New Pattern Alert!

Lenity has been released into the world...

I love words; I’m a logophile. One of my favourite words (I have many) is lenity. Lenity is derived from latin. It’s a noun and is defined as ‘gentleness; kindness’. I love that it’s a noun; instead of describing something or someone as expressing gentleness or kindness, it is gentleness and kindness. It somehow sounds more permanent and tangible when it’s a noun. 

I also love knitting fabric that is on a bias, like this stitch pattern. It plays well with solid, tonal, variegated, and patterned yarns. The stitch pattern is much easier than it looks. There is a little bit of trickery in Round 16, but it’s literally just moving a marker and yet it makes the entire stitch pattern flow seamlessly along as you knit. 

Lenity is worked from the cuff down and cable pattern on the bias on the front & back of the leg, and top of the foot. This sock features an afterthought star heel with optional gussets, and a star toe. 

Lenity is available with a $1 discount until Monday August 13th, 2018 (no coupon code required).  You can find it here.  

New Pattern Alert! Meraki Edition

Meraki has been released into the world...

Meraki is one of my favourite words (is it weird to have favourite words?). Meraki is Greek, originally derived from the Turkish word merak and means “to do something with passion, with absolute devotion, with undivided attention; to put something of yourself into whatever you’re doing."  I think this is one of the most beautiful words in the world and perfectly describes the joy I feel when I create something from nothing like this new sock design. 

The goal is to hang onto that feeling of meraki and carry it with us throughout the rest of our day as we we go about our every day business of tasks and errands.  Meraki is contagious and if we can insert a little bit of that feeling in everything we do, we can infect the world with joy.  The world can use more joy.  I hope you knit this sock with meraki and feel joy with every stitch, joy that you can hang on to for the rest of your day. 

Meraki is worked from the toe up and features a delicate cable pattern on the top of the foot.  After a Fleegle-style heel, the stitch pattern continues on the front of the leg to the ribbed cuff.  Instructions are included for 4 circumferences and the foot length is customizable.  The pattern stitch is both written and charted, and the pattern includes a schematic. 

You can download Meraki with a 20% discount (no coupon code required) until Monday July 30th.  You can find the pattern here. 

Paradise Fiber Giveaway!

Congratulations to Kelly Olson!!!

The subscription box winner!!

The contest is now closed! 

Paradise Fibers and I are giving away their July 2018 Subscription box! To enter go to www.DanaGervaisDesigns.com/blog/paradise and comment with your favourite fiber. The winner will be drawn on Monday July 30,2018! Good Luck!

Paradise Fibers and I have teamed up to give away their July subscription box!  To win, all you have to do is comment on this post with your favourite fibre!  I'll choose a winner on Monday July 30th! I'll announce the winner on Instagram, Facebook, and I'll update this post!  

Good Luck! 

 

New Pattern Alert! With Arch Shaping!

Neta has been released into the world...

This design is very personal and special to me. This sock is inspired by, and named for my Grandmother, Neta.

Neta is my paternal grandmother, and aside from being the kindest, most nurturing soul I’ve ever known she also taught me to knit and to make socks. She even managed to remain patient while teaching pre-teen me how to execute a successful Kitchener stitch, which speaks volumes about her capacity for patience and understanding. She was a finesse knitter, and she and her knitting have inspired every stitch I’ve ever knit. 

Neta is worked from the cuff down and features an easy to memorize stitch pattern on the front and back of the leg. This pattern features an Eye Of Partridge heel flap, and arch shaping through the gusset and instep stiches. The stitch pattern continues on the top of the foot until the pattern stitches are consumed and replaced by stockinette stitches. The sock ends with a wedge toe that is grafted closed using Kitchener stitch. 

This is the first pattern I've written that includes arch shaping.  Many of you with high insteps have been asking for arch shaping, and when you ask I try to deliver! 

Instructions are included for 4 circumferences and foot length is customizable.  The stitch pattern is both written and charted. 

You can download Neta with a 20% discount until Monday July 16th (no coupon code required).  You can find the pattern here. 

Ask Me Anything: Gauge Swatch Edition

Why Swatch?

