Back again with more socks

Hi there, how are you doing this week? I hope you are doing good and enjoying this beginning of summer if you are in the northern hemisphere.

I have been furiously knitting on a secret test knit that should be published soon. It is a colorwork sweater and I decided to knit two in stead of just one! I was convinced that a modified version would also look great and so I knit two versions. I do have to weave in ends on the second sweater and block it but that should be done quickly and hope to be able to share the pictures with you soon.

As I had to finish the sweaters rather quickly everything else was put on the back burner.

I did make it to round 5 of Sock Madness but then sort of left. Round 6 only 5 knitters from each team would make it to the next round and the pattern was not to my liking so I admit I did not try to compete for that round.

Since then I started and finished a pair of socks for my younger daughter. I’m a fan of selfstriping sock yarn and especially self striping yarn from Turtle Purl Yarns and I had a lot of small minis from them which I had set aside to use in my Northeasterly blanket. But that has been on hold for a few months now and I really wanted to use the minis so I decided on knitting a pair of scrappy socks.

I also wanted them to be extra cozy so I decided to make the leg extra high.

Scrappy Turtle Purl socks

How fun are these? Not everyone likes colourful non matching socks but I find them fun and my daughter loves them! So that is all that matters.

I actually think I will be making more like these. My daughter sleeps in handknit socks in winter and I think scrappy, long legged socks look extra cozy.

I am also working on a pair of socks now and I’m just inventing the pattern as I go. I’m using a self-patterning sock yarn from Turkey this time but what is different with this pair is that I’m using flexible double pointed needles from NEKO, a German brand. I’m using their bamboo version and so far so good. They are very nice in the hands and good to work with. I’m going to finish the pair before doing a proper review here and I will also be doing a little interview with the people behind these needles and I hope you will enjoy that later.

But here is the first sock

a sock on my new bamboo flexible NEKO needles
My own pattern

I was going to do a vanilla sock, then decided on a ribbing and then felt it was too simple and so added a little cable at regular intervals and I really like how this is knitting up. The cables do draw the sock in so it looks super narrow but then it stretches out when I put my hand in so I think this will be all good. These are also for my younger daughter but this time the leg is a rather short one.

I’m sort of un officially joining the SMAL or spinning makealong that Mina of the Knitting Expat is running now. I have spun up some merino fibre that I tried to spin up to a sort of DK weight and then dyed up the yarn in soft colours. I have knit a little swatch to verify if the yarn will work for what I have in mind.

My handspun yarn just out of the dye pots and drying

I want to knit the Soldotna by Caitlin Hunter but I’m a little worried maybe my yarn will not work. In some places it looks more like a worsted weight yarn. But I’m going to keep on swatching and hopefully I will be able to make this work. If not I will have to find another pattern that I could use this yarn for. If you have any good pointers or know of a colourwork pattern that calls for DK/worsted I’d love to check those out.

The colours are not showing up good here. The main colour is a light blue. The colours are more accurate in the picture above.

So this week I’m going to finish the pair of socks for my daughter, finish my swatching for my handspun so I can start the Soldotna if it works. I also will continue to work on my Olive Leaf Cardigan by Eri which I have yet to share with you. I’m getting close to being done with the body and then there are the sleeves. Friends of my husband have just had their first baby and I’m going to knit a little cardigan for their baby so I’m looking at patterns (I’m tempted by this one https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby-fir-jacket) and yarns in my stash and I look forward to getting that going. It’s been a while since I knit for a baby.

I hope you are having fun with your knitting too and if you would like to share pictures or names of patterns you are working on to inspire me and the other readers, that would be great.

Until next time, have fun and happy 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

Double testing

Hi there, how are you today? I hope you are doing great and enjoying your week.

Today I’m going to share with you my double testing. If you follow me on social media you may have seen pictures of my latest sock project and my self striping yarn. This week I decided to do some dye testing and make a self striping rainbow yarn.

I used bright colours, eight total. Each stripe is 10 yards long which at my current gauge makes for 12 rows of 64 stitches in stocking stitch. Here are some pictures of my project.

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I measure out my yarn and wind on a warping board.

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I dye each “mini skein” a different colour. There are 5 repeats of each color except for the first and last mini skein/color where there are only 3 repeats. Here the yarn is drying in front of my fireplace.

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Here the yarn is all dry and ready for me to wind it into a skein using a niddy noddy.

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All wound into a gorgeous skein.

Next time I think I will make shorter colour repeats and possibly do two skeins which is perfect for taat socks.

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My yarn all caked up and my new knitting needles! I just heard about these new German knitting needles called NEKO. These are plastic, bent knitting needles made for socks and they also have larger sizes made for knitting hats and “loops”. I had never heard about these before so I was super intrigued. These needles come in sets of 3 and are quite hard to find. In Europe they can only be bought from the producer directly but there is at least one shop in the US and one in Canada and I did find one shop on Etsy carrying these.

So I contacted NEKO and bought two pairs of sock needles and they gifted me with one pair of size 8 mm/US 11 for me to test.

Lucky for me, the needles arrived the day my new self striping yarn was dry and ready for knitting so of course I used that yarn to cast on for a new pair of socks and test both yarn and needles at the same time.

I really like the yarn and I managed to make the colour repeats consistent but I do feel they are slightly too long. It’s still ok for a 64 st sock and will be for a 72 st sock. However they will be too long for a smaller size sock, 56 or 60 st sock. So next test I will do shorter repeats.

As for the NEKO knitting needles I need more time before deciding if I like them or not. They are made from plastic and they are V shaped which means you will not loose any stitches when putting down your knitting. Each set comes with 3 needles, two hold the stitches and the third is for knitting.

I find that my gauge is a lot looser with these needles than it is when I use “regular” dpns or circulars. The needles in size 2mm/US0 bend a little with the force of my hand/fingers. Otherwise they are quite easy on the hands. What I need to figure out is how best to hold them. The fact that the needles are bent means that they are sometimes “in the way” of my hands. I’m making good progress on my sock and liking it so far but need to work on positioning the needles better in my hands.

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I’m using a contrasting colour for cuff, heel and toe – the plum colour.

Have you ever used NEKO needles? Would you be interested in trying? I’m going to finish my pair of socks before making a decision about wether I like them or not and if I should buy some to sell in the shop.

And speaking of knitting needles, what type of needles do you use most? For me that would be circulars which I use for almost everything.

That’s all for today. Take care and enjoy your knitting 🙂