Saturday, March 29, 2008

Heavenly Saturday

Well, the birds are chirping, and it's going to be another beautiful day here in Orlando. I love the early morning peacefulness of Saturdays, the kids are sleeping, hubby is off to work and I'm enjoying my coffee while writing my blog and catching up with my groups. Already cleaned one bathroom, and have a load of laundry going. Taking a break between gearing up to clean the second bathroom and unloading the dishwasher. Always, so much to get done. Then I plan on venturing out to find but yet another haircolor. Can't seem to find the right blonde tone for me. Oh by the way, I've been every color, except for black. Plus, my daughter is in cosmetology school, so we're always playing around.

If hubby gets home early today, we're off to Islands of Adventure and Universal for Mardi Gras. It is so much fun. I do plan on getting a couple of rows of my sock done today, have to finish it up so that I can mail them off to my mom.

Better go and continue with my day. Have a wonderful weekend to all.



Thursday, March 27, 2008

Not about socks

This made me so sad when I got this e-mail. I am still in disbelief. You know those ball pits, that, I'm sure, everyone has let their child play in at least one time, well two little boys died after playing in them. One had a welt, what looked like a splinter underneath, which turned out to be the tip of a hypodermic needle with heroine. The other little boy died from numerous snake bites, yes snake bites. When they cleaned out the pit, they found a copper head snake in there, as well as feces, rotten food, vomit and who knows what else. The same was found at the other ball bit, with the exception of the snake, but the needles took that place.

I can't even imagine what these parents are going through. Those pits are cleaned out, but once a month, if that. This is too scary and disgusting at the same time. When my kids were little, they always played in those pits whenever we were at McDonalds, Chuck-e-Cheese or Discovery Zone. Yes, they always got sick, a stomach virus or a bad cold, and I thought that was bad. So if anyone reads this blog, please don't let your kids play in those pits. Maybe you already know about these incidences, but I just found out and had to vent.

May God bless those families.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Some more samples of my work

Crochet blanket which I donated to a little boy in Minnesota. Another blanket for a little girl. A baby sweater hat and booties for my friend. Beret and scarf set which I sent to my sister. The crochet blanket was made in memory of my best and dearest friend and donated to the hospice that took care her. They gave back her dignity and helped her enter the Kingdom of God in peace. Sadly, she passed away after a long battle with breast cancer. Scarves, mittens and hats donated to children in need. My first ever, X-Mas stocking, in crochet.

A shawl that I knitted with ribbon yarn, another pair of socks and my sock in progress. You can now visualize what I mean about working my socks inside out.

More to come. Have a great day.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Magic Loop Socks Tutorial

After teaching myself this method of making socks, I taught I'd share. I've tried the 2 at a time socks on one needle, and there is way too much tangling of yarns for me. However, once you get comfortable with doing one sock, you may want to venture out and try 2. If you've knitted socks on double pointed needles, you're already halfway there. For those just learning to knit socks, no problem, this method is extremely easy once you get used to manuvering the circular needle.

Materials: 1 32 - 40" circular needle size 2, 3 or 4 whatever size gives you correct gauge , markers, darning needle and tape measure
Sock yarn - fingering weight yarn, 2 skeins or approx. 400 yards.
Gauge: 7" = 1"

This is for a ladies' medium foot - I wear an 8 shoe

Cast on 56 st. onto your circular needle. Now move your st. up cable, and count 28 stitches. Pull cable up at the end of your 28 st. This divides your 56 st. in half. Okay, bring your stitches to the needle part. I knit my socks inside out, makes no difference and I find the joining of stitches is tighter. You'll see what I mean if you start the way I do.

Now, we need to start knitting in the round, so make sure your tail yarn is on the right needle or front needle. Also, make sure that your sts are not twisted. Pull out the front(right) needle and knit your first stitch pulling tightly so as not to have any gaps. Place a marker to indicate beginning of round. Knit another st. pulling yarn tightly again. Continue knitting across remaining sts. to end. You'll notice at this point that your st are hanging on the cable. To continue, push your st. so that they are on the needle part. Pull out your front needle and continue knitting across the 28 st. this is the other side your sock.

Okay, you've done your first round. I personally like to knit my first round instead of starting with the pattern.

This sock is worked in K2, P2 ribbing for the cuff and stockinette for the rest, so it's really easy to do.

Next round: K2, P2, making sure that you are pulling your first 2 st. tightly in order to avoid ladders or gaps. Continue for 2".

After you've completed your ribbing, start knitting in stockinette. This will be the leg part.
Knit every round for about 6 - 6 1/2" or desired length.

Your heel will be worked on half of your st. = 28 st. All slipped stitches will be worked purlwise.

Heel Flap: (Worked over 28 st)
Row 1: SL 1, K1, SL 1 K1 across 28 st. (Known as Eye of Partridge heel) much sturdier
Row 2: SL 1, P across

Repeat these 2 rows for 2 1/2" - 3"

Heel Turn: (SSK - slip two sts. knitwise onto right-hand needle, then insert tip of left needle in the front of the two sts and K2 tog)

Row 1: SL 1, K15 ssk, K1 turn or you can do SL 1, K15, K2tog, K1*
Row 2: SL 1, P5, P2 tog, P1 turn
Continue working rows 1 and 2 until all your sts have been worked. You will have 16 st. left on your needle.

*Note: If you do not like doing the SSK, you can K2tog instead, really does not make a difference.

