Colorful Skylar Socks

Skylar Socks

Skylar Socks

Skylar Socks

A while ago a massage therapist friend and I decided to trade massages for knitting. 1 hour of massage for 1 hour of knitting. At a 1.5 hour massage a couple times a month, these are the longest running sock project I’ve undertaken yet.  Did I mention she’s a really good friend? Opposites attract- I’m science-minded and find humor in irony, but she loves all things woo and is one of the most genuine and caring people I’ve ever met. We also have opposite color sensibilities. As I have gotten away from brighter colors, she has fallen more in love with them- blue raspberry, red-orange, and neon yellow light up her wardrobe, bedroom, and everything she owns.

I wanted to knit her some socks using her favorite colors that were as special and unique as her kind and enthusiastic spirit. I used Stroll Brights in Razzleberry, Hot Tamale, and Highlighter Yellow for the contrasting colors, and Skinny Bugga for the main color (in an old colorway). I used a pattern (listed below) for the entrelac/triangle sections; the rest of the sock is self drafted. Scroll to the bottom for instructions, and email me if you want the more detailed pattern.

Skylar Socks

Skylar Socks

Quick pattern instructions: Cast on with JMCO at the toe, increase to circumference of foot, knit in stockinette to length of foot-0.5″, turn a short row heel, knit around, break main color yarn to start stripes. Alternate 3 rows of contrasting color with 5 rows of main color three times. I followed the instructions for L/R leaning triangles and R/L leaning rectangles in Kathryn Alexander’s Up-Down Entrelac socks in Sock Knitting Master Class book. Knit the stripe above the entrelac pattern with 2 rows knitted, 1 row purled, followed by 1 row knitted. Knit 5 rows of main color, then repeat the entrelac pattern. Finish the design with 2 main color and 2 coordinating color stripes. Knit ribbing (K2, P2) for 2 inches, then cast off with a stretchy cast off.

Seneca skirt

Seneca skirt

After seeing the Seneca pattern, I bought myself a Seamwork subscription a few months ago. I made a promise to myself that as long as I was making at least one of the patterns every month, I would keep the subscription. But this skirt is as far as I got. So no more subscription. For better or worse, I think I’m ready to move on to more complicated projects. Two items- jeans and a coat- are not only lacking from my wardrobe but calling  me to make them. I’m going to try to focus my creative efforts on them for the rest of this year. Maybe I’ll even take a jeans or coat-making class. Once I’m done with all my current projects, of course. I did just finish my sister’s bikini which I’ll have pictures of shortly.

Seneca skirt

I altered the pockets so they would attach at the waistband. I didn’t want pockets that hung down when I put things in them. This made the waistband slightly more bulky, but it was worth it for functionality’s sake. I drafted the pocket piece by placing the original pocket pattern piece on top of the skirt pattern, matching them at the circles and side seams. Then I added a piece to the pocket by drawing a curved line to the top of the skirt piece to extend the pocket to the waistline. I traced the original side seam and waistline. I sewed the pocket to the skirt following all directions. I also made sure to catch the top of the pocket in the front waistband seam. That’s it.

Seneca skirt extended pocket

Seneca skirt

Unaltered, the Seneca skirt is a little long and heavy for my petite frame. If I make it again, I’ll shorten it and use a lighter fabric. I made this version from a grey ponte knit, which is heavier than recommended. Still, it’s sporty and casual and very loungey-comfortable. It will be worn more this fall. Especially once I figure out what warmer shirts to wear with it. And probably with sneakers instead of rain boots.

Seneca skirt

“Don’t be afraid of the yarn- just start knitting” – Kollabora Meet The Maker Feature

workspace

I was very pleased to be invited to talk about creativity, sleeping, and web comics on Kollabora’s Meet the Maker blog. I think this is the first time I’ve been straight-up featured on another blog *ooh I feel so special*. Hop on over to read the rest of the interview and learn why I want to visit Denmark, why “dyspnea” is my favorite word, and how DIY= empowerment! Also included is an anecdote about my dislike of carrot cake. In case you were wondering.

Black High-Waisted DIY Bikini

high-waisted DIY bikini

I’d like to pause the sock deluge to say: I made another DIY bikini! It’s been 2 years (almost exactly) since I last dipped my toe into swimsuit sewing. I lost the bottoms to the first bikini 🙁 so I am making a couple more matching sister bikinis (if you’re making one why not make two? sister pictures later). I made mine first since *lapsed years=forgetfulness* and I didn’t want to mess hers up. The bottoms are the same pattern as last time (this pattern– pages 5 to 8- with a few inches added to the top), plus an elastic band around the top. The top is self drafted. I traced a stretchy halter top for the front, and used the back piece (page 4) I had drafted for my last bikini top.

high-waisted DIY bikini

The top is lined with self-fabric for more  support, since I wanted more of a sports-bra type top. I sewed 1″ elastic into the bottom band (all the way around this time, not just in front) and used fold-over elastic to finish the top seams. All fabric and elastic is from fabric.com. Their fold over elastic is a much better price than JoAnn’s.

