Knit // Twisted Shell Socks

Shell Socks

My parents can testify that I am very picky when it comes to socks. When I was a little girl, I would delay departure for preschool by complaining that my socks were too bunchy at the toes. My parents would have to take my shoes off, straighten my socks, replace my shoes, and repeat until I decided my socks were un-bunched.

Maybe that’s why, all these years later, I have developed such an obsession with knitting socks. It’s all about the fit. With this pair, I think I’ve finally figured out how to knit a pair that fit me well: looser around the foot and ankle, more snug around the leg, and with about an inch and a half of ribbing at the top ending just below my calf.

Of all the socks I’ve made (with intentions to keep), this is only the second pair I’ve kept and wear regularly. The rest have had “flaws”- too tight around the heel, too tall in the leg, or too bunchy at the toes- so I’ve gifted them to some very happy recipients.

Shell Socks

But with this pair, I’m happy to announce that I got it right! They’re pretty, too- contrasting toes, stockinette stitch along the foot, and a lace pattern for the leg. The lace pattern is Shell Socks from Maison Rililie. I’m not sure why the lace pattern got twisted, but I like how it turned out.

I used another skein of verdant gryphon skinny bugga from the stash that is running low… especially now that they have closed (so sad). Pretty colorful palette for winter, but still warm and muted.

Shell Socks

And in other news, I was planning on going to the Women’s March in DC this weekend. When I woke up yesterday I was so tired and mixed up from working nights that I didn’t feel safe to drive the 4 hours there. And grad school applications were calling my name and needed to be worked on. I am consoling myself with the fact that with a graduate degree, I’ll be more effective at doing the work that needs to be done to make our country a better place. My spirit is with all the people marching across the country and around the world for women’s rights, civil rights, and human equality. Have an awesome march!

Shell Socks

Shell Socks

Sewn // How to Alter a Sweater and Maxi Skirt

One perk of big city livin’- people appreciate style. Somehow, I don’t feel costumey when I dress up these days. By dress up I mean wearing skirts, jewelry, boots, anything nicer than jeans, work boots, and a sweatshirt. It’s fun too working on projects that are less utilitarian than mending or adding patch pockets (most of what I did living in Virginia). But one downside of Pittsburgh- it’s cold! Everything I’ve sewn lately is really warm (I’m dreaming of some flannel-lined pants next).  Both the sweater and the skirt were thrift store finds- too big but in fabrics I adored. The brown skirt is a soft brown twill on one side, and satin on the inside. The sweater is a wool/polyester blend.I’m really happy with how this outfit turned out and both pieces have gotten a lot of wear.

*Update* As I was writing this post I happened to see this picture on Reformation’s website:

Pretty darn close to my outfit. Didn’t even realize I was so on-trend with this one. Haha.

how to alter thrift store clothes

I digress. Toning down the screaming 80’s vibe on the sweater was simple. I turned it inside out and took in the ballooning sleeves and raised the armhole. I started with 3 inches at the underarm, tapering to nothing at the cuff.  I straight stitched and then serged the raw edge.

Before:

upcycled sweater

After:

upcycled sweater

The skirt was a little more complicated. It has elastic in the back and buttons on one side that I wanted to save, so I only had one side to work with. I  needed to take it in from a size 10 to a size 4 and recreate the original side slit.

upcycled skirt

First I seam ripped open the side without buttons:

upcycled skirt

Then I pinned, marked, and sewed a new side seam. I made sure to leave room for the slit. Next, I turned under the seam allowance around the side slit and sewed it down.

upcycled skirt

I trimmed and serged the seam allowance:

upcycled skirt

And made sure to tack the seam allowance at the waistband:

upcycled skirt

And that’s it! Two quick, cute projects to keep me warm.

how to alter thrift store clothes

how to alter thrift store clothes

 

Knit // Guernsey Triangle Scarf

dsc_1550-2

Things got better. I settled into my apartment: painted the yellow walls white, found chairs for my living room, an island for the kitchen. Made friends who like to sing and play music, go to happy hour, sew gowns for cancer patients. Got busy with my job. Actually finished some sewing projects. Hosted the family for Thanksgiving. Hiked and biked and walked by the rivers. Spent long evenings cooking with my sister and cousins. And in between it all I found time to finally block my Guernsey Triangle shawl that I knit on the boat (which I’m calling a scarf because ain’t nobody gonna see me wearing it like a shawl). I made a size medium, which meant basically following the directions for a small and then adding one more band (the purple one). Yarn is Eidos from the Verdant Gryphon.

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I was worried that knitting something with needles bigger than a size 1 (which is what I use for most of my socks) would end up making a piece that is full of holes and unevenly knit. But the scarf is actually really warm and cozy. Getting used to the bigger needles took a few rows, and then blocking evened out everything else. Speaking of blocking….

