Favorite Thing Friday: Lace and Rib Socks

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When I bought a skein of Noro sock yarn, my mission was all about finding the perfect pattern to make a special pair of socks. Noro is special yarn, so it deserves the right pattern to showcase it’s color and texture.

While paging through a Noro knitting magazine I spotted Lace and Rib Socks. These socks have a beautiful lace pattern on the leg and a simple rib pattern on the foot – the perfect combination of complexity and simplicity!

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Lace and Rib Socks, Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn

The lace pattern looks complicated but it only requires a couple of stitches beyond the basics. If you know how to knit 2 together and a yarn over, you can make these socks!

Overall, the pattern is written extremely well. Reading the chart, however, can be tricky for beginners. The concept of a “no stitch” box can be confusing at first, so it might be a good idea to read up on the subject before casting on, (check out this link for a great tutorial).

The contrasting textures really help to accentuate the color palette of my skein of Noro Silk Garden Sock (Colorway S268). I bought this skein because I loved the neutral colors, as well as that bright pop of blue. One of my favorite things about these socks is how each sock has one bright stripe of blue – it keeps things interesting!

I seem to be on a sock streak because almost immediately after finishing these socks, I picked out some new yarn and starting knitting yet another pair of socks!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015

Favorite Thing Friday: Simple Socks

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Sometimes a simple pair of socks is all I really need! While my knitting pattern library is stocked with beautiful socks, I’ll often gravitate towards a plain sock that uses no more than two stitch types. This is especially true after a long writing session or a tough day at work.

After finishing my Retro Rib socks, I put away my needles and pulled out my KB sock loom. I wanted to make something easy, familiar, and fool-proof. My sock loom and some Paton’s Kroy Sock yarn fit those requirements perfectly!

I set the sock loom to 52 pegs, which always seems to make a snug, yet comfortable sock, (approx 7.5″ foot circumference).  The pattern is a simple K3,P1 rib that I adapted from a needle pattern (Ann’s Go-To Socks).

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Ann’s Go-To Socks, Paton’s Kroy Sock Yarn in Blue Stripped Ragg

Adapting basic needle patterns to a sock loom is actually very easy. As long as the peg count matches up with the repeated pattern stitch count, the pattern easily transfers from needle to peg. The toe and heel are turned with the usual loom short row method.

As for gauge, it’s just a question of matching the stitch count as close as possible to your preferred peg count. The only tricky part is choosing a yarn that gets close to gauge. Ann’s Go-To Socks called for a 52 stitch cast on, so that matched up perfectly to my preferred 52 peg count with Paton’s Kroy yarn, (in addition Paton’s Kroy Sock had a gauge very close to the pattern gauge).

When in doubt, choose a yarn with a gauge that is close to the pattern gauge or use a yarn you’ve used before so you know how to plan your peg count. At the same time, remember that there’s a lot to be said for experimenting. Sometimes you’ve just got to try a few yarn/peg combinations until you get the fit you want.

I love how my simple ribbed socks turned out! They are so comfortable and match my Spider-man t-shirt perfectly.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015

Favorite Thing Friday: Retro Rib Socks

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I’ve been bit by the sock knitting bug, again! This time I pulled out my trusty needles and made some simple, yet really fun to knit socks. The inspiration for “simple” came from realizing my sock drawer is full of brightly colored socks and very few neutral colors. I needed some socks that go with anything and everything without being boring.

I found the perfect pattern in one of my favorite knitting books, Favorite Socks: 25 Timeless Designs From Interweave. The Retro Rib Sock is just a simple rib pattern, but it mixes stitches up enough to give the rib a little kick.

Considering I choose a very plain yarn, Patons Kroy Socks in Flax, it was important for the stitch pattern to create a nice texture. The Retro Rib definitely gives this otherwise boring yarn a boost with wonderful ridges and valleys.

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Even plain brown socks can be pretty!

To achieve such an interesting texture, the pattern calls for knit and knit-through-back loop stitches that alternate between rows. Luckily, the pattern has a nice rhythm and that makes it easy to memorize when to knit a stitch normally and when to knit through the back loop.

While this is a rather easy pattern, it does call for a kitchener stitch on the toe which can be a little daunting for a beginner. I find it to be a rather easy method to use (thanks to Ann Budd’s Getting Started Knitting Socks), but it’s easy enough to knit the toe using another method, (such as the star toe).

