100 yard ngora Fingerless Mittsw

Angora Fingerless Mitts


100 yard Angora Fingerless MittsA while ago, I went to a fiber show and picked up 100 yards of hand spun fingering weight angora. I asked the seller what I could reasonably make with such a small quantity and she said fingerless mitts. But when I went online, all the patterns called for more than 100 yards. Plus, I really wanted to use up as much of the yarn as possible. So, I wrote my own pattern and shared it with a friend.

Then, in September, I went to another fiber show and got some more angora. I had several people ask me what I planned to make with it and express an interest in the pattern when I told them. So I have written the pattern and its on Ravelry. The pattern is very simple because Angora really blooms after you wear it a few times (gets fuzzier), so any really complex pattern would be lost.

What do you think of my fingerless mitts?


TARDIS Scarf Pattern Now Available!

TARDIS scarf made with fingering (sock) weight yarn.

TARDIS scarf made with fingering (sock) weight yarn.

I was inspired to design this, my first for-sale pattern, when I found a really nice, free shawl pattern with TARDIS motifs. I was going to make that pattern because I had the perfect color yarn, but I didn’t have quite enough. I thought about making it 2 colors but ultimately decided I really wanted only one color. So I set about modifying that shawl pattern to make it just a scarf.

That’s when I decided that I really wanted to make the TARDIS very differently than what the shawl had. And the next thing you know I was searching for TARDIS pictures online and starting to piece together my own version. Because I hate color work and weaving in ends, I decided to use beads for the white touches. For a while I couldn’t get it exactly the way I wanted it – I think I unraveled that first TARDIS about 16 times. But eventually I realized this was intended to be my representation of the TARDIS, not an exact picture and that took a lot of the pressure off.

I’m really happy with the end result and looking forward to wearing it. The yarn is a wool/silk blend so it is super soft. It will be a pleasure to have this around my neck.

To purchase the pattern for yourself, go here.

How to Make the Perfect Sock Knitting Kit

A stitch counter & a variety of markers. Note how some of the markers open and some do not.

A stitch counter & a variety of markers. Note how some of the markers open and some do not.

As I mentioned in my last post, I really enjoy knitting socks. As I know you will, too, I thought I’d share with you the contents of my sock knitting kit. This is something that has evolved over the last year of knitting socks and now it has everything I need to knit socks most of the time.

First off, start with a bag which is made of cloth. I know, you’d think you want a knit or crocheted bag but the needles for socks are so small they will constantly stick out of anything that has holes. So I have a cloth drawstring bag (I got mine from Knit Picks) to hold all my sock materials. It’s big enough to hold 2 balls of sock yarn and 2 pairs of socks, but that’s only about 6″ x 10″ or so.

Obviously your kit then stats with the yarn, pattern and needles for your socks. After you have that, add:

  1. A tape measure
  2. A few colors of sock weight yarn in small amounts. This comes in handy whenever your pattern calls for scrap yarn (like for an afterthought heel).
  3. A small crochet hook. You can use this to help you pick up tiny dropped stitches. I like a C size, personally.
  4. At least one stitch marker. Almost every pair of socks wants you to mark the beginning of the row with a stitch marker. If you have a few (5 or so) you’ll be prepared for most patterns.
  5. A pencil to mark your pattern as needed.
  6. A pair of scissors which won’t stab you. You can do a pair of folding scissors, a pair with a sheath or a pair with rounded tips. Mine are on a cord so I can wear them around my neck.
  7. A row counter of some kind. I have a small one attached to the cord for my folding scissors. You can also use your phone to count stiches, in which case you can skip this.
  8. If you are knitting on DPNs, you may want a holder so that your stitches don’t come off the needles.

That’s it! If you build a kit with all those things, you’ll be prepared for almost any sock making contingency.

Anything I missed? Let me know in the comments what you keep in your sock making kit.

Toe-up socks with self-striping yarn

6 Reasons You Should Try Knitting Socks


Toe-Up Socks with Self-Striping Yarn

Knitting socks will make you a better knitter!

Ever since I knit my first pair of socks, I’ve almost constantly had a pair of socks on my needles. I resisted sock knitting for a really long time, partly because they look hard but mostly because I figured that was a lot of work for something that would only be on my feet and not seen very much. But now that I’ve knit a few pairs, I love to knit socks!

