socks

Sock weather (& fixing up mistakes!)

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Yep, winter is here! In Quebec at least. In the last couple weeks here, we’ve been hit with very heavy snow falls wrecking havoc across town and causing major power outages in the area, and just like that winter rolled around a whole month in advance.

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All this white fluffy chaos going on encouraged me to stay warm and cozy (while we had power, at least) on the couch, knitting stuff. Of course, season oblige, I worked on cold weather garments, like socks and scarves and things. I guess I kicked things off with a pair of socks I started on the plain to Taiwan and I’m quite happy at how they turned out.

Will you be my Valentine bis

I used my own Will you be my Valentine sock pattern but modified it a tad bit to add some 2X2 ribbing under the foot and around the ankle for stability. I like how the colors played out, and I’m still quite satisfied with the look and feel of the German short row heel. I gave this pair away to my pottery teacher, hope she likes them!

The other things I worked on the last few weeks though, I must say, were more about clearing WIPs from my craft room and fixing things that needed fixing… You’ll understand what I mean here in a minute.

The second pair of socks I completed last week was a pair of Solace socks I had started last year, but encountered a bit of a problem with. Now don’t get me wrong, Vanessa’s pattern is perfect in every way (as her patterns always are!) but I worked the first sock on size 2.5 mm needle (as per pattern), but mistakenly worked the second sock on size 2.25 mm needle, resulting in a totally different size sock. Oopsie much?

You may imagine my dismay when I noticed this little mishap, I was quite disheartened with the whole thing. So much so that the socks slumbered at the bottom of a bag for more than a year before I finally decided to fix it. Since the sock that actually fit better on me was the 2.25mm needle, I ended up frogging the larger sock, an reknit it again on size 2.25 mm needle to get a matching pair. All in all though, I think it worked out wonderfully – what do you guys think?

Solace socks

Lastly, I worked up a very simple double-sided broken rib scarf with a few skeins of Debbie Bliss’s Andes yarn I’ve had in stash forever. The thing with this yarn though is that I bought it in an off-white color that I afterwards decided I wasn’t too fond of, and tried to dye it. Unfortunately for me, Things didn’t work out as well as I thought they would, and I ended up with a very spotty minty yarn that I was even less a fan of. I tried using it for a couple different projects, but nothing would really work out and I ended up frogging many attempts. Now, since this yarn is a very soft and pliable single, it doesn’t like frogging too too much. Consequently, I ended up damaging the yarn, loosing quite a bit of it in the process and still didn’t have any idea what to do with it.

After much pondering, I decided that simple was best, and ended up working a narrow very simple scarf that I would over-dye afterwards, to mask my unsightly early attempts at dyeing. Here’s a before shot, just so you know what I was working with.

Scrunchable scarf before

Now all the details are as always on my project page, but I ended up doing a dip-dye gradient using some Wilton’s food colouring in the “sky blue” and “black” hues. The blue and black mixture broke down a bit and made a few small splotches of pink here and there, but I think the experiment was mostly successful, and I am very (VERY!!) happy with the result.

Scrunchable scarf

What do you guys think? Yay? Or nay?

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Sock weather

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Last week was really hot and humid so all I really wanted to knit was quick small projects like toys… and socks. And that’s great, because earlier this spring I received a couple skeins of Artfil Coktail self-striping sock yarn in color strawberry-almond from the lovely Yana. I thought the yarn was so deliciously scrumptious that it deserved to become something a little special to me – so I used it to make my first (ever) toe-up 2-at-a-time sock design.

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I had a lot of fun making these socks, they are relatively basic and feature Judy’s magic cast-on for the toes, a moss stitch instep&leg and a slipped stitch German short-row heel. The texture and construction is perfect for self-striping, speckled or variegated yarns, and they can be made as long (or as short!) as you want them to be to fit any yardage you have on hand.

If you’re interested in the yarn, you can visit Artfil’s website to find a retailer near you or subscribe to their sock yarn club, it’s available in 3, 6 or 12 months subscriptions.

And if you’re interested in the pattern, it is currently being tested here on Ravelry, so be sure to check it out and send me a message if you’re available to test, I’m still looking for testers in every size 🙂

Have a great week all!

Experiments in sock construction

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Hey guys! As you may (or may not!) remember, earlier this summer I won this amazing gift basket from the girls at Pompon Laine Café for being one of the first clients to get the membership card for the store (very sweet, isn’t?).

