Monday, April 27, 2009

Star-Edged Socks

Do you ever get tempted to knit a sock in a pattern and literally "skip" the heel because it broke up the pattern? Now you can! (Mostly.) You can save your heel stitches for later. Make the heel your... brother, and not the other way around!

Intriqued? visit my in depth Afterthought Heel Tutorial for this pattern.
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For this pair of socks, I decided to go the non-traditional route when it came to afterthought heels. I wanted my heel to look just similar to the traditional toes shaping. You can substitute with any sort of heel method like short row heels, etc, there's a lot out there.
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Pattern: Star-edged Socks, by KUAS (yours, truly)
Yarn: approx 385 yds of KUAS' fingering weight yarn in the colorway "Butterfly"
Needles: size 2US dpns, set of 4.
Method: Top-down
Special features: Afterthought heel, Star-Toe decrease on the toes and heel.
Project: April 20th-26th 2009
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I like them. They feel very springish. You'll notice one curvy decrease on the heel in the photo below, but if you turn the foot, you'll notice that they are actually decreasing at 4 points. It's kind of tripy with variegated yarn.
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I hope you like these socks!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Complete "Afterthought Heel" Tutorial

AFTERTHOUGHT HEEL TUTORIAL
Pattern example: Star-Edged Socks by Anna Maliszewski

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"Oh The Woe!" Sock Knitter Scenarios For Favoring Afterthought Heels:

SCENARIO 1: your trudging through your cable/lace work. You're really hooked on that pattern...cause you're finally getting it down-pat. And after a good 4-6 inches of leg work, you're like, "oh man, now I have to set aside the pattern, knit a 2.5'' heel, turn the heel, deal with picking up stitches on the sides, and working the gusset decreases before I can f-i-n-a-l-l-y get back to the pattern, figure out where I left off (or where I set the pattern and cable needles down at), and try to get into the cable groove? Woe is me!
SCENARIO 2: You're at the movies, or somewhere away from home, and you're knitting your sock in stockinette because you don't have to look down too much, and you finally make it to the heel. Are you honestly telling me that you can fiddle with the heel steps in the dark? If you can, can I please borrow you're super-powers?
SCENARIO 3: You like being unconventional! Oh, snap!



A tutorial on how to do the Afterthought Heel:Special note: I realize that in Part 1, my work is inside-out in the photos. When I knit with dpns, I usually like to knit this way because it's easier on my hands, even though it's non-conventional. Not all of the photos are setup this way.

Part 1: the set-upStep 1: knit up to the point where you would place your heel. A heel traditionally uses 50% of your total stitches. Depending on the sock pattern instructions, you may knit half the round with your working yarn before you knit the heel stitches with waste yarn, or you may be asked to begin the heel round with the waste yarn right off the bat. Jeez, manners!

Note: the stitches are distributed as thus, whether or not you choose to use 3dpns, or 4 dpns for your sock: 50% of sock stitches= front (I usually use just 1 dpn for this) and 50% of sock stitches for the heel (I split these into two dpns, 25% of stitches on each).  

However, for the sake of simplicity, I start my heel right off the bat on the first 50% of my stitches (ex: 32sts) in the round, although it makes no difference if you choose otherwise.

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Step 2: You'll need about 20'' of waste yarn in a contrasting color for each sock (with the same thickness, or a tiny bit thicker yarn than your sock yarn). Drop the main working yarn and knit the specified heel stitch amount with waste yarn.
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Step 3: After knitting the specified heel stitches, drop the waste yarn, pick up the main working yarn again and continuing working on your current sock pattern in pattern.
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Step 4: Upon the following round, you will knit over the waste yarn and will forget all about the heel until after the completion of the sock, so continue on with your merry knitting way, doing whatever you need to do until you have decreased the toes and grafted the remaining toe stitches together. Try to snicker a little bit like you "went around the system" and are doing something scandalous. It's more fun.

Note: when you are supposed to knit a certain amount of inches before the toe shaping, measure from the waste yarn line.

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Part 2: Releasing the "live stitches"

Step 1: It's time to unravel those saved stitches, now that you're done knitting the rest of the sock. whether or not your strand is hanging out on the "right side" of your work, or some how found it's way hanging out on the "wrong side," pull at the first part of the stitch on the right side of the sock, and pull the waste yarn strand out to release a stitch (actually, two stitches total per waste yarn stitch--refer to Step 2). The bottom stitch is being released in the photo below.

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Figure 1
Step 2: Now pull out the rest of the waste yarn to release the second stitch from that waste yarn (see photo below).
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Figure 2
Step 3: Keep following steps 1 and 2, pulling out the waste yarn stitches, and immediately transferring them to dpns- one for the top dpn, one for the bottom dpn.
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Figure 3
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Figure 4
Step 4: Continue releasing all of the "live" stitches and putting them onto their proper needles. Once you have reached the end, count the stitches. They should be equal in number and should each have 25% of the total sock cast-on amount. Example: for a 64 st sock, you should have transferred 16 stitches onto the bottom dpn and 16 onto the top dpn (for a total of 32 heel stitches)
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Figure 5

Part 3: Working the heel decreases
Step 1: Divide your heel stitches evenly among 3 or 4 dpns, depending on your preference (both needle preferences will have instructions for heel decreases.)