While it’s tempting to skip the swatch (and every knitter does at least once), knitting groups and clubs are full of cautionary tales that knitters pass along to each other as a warning of the perils of skipping the gauge swatch: the sweater that was 2 sizes too big, the shawl they couldn’t finish because they ran out of yarn…

Swatching is important if you want the finished piece to be the size stated in the pattern and also to make sure that you have enough yarn to complete the project.  

What Is Gauge?

The 2 types of gauges most commonly referred to in knitting are:

  • working gauge - the gauge you calculate while the project is on the needles

  • blocked gauge or pattern gauge - the gauge you calculate after you wash and dry the project

Most patterns will state gauge after blocking so you will have to knit a gauge swatch then wash it and dry it as you plan to wash and dry the finished project (or as per the directions on the yarn tag) to get an accurate measurement.

Gauge is the measurement of how many stitches per inch/centimetre and how many rows per inch/centimetre the designer got when knitting a certain stitch pattern with a certain sized needle.  In order to achieve the same size project as the pattern, you need to match the designer's gauge.  This means you knit small sample squares, wash them, and measure them until you find the right combination of needles and yarn that give you the gauge in the pattern.  There is no right or wrong gauge.

For example, gauge for a sock pattern might be 8 stitches and 12 rows per 1 inch/2.5 centimetres using 2.25mm (US 1) needles in stockinette stitch after blocking.  That is the designer’s gauge.  The gauge s/he got knitting the sample socks for this pattern.  Your gauge when working the same pattern stitch with the same size needles and yarn may be different. And that’s ok.  

What If You Don’t Get Gauge?

Using our example, if you have fewer than 8 stitches per inch, you need to re-swatch with a smaller needle size.  If you have more than 8 sts per inch, you need to re-swatch with a larger needle size.  Click here to download a worksheet to help you keep track if you need to make multiple gauge swatches.

What If You Can’t Get Both Stitch Gauge And Row Gauge With The Same Size Needle?

As a rule, stitch gauge is more important than row gauge.  If you can only match one, always go for stitch gauge.  You can compensate for row gauge by working more or fewer rows, but it’s much trickier (and requires a lot more math) to compensate for stitch gauge.

Always Swatch As You Intend To Knit

Gauge is a finicky and elusive beast.  Everything affects gauge.  Your gauge can change from wooden to metal needles, from straight needles to DPNs, from cotton yarn to wool yarn.  You probably have a different gauge when working flat than you do when working in the round. This is why you need to swatch using the needles and yarn that you intend to use for the project, in the knitting style you will be using for the project.  Using socks as an example, socks are worked in the round, therefore, your gauge swatch needs to be worked in the round.

If your sock will be knit using DPNs, your gauge swatch will need to be worked with DPNs.  Ditto for Magic Loop.  Ditto for 2 circular needles.

If the designer gives gauge in multiple stitch patterns, you need to swatch in all the stitch patterns.  Just because you match gauge in stockinette stitch, doesn’t mean you’ll also match gauge in a lace or cable pattern.  

Swatching In The Round

Knitting in the round is different than knitting flat because there are no wrong side rows, so you need to work your gauge swatch without wrong side rows.  However to make swatching quick, and consume as little yarn as possible, there is an easy way to work a gauge swatch in the round but flat.  Click here to see a video where I demonstrate swatching in the round.

Measuring A Gauge Swatch

Here are some tips for measuring your gauge swatch:

  • If the pattern provides gauge for both inches and centimetres, use one or the other, but never both.  And use your preferred standard of measurement consistently throughout the pattern (as in, don’t measure your gauge swatch in inches then follow the pattern instructions for centimetres)

  • Measure stitches and rows away from the edge of the swatch as your edge stitches may have a slightly different gauge than your centre stitches  

  • Be sure all the stitches you are counting are on the same row (this is why it may be more precise to use a hard ruler instead of a measuring tape)

  • When counting stockinette stitches, I count the right leg of each ‘v’ stitch as 1 stitch

  • When counting garter stitch rows, each garter ridge is equal to 2 rows

  • When counting garter stitches, each ‘frown’ shaped bump is 1 stitch (you can count either the ‘frown’ or the ‘smiles’ but don’t count both)

  • Don’t stretch the swatch to measure the stitches unless the pattern says that gauge is measured while stretched  

AMA Swatching.png
 Measuring stitch gauge in stockinette stitch

Measuring stitch gauge in stockinette stitch

 Measuring row gauge in stockinette stitch

Measuring row gauge in stockinette stitch

New Pattern(s) Alert!

