Socks in a Basket

As I folded the pairs, I realized all the hand knit socks I’d made (plus one spring green pair knit my Sabine Bornemann at Die Wollnerin in Berlin) were clean at the same time. It’s the second time I’ve washed all of them since shelter in place started. I read that Sabine’s hand dyed yarn store in Berlin has now reopened, allowing two customers at a time

Lots of places and friends represented by the different yarns from Alaska, Germany, Norway, Arizona, New Zealand, Florida. Can you find the yarn I received for my July 4th birthday? (thanks Joanne). The sock monkey pair? There’s the desert plant dyed yarn and gifts from woolswappers halfway across the globe.

A sense of accomplishment

My new method is the hand wash setting on the machine and hung out to air dry in my bathroom. I used to hand wash them and roll in a towel.

My daughter’s sock drawer she texted me pic a year ago. I see Wonder Woman and Good and Plenty

So You’ve Always Wanted to Knit a Sock? or Not.

So you’ve always wanted to knit a sock?  or not. If not, I hope you’ll return to the blog tomorrow.

A math teacher friend and former colleague is preparing to knit her first pair of socks.  She inspired this hand knit sock post. My friend in Florida who is finishing a pair of socks she started knitting for her son about five years ago and now she has the time to knit the second sock.  I think she is on the toe already.

When I first thought of knitting a pair of socks, I thought it looked too difficult. Now I average a pair a month.   My friends say” it’s too much trouble” but the way I see it, I’d be in trouble if I didn’t have sock knitting in my life.  Especially now as we are staying at home.

A blog post by knitter, author and designer Susan B. Anderson describes in detail  How I Make My Socks and is a great start. There are patterns on Ravelry and videos on YouTube.

These striped socks are knit with some very smart yarn that knows how to stripe all by itself, it’s the way the yarn is dyed.  Looks complicated, doesn’t it? The following 4 pairs of socks are knit in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature Yarn from UK bought at McWalker Yarns in Millvale PA.  Although their physical store is closed you can still order online.  (and if you are out of work you can apply for a $50 mini-grant for yarn to knit a project during isolation due to COVID-19 click name of store to get details or order knitting supplies, sock or otherwise)

This first pair is knit by a friend and neighbor who just started knitting in December.  Her first pair of socks.  She knit them on 2- 16″ circulars, one at a time.  She is a very tidy knitter.  I helped her along the way and she watched a couple of videos but she is now finishing her third pair.  Every once in awhile she needs reassurance she is doing the knitting correctly but she’s got it all by herself now.  I am proud of my excellent student and I think her socks look great!

All West Yorkshire Spinners Signature Yarn

 

You have a smart phone? a smart TV?  Here’s some other smart yarn. And you can wash these socks in the washing machine. There is a handwash setting on my machine  I air dry mine.

There is Regia Yarn by Schachenmayr and cotton yarn Tutti Fruiti II,Regia Design Line or Regia Pairfect by ARNE & CARLOS 4-ply (fingering weight). 75% Virgin Wool and 25% Polyamide. I finished both pairs that are shown  completed. Kid socks (in the middle photos)_are fun to knit and take less time.

 

Allergic to wool?  Here are two skeins of cotton sock yarn and a pair I knit for a friend

If you’re a blog follower, you might remember my poem The Satisfaction of Sock Knitting on an April post four years ago.  

A Handknit Sock

There’s a math to it. The cast on. Count
the multiples of four.
Last year it was hats and cowls.
This year, socks.
I want to try the fish lips kiss heel.

It’s a simple thing. How a sock is knit.
You start with yarn.
Needles as slim as toothpicks.
Terms like toe and gusset and cuff.
My friend says, "it’s too much work."

There’s a rhythm in the repetition.
The making. Clockwise circles.
Some throw, some pick.
Row after row after row.
In time you get length and warmth.

There’s the calm you long for,
around and around and around.
Turn heel for a path to Zen.
You think of those you love.
The grandmother who taught you.

The wet squeezed out,
pairs hang to dry. Later fold
their softness, admire the colors,
ignore imperfections.
Find comfort, hidden in shoes.
My squishy hand knit socks.

or my page on the Comparative Analysis of Knitting Socks when I started six pairs before Christmas using all different methods- two at a time on a  long corded (32″) single circular needle – Magic Loop, there was a single sock on an 8″ circular (that took a few inches to master) a single sock on two 16″ circulars, the set of sharp double point needles- one at a time, and then wooden and metal needles to add to the mix. Toe up, cuff down.  Fish Lips Kiss Heel, Flap and Gusset, Afterthought Heel and Eye of Partridge.

Maybe someone reading this blog post will get some needles and sock yarn and give it a go. If you decide to try it, please share your photos and experience as you start knitting socks.