Don’t want to spend a lot of money on blocking wires and mats? Use an old mattress topper, 7 circular needles, and every single one of your sewing pins. Feel joyful that you figured out not only how to block a knitted thing, but also did it with materials you already had. When you get impatient, decide to sew to distract yourself, then remember that you can’t sew while you wait for the scarf to dry because all of your pins are otherwise occupied in the blocking process.

Go #KnitFlix instead. Then go to work and spend 26 hours awake. When you come home after night shift you PTFO but wake up excited as a kid on christmas because you can take all the pins out and rejoice! that you did it! you knitted a not-sock thing and then blocked it and it worked out and it is warm and lovely and you can wear it all winter. So proud. Observe my victorious expression:

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Now observe my ingenious blocking method and millions of pins:

dsc_1510-2 dsc_1512-2

Ok enough of knitting flat things. Now back to socks.

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Guernsey Triangle

 

Knit // Bear Hug baby socks + pattern

 

Bear Hug Baby Socks Free Pattern

Baby socks are such a good palate cleanser between longer knitting projects. In 4 days, using scrap yarn yarn that you love but don’t have enough of for something bigger, you can not only finish a project, but make a present for someone else. And it’s pretty cool being “that person” who shows up to the baby shower with a handmade present. And then pretty soon there is a baby, and the baby is wearing the socks you made!

Bear Hug Baby Socks Free Pattern

 

This pattern incorporates elements from two other sock patterns: Rye and Cozy Little Toes. By this time, I’ve made and refined my modified version enough times that I think it constitutes its own pattern. This is a toe-up pattern, easily modifiable by changing yarn weight, needle size, or number or increases in the toe to make them bigger or smaller. The socks are extra stretchy and have a cuff to keep the socks on wiggly baby feet. I used a size 0 needle and fingering weight yarn to make newborn-sized socks. So without further ado, I present:

Bear Hug Baby Socks 

(Links to video demonstrations embedded in the text)

Toe:

Using Judy’s Magic Cast On, CO 16 stitches (sts)- 8 sts on each needle.

  1. Knit around
  2. On the first needle, Knit 1 (K1), Make 1 (M1), knit to the last stitch, M1, K1. Repeat on the second needle.
  3. Knit around

Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have increased to 28 sts (14 on each needle). For bigger socks, continue increasing until you have the desired number of sts on each needle. Make sure this number is divisible by 4, for example 32 or 36 sts.

Needle 1 will be the top of the sock, needle 2 will be the bottom of the sock.

bear hug baby socks free pattern

Begin the foot:

  1. Needle 1: K2, Purl across to last 2 sts, K2. Needle 2: Knit across
  2. Knit around

Repeat steps 1 and 2 twice, then begin the rib pattern.

Needle 1: Knit in a K2, Purl 2 (P2) pattern (Knit 2, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2, etc.)

Needle 2: Knit across

Continue to knit the rib pattern until the sock is 1/2 inch shorter than the desired length (usually between 2-3 inches). Knit in a K2, P2 pattern across needle 1. On needle two, we will knit a short row heel.

Heel:

On needle 2, knit to last stitch. Wrap last stitch and turn work. Slip 1, purl back across needle 2 to last stitch. Wrap last stitch and turn work. Knit back across needle 2 to until there are 2 sts left on the needle. Wrap and turn. Purl across until there are 2 sts left on needle. Wrap and turn. Knit across until there are 3 sts left on the needle. Wrap and turn. Purl across until there are 3 sts left on the needle. Wrap and turn. Continue this until the stitches are approximately split into thirds. If you began with 14 sts on needle 2, now you should have 5 wrapped sts on each side with 4 sts in the middle (in the shape of a trapezoid).

Turn work. Knit across heel until you reach the first wrapped stitch. Knit this stitch with the wrap. Turn. Purl across until you reach the first wrapped stitch on the other side. Purl the wrapped stitch together with its wrap. Turn. Continue to knit and purl and pick up wrapped stitches until you have used all the wrapped stitches on each side.

bear hug baby socks free pattern

Leg:

Knit in pattern across needle 1 and needle 2. K2, P2 across both needles until you have knit 4 inches up the leg (or more- enough to fold in half for a cuff). For stripes, break yarn and knit 5 rows with the second and third colors. Cast off with a stretchy cast off. Weave in ends.

That’s it! Any questions, please email me at hoopesparkstudios [at] gmail [dot] com. Hope you enjoy knitting these baby socks as much as I do.

