Socks for the Mister

I mentioned it earlier, but I did indeed finish my husband’s Christmas socks. I’ve had to face the reality that, sadly, the festive photo of the feet of my family in their newly knitted Christmas socks is not going to happen. All of said socks have been worn — in some cases more than one day and are… well, let’s just say they all need to be washed. But you haven’t yet seen Mr Knitting Sarah’s socks, so I will share them today.

Rather than use one of the 3 or 4 skeins of holiday yarn I’ve been hoarding, I did what I am normally terrible at doing — instead of picking something that fits my **vision**, I used the yarn that suited my husband. After almost 15years of marriage, I may have learned this lesson! I did pick the most Christmas-y looking of the Mr. Knitting Sarah Approved skeins of yarn I have on hand though. This is Regia 6ply Musèe Color in a 150gram skein of color #06983.

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The Musèe color line is one that is pretty much the only time I’ve found an entire line of colors in that I have found in Mr KS acceptable colors that is also a base that works well for him. I’m purchased one of almost every colorway in this line. I found them through HotYarns.com which has proven to have quick, inexpensive shipping and a consistently more comprehensive selection of those workhorse German wool + nylon sock blends I know and love. What’s more, they actually stock Regia in 6ply which is the yarn Mr KS prefers for his socks. So, like I said, I bought pretty much the entire Musèe line from them, stockpiling for future Mr KS socks while the yarns are still available.

As I said, these are a sport/DK weight yarn so they knit up super fast.

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For Mr KS, I use the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock pattern, but I follow the fingering weight instructions with a US 2.5 needle. I wanted to do a custom sock for him with the Fish Lips Kiss Heel like I did for the kids, but he was having none of that. He did not believe there would be improvement, he likes the tried and true method I’ve used in the past, and that’s exactly what he got!

And they were done in about 10days. I definitely could have shaved days off the timeline there, but I knew I had plenty of time, so I did some spinning during those 10days, too, because I could.

 

The mister’s socks don’t actually fit properly on my bigger sized blockers…

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You can see they’re a little baggy on them, especially since I went with a full 8.5″ leg & cuff.

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But you get the idea. Aren’t they nice?!

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The mister liked them, too. He said they’re the best fit yet and that he likes the longer leg & cuff. Hooray!

I, obviously, did not get to socks for me this Christmas, but I had a couple pair I’d made previously. And I’ve got a couple special yarns that I hope to knit up sooner than later. If I start now, I’ll be wonderfully early for next year, right?!

Meet Dyeabolical’s ID Squishy Sport Single + *GIVEAWAY*

Around the time I was ordering my fantastic new fiber from Dyeabolical I received a message from Rachel — the awesome lady behind the shop — asking if I’d be interested in trying out a new yarn base she was really excited about. Of course, I jumped at the chance and in with my gorgeous fiber came a couple fab skeins of the new ID Squishy Sport Single in the Sebastian colorway

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Photo courtesy of Dyeabolical

ID Squishy Sport Single is 100% (non-superwash) wool that is grown, processed & dyed in the USA. I have to say that nothing… nothing could have prepared me for the life in this yarn. Before I had it wound into a center pull ball, I had searched a number of possible patterns and when it came time to try them out they just weren’t clicking. I just could not have anticipated how much bounce was in this skein! In my eyes and hands, this yarn beckoned to show off its off-the-charts stitch definition. After two attempts at a certain shawl, I recalled a hat that I thought might require a sport or light dk weight yarn. Sure enough, Alana Dakos’ Sprig Cloche called for a dk. From my early attempts, I knew ID Squishy Sport Single to be a pretty generous sport/light dk weight can really hold its own in the heavier side of its weight, so I thought it was worth a shot.

This was the ‘a-ha’ moment in this project.

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 You know it, it’s that moment when you look down at your needles and you know you’ve found it.

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I knit this beauty in the sunshine while my kids played and I loved every minute. The bounce, the spring, the life, the energy — whatever you want to call it — ID Squishy Sport Single has it in spades and it is sheer joy to knit. It’s one of those yarns that when it’s in my hands I find myself asking why I ever knit with anything else. It’s that kind of high!

The finished hat… well, let me just show you…

flat hatBeautiful.

hat front viewIt is quite literally one of the best fitting hats I’ve made thanks largely in part to that bounce in the ID Squishy Sport Single.

hat side viewAnd the unique construction of the hat, I worried about a little is my favorite thing about it. I gave it a generous measurement when working in the inches of the main body just because I knew the yarn wouldn’t quite as readily slouch for me as the recommended yarn. The extra couple rounds did the trick perfectly.