3 NEEDLES: This requires a 50%-25%-25% stitch distribution among your needles, and uses a "stitch marker." If you prefer to work only with 3 dpns, arrange your needles so that the heel has two needles (25% each of those total stitches) and the top part of the heel has one needle containing 50% of the total heel stitches, or simple all the stitches originally on it, with a marker in between half of the stitches. Example: If working with a "32st heel," the bottom dpns get 16 each, and the top needle has 32 sts total, but needs a marker after stitch 16.
Needle Numbers: The bottom left needle is needle #1, the top left needle is #2, and the bottom right needle is #3.
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Figure 6

4 NEEDLES: divide your stitches up completely. Each needle will have 25% each of the total heel stitches. This means that you will just slide half from both the top & bottom of the heel parts on two two different needles. Use a saftey pin or place marker to indicate needle #1: between the two bottom stitches (where my thumb is).
Needle Numbers: The bottom left needle is needle #1, the top left needle is #2, the top right needle is #3 and the bottom right needle is #4.
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Figure 7

Step 2 (for all dpn methods): Attach the yarn before Needle 1, and work the decrease rounds until you have 5 sts left, or 20 stitches total. End with one last knit round. 

For 3 needles:
Rd 1: All needles: knit straight.
Rd 2: Needle 1: knit to last 3sts; k2tog, k1. Needle 2: k1, sl1, k1, psso, knit to the last 3sts; k2tog, k1. Needle 3: K1, sl1, k1, psso, knit to the end.

For 4 needles:
Rd 1: All needles: knit straight.
Rd 2: Needle 1: knit to last 3sts; k2tog, k1. Needle 2: k1, sl1, k1, psso, knit to the end. Needle 3: knit to the last 3sts; k2tog, k1. Needle 4: K1, sl1, k1, psso, knit to the end.

Trouble-shooting:

Closing the gap between the needles: I will use the 4 dpn method example. Refer to figure 7. To avoid big gaping holes at sides of the heel decreases, knit the last stitch of needle 1 with a stitch made in the gap between needles 1 and 2, and ssk a stitch made in the gap between needles 3 and 4 with the first stitch from Needle 4.
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Figure 8

Feeling a bit snug? Try on your sock before completing all of the decreases. It's good to do this when you only have several more increases left. If you fear that your heel will not fit, you can slow down the decrease process a bit by adding one more "knit straight" round before the last few decreases. Example: *knit 2 rounds straight, then do a decrease round.* I recommend that you keep trying on the sock though, if you do this. You might not need to slow down the decrease process that much!
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And voila! You have a beautiful heel that looks just like the "Basic Toe Decrease." Notice how it goes great with variegated yarns? Neat, huh? The variegated green heel swatch was from my "Irish Spring" colorway. It makes me want to knit up another pair of these socks now.
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I bid you good knits! Have fun knitting up Afterthought Heels! I hope this tutorial helps you out!

Check out my pattern "Star-Edged Socks" to make a pair for yourself. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

1x1

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I knit this 1x1 beanie up for Joe several weeks ago. I sent it to him all nicely wrapped up in tissue patter as a care-package. He knew I was going to send him something, but he was absolutely convinced that I was going to make him a cd mix. Cha-right.

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Give the boy some props. I was a dufus and forgot to take pictures before I sealed up his package. Once he received his gift, I asked him to take a few shots for me. Nothing fancy, just something interesting en ought that looks good blurred out.

What I got were several really great shots. Thanks Joey! I actually have no idea if he is just really good at taking pictures of himself with one hand, or he asked his friend to take them. I'm pretty sure he did them himself, so I guess the guy is talented or something. Makes me wonder, though....

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Pattern: a generic 1x1 beanie pattern, improvised by yours truly.
Needles: size 8US dpns, I think
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted Weight Yarn, in a variegated green colorway. He picked it out himself at Loopy Yarns went we went to Chicago. The boy likes his green!
Project: March 12th-13th 2009

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Ah...I love that boy. Good thing we are getting married. I finally picked out my Bridesmaids dresses. Click on the "clover" color. Won't they look great? Since they will wear green, they can have an orange bouquet of flowers.

...Pssst!! Check out the post below. :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Fake-a-Gamo Clutch

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The Fake-a-Gamo clutch is finally completed, just in time for Easter Sunday! The decision of whether or not the top of the clutch should be light brown or darker brown was still half-and-half, even after all of your help (thanks, by the way!!)...so I ended up flipping back and forth between the two choices until it finally seemed obvious that the darker brown looked best. I am now proud to carry around my clutch version of the knitted Ferrogamo purse that sells for 1,600 smackeroos.