 

Bear Hug Baby Socks Free Pattern

Bear Hug Baby Socks free pattern

 

Sewn // Petite Black Hemlock

Petite Hemlock tshirt

Another month past and nary a post. I guess I’ll have to blame it on being busy again. This month has been all about my apartment. Painting, finding furniture (the living room had only a couch until a couple weeks ago), hanging curtains and pictures, organizing closets and building a dresser. Also getting settled in at my new job, new routine, making friends. Things are going as well as I could expect from such a sudden move. My sister and much of my extended family live nearby and have been very welcoming; not a week goes by that doesn’t see me eating at a relative’s table. Nothing beats having so much family around!

Anyway, rather than let another month of radio silence go by, I thought I’d dig up an unposted project from a couple years ago to share- it’s a Hemlock tshirt made from black cotton tissue jersey from fabric.com.

Petite Hemlock

I made this shirt a few years ago (when I made this one), but never ended up photographing it. Or even wearing it much (I was into wearing colors back then). I found it packed up recently and I’m glad I did, because it has become one of my most-worn shirts. Which is surprising, because loose, drop-shoulder tops are uncommon in my wardrobe. Boxy shapes usually overwhelm my petite frame, but I think a combination of shortening the hem a few inches and lengthening the sleeves with cuffs make this shirt work. I also widened the neckline a tiny bit and cut the front of the shirt as two pieces. I thought a seam running down the front of the shirt would break up the vast expanse of fabric and add some visual interest, and I like how it turned out. Let’s call it a sleeper hit, shall we?

Petite Hemlock

 

 

 

 

Praise for the mental benefits of knitting

the mental benefits of knitting

Imagine me laying in a coffin-sized bunk in the crowded crew quarters of a 90-year-old schooner, curled up around needles and yarn. It’s the evening, and I’m off after a long day of sailing and sun. There’s only a curtain for privacy between me and the 6 people I share this room with, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. When I decided to go sailing, I knew I needed something to mark the place between chapters in my life. So I packed a bag, making sure to include my knitting, and headed to the sea.  Those down hours on the boat, the quiet between the busy, mostly spent knitting, helped me process leaving Virginia and ready myself mentally to start anew in Pittsburgh. It made the time without internet or TV for 10 days not only bearable, but enjoyable. Thank you knitting for being there for me.

the mental benefits of knitting

Time passes so quickly. It has already been a month since my last post and two months since I made the decision to upend my life and leave Virginia. Since my last post I’ve moved to Pittsburgh, gone sailing, took a mini road trip, started a new job and moved into an apartment that needed some work to update. My sewing machines are still packed away. But other things are coming along. I knit when I itch to sew. Carpet has been pulled up and functional internet lines installed.

I am finally knitting a project that is NOT SOCKS!! It’s a shawl thing from Brooklyn Tweed, the Guernsey Triangle. Scarves are a different beast than socks, a different emotional experience. The closer I get to finishing this scarf, the longer the rows get, and the less I feel like I am approaching the finish line. When I knit socks, I can easily see their progression. With this scarf, I have to trust it will work out.  I trust that I will have enough yarn. I trust that when I finally cast off and block it, that it will be big enough for me to wear wrapped around my neck at least once. It’s a reminder to trust myself. To trust that in this new city, with my new job, quiet apartment, and (hopefully soon) new friends, I can make it work and that things will get better.

the mental benefits of knitting

the mental benefits of knitting

Knit // Emerald Moth Socks

Emerald Moth Socks

Just ’cause it’s hot out doesn’t mean I can’t dream about/plan for cold weather! The day we took these pictures it was 103 degrees Farenheit outside. I braved the heat so you could all see the glorious color of this yarn! I’m already so in love with these socks.

This is the Hermione’s Everyday Socks pattern- I knitted this pattern last winter and the socks I made are by far my favorite to wear. The moss stitch pattern (name for a combination of knits and purls on different rows) is the perfect balance of stretchy and snug. I used sportweight yarn to make a slightly more plush and cozy version- Bugga! in Common Emerald Moth from the Verdant Gryphon. The pink and purple stripes are leftovers from other projects. I adjusted the number of stitches around my foot to 56 stitches and used a size 1 circular needle (my last version had 64 sts on a size 0 needle and was made from fingering weight yarn; click here for the pattern)

Emerald Moth Socks

Remember the striped socks I made in March? I finally figured out why they were too tight around the ankle. I added stitches to the gusset just before I turned the heel. This made the heel flap taller, and reduced the amount of stretch in that section of the sock. I tried this technique again on these Emerald Moth socks, but ripped it out and re-knitted a shorter heel flap when I realized my mistake. Looks like I’ll be knitting shorter gussets and heel flaps from now on.

Not much else to say about these socks, so I’ll leave you with lots of pictures.

