First Pair of Socks Ever…

Well I finally got around to knitting up my first pair of completed socks. I’d started years ago and stopped at the heel flap confused by the instructions. This time I did another pattern and had no problems understanding what I was supposed to do.

Main thing about the socks was I had in my mind that they’d be a quick knit and was taken aback by how long it actually took me to knit these things. Of course it didn’t help that I was knitting up a pair of socks for the Jolly Green Giant.

We have fairly large feet in our household so I just went with the cast-on for the large pair. Got halfway through and realised that things seemed rather big but carried on anyhow. The socks are rather loose on me and fit better on John my husband but still a bit loose so I’ll have to see if my one son who has the size 13 feet will want them but I’m not sure he’d want homemade socks regardless of how well they fit.

Oh well it was a learning experience and what I learned was:
-That I can make ladders because I over-tighten at the needle changes.
-I learned a newer way to knit using dpn’s – less arm action and letting go of the needle and it causes a tighter tension and faster speed.
-To better read the pattern instructions instead of assuming you know the sizes beforehand.
-Sock yarn tends to be spun more tightly and causes more twist in the yarn for my style of knitting so I need to take the yarn from the outside of the ball not the middle.
-Socks take a long time to knit even though they look small they use a lot of yarn yardage because it’s a fine gauge.
-No one seems terrible thrilled by the idea of homemade socks so I’ll probably knit them for myself in the future.
-No matter how carefully you set aside the needles and pick them up, at some point one of the needles is going to be pulled out from the stitches.
-A large pair of socks takes more than 100 grams of yarn so don’t assume it only takes one ball of yarn to get the job finished.
-Leaned the Long-Tail method of casting on and several other cast-on methods that I’ll give a try on the next pair of socks especially the Norwegian cast-on.
-Doing the Kitchener Stitch on small sock stitches is a very big pain.
-Learned the Three Needle Bind Off.

Sock looking perfect and wonderful because I have my foot stretched out and the sag is hidden at the heels.

Larger sock cast-on loosely and knit with my old method of wrapping yarn around needle.

Tighter tensioned sock, same number of stitches but since it’s knit tighter it fits a bit smaller although that’s probably not obvious from the photo.

It’ll be interesting to see how the next pair turn out but those are for another day as I have other projects on the back burner to get to.


February’s 12″ CAL Blocks

Nothing really special but here are the next two blocks in the Ravelry crochet Cal.

Morning Glory by Teresa J. Kohlhoff

Center Heart Square by Ginger Badger

Yarn is Paton’s Decor in Country Blue and Sweet Country Variations.


Chickadee Ski Hat

I have been having computer problems the last couple of weeks. I made the mistake of powering off my computer instead of doing a proper shutdown. Next day I couldn’t boot into the hard drive. Long and short of it is the computer is sort of running but I’ll have to re-install the operating system again at some point. Maybe I’ll disappear again for another few weeks.

Anyhow I finished a ski hat for Dan’s girlfriend this past weekend. It took nine days of really intense knitting to get it done only to realize about 2/3 the way through that it was going to be really small. I had knit a similar hat for Dan which she tried on but it was huge on her so I went a needle size down. This hat really shrunk and ended up 5 inches smaller than the first one. The only thing I can figure is that I did the first hat on a 24″ circular needle and this hat on a 16″ circular. I didn’t think it’d make that much of a difference but I guess it did.

I soaked and blocked the hat over a flower pot but it was still to small. Everyone that tried it on couldn’t get it to fit but Mallory has a small head and she managed to squeeze into it. I told her to try blocking it again if it bothers her so we’ll see.

Meanwhile, thinking that the hat was too small I tried to convince Chase to give it a go. He wasn’t having anything to do with it but he did keep it on long enough for me to take some really cute photos of him.

Chickadee Ski Hat from Colorwork Creations by Susan Anderson-Freed. Yarn is Knitpick’s Palette.

This book has a lot of really nice patterns in it of hats, chullos, mitts and gloves. Just be aware that the hats tend to be on the small size and do a gauge swatch first to see if the hat will fit your head.


Baby Cable Sweater

Finally got around to seaming up the baby sweater and not a moment too soon. Shame but it’s so small I don’t think Carter will be getting much use out of it. Seeing how small the sweater is I’ve decided not to worry about making a matching hat.

Marble Baby Cable Sweater using Marble yarn.

The pattern was an easy one just very time consuming as cables are more fiddly than straight stockette stitch. Unfortunately with the yarn and striping etc you don’t see the cables all that well but it is really nice close up.

Northern Bean Soup

Since I’ve been procrastinating on sewing up my baby cable sweater I thought I’d post a recipe for this soup instead of a craft.