Overall, I love these socks! They are toasty warm and they match everything in my closet.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015

Favorite Thing Friday: Arrow Bracelet

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Sometimes being a fangirl is what gets my muse inspired. I’ve made no secret about the fact that I love Arrow (see 10 Reasons Why Arrow is Awesome), so it was only a matter of time before my crafting skills would apply to this obsession.

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While wandering through the bead aisle at my local craft store an idea hit me. Hmmmm, I wonder if they have a charm in the shape of an arrow? Within five minutes I found one:

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Vintaj Straight Arrow Charm

Now came the serious job of brainstorming how to turn this little charm into a piece of wearable art. I settled on creating a bracelet because I still love my compass necklace way too much to give it up. Instead of the usual chain or bead combination, I decided to make something a little different. I went into the leather crafting aisle and found the perfect thing! A leather snap bracelet with stitching holes along the side.

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Darice Leather Snap Bracelet

To fill in the stitching holes, I went straight to the cording aisle. After much contemplation, I settled on some thin green hemp cording, (green is Arrow’s signature color). Not only is it strong stuff that doesn’t fray, but it’ll give the bracelet a rustic look.

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Hemptique Crafting Cord

When I put it all together, I ended up with a great Arrow Bracelet:

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Arrow Bracelet

Here’s how I did it:

First, I split the hemp cord into a 2-ply string instead of 3-ply.

Then, using an embroidery needle I backstitched the cord into the pre-punched holes on the leather strap.

I left the ends long and then tied them off in a square knot. To hide the ends, I wove them into the stitches (just like a knitter!).

To attach the arrow, I took a leftover single strand of hemp cording and wrapped it twice around the base of the arrowhead. Then, I used a needle to pull each strand through the bracelet holes. I tied the ends into a square knot and wove in the ends.

I repeated the same process at the base of the fletching.

Lastly, I slightly bent the arrow charm to follow the natural curve of my wrist.

All told the whole process took about 30 minutes. How’s that for some awesome fan art!?

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015

 

Favorite Thing Friday: Spring Fling Socks

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My sock loom has been busy! After a long hiatus from knitting things for myself (Christmas gift knitting is a four month ordeal), I finally got to make something fun for myself. To get back in the groove of my style and my preferences I went back to where it all began – my original KB Sock Loom.

Instead of picking out a technically demanding pattern, I opted to play with pattern dyed yarn to create an interesting sock. All I have to do is a simple stockinette stitch while the self-striping and self-patterning yarn does all the work. I’ve been meaning to make a simple sock for a while as they are the best for daily wear, easy to wash, and are the most comfortable with my Converse Sneakers.

I had the perfect yarn hiding in my yarn basket for this project – Premier Yarns Serenity Sock Weight Prints in Spring Fling. It alternates between solid color stripes, checkers, and vertical stripes in myriad bright colors (coral, magenta, gray, blue, and green). To anchor the “busy” feel of the color I decided to make the cuff, heel, and toe in a solid color. As it turns out I had a partial skein of Premier Yarns Serenity Sock Weight Solids in Woodsy Green leftover from a previous project (Green & Pink Socks) that matched relatively well.

From previous experience with this brand of yarn, I knew to cast on with more pegs than I normally would for my size. After a few washes, this yarn shrinks up a bit, even when hand washed and laid flat to dry. My usual sock is anywhere from 48 to 52 pegs, but for this one I tried out 56 pegs to see if that is enough to accommodate for the shrinkage issue. It’ll be a couple of months before I know if this worked!

This is my third attempt at very basic colorwork on a sock loom and I think it turned out pretty well!

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Spring Fling socks

Colorwork technique on a sock loom is very different from knitting needles. The general rule in knitting is to never use a knot to attach a new color, but on a sock loom that rule has to be modified.

At the beginning of a round, tie the new color around the previous work yarn strand. Only tie it once and do not make a knot. It will be a little loose at first, but it’s easy to tighten up after a few rounds. Cut the previous work yarn (with at least a 6″ tail) and continue with the newly established work yarn.

Once the sock is done and it’s time to weave in the ends, the single tie that was created to attach the new color can be undone. Very carefully pick apart the tie and weave in the ends as usual. The connection is seamless and there’s no knot!

The sock adventure continues as I scan through my patterns for the next project and decide what to pull out of my yarn basket!

Happy Knitting!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2015