Designing a New Sock

I am currently designing a new sock for men. I wanted something that was somewhat generic, but that men would wear. I talked with my youngest son. He said it’s all about color, not fancy stitches. So I came up with a plaid sock.

First of all, I worked it out on graph paper. I played around with it until I got it like I wanted. Then I began to implement it.

Now I am no stranger to stranded (colorwork or fairisle) knitting. I know it takes longer to knit and it also tends to draw up the width more so than just knitting with a single yarn. BUT, OMG! This sock is labor intensive. I do like the results, but I don’t think I will be making this again. If I do I will only, repeat, ONLY do the plaid section on the top or cuff of the sock and only for a short distance.

Figuring out on paper where to change colors is so much different than the actual knitting of said colors. As I said, it is labor intensive. And I still have to write it up as a pattern and place said pattern in my store for sale.

After all this work, I certainly hope the pattern sells well.

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Oh BTW, I call it Mens Plaid PIA Sox.

Wearing Socks in Florida

I’m a knitter, a sock knitter primarily. I just love to knit them and wear them. And, yes, I live in Florida. I wear socks year around.

Why? you ask. Well, I’ll tell you. First, it does get extremely hot and humid here. That includes the sand at the beach. That sand can blister your feet in seconds. Then you can give up walking for awhile. The sun can blister the tops of your feet while the sand takes care of the bottoms.

Second, this is the South. Air conditioning is used everywhere. I don’t mean just cool comfort from the heat outside. I mean freezing temperatures, walk-in freezer type temperatures in stores, theaters, homes, businesses, schools, etc. That cool blast feels pretty good the first few minutes you are inside, then you begin to get cold and that includes your feet.

Third, I make my socks with a wool blend sock yarn. Wool pulls moisture away from the skin so you don’t have that yukky, sticky, wet squishy feeling while wearing your socks.

So, I’ll continue to wear my socks year round…in Florida.

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Berries in a Basket Socks Free Knitting Pattern

Berries in a Basket Socks

This is an easy pattern to do. Assumption is made that you already know how to knit socks. If not, check previous entries on my blog for more information on knitting socks. There are also numerous how-to videos on Youtube, including grafting the toe using the Kitchner stitch.

Materials:
2 50/60 gram skeins of fingering/sock yarn (I used Deborah Norville’s Serenity sock yarn colorway Chili color #DN104-07)
Set of 5 US#3 double points (it is critical that you use 5 needles so that the pattern will be easy to follow)
Yarn needle for grafting the toe.

Pattern:

Berries:
1. P2 K2 around
2. P2 K2 around
3. K2 P2 around
4. K2 P2 around
Repeat 1-4 above 4 more times (total of 5 times)

Basket:
1. Knit 1 round even
2. K2 P6 around
3. Repeat row 2
4. Repeat row 2
5. Knit 1 round even
6. P4 K2 P6 K2 P2 around
7. Repeat row 6
8. Repeat row 6
Repeat rows 1-8 again.

FYI: Both patterns above work on a multiple of 4.
Gauge: 7 stitches to the inch and about 10 rows to the inch

Cast on 64 stitches using your favorite cast on method and divide evenly over 4 needles (16 stitches on each needle).
Join and K2 P2 around for a total of 10 rounds.

Do Berry pattern.

Then do Basket pattern.

The leg can be increased in length by repeating either of the patterns above or both.

From here to completion of the sock use your preferred method for the heel flap, turning the heel, gusset stitches, foot and toe.

Repeat for second sock.

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I love the colorway of this yarn, but photographing it was a PIA!

4 More Working Days

….and then I am officially retired. I can hardly wait.

I’ve been working since I was 16 years old. During my high school years I did summer jobs and holiday jobs. When I graduated from high school I went to work full time at the home office of Holiday Inns in Memphis as a receptionist. I advanced to a secretarial position in the Treasury Department of Holiday Inns, typing spreadsheets and balance sheets, etc.

I got married while I was there. Still married to the same guy, BTW. We lived in an apartment to begin with, then moved to some property with a trailer.

When my dad died, my mom decided to move to Florida. Hubby and I were going through a rough patch at the time. So we decided to move with her. Start new, start fresh. It wasn’t long after we moved, that mom got sick. She was finally diagnosed with terminal cancer. We lived with her until she died, less than 6 months from the time she was diagnosed.

