Off the chain

Since last time I have finished something I didn’t expect: socks!

Orange Socks

These socks I knit from some Louet Gems I had dyed with Kool-Aid. Dyeing with drink powders is great because the citric acid (which is already mixed in) is a great fixative and you probably won’t die choking on the dust. I love it for speckles, which are most easily made with dry powder on wet wool.

I soaked the yarn in water and vinegar, then laid the hanks out on a vinyl tablecloth on my back patio. I sprinkled on a couple of packets of orange and carefully added just a bit of red, blue and green sprinkles on top. (Some type of rubber glove is great to prevent orange/blue/red hands) I then wrapped each skein in plastic wrap securely but not tightly and microwaved them for about 2 minutes each, total. I cut off the plastic wrap and let the yarn cool before I rinse it off and let it dry and finally, knit! You can see that these are slightly different colors, one skein is more concentrated than the other but I think for “handpainted” it’s pretty consistent. The blue stripes is some leftover Koigu I had in my stash.

The pattern is just my typical vanilla sock recipe, cast on 64 stitches, knit some ribbing until it’s long enough, and then just about 6-1/2” of leg, slipped stitch heel flap and about 7 inches in the foot before decreasing for the toe. I started these socks in 2015, but I had gotten off track when I discovered that the first sock was too short and that I would have to reknit the toe. But I recently had a major resurgence of sock mojo and decided to just finish these! I had taken the first sock off the needles and I was past the gusset on the second sock, so I finished them fairly quickly.

My excitement over knitting socks is carrying over into even more pairs of sock on my needles.

I had started some Monkey socks awhile ago, but I wanted to re-knit them since I had started them on 2.5 mm needles. I restarted them on 2.25 mm needles and I think this will help the fabric be more durable. I have managed to get the heel flap on the first sock. I’m thinking about setting these aside, though, and starting some Halloween socks. I love making Halloween socks!

Blue Monkey Socks
Yarn is Marigoldjen Yarns BFL/Nylon Sock in Santa Fe

And still more socks! These are just my basic sock recipe again, which I really like with self-striping yarns. I have a friend, Erin, at my knitting group who knits a ton of socks. She loves using 9” circulars, which are crazy short! But they are also pretty fast! Since I’m letting the yarn do all the work, I can just jam on these. They are definitely my new purse knitting.

Gumdrop Buttons Socks
Yarn is Nomadic Yarns Trusty Sock in Gumdrop Buttons

For my birthday this spring, my sisters and I went to the coast. When we pulled into town, I looked across the street and said, “Oh, look, there’s the yarn store.” I swear I didn’t plan it that way! But my sisters indulged me and I found some local handspun (my favorite thing to find at a LYS) called BFL Beautiful Fiber Life, #112. It knits up so nicely, so squishy and soft. I wanted a simple pattern to show off the quality of the yarn and the colors. I’m knitting Barley and it’s just the ticket for this great yarn.
Pink and Tan Barley hat

Crochet is not something I usually do much, but for some reason I like it as a summer-time palette cleanser. I have been seeing some awesome looking Granny Stripe blankets on Instagram,
(#grannystripeblanket) but I figured that’s a lot of crochet for a novice like me. But then I found, buried in my knitting tools and old swatches, a pair of little granny squares I had made on a lark from leftovers from my sock yarn blanket project. I played around a bit, making the squares larger and even making a third…
Then I started looking at my sock yarn scraps. I have been teaching at at local yarn store for the last year and a half, so I have been knitting a lot fingering weight accessories for my class samples. I have a shopping bag full of sock yarn, not including the yarns in my current projects or waiting in my stash for future projects. The colors are mostly my favorites: purple, green, gray, and blue with some pink and red and black thrown in for good measure.

I jumped. I started the Granny Stripes Blanket from Purl Soho, but I’m not striping as instructed in the pattern, just one row of single crochet at the beginning and probably at the end, as well. Another good pattern I found after I got started is from Attic 24. The yarn is a bunch of minis attached using Magic Knots. I spent a good chunk of the weekend dividing my leftovers into 5-12 gram minis and made 3 separate bags to spread the colors throughout the blanket. I’ll make some big yarn cakes from these scraps and see how far these leftovers can take me.

