will selfishly keep them for myself.
This project was begun about 2-3 weeks ago. In my initial post I brought up two main points:
An unconventional sock yarn.
This Berroco yarn is a dk weight, not a sock weight. It contains 52% acrylic, 40% wool and 8% nylon. The knitted fabric is soft, stretchy and strong, all of which are highly desirable in a good pair of knitted socks.
The other point is the method of sequential knitting:
I used two skeins, two sets of sock needles and worked the socks in sequence: leg, heel flap, gusset, foot and toe. Frankly, I loved this work method. It provided for variety in the knitting and resulted in finishing both socks at the same time without the use of a long cable needle. Given my fairly extensive collection of doublepoints, I would choose to use this method again.
Moving on to smaller and better projects, let me introduce Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Woodsmans sock pattern. Here you see my cast on, accompanied by my evening libation. I am working my pair in a thinner yarn than what is called for in the pattern. It’s a Berroco blend called Vintage DK.
These skeins were purchased at Sunset Yarns in Madison, WI this past spring. I adore the softness, and have high hopes that the elements of acrylic and nylon will keep my socks from getting holey before their time.
EZ’s pattern was published in The Opinionated Knitter, and can also be had on a streaming DVD video with Zimmerman’s daughter Meg Swansen.
The only variation I will be making to the pattern is to knit a 3 by 1 rib instead of the typical 2 by 2 version. I find this rib to be every bit as stretchy but it results in a smoother texture.
I’ve also started both socks, not exactly as the same time, but in tandem. While I haven’t perfected the magic loop technique, I have many no. 5 sock needles, and I purchased two skeins of yarn. The plan is to knit in sections: working each leg down to the heel flap, then work each heel flap, then turn each heel, etc. This could help me avoid single sock syndrome.
If I don’t have these finished by the time we leave for vacation in July, they will be a perfect travel project.
This pattern downloaded in pdf format. Consequently I was unable to use a translator to turn the instructions into English. No matter – what was important to me was the color chart. For the construction of the vest itself, I relied heavily on another baby vest pattern, also downloaded for free from Ravelry.
My first reaction is to say everybody needs pockets. But that is not necessarily true. Many grown-up persons carry bags, satchels, pouches and other accessories to ferry about their cherished possessions. But those persons young in age and close to the ground generally don’t have that option.
If so, these little ones need someplace to stash all the treasures they find along the way. And when you are that close to the ground, there are So Many Treasures to pick up: shiny pebbles, feathers, a snail or two, marbles, bottle caps and pieces of Lego.
Especially Lego People.
Little Lu will agree. So I made some pockets to insert into her summer vest.
I chose not to seek out a pocket making pattern. Come on, this can’t be very hard.
Cast on 40 stitches, leaving a 6 inch tail, then distribute stitches over three double point needles. Join together to work in the round. Work in stockinette stitch until piece is 3 inches tall. Flip the work inside out so the purl stitches are on the outside. Now move the first 20 stitches to one needle and put the second on waste yarn. Using the tail, sew the cast on edge together with whip stitch. Make a second pocket to match. Your pockets will be about three inches square and look like this:
When the body of your garment is longer than 3 inches, you can insert the pockets. Place stitch markers at the point where the pockets will go, marking 20 stitches between markers. Work to first marker. Holding the pocket against the back of your knitting, knit together each stitch of the garment with a stitch of the pocket. When you get 20 stitches knitted, turn work. Bind off the twenty stitches you just knit. Now slip the remaining 20 pocket stitches on to your left needle. Working in your pattern, continue to the second set of markers. Repeat to insert the second pocket. That’s it!
Here’s how the pockets look in the vest I am making:
Outside of vest:
Inside of vest:
This is an experiment. I promise to report back to you on how well this vest held up under vigorous, treasure-hunting use
I’m a bit restless with knitting the Vogue sweater. I am about halfway finished with the sleeves and the back. There are long stretches of stockinette stitch yet to do. So to break things up a bit, I’ve cast on a new project using Berroco Remix yarn.
I picked up three skeins of this yarn while in Madison during March. Made from 100% recycled fibers, it is a blend of nylon, cotton, acrylic, silk and linen.
While perusing Ravelry, I spotted this pattern by Anna Schei which will be perfect for my intended use.
This vest will be for my granddaughter. She is not quite three and very interested in dressing herself. The sprightly mosaic stitch pattern reminds me of her crazy-happy personality.
One small concern: The pattern is written in Norwegian. Fortunately, the color chart transcends language limitations and it is all I really needed from the original pattern. I will be adapting it to include a button-up front. My little one needs to practice her buttoning skills.
