Elementary, Watson- my fourth pair of socks

elementary watson socks
Your fourth pair- what?! Didn’t you already knit way more than four pairs of socks? (1 2 3 4 5 6)

Why yes smart reader, indeed I did. In fact I finished these in September of 2015 and then gave them away (to my dad) and then remembered that I hadn’t taken pictures of them. This is the seventh pair of socks I have posted on the blog. So here are pictures and details after ~7 months of wear. Drum roll please.

elementary watson socks

Pattern: Elementary Watson Socks by Sherry Menton

Yarn: Verdant Gryphon Bugga

Needle size: 0

These knit up HUGE. I knit them for my dad, so I started with the men’s size. Knitting at the recommended gauge, they were ginormous. So I frogged them, switched to a smaller size needle, and then knit the women’s size. These fit him well.  You can see more pictures on my ravelry site here.

DSC_0489 (2)

Other than fitting problems at the beginning, it’s a great pattern, esp for being a freebie. Mainly because 1) pages upon pages of instructions, and 2) easy to follow cable charts. I wanted to learn to knit cables. Dad likes cables. This pattern taught me to knit cables. Happy Claire likes knitting and happy dad likes warm feet. Yay for handmade presents.

elementary watson socks


Maya Dress II


Maya dress

Oh look I sewed something! It’s been a while- I think the last thing I made was the Cabernet Cardigan I sewed before I moved out of Richmond last year. My sewing machine has been active mainly mending and altering things I already own. But then winter abruptly turned into spring and I thought it would be nice to have another loose dress to throw on. Katie’s version of Maya reminded me of how much I wore the first Maya dress I made. I found this lightweight woven rayon (I think I added it to my last order- for the free shipping- from Fashion Fabrics Club or Girl Charlee. It’s been a while). 2 yards of 45″ rayon was ample fabric for this dress. Compared to my last Maya, the construction was very different.

Lots of pictures after these construction details:

  1. I cut a size 2 of the bodice (down from a size 4 on the last dress) and did a full bust adjustment using this tutorial. Picture below.
  2. Then I added a 3/4″ seam allowance to the bottom of both the front and back pattern pieces
  3. I cut a rectangle for the front of the skirt that was 32 x 26″ and one for the back that was 34 x 26″ (big booty adjustment).
  4. I sewed french seams on the shoulders and sides of the bodice, and on the sides of the skirt
  5. Then I used bias tape to finish the neck and armholes (instead of the facings provided in the pattern)
  6. The skirt was shirred until it was the size of the bodice waist and attached using a 3/4″ seam allowance
  7. The seam allowance was overlocked and then pressed up toward the bodice. It was sewn down as close to the edge as possible, leaving space for 1/2″ elastic to be inserted (this video was helpful)
  8. I inserted a piece of elastic the size of my waist, sewed the ends together and then finished the waistband.
  9. I made a 2″ hem at the bottom of the skirt for some extra weight.

Here you can see the difference between the original front bodice pattern (right) and the adjusted piece (left- the original is traced on it in blue)

full bust adjustment

Here are the pretty bias tape/french seam finished insides and the hem:

Maya dress detail

I might add some patch pockets on later this summer if having a dress sans pockets proves to be impractical (it probably will be…)

Maya dress


Maya Dress

Striped Socks- still small

self-drafted striped socks

Remember those fairisle socks I was working on in January? They’re done! (They’ve been done for a while) I can fit my feet into them! But they’re still a little small- I guess that is what you get when you only swatch one of your two yarns. They fit okay, except for the part just above the heel- too tight. Not sure what I did wrong there- maybe knit the heel too tightly? I’ve worn them ~3 times, and they’ve stretched out a tiny tiny bit (but I might just give them to someone with smaller feet than I rather than endure future foot constriction- anyone want to trade?). They’re so preeetyyyy.

Self-drafted knitted socks

I knit them on US size 1 needles with a self-striping, sport weight, wool/nylon blend from a local yarn store and some scraps of some pink Odyssey yarn from the Verdant Gryphon. I’m so into the southwestern vibe of the tuscan red and beige and brown stripes- just fantastic. Reminds me of family vacations to Nevada when I was younger. There’s a little left, so I might knit another pair next winter if I can find something nice that coordinates as well as the pink does.