After she died, I went back to school for nursing. I had been impressed by the care she had received at the hospital. I didn’t work during this time, although you could call going to nursing school work. It wasn’t easy. I passed my boards and went to work at a local hospital.

I’ve worked at 2 hospitals, a doctor’s office and a nursing home during this time. Now I’m almost 62, next month I’ll be 62. I’m tired, tired of working, tired of having to make a living, tired of working at the whim and command of others. It’s time to do things I want to do, when I want to do them. Go to bed when I want and get up when I want.

Oh don’t worry, I’ll have enough to keep me busy. I have enough yarn and fabric and books to last 3 lifetimes. And I can pinch pennies with the best of them. I’ll save for little trips to far away places…well maybe not so far, but still a trip nonetheless. I also plan to do some yearly volunteer work at our local Fair. That’s only 1 week a year. I think I can handle that.

So what plans have you got for retirement?

UPDATE:

Yesterday was my first day of retirement after working all nite. So I slept off and on all day. Today is my second day of retirement and I have things to do regarding 401K’s.

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Minions!

I was browsing through Ravelry’s pattern base and came across a pattern for a knitted minion. There were several for crocheted ones too. Anyway my youngest son saw it and wanted one.

Yesterday, I went through my stash and gathered my yellow wool yarn and denim blue wool yarn. Then I located my fiberfill, some buttons and glue. Then I pulled up the pattern and began knitting the little guy. It took very little yarn and only a few hours to complete.

I began thinking…not usually a good idea for me. But, wouldn’t it be great if we all had minions to do our housecleaning, grocery shopping, yard work etc. Now where is that Minions, Inc. so I can get me a few minions. I would certainly have more time to craft.

Dave the minion

Basic Footies Pattern

If you can knit socks, you can knit these basic, easy footies.

Materials:

1 set of 5 US 3 double pointed needles
1 50 gram skein of sock yarn solid color (I used Bernat Sox Sock yarn)
1 50 gram skein of sock yarn self striping (again Bernat Sox Sock yarn)
Tapestry or yarn needle for grafting the toe
Gauge: 7 stitches to the inch, 9 rows to the inch

Terms:

C/O – cast on
K – knit
P – purl
Sl – slip
PSSO – pass slipped stitch over
DP – double pointed
CC – contrast color (solid)
MC – main color (stripes)
tog – together
PU – pick up

Cuff:

Using size 3 DP needles C/O 60 stitches with CC and divide evenly over 4 needles (15 stitches). Join and begin K1, P1 rib around. Repeat for a total of 7 rounds.

Heel Flap:

Join MC, and S1, K1 across the next two needles …onto one needle so that you are working back and forth on one needle while doing the heel flap. Turn

S1, P across the needle.

Repeat these two rows until you have completed a total of 30 rows.

Turn the Heel:

Set up row: K 20 stitches. S1, K1, PSSO. Turn

a. S1, P10 stitches, P2tog. Turn
b. S1, K10 stitches, S1, K1 PSSO. Turn

Repeat a and b above until all stitches have been worked.

K across the 12 stitches

Gussett:

PU 15 stitches along the side and knit. You will have 15 + 12 stitches on one needle. This will be reduced in just a moment.

K across the next two needles.

PU 15 stitches along the next side and knit. AND knit 6 stitches from your first needle. You now have 21 stitches on needles 1 & 4 and 15 stitches on needles 2 & 3. Your starting/ending will now begin in the middle of the heel.

Reduce the Gussett Stitches:

Round 1:

K up to last 3 stitches, K2tog, K1
K the stitches on the next two needles
K1, S1, K1, PSSO, K remainder of stitches

Round 2:

K even (no decreases)

Repeat the above 2 rounds until you have decreased the number of stitches down to 15 on needles 1 & 4.

Foot:

K even until the foot of the sock measures about 6 inches from the PU stitches.

Toe Decreases:

Needle 1. K up to last 3 stitches, K2tog, K1
Needle 2. K1, S1, K1, PSSO. K to end of needle
Needle 3. repeat needle 1
Needle 4. repeat needle 2

K one round even

Repeat above until you have 6 stitches left on each needle. Slip these stitches to 2 needles (12 stitches on each), making sure that your decrease stitches are on the ends of each needle. You will have to knit across one needle to get your yarn in position to graft the toe.