And let’s look at that pretty leaf detail one last time…

hat close upI’m smiling. Are you?

As if the hat wasn’t awesome enough, I still had almost half of the hefty 270yard skein left. I couldn’t let that go to the land of leftovers, so I popped into my patterns and pulled out a favorite, Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Welted Fingerless Mitts. These little mitts are a brilliantly simple pattern. I’ve made at least 4 or 5 pairs of them over the years for gifts, not to mention a couple pairs for myself. I worked them two-at-a-time and whipped them up in less than a day.

mitts2Et voilà!

mittsI think they’re just the absolute perfect companion for the Sprig Cloche. The welted detail echoes the edges of the hat’s band and both are just simple & classic.

hat + mittsPerfection.

The best news, however, is that Rachel sent me an extra skein of ID Squishy Sport Single for one of YOU!

It’s true! I will be shipping one beautiful skein of ID Squishy Sport in the Sebastian colorway to one lucky winner — whew-hoo!

To enter this giveaway, simply hop on over to the Dyeabolical website and have a nice, relaxing, inspiring look around (it’ll be hard, but for the good of your tech try not to drool too much). Then, share in the comments section of this blog post one or two items from the shop that you’d really love to try out. Rachel’s just added some new colorways and bases in Yarns & Fibers as well as some really gorgeous new soaps in the Bath & Body section, too. One entry per person, please, but please do feel free to share with your friends.

Entries will be accepted through 11:59CST Monday, April 20th.

The winner will be announced Tuesday, April 21st.

Many thanks to Dyeabolical for making this giveaway possible and best of luck to you!

Churchmouse Basic Socks + West Yorkshire Spinners

I have one more wonderful finished pair of socks to share with you and then I will be all caught up on my sock knitting FOs. Hooray! There is so much great stuff on the horizon, not the least of which is my Dyeabolical order that landed last night (sneak peaks available on Instagram). As usual, they are 100% rad and I can’t wait to get my needles clicking on them. First things first though, yes?

My 9th pair of socks since the kick-off of the Socks with Sarah KAL on January 15th had to be pretty simple. I was starting them during our Spring Break when my in-laws were visiting and I wanted to be able to — you know — visit.  A simple project goes well with chatting and driving to activities, so I cast-on a Churchmouse Basic Sock in the wonderful new-to-me West Yorkshire Spinners 100% DK BFL from the New Country Birds Collection in the Owl colorway.

I discovered this yarn during the first week of the KAL when a fellow knitter, Ravelry ID: MidKnitOwl (you can check out her blog here), posted photos of her finished socks from the WYS New Country Birds Collection. Bird nerd that I am, I simply had to check it out. It also wasn’t lost on me that a ton of Socks with Sarah participants are from the UK (as well as other locales far & wide), so I’ve been working on and off to find some nice yarns to use from abroad. I know a lot of wonderful options are available and I really want to be able to highlight some of them here on my blog. West Yorkshire Spinners, I’m happy to report, are the first stop on this world tour. And it was definitely a nice stop indeed!

From the very first touch, I was impressed with how soft & bouncy this 100% BFL yarn is. After knitting a brilliantly bright sock, the subtle neutral tones of the Owl colorway were exactly what I needed. The patterning of this self-striping yarn alternates between solid stripes and almost fair-isle-y stripes.

footAnd you know what? It’s just fun to knit!

So fun, in fact, that I knit the first sock in one day. Largely in part to a day of long car rides, but also the DK weight, size 3 needles, and super fun color & pattern changes just made them fly.

toeSeriously, I love the colors, but I wish you could feel how squashably lovely these are!

whole sockAll in all, these spent a mere four days on my needles. And now they are on my feet.

The WYS website has a number of BFL and wool/nylon blends in fingering, DK, and aran weights that are just perfect for socks. From beautiful neutrals to brights, they offer a full range of colorways so there truly is something for everyone. The DK skein I used was 244yds which is not as much yardage as I am used to, but the price reflects the smaller skein and it is still more than enough to make a pair of socks with a perfectly respectable 7″ leg for my US size 8.5 – 9 foot. For a bigger foot or longer cuff I would definitely recommend purchasing a second skein for good measure. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I found shipping to the US to be reasonably priced and prompt.