Sad they don’t fit. Happy they’re done! Not bad for my first try at knitting socks freehand.


knitted socks

Mermaid yarn and shower tile

Mermaid Yarn

Gryphon and I had been trying forever to get together to dye yarn for a sweater I’m planning on knitting. After a few dates fell through (one or both of us kept getting sick), we finally managed to get our convalescent butts to the same house with all the stuff we needed to dye yarn. I had been planning on dyeing the yarn some nice, neutral, warm brown… but we forgot to get brown dye. Instead I thought it would be a good idea to dye it spruce blue and mossy green. Blame it on my sick brain. Far from the desaturated greeny-blue I was imagining, I am now left with 8 skeins of bright, aqua-fantastic mermaid yarn. GAAAH. Every time I look at it and panic/feel bad. It’s so pretty. The little mermaid would give up her voice for this yarn. But it’s not a color I’m going to wear. Is it worth knitting the sweater if I know I wont wear it? I could give it to my mother? ALL THAT BEAUTIFUL YARN, GONE TO WASTE (;^_^;) <- that is supposed to be a crying emoticon.

mermaid yarn

I don’t want to re-dye it because then it will be too darkly colored for a cabled sweater. I consider how much I care about this, but I’m stuck in between forging ahead with my original plan and picking a new pattern to knit (after I re-dye the yarn something dark and earthy (to make it forget its oceanic past)).

In other news, I’ve been fixing the shower in my house. From the earthquake ~5 years ago (I wasn’t living here), the tiles looked like the trolls from Frozen had a bowling party in the shower. Knocking out the whole lower half of two shower walls, patching a ripped shower pan (??), and then re-constructing them  is no easy feat. A much more knowledgeable friend (or three) has been coming over every morning to help. It is starting to look much better. I feel better about my creative abilities because I can successfully (sort of) tile (part of ) a shower.

Here is the before (I swear it was way grosser than this picture lets on):

DSC_1514 (2) (800x518)

And here is the (almost) lovely after:

tiles after

Yum pretty salvage yard tiles.

Ta for now. I think I will go sew something and forget about all my yarn woes.

Cozy Little Toes baby socks

cozy little toes baby socks

Short post today- I knit three pairs of socks for a friend’s baby. This is the first, smallest pair. I didn’t manage to get pictures of the other two before sending them off. The pattern is Cozy Little Toes, free on Ravelry.  This pair is the smallest, newborn size. I also knit the biggest size listed in the pattern in leftover yarn from these socks and a pair of basic toe-up socks (pattern drafted by a friend; I can share it on request). It may sound obvious to say that small socks knit up quickly- but they do! It is nice to have a quick project once in a while.

Since I’m sitting here sick in bed, I’ll continue this post with an update from my crafting room:

  • I finally finished the socks that I wanted to have done last month, and have now started on a pair for a friend.
  • The Flying Geese pattern from Lacey Volk has caught my eye, especially in these colors.
  • I’ve also been getting the itch to sew again. Vogue 9100 and accompanying fabric is sitting on my sewing table.
  • Have you listened to the update from Serial season 1? I’m gripping the edge of my seat.

Hope you’re staying warm and toasty despite the cold front.



Sad sock failed fair isle

Fair Isle Don'ts

Beware the Fair Isle, ye beginner knitters. The rain and gloomy weather in central Virginia today are particularly fitting for this little knitting fail. Having knit so many pairs of socks from patterns, I wanted to draft my own pattern. I had visions of brown and tan and red stripes with contrasting toes and heels and snowflakes around the ankles. I found the right yarn and started knitting on Christmas day. The knitting was long and included much ripping out of rows of knitting.

Fair Isle fail

Joy of joys! They came out looking exactly like I imagined. Except for the minor detail that I can’t get them on my feet. Because the Fair Isle knitted snowflakes are really tight, despite the long, long floaters I left behind each stitch. I should not have attempted Fair Isle knitting for the first time on the part of the sock that needs to be really stretchy.  Now I know. Next time I will do better. But aren’t they so pretty?

The most depressing part is that I really wanted to have these finished by the end of January. I’ve been mourning for three days now, so I think it is time to finally rip the snowflakes out and get on with finishing these socks. Wish me luck. I’ll be back with the finished pair soon.

Fair Isle fail

Hermione’s Everyday Socks: Toe-Up Instructions

Hermione's Everyday socks

The sock saga continues, combining one of the most popular sock patterns on Ravelry with my love of toe-up sock knitting. I reversed the Hermione’s Everyday Socks free pattern (instructions below) and proceeded to knit these socks toe-up and two-at-a-time. I used the Beekeeper Self-Striping Yarn from Turtlepurl (it is designed for striped socks and comes in two little skeins. I also used a 32″ long, US size 0 circular needle. This made for some dense (but not bulky) socks that are warm but still fit into regular shoes comfortably.