Granny Stripes 7.17

Current and Upcoming knitting projects

It’s mostly a knitting blog, so I’ll introduce my current WIPs – at least the ones I’m actually working on.

I have a two on-the-go, in my purse projects. You have to have these when you are taking the kid to the playground or sports classes! Something that doesn’t require a lot of attention, that is okay to maybe drop on the bark chips (it happens) or stop in the middle of a row.

Looped Loop Cowl
First is Looped Loop, a sportweight cowl by Kirsten Johnstone. It’s very simple, just a 6×6 rib and then the ends are joined with a moebius twist for style. I’m making mine out of some Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight in Ravenscroft. The yarn has been in my stash for a long time. It’s one of those yarns that I don’t remember my reason for buying it. At least know I finally am using it.

Breve Cowl WIP
Second is Breve Cowl, a funky lace kind of cowl by Cirilia Rose. The pattern is designed for an eclectic blends of yarn, the designer used Noro Silk garden and Rowan Denim together. My yarn is Alchemy Yarns of Transformation Twig, colorway Agate, which I bought as a souvenir in Scottsdale, Arizona. Twig is a blend of silk and linen, so it is cool and drapes like crazy, which is great for this style of cowl. The pattern is a two-row repeat so it’s easy to remember while you are riding in a car or watching a baseball game. We recently experienced a few very hot days and this was just about all I could bear to knit.

Exploration Station WIP
A bigger project to I’m very excited about is my Exploration Station by Stephen West. This is my second one, I LOVE my first one and I am just as thrilled for this one. This is a four color shawl. One color acts as a border between the sections of the other three colors. The top portion is wedges of the contrast colors, then a two-color brioche section, a slipped stitch section, and a garter stitch (with a twist) portion. Finally the border color is used for a big chevron edging. It’s so gorgeous and easy to wear. I have a variety of fingering weight yarns in this project. Bumblebirch Heartwood in Agave, Delicious Yarns Sprinkles in Grape, and Malabrigo Sock in Subidaria are the body of the sections, while Dream in Color Smooshy in Bermuda Teal is the border color.

Windsor Tank WIP

Finally, for now, is a little shell top I just started. It’s a very simple and plain design, but it’s a great addition to my wardrobe. The pattern is Windsor Tank by Maureen Clark. I’m using Berroco Summer Silk in Arbor. I’d love to be able to wear it sometime this summer. Ha, we’ll see!

Looking ahead to a few new things I’m looking forward to starting, I have a few shawls and some simple hats in mind.

The first hat I plan on making, after I finish some other obligations, is Norie, by Gudrun Johnston. It’s a very wearable slouchy hat. I have some very special yarn for this project, Toots Leblanc Merino/Angora 60/40 in charcoal. I love being able to use these unique yarns in something I’ll get to enjoy through knitting and wearing.

Toots LeBlanc Merino Angora

I always have a number of shawls I’m thinking about knitting. Currently I’m excited about Starburst by Stephen West (I’m a big fan of his work), Old Magic by Jennie Santopietro, and Fractal Danger by Martina Behm.

For Starburst, I have a skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Optic, Cherry Tree Supersock Solid in Black, and Walk Collection Linea in Lime Soda which I purchased as part of Stephen’s stash sale last summer. It seems only fitting to use this pop of color in one of his designs.

Starburst yarns

My in-laws gifted me a little money for some special yarn for my birthday. I treated myself to Black Trillium Lilt Sock, a lovely merino and silk blend in Zaffre (dark blue) and a greadient set in Sheaf (golds). I’m really into blue and gold, and this yarn is so dreamy.

Old Magic yarns

Finally, in the likely event that I just need a simpler, one skein project instead of another multi skein beast of a shawl, for Fractal Danger I have a funky & glitzy skein called Dirty Unicorn on 24 Karat from Fierce Fibers

Dirty Unicorn

We’ll see how many things I can finish/start anyway in the meantime.