Virtual Knitting Assistance

As it turned out, my friend had her heel flap stitches picked up perfectly for the start of the sock’s gusset. She’s on her third pair of socks. The question was – which needle to knit with as she knit up the side. She’d been making the sock with two 16” circulars. She’d been picking up the heel flap stitches onto a separate double point needle, thanks to Roxanne Richardson’s method on YouTube. I had to see it to understand what she was asking me.

We’d tried to solve it on the phone, with words. So difficult to visualize.

A month ago she would have popped up to my house and I would have been able to do hands-on help. With social distancing and isolating that wasn’t possible.

I’m in my living room, she’s at her house. She was able to show me what the issue was. And with some camera work and focus help (thanks Jack). we found the solution?

A Face Time call.

She really would have been okay with what she was doing, just needed the reassurance what she was doing was correct. It came out just fine!

Famous knitter Elizabeth Zimmerman said

“Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises.”

Elizabeth Zimmermann, Knitting Without Tears: Basic Techniques and Easy-to-Follow Directions for Garments to Fit All Sizes

 

Arne and Carlos Quarantine Knitting from Norway

Remember when I traveled to Norway for the Arne and Carlos Knitting Cruise in September 2018?  That’s where I met Arne and Carlos, who are well known knitwear designers and authors of creative books. During these difficult and anxious times of COVID-19, they are videoing daily from their home  Quarantine Knitting with Arne and Carlos. It’s on their YouTube Channel 

Even if you aren’t a knitter or crocheter they are entertaining and fun to listen to. They are generous and kind.  There will some cooking on the episodes, too.  Their neighbors will deliver the ingredients to their porch. Because they had just travelled out of the country, they are in quarantine in their home.

We are all having to “shelter in place” as the brave nurses, doctors and medical workers have to go to help others.  Grocery and pharmacy workers and other essential services are at risk as they continue to work with the public every day. Challenging is an understatement.

Join their public Facebook Group Quarantine Knitting with Arne and Carlos They are welcoming dialogue, comments and engagement from viewers. Joining in can help you feel less isolated and anxious.  They are encouraging knitters and crocheters to continue to support their local yarn stores during this shutdown of small businesses. Because social distancing is necessary and the physical stores in Pittsburgh are closed, McWalker Yarns in Millvale is offering creative options for yarn delivery and Yarns by Design in Oakmont is offering Free Shipping through Apr 15th. Knitting groups and classes are cancelled but they’re even trying to have a virtual knitting circle, stay tuned.

Here are the links to Episodes one and two

 

 

 

Size Makes a Difference

If you are going to knit a pair of slippers you plan to felt after knitting, it’s imperative you use the same size knitting needle.  Hmmmm.

Would have been good to follow this important advice.    Oops.   One knit on size 11s  (8mm) and one knit on size13s (9mm)    Plan to knit another mismatched pair so I’ll gave two pairs to gift.  Maybe for next Christmas?

I used double strands of 100% wool by Shepherd’s  Wool  from Michigan Bought in Millvale at my LYS – McWalker Yarns.

Put slippers in a pillowcase or mesh bag.

 

Throw in a pair of blue jeans to help agitate the slipper in the machine.

And here’s the result

 

Multiple Factors Affect the Size of Your Knitting

One Week to Go – an inch of ribbing and two sleeves

One week to go in the NaKniSweMo challenge. Sponsored by McWalker Yarns of Millvale PA.

At least 50,000 stitches total in your completed sweater-  Bound off, blocked, all ends woven in. Cast on was November first to be finished by midnight November 30th. The sweater party will be held at McWalker Yarns Saturday December 7th at 2PM.

You can check out last year’s sweater fashion show here 

I’m a little behind this year. A lot behind.

An inch of ribbing and two sleeves. My arms are pretty long. I’d better stop blogging and knit.

With houseguests, touring the city and travel to Ohio I didn’t knit the past five days.   Uh-oh.

Rhubarb colorway of Winterburn Yarn by Baa Ram Ewe spun and dyed in Yorkshire. The pattern is Purl Code Sweater by favorite knitwear designer Isabell Kraemer.

I’ve knit lots of words into my sweater using  Morse Code alphabet.

No names of aristocrats for the guillotine, as the memorable character Madame DeFarge knits in Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities. We had to read it in high school but fifty years later I still remember.

The knitted messages I knit into the sweater are the people I love, place names, favorite lyrics and favorite books from childhood.

All you need is love.