Westney & Meandering are now available for download on Ravelry. 

Previously available exclusively in the book, Artful ArchesWestney & Meandering are both available in my Ravelry store as of today. 

It’s amazing what a few strategically placed slipped stitches can do when they’re combined with variegated yarn.  Slipped stitches have a magical way of showing off the colour variegations without getting lost or competing with the yarn. 

Slipped stitches and variegated yarn are a knitterly symphony; on their own they’re each lovely, but together they both become even more beautiful. 

I think most of us have at least one gorgeous skein of variegated yarn in our stash that needs just the right pattern to do it justice, and both of these patterns were designed with that special skein in mind.

You can download Westney and/or Meandering with a 20% discount (no coupon code required, the discount will appear automagically at checkout) until Monday July 2nd, 2018. 

New Pattern Alert!

Flectere has been released into the world...

The Latin word flectere, meaning “to bend” or “to curve,” and its form flexus give us the roots flect and flex. Something flexible can be bent without breaking.

 I love the combination of slipped stitches with variegated yarn. It’s a combination I never tire of or find boring to knit. This pattern was inspired by this gorgeous variegated yarn by Malabrigo Yarn (the colourway is Acro Iris). The short colour repeats combined with the curve and bend of the stitch pattern manage to complement each other without competing with each other, which is a good outcome not only for hand knit socks, but for life in general.

 This sock starts with a star toe and the stitch pattern on the top of the foot. Then, after a short row heel, the stitch pattern continues on the front and back of the sock. When knitting the sample socks, I reversed the order of the charts for the second sock so that the pattern would be the opposite of the first sock, though this modification is not instructed in the pattern.

Flectere includes instructions for 4 circumferences and the foot length is customizable.  You can download Flectere with a 20% discount until Monday June 18th, 2018 (no coupon code required, the discount will automagically be applired at checkout)! 

Toe-rrific Toe Construction

toe construction.jpg

Much like heels, (you can find the heel version of today’s post here) toes are a personal preference.  The type of toe you prefer will depend on the anatomy of your individual foot. The good news is that (most of the time) toes are easy to modify without having to do very much math or rework an entire pattern stitch.  They’re also fairly easy to re-engineer to accommodate toe up or cuff down construction.

My advice is always to try all the things (pertaining to knitting) so you can decide for yourself which toes fit you and which ones don’t and which toes you love to knit and which toes you hope you never have to knit again.  Ever.

Here is a summary of some of the most popular toe constructions, their advantages and disadvantages, and when you might use them.

WEDGE TOE

 Heliotrope is an example of a sock with a wedge toe

Heliotrope is an example of a sock with a wedge toe

Advantages:

  • Very common heel in hand knit socks

  • Easy to memorize construction

  • Easily adaptable for either toe up or cuff down construction

  • Toe stitches are grafted closed so there is no annoying seam to rub against the tips of your toes

  • The math for this toe is pretty easy if you’re substituting it for another toe in a pattern

  • Does not result in left and right specific socks

Disadvantages:

  • The wedge shape doesn’t accommodate all toe shapes

  • Some knitters think the shape when off the foot is pointy and unattractive

  • Lines of decreases/increases on the sides of the toes can be uncomfortable for sensitive feet

  • Requires Kitchener stitch if you want a seamless toe

ROUNDED TOE

 Lerwick is an example of a sock with a rounded toe

Lerwick is an example of a sock with a rounded toe

Advantages

  • Tends to accommodate a wider variety of toe anatomies than the wedge toe

  • Easy to memorize construction

  • Easily adaptable for either toe up or cuff down construction

  • Toe stitches are grafted so there is no annoying seam to rub against the tip of your toes

  • Does not result in left and right specific socks

  • The shape is similar to the toe on most commercially sold socks

Disadvantages

  • Consumes more yarn than a wedge toe

  • Requires Kitchener stitch if you want a seamless toe

  • The math is slightly more difficult than for the wedge toe

  • Lines of decreases/increases on the sides of the toes can be uncomfortable for sensitive feet