Hermione's Everyday Socks Toe-Up

Hermione’s Everyday Socks, Toe-up version

design credit to Erica Lueder, original sock pattern can be found here

Using JMCO, CO 24 sts (if you want to do two socks at the same time, here’s how to start). There will be 12 stitches to start on each needle for one sock. If you’re knitting two at the same time, remember to drop your yarn at the end of one sock and pick up the yarn for the other.
Row 1: knit all on both needles
Row 2: needle 1- K1, make 1 (M1), Knit to last st, M1, K1
needle 2- repeat needle 1
Continue to alternate rows 1 and 2 until you have 32 sts on each needle (64 sts total).

texture pattern
Work in texture pattern across needle 1 (the top of the sock), and knit across needle 2 (the bottom of the sock). Continue until you have knit the desired length of the foot (three inches less than the finished length of the sock).

Hermione's Everyday Socks Toe-Up
Begin gusset increases as follows
Row 1: needle 1- work across in texture pattern
needle 2- K1, M1, place marker, knit to last stitch, place marker, M1, K1
Row 2: needle 1- work across in pattern
needle 2- knit across
continue repeating rows 1 and 2 until you have knit 12 gusset increases on each end of needle 2, for 56 stitches total on needle 2. There will still be 32 stitches on needle 1.

Hermione's Everyday Socks Toe-Up
Heel turn
*knit the entire heel turn and heel flap for one sock before moving on to the second sock*
Knit to the first marker, wrap stitch, turn. Then begin to knit in short rows.
Knit to the next marker, wrap stitch, turn. Purl to the first marker, wrap stitch, turn.
Knit to wrapped stitch, wrap stitch, turn. Purl to wrapped stitch, wrap next stitch, turn.
Continue to knit in short rows, wrapping a stitch at the end of each row until you have 7 wrapped stitches on each side of the heel turn (this makes a trapezoid shape with wrapped stitches on the sides).
Heel flap
After the last row of purls, turn and [slip 1, knit 1] to 1 stitch before the marker, continuing to knit through the wrapped stitches. At the last wrapped stitch, remove the marker and knit the last wrapped stitch together with the first gusset stitch. Turn. Purl across the heel and down the other side of the turned heel (through the wrapped stitches). Remove marker and purl the last wrapped stitch with the first gusset stitch through the back loop.
Right side: [Slip 1, knit 1] to one before the last stitch, and then knit two together (the last heel flap stitch with the next gusset stitch.
Wrong side: slip 1, purl across to the last stitch, purl two together through the back loop.
Repeat these two rows  (right and wrong sides) until you have 32 stitches left on needle 2 (you may not use all of the gusset increases).
Knit around both needles in texture pattern. When you have reached the desired leg length, knit 2 inches of ribbing (K1 through the back loop, purl 1). Cast off and weave ends in.

Hermione's Everyday Socks Toe up

Pussy Willow Stockings


Pussy Willow Stockings

Another pair of socks! The pattern is Cat Bordhi’s Pussy Willow Stocking pattern from the Sock Knitting Master Class book. The yarn is more of the Bugga yarn from the Verdant Gryphon in my stash. These were a late birthday and early Hanukkah present for my mom. Each sock features a simple lace pattern that mimics a pussy willow branch curving up the sock. This pattern is full of simple-yet-interesting details, like the moccasin toe and how the gusset is formed by the lace pattern. Classic Cat Bordhi.

Pussy Willow Stockings

I mistakenly knit these two-at-a-time on one long needle, rather than one at at time on two needles (as the instructions specified). With moccasin toes, you knit them and then you do some tricky rearranging of the stitches on the needles (very difficult on a circular needle with two socks on it). If you want to knit these socks two-at-a time, I would recommend knitting the toes separately and then transferring them to the same needle after you’ve rearranged the stitches. Other than the toe snafu, it’s a nice, simple pattern with pretty details.

Pussy Willow Stockings

In other news, you may have noticed that the blog has been slowing down…  I recently moved to an intentional community in Virginia, where my busy life has whisked me away from my blog and all my favorite readers and friends. I’m living on a beautiful 450-acre farm with about 100 residents- life is good! I spend time gardening, making tofu, being a nurse, and cooking big community meals. I’ve also been veeery social, which has led me to sew and blog less. Knitting has replaced the lion’s portion of sewing, since it is easier to bring to social events. I anticipate that my blogging schedule may only be once a month (at most) from here on out.  Bear with me! I’m making an effort to stay alive in the blogosphere.