Using the kitchener stitch, graft the toe stitches. Work in all loose ends with your tapestry/yarn needle.

Repeat for other footie.

Devon’s Socks

These are plain socks I knitted for my youngest son. When I knitted the Horseshoe Cable socks, he tried them on and found them to be comfortable (even though his foot is somewhat bigger than mine). So I knitted him a plain pair of socks…no fancy cables, etc.

Since I got 3 skeins and only needed 2 for the socks, I plan on making him a matching scarf.

I plan on making Tabi socks or toe socks for my oldest. He keeps insisting on plain black yarn instead of something colorful. I wonder if he will wear them if they are colorful…hmmmmm….

Angel Doll Tutorial

Pattern:

http://judisdolls.com/napkindoll/index.html

Download and print pattern.

Supplies:

Sewing machine

Thread

Scissors (very sharp)

Upholstery thread

Yarn (Hair)

Rubberbands (hair)

Pigma Pens or marking pens or paint or embroidery floss

(facial expression)

Air erase marking pen (the purple one used in quilting)

2 large eyed needles

2 tiny buttons

2 Pieces of Felt (shoes)

Embroidery Floss or yarn (shoe lacings)

Hemostats (clamps for stuffing/holding thread in place)

Knitting needle or long dowel (for stuffing doll legs/arms)

Fiberfill

Muslin (doll body)

Fat quarter (doll dress)

Scrap fabric (dress facing)

1 chenille stem/pipe cleaner Gold (halo)

2 1/2 wide wired ribbon (wings)

Pins (holding fabric/body parts together)

Cut out the body, legs, hands and feet. Tape the leg section to the body section matching the little triangles and tape the hand section to the arm section . Do NOT tape the feet to the leg section. They will be easier to do the darts if they are kept separate.

Place the body section on the fold of the muslin. Draw around it with the air erase pen. Cut out approximately 1/4 inch from the drawn lines. You will need two body sections.

Do the same for the feet…draw around the pattern and cut our 1/4 inch away from the drawn line.

You will need to cut our 4 feet sections….a top and a bottom for each foot. Again draw around the pattern and cut 1/4 inch away from the line. Separate each foot so that you can mark the darts.

Using a piece of foam, pin the pattern to one of the feet. Place straight pins in each end of the top foot dar(the horizontal one) and the middle of the dart.

I know it’s difficult to see in this photo, you will be able to see it better in the vertical dart photos.

Gently lift the end of the paper pattern and make a dot with your air erase pen at the first pin you come to. Remove the pin and lift the pattern a little more. This should reveal the two end pins. Make a dot at each of these sites and then remove the pins. Do the same for the final pin.

You will need two foot sections marked with a horizontal dart (the top one on the pattern). These will be the tops of your dolls feet.

Mark the bottom dart the same way. Place the pattern over a foot section (one that has no marking on it) and place pins in the end and middle of the vertical dart. Lift the pattern and make a dot at each pin site.

Sew the darts:

For the top foot sections fold the top of the foot down, matching the dots. Sew from dot to dot, a half moon shape.

Sew the top foot sections to one body and the bottom foot sections to the other body.

Mark a straight line, about 2 – 3 inches on the back body section, the one with the verticle dart in the foot. Sew a rectangle around this line 1/4 inch away from the line on all sides. Use a very tiny stitch length.

Pin, right sides together. You will probably have to manipulate the fabric at each foot so that it fits together correctly.

Sew all around using a 1/4 inch seam and a tiny stitch length. Clip all curves almost to the stitching line. Trim the corners at the neck at an angle. Don’t forget to clip between the thumb and hand and the crotch area. Turn right side out with the use of your hemostats.

Stuff the doll body firmly with fiber fill. Use your dowel or knitting needle or hemostats. Use small amounts of fiber at a time. This will keep the doll from being lumpy.

Sew the opening closed using upholstery thread. Put your needle in the fabric just beyond the stitching around the opening.

This is the finished body.

This is a video tutorial on how to sew a dart. This particular dart is straight, wide end to pointed end, on a skirt. But this may help you if you have never sewn any darts before.

Now for the head.

Place your pattern on two layers of muslin. Trace around it with the air erase pen. Cut out about 1/4 inch away from the drawn line.

