A Happy Soctober SOCK Update!!

Two pairs of finished socks and a pair of socks on the needles!

I love knitting danged near anything, but socks are at the top of the list because they’re easy and a quick knit (unless they’re a men’s size 13-1/2 EEE). Socks are a very convenient way to use up leftover yarn and create some very colorful socks that go with anything.

A bag of leftover handspun yarn and commercial yarn

I knit most of my socks, as well as the socks I list for sale, from my handspun wool yarn that I’ve dyed. A lot of the multicolored and striped socks are knit from leftovers from both my handspun yarn, and wool yarn I’ve bought, for client projects, from Indie dyers like Atomic Fiber Co.

I knit acrylic socks and cotton socks for customers who are sensitive to wool or have wool allergies. The two pairs of color block blue socks below are knit from the same skein of Lion Brand, mandala OMBRE acrylic yarn. These yarn cakes are 344yds of softness that feels like chenille and can produce 2 pair of medium sized socks, or a small/medium hat and a pair of small/medium mittens from one skein, when knit using size 4,5, or 6 knitting needles.

I knit both pairs of socks in the photo on the right, with yarn that I spun. Do you see it in the yarn stash, in the photo on the left?

These two pair of socks will be added to my Etsy shop today!

I hear people telling me they wish they could do a lot of different things, from sewing to woodworking. I believe that if you have the spare time and the impetus to do something, stop talking about it and just do it or try it! It can be ANYTHING!!

*** Notice: I have not received any incentives, perks, or freebies from Atomic Fiber Co. or Lion Brand Yarn Co. This blog post was whipped up on a whim.
I will suggest you find my Etsy shop and buy some SOCKS!!! Happy Soctober!

It’s a warm sock kind of day!

I enjoy creating my own sock designs and do so quite often. I recently learned how to knit what some people call proper gusseted socks. I’m told they fit a lot better than short-row heeled socks.

Here’s the thing about that: If you have small feet and/or small heels, the short-row heels fit much, much better than gusset heeled socks. Gusset heeled socks were the standard for eons and went the way of the dodo for awhile because of the invention of hand-crank sock knitting machines and automatic sock knitting machines. Gusset heeled socks have come hugely back in vogue because there are many people who want socks that fit the whole foot, including and especially the heel.

After all, no one wants a pair of socks that are so tight over their heel that you can see through the knit fabric!

A fitted sock: size 9-1/2 wide

Get busy and make something!!

Here’s the link to my website!

A Knitting Graph Study Using the Same Chart for Two Different Dishcloths!

I’m an avid knitter and I’m an avid reader. I love books and all of the fiber arts, however when it comes to weaving and knitting I prefer to work from charts. I find that charts are easier to process. A good chart is worth a thousand words, especially for knitting and weaving (crocheting, too).

I love Interweave Press Piecework magazine. The Jan/Feb 2010 issue has an interesting chart called, Diamond Basketweave, in the article, A New Pattern Stitch from a Knitting Legend, by Barbara G. Walker. I pulled out two skeins of cotton yarn and got to work.

The chart is 32 stitches both ways. I cast on 52 stitches on size 5 straight needles and knit 5 rows of garter stitch and 5 rows of stockinette stitch. I slipped the first stitch of each row throughout the whole dishcloth. Row 11 began with a slipped stitch, knit 4, knit 6 (purl on wrong side), then worked the pattern, as charted, two times. I knit 5 rows (purl on wrong side) opposite of the top, and finished with with 5 rows of garter stitch before binding off.

I knit the second dishcloth with the same beginning and ending, with a twist: I turned the chart sideways and got a neater basketweave that shows up better on the wrong side.

The orange dishcloth was knit first. The motif shows best on the right side. The real one was knit with the graph sideways and shows best on the wrong side.

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Get busy creating!!!

Here’s the follow-up video about how I make my dryer balls!

Video

I know I promised to do a video of me making dryer balls, but when I get hella busy, I don’t do much blogging or video recording. I wrote a post which was pretty much a brief tutorial on how I make my dryer balls (https://mrsdsfiberodyssey.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/this-is-how-my-dryer-balls-are-made/). So, after several months of being super busy and finally moving into a nice studio space, I am now, finally making good on my promise.