Reasons Socks are Great to Knit

  1. Knitting socks will make you a better knitter! Knitting socks is a great way to learn a variety of intermediate & advanced knitting techniques fairly easily. Sure you could knit a sweater, but that’s a big investment in time AND yarn if  it doesn’t turn out well. With socks, you can learn to do short rows, increases, decreases, cables, ribbing, lace knitting… pretty much any technique. And its a lot less investment than a sweater.
  2. They are very portable. I can stick a pair of socks in my purse and take them with me anywhere. Most people I knit with have a small project as their “purse knitting” and socks make a great choice.
  3. They don’t take very long. I can usually finish a pair of socks in a few weeks if I work on them as my main project.
  4. Hand made socks are soooo comfortable.
  5. You can make them exactly like you want them – plain, fancy, lacy, striped, fuzzy, multicolored… whatever makes your perfect sock you can knit for yourself.
  6. They aren’t as hard as they look. And there are TONS of resources online to help you get started.

Please share your sock knitting experiences in the comments. Do you have a favorite yarn? Favorite sock designer? I’d love to hear about it.

10 Extremely Useful Knitting Resources


Below are 10 of the most useful knitting resources I’ve found lately. I thought you all might get some benefit from there:

  1. How to Weave in Ends
  2. How to Hide Your Ends AS YOU KNIT
  3. Video: How to Block a Sweater
  4. Counting rows when knitting cables
  5. Video: How to Knit 2 Socks at a Time On Circular Needles
  6. Double knitting tutorial
  7. How to Mend Holes in Woolens
  8. How to Darn Socks
  9. How to Bind Off When Your Out of Yarn
  10. How to Add an Afterthought Thumb to Mitts

What are your favorite resources online?

Making a Temperature Scarf (Knit or Crochet)

Temperature Scarf Yarn Colors

The colors of Palette yarn I selected for my Temperature Scarf.

I got an idea for a “Temperature Scarf” from Bernat’s blog. The idea is that you knit every day of the year and the color you use is based on the temperature of that day. I loved the idea immediately, although I admit it seems like a pretty big commitment. But it also seems like a way do make something that would be tedious and annoying if you did it all at once. The pattern calls for moss stitch after all (klp1 for one row, then p1k1 for the next row). That is not a really fun stitch to do in any great quantity. But if you did a bit every day its manageable.

The problem with the pattern as it’s written, however, is that it calls for worsted weight yarn. Based on the ball band and the number of rows the pattern would be (784), the project will result in an 11 foot long scarf. A bit much. Plus, I don’t really want to work in that much acrylic. So, my solution was is to do the project in sock yarn instead. I estimate this will result in a scarf about 6 feet long. Still huge, but more reasonable. I ordered from KnitPicks.com and their Palette line of yarns (which has an amazing array of colors). I haven’t gotten the yarn in yet so hopefully the colors work together as well as they seem to from their online pictures. But we all know that online pictures are not the most accurate when it comes to color.

I created a spreadsheet, which I’ve put on my phone, to keep track of the high temperature each day. I figure if its on my phone, it has the advantage of being with me no matter where I go. I also figure that if its not perfect to the degree each day, its not a huge deal: its just a scarf after all. So I’ve been adding the weekly forecast to my spreadsheet a few times a week so that if I miss a day recording the temp, I’ll have something pretty close.

Download the spreadsheet here.

I can’t wait to get my yarn and get started!

Update: Get the pattern I ended up using and all the rest of the details in part 2 of this post here.

The completed socks - check out how nicely the striping worked out!

Toe-Up Socks with a Drop-In Heel


Project Log: Supporter’s Socks

The completed socks – check out how nicely the striping worked out!

I’ve been continuing to knit socks since I completed my first pair and I get better at it all the time. I find socks are a great project for summer because they don’t heat you up. And they are wonderfully portable. Plus, everyone loves socks! You can even make them for the hard-to-knit-for people in your life!

So with that in mind, I decided to make a pair for my brother. He is all about brightly colored socks, so I got to work with some great, colorful yarn. The last thing I made for him was a crocheted sweater. It was at least 20 years ago, and the sleeves are 2 different lengths. He’s a sport, though – he still has it! Even though he never really wears sweaters. But because of that project, I decided that the most important thing about THESE socks is that they had to be the same length!

