The new to me way of sock knitting

Hi there, how are you doing today ? I hope you have had a great week since last time. Here in Normandy the weather has been strange. Some days it’s really wintery and others it’s actually quite warm. We are sort of in between two seasons and depending on the day it’s more winter or more spring.

I do admit that spring weather does feel good although I do always make good use of bad weather Sundays. My favorites actually because I can just spend the day in some “homely” clothes, bake a cake for and then spend my time knitting with the family in front of the tv.

But now on to knitting. If you follow me on social media, you will have seen pictures of my most recent FO, a pair of socks I knit on 9″ circulars.

I had this idea for a new way (to me at least) of knitting two at a time socks and so avoid Second Sock Syndrome which I sometimes fall victim to. I started to knit and got quite excited about the whole process and shared pictures on social media. I innocently called them my Siamese Socks but quickly stopped because I learned that to some people the word siamese is racist and degrading and so I was being called those too. What a shock! As you may or may not know, I’m not a native English speaker and so I’m not always fully aware of subtleties and maybe don’t always use the correct word or phrasing. To me the word was neither degrading nor racist. I just felt it was perfect for my pair of socks. But like I said, after being called **** I stopped using that and now just call them my “two in one 9″ circular socks” which is a lot longer and more boring name but hopefully that will not cause me problems. So if you were one of the offended people, I do apologize but I also insist on saying that my intention was only to use a word I thought perfect for my pair of socks.

So if you have not seen these famous socks yet, I’m sure you are anxious to!

So like I said above, the idea was to knit two socks at a time without doing them magic loop or one inside the other as I have already experimented with and shared here on the blog before. I have recently started using 9″ circular needles and quite enjoy them and so I was wondering if I could do this using those.

I had heard about a new pattern or recipe called “The Afterthought Everything Socks” on Ravelry where you basically knit a tube and put in waste yarn for the heel and toes and of course this can be knit either on a long circular, on dpns or even on a 9″ circular. I don’t own the pattern myself so I haven’t read it but my idea came from there.

Personally I don’t much like afterthought heels, mainly because I’m always unsure of when to start my toe. I like being able to either try the sock on or at least measure from the heel. So I wanted to build on the idea but only do afterthought toes which I feel is much easier. And so off I went.

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My method means that you knit the first sock cuff down and the second toe up. So I cast on 64 stitches for the cuff and knit a 2 x 2 rib for about 1 1/2 inch in contrast color yarn. Then I changed to my main yarn which is a self striping SOX yarn that I dyed myself. I knit the leg until the total length (from cast on) was 5 1/2″.

Then I picked up the contrast yarn again and knit a short row heel over 32 stitches. This is the heel that I use 90% of the time. I think it is just a regular short row heel but here’s how I do it. I knit 31 stitches and then wrap the last stitch and turn. I purl (or in my case knit backwards) 30 stitches and then wrap and turn. Each row you knit/purl one less stitch before the wrap and turn until only 10 stitches are left in the middle. Then I knit to the end of the row picking up the wraps along with each stitch. To be more precise I knit the 10 heel stitches and then I knit the next 11 stitches knitting the wrap along with each stitch. At the end of the row, I turn and purl those 11 stitches + the 10 heel stitches and then it’s time to purl the last 11 stitches being careful to pick up the wraps as well. At the end of the row turn around and knit 21 stitches ( 11 + 10 heel stitches) and then wrap and turn stitch 22. Purl  stitches and then wrap and turn.You are now halfway through your heel and as of this row you knit/purl one more stitch each row as you knit the previous wrap and turn stitch. So this first time you knit the 10 heel stitches + the 11th along with its wrap and then you do a wrap and turn. Next row you purl 11 stitches + the previous wrap and turn and then you do a wrap and turn. So on this second half of the sock you knit your middle stitches plus the previous wrapped stitch along with its wrap AND THEN you do a wrap and turn. I  hope you understand what I mean. I’m not really explaining this very well. I think that whatever short row heel would work fine. I knit my heels on my 9″ circulars.

Once the heel is done, I continue the foot in the main yarn until the sock is about 2″ shorter than the intended foot. At that time I insert a waste yarn for separation. In my case I used the contrasting yarn but I think I should have used something completely different because the main yarn also has black stripes. So if you are going to try this, I recommend you use a waste yarn in a totally different colour just for ease.