Tonight we’re having Northern Bean Soup:

Northern Bean Soup

Rinse 2 cups white beans and let sit overnight (I use northern beans but navy beans are the same thing)
Drain & rinse, cover with water and simmer 45 minutes until almost tender. (I don’t bother)
Add to a “larger” crock-pot:
-7 cups water
-smoked pork hock (I can’t find them so I cut a smoked pork shoulder in half and use that)
– one 28oz can diced tomatoes.
-1 finely diced onion
-2 tbsp brown sugar
-3 tbsp lemon juice
-1 tsp chilli powder
-1 tsp pepper
-the recipe calls for salt but I’ve never added it because the pork is salty enough so I’d taste the soup before adding any. (2 tsp)

Mix and cook at low for 6-10 hours. Remove pork, cut up and debone and return to soup.

The pot I made yesterday afternoon I cooked all day and then overnight. My crock-pot has a warm feature so it’s still been cooking somewhat in the pot today and is fine. One of those soups that can take a long simmer. I also took the fat off of the pork before adding it to the crock-pot and skimmed the soup for any excess fat when it was done cooking. If the broth is too rich just add a little extra liquid.


Frilly Scarf

I bought some yarn a couple of days ago to make a scarf. I’d looked for this yarn the other week at Walmart but didn’t see it so despite the yarn diet when I saw some in Michaels I bought a ball. I only wish I’d bought more. I sent the hubby in to Michaels on his way home from golf (simulator) and they were sold out. Too bad I’d wanted to buy a couple different colours.

Any how we stopped off today at Walmart and they had some in as well unfortunately not the colours I’d wanted but I bought some more balls anyway since this stuff seems to be selling like hotcakes. The yarn is Red Heart Sashay. When this yarn first came out it was under a different brand name and was about $14 a ball. Now Red Heart has a clone and they charge $6.99 ($5.99 at Walmart).

Red Heart Sashay.

It takes about 2-3 hours to knit one ball up and after you get used to handling the yarn it’s not bad. Kind of fun project and the scarf is neat. Anyhow I have 4 more balls and intend to give them away as gifts.

Colourway Jive. It looks blue but is more of a turquoise colour.


More Goodies

Well I know I was supposed to cut back this year but the best of intentions got blow by the wayside. The Fat Quarter Shop put on special some Thimbleberries Border Blast grab bags for $50 for a 12-pound box. I’ve ordered the grab bags before and they are not bad. I wasn’t too sure about the Border Blast fabric line but decided to go for it anyhow.

Largest Priority Box that you can ship from the United States to Canada – $33, yikes this fabric better be good.

Opening the box, the anticipation…

The goodies pulled out and beginning to sort to see what I have.

Turns out there is more than Border Blast material in this shipment. Most of this is from the Autumn Sunset line (never heard of it).

Smaller cuts of the Border Blast materials. The smallest cuts of all the fabric sent were 9″x45″ in other words a quarter yard of fabric.

Larger pieces of Border Blast.

All the fabric stacked together.

And for anyone that’s done a search for these fabric grab bags (I have) and wants to know the statistics here we go.
12- pound grab bag
– minimum cut is 9″x45″, maximum cut was 2-yards 28″.
– There were a total of 56 pieces of fabric of that 11 pieces were a quarter yard and 14 pieces were well over a yard in length.
– the total amount of fabric was 38.26 yards. The Fat Quarter Shop will tell you that on average you will get 2.25 – 2.5 yards of fabric per pound, it all depends on what the weave of the fabric is as some are heavier than others. I’ve ordered these grab bags before and I’m usually over this estimate but I have been bang on as well.
-cost without shipping in U.S. dollars worked out for my order $1.31/yard.
-cost for myself with the whopping $33 shipping fee, exchange rate, visa fee, worked out to $2.28/yard.

It’s not bad $2.28/yard if you’re willing to work around what you’ve been given. I have to admit that this colourway was more of an autumn/winter set so there is a lot of browns, rusts, greens in this mix and I’m not really fond of those colours but then again that’s Thimbleberries for you. Lynette Jensen usually goes for the country feel.

I was surprised at how many big pieces of fabric that I got. I don’t think that this is typical although I will admit that the Fat Quarter Shop usually sends at least a couple of larger pieces with the smaller ones. I’m pretty sure they do this so that you can use the fabric for borders. It’s almost like getting a quilt kit the only difference being that you have to come up with the quilt pattern – 38.26 yards I should be able to fudge something up.

The pieces of fabric were also uniform in cut. For example I received three pieces of “rust scattered flower buds” at 48.5 inches. Another example was an off-white, again three pieces all 22.5 inches. I know that the store was trying to sell some block of the month kits and I’m wondering if they gave up and broke the kits down and made grab bags out of the components, clever.

When I’m looking at a sale on the site I type in an amount in the order column to see how much of one item is on sale. If there are a lot on sale then I know I have time to sit and think about the item before