I made these socks from the toe-up. I’ve worked both kinds of socks, now and I like the toe-up for several reasons:

  1. You can try them on as you go.
  2. You can use up all your yarn if you wish (that’s hard to do with cuff-down socks).
  3. All the hard parts are closer to the beginning. By the time you get to the cuff, you can just cruise.

Pattern: Supporter’s Sock by Linda Parkhurst (free pattern on Ravelry.com). I really just used this pattern for the cuff/ribbing. It’s great for striped yarn and makes a really stretchy sock. Basically, whenever the color started to change in my yarn, I knit one row. Then, on the next row, I reversed the ribbing. So, if I started with k2, p2 then, after the knit row, I would do p2, k2. At the end of the cuff, I did an inch or so of 1×1 ribbing, and then I cast off with the tubular cast off (its the Kitchener stitch). I LOVED the result! Stretchy and very attractive!

Heel Pattern: Drop-in or afterthought heel. Instructions are here.

Toe Pattern: Judy’s Magic Cast On for Toe-Up Socks (video). Its super easy to do and looks fantastic!

Yarn: Knit Picks Felici Fingering Self Striping Sock Yarn in the Fizz colorway. I think it looks like Starburst candy. And it’s super soft and wonderful to work with.

Needle: Size 0 circular

Lessons Learned:

  • The afterthought heel is a great way to go whenever you are doing striped socks because it keeps the stripes looking great. Without this heel, you usually have a place at the front of the sock where the stripes are not right because of all the yarn you used for the heel. The instructions for this are here.
  • I love using circular needles to make socks (the magic loop method). It is so much easier than DPNs!
  • When you are doing an afterthought heel, be sure to make the cuff about 2 inches longer than you think it should be. Something about this method shortens your cuff. I thought they were the perfect length, but I finished them and and I wished the socks were a bit longer.
Shows a sock with waste yarn in purple (right below the ribbing)

How to Do An Afterthought (or Drop-In) Heel


An afterthought heel is exactly what it sounds like – one that is done after the rest of the sock is completed. The entire sock is created from top to cuff (or vice versa) and a placeholder is put in for the heel. Then, after the rest of the sock is completed, the heel is inserted. Normally, in this case, the heel messes up the stripes on the front of the sock (see image). But with an afterthought heel, the striping is maintained perfectly and even the heel is striped.

This is an example of a sock done with self-striping yarn but without an afterthought heel. Notice how the dark purple stripes are not regular – the purple is really thin right opposite of the heel.

Here is a sock with an afterthought heel and self-striping yarn. Notice how the stripes in the front are even and uninterrupted?

How to Create an Afterthought Heel

  1. Knit your sock, either from the top-up or the cuff down.
  2. Shows a sock with waste yarn in purple (right below the ribbing)

    When you get to the part of the sock where you would normally put in the heel, knit the 1/2 of the sock with waste yarn. If you are using Magic Loop, you would knit one needle with waste yarn. If you are knitting with 5 DPNs, knit 2 needles with waste yarn. Simply drop your working yarn and start knitting with waste yarn, leaving a tail. Then, when you get to halfway around the sock, pick the working yarn back up again, leaving a bit of slack and cut the waste yarn.

  3. Knit a few more rows with stockinette stitch at the back, then change to your cuff pattern all the way around. Finish your cuff and cast off.
  4. Use your needles to pick up the stitches along the waste yarn.

    Pick up the stitches on both sides of your waste yarn. With Magic Loop, one side of the waste yarn is on one needle and the other on the other needle. You are going to knit these stitches in the round. The stitches (if they are stockinette) will form a “v”. Pick up the ONE of the 2 legs of the stitch. Generally if you have the work facing the same way it will be when you knit it, you want to pick up the right leg.

  5. Using a yarn needle, pick out the waste yarn, leaving the stitches on the needle. You can start from either end.

    Using a needle, pick out the waste yarn.

    Here’s what it looks like when the waste yarn is being removed.

  6. Start knitting the heel in the round. Knit 2 rows.
  7. Start decreasing. Using the decrease method of your choice, decrease 4 times on every other row just as you would a toe in cuff-down socks. Be especially carefulto keep your stitches tight between needles. This part is especially prone to laddering! On magic loop, I did as follows:
    1. Row 1: On each needle, k2tog, knit to last 2 stitches on needle, ssk.
    2. Row 2: knit all.
  8. When about 1/2 the stitches remain on the needles, start decreases 4 times on every row. Do this for 4 rows.
  9. Cast off using the Kitchener stitch (grafting).