I knit two rounds in waste yarn but you could knit more if you prefer. I left the cast on and end tail long and sticking out as  a reminder for when picking up the toe stitches and also to be sure that when doing so I would be picking up the stitches at the right place (I was afraid I might otherwise end up with a wonky toe).  I did not cut my main yarn but you could if you prefer. I just pulled a bit on it to be sure that there were a few inches of yarn between the two socks for weaving in later.

And now it was time for the second sock. I switched back to my main yarn and knit to the heel. To be sure my socks would be identical I measured the first sock from end of heel to waste yarn and then knit the same for the other. I then knit a short row heel and so on until I cast off using a stretchy bind off.

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Then it was time for surgery! To separate the two socks, I threaded the stitches on to two circulars. Here you can see the first circular. I followed the waste yarn and threaded the needle on to the last live stitches of my main yarn.

When I had both needles in, one on each sock, I started to unravel my waste yarn and separating the socks.

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And here they are, two individual socks; one on each needle. I used a regular long circular for this as it is not possible to knit the toe on a small 9″ circular.  And then I knit 1 round before beginning the decreases. My regular toe, and you could use whatever toe you prefer, is 1 round knit all stitches, 1 decrease round until only 10 stitches are left.

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Round 1 and all uneven rounds: knit all stitches

Round 2 and all even rounds: Knit 1, SSK, knit to 2 stitches before end of needle, K2tog, knit 2, SSK, knit to 3 stitches before end of round, K2tog, knit 1.

I don’t know how to Kitchener so I cut my yarn and then turn the sock inside out and do a three needle bind off.

Voila!

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I don’t know if I was clear enough for you but basically you just knit one cuff down sock to the beginning of the toe, knit a few rounds of waste yarn and then go on to knit a toe up sock from the end of the toe. Once done, you separate the two socks and knit each toe individually. You can knit this on a long circular, a 9″ circular or even dpns.

I’m not inventing anything new here although I worked from an idea in my head. It’s just a new to me way of knitting a pair of socks and maybe you too would like to try this out.

 

That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with me. I hope you have enjoyed reading about these socks and hopefully I did not get you all confused!

Until next time, take care and enjoy your knitting:)

Back at last and with some finished items

Hi there, how are you? I hope you are doing better than I am since I have a big cold and have totally lost my voice! Apparently that is going around these days.

So, I know I told you last time that I was going to concentrate on finishing all the wips BEFORE casting on for new stuff. Well….how can I say this?…..I totally failed! I have cast on sooo many projects that I have to do at least two posts to share everything with you!

So today let me show you three projects that I have just finished. The first one is a pair of socks for my older daughter. I used my hand dyed SOX and SPARKLES yarns and just did a simple vanilla type pattern, knit from the top down and did a short row heel. I also did cuff, heel and toe in contrasting color to hold the pattern of the variegated yarn.

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I’m really happy about how they turned out. The color way for the variegated yarn is called Another Kind of Christmas. I dyed that up in December and put up for sale in my independent shop (which by the way is not working out so I really need to list the yarn there on Etsy).

And I believe last time I also told you about doing a double experiment, dyeing self striping yarn and using NEKO knitting needles. Well I finished my first pair using the Neko needles and my self striping yarn.

As for the needles, they are nice BUT not transcendent, not enough to make me want to knit only with those. The idea behind them, I feel, is like knitting with 2 circulars so if you like knitting your socks with two circular needles you might enjoy the bent Neko needles.

I do find that my gauge is looser when knitting with the Neko needles than when I knit with dpns or circulars. I think that it might be because of the shape of the needles and that I was not able to find the perfect way to hold them. The only problem though that I had, was when I was almost at the end of sock number two. I had begun de toe decreases when all of a sudden one of the needles broke! I was sitting at my desk so I immediately took a picture and sent to the manufacturer asking if this was a recurring problem with their smallest size and if they guaranteed their needles and would send me a new one. They answered very quickly and said that this did not happen often but they would be sending me a new set of needles. I was very happy with that and just transferred half my stitches to a different needle and went on to finish my sock and then….a second needle broke! I hope I will have more luck with the new set that they sent me! I don’t think I used too much force and the needles were not bent out of shape so I’m thinking maybe the 2mm size/0 US is just a little too fine for the plastic material they use for the needles.