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Pattern: Kate Sonnick's "Fake-a-Gamo" purse, heavily modified
Click here for my re-write of the original pattern (not the clutch though).
Project focus: April 10th-12th (Actual cast-on: January 09)
Needles: Size 5US straights
Yarn: Under 1 skein Omega Hilos La Espiga No. 18 in the colorway Dark Olive
Other materials: suede fabric for the top, carmel colored satin fabric for the liner, matching thread for sewing & a magnetic clasp

I enjoyed working with the Hilos La Espiga yarn. It's a little tough to adjust to, what with the rope-like texture mixed in with it's silkiness, but the bag is completely durable, unlike my first and second Fake-a-Gamo purse. I would definitely consider making myself another one of these in another color. I'd like to add more definition to the texture by tweaking the pattern a bit. As for the guts of the clutch, I had a bit of an argument with our sewing machine-which refused to work-so I had to borrow my FMIL's sewing machine for the silky liner and sewing part of the suede top. Other than that, I had to hand-stitch the entire top to the clutch. I've got a several holes in my fingers, but the effort was well worth it and all I can say now is: Hello Spring, and goodbye large clothes and bags!

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Friday, April 10, 2009

I need your advise, ASAP!!

I'm in a bit of a pickle, and I need your advise before THIS EVENING on which suede fabric looks best with my Fake-a-Gamo clutch I'm making, in time for the Easter celebrations Saturday and Sunday. Please, please comment ASAP about which one looks best. I'm having such a hard time deciding.

A few details: I still have to finish the second pattern repeat (a couple of inches more of work. It will look like the bottom half, but in a different placement.) I will be folding the suede fabric over the top of the clutch...and it will stick out about 1.5 inches.I have a medium-dark chocolate color (almost exactly like this color...maybe a touch less reddish hue, looking through my monitor. See the first picture for a better view), which I think looks great, but does it look better than the lighter brown? This lighter shade looks great, but is it too light? Does that shade of green need something darker against it as a clutch? Am I just redidulous...and the answer should be obvious???

Thanks for your help. I hope to sew it up tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest. :)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I Do.

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Almost under 5.5 months, dudes. Last week, I headed to David's Bridal to find my bride's maids dresses. I did find a few styles that I like, but I was thrilled when I found out that they had their Bridal Slippers in stock. Aren't they gorgeous? Not only will I have the most comfortable footwear that day, but they will match my dress beautifully.

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I spent the better part of yesterday morning making Apple Turnovers. This time, they came out delicate and flaky. I enjoyed a pipping-hot brew of Caribou coffee with my own piece. Too bad they didn't last long with my family. I guess I'll have to make more.

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I was inspired by my blogger friend Cassie to repurpose yarn using thrift-shop finds. Well, my buys gave me a bit of a head-ache, but I managed to unravel both of the sleeves of one of the sweaters I bought. I'm in love with my Kromski niddy noddy. I matches my Ashford spinning wheel perfectly, and it feels like it was made very well. The sleeves gave me about 2.2 oz of fiber. Each. (Yeah.) I'll have to do the body of the sweater in batches because I estimate each side to have about 6 oz.

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After I slipped the fiber off of the niddy noddy, it looked like a wet poodle. After I finish up unraveling the rest of the sweater, I'll wash it in really a concentrated detergent bath. Wherever these articles of clothing were stored, they are flaring up my allergies. And I usually don't have allergies. I'm still pondering what I should do with these skeins. It's about fingering weight.

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You can probably tell that I haven't been keeping up with my photo editing, because I worked on this spinning like a week and a half or more ago. It's part of my plan to spin & sell later on in my shop. I'm also working on knitting up items to sell as well. More info to follow on those plans.

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I've got some more updates on some real knits. Stay in touch.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Washcloth mania

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Well, procrastination can inflict for only so long, so here-be the promised washclothes that I did for charity, minus a few that never made it to the camera:

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"The Unique Basketweave Cloth"
(KUAS original)

Updated 4/09: pattern tweaked to be reversible & converted to pdf.
UNIQUE BASKETWEAVE CLOTH (pdf available)


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A color-palette of what they could be.
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"The Garter Block Washcloth"
(KUAS Original)

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Probably not too original, but I really liked the effect. I should have blocked the cloth before taking the photo though.

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"The Center-Line Washcloth"
(KUAS Original)

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There's eyelets on the outside, with the center line being a two-needle BO. Nothing fancy-schamncy.

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"Reverse Miter Washcloth" by Ari Whitlow

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Same, but different color.

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"The Fountain Lace Washcloth" by Smariek

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You'll also have to picture a garter washcloth made out of a silky cotton yarn, and other items like scarves & a baby hat that I made for our library's bake (and now knit) sale that benifited the American Cancer Society.

Thanks for the concern about the foot, peeps. It wasn't really feeling that good until now...but I hope that ache is the growing of bones. It's hard to believe, but I'm only 2 weeks into the 6 week recovery slot. *sigh* I just had my MRI done on my foot, and I'm still waiting to hear the results from my doctor.

Meanwhile, I've got lots and lots of knitting/spinning/reading/wedding detail updates...and if I stop watching all of the 4400 shows....maybe I can start posting about them! Meanwhile, go check out that pdf that I made on the 1st washcloth. :)

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