Arachne and NaKniSweMo2019- You Need Fifty Thousand Stitches

In Greek mythology (and later Roman mythology), Arachne (/əˈrækniː/; from Greek: ἀράχνη “spider”, cognate with Latin araneus) was a talented mortal weaver who challenged Athena, goddess of wisdom and crafts, to a weaving contest; this hubris resulted in her being transformed into a spider.” Wikipedia

Sunday afternoon you can get together and work on holiday (or other projects). The stitch circle is open to all.   It’s a lively and creative group, talented, too.  I dropped by to get some help on achieving gauge for a sweater project. I knew it was off. Proper gauge is important, (just ask my friend Deb in this Previous blog post illustrating the multiple factors that affect gauge) 

After being advised by Jes and another master knitter, it was clear that even after the second opinion, I needed to rip out and start again. It was barely an inch of knitting I had on the needles.  Perhaps an hour’s work.   After reluctant deliberation and a bit of consternation I ripped out the one inch I’d started Saturday night. Jes had advised me to make the next size or it would be a form fitting tube on me which is never a good look on my body.

Here is Jes.  If she is not teaching Choral Music or Band, you could find her working out at the gym or working at McWalker Yarns in Millvale.   She is a prolific knitter of garments. Perhaps you saw the hat I knit with hearts  last winter?  Love Actually Hat. Jes taught that Knit Along (KAL)

Jes is wearing her recently completed Arachne Sweater by Untangling Knots.

Lauren knit an identical sweater and was on McWalker Yarns Facebook post here 

The yarn Jes used is BC Garn Semilla. 

See below Jes’ photo for information on NaKniSweMo

Jes in her handknit Arachne Sweater

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SWEATER IN a MONTH FASHION SHOW FROM LAST YEAR’S BLOG POST

November is National Knit-a-Sweater-In-A-Month   NaKniSweMo 2019

An Excerpt from McWalker Yarns Latest Newsletter by Amy  –

Are you ready for NaKniSweMo?

As I mentioned in an earlier newsletter, we are going to do another NaKniSweMo challenge at the shop.  We had so much fun last year, we’d love to have more of you join us.  As a reminder, NaKniSweMo is a challenge to knit or crochet a sweater of at least 50,000 stitches in November. You can cast on no earlier than 12:01 a.m. on November 1, 2018 and must be completely done (including weaving in ends, sewing on buttons, etc.) by midnight, November 30, 2019.  To be eligible for prizes here at the shop, you must be stitching using yarns from McWalker Yarns.  

We are meeting here at the shop on Saturdays in November (except Small Business Saturday, 11/30) from 2-4 p.m. to work on our projects.  Those who are participating and attend each Saturday will be eligible for weekly prizes drawn at random from those who attend.  Those who complete their sweater within the parameters will be eligible for grand prizes, including a $50 gift certificate to McWalker Yarns, to be drawn at random from those who complete the challenge.  Official national rules are here:  https://www.ravelry.com/groups/nakniswemo-kal/pages/NaKniSweMo-Rules-FAQ.  If you can come on November 2nd at 2 p.m., then you can sign up in person.  If not, just shoot an e-mail to yarns@mcwalker.us with the subject “NaKniSweMo” letting me know you are participating

There’s still time to stop in the shop to purchase yarns, supplies or finalize your plans so you are ready to go on the 1st!  #MYnakniswemo2019

And don’t forget to tune in and watch the 1990 film Arachnophobia 

Philadelphia’s Primrose Yarn Arrives in Millvale PA

Monday afternoon, McWalker Yarns in Millvale unveiled the beautiful line of Primrose Yarn Co, an Indi-dyed yarn company featuring a variety of weights and fiber content.  A huge box bursting with softness and luscious colors was just shipped from Philadelphia and is now displayed at McWalker Yarns.

Joanna had seen the yarn at Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival and has used Primrose Yarn Co for many sweaters,  She’s an ardent fan of it. See her model one of her creations below.

It was a great Primrose Premier Party at the yarn store, with a spread of spanakopita, hummus, carrots, fruit flavored Italian sodas, cheese and crackers, topped off with chocolate covered marshmallows and Peanut Butter Cups. Mmmmmmmmm.

Each attendee received a gift of a colorful mini skein of Primrose Yarn. Christine got right to work on a crocheted octopus and was borrowing some fiber fill to stuff it, right as we partied.

I’m not sure why I didn’t photograph her eight legged creature but am kicking myself now.

One skein of colorway Forbidden Forest ( 100% Superwash Merino Single)  makes this gorgeous Storm Shawl pattern by Joji Locatelli available at McWalker Yarns via Ravelry

Timbre Hat designed by Meghan Fernandes from current issue of Pom Pom Magazine knit by Amy using a skein of Classy DK with the addition of a strand of Primrose Plume Mohair yarn

Yanr

Steel Valley Yarn Crawl 2019 is Complete

Saturday my friend Vincie and I got an early start and made our way to Harmony PA to

Darn Yarn Needles and Thread Shop.  