STAR TOE

 Ahlie is an example of a sock with a star toe

Ahlie is an example of a sock with a star toe

Advantages

  • Easily adaptable for both toe up and cuff down construction

  • Kitchener stitch is not required

  • Decreases are spread throughout the toe so there are no lines of decreases on the outer edges of the toes

  • It’s an attractive looking toe (especially with variegated yarn)

  • Does not result in left and right specific socks

Disadvantages

  • The small opening at the tip of the toe where the stitches are pulled closed may be uncomfortable for sensitive toes

  • Math is a bit more difficult depending on the stitch count used

ANATOMICAL TOE

Advantages

  • Results in socks that are left and right foot specific

  • Very comfortable for feet that have very long first toes

Disadvantages

  • Math is more difficult

  • Depending on your gait, you may wear out one sock before the other since they aren’t interchangeable

  • Kitchener stitch is required for a seamless toe

  • Decreases/increases creates a seam on the outer edge of the toe

There are other toe constructions out there, but these are the ones I come across most often when designing and tech editing sock patterns.  Do you you have a favourite type of toe construction?

Help Me Choose My Next Sock Design!

Which one of these 2 swatches needs to be released as a sock pattern on July 12th?

D965C659-C1DC-44C7-9114-97A477E73868.jpeg

The winning swatch will be turned into a pattern and released on July 12th 

A New Pattern Collection!

The Ahlie collection has been released into the world...

Wrapping myself in cozy, warm stitches on a chilly day is one of the most comforting feelings in the world and actually makes me look forward to the chilly mornings of fall and the frosty days of winter.  When I’m wrapped in the warmth of a comfy hand knit hat, a cozy hand knit cowl, and toasty hand knit mitts, I like them to match, or complement each other. When my knitted accessories complement each other, either by colour, or stitch pattern, it allows each piece to stand out without competing with the other accessories that I’m wearing.  Matching accessories make me look more polished and put together, even on days when I might not feel very polished or put together. So, I’m on a mission to create sets of matching knitwear accessories in my favourite colours using my favourite yarns and stitch patterns.

The Ahlie collection includes socks, a cowl, hat and fingerless mitts.  I chose this specific yarn because though I love all colours, I’m especially attracted to greens.  Most shades of green resonate with me on a deep level. This attraction caused me to immediately fall in love with Tree Moss by LakeKnit Yarns.  I was also totally intrigued by the fibre (Polworth) as I’d never worked with it before.  It’s soft, durable, and has a bit of stretch. It feels wonderful to work with and the tonal green with black speckles that are almost donegal-like really help make the Ahlie stitch pattern stand out.  I found that this yarn both stretched a bit and became even softer with blocking.

You can download the Ahlie collection for $14 (the regular price is $18) until Monday May 28th.  If you've previously purchased Ahlie Socks, the price will be discounted automagically at checkout to reflect the previous purchase.  If you'd like to download just 1 Ahlie pattern, each pattern is available with a 20% discount until Monday May 28th.  


In Other News...

Father's Day Finest Socks is 20% off (no coupon code required) until Monday May 28th.  You can find the pattern here. A free scarf pattern is included with the sock pattern. 

 Father's Day Finest Socks

Father's Day Finest Socks

Knitting Socks To Accommodate Bunions

Bunions can be sensitive and tender.  They also artificially enlarge the circumference of a foot if the foot measurement includes the bunion which can result in a sock that fits the bunion well, but is loose and baggy on the rest of the foot.  Here are some tips and tricks for knitting socks to fit feet with bunions:

  • Use very soft yarn.  Bunions can be sensitive and tender and benefit from some extra softness and cushioning.  

  • Use a thicker yarn to provide extra cushioning around the bunion.  This can be a bit tricky because if the yarn is too thick the wearer’s shoes might not fit properly, so it will take some trial and error.  

  • Work increases around the bunion.  Warning: math ahead!  If the foot circumference before the bunion is 8 inches and the foot circumference including the bunion is 9 inches and your stitch gauge is 8 stitches per inch, you can increase an extra 8 stitches (4 stitches on either side of the toe) leading up to the bunion and then decrease those extra stitches after the bunion. This becomes tricky if you’re working a stitch pattern and may mean either stopping the stitch pattern early (if you're knitting cuff down) or starting it a bit late (if you’re knitting toe up).