But anyway it was a fun experiment and I have cast on for a second project using the next size (2.50 mm) and those feel sturdier so cross my fingers and hope they will not brake. But now I think it is time for some pictures.

First off some pictures of the dyeing. So I wanted to do a self striping yarn. I have heard that a lot of dyers do not do those because they are soooooooo time consuming. And I can definitely confirm that. I will need to research methods to speed up a little the process if I want to offer those in my shop otherwise they will just not be worth it because I’ll never be able to sell them at a profitable prize.

So I actually did 2 self striping tests and this was the first one. So I decided to do a regular skein and wind it up into sections that would then be dyed in different colours. I used a yardage measuring device to help me wind the same amount for each section so that the stripes would be as equal in size as possible.

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Then I put each section into a little plastic bag to keep them separate. I then wet the yarn and took each section/bag and poured the dye on. When all the sections were dyed, I put them in the pot to steam set.

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Here the yarn is just out of the dye pot and drying in front of my fireplace. You can see that the sections are connected together because I did not cut the yarn. Also I dyed the skein “single” I mean that I did not wind the yarn double to make two identical skeins for one pair of socks but I actually dyed one skein, single wound, to make one pair.

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Here the yarn has dried and this is where the “fun” starts. You have to wind the yarn on a niddy noddy to make a skein that can then be sold or in my case put on a swift so that I could wind it and knit asap.

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Here is my yarn all skeined up and looking gorgeous.

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And here it is wound up into  a cake. The Neko needles you see are not the ones I ended up using. These are 2.50 mm and I found that my gauge was much looser so I would have ended up with humongous socks so I ripped back my first cuff and started over using the 2.00 mm needles.

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Here you can see my stripes forming. I had 8 colours and each stripe measured 10 yards. That was ok this time as I was knitting a 64 st sock but I do think the stripes should be smaller because at this yardage, you can only really knit large socks, anything small would not really be a stripy sock but a sock with colour sections.

So what I learned from this first test was that I CAN DO IT! and that I need to make the stripes smaller. I also realized how much time it takes from start to finish to make a single skein of self striping! But I admit the process is fun and I’m really happy with the outcome. Again I did a simple vanilla, top down sock with a short row heel. I also dyed a small skein of yarn in a different colour to use for cuff, heel and toes so that the stripe pattern would not be broken up. And it worked perfectly.

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And here they are! All done and gorgeous:) I’m most proud of the fact that I was able to make a totally matching pair of socks even if I did not dye my yarn double. That is way more difficult than dyeing a small skein double where you are totally certain that the colours are going to match up. So I’m really happy with this. And I did enjoy using the Neko, bent knitting needles and I’m going to knit some more on those.

Wow that was a lot! But before I leave you I have one more project I want to share with you. My daughter has a friend who is going to celebrate her 10th birthday this weekend and when my daughter asked her friend what she would like for her birthday the friend said: a hand knit, hand dyed hat and a hand knit mermaid tail blanket! WOW! I learned this Wednesday and the birthday is Saturday!!!! Of course I’m super happy that she loves my knitting. I have knit her a pair of socks she adores and apparently she wants more! So who am I to say no?

Well, first I wanted to be reasonable and so I said to my daughter, ok I can do the hat but I will not have the time to do the mermaid tail blanket. That was not good enough!!!! But more about that later.

It just so happened that I had dyed a little bit of some DK Cash’merino yarn and so I took a skein and wound it up, found a pattern on Ravery called “Gentleman hat” and cast on.

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I need to make a pompom as that was part of the wishlist. The pattern is fun and very easy so this was a quick knit. I knit the child size and the only critique would be that the ribbing should have been longer, I should have thought to make it longer myself…but I didn’t but hopefully it will still be ok. I like how the colour shows on the hat with lots of white and then some red, some pink and some purple and I hope the little friend will love it!

And then there is the mermaid tail blanket!! When I showed my daughter the hat I told her we needed to find something else to go with the hat and she said NO! She only wants the blanket! And I said; I’ll never finish in time. But my daughter has an answer for everything so she said ” not a problem, its ok to give the rest of the gift a little later”. Being the knitter I am, I of course folded an found some yarn and cast on last night!

