Patterns Released

Turritella Socks

I’m pleased to announce that my May 2015 Rockin’ Sock Club pattern is now available for purchase!

DSC05051edit2These are my Turritella Socks. They were inspired by the tightly coiled cone-shaped shells of the Turritella genus of sea snails. The spiral lace pattern on these socks has a very tight bias which twists down the leg.

They are knit cuff down, and the lace pattern is not too complicated!  Charts and written directions are included.

I had lots of fun designing these, so I’m glad to finally be able to offer them to the public.

I hope you enjoy knitting them!

Happy Knitting!

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Techniques

Socks: Afterthought Heels

Afterthought heels are heels that get knitted into a sock after the rest of the sock has been knitted. You can just knit a tube and then decide where to put the heel and cut out stitches and add a heel! I like doing what’s sometimes called ‘forethought’ heels. They’re afterthought heels, but you knit some waste yarn at the spot where the heel will be. Then when you’re done with the rest of the sock, you don’t need to cut any of your knitting in order to add your heel.

Here’s a video talking a bit about afterthought heels:

Afterthought heels are very much like knitting waste yarn for a thumb in mittens or gloves.  You have to know exactly where you want to place your heel when you use this method. Usually about 2 or 2.5 inches is allowed for the heel, so you would knit your toe-to-heel length to be about 2-2.5 inches short of your foot length.

Afterthought heels are great for self striping yarn,  and for ‘purse knitting’ projects, since you don’t have to fiddle with the heel while you are out and about – you can save the heel until you get home! 🙂

I hope this explains afterthought heels – you should give them a try – they’re fun!

Happy Knitting!

Patterns Released

Socks, socks and more socks!

Hello again!

I have some exciting news – my second third-party-published pattern (my first ever was my Lilah Shawl)  is out!  It also happens to be my very first print published pattern!  Check out page 24 in your copy of November 2014-January 2015 Cast On Magazine — see someone’s name there??  That’s my pattern!!  Squee!

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I’m really happy with these socks – they’re called Leaf &Trellis socks.  The yarn is Anzula Dreamy, and it sure was dreamy to work with!  These socks have a neat story.  They actually began several years ago, in 2008.  They were one of my very first designs – done during a ‘Design Your Own’ challenge month in the group Sock Knitter’s Anonymous on Ravelry.  The original design was a bit clunky and I wasn’t very happy with it.  I actually tried too hard and made them too complicated!)  So the design sat on the back burner for years and years.  I dug them out recently and refined the design and was just about to self publish them, when a Master Knitter friend of mine encouraged me to submit them to Cast On (this was just as I was finishing up level 3 myself.)  So I did, and they were accepted!  I was over the moon – and lots of lovely things were happening at the same time- like becoming a Master Knitter myself, and getting asked to serve on the committee, and they were all wrapped up in a lot of wonderful feelings. 🙂  So, anyway, that’s the story behind these socks.  I hope you like them!

These aren’t quite as exciting, but I’ve also just self-published a pattern for some beginner’s socks.  These are called “Not So Beginner’s Socks” because they are meant to be a step up from my worsted weight Beginner’s Socks pattern.  The pattern is for a pair of plain cuff-down socks done in fingering weight yarn, with very helpful instructions and hand-holding as you knit them.

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You can find them on Ravelry, (and also listed here under my patterns for purchase page) they are $4.00 for the pdf download.  As a thank you to my readers, I’m going to give away 25 copies of the pattern!  Use the coupon Code ‘EasySocks’ during checkout via Ravelry and get it free! (Or click this link to go directly to the purchase page!)
(Coupon is good until end of day November 22nd, or until 25 have been used.)

 

 

I’ll post again soon to show you my current WiP – a Hitofude cardigan – I’m in love with it and can’t wait until it’s done!

Happy Knitting!!

 

Techniques

Kitchener Stitch Tutorial

Kitchener stitch is one of those things that tends to make some knitters nervous.  No need to be nervous!!  If you’re really concerned that you will mess up, then put a lifeline in the row you will graft, or the row below.  That way you can always undo what you did and do it over again. 🙂

Most Kitchener stitch tutorials assume that you have stockinette to graft, and that is the most common occurrence – sock toes especially.  So they give instructions to ‘Knit on, purl off.  Purl on, knit off.”  But what if you have something other than stockinette?  That won’t work if you have a rib, or some combination of knits and purls instead of plain stockinette.  I ran into that situation a while ago – I wanted to graft a hood on a sweater, and it had cables on the sides, with purls framing the cables, and stockinette on the rest of the hood.  I researched, and came across a different set of instructions : “Same off, Opposite on.”  Now, I always use this ‘mantra’, if you will, to work my Kitchener stitch.  And I know no matter what stitch pattern I have I will be able to graft it using this.

(One caveat:  If your grafting row needs to look different from the work below, then this will not work.  For example,  seed stitch – where every row is different from the other.  This would produce a row identical to the row below, NOT maintaining the seed stitch across the graft.  Keep that in mind.)

Kitchener stitch is just a fancy name for a sewn graft.  You are essentially working a row of duplicate stitch between two opposing live rows.  It gets a bit confusing and intimidating because instead of the work flat in front of you, you have half the knitting (the right side) in the front,  and half the knitting (the wrong side) in the back.

Until you get more confident (and even once you’re pretty good at it!) I suggest locking yourself away in a quiet room with no distractions to work Kitchener stitch, and DO NOT stop in the middle, or you may lose your place!

Cut your working yarn a good 3-4 times longer than you think you need.  Then thread it on a tapestry needle.