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Well, among all that fiber-y goodness, there was a pinkish ball of stretchy self striping yarn from Lana Grossa called Meilenweit 100 Cotton Fantasy Stretch that I had never used before, so I was a little intrigued. Looking at the yarn, I really couldn’t picture what it would look like all knit up so I decided to try it and find out.

First rule in knitting: when you don’t know what to expect out of a yarn, stick to basics.

Following this simple rule, I decided to cast on a basic cuff-down sock, 72 sts on 2.25mm needles and started knitting away, using a 2×2 rib for the cuff. A little ways in, I was able to see the yarn was indeed self striping and was able to assess the width of the stripes and the length of the color sequence. Pretty cute, isn’t?

IMG_2717_medium2Looking at all these cute stripes go, I thought to myself it would be a pity to break it up working a heel flap, so I decided to try a new (to me!) sock technique to preserve the perfect stripe sequence: the afterthought heel. Now, I when I say it’s a new technique, it doesn’t mean that I learned about it recently – I have known the technique for quite a while, I have just never used it before. Part of the reason is because I’ve never had the chance to work with a self striping yarn before so I never really saw a need for it and the other part of the reason is that I’ve heard mixed reviews about this technique, saying it always pulls and creates holes on the sides.

Well, after trying it for myself, let just say this : yes, it does create small holes on the sides, but it’s really not that bad if you pick up a couple stitches on each side to bridge the gap, and I also knit them through the back loop on the first row after pick up to get a fuller look by twisting the stitches. And it works. So if you’ve been worried about that, there’s really no need to fret – I guarantee it.

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All in all, I would definitely use the afterthought heel again for any self striping yarn, but I’m not so sure about the yarn. First thing first, I must say that I definitely would not have chosen this colorway for myself – but as they say beggars can’t be choosers, so I really can’t complain when I got the yarn for free. But what turned me off the most about this yarn is actually not the color, but the texture. Don’t get me wrong, I love the finished socks, they’re nice and cozy and the stretch in there really makes them comfortable, but somehow the yarn is a little rough to the touch so it wasn’t super fun to knit. It’s a great sock yarn, but I guess for me enjoying the final product is not enough, I have to fully enjoy the process too – which is why I might not buy this yarn again.

New Release

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Hey guys!

Just popping here to let you know that my Fluttering Feet pattern has now been released, yay! 🙂 You can fin it here (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fluttering-feet) and use the promo code “BIRDSOFAFEATHER” for a 50% off until the end of the month. Thank you all! 🙂

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April novelties!

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In the last couple weeks, I got to finish two projects that have been on the needles for a while. The first one is the manly socks I made for my Honeybee, and the second one is the Seesaw Tee I test knitted for Nell Knits.

The socks were made without a pattern using some Patons Kroy Socks FX yarn my Honeybee picked out earlier this winter. I quite like the result, although I realized afterwards the two skein were not exactly the same color. Oopsy!

Manly socks

The Seesaw Tee was a pleasure to knit, really. The pattern was beautifully written, simple and very easy to understand. The sweater is worked in the round from the bottom up, with only a couple little seams to close up the armpits. It was an unexpectedly fast knit as I was expecting to complete this project towards the end of April and ended up finishing it in only a couple weeks. The yarn I used is Knit-Picks Diadem yarn in color Garnet; which has been discontinued I believe. It’s a 50/50 alpaca/silk yarn, soft as a cloud, it has a really nice drape and halo and it blocks like a charm, making it perfect for any lace projects. It is marked as a fingering weight yarn, but I would say it’s much more of a sport or DK weight, as I used 3.5mm needles and got a blocked gauge of 5 sts to an inch. I used only 2 skeins for a size medium sweater, how great is that? Two down sides though :

1) it’s a loosely spun single, so you have to expect this yarn to be (significantly) splitty

2) it  tends to shed, and I experienced a little bleeding on the first wash – nothing major though!

Other than that, I am very satisfied by both, the pattern and the yarn, and I happily wore my new sweater all day 🙂

Seesaw Tee

WIP tour 2015 departing, all aboard!

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I have been pretty busy craft-wise in the last few weeks going from knitting and crocheting to sewing and weaving, and that translates as quite a few WIPs in the works right now. Since I haven’t blogged about any of my current projects so far, I thought it would be interesting to share with you what I’ve been up to lately.