I’ll show you pictures next time and a link to the pattern if you too have been thinking about doing one of those yourself.

That’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed stopping by and sharing some time with me. I’ll try to be more regular in my postings. And next time I’ll share my mermaids tail blanket as well as pictures of my second self striping dye sock knitting test and….. the 3 yes I did say THREE MKals I just joined! Talk about NOT casting on any new projects before all the WIPs are done! Clearly I’m not very serious!

So until next time, enjoy your crafting. The weekend is just a day away so you should have some more knitting time around the corner! Take care

Exciting announcements

Hi there, I’m back in France after a wonderful trip to the USA. I’ll have to write a post about my trip and share some pictures of the wonderful sights I saw there. But today will be a rather short post as I’m totally jet lagged and super tired from the long hours of travel back home and the 9 hours of time difference.

First I absolutely wanted to let you know that I have reopened my shop as of yesterday evening. You will discover a lot of new hand dyed yarns  and 2 clubs. For the first time I’m doing one Goody Bag club for knitters and one Fibre club for spinners. To begin with each club will be a 3 month subscription and if they go well I’m going to launch a new edition before the end of this year for a year long club where you will receive a package every two months. So stay tuned:) Now to check out the shop and my new yarns, just click here

Second, I’m super excited to announce the publishing of the first ever sock pattern designed specifically for my hand dyed yarns! The pattern is called Strawberries and Cream Frappé Socks and is by CC Almon or JavaPurl on Ravelry.

You can find the pattern here and this is what it looks like

www.knittinginfrance.com Gorgeous don’t you think? Of course I’m going to cast on ASAP, never mind the gazillion projects I have going already 🙂 And here you can find the yarn I dyed specifically for this pattern, there is a version in the SPARKLES base which is what the designer used in her pattern and you can find that here

www.knittinginfrance.com This is the SPARKLE Strawberry Frappuccino

And the regular, SOX base yarn is called Speckled Frappuccino and can be found here

www.knittinginfrance.com This is the SOX base yarn

And to add some more excitement, I’m happy to announce that JavaPurl is celebrating her birthday today October 4th (HAPPY BIRTHDAY CC) and she is offering us all -38% off the regular price of her pattern! So head on over to Revelry and buy the pattern using the coupon code CCSBDAY. The discount is valid until October 11th.

Now it’s time for me to cast on for this very special pattern and I’ll share the pictures later this week:)

So have a wonderful Sunday and a great new week. Until next time, take care

Something done and something new

Hi there, I hope you had a great weekend. I went to visit a friend and a colleague which was great. When working from home on the computer and over the phone, work can get lonely even though I’m in touch with my colleagues every day I still take my lunch break alone and I don’t actually see anyone so getting to meet up was a treat and the best part was that it was on a weekend so no work and all fun !

She lives over an hour by train away from me so I got a little bit of knitting done on the train. I was working on my 2 in 1 socks using my new Lornas Laces Rainbow colorway yarn.

www.knittinginfrance.com I love the yarn and how my socks are working out. One thing though about knitting socks with this method. Once you have the hang of it, it goes rather smoothly but you do need to be vigilant. I occasionally make a mistake where I don’t switch my yarns around as I should and that means that your socks are actually joined together like siamese twins! Not the way they are supposed to work!!! And sadly, just this evening, I discovered such a mistake! At least 2″ below my working row (10 cm) I had mis crossed my yarns and my socks were joined together on 1 single stitch! Only as both socks are being worked at the same time, it is fiddly to undo and start again and in this case I had actually knitted on for AGES! So I had to rip out a good chunk and start again so in spite of today’s knitting, I’m at much the same place now as I was Saturday. So annoying!!!!! But, rather than cut the yarn and fix with a knot and so forth I chose to rip it out and do over for a perfect look! The ripping out is now done and I’m knitting on and being very careful NOT to make the same mistake again! So mark my words: if/when you knit your socks this way, ALWAYS be careful about your yarn placement!

On to more happier things. Last week I actually finished a project and a big one at that. I finished my Pebble Beach Shawl by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. I knit the shawl using DK weight instead of the heavy laceweight or fingering the pattern called for so my shawl is probably quite bigger than the pattern meant for it to be BUT I love it! I can wear it as a shawl or I can wear it all wrapped up like a shawl and a scarf in one. The yarn is a cash’merino so super soft and warm.

