Purchased My First Sock Blank

Wednesday afternoon, Amy at McWalker Yarns in Millvale PA, unboxed several Pittsburgh designs and also Rainbow Sock Blanks created exclusively for McWalker Yarns by Yarn over New York. 

I bought this one- Pittsburgh Skyline with Landmark Bridges snd Buildings 
Will I hang it up as ART or unravel and knit a pair of Pittsburghy Socks?  If you are a knitter, have you knit from a sock blank before?  

From Bluprint Website

“What is a sock blank?”

“A sock blank is a long, rectangular piece of knitted fabric created by a knitting machine and then dyed or stamped with color. The edge of the sock blank isn’t bound off — it’s loose so that you can knit from it, pulling the stitches out as you go. The basic idea behind the sock blank is that you’ll get an amazing yet unpredictable colorway when you knit with it. “

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

 

Sock Drawer

This is a photo of my daughter Laura’s sock drawer. She texted it to me. She knew it would make me happy.

Why?

Because I knit them for her. You’ve seen the Good and Plenty and Wonder Woman featured on the blog and the yarn her husband James bought on a business trip in Seattle. The colors of flowers at Pike Market. I see some Alaskan yarn too.

When she told me she loved wearing the hand knit socks, I felt motivated to knit more.

Knitting Cruise Invitation

Last January I was watching Arne and Carlos on their YouTube channel and they said come with us a journey like no other. See our beautiful Norwegian coast, warmed by the Gulf Stream waters.
I told my sister about it and she encouraged me to sign on immediately. I listened!
And I am so happy I did.
Norway is magnificent. Arne and Carlos are excellent hosts, making time to speak with everyone.
What a beautiful journey, exactly as promised. I came by myself but was fortunate when I opted for a roommate and got one so compatible. I’ve met knitters from Scotland, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden, Germany and Norway and Arizona, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Wisconsin to name a few.
Here we are with Arne and Carlos with my knitting cruise cabin roommate
If you’re a knitter you might already know of Arne and Carlos– their books ( in at least a dozen languages), their blog, patterns, tutorials, and their informative Q and A segments filmed from their restored railway station surrounded by lush gardens with thousands of plants. High up on a Norwegian mountainside. Nestled in the mountain next up a crystal clear lake, they live, design and create while inspiring thousands around the world to find their own creative spirit within themselves.
Perhaps you remember their sock yarn (Regia)that instructs you by change of yarn color- when to stop ribbing and knit the foot heel or toe.
They also have a video the called the easiest sock in the world. It’s true! https://youtu.be/uQcPvZAEJ3w

Be sure to check out their latest New Nordic with ROWAN

Breakfast with the Queen

Breakfast with the Queen on Monday morning. Out on the front porch again while summer is still here.

I went and got the solar powered waving figurine out of the dining room window to join me for breakfast. Why?

My friend Vincie went to London (and Paris) last month and brought me a lovely souvenir. A jar of Rhubarb Raspberry Vanilla Bean Jam from Selfridges Food Hall. She knows those three are my favorite flavors. What a combination.

Fancy. Nothing like jam and butter on toast. Very tasty.

Put my two balls of sock yarn in the little shopping bag, too!

BTW Selfridges was voted Best Department Store in the World.

I’d rather be…..

I’d rather be……40694583561_ce12afcafa_k (1)

Knitting, of course.   The Weekly Photo Challenge created by Krista Stevens 

“How would you fill in the blank?”    I’d Rather Be…

If given the choice, what would you rather be doing, right now?

So many possibilities.

I was knitting at a friend’s home, Finishing up these PairPerfect Socks.  The Regia yarn 75% wool 25% nylon designed by Arne and Carlos is dyed so it turns out looking like you really did something fancy.  You get two identical socks, knit from the top down.  When the colors change, you go on to the next step.  It falls into almost mindless knitting category.

Did you ever do something really stupid?

Did you ever do something really stupid? Like so stupid you can’t even believe it?

Dumb dumb dumb!

This afternoon I took my warm flannel sheets out of the dryer to change my bed. Stuck with static to the fabric was one of my brand new hand knit socks. Yikes! My eyes hit wide and I couldn’t believe it. I found the mate.

The socks knit from special locally dyed yarn from the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.

They’d been hanging on a towel rack to dry after being lovingly hand washed with a mild soap, carefully rinsed and rolled in a towel to get rid of excess water.

I’d just completed the pair before midnight on Wednesday, wanting to finish in the month of February.

I’d knit them over the course of two months time. Yikes. And I’d bought the yarn two years ago when visiting a friend in Arizona.

Another friend in Pittsburgh was knitting the same pattern with almost the same yarn I’d gotten her. We cast on at the beginning of January. Our own little KAL.(knit along) The four row pattern repeat took me longer than usual to finish the pair. Not my usual mindless knitting. I was so happy they were finished.

How stupid I’d washed and dried these handmade socks in the washing machine and even worse, the DRYER!

I looked at them on top of the dryer and they weren’t exactly toddler sized. Phew!

How did I get so lucky?

and believe it or not, they fit perfectly

Cheryl Griset is the artist who dyed the yarn with plants from the Sonoran Desert. If you’ve followed previous knitting posts, you know I like to buy a skein of souvenir sock yarn when traveling. (Sometimes more than one skein!)

Where I bought the yarn-

https://www.tempeyarn.com/tempeyarn_local.htm

Patriotic Sock Yarn and Red, White and Blue Party Items

My friend Joanne sent me red, white and blue birthday party napkins, cupcake papers, glow bracelets, tiny fairie lights, and some fun hand-dyed sock yarn– labeled You’re a Grand Old Flag. Self striping.   You know how I’ve been into sock knitting this year. 

My being born (is that proper English?)on the Fourth of July inspires her selections. You might remember the cupcake tree she sent one year?  That post has the 1-2-3-4 Cake Recipe .

How about those Red white and blue chocolate covered Sunflower seeds? Where do you find this stuff? 

I’m back in Ohio and the kids are coming over to celebrate Monday. We will put the items to good use.

Thanks J. It’s going to be a happy birthday party. Can’t wait to knit the socks. And wear them! 



The Satisfaction of Sock Knitting

knitsocks

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.