She Knits: Speckled Space Socks

I was given this sock yarn as part of a 2018 holiday swap. I was excited because I haven’t been buying sock yarn for myself lately, but have missed knitting socks. This gave me a great excuse — especially because this color wouldn’t be appropriate anywhere else on me (as a shawl, for example)!

Progression Info
Started – December 19
Completed – January 11

I have some interesting statistics for this pair of socks. I’ve wondered for a long time how much knitting time a pair of socks actually requires. When I knit the second sock for this pair, I decided to find out for sure. This sock pattern is mildly patterned, which serves as a good middle-ground for timing. I timed myself knitting the second sock, and here’s what I found:

Total Time: about 7.5 hours
toe – 17 mins; foot – 2 hrs; gusset – 1.5 hrs; heel – 55 mins; leg – 2.25 hrs; cuff – 25 mins; bind off – 8 mins; finishing – 4 mins

I was most intrigued that the foot, gusset, and leg all take nearly the same amount of time. I expected the heel to be less time than it was, as it always feels like it works up quickly.

So, it appears I can knit a pair of socks in roughly 15 hours. 🙂 That’s definitely manageable over a long three-day weekend, if I don’t have anything else happening. But is more realistically about a week of knitting time for me, if I knit exclusively on that one pattern.

Pattern Info
Speckled Space Socks by Amanda Stephens

As promised, this is a great pattern for speckled sock yarns like this one. The design is interesting and still shows through all the color variegation, but is also easy to memorize.

These socks fit better than any other pair I’ve knit myself. 🙂 That’s very exciting to me! I knit it at a tighter gauge than called for in the pattern (the foot of my socks are 9 stitches per inch; the pattern is written for 8). In the pattern notes, the designer mentions that some of her test knitters found the leg too tight because of the cables reaching all the way around versus on the foot where the cables are only on the instep. Her suggestion was to increase needle size for just the leg. I took the advice and used a bigger needle on the leg, which gave me 8 stitches per inch. The gauge difference isn’t very noticeable by sight, but the fit is much better this way.

The only thing that could make them fit absolutely perfectly would be about 2 more gusset rounds. I need just a bit more width around the widest point of my foot. But I don’t think I need a taller heel flap. So I would need to decrease out those extra gusset stitches somewhere. That’s the piece I haven’t figured out — maybe at the top center of the heel flap/back of the heel? Or somewhere in the heel turn? I’m not sure.

Yarn Info
Southern Skeins Merino Nylon Fingering sock yarn
75% wool, 25% nylon
Colorway – speckled sprout
0.65 skeins = 283.4 yds used

such a fun color!

As I mentioned, this yarn was given to me as part of a swap I participated in recently. It is so bright! and cheerful! and fun! But it definitely needed to be socks.

The yarn bled quite a lot in the wash and rinse, but the color didn’t fade noticeably, so I think it was just excess dye. That’s not a problem for a one-skein/one-color project, but could be an issue if I paired this with a really light color in a two-color project. I’m only noting it so that I remember to not wash these socks alongside something white or pale!



A Year of Crafting: 2018

It’s been yet another busy year. Squirt joined our family in April. And a few months later, I discovered I was carrying yet another new life. 🙂 Busy and wonderful. We expect our new little boy, number four, next May.

Project Totals

Projects: 20
crochet: 1 (5%)
embroidery: 1 (5%)
knit: 15 (75%)
quilting: 1 (5%)
sewing: 2 (10%)

gifted: 5 (25%)
designed: 6 (30%)

I knit about as many projects as last year. I gifted fewer but designed/improvised more. I knit a smaller percentage of my projects than last year.

Yarn Totals

Total Yardage: 5,387.0 yards (That’s 3.06 miles!)
acrylic: 603.9 (11.2%)
cotton: 301.7 (5.6%)
linen: 1,574.7 (29.2%)
nylon: 218.3 (4.1%)
wool: 2,688.3 (49.9%)

I finished a project using a new fiber this year — linen for my Asagi blouse. I used less yarn than last year (about 520 yards less). I used a greater percentage of natural fibers this year (about 15% compared to 28%). I think this reflects somewhat from the fewer gifts I knit this year. I tend to knit gifts in machine washable, nearly indestructible fibers, whereas I don’t mind handwashing the items that I or my family wear.

Looking Back

I am pleased to say I accomplished most of my goals going into this year. I finished my blouse before summer and the vest for Squirt. I also knit her a newborn hat. I knit a hat and stuffed toy for my expectant friend’s baby. I did end up knitting a baby dress for Squirt using some of the linen left from my blouse.

I did not make a hat to match Squirt’s bubbly vest, a quilt for her, or a dress or cardigan for my expectant friend.

I’m really happy with everything I did make this year. Each of the three kids has a handmade sweater and hat as we go into a rather mild winter. All three may still fit next year as well! I’m also very glad I made the quilt for JB. It makes me smile every time I make his bed; it is just perfect!

I made things for myself — the blouse, a pair of socks, and a piece of embroidery.

And I made things for friends — the items for my friend’s new baby plus some handknit fabric for her to make a stocking with (waiting to see if the stocking turns out before I blog about that one!), a hat for my sister’s beau, and sewn Christmas ornaments for my Polish friend.

Into the New Year

I don’t have many expectations for the year at large, again, and for the same reason as last year! A new baby just brings so much newness to a family that it’s hard to predict what my crafting life will be like in the coming months.