I had intended for it to be a gradient grey with the last section being bright pink but I ran out of yarn! Fortunately I had some more on stock and so was able to finish the shawl using the same yarn although in a different grey color. But I think it really did work out nicely. Theoretically I should now wash and block but I’m feeling ….lazy…un-encouraged….un-inspired…. so I think I’ll actually just wear it as is!

www.knittinginfrance.com What do you think?

And before I leave you, I’m thinking that I really need to develop some patterns using my yarns. That pattern support would be really helpful and encourage sales. I’ve already got a designer working on a sock pattern that will be released in a few months probably and I’m going to see if I can find other designers to work with my yarns as well.

Yesterday, as I was looking at a pile of dyed yarn that is just waiting for me to reskein, photograph and list online, I thought ” well, why don’t I try to do some designing as well???”

And since I love knitting socks and seem to be constantly drawn to fingering weight yarn and bright colors, I naturally chose to do socks! I cast on yesterday and I’ve been working on the today as well and I’m passed the heel on the first so and so far they look nice! I’m thinking I’ll knit the first sock as I write the pattern. Then I’ll put the pattern on paper and knit the second sock by following my pattern and if all works out and the socks look wearable, I’m going to put it up online. This will probably be a free pattern as it’s my very first sock pattern. But I’m really excited about the outcome and just thinking that I could do more and that pattern support could actually help my little yarn business.

Here are some pictures and I’d really love to hear your thoughts on what’s done so far.

www.knittinginfrance.com    Here is a close up, I’ve finished the cuff and done 1 repeat of my lace panel

www.knittinginfrance.com  Here is a sideways view of the sock, there is a lace panel on the center front and back

www.knittinginfrance.com  Here you can better see the lace panel

Any thoughts on my work so far? Be honest!

Well that’s all you guys. I hope you are all doing great and enjoying your summer so far. I’m not writing as regularly as before but I hope you forgive me for that. Thanks for stopping by and until next time, take care 🙂

Sock and sock patterns

Hi there, I’m writing late in the day today. I was too busy at work to take a break and in addition it’s pretty hot out here today so I’m sort of melting inside at my computer and I think my brain took a hit! Working in slow motion and not having many ideas for a blog post today…sniff sniff. But hey, I’m used to write a post per day and I’m guessing (hoping) you enjoy coming by every day to read me:) So here I am. By the way, do you enjoy a post a day? Am I maybe overdoing things? I don’t know. I know that some bloggers only blog once a week and others maybe 2-3 times per week. Sometimes I feel so inspired and full of ideas that I could post 2-3 times a day and so I write down ideas or make drafts for later and I kind of got used to writing everyday and I feel that’s cool. So I hope you enjoy that, and if not I’m sure you just don’t come by if you are doing something else:)

Now, what could I share with you today? Well, yesterday I told you about the generous offer from Slipped Stitch Studios and she makes the needle nooks which are so cool when knitting socks on dpns so I thought I’d talk about socks. Not long ago I was browsing Ravelry and I came across this German designer who has lots of beautiful and free sock patterns. I had never heard of her so maybe you haven’t either.

Her name is Gudrun Neumann Mack and her username on Ravelry is Calpurnia1408.  You can check out her designs by clicking here

She does not only do socks, she also has a couple of shawls in there. Her socks are mostly textured or lace patterns and I saved all of them to my Ravelry library thinking I have knit some of them up.

Here are my favorites

Dragontail free sock pattern on Ravelry

Dragontail  – I love how the patterning stands out here

Elfriede free sock pattern on Ravelry

Elfriede – I like how the pattern is constructed in an unusual way, sort of like sideways

highlander free pattern on Ravelry

Highlander – this is a simple and yet intricate pattern

sister of Leoni free pattern on Ravelry sister of Leoni free pattern on Ravelry

Sister of Leoni – I really like the cables here and the details on the side of the leg. I think I may cast on for these real soon

That’s all for today my friends. I’ll be more creative tomorrow I’m sure. Just thinking about the weekend makes me smile and think of all the things I could be doing:)

More on Sock Blanks

What is a sock blank? Some of you are sure to be familiar with those and others maybe not so much.