  • Create a small gusset for the bunion.  This is my favourite option, because I love short rows, but it will result in anatomical socks (socks that have specific left and right feet that aren’t interchangeable).  When you reach the bunion-part of the sock, you create a tiny short row heel where the bunion is to cushion and accommodate the bunion.  Again, you’ll need to know the circumference of the foot with and without the bunion and again, this will disrupt any pattern stitch that you’re knitting on the sock.

Do you have experience knitting socks to accommodate bunions?  I'd love to know what tips and tricks you use.  

Happy Knitting! 

New Sock Pattern Alert!!

Halcyon has been released into the world...

In the depths of winter when Carolien (the dyer at Colourful Creativity) and I were brainstorming ideas for a spring sock design, we were both inspired by the first flush of spring. That magical time when the world wakes up from its long winter nap and trees are re-born from brown and barren to lush with foliage in bright shades of green. That time when the sun is so bright and warm that it makes everything it shines on look a little brighter. When the first blooms of the season open and their burst of colour changes not only the landscape but everyone’s mood; even the birds seem to sing more loudly and happily. The first word that came to mind for me was halcyon.

Halcyon is an adjective that is defined as:
Denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful.

This pattern and this yarn are designed to remind you of the halcyon days of spring when the world feels (if only for a moment) idyllically happy and peaceful. The yarn is called 'Spring Fling' and it's a limited edition yarn that's being released at the same time as this pattern.  You can find 'Spring Fling' here.  (The rainbow donegal specks are really cool - this was my first time working with them and I'll definitely be knitting with this yarn again).

Halcyon is worked from the toe up and features ribbing across the top of the toe and foot. Gusset increases are moved from the sides of the foot to the instep to accommodate the emerging floral stitchthat starts on the top of the foot and continues up the front of the leg. The sock ends with a ribbed cuff.

The pattern is graded for 4 circumferences and foot length is customizable. Halcyon is available with a 20% introductory discount until Monday May 14th (no coupon code required, the discount will be applied automagically at checkout). 


In Other News...

Thanks to your support of Dolores 2 weeks ago, I was able to make a donation to the Centre For Addiction and Mental Health.  Thank you.  This proves once again that the fibre community is awesome and that knitting really does make the world a better place! 

Knitter, Heel Thyself!

See what I did there? I made a heel pun! 

There are a lot of heel construction options for sock knitters.  I'm often asked 'which heel is best?' or 'which heel has the best fit?' or 'What heel do you recommend?'  Truth is, feet are like snowflakes and everyone's are different.  The heel construction that fits my feet won't necessarily work well for your feet.  Or your spouse's feet.  Or your kids' feet.  Or your neighbour's feet.  Or whoever the lucky, knitworthy recipient of your hand knit socks will be.  

I urge all sock knitters to try as many different heel constructions as possible to determine what works best for them fit-wise and knit-wise (not only does a heel need to fit you properly, you should enjoy knitting it).  

Here's a summary of some of the most popular heel constructions and their advantages and disadvantages:

Afterthought Heel

 Rainbow Dash is an example of a sock with an afterthought heel

Rainbow Dash is an example of a sock with an afterthought heel

Advantages

  • Great on-the-go knitting because you don't have to stop to turn the heel

  • Doesn’t interrupt self striping or self patterning yarn

  • Tends to fit feet that are flatter (low instep)

  • Can easily be worked in a contrasting or complementary colour

  • Construction is the same whether worked toe up or cuff down

Disadvantages

  • Doesn’t tend to fit higher insteps or wider heels (tends to slip off)

  • Can result in holes in the corners where the heel stitches are picked up

  • Requires picking up stitches

Short Row Heel

 Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey is an example of a sock with a short row heel 

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey is an example of a sock with a short row heel 

Advantages

  • Most popular heel construction

  • Found on commercially made socks

  • Fits flat feet better than feet with a high instep

  • Many variations to choose from (FLK, german short row, wrap and turn, japanese short row, etc.)