In my last post, I shared a picture of some tweedy wool-silk blend yarn purchased recently. After studying the swatch I made, I thought that it looked like a vintage yarn. This led me to remember the giant Vogue Knitting retrospective book that I received from my daughter last year. Perhaps I can find a vintage type cardigan there.
I had been wanting to make a pattern from this book but could never settle on any of them. Either the pattern required a massive amount of expensive yarn or the design didn’t suit me and my lifestyle. But I now had 1500 yarns of a classic tweed – more than enough for Vogue Knitting. And after carefully studying several likely patterns I chose this one.
Forestry Cardigan appeared in Vogue’s Fall 2008 magazine – an edition that was dedicated to Canadian designers. What a happy bit of symmetry! Fall 2008 was the very season I was re-introduced to knitting. This pairing was meant to be.
I like the coin shaped cables and the shawl collar on this design. But I don’t quite agree with knitting instructions. Vogue has us knit the two fronts and the back separately, and then seam them together. I much prefer knitting front and back in one piece. Also reviewers of this pattern on Ravelry cautioned about errors.
It’s going brilliantly. I love the quality of the fabric this yarn yields. But! I am ALREADY playing yarn chicken! Only 3/4 finished with one sleeve and my first skein is but a hollow version of its former plump self. I’m flummoxed. I am getting the gauge required by the pattern, and for the size I am making I should have over 200 yards of yarn more than needed.
At this time I’m willing to trust the pattern and carry on. After all, this is a long-haul project. With a gauge of 20 stitches by 28 rows, there are a LOT of stitches to go before the end is near. I expect it will be Autumn by the time I finish. And in the meanwhile, maybe I can source one more skein of yarn
I’m told that this week is dedicated to recognizing our local yarn shops. While sadly, there are no yarn shops in my town, I recently returned from Wisconsin. While there I visited two very nice shops and scored these yarns:
In Madison, WI, Lynette Tucker opened her shop Sunset Yarns just last November. While only a few months in business she has done a terrific job creating a cozy and friendly atmosphere for yarn crafters.
In addition to the labels typically offered, she carries locally produced yarns. I browsed these, which included Galpaca and Ewetopia. Home | GalPaca Farm
The Wisco Sock yarn by Ewetopia is one I have knit before, so I picked up one skein in colorway Superior. (as in, the Lake.) I love those soft, watery shades. I also got Berroco Remix light, which is made from 100% recycled fibers. The skeins of Vintage DK in a plum color will be used to make heavy-duty socks for my husband. I am hoping that the high percentage of acrylic in the mix will wear better and last longer than the typical wool-nylon mix.
Next stop was the quaint town of Veroqua where I shopped at the Ewetopia company store. All I can say is Wow! It is truly the yarn lover’s heaven.
In addition to their own label, other Wisconsin yarns and the standard yarn shop yarns are available. They also carry a selection of fleece, tools for felting and many books.
Since I had already purchased some Ewetopia, I was browsing for something different. In the back of my mind I toyed with the thought of another sweater for myself. When I came across the Cascade Roslyn ON SALE, I couldn’t resist it. Cascade is a company headquartered in Seattle, Washington. The Roslyn is a DK weight made from 65% wool and 35% silk. Its tweedy texture will be perfect to make a light-weight cardigan useful here in the warm climate of Oklahoma. I chose a leaf-green colorway that reminds me of Autumn.
Now to browse patterns and cast on. I foresee many happy hours in my future, with needles in hand.
Today is the last day of March. I told myself that I would have this KAL done by today. Despite the difficulties of working on the road, the obstacle of my computer WIFI failure and the minefield of working on Someone Else’s Computer, I am ready. Here you see the blocked shawl hung up against a striped curtain.
My daughter agreed to model for me.
The temperatures here in Wisconsin dipped down into the upper 20th last night. At the time of the photo session, it was still only about 45 F. She professed that the shawl is quite warm.
I’m pretty happy with it. I did run out of the dark yarn and had to improvise a bit at lower edge, just above the lacey bind off. I have plenty of pink left. So I can’t call this a stash buster. But it is a unique and graceful design. I recommend this pattern for intermediate knitters.
While the designer was going for a watery look, with insets of lovely lace, I have chosen two yarns that give more of a chocolate cake with pink icing sort of feel.
For my main color, I have Wisco sock yarn in colorway Dark Plum by Ewetopia. The contrast color is an alpaca rayon blend by Berroco called Folio in colorway Cardinal.
Here you see the first swirling lace inset. Doesn’t it remind you of waves? There will be six sections like this in between the garter ridges. So far I find that the stitches required to make these waves are a little tricky, and need to be worked at a much slower pace.
The plan is to finish by the end of June March? It’s doable.