A sock blank is a machine knit “blank” or a piece that looks like a short, wide scarf. A sock blank can be knit single or double and it is important to know which type you are buying because this will determine how you can use the blank for your knitting.

A hand dyed sparkle sock blank by www.knittinginfrance.com

A single knit blank will be twice as long, more or less, than a double knit blank. But the most important difference is that a single knit blank means that you only have 1 thread to work with which is fine if you are knitting one sock at a time or one mitten at a time or something like that. However if you were planning on doing a TAAT sock project or something similar you will want a double knit blank where you unravel 2 threads at a time and can thus knit 2 separate pieces.

Sock blanks by www.knittinginfrance.com

Dyeing sock blanks is a challenge I feel. You can do different things and maybe more with some regards versus dyeing a hank of yarn. However you should keep in mind that the pattern on your blank is not going to be reproduced exactly in your pair of socks for example. If you have a striped design, your socks will be striped but the final patterning will be different as everything depends on your needle size, the amount of stitches used and of course your pattern. Also if you design has dots or geometric designs for example, these will translate into a more sort of varigated design in your socks or other small circumference knit.

hand dyed sock blanks by Knitting in France

Here’s a picture of a pair of simple socks that I’m currently knitting using a blank that I dyed a while back. This was one of the first blanks I did and I first dyed each half in a different colour. Then I decided to overdye by doing a sort of dot design on top of the main colour. And on the picture below you can see the blank and its design and how the pattern then translates into the actual socks that I’m knitting. These will be simple afterthought heel socks and the front is 3×2 ribbing.

www.knittinginfrance.com You can see the dots in the blanket and how this gives a varigated end result. This is a double knit blanket which enables me to knit 2 socks at a time.

I will be selling some of my hand dyed sock blanks at the show in London this weekend and if you are coming I hope you will come by my booth for a chat and maybe even purchase something you like 🙂

Take care

General Hogbuffer

Does that name sound at all familiar? If not, then I’m so happy to be able to introduce you to this fantastic sock designer! A while back I was browsing Ravelry for some Sock patterns and I found this amazing designer that has a lot of gorgeous sock patterns and they are all FREE!

You can check out his Ravelry page here and he also has a blog on crafting which you might enjoy reading and for a peak just click here

I really admire his work and he does both colourwork and patterned/cabled designs and also has a few socks with innovative or unusual construction. So far I have not had the pleasure of knitting one of his socks but since I’m looking for a new sock to knit (yes I know, What a surprise!), I’m going to choose one of his designs. Actually, I think I’ll choose 2 because I have my latest Knitcircus Gradient Yarn Sock Club yarn waiting and then there is the upcoming show in London and I really can’t be seen there knitting with a yarn that is not mine 🙂 So as for the socks using my own yarn, I’m thinking of using a sock blank that I have dyed.

A hand dyed sparkle sock blank by www.knittinginfrance.com This is a sparkle sock blank, 75% super wash merino, 20% nylon and 5% silver stellina. This is a yarn that I adore! I love the sparkle and it is just so super soft and wonderfully comfortable for next to skin wear be it for socks or any other accessory. I just recently got theses sparkle sock blanks so this will be my first time knitting with one of those although I’m very familiar with the yarn itself. I dyed this with a new method of kettle dyeing where I left parts of the blank in the simmering dye pot for different lengths of time which in turn gives me a blank with different tones of fuchsia which I quite like. I did dye a few of these and will be selling them at the I Knit Fandango Show this week (May 15th and 16th) in London.

Now as for the pattern I chose, it’s called Maudie by General Hogbuffer of course and here is a link to the pattern on Ravelry

And here’s a picture of the sock Maudie sock pattern by General Hogbuffer I love the “braid/cable” design on the side.

As this particular blank is knit in single, it means that I will not be able to do a TAAT knit but as I have chosen a detailed pattern that is maybe for the better.

Anyway, I’m going to have to cast on today so that I have some rows worked before leaving for the show and I’ll be showing you some pictures next week. I may not have made much progress between casting on and then but that will just be a good thing as that would mean I was way to busy selling stuff in my booth to do any knitting:)

That’s it for today, take care and have a wonderful day