  • Less disruptive to self patterning yarn than a heel flap

  • Easy to use a contrasting or complementary yarn

  • Construction is the same whether worked toe up or cuff down

Disadvantages

  • Doesn’t tend to fit high insteps or narrow/wide heels very well (although modifications can be made to accommodate differing foot anatomies)

  • Can be hole-y depending on the short row method used

  • Can result in holes at the corners of the heel

Heel Flap

 Sassenach is an example of a sock that uses heel flap construction

Sassenach is an example of a sock that uses heel flap construction

Advantages

  • Fits most foot anatomies (especially higher insteps)

  • Sturdiest construction

  • Easy to reinforce using double knitting or eye of partridge stitch patterns

  • Is the classic hand knit sock heel

Disadvantages

  • Disrupts the flow of self-patterning yarn

  • Requires picking up stitches for the gussets

  • Uses the most yarn when compared to short row and afterthought heels

  • More difficult to use a contrasting or complementary yarn

  • Construction differs between toe up and cuff down

Strong Heel or Fleegle Heel

 Caffeine is an example of a sock that uses Strong/Fleegle heel construction

Caffeine is an example of a sock that uses Strong/Fleegle heel construction

Advantages

  • No gusset stitches to pick up

  • Less disruptive to self patterning yarn than a traditional heel flap

  • Accommodates wide heels and high insteps

  • Sturdier construction than afterthought or short row heels

  • Construction is very similar for toe up and cuff down

Disadvantages

  • It’s not very intuitive for a new sock knitter as the gussets, heel flap, and instep are worked simultaneously which can be confusing

  • Results in a triangular shaped heel flap (this could be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your preference)

Do you have a favourite heel construction?  What is it and why?

New Pattern Alert! It's a Twofer!

Dolores has been released into the world...

This design is inspired by the late Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries. Her haunting voice and angst-filled lyrics were part of the soundtrack of my life in the 1990s. She was unabashedly authentic and honest and stood apart from artists who were carefully constructed by music studios to project a corporately curated physical look and musical sound.

In the days following Dolores’ death, I came across a social media post by Melanie (the dyer behind Baad Mom Yarns ), and she had been inspired to create a custom colourway in tribute to Dolores; I immediately ordered a skein of ‘Monog’ (which happens to be Celtic for ‘cranberry’) and designed this sock.

Dolores is worked from the cuff down and features a unique wrap/drop stitch pattern down the centre of the front and back of the leg. The design continues onto the heel flap. The heel is constructed using a unique centre gusset design and has no gusset stitches to pick up. The stitch design continues on the top of the foot and toe. The toe is grafted closed with Kitchener stitch. The pattern is graded for 4 circumferences, and foot length is customizable. A link to a video tutorial demonstrating the stitch pattern is included in the pattern. 

You can download Dolores with a 20% discount (no coupon code required) until Monday April 30, 2018.  In addition, $1 from each copy of Dolores sold will be donated to CAMH until Monday April 30, 2018.

 


Sock By Numbers Toe Up was also released into the world this week. 

Sock By Numbers isn’t a pattern, it’s a recipe to create a toe up sock using any yarn, any needles, any gauge, for any foot size. This pattern starts with a wedge toe, features a Strong heel (no gusset stitches to pick up!)  and ends with a ribbed cuff. 

This is not a beginner recipe. Some knowledge of sock anatomy is required and spoiler alert: this recipe has a lot of math!

If doing math old school (longhand) isn’t your thing, access to a spreadsheet to help is included in the pattern.

You can download Sock By Numbers Toe Up with a 50% discount with the purchase of any other pattern.  Put both patterns in your cart and use the coupon code: Toes

Budgeting For Yarn Purchases

How do you budget for yarn purchases? Do you fund a separate budget category for yarn purchases?  

As a designer, I often get yarn support from dyers for my designs (which is a totally awesome perk!) or I purchase yarn with the proceeds of pattern sales, but what about personal knitting? Instead of a separate category for funding hobbies we like to categorize yarn purchases and spread the expense around.  For example:

Souvenir Yarn

Souvenir yarn is included in our vacation budget.  When we plan a vacation and plan how we're funding the vacation, yarn is included.  It's a given that I will scope out yarn stores before we even leave our house on vacation and that when we've reached our destination I will go to the nearest LYS and pick up some yarn (preferably yarn and dyers that are local to our vacation destination).

