Happy Soctober – Part II

I like educating people about how many pairs of socks they should own. Sometimes we have one pair we love so much that we wear them out in a very short amount of time. The fact is you should have at least 10 pairs of socks, for every season, regardless of your preferred fiber. Natural fiber socks are best but there are a lot of people who are allergic to them and need to wear synthetic fibers such as acrylic.

Some people don’t know the difference between wool and acrylic or cotton and acrylic. Some believe the socks they’re wearing are acrylic when they’re actually WOOL. Some think they’re allergic to wool and have never worn wool in their lives. Some are allergic to cotton and linen but can wear every synthetic fiber made. Regardless of fiber allergies or preferences, handknit socks are best.

Whichever type of socks you prefer, the ones you wear the most will eventually wear out! The most common place for handknit socks to wear out is the heel, followed by the ball of the foot. The most common place for mass manufactured socks to wear out is at the toe, followed by the heel. Either way, if you’re trying to save money or just love that pair of socks so much that you can’t bear to part with them, you can always repair them and should repair them.

The two main methods of repairing holey, worn out socks are: Darning, duplicate stitching, and reknitting. I will partially cover darning and reknitting. Darning involves stitching an anchor box around the hole and then weaving from the anchor stitches, over and under, and back and forth, until the hole is filled in and sturdy. I prefer to herringbone weave 2 over and 2 under; and then cross back over to make it all sturdy.

A reknitted heel involves picking up the stitches at the top of the hole and the bottom of the hole, and knitting a heel patch (toe patch, or patch for the ball of the foot) while picking up the old stitches at the sides of the hole, and then using the Kitchener Stitch to graft it all together so it looks nice and neat.

Sometimes, you need to pick up stitches in the middle so you can graft (kitchener stitch) them to the reknit portion during the repair. See the photo below.

Other times, you get very lucky to be able to just grab a few inches of yarn and just sew or weave the hole closed. This works best on holes smaller than a half inch.

There are many different ways to repair your favorite socks. It’s your choice. Do some research. I’ve shared the ones I’m currently working on because I was asked to do so.

*** NOTE: I rarely ever have any of the yarn left over from anything I’ve knit because I tend to use the leftovers in other things after about two years. ***

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!

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

Card weaving or tablet weaving (they’re the same thing).

There’s a lot of talk and publicizing of card weaving and tablet weaving right now. This is something I’ve been doing for the past 4 or 5 years and I knew it wouldn’t be long before it would be swinging its circle back to being popular again. I’m always amazed at how cyclic the trends are and how everything old and suddenly becomes ‘new’ again.

All that said, I figured I’d just do up another blog post, with all the pictures of nearly all of my card weaving endeavors, including my hand-made cards. I’ve also shared a couple of tutorials I’ve published in the past.

This is the first guitar strap I made for a friend in Milwaukee. It measured 6 feet long by 3 inches wide when it was finished. He requested acrylic yarns only because he didn’t know much about wool yet. I originally started out with playing cards cut into weaving tablets.

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture  My beautiful picture

 

This was a 2-sided (exactly the same on both sides) Anglo-Saxon braid card weaving that I did next. It became an adjustable belt. It’s 100% from my hand spun, hand dyed wool yarns! All of it is Suffolk from the Ahrens’ Suffolk sheep!

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

 

At this point, I considered buying some weaving tablets/cards because the playing cards pretty much wore out after about 5 weavings. I made another set of playing card tablets and then I started playing around with all of the plastic containers we had around the house. A year after I perfected something I liked, I created this Instructable for them (http://www.instructables.com/id/Card-weaving-how-to-make-your-own-cards-from-rec/). Cat litter jugs and milk jugs work the best!

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

 

As you can see, I use a rug loom to do my card weaving. I prefer standing and I prefer weaving top down. The skinny ones became dog leashes and the wide ones became belts or guitar straps. The last one, on the triangle weaving cards was acrylic (another special request).

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

 

I also discovered that I love triangle weaving. That patterns that can be created are unfathomable, but that will have to be for another post while I learn more with the triangle cards. Both of these became dog leashes also. The first one is acrylic. The 2nd and 3rd ones are my hand dyed, hand spun wool yarns.

My beautiful picture My beautiful picture My beautiful picture

 

During all the madness, I decided I needed a more portable way to card weave, so I made a back strap loom and designed and built a wooden, portable card weaving loom.

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This first one didn’t work out so well because I realized I needed to be able to pass the shuttle back and forth, unimpeded.

My beautiful picture My beautiful pictureMy beautiful picture

 

 

This ‘minor’ modification, using a jigsaw, turned out just right (and yes, I still use playing cards to weave with because it seems I end up selling off my recycled plastic ones.

My beautiful pictureMy beautiful picture My beautiful picture

 

Here is the video of me demonstrating triangle card weaving. I did all of the editing with help from my friend, Azharuddin Khan!

 

Also, a special thanks goes out to Guntram for creating awesome, free software to design all of those designs you want to create. His software comes with a bazillion preprogrammed patterns, but also allows you to design your own and save them all. The software is called, Guntram’s Card Weaving Thingy!

As always, if this prompts you to want to start card weaving and you’d like some nice, slippery cards that don’t tip over while you’re weaving (unless you want them to), see my etsy listing for them.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/128994950/1-dozen-unmarked-card-weaving-cards-made

Get busy and make something!!

 

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

Facebook can lead to fun and simple lace knitting….

It always starts like this: I do my morning prayers, log onto my laptop and let it do its thing, get a cup of coffee, review my orders that need to be shipped/created for the day, then I venture onto Facebook. This is where it takes me awhile to drag myself away to the work that needs doing (yes, this can include housework, too). Sometimes, I have to set a timer and only allow myself 15 minutes of perusal time. Sometimes I’m able to walk away without the timer because I have TONS of work that needs doing. Sometimes I find things worth reading and end up digging around for more info. That’s when I need the timer.

Last week, I found a picture on Facebook that led me to some random photos on Pinterest, that led me to ravelry, where I found a link to this pattern written by tin can knits, called Vivid. While mine isn’t so very vivid, I love how it turned out and will be making quite a few of these to piece together into a nice shawl or wrap (I’ll add pictures to this post when I’ve got that part figured out.).

Here is the result of me seeing, liking and hunting it all down:

unblockedfirstsquare1 unblockedfirstsquare2

I love this quick, easy and very well written pattern so much that I started a second one right away. I’m using U.S. size 2 circular knitting needles with my hand dyed (Debra Ahrens Suffolk fleece and lime Kool-Aid), hand spun yarn.

Here is what the first square looks like when it’s blocked:

firstsquareblocked1 A pink one

Get on over to Ravelry and buy this pattern quickly before it disappears!

Go read her blog, too!! http://tincanknits.com/pattern-HUK-vivid.html

Oh! and don’t forget her nifty, neato tutorial for doing a pinhole cast-on (yes, it was my first time and I loved learning something new).