However, I do have three works in progress entering the new year with me.

The first is a baby blanket for new brother. It is a lovely wool dyed in a bright navy blue, and I’m knitting him a blanket with sailboat and anchor motifs. It is my afternoon nap time project, which guarantees I get a little time almost every day to work on it in peace.

The second is a pair of socks using a brightly dyed speckled blue and green yarn from a Christmas swap I participated in. I have the foot and heel of the first sock knit, so I’m about 30% finished on the pair.

And the third is a cowl I’m knitting for myself out of a lovely wool-nylon blend I bought last year that has a long color repeat. The cowl has four small sections: I-cord, garter stitch, a simple cable, and a bit of lace. It is interesting to knit, but as it’s for myself, it’s a long-term project.

I hope to finish those three before the baby is born in May. I am also in the middle of a book I’ve been reading for over a year and would like to finish that before he is born, too!

She Knits: Sprout’s Aneira Minikins

I knit coordinating sweaters for my two girls this year. I finished Squirt’s some time ago and finally got around to knitting Sprout’s.

Progression Info
Started – September 25
Completed – November 26
Duration – 62 days = 8.9 weeks

I put this project on hold after the yoke was finished. I was tired of the knitting, having already knit one of these just prior. Also, I had some gift making to do that had a deadline. I think I didn’t work on this for 3-4 weeks. Once I got going, the body and sleeves only took about a week.

Pattern Info
Aneira Minikins by Forage and Make (Rhiannon Owens)
Size 6

I had this pattern in my Ravelry favorites for years, since Sprout was a baby. Now that I have two girls to knit for, the price seemed more justifiable to me, so I made the leap. 🙂 I’m so glad I did.

This time, I did work the sleeves in the round. Last time, I complained about them being knit flat, but that was my own error. I failed to read the full pattern — the designer does very kindly give instructions for the sleeves knit both flat and in the round. I was quite happy not to have to do that seaming! And I think the underarm section turned out much nicer because of it.

Yarn Info
Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport
100% wool
Haze Heather (purple) – 4.02 skeins = 549.5 yds used
Bramble Heather (brown) – 0.84 skeins = 114.8 yds used
Oyster Heather (tan) – 0.3 skeins = 41.0 yds used
Total – 5.16 skeins = 705.3 yds used

I saved a little money on yarn by using the same two contrasting colors as I did for Squirt’s sweater, but swapped. I only bought 2 skeins of brown and 1 skein of tan. If I had used all different colors for each girl’s sweater, I would have needed 4 skeins total (1 each per color). Also, I liked the idea of them coordinating. 🙂


She Knits: Squirt’s Aneira Minikins

I have a dream/goal/aspiration that every year, all of my kids will have a handmade sweater and hat for winter. So far, I’ve kept up. This year, I’m running behind schedule. The temperature is slowly dropping, and I’ve only just begun Sprout’s sweater.

But I have already finished JB’s set. And now, I’ve finished Squirt’s sweater. The hat will eventually be improvised from the colorwork design on this sweater, I hope.

Progression Info
Started – July 27
Completed – September 25
Duration – 60 days = 8.6 weeks

I took several many-days-long breaks on this one. I flew through the yoke because it was quite fun, and then drudged through all the plain knitting on the body and sleeves. It sat with a single half-finished sleeve for 2 full weeks at some point.

Pattern Info
Aneira Minikins by Rhiannon Owens
Size – 12 month

I found this pattern a long time ago and always wanted to knit it. With two girls now, I finally decided to make this for each of them, in slightly different color schemes.

I modified the pattern. I grew frustrated with the tubular cast-on, so I did a regular long-tail cast on and knit a half-inch of 1×1 ribbing for the neckband. I used kfb instead of m1 for the yoke increases and kind of regret that — the m1 increases would have been less noticeable. Although, the increases are done all in one round, so I think will be noticeable no matter what type is used.

My gauge is off by a few stitches per inch (too large). So the sweater is bigger than it ought to be, but I still think it will fit Squirt this winter, especially if I fold the sleeves up a little.

Yarn Info
Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport
100% wool
Rouge (pink) – 2.38 skeins = 325.3 yds used
Oyster Heather (tan) – 0.56 skeins = 76.6 yds used
Bramble Heather (brown) – 0.16 skeins = 21.9 yds used
Total – 3.09 skeins = 423.8 yds used

This is a good, affordable yarn for colorwork. It doesn’t bleed (or at least, hasn’t ever for me) and is spun tightly enough to make switching colors easy. And my kids don’t find it too scratchy to wear against their skin.


She Sews: Country Cloth Napkins

I’m calling these “country” cloth napkins because they are simply made, intended for utility not beauty.

I whipped these out in about an hour. I didn’t press the hems before stitching them. I didn’t press the finished napkins before putting them in the napkin stack. I didn’t miter the corners or use a decorative machine stitch. These napkins will be wiping dirty, sweat-streaked, spaghetti-stained faces. I won’t be hosting the queen of England. So utilitarian (and quickly sewn!) suits just fine.

I’m not even going to make this post as detailed as I usually do. I don’t think such a small project warrants it!

I used a tan cotton canvas I had in my fabric stash and cut pieces 12″ square. These are small, everyday napkins. I made a double-fold 1/4″ hem, so they finished at 11″ square. Simple. Easy. Quick.