Owner Lisa Krack introduced us to  Naturally Nazareth yarn

_____________________________________________________________________________________RaggZ  Fiber  Art in the village of Forbes Road

 

We hit the turnpike and went about an hour’s drive to Forbes Road PA where we met Toni at RaggZ Fiber Art  Vincie spotted these giant knitting needles and the welcoming archway.

Here is an article about RaggZ Fiber Art by Deborah Weisberg

 

Toni showed me Living Pelts  Felted on the back   The sheep (which she keeps) are ALIVE and the backs of the pelts are Felted.

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We called Dyed in the Wool in the North Hills from RaggZ because they were going to close at 4 PM and weren’t open on Sunday and in order to finish the Yarn Crawl and get their pin and stamp I needed to hightail it out of the village of Forbes Road and get to Babcock Boulevard. We skipped lunch and made it in plenty of time to meet “….Carol Briggs Dragos and Lynda Bowen.  We love yarn in all its glorious phases, fleece, roving and yarn.  We love to spin, weave, knit and crochet with it.    Join us in our fiber journey.  All we can promise is fiber, fun and friendship” from the website

Dyed in the Wool shop Owner Carol

Lynda waits on customers

 


A new knitter’s first project from taking a class at Dyed in the Wool

So three stores in a day and pins and stamps collected but ONE more pin and stamp needed to complete the crawl.

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SUNDAY at Noon Sewickley Yarns Opened and I got there close to their opening.

A beautiful summer day to drive down Ohio River Boulevard to the town of Sewickley.

Owner Robin welcomed me, assisted by her daughter Clair. Store hours are going to be changing soon -Tues Thurs and Sat- 10-4 with a late knit night open on Wednesday 10-8 PM. Friday 10-7 with Knitting Happy Hour 5-7

I asked Robin what Sewickley Yarns sells that is unique to the area and she showed me Koigu, Baa yarn and Shibui.

The Yarn Crawlers who complete the eleven store crawl are put into a random drawing to win a prize basket with yarn and accessories from all of the stores

The Grand Prize Baskets waiting for a random number to be drawn 

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After I completed the crawl I went to knit a bit with a nice group at McWalker Yarns in Millvale and photographed Jennifer and Joanna in the Photo Spot.

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Support your independent local yarn stores so they don’t disappear. Take a class and learn  something new.  Click the shop links for more information.

*The first post of the Steel Valley Yarn Crawl featuring Kathy’s Kreations in Ligonier and McWalker Yarns in Millvale is here

*Pittsburgh Yarn Company and Yarns by Design in Oakmont are on this post

*If you missed a post of the Yarn Crawl you can click here for 3 Yarn Stores in a Day Oakdale, Bridgeville and Washington 

Oakdale, Bridgeville and Washington PA 3 Yarn Stores in a Day

 

My friend Donna and I had an adventure today.

Donna accompanied me on the Steel ValleyYarn Crawl.   I picked her up and we went to the Dor-Stop (in Dormont) for a freshly grated potato pancake and eggs breakfast, downed some coffee and then put the address for Tonidale Yarn and Needlecraft store in Oakdale PA into the GPS and we were off!

Meet Ingeborg Saveikis She was incredibly knowledgable, patient and showed us around as we oohed and ahhhed at the wide variety of yarns in her shop. We received a couple of free patterns and collected the pin for the bag and had the passport stamped.

We felt inspired as we started the day.

_____________________________________________________________________________________Our second stop was Kid Ewe Knot in Bridgeville PA hosted by shop owner Heather, surrounded by colorful yarn.  She is preparing for a fall trip to Ireland with a group of avid knitters

Ellen and Craig Master Crocheters and teachers at Kid Ewe Knot How about that clock Craig made? and Ellen’s bag?   A Dragon Glove?                                                                                                                                                                           ___________________________________________________________________________________________________Donna and I got back into the car and headed south to                        Washington PA Ross Farm Mercantile 

 

 

 

Meet the store manager of Ross Farm Mercantile–  Anna-  who does it all!

Cotswold  Leicester Longwool, Shetland, Hog Island, Tunis, Gulf Coast Native, Cheviot, Jacob, Romney, Florida Cracker, CVM    Eleven Breeds of Sheep on the Ross Farm

Here is the  undyed natural yarn from all eleven breeds  They have the sheep’s photo on the label see below

Yarn from 11 breeds of sheep

Handmade ceramic yarn bowls.

Seven yarn stores visited for the Steel Valley Yarn Crawl- Four to go by Sunday afternoon.  I have a plan!   Stay tuned 

Ross Farm Mercantile is the red building on the right #80 Main Street Washington PA ____________________________________________________________________________________

Click to see Post  Kathy’s Kreations in Ligonier and McWalker Yarns of Millvale 

Click to see Post  Pittsburgh Yarn Company in Wilkinsburg and Yarns by Design of Oakmont