Take one head and place over your pattern. You can trace the facial expression using pigma pens, or markers or an ordinary pencil if you want to embroider or paint the face on.

I used pigma pens in black for the eyes, brown for the eyebrows, peach for the nose and red for the mouth.

With right sides together sew the head pieces together leaving an opening at the top. Stuff the head firmly making sure you have stuffed the ears too.

Almost forgot, before turning your doll’s head right side out, clip all curves.

Fold the top in about 1/4 inch and sew a running stitch (using upholstery thread) all the way around. Pull as tight as you can. You may have to use your hemostats to hold the thread tight while you knot it off.

Sew a “C” in each ear so that it gives shape to the ear.

Attach the head to the neck. Pin the head to the neck at ear level. Hand sew the head to the neck.

Now for the hair.

I used a 12 1/2 inch quilt ruler to wrap the sock yarn around. I wrapped until the width of the hair was approximately 4 inches wide.

On a sheet of paper, mark a 4 inch wide section.

Take the yarn off the ruler and lay it on the paper, between your two marks. Tape the ends down.

Now take your paper and yarn to your sewing machine and sew a line down the center of the yarn. Remove the tape and paper after you have sewn your line.

You will have to be careful so that the yarn does not get caught on your presser foot. Sew a straight line.

Place the hair on your doll’s head. Make sure the back of the hair covers the head/neck join. Hand sew in place. Make two pigtails and use rubber bands to secure.

Sew a few extra strands at the front for the bangs.

You will need front and back dress pieces. Then you will cut out two dress facings from scrap fabric.

Fold the fat quarter as shown above. Then place your pattern pieces on the fold of the fabric and cut them out. A 1/4 inch seam allowance is already included in the dress pattern.

You will have front and back pieces to your dress.

Now you will need to cut out two dress facings. Fold the scrap fabric as shown and cut out your two dress facing pieces on the fold of the fabric. Sew a 1/4 inch hem in the dress facing pieces.

With right sides together, place a dress facing on a dress piece. Pin in place. Sew from armhole edge up and around the dress strap, around neckline and back down to armhole edge. Do the same for the other dress pieces.

Clip all curves. Turn right side out using your hemostats. Iron the dress piece flat.

With right sides together, sew the two dress pieces together down the sides. Also sew a 1/4 inch hem in the bottom of the dress.

You will need to determine which side you want to be the front. On the front straps sew a small button hole and on the back straps sew tiny buttons.

The underwear/pantaloons you have made before. Place pattern on double layer fabric (right sides together). Cut out. Sew sides and crotch are, clip to corners at crotch area. Hem waist and legs. You will add yarn or embroidery thread later to gather waist area.

The shoes are a little difficult. You have to manipulate the pieces and pin to the bottom of the shoe. Sew the black felt curved pieces to the pink felt shoe back and top.

I pinned the back part of the shoe on first, then sewed it to the bottom. Then I pinned the front part to the shoe bottom and sewed it. I used pinking shears to trim around the base of the shoe. Then I turned it right side out.

I added lacing by using a long piece of sock weight yarn with a needle at both ends. They served as the stiff end pieces to shoe laces when lacing shoes. It was just easier for me to do it that way. I removed the needles and left the yarn long until after I had put the shoes on the doll and tied a bow with a double knot. Then I trimmed the lacing.

If you do not want to tackle making shoes, you may be able to buy them at JoAnn’s or Hobby Lobby or a toy store that sells doll clothing.

To make the wings, cut 2 strips of wired ribbon, 2 1/2 inches wide. These strips should be approximately 17 inches long. Twist them together in the center, and angle them downward. Trim the ribbon at an angle with the longer point/side being on the outer edge of the ribbon.

Sew them to the back of your doll.

To make the halo, bend one end of your gold pipecleaner in a circle and twist end to secure. Then bend the long end downward. Insert this into the hair at the back of the head. Trim the bottom of the pipecleaner and bend the end up just a little.

That’s it!

You are all done with your angel. You can use her in your holiday decorating scheme or add her to a wreath.

Thanks to Judi’s Dolls Free Projects for the pattern.

