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

 

Project Poetry Journal

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My recent obsession with black out poetry inspired a return to my old hobby of creating handmade journals, (See Project Art Journal and Project Spirit Journal).  After creating more than 50 black out poems, I realized I needed a better place to store them than a plastic sheet protector. It’s tough to enjoy them when they are stacked in a pile and shoved inside a pocket!

A quick search on bookbinding offered a number of choices, but one really jumped out at me – The Coptic Stitch. This stitch works great for thicker journals and it allows the journal to open flat at any given point. However, my favorite part is the ease of attaching a hard cover.

Thus, Project Poetry Journal began! Before I knew it I had a beautiful book full of black out poetry:

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Front Cover

Here’s how I did it:

Supplies:

  • cardboard
  • printed paper
  • card stock
  • brown paper sack
  • alphabet stickers
  • assorted ephemera
  • paper piercer
  • glue stick
  • double sided tape
  • thick thread
  • scissors
  • needle

The Cover:

I cut two pieces of cardboard to size and then wrapped them in a brown paper bag to create a smooth finish. Brown paper lunch sacks are the best for this process because the paper is thin and pliable once slathered with a glue stick. It’s almost like fabric and it doesn’t take much to create a wrinkle free finish.

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A smooth paper bag finish softens the edges and corners.

For the front cover, I layered a piece of printed paper that looked like an old newspaper. For the title I applied alphabet stickers that blended in nicely with the background. The letters look like they are part of the newspaper, but they jump out at the same time. To add some strength to the binding, I added a thin strip of decorative card stock to the edge.

On the inside covers, I used a brown paper sack covered in antique advertisement graphics. This served to hide the initial cover flaps and folds, while also giving the interior a little personality.  Once again, a glue stick made the paper pliable and easy to smooth out.

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Inside front cover

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Inside back cover

The Pages:

To keep my black out poems from crumbling, (I used a 1940 falling-apart novel to create my blackout poetry, so the pages are very fragile!), I decided to use card stock for the pages of my journal.  After cutting the sheets to the correct size, I created five signatures consisting of five pages folded in half. I used a bone folder to create a strong crease so the signatures would lie relatively flat when stacked.

I didn’t trim the edges in order to create a deckled edge. I like this edging because it creates a more rustic feel and it makes turning the pages a little easier.

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Deckled edge pages

Bookbinding:

I punched six evenly spaced holes along the center fold of each signature using a paper piercer. The process can be a little slow, but it’s worth taking the time to make sure the holes line up perfectly. I created a template and simply laid it over each folded sheet and put my paper piercer through the template and the page beneath at the same time.

Using the same paper hole template, I pierced six holes along the sides of the front and back covers. The holes are a little more than a .25″ from the edge.

With my signatures and covers hole-punched, it was time to stitch. To guide me in the process of sewing a Coptic Stitch, I found a great tutorial on youtube.

It took a few tries, but I eventually got the hang of it! The result is beautiful binding that holds everything together.

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Coptic Stitch Binding

The Content:

Once my book was bound, I could fill the pages with content. First, I created a title page to pay homage to the source material of my black out poetry. I cut apart the title page of the original novel and attached it to a discarded library book pocket. In addition, I added my author credit to a discarded library due date card, along with a symbol associated with my source material. The use of discarded library materials is a nod to the idea of found art and upcycling.

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Upcycled title page

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Inside the pocket

From there, I added the poems. Due to the fragile nature of the poetry pages, I used double stick tape instead of a glue stick. I made sure the tape was very close to the edges so no part of the paper could lift off the card stock when pages are turned.

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Black out poetry affixed to a page

I had so much fun with this project, another poetry journal is already in the works to house the haikus I wrote for the 2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge.

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Special Note: Three poems from this book have been posted, (See Black Out Poetry) and I will continue to post more. Stay tuned!

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c.b.w. 2015

Favorite Thing Friday: Chunky Socks

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After almost three months of knitting Christmas gifts, I finally got a chance to cast on a project for myself. As much as I love making gifts for friends and family, I miss knitting without a deadline!

With the weather finally starting to cool down, my feet are screaming for a new pair of super warm socks. On my last trip to the craft store, I picked up some worsted weight wool in variegated shades of gray, black and white. As soon as I saw the color was called “Cloudy,” I was sold. How wonderful to make cloudy socks with a chance of thunderstorms!

To make my cloudy socks, I pulled out my brand new KB Sock Loom 2. This is a regular gauge loom that can handle heavier yarns like worsted weight wool, (my original KB Sock Loom could only handle sock, fingering, or lightweight yarns). When I saw KB created a loom to make chunky socks, I was ecstatic! I tried making thicker socks on my original sock loom and they did not turn out that great. Between zero elasticity and a less than stellar fit, those socks sit at the bottom of my drawer!

The directions that came with the Sock Loom 2 left much to be desired in clarity when it came to calculating the number of pegs needed for correct sizing. So, I went on the hunt for a pattern/instruction book. What I found was Authentic Knitting Board Sock Loom Projects by Isela Phelps and I couldn’t be happier. She offers patterns for both sock looms, plus detailed instructions and charts that take the mystery out of calculating peg counts.

For my first foray on the Sock Loom 2, I opted for a simple stockinette stitch with a 2×2 ribbed cuff. It’s aways best to start simple when trying something new! Overall, my first chunky sock turned out great. Thanks to Isela Phelps’ size/peg count chart, my sock is a perfect fit.

Even though, these are my cloudy socks, I can’t help but think they kind of look like a zebra, too!

The nice thing about a thicker gauge is that it knits up very quickly! Instead of 70 rounds for the leg, I only needed to do 40. It felt like a vacation! This awesome sock only took a few hours to knit and I’ve already casted on to make it’s mate.

Thicker gauge, thicker sock!

I will definitely be making a few more pairs of chunky socks before winter is in full swing.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014