Showing posts with label sock blank. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sock blank. Show all posts

Friday, June 18, 2021

Sock Knitting - an Update

 If you read my newsletter (if you don't - sign up here) then you'll know I took the last month off designing and also blogging. 

I didn't stop crafting though! I do find I need some no-stress, no-pressure projects now and then - even though I do love a deadline! 

In my 'break' I have been knitting socks! I started learning to knit them last year, and also dyed my own yarn - you can read those posts here - part of my blog series on Sock Blanks.

I did finish my first sock made from the sock blank (top of this blog post) - but instead of starting another one, I wanted to try going down to a smaller needle, so I started on a self-patterning yarn - Pairfect by Regia. This ball will make a perfect pair, as the yarn colours are repeated. This yarn also happens to be designed by Arne and Carlos. 

I do have some method to my madness - I want to experiment with the different methods and see what I like best. So far I'm liking cuff-down socks, with a 25cm circular needle, and then using a second circular the same size for the heel turn. For the record, I tried magic loop with an 80cm cord, which I didn't hate, I just found the constant adjusting a little much - but if you only want to start with one set of needles - then it's a good way to go. 

I have tried the Turkish cast-on for toe-up socks, and think it's pretty amazing - but haven't got past the toe section to decide if I want to fully switch over, but I will try that technique next! 

As for patterns - I'm still mostly following the Rye Light socks by Tin Can Knits, but doing the whole sock in stocking stitch, and a 2x2 rib for the cuff! It's a free pattern online, and goes into a lot of depth for sock beginners! The other sock pattern I've tried is the Easy Peasy Socks for first-timers (On Ravelry) 

The main reason for my post today is that I found sock knitting really daunting, and didn't know where to start. You really just need to be able to knit and purl, work in the round, and decrease in two ways - k2tog and ssk, and the two patterns I've linked are written for beginners, so I hope this will hope someone make that first step! 

That's all from me today, in the meantime

Happy Crafting


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Knitting Socks!

Not too long ago I wrote about making a sock blank, and dyeing them. Well, I just started knitting one up and the two months of prep have been all worth it!

This is part of my Sock Blank Blog Series 

See the first post here

And the second one here

I'm knitting directly from the blank. the curly yarn isn't an issue for me. I find I can be a bit messy with yarn, so it's actually really good for me. Not worrying about the yarn getting tangled up means I can just concentrate on the socks. The pattern I'm using is the 'Easy Peasy Socks for First-Timers' by Stacey Trock. If you can knit and purl, then this is the pattern for you if you want to try sock knitting. I've had to look up a couple of the techniques, but a quick search on Youtube has given me all the answers. 

The stripes are working.. so far. I'm crossing my fingers I'll get a second sock that matches close enough. If you look at the sock - each stripe repeat (one purple and yellow) is only one row of the blank.   I think I can get about 10 socks from this one blank! So I might make as many as I can, and see which ones match the best. 

Here's a reminder of the full dyed blank

I'm using a fixed cable needle, that's specially designed for socks - an addi sockenwunder - 3.75 mm (US 5) Which I got from Yarnish. I've previously only used a longer fixed cable and used the magic loop method. The sockenwunder has allowed faster knitting, due to the fact I don't have to rearrange the cables every row, but the turning of the heel was a bit of a challenge. 

I've made another blank, and have been dyeing with more precision to get some perfect stripes - which I am sure I'll blog about soon!

Thanks for reading


Update: One sock finished! 

Friday, August 14, 2020

Sock Blank Update - how I dyed my wool

This is part of my Sock Blank blog series

If you missed the first post about Sock Blanks - click here.

In this blog post I tell you how I dyed my sock blank, but this method works for also dyeing wool and finished items. This method is easy, great for small batches and for those who like to experiment.

A few days ago I dyed my two sock blanks. I ended up using things I already had in the kitchen, which was food colouring, white vinegar, water and the microwave!

My long thin blank is a mixture of purples and greens:

The second blank I made wide, and did my best to keep one half a magenta, and the other half a rainbow mix. This one had a few dropped stitches in the middle, but I don't think it will present a problem. I have seen some other sock blank makers use dropped stitches to mark out the centre, which would be good for those who want to dye their blanks more precisely than I did. 

My process uses things you might already have in your kitchen, and if not; you'll be able to get easily at a grocery store.

You'll need, food colouring, white vinegar, a microwave safe dish, and a microwave. 

Vinegar works as the fixing agent. This method works for wool, and can work for acrylic/wool mixes. It's always good to try a small swatch first.

First step is to soaking the item in a mix of water and vinegar,  (1:1) Then I painted a mix of food colouring and vinegar on. 

If you don't want the colours to bleed into each other, miss the soaking step. I wanted the watercolour look, though. If you aren't painting the wool, try dipping or submerging the item in a bath of your dye mix. The best thing about this method is that it works well with experimenting.

I left the blanks for a while (I didn't time anything) then rinsed out excess colour. 

Then, in a microwave safe bowl, I microwaved for 1 minute, sat for a minute (about three times each) to help set the colour. Then I hung outside to dry, and I left overnight.

Next day, I gave each 2 more minutes in the microwave (they were still damp) If they were dry, I probably would have skipped this step. 

At this point, no colour has come off on my hands, but I will most likely rinse out once more before using. 

Each blank has 'waste' yarn on either end, but next time I may secure it better 

Hopefully next time I post, I'll have the start of some socks! 

Happy crocheting,


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Sock Blanks

Sock Blanks - something I've been interested in exploring for a while now. I recently acquired a knitting machine, and realised I could make my own from scratch! 

Well, I'm not spinning my own yarn.. yet.. so I got a couple of skeins of undyed sock yarn from Bendigo Woollen Mills.

Hold up! But what are sock blanks? Sock Blanks are flat sheets of stockinette stitch, that can be dyed in many different ways, and then re knit into socks. They aren't limited to socks though - or just knitting. Have a look at Wamberal Waves - a crochet shawl pattern of mine that uses sock yarn that I dyed at home; not with sock blanks - but it certainly could be.

Sock blanks can be purchased, undyed, like these from Knit Picks and even pre dyed. Have a look at this dyed blank from Sweet Georgia Yarns  to see an example of a beautifully dyed gradient.

Dying a gradient, or self striping yarns at home can be tricky for a DIYer, so working from a flat piece of fabric can make things so much easier.

Now, the truth is, you don't need to machine knit to make the blanks, and you don't even need to knit. In my research I found a lot of crocheted blanks too.

So, back to my sock blanks! First, I have to wind them into cakes, then they are ready for the knitting machine. 

I'm still learning the ins and out of my machine. It's a Brother KX-350. 
I'm doing 46 sts and T-10 - with waste yarn on both ends... and done! There are just over 260 rows., so it's a long thin piece. 

So there you have my finished blanks. The dyeing will be for another blog post - becuase I haven't really decided what I'm doing just yet!  If you'd like to read more; I enjoyed this article by Louise Tilbrook

Thanks for reading!