Crochet Mittens Tutorial

I usually prefer to knit, but a friend, Donna, who recently learned to crochet, wanted to learn how to crochet mittens.  She has done so well, absorbing all kinds of techniques in the field of crochet.  It’s amazing that only a few weeks ago, she never held a crochet hook in her hands.  She is learning at a phenominal rate.

So Donna, this is for you.

How to Crochet Mittens

Materials list:

4 ounces of sock/fingering yarn

G hook

measuring tape/ruler

yarn needle

scissors

You will need three (3) measurements.  (1) Measure around your wrist.  (2) Measure from your wrist to your thumb joint, actually, the space between your index finger and your thumb.  (3) And measure from your thumb joint to the tip of your middle finger.

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We will begin with the cuff.  With your G hook, chain 11.

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SC (single crochet) in second chain from hook and in the remaining chains.

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Chain 1 and turn.  SC in the BACK  loop of the last SC made and in each chain across (10 SC).  This will give a ridged/ribbed  look to your cuff.  Be careful.  It is easy to miss that first SC each time you turn to do your next row.  Count your stitches.  There should always be 10 SC.

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Continue in this manner until your cuff reaches your wrist measurement. 

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Now bring the short ends up to meet each other.  Slip stitch them together.  If you wish to change colors, then cut the yarn and attach your new color.  If not, then continue on with the same color.  I changed colors so that it would be easier to see how the mitten is done.

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I also used scrap yarn to mark the spot where each new round begins which you will notice in one of the pics below.  Join your new color or continue with your same color.  SC in each space BEFORE AND AFTER each ridge.  So there will be 2 SC between each ridge.

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Do Not join in the usual manner.  You will continue with SC around as in a spiral.  This round will also be your increase round.  SC twice in the first SC of previous round, then SC once in each of the next 8 SC.  Then SC twice in the next stitch, and SC once in each of the next 8 stitches.  Continue in this manner until you have come back around to your marker.

SC in each stitch around continuously until your mitten has reached your wrist to thumb joint measurement.

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To create the thumb opening, you will chain 4 or 5, maybe even 6, depending on the size of your thumb.  Skip 4 or 5 or 6 SC in the previous round, and SC in the next stitch.  (I chained 4 as I have small hands.)  If in doubt as to the size of your thumb, stick it in the opening to see how it fits.

Continue to SC in each stitch around until the piece reaches from your thumb joint to just within 1/2 inch or less  of your middle finger.  If you want very roomy mittens, continue around until the piece equals your 3rd measurement from the thumb joint to tip of middle finger.

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Now it is time to begin your decreases.  Keep in mind where your yarn marker is as you do each round.

To decrease, insert hook into next stitch and draw up a loop.  Then insert your hook in the NEXT stitch and draw up another loop.  You will have 3 loops on your hook.   Bring your yarn over the hook and pull it through all 3 loops.  You have just made 1 decrease.

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SC in each of the next 8 stitches.  Decrease again as described above.  Continue around in this manner until you have come back around to your marker.

Do the next round even…No decreases.

At the beginning of the next round, Decrease, then SC in each of the next 7 stitches.  Continue this around until you have reached your marker.  Do the next round even.

Decrease, then SC in the next stitch.  Decrease, then SC in the next stitch.  Repeat this around to marker.  This will make your opening at the top of the mitten small, about finger size.

Cut the yarn and thread it into your yarn needle.  Slip the threaded needle through the stitches around and pull tight.  Secure the thread by going through several of these tightly pulled stitches.  Then slip it down through the center of the stitches and secure on the inside of your mitten.  Yes, you will have to turn it inside out to do this.  Cut the yarn leaving approximately 1 inch on the inside of your mitten.  Turn your mitten right side out.

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Now it is time to do the Thumb.

Attach your yarn to the bottom stitches.  SC in each stitch.  Make two (2) SC in the corner.  SC in each of the top stitches. Make two (2) SC in the next corner. 

SC around in a spiral as you did for the hand part of the mitten until the piece reaches the tip of your thumb.

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Decrease in the next stitch.  SC in the next one.  Repeat around.  Finish as for top of mitten.  You know, cut your yarn, thread your needle, etc.  Secure both on right side and wrong side.  Weave in any loose ends.

This mitten can be used for either hand by “rolling” the mitten between your hands to adjust where the thumb placement is.

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Make your second mitten.

I hope I have not thoroughly confused you.