Emerald Moth Socks

Emerald Moth Socks

Emerald Moth Socks

Emerald Moth Socks

Sew Loft Patterns – Download Here

Download Sew Loft Patterns for free here

It’s a sad thing when an indie pattern company shuts down. We sewists and bloggers root for indie pattern companies that open up the sewing pattern market and cater to more modern tastes. Sew Loft patterns (formerly Spit-up and Stilettos) was one such pattern company.  It offered many popular patterns for free, including the Diana Cami, which I’ve linked to in a past post.

A while back I started writing a post about the sad disappearance of Sew Loft, but I never finished it. While I was working on the post, I thought, “what if I could get copies of all Sew Loft’s patterns? And then share them with sewists everywhere!?” So I tracked down Sew Loft’s creator, Lauren Elbert. She created both websites and graciously gave me permission to share copies of her patterns on Hoopes Park Studios. I’m happy to announce that from now on, Hoopes Park Studios will be hosting the Sew Loft womenswear pattern library. All patterns are available for free on dropbox. Click on the image above, below, or in the side bar to access them. Or click here!

Download Sew Loft Patterns for free here

I hope you enjoy sewing these patterns as much as I did. If you want to find Lauren Elbert now, she is designing children’s clothing at Sadi and Sam Patterns. Please email me with any questions or concerns. Here’s to the #SewLoftRevival !

 

 

Sewn // Sister’s Swimsuit

jill bikini

It’s bikini time again! As promised, here are pictures of the bikini I made for my sister. I used the same pattern for the bottoms as I did for mine (mine are size medium, hers are small). For the top, she and I made some drawings and then I drafted the pattern from her measurements.  I made this while we were living about 6 hours apart, so I’m happy to say that it fit her on the first try!  It is princess seamed and I used fold-over-elastic to finish the arms and back. The neckline has 1/4″ elastic sewn into it and the straps are from an old bra. She is graciously allowing me to post pictures of her on my blog (thanks sis).

And in other news, it looks like I may be moving to Pittsburgh for a job. Unemployment and tons of free sewing time was fun, but I’m ready to get back to work. Props to all you ladies who make sewing a full-time thing.

Sewn // Weston shorts

Weston Shorts

Shorts- a staple of summer wardrobes all across the western world. Pair them with a t-shirt and sandals in the summer and a sweatshirt and boots in the fall. High waisted, low-riders, with and without pockets, I love shorts. When Seamwork released Weston with an estimated sewing time of 2 hours, I was sold. I picked up some stretch denim while buying interfacing and backing for my sister’s graduation gift (click here to see the tshirt quilt I made) and happily got to work.

Weston Shorts

Seamwork says that Weston takes 2 hours. Yeah no. This is my second Seamwork project (and not the last), and both have taken me much longer than the instructions said. It’s like I’m playing mini golf with my family- par is 3 shots, but it takes me 8 to get that tiny ball in the hole. Maybe I’m a slow sewer, maybe I’m more meticulous about fit, or maybe Colette’s pattern blocks don’t mimic my body well. Whatever the reason, I’m well over par. Par for this pattern was 2 hours. Instead, it took me 3 afternoons, 2 muslins, and many fittings.

Modifications:

  • narrowed waistband by 1″ (to 1.5″)
  • shortened inseam to 2″and reshaped hem
  • lengthened darts in front
  • lengthened and widened darts in back
  • 1.5″ swayback adjustment at center back seam
  • thin thigh adjustment/pivot crotch down
  • added back pockets
  • lotsa pretty topstitching with gold-orange thread

Detail shots!

Weston Shorts

Weston Shorts

Weston Shorts

There are still some things I’d change about these shorts. I’d like to make another version with a lower waistband, and I’d like to try to fix some of the fit issues around the inner thigh/crotch area (it’s all at once baggy and riding up in my crotch a little (but if they don’t ride up a little, then they’re not high-waisted shorts, right?)). Also mini wedgie? If you have any ideas on how to fix these issues, please share.  This pattern has potential to become overall shorts…

Weston Shorts

Yay yay yay shorts. I have been shaking my shorts-clad butt everywhere. My family is sick of hearing me sing the shorts song. Which goes something like, “shorts shorts shorts. I made shorts.” When I was putting the back pockets on I asked my mom to take a picture of my butt so I could see it. She was like, “umm why?” (understandably), but was of course happy to do it once I explained it was in the name of pocket placement.

And I think this is my first pair of shorts I’ve ever made that wasn’t PJs or for someone else. Success. Being unemployed has its perks. #freetime

Oh yeah I’m unemployed right now. I left Virginia and moved back to Philly! So if you’re in the area, feel free to hit me up for coffee/tea/fabric shopping (once I get a job)/thrifting/knitting or sewing dates.

Weston Shorts

 

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