Category Archives: knitting

Knit // Pussyhats and Baby Socks

Well it’s been a productive month of knitting small things and enduring enjoying unseasonably warm weather here in Pittsburgh (srsly I just want like 1 week of COLD before spring weather plz). Althought it’s been almost too warm for hats, I knit a couple Pussyhats. I had at least one interaction where, when someone asked me what I was knitting, I said, “A Pussyhat” and they said “But it doesn’t look like a vagina!” Hardee har har. Both the hats I knit went to friends who, like myself, also missed the Womens’ March in DC, but better late than never!

Another hat on its way soon @p_ssyhatproject #knittingisfun #craftivism

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This also marks the occasion of my first post about non-sock-related knitting! Hats are easy and fast to knit. Much easier and faster than socks. Why have I not discovered this until now? I have often wished for the power to knit faster so I could make more knitted objects as gifts. Hats are the secret. Must knit moar hats!

Encore une fois. #p_ssyhatproject

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And I knit a couple pairs of baby socks for friends who are expecting (or who have already been parents for almost 6 months… whoops late again…). Feast your eyes on the products of my nimble fingers.

MOAR bebe socks (sharpie for size comparison) #knittingisfun #knittingforkids

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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

Knit // Guernsey Triangle Scarf

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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:

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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

 

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

Knit // 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.

Knit // 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

 

Knit // 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

 

Knit // 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.

*Update 8/31/16: The socks found a home in Montreal on the size 6 feet of a farmer friend. I also figured out why they were so tight around my 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. Next time  I’ll make a shorter heel flap.*

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

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