And that’s it. You should finish with a heel that looks great, is comfortable, and has nice stripes in it to match the rest of your sock.

Let me know in the comments if you plan to give this a try!

Here is a close up view of the lace wrap.

My First Lace Knit

Project Log: “Romantic Moments Lace Wrap”

My newly finished lace wrap. I also made a hat to match for my Derby Party.

I feel like my knitting skills have advanced an amazing amount since the start of this year. At the end of last year, I made some fingerless gloves for people at a Christmas present and I didn’t even know how to knit in the round or leave a thumb gusset. And now I just finished a beautiful lace shawl – my most challenging project to date.

I started this back on March 9 and finished it May 1, so it didn’t take all that long to complete. But it was VERY challenging – probably the most difficult thing I’ve made so far. And it was very rewarding as well.

Pattern: Romantic Moments Lace Wrap and Garter

Here is a close up view of the lace wrap.

Yarn: Mountain Colors Winter Lace in the Harmony Rose colorway

Lessons Learned:

  • Use lifelines when you knit lace.
  • How to block. I used my new blocking wires and kit from Joann for this project and that’s really why it looks so amazing. Before blocking it was a LOT less impressive. I followed all the directions on the blocking wires kit and it came out beautifully!
  • Stitch markers can be invaluable when your knitting lace. They helped me to stay on track and, more importantly, to realize when I was OFF track. I counted pretty much every stitch of every row on this and that, combined with the stitch markers, helped me to find any mistakes while they were still easy to fix.

WIP: How Many Projects Can One Girl Have?

I’ve been really busy with knitting lately and haven’t crocheted much at all. I’ve got several projects going at the same time and then some queued up already for later. Here’s my work in progress (WIP).

  1. I’m working on a lace wrap for myself.I know its going to be just beautiful. I love the yarn – it’s a hot pink yarn that has subtle color variations from an orange-ish pink to a purple-ish pink. It’s especially beautiful in the sunlight. The yarn is 50/50 wool and silk and has a beautiful sheen and is very soft. I had a goal to finish it buy the end of May for ConQuest, but now I’m hoping to finish it in time for my Derby Party since it will go beautifully with my Derby Hat. It takes a lot of concentration, but now that I’ve repeated the pattern 17 times (I have to do it 33), I’m starting to get the hang of it enough to work on it during TV watching.
  2. The parts & pieces I’m going to use to make my Derby Hat.

    I’m making a Derby Hat. This is a hat I got on sale at Joann’s. It’s a pink and white sun hat and I’m going to add a glittery pink ribbon, some flowers (roses & dogwoods) and some white feathers. I think it will be just “too too” (as my Mom would say).

  3. I decided I should have some socks of my own. I’ve had some yarn around for a while now that is beautifully self-striping in purple and white. I’m really happy with how these socks are turning out. They are my first toe-up socks so I’ll be writing a blog post about them later. I decided to go with a toe-up sock because it would be new but also so I could use up ALL my yarn. The pattern is a heavily modified Rock the STARS socks pattern. This project doesn’t have a deadline so I work on it when I don’t have the ability to concentrate on my knitting completely (like at Nebraska Knit & Crochet Guild night).
  4. I’m working on another half-moon cape in white. This will be a project to sell and I’m very close to finished with it. My deadline is ConQuest.
  5. I have a shawl I’ve been half-heartedly crocheting. It’s a pretty boring pattern and I started it before I started my lace shawl. The lace shawl is going to be so much prettier that I’ve lost all enthusiasm for the project. But I’ll finish it eventually.

Projects in my Queue

  • New sock yarn from Knit Picks

    Socks for a mystery person (as a present). I got this beautiful yarn from Knit Picks. It’s super soft and I can’t wait to work with it.

  • A vest for one of my very favorite people – my Aunt Myra. It’s going to be a lot of stockinette in a DK yarn so it will probably not going very quickly. But I have until Christmas to finish it.
  • A new tunic for myself for summer. I’m going to use this pattern from Interweave. I’m either going to make it with the exact same yarn in the same color, or I’m going to save myself $20 and make it in a similar yarn in pink.
  • I downloaded about 4 other patterns from Interweave yesterday. They were having a sale!! So that will keep me busy for quite some time.

What are you working on right now? Let me know in the comments.