My new studio space has made a huge difference for me in production!  The laminate flooring makes it super easy to clean up after and God knows I can be very messy at times. It has tons of natural light, which I crave and need in order to create beautiful woolly and fibery things.

When you’ve finished watching the vid, you can scroll down and take a peek at all the fibery things I’ve been creating!

Green Bay Packers dryer balls

Green Bay Packers dryer balls

Bright colored dryer balls

Bright colored dryer balls

Green Bay Packers dryer balls

Green Bay Packers dryer balls

the coat tree I turned into a yarn tree for display

the coat tree I turned into a yarn tree for display

close-up of the coat tree I turned into a yarn tree

close-up of the coat tree I turned into a yarn tree

mystery wool yarn I finished spinning

mystery wool yarn I finished spinning

hooded neck warmer

hooded neck warmer

hooded neck warmer

hooded neck warmer

hooded neck warmer

hooded neck warmer

hooded neck wamer

hooded neck wamer

Rainy Day

I have a love-hate relationship with rainy days. I know they’re necessary so that everything has water without us paying for it, but I dislike them when they’re cold and dreary. When they’re dreary, I need things to pull me out of any funk they can sometimes throw me into. When they’re dreary, I crave COLOR!! Lots of bright and bold COLORS!!

I started my work today by finishing these dryer balls in my natural colored wool offering.

Stormy gray dryer balls

While they’re pretty, they just weren’t pretty on a rainy day. These got me going on the dyepot with some wonderful Blue Faced Leicester roving and some Jacquard #735 Kelly Green. A most definite improvement and a needed staple for making dryer balls!

BFL in dyepot

More color improvement came with the blocking of my latest square I knit up, with some merino that I experimented on, from TinCanKnits pattern called Vivid. The colors are canary yellow and sienna. I think I should most definitely experiment some more! Right now, I’m knitting 3 squares of each color from my own hand spun, hand dyed yarn.

latest square The first 6 squares

To top off the adding of COLOR into today’s dreariness, I received a package from my good friend, Jeff Mueller (aka Computer Art Man). He sent this beautiful metal print because I mentioned something in a tweet to him (follow him @computerartman on twitter) about a week ago!

Bright Light Big City by Computer Art Man

Jeff is my favorite digital artist because his work is absolutely amazing!! I now own two pieces of his fabulous artwork. The other piece I own, I bought a few years ago and it’s a gorgeous canvas piece of Marlena Dietrich from a still scene from “Shanghai Express”!!

Now, get out there and DO something!

TLD

This is how my dryer balls are made…

A lot of people have brought it to my attention that my dryer balls are ‘too bouncy’ to be 100% wool. If you were to say this to me in person, I’d invite you to cut one in half and see for yourself. I would also consider it to be a waste of the hard work I put into my dryer balls. The halved ball, on the other hand, I would be able to recycle into new dryer balls.

I don’t like to share anything about my process or the processes my art or craft goes through to get from point a to point b. This time, I will share my process. I find that it’s necessary for a dryer ball to have some bounce in it to bounce its way around the clothes dryer. It’s this bouncing action that is what actually softens the clothes as they’re being propelled around the inside of the clothes dryer.

The washed wool

I start out with about a 1/2 ounce of washed wool. I prefer to work with loose, washed wool because it’s easier to compress by hand than a carded batt of wool.

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

I compress or squeeze the wool tightly in my hand until it’s firm enough to start a binding yarn. The binding yarn will aid in holding the wool together as you wrap the yarn around it while squeezing the ball tighter.

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

I keep adding more wool until the ball is almost 2.25 inches in diameter. I begin by pushing the needle felting tool into the wool ball and keep doing this while I rotate the ball around and around.  I continue to needle felt it into a nice, firm, round ball until it meets my expectations for bounce and…..

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

VOILA!! A dryer ball ready to be dressed up (covered with dyed wool, silk and/or decorative wool)!

My beautiful picture

I’ve not bought any dryer sheets or fabric softeners for the past 4 years. Considering that I used to go through a box of 120 count dryer sheets every 3 months, I’d say that I’ve saved roughly $55 over the past 4 years and that’s not bad for a really small family.

(On a side note: dryer balls are strictly fabric softeners. They do nothing to remove static electricity. Only a dehumidifier can do that properly, unless you live where there is high humidity.)

Save some money and buy a set of dryer balls for your dryer today at my Etsy shop!!