I will be honest, upon finishing these socks up I was so tickled that I currently have dreams of order one (or two) of each of the New Country Birds Collection — perhaps even in the fingering weight. My husband is dying for ANYTHING made from the Blue Tit colorway just because he so loves that little bird. I, however, can’t discriminate. I’ll take a pair of each, thank you very much.  Maybe throw in some of those corresponding Spice Rack colorways for contrast heels and toes….

Oh, a girl can dream, can’t she?!

For more info on these socks, please check my Ravelry project page here.

Churchmouse Basic Sock + ONline Supersocke

While I can’t deny I love the luxury of really good yarn, I still do appreciate a well-made ‘economy’ yarn. Shortly before the launch of the Socks with Sarah KAL, I had this drive to stock-up on sock yarn. Apparently I thought I might not be able to acquire more throughout the year (???) and that I should buy it all ahead of time so I wouldn’t be tempted to get more later (ahem… I am giving myself an incredulous look, too, don’t worry). Whatever the “logic” involved, while filling a shopping basket of pretty sock yarns I came upon the discount pages on WEBS. As with any closeout/sale pages there was a fair bit I had an easy time passing over, but what I did find too good to resist were 410yd skeins of sport weight wool/nylon blend sock yarn from ONline. I had seen ONline yarns before, but never used them and I kind of understood them to be an ever-so-slightly lesser version of the Regia yarns I love so much for socks. With a price tag of only $11.99 for these big sport weight skeins, I dumped a couple in my cart to give them a try.

When they arrived they were about what I expected. Certainly not quite as soft as Regia on the skein, but they weren’t that far off. When my mom placed an order with WEBS a few weeks later, I added a couple more skeins to the order and stashed them. As closeouts or whatever deal they were being sold as, I got colors that I liked and colors I could see my family wearing. At 410yds for $11.99, I have no qualms about knitting up kids socks with them — I have my eye on those chilly nights of our family camping trips. The skeins are big enough I can even do a pair or two for my husband.

At the end of February, I cast on this skein.onlineAnd then I got a little distracted knitting all those baby hats and booties. I soon settled back into seriously working through these though and shortly after I had a nice tall pair of socks.

wholesockKnowing my skein was nice and big, I worked my face Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock pattern, but went with a longer than usual leg — about 9″ — and I stuck with ribbing for the leg and top of the foot.

footI’m actually a little bummed I did this as I like the self-patterning design of this yarn, BUT since I was using a 3.0mm instead of my standard 3.25mm for sport weight socks I didn’t want to run the risk of them being too tight. Why was I using the 3.0mm then you ask? Well, they were otherwise engaged with another project. You know how it goes.

heelThe good news is they fit well and they will serve their purpose. Just as I had hoped and expected they aren’t exactly fancy, but they were a fun, easy knit. For their $11.99 price tag, they are precisely what they should be. Fun & functional. Love it!

For more info on this project, check out my Ravelry project page here.

Hats & Booties

My husband’s co-worker will be welcoming his first grandbaby in a couple month’s time and earlier this year I was asked to knit up a hat & bootie set. As any self-respecting knitter would, I couldn’t stop at the one hat & booties. My husband reined in my desire to create a whole layette including a blanket, but I did convince him that I couldn’t just knit one hat & booties set. So I made three.

newbornhatbootiesNewborn

3-6hatbooties3-6 months

6-12hatbooties6-12 months

For the hats, I used the Heirloom Hats for Newborns pattern from Purl Soho for the newborn size and Debbie Bliss’s Simple Hat for the 3-6 & 6-12month versions. I made a simple modification to the newborn pattern so that the top would match the other two.

For the booties, I used Churchmouse Yarns & Teas’ Stay-On Booties pattern. I used this pattern to teach seaming in a class back in the day — it is fantastic for that purpose, by the way — and for this project it worked great because it is written for 3 gauges. Perfect since I was working in Dale of Norway Baby Ull for the newborn size and Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino for the other two.

newbornbootiesAren’t they adorable?

You can also see that I used a simple 2-stitch i-cord for the ties instead of the twisted cord. I always used i-cords to tie my babies’ booties — they are a little more work, but I like that they are nice & stretchy.

Now it’s off to wrap them up with little labels & washing instructions and they will be on their way to the grandma & grandpa-to-be’s hands just in time for the baby shower. I’m so happy I could play a role in keeping this baby’s head and feet nice and warm for his first year.