I’ll leave you with some more sock pictures. Till next time!

DSC_1129 (2) Pussy Willow Stockings

Cabernet Cardigan


Cabernet cardigan

Oh look I sewed something again! Finally fall is in the air, the weather is cooling off and I just happened to have the Cabernet Cardigan in my stash. I had been planning to make it in a black and white striped sweater knit, but as I was going through my stash I realized I had something better. This fabric is from a trip to the LA fabric district (years ago). It’s sort of a lightweight fuzzy sweatshirt (knit) material.

Let me sing the praises of this pattern- the drafting is absolutely perfect. Between FBA, swayback, and petite adjustments I’m usually up to my elbows in modifications. But the ONLY modification I had to make to the Cabernet was to slim down the arms (and then only for personal preference). I made version A, which is long and boxy. I wanted the body to be boxy but the arms to be slim so I pinched the excess fabric out, pinned and serged a new seam along each sleeve once I tried it on.

Buttons are from a huge pack of buttons from the thrift store. I flipped the fabric and put the wrong side facing out for the cuffs and neckline. The neckline piece is interfaced with a medium-weight fusible interfacing.  I matched stripes using this method from Workroom Social.

Cabernet Cardigan

I didn’t add pockets but I think I might in the future. The other thing I would change about construction would be to lengthen the neckline piece- I shortened it and didn’t need to. There are some diagonal whiskers from the bust down to the bottom band but they would go away if the neckline piece was the correct length.

But ERMAGERD this is a great pattern. I’ll probably make it again once I find fabric I like. And I’m going to keep SBCC patterns in mind for the next time I’m looking for a pattern. Not having to make petite modifications to the pattern made this project go so so smoothly and amped up my sewing mojo. It feels empowering to have something to show for my creative time lately. Sewing is still on the slow track as knitting has taken the forefront of my attention.

Cabernet cardigan

Cabernet cardigan

Blue Half-Circle Skirt with Pockets



Easy DIY Half Circle Skirt

I’m going too long without posting. It’s not that I have a shortage of projects to show, or  not enough time to blog, but somehow… time slips by. And Wilbur the cat keeps chewing on all my projects…

This skirt happened because I was in love with the brown linen skirt I made last month and wanted another. I wear my brown skirt at least once a week and wanted another midi skirt for summer/fall. I made it the same way I made Denver’s Guitar Playing Skirt and used BHL Circle Skirt App to draft the pattern. It’s a half circle with a straight waistband (although I should start making the back of my waistbands slightly curved- you can see I took a wedge out of the back of this one).  The only downfall of the brown skirt is no pockets, so I added pockets to this one. The pockets and waistband (size M) are from Megan Nielsen’s free Veronika Skirt pattern. I slimmed down the pocket pattern to make it fit better on a half-circle skirt (the original pattern is for a whole circle skirt). The pockets are lined with white cotton and topstitched to the skirt.

Easy DIY Half Circle Skirt

The fabric is a heavy, slubby, loosely woven fabric that my aunt found at the thrift store and sent to me. It’s heavy but gives the skirt great motion. It’s shifty so I had to lock the cat in the kitchen so I could get the fabric on grain before I cut it (cat jumps on fabric, fabric slides across the floor, fabric no longer on grain, Claire annoyed at cat. Claire locks cat in kitchen, problem solved).

Easy DIY Half Circle Skirt

The other reason I made this skirt is because I wanted a skirt I could easily ride my bike in. This is NOT it. The half-circle shape works to cover my knees, but the skirt is too long. The hem rubs against the wheel and sometimes catches in the brake pads. A note to the wise: photograph your makes before you go bike riding in them. Or, you could do what I did and spend a long afternoon soaking your skirt in oxyclean and scrubbing at the the hem every hour. When (if) the grease comes out, breathe a long sigh of relief and promptly photograph it. I think it would be better for biking in if I made another version about 6″ shorter.

Easy DIY Half Circle Skirt
not a good bike-riding skirt

I let the skirt hang for a good 4 days before evening out the hem, serging it, turning it under 1/2″ and topstitching it. The loose weave of the fabric made it stretch out quite a bit along the bias. At the widest point of stretch I cut 4″ from the hem. And I should have changed that serger thread color… Next time lazy lady.

Despite the weird black serged hem, I love it and wear it about as much as the brown one.

Easy DIY Half Circle Skirt

E-upside down cat

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