high-waisted DIY bikini

I also attached the elastic differently for this swimsuit. On the last bikini, I was afraid of stitching the elastic directly to the fabric. Instead, I made channels for the elastic and then inserted it.  It kept twisting in its channels, especially around my legs, which was hella annoying. So I took the plunge and stitched the elastic directly to the fabric on this bikini. I was nervous but it WORKED! I used a regular zig-zag stitch for the 1/4″ elastic on the bottom and the widest 3-step zig zag that my machine would do on the 1″ and fold over elastic. Always remember to sew along the bottom edge of the elastic, never down the middle. I had to rip out some stitches once I realized the edge of the elastic was curling up. But it’s nice now. Observe:

high-waisted DIY bikini

This bikini was ocean-tested on a trip to VA Beach and it held up! IMO, that’s the true test of any swimsuit.

There are a couple things I would change about the fit of the top, like angling the side seams toward the bottom of the bust and maybe putting some princess seam lines in to eliminate the unintentional gathers, but I’ll apply those to my sister’s bikini. I also used my walking foot for the first time I can remember. It is awesome. New favorite foot (besides the two I walk on).

high-waisted DIY bikini

Chevron Socks

Chevron Socks

I’m back from the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival with another round of selfless knitting for man feet! I was un-lazy enough to swatch the yarn, so they actually fit the recipient (I like to think I learn from my mistakes).

I drafted the sock until the chevron detail. That pattern is from Lacey Volk– she might be my new favorite knitwear designer. She hasn’t been very active online in the past couple of years, but her patterns are still available. I used the Flying Geese pattern (available for free on Knitty) to create the chevrons at the top of each sock. The triangles are worked in short-rows; for being such a tricky pattern, the designer’s descriptions are thorough and easy to follow (as long as you actually read the instructions and don’t just forge ahead like I did the first time around).

Chevron Socks

Yarn: Brown yarn is Stroll Tweed Sock Yarn from Knit Picks- I used less than one skein. This yarn was thinner than I expected when it arrived in the mail but worked fine with the thicker blue yarn (Verdant Gryphon Bugga). The white yarn is some undyed yarn from my stash.

Pattern: Self drafted (below) and Flying Geese

Needle size: US 1.5 circular needle, gauge 7 sts per inch

Chevron Socks

Quick pattern instructions (more in depth instructions can be found here):

CO 28 sts with JMCO. Knit around. Alternate rows of increasing and knitting until you have increased the toe to 64 sts around.

Toe stripes: Knit 16 sts, break yarn (so the color breaks are on the bottom of the foot. Pick up and knit:

  1. 1 row with the white yarn
  2. 2 rows with the brown yarn
  3. 1 white row
  4. 2 brown rows
  5. 1 white row

Knit the foot: Break yarn and pick up the blue yarn again. Knit around until the sock measures 3″ less than the foot.

Gusset: Begin gusset increases on the first side of the needle, increase the gusset until you have increased 22 sts (86 sts around)

Turn the heel: knit and purl across the first side of the needle in short rows, wrapping and turning at the end of each row until you have a trapezoid with 10 wrapped sts on each side of the heel.

Knit the heel flap: Knit across the heel and down the wrapped sts, then pick up one gusset st and knit it together with the last wrapped st. Turn and purl across the heel to the other side, pick up the gusset st and purl it together with the last wrapped st. Continue like this until all of the gusset sts have been used up and the heel flap is formed. Alternate every two rows between brown and blue yarn to make stripes.

Knit the ankle: Knit around until the sock is 3.5 inches shorter than the desired height.

Increases for the chevrons: increase to 68 sts around so you have 34 sts on each side of the needle.

Chevrons: Consult the Flying Geese pattern to make the chevrons. Begin under the heading: First Main Color Triangle. Knit the first two main color triangles in blue and the first two contrasting triangles in brown. Then knit another two main color triangles in brown and the second two contrasting triangles in blue.

diagram

Form the cuff: Knit 1 row around in blue. Then K2tbl, P2 around until  you have 1.5 inches of ribbing at the top of the sock. Cast off with a stretchy cast-off method.

Chevron Socks

Chevron Socks

 

Finished Shower Reveal

 

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The shower is finished! After 1 month and 2 days of being out of commission. 1 month and 2 days of taking showers… elsewhere. At the neighbor’s house. At friends’ houses. Jumping in the pond and calling it “clean enough”. Sponge baths. Generally being dirtier than I prefer. All that is now in the past. The shower now has a patched and functional, if somewhat unusual, accent wall/lower half of one wall. More importantly, the shower is no longer leaking water into the wall next to it and rotting the studs and drywall.

Remember the before picture? <– scroll to the bottom. You can click on the link in the last sentence if you want to see it. I’m not going to put the picture on my blog a second time. It’s too gross. The shower was BAD. Now it is good. And instead of  looking at gross pictures, you can look at these very nice pictures of my pretty fixed shower.

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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.

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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.

socks

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):

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*Update- in case you’re really grossed out, click here to see the finished shower. It’s not gross. Not at all.*

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.

 

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