For further info on these projects, you can find their Ravelry project pages here:

Newborn hat

Newborn booties

3-6 month hat

3-6 month booties

6-12 month hat

6-12 month booties

A ‘Surprise’ Long Weekend

One day a week I volunteer in my daughter’s class. I go in at lunch time & help open milk cartons, distribute ketchup, and help peel bananas — whatever tasks little hands find troublesome. From there this time of year I zip coats & tuck snowpants around boots and help get all those mittens and hats and scarves in place for recess. The rest of the afternoon I get to read or do math one-on-one or in small groups  and then help when the class is all together for small groups of math. This 2 or 3hours is one of the highlights of my week. I feel pretty fortunate that I get this opportunity to see my girl in her element and to get to know her classmates and teachers.

Yesterday when I walked into the lunch room I was a little early, so one of the teachers and I were chatting and she asked, “So do you have anything planned for your day off tomorrow?” I stared blankly. “Is there no school tomorrow?” I asked. She chuckled. Yes, apparently despite the calendar on our fridge that has NO SCHOOL emblazoned in all caps on February 28th, I had completely spaced on this fact. I have to admit that I’m a little spoiled — my kids, especially my son is pretty on top of his school schedule particularly when it comes to long weekends. I also can see the school parking lot from my house, so even if I completely miss the boat and my boy forgets to remind me if I look out the window at 8am and the parking lot is empty I know to double-check the calendar.

So what are we going to do with our long weekend? Well, we are ‘enjoying’ another round of seriously cold weather. It’s funny how just 2 or 3 months ago a wind chill of -8F might have kept us home, but no longer. My husband and I actually had this exchange this morning:

“Hey, is it cold out there this morning?”

“Nah, it’s only -2F.”

And we both burst out laughing and continued to discuss plans for Sunday as it is supposed to be sort of ‘warm’ at 11F.

So the next couple days with consist of some errands, of course, and trying to keep two active kiddos from going bananas when playing outside is a little tough — even if we brave the cold temps, the snow is basically a sheet of hard ice and not exactly super fun to play in. We’ll do a library run. A trip to the post office. Perhaps some time swimming — we are lucky we have a great pool very close to home and the kids love swimming. A healthy installment of Just Dance is guaranteed — my daughter is in love with it and thus we are all getting down with our favorite Disney songs these days. Legos will surely be involved (they are the ‘it’ toys in our house right now). Cleaning. Putting clean laundry away & ironing (I think if I write it there is a better chance I might actually do it…).

Speaking a laundry and knitting (perhaps my least & most favorite tasks in life), about a week and a half ago I got a note that the samples from my teaching days were boxed upand ready for me to pick up, so I popped down and picked up a box and a shopping bag full of my handknits.20140228-102704.jpgSome — like my O W L S sweater and Classic Raglan Sweater — I was really, really, really excited to have back. This freezing winter really beckons for cozy wool sweaters. The rest have been really fun to look through. Many I had almost forgotten I knit — I was usually was so excited to get them to the shop that I didn’t document anything.  They typically went from my needles to the bath to the shop.  After a year or two on and off display, everything needs a good washing and then I’ll have to decide if I want to take photos and post them up or just wear them. I think they’d be fun to share here as a little walk down memory lane. I suppose we shall see how ambitious I’m feeling when the time comes. For now, I probably should not get ahead of myself and I’d better just focus on the washing. It’s not what I’d call fun, but washing handknits is much better than the normal laundry. That’s something anyway!

Of course, along with errands and playing and exercise and cleaning, I will sneak in some knitting.20140228-102625.jpgI finished up my Snowfling Mitt from Tanis Fiber Arts — including the second thumb which is not present here. From here I’m on to the lining…

20140228-102640.jpgHonestly, the lining is what sold me on this kit — a perfect pale gold accent on this gorgeous mittens. And said gold is a cashmere blend. Yum. I hope the lining knits up quickly, but I’m pretty sure my needles can’t move fast enough for my greedy, freezing hands.

I’m also slowly moving along a few stitches a day at my latest Socks with Sarah KAL sock…

20140228-103609.jpgOf course these basic sport weight socks are knitting up quickly especially considering how little time I am putting in on them right now.  I am happy to be staying with the little bit of sock knitting every day that is the theme of the knitalong and that continues to feel really good. For as simple as these socks are, I’m actually really excited for them as I actually adore basic sport weight socks for around the house.

I am, however, already looking ahead to my next pair of socks… it’ll most likely be the kit in this bag…20140228-104335.jpgFirst Footing by Kate Davies. Oooh, they will be good!

It might just be me, but the longer the weekend the faster it seems to go. Time to get to it — even the laundry — before it’s over!

Happy weekend to you & yours!