Yarn For Gifts

Yarn that I purchase to make gifts is included in our gift budget.  

Yarn For People I Live With

Yarn that I use to make items for myself, the Husbeast, or the Kidlets comes out of our clothing budget.  

Feeding The Stash

Yarn that I purchase without a project in mind for no reason other than because it's beautiful and squishy and I *have* to have it comes from our entertainment budget.  It takes 10-20 hours to knit a pair of socks (depending on foot size and pattern complexity), so if I pay $30 for a skein of sock yarn, I'm paying $2 per hour of entertainment value (assuming I spend 15 hours knitting with it).  I can't even go to a movie for $2 per hour AND when I'm finished with the $30 skein of sock yarn I have a beautiful, useful pair of socks in addition to 15 hours of entertainment.  It's a win-win.  

Knitting Is My Meditation

Knitting is good for my mental health and, therefore by extension, the mental health of those around me.  Sometimes yarn comes from our health and wellness budget since it really is part of my health and wellness plan.  

We also plan my husband's golf hobby by category.  It works well for us.  How do you budget for your hobbies?

What Do April Showers Bring?

April showers bring Greynbows...

A Greynbow is what happens when you combine grey yarn with rainbow yarn!

These were really fun socks to knit!  The stitch pattern looks so great in so many different yarn combinations, that it was difficult to decide on colours for the sample.   

Greynbow is worked toe up and features an easy-to-remember yet slightly addictive slip stitch pattern across the top of the foot and the front and back of the leg. Only one colour is used at a time so there are no floats to carry along the back of your work. (disclaimer: colourwork with no floats is my favourite kind of colourwork) The  heel flap, gussets, and intsep stitches are worked simultaneously in the round (so there are no gusset stitches to pick  up!) and the leg ends with a ribbed cuff.  The stitch pattern is both written and charted. 

The pattern is graded for 4 circumferences and the foot length is customizable.

You can purchase Greynbow with a 20% discount (no coupon code required!) until Monday April 16, 2018.  

Sock Surgery 101: How To Fix Foot Length

This crumply, unblocked, unwoven mess is a design I'm working on.  When it's blocked and woven, it will be spectacular (especially the gussets!) but right now it's a hot mess.  I got carried away watching Netflix and working the foot at the same time and now the foot is about 2 inches too long, so today I'm going to show you how I fixed it.  

 This beautiful green yarn with rainbow donegal flecks is by Colourful Creativity.  It's called 'Spring Fling' and it's so new it hasn't been released yet!

This beautiful green yarn with rainbow donegal flecks is by Colourful Creativity.  It's called 'Spring Fling' and it's so new it hasn't been released yet!

This sock was worked toe up, but that's ok, because a toe is a toe and they look the same whether they're worked toe up or cuff down.  The first thing I did was insert a lifeline where I wanted to restart the toe.  I used sock yarn in a contrasting colour and a darning needle to weave the lifeline through each stitch.

 The blue yarn is my lifeline. 

The blue yarn is my lifeline. 

Next, I took a deep breath (or 5) and a sip of wine (or 3) and then I cut the foot below the lifeline.  

 cutting one's knitting is always an anxious moment...

cutting one's knitting is always an anxious moment...

Then I breathed deeply, reassured myself that it would be ok and proceeded to pick out all the little bits of yarn that were left from the cutting.   Then I put the stitches back on the needles. 

 It looks like nothing happened! 

It looks like nothing happened! 

I reverse engineered my toe to work it from the cuff down instead of the toe up (which was how I had written it) and pretty soon I had a complete sock with correct foot length...

 Ta Da....

Ta Da....

It still needs to be blocked and have the ends woven in, but it looks much better than it did with a super long foot.  Look at those gussets!  I love them - they are pretty much the entire point of this sock design.  

This surgery would have worked for lengthening the foot too.  Or replacing a worn out toe.  Or changing the type of toe construction.  Or deciding to do the toe in a contrasting colour.  There are lots of circumstances that might see you having to surgically remove a toe on a sock and I hope this helps you get through it!  

Happy Knitting!