The first WIP I want to share with you is a cute pair of lace socks I’m making using some Cascade Heritage yarn I had on hand. I improvised this design using a basic feather and fan pattern for the cuff and a simple eyelet pattern for the foot. It’s a very simple and fun pattern to knit, so when I’m done with the second sock I think I’ll publish the pattern on Ravelry for others to enjoy too 🙂 Let’s share the love! FotorCreatedSince I made the lace socks for myself, I also had to make some socks for me Honeybee – you know how it goes! And since he’s a little picky about colors, I didn’t have anything in stash that suit his taste so we went yarn shopping last weekend in Burlington. He set his heart on a yarn I had never worked with before, Kroy FX sock yarn in Cadet Colors. Although I do find the yarn a little thick for a sock yarn, I must say I do like the color variations a lot. And somehow, it seems to fit the cable pattern I came up with pretty well. Another possible free sock pattern? Maybe. We’ll see 🙂 20150209_005250388_iOSLast month I also started a test-knit for Paula Ladd, a very nice button up cardigan with a mock cable pattern called “Evelyn“. It is a bottom up cardigan, which I don’t knit very often because experience has taught me that I generally run out of steam before reaching the the yoke. I pulled this one through though, and I finished the body today. Now I can move onto the sleeves, Yay! Although it has been slow progress, I’m still pretty pumped about it and cannot wait to see it come to life in the next few weeks!

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I also took some time in the last month to make a few sets of placemats for friends and family using some fabric I had in stash. It turned out pretty good, and something is telling me I might make some more this month! FotorCreated2Last but not least, I have 3 friends of mine who are pregnant or recently gave birth, so I have been a little baby-crazy in the last few weeks. Lots of things to share in the picture below! The gray rectangle on the bottom is a baby blanket in the making, using some Bernat Baby Coordinates yarn I had in stash. This pattern looks so cute! On the right is the fabric I’ll be using for a special home/dec project for a little girl’s nursery. On the top left is a few 2/8 cotton bobbins for a couple baby wraps I’ll be weaving in the next few weeks and on the top right corner is the cutest book I found for crochet toys… I think I’ll try my hand at it in a couple weeks time. hehehe 🙂

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That’s it for me, what have you guys been up to lately?

2014 wrap up

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2014 is coming to an end, and as it is I am reflecting on my 2014 projects and I feel very satisfied by the progress I made and the things I learnt. I am just sitting here, on my honeybee’s parent’s couch in Ohio, relaxing while sipping on some tea, and I reflect on my 2014 crafting year. It’s a thing I really like to do, mostly because every day life just goes by so fast that it’s nice to take some time at the end of the year to slow down, relax and look over what you have accomplished in the past 12 months. It’s especially nice this year because I just recently discovered on Ravelry that you can search through your projects using tags (like for example “2013” or “2014”) to know exactly how many projects you made or how much yarn you used during a certain year. Here’s the break down of my 2014 progress compared to the year before:

2013 : 4 385 yards in 7 projects (mostly shawls and scarves)

2013

2014 : 10 250 yards in 16 projects (sweaters, scarves, shawls, socks, hats and a bag)

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In total, I used over twice the yardage and finished twice as many projects in 2014 than I did in 2013, and it feels good. To those 16 knitting/crochet/weaving projects, I also have to add 2 464 yards of handspun yarn, 4 sets of placemats, and my first handmade quilt.

Oh, you haven’t seen it? True… It was one of my secret Christmas projects. Well, talking about my secret Christmas projects… Here’s a couple of them. First is the quilt I made for my dad. It is my very first quilt, so it’s very wrinkly, uneven and full of mistakes, but I’m still very proud nonetheless. I worked on it for 2 years, and finally finished it a couple weeks ago, just in time for Christmas.

dadsquilt

The second thing I want to share is a pair of socks I made for my honeybee’s sister, Emily. These Lemon & Lime socks were made using the Studioloo Bootsie-loo sock yarn I bought at the Twist Festival this fall, in the color “Linden Tree”. The pattern I used is called Seed Stitch socks, from Vogue.

Emilyssocks

Well, that’s my 2014 wrap up… I hope you guys all had a good time over Christmas, and I wish you all the best for the upcoming year. Take time to enjoy the simple things in life, and to focus more on the things and people you love, and what really matters. Life is short and precious, take advantage of every moment 🙂

Happy new year all!