I will start with some photos showing the steps, and at the end of this post I will have two videos showing the process.  (You can skip down to the videos first if you’d like!) 🙂

Knitting ready to graft:

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Ready to graft

Working yarn threaded on needle and ready to go (shown in contrast yarn.):

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Working yarn coming from front needle. (Green yarn here.)

In this case my yarn is coming from the front needle.  When you’re knitting in the round, your yarn will be coming from the back needle instead.  Doesn’t matter!  Just start with the front needle instead of the back needle.

The first step is to work an “Opposite On” stitch on the needle that does NOT have the working yarn.

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Setup step one – “Opposite On”. I’m showing the needle above the front knitting needle for clarity in the photo -DON’T do that yourself- keep the tapestry needle UNDER the front knitting needle.

In this case the stitch is a purl, so put the needle into the stitch as if to knit and leave the stitch on the knitting needle.

Now we need to work an “Opposite On” on the front needle.

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Setup step two – another “Opposite On”

This is a knit stitch, so put the tapestry needle through the stitch as if to purl.

Pull the yarn through, but do not pull it tight.  We will fix the tension after everything is done.  BE SURE to keep the working thread UNDER the knitting needles.  This is very important.  If you don’t you will have a big mess.

Now we’re ready to start working the stitches off the needle.  We last did the front needle, so move to the back needle and begin working the pair of instructions : “Same Off, Opposite On”.

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“Same Off”

Our back stitch is a purl, so to “Same Off”  purl this stitch and pull it off the needle.  Before you do anything else, work an “Opposite On”:  knit the next stitch (because it is a purl) and leave it on the needle.

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“Opposite On”. (Again, note that I have the needle ABOVE the knitting needle – DON’T DO THAT – keep your needle under the front knitting needle. I did it this way for clarity in the photo, and wasn’t thinking about the consequences. Oops!)

Now pull your working yarn through, but not too tight.

Move to the front needle, and repeat the process, this time with your knit stitches.

First, “Same Off” – so knit the stitch and pull it off the needle.

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“Same Off”

Now “Opposite On”, so purl the next stitch and leave it on the needle.

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“Opposite On”

Pull your yarn through, but not too tight.

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Looks sloppy, but we’ll fix it later.

You’ll continue across until you get to your last stitch on each needle.  You will work the “Same Off” step on each needle, but not the “on” step (since you have no more stitches on the needle!). You’re almost done!

Now, we need to fix the tension across the row so it looks neat.  Starting at the end where you started grafting, pull each individual stitch, one side at a time, until you get a stitch that matches the tension in the rest of the knitting.  Slowly work your way across the row until you get to the end.  Weave in your ends and you’re done!

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Halfway done fixing the tension.

 

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All done!

Now, for something other than stockinette stitch, you do the EXACT SAME steps!  As long as you pay attention to what kind of stitch is currently facing you, and remember to work “Same Off” or “Opposite On”, then you can graft any combination of knits and purls!  Here is a knit and purl rib piece after grafting:

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K4, P2 rib grafted.

If you’re still confused, I made a couple of videos that might make it more clear.  I walk you through grafting stockinette stitch, and then grafting the rib in the photo above.

(I apologize – the second video is a bit blurry in spots, but hopefully you can see well enough to see what I’m doing!)

Another thing to keep in mind is that grafting always offsets the two knitted pieces by a half stitch.  This is because you have the tops of the knits facing each other, and you have to carry a column of knit stitches up into the space between two upside down knits on the opposite piece.  If you look closely at the rib photo above, you can see what I mean.  Try to graft in an inconspicuous place if you have a pattern other than stockinette- if the offset bothers you.  Most people won’t notice it, however. 🙂

I hope this was helpful!  Let me know if anything is still unclear, and feel free to add your questions or comments below!

Happy Knitting!

Techniques

Closing the heel gap in socks

Here is my favorite way to ‘close the gap’ between the instep and the gusset on heel flap socks.

I’ve tried several ways to close that little gap, and this is the one I’ve settled on as my favorite because, of the methods I’ve tried, it blends in the best. My previous favorite method was to pick up a stitch from in between the gap – using one side of each stitch in the row below and knitting them together. The problem with this method was that it left an obvious twisted stitch right there at the join. It closed the gap great, but I cringe at the twisted stitch!

This method blends in so much better, while still closing that gap really well.

So, here’s how I do it!

Here’s a heel flap, ready to have the gusset stitches picked up on the one side:

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Hell Flap ready to have gusset stitches picked up

I’m going to knit into the very first heel flap stitch, and essentially do a lifted increase in that stitch. Here’s the stitch:

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The strand/stitch to be knitted into

And one more angle showing the stitch I’m talking about:

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Another angle showing the strand/stitch to be knitted into

We’re working on the left side of the heel flap, after we’ve knit our instep stitches. The easiest way to work on this side is to use your working needle to lift up the stitch and then knit into it – like so:

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Picking up the stitch with the working needle
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The finished stitch.

You’re now ready to pick up the gusset stitches.

This showed you the left side, but what about the right?  When you are picking up the stitch on the right side, prior to working your instep stitches, it’s easiest to pick up the stitch using a spare needle, and then knitting into it. But remember to pick up the stitch at the base of the heel flap – not an instep stitch.

(Here’s why the heel stitch works so much better than the instep stitch – when you pick up the stitch from the heel, you are replacing the stitch column that will get eaten up when you pick up your gusset stitches.  This allows the extra stitch to blend in.  If you picked up a stitch from the instep, it would still blend in to a degree, but not as well.)

Here is what the gusset area looks like when it’s done:

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The gusset area afterwards.

This sample has no gusset decreases worked, so keep that in mind.

Here is a finished sock that I used this method on:

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Gusset area on finished socks using this technique

Notice how it blends in really well!!

So, that’s how I close the dreaded gap! 🙂

Happy Knitting!!