Another Churchmouse Basic Sock

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again — I just don’t get tired of the classic Basic Sock from Churchmouse Yarns & Teas.  You saw some photos of them yesterday in my sock blocking post, but let me take a few moments today to officially share my latest pair with you.

These are my third pair of socks in the Socks with Sarah KAL — not that anyone is counting — and they are for my dear Mr Knitting Sarah.

fullAs I said, they are made using the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock pattern and knit in Socks That Rock Mediumweight in the Muddy Bottom Breakdown colorway. These are my first basic socks for my husband in Socks That Rock and I will be honest here — I knit them as I usually do for him using the fingering weight instructions for with sport weight yarn, but I don’t think I needed to alter the instructions. The Socks That Rock have such high twist that they stretch much more than most yarns I’ve used for him and while it would have been close, I think the extra stretch could have made these work on the regular ol’ sport weight instructions. As is, thankfully I did go down to 3.00mm needles and sent them through a gentle/low-medium cycle in the dryer turned while turned inside-out. Watching carefully & checking often, I believe they’ll be just fine. I am certainly interested to try the yarn out again to see just what I can do!

In any case, I seriously love the color.

close-up Muddy River BottomA very neutral brown almost tan mixed with hues of yellow-y gold. When I selected it online I thought it would be totally a Mr Knitting Sarah drab kind of color — he pretty much exclusively wear earth tones when not at work. While he is still be ok with the slightly flashier hue (and by ‘flashier’ here I mean ‘not out of the family of colors used exclusively in varietals of camouflage’), it is definitely more of a stretch than I anticipated for him. ‘Tis the breaks of shopping online — a bit of a nail-biter to see if my love would accept it, but a pleasant surprise for me to discover such a lovely colorway. Indeed, I’m A-OK with the trade-off.

Having finished the lovely pair number three, it’s on to the next pair…

image_medium2With colors so bright, they shock my eyes!  More on these in the coming days…

For the Ravelry project page on Mr Knitting Sarah’s socks, go here.

For the fledgling Ravelry project page on the new magenta socks, go here.

Socks with Sarah: Kitchener Stitch the Toe

I woke up bright (really, it was very, very dark) & early this morning to get the final video tutorial uploaded as well as catch up on Friends of Knitting Sarah Ravelry Group. I had a couple new KAL knitters to add to the master list — welcome! and yes, you can still join! — as well get that Resource Thread all linked up. Of course, I had to partake in some general chat, too. Oftentimes during a day I will hop on to read the comments, but don’t have the chance to respond right away so I pop on when I can — usually when it is very, very dark outside –when I can steal a few moments to type away. I’m so glad for those moments as this group is really so much fun & just full of great ideas!

Today, though, I am here to post the final video tutorial for the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock in 2 Gauges: the Kitchener stitch. I must confess that I love the Kitchener stitch. I love doing it, I loved teaching it — I just love it. It is one of those knitting techniques that in the beginning always feels like you have to remember just one too many details to succeed — kind of like you are walking a tightrope while trying to steady a spinning plate on your head. Clear your mind, remain calm, follow the instructions, find your rhythm, and you’ll discover that there is a beautiful harmony to it. It’s like learning a dance and once you get the hang of it — it’s like your feet don’t even have to touch the ground. It also creates a bulk-less, smooth end to your sock’s toe, so flowery words aside & even if you aren’t quite as smitten as I am, it’s worth the effort for that perfectly comfy toe.

Without further ado, here’s how to finish off your Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock.

And there’s that toe…

20140126-100446.jpg

And a  finished sock?

20140126-100543.jpgCONGRATULATIONS!  You did it!  And here’s to many more!

Are you dreaming of that next sock yet? I know I am. In fact, I may have started a new one last night…

20140203-070544.jpgI just couldn’t help myself. Another Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock, on the road to warming my husband’s feet. Thanks to the inspiration of the Socks with Sarah KAL I think 2014 is going to be a great year for socks!

Socks with Sarah: Shape the Toe

As promised, today is the day I am sharing a video tutorial walking you through shaping the toe of the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock in 2 Gauges. One thing I love about the toe shaping is that when you arrive at this portion of your top-down sock, you are really & truly in the home stretch. From here on out, you are decreasing stitches until you are ready to Kitchener stitch the very last stitches. You are so close!