Next row: K across the 16 st. This will bring you to the side of your sock. You will start the Gusset now:

Pick up 19 sts. along your side of sock. These stitches are picked up by going under your first slipped st. After you've picked up 19 st.,place a marker here. This is the end of your heel. Now knit across your instep stitches - 28 st., place another maker here. Now pick up 19 sts. along your other edge of sock. Knit half of your heel stitches, which will be 8 in this case, and pull your needle through. This is the new position of your sock. Your cable will be split at half of your instep stitches. You should have 82 st. on your needles

You will notice that your very first marker at the beginning of cuff is now facing you. Take that marker and put it on the other side of sock to let you know that it is the beginning of round.

You will now be starting your knitting at the heel portion of sock.

Gusset Decreases:
Your heel and gusset sts will be decreased, not your instep stitches. You will always have 28 sts for the instep at this point. So, basically, you're decreasing at the end of the heel and at the beginning of the other side of the heel which are indicated by your markers, what wonderful inventions!

Ready for Decreasing: You now have to get back down to 56sts. just like when you started. You will reduce your sock by 2 sts on each decrease round.

Knit every stitch all around knitting through the back of the picked up stitches so that you do not have any holes - then -

Round 1: Knit to 3sts before your marker, K2 tog, K1, k across the instep stitches, turn to other side, k instep sts to next marker. After marker, K1, SSK, knit across remaining heel st.

Round 2: K all around, no decreases made

It helps to make a note on paper to remember where you are. Continue in this manner until you have 56 st. left total.


You will continue to knit, for 2" shorter than your foot length. Measure your foot from the back of your heel to your longest toe. My foot measured 9" and I like my socks snug, so I make mine 6 1/2" long, then I begin the toe decreases.

Toe decreases: There are many different methods, and so far I prefer this one.

Note: You will be decreasing all around the sock, including the instep. I like to mentally divide my sock into 4 sections, each having 14 st at this point. This helps me keep track of my decreases to make sure I have an equal number all around.

Round 1: K to last 3 st, before marker, K2 tog. K1 = 13 st. Move marker
K1, SSK (beginning of your instep) turn around
K to last 3 st, before marker, K2 tog. K1 move marker (other side of instep)
K1 SSK k to end (other side of heel)

You should have 52 st. total

Knit 3 even rounds

Knit 1 decrease round, followed by 2 even rounds (twice) 6 rounds

Knit 1 decrease round, followed by 1 even round (three times) 6 rounds

Work rest in decrease rounds until you have 8 st. total left on your needles. Finish off with Kitchener method.
Instructions for Kitchener method:

With your needles in home position and having 8 st. left

K through back needle
K through front needle - pull this stitch off needle
P through front needle
P through back needle - pull this stitch off needle
K through back needle
K through front needle - pull this stitch off needle
P through front needle
P through back needle - pull this stitch off needle
Continue until all stitches have been worked
Weave your yarn through the sock and secure. You're done: now cast on for your second sock.

Hope you found this helpful. I have researched and tried different patterns and came up with this beginner one and have tried to make it as clear as possible.

Happy knitting:

Don't worry if your socks don't match exactly

Having finished my third pair of socks with varigated yarn, I know now not even to bother remembering where I began in the color sequence so that my second sock matches. I thought I had started exactly in the same spot, and my socks are still slightly mismatched. From now on, I'm going to be surprised with the finished result. They will be unique just as the person wearing them. Knitting is all about showing your creativity and you have to enjoy doing it.

So, knit on and let the yarn move you. I will be posting my own tutorial and a pattern for the Magic Loop method shortly for anyone contemplating making socks this way. For me, my double pointed needles have been put into retirement. Circular is the way to go. My own preference are the Knitpicks. Very flexible and sharp and yes, very affordable. Their yarns are awesome too. Lots of selection and prices are wonderful.

Have a fantastic knitting day!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Here is a pic of my socks done on a circular needle, one at a time, using the magic loop method. Not too bad for my first pair. I'm not sure if there is a trick to making these socks match exactly with the yarn I used, but they feel great. If there is anyone out there with any tricks or tips on making perfectly matched socks, let me know. All are invited to share their knowledge. Thanks.

Monday, March 3, 2008

So many projects and not enough time

Well, here I am again trying to do too many things at once and still have time to knit. Knitting has become my passion, my therapy, my way of dealing with stressful situations. I honestly wish I could just knit all day sometimes.

I'm sure I'm not alone. With housework, kids, husband, the dog and working, when will I ever find time to do what I really enjoy? I am a knitter from way back when, a child knitter, watching my mom and grandma create wonderful scarves, hats, blankets and shawls out a strand of yarn. Amazing, I thought and quickly learned the craft. Still amazes me that one strand of yarn and two different stitches can produce a wearable garment, like no other.

My mom and grandma did not read patterns, and I thought myself which opened up all kinds of windows. Not enough time to do it all. I just recently thought myself to knit socks, first on double pointed needles, which I almost threw in the garbage, ugh, but didn't give up. These socks came out awesome, so warm and soft. Then I took on the daunting task of trying to knit two socks at once on a circular needle. What a disaster. Even though I bought a book, I couldn't grasp the concept, gave up and finally found a pattern for one sock on one circular. Well, guess what, I'm working up my second sock. I realize now, that to knit a sock, you must first understand the anatomy of a sock. Once you know the different parts and how they are worked, the possibilities are endless. Again, too many patterns to try and not enough time.

But being the optimist I am, I already purchased a boatload of sock yarn and more needles. Positive thinking. I am planning on using all this yarn and having socks for everyone. No one will have cold feet anymore.

My kids and husband look at me and can't understand why and how I can sit for hours when I have the time and just knit. Wouldn't you compare it to watching TV for hours, which in my opinion is a total waste these days, at least I'm creating something unique with my hands.

So to all my knitting and, of course, crocheting friends (I crochet as well), keep those needles clicking and yarn unraveling.

More to come!