Having made it through the gusset shaping, the toe shaping will come very easily to you. You will actually be doing the exact same decreases you used for the gusset shaping, while at the same time adding in decreases on either side of needle two. Also, just like the gusset shaping, you will work one decrease round then one even round and continue in the 2-round repeat until you have 16stitches total remaining. This will give you a nice tapered toe.

I know when I was first learning how to knit socks, the most confusing thing to me was which decrease to use in which spot. It’s easy, though — as you work your way around the decrease round the decreases you use will alternate: k2tog, ssk, k2tog, ssk. Easy, peasy!

Without further ado, though, here’s the video link so you can watch me work a couple rounds to help get you on your way.

Have questions? Pop on over to the Ravelry thread where I’ll be happy to help!

The next video tutorial will be live on February 3rdt when I walk you through Kitchener stitch. Until then, happy knitting!

Today on my head…

Freshly returned (and thawed) from a trip West, today I am featuring a post from a special guest blogger, Mr. KnittingSarah. Enjoy!

20140126_071812On a recent adventure, solo winter backpacking in Badlands National Park, I took along my favorite stocking cap.  I have a lot of technical gear, but nothing keeps me warmer than this hat.  And when one is solo adventuring, it is quite nice to have that constant reminder that somewhere there is someone who loves you enough to make you a rather nice hat like this.20131122-100220.jpgThe tale of how this hat was made, has been told on one of KnittingSarah’s previous posts.  I wanted to share a bit of how these objects take on life and have adventures after they leave the needles.

black_pearl_whole_hat_medium2Being married to KnittingSarah has its perks.

20140127_083358The wonder of Badlands is that there are no trails into the backcountry.  It is up to you to chart your own course into the wilderness and wander where you like.  The reason so few people do this, is that there is no drinkable water to be found.  So, along with all your gear, you also need to pack in all the water you need.  That works out to about a gallon per person per day.  That’s a lot of extra weight to carry in on top of all the other necessary gear, so it really limits how many people trek in there.20140127_090718Walking in from the Conata Basin and heading for a high plateau known as Deer Haven, the temperature on my first day got all the way up to 12 degrees Fahrenheit, but with the wind it felt much colder.  At night, it plunged down below 0.  Having the right gear is key to enjoying a trip like this (let alone surviving it).  Notice that rather nice hat?20140127_085627Along the way, there are signs of wildlife everywhere.  Like this coyote print, frozen in the clay.20140127_104852After a long morning’s hike, I reached the juniper-rich plateau of Deer Haven and set up base camp.  Not a bad view from the kitchen.20140127_132553The plateau is covered with scraggly juniper trees and they are bursting with frost covered berries even this late into winter.  The berries are a source of food for several bird species.  There were lots of over-wintering robins taking advantage of the abundant food and Townsend’s Solitaires which live on a diet entirely composed of the little berries.  I learned how to take macro shots of vegetation from my wife, who often points out the little things I would otherwise miss.20140128_120115This is a view from the top of the cliff surrounding the little plateau.  20140128_103701See the bighorn sheep in the distance  There was a small group sitting on the rise where the binoculars are pointed.

20140128_102115-1This is a pic from my camera shooting through the binoculars.  I love going deep into wild places and just feeling like I become a part of the landscape.

20140128_135656Another view of the plateau from the cliff rim looking west.  My tent is just visible in a clearing near the center of the picture.

20140127_140240-1Hands down, this was the funniest wildlife close encounter.  This little guy was waddling his way through a clearing.  I was able to sneak up on him and get some pretty cool pictures.  Since porcupines have little to fear from predators, this one was content to just sit there and dare me to come closer.  Wildlife doesn’t usually cooperate with a photographer like this.

20140129_085027I learned a lot on this trip.  Like fording streams is much easier in winter when they are frozen.

20140129_074425And, that the things that leap fully formed from my wife’s needles take on a life of their own once they go out into the world. Like I said, it is a rather nice hat.

Happy adventures everybody!

Mr. KnittingSarah.

Snow. Cold. Moose. Socks.

Where I live, January is the month when the magic of winter begins to wear off & instead of eliciting gooey comparisons to snowglobes a new snowfall tends to just get everyone complaining about shoveling… again. I take care of the snow removal at our house. We don’t have a snowblower, so ‘snow removal’ is simply me. Outside. With a shovel. I am lucky in that about half the time our neighbors snowblow for us, so I return the favor and shovel for them whenever I can. This morning was one of those mornings. And you know, I really don’t mind any of it — the snow, the cold, the extra work. Honestly, I’d much rather shovel than mow the lawn. I just love winter, even in late January.

With 5 or 6″ of fresh snow I was thankful that it was the light, fluffy, airy variety and I had the two houses’ walks all cleared out before long. Since I was bundled and we’re expecting another stint of subzero temps to move into the area tonight, I went ahead and filled all the bird feeders, too. And then, when all the work was done a little play was in order.

20140126-100558.jpgSomeone was a wee bit excited to romp in the new snow and how could I deny this face?

20140126-100638.jpgWe use frisbees this time of year — they are harder to lose in the snow than tennis balls — and Moose fetched his little retriever’s heart out and then promptly laid down for a spell to rest & chew on his apparently indestructible frisbee (thanks Grandama & Grandpa!).

20140126-100609.jpgMoose loves to ‘drop’ his frisbee in the snow so he has to find it again.

20140126-100707.jpgThe finding looks like this. I love this dog.

20140126-100736.jpgWhen it was time to head in, he tried to use camouflage to avoid the inevitable. It worked for a time… again, how do you deny that face a little extra play?

Of course, shoveling wasn’t the only thing I did this morning. I was awake for a couple hours before I could get outside without disturbing the neighborhood. So I did this:

20140126-100446.jpgOh yes, I did. I finished Socks 1.1 & 1.2 for Socks with Sarah.

20140126-100506.jpgThey are made with Cloudlover Yarn & Fiber Sock Yarn in Aegean. I just love the colors, as always is the case from Cloudlover.

20140126-100543.jpgAnd there they are. Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Sock made with that gorgeous Cloudlover yarn.

I am going to give them a wash before I wear them, but the air is so dry they will be ready to wear in no time. For those of you knitting along, I am a bit early finishing up, but I did shoot the video tutorials along the way and I will post them on the designated days as promised. Just keep knitting away!

As for me…

20140126-104008.jpgI have some yarns to wind and choices to make and exciting new projects to begin. After all, when the work is done a little play is in order, right?

Socks with Sarah: Turn the Heel, Pick Up the Gusset, and Shape the Gusset

I hope the sock knitting is still coming along! I have to admit that I usually don’t work socks 2 at a time when I am using double-pointed needles, but with making the video tutorials I have been in order to be able to sit & film in fewer installments. It’s been kind of fun!

So today, I promised to have completed the heel flap & walk you through how to turn the heel, pick up gusset stitches, and begin gusset shaping. The videos for today are a bit on the long side, but it is only because I literally walk you through the whole process. Because this is kind of the action series for socks I want to be sure I don’t want to lose anyone along the way!  When it comes to knitting socks, today’s maneuvers are the most challenging and require the most attention to detail. I won’t say they are hard, but they do require focus. Hang with it and you’ll be cruisin’ away on the foot before you know it!

First up, the big kahuna: turning the heel. If you haven’t worked short rows before, this may seem a little crazy. Trust me. Focus. And follow along and I promise you will end up with a perfectly shaped little cup-shape perfect for your heel.

Next up is picking up for the gusset. In this step you will pick up stitches along the heel flap & join your sock in the round once again.

And finally, you will begin the gusset shaping.

Once you’ve completed the gusset shaping  and are back to the number of stitches you cast-on you are officially in the home stretch! Work the foot even until it measures 2″ less than the overall length desired from the back of the heel to your needles. This should be 2″ less than the total length of the foot for which you are knitting.

Have questions? Pop on over to the Ravelry thread where I’ll be happy to help!

The next video tutorial will be live on January 31st when I walk you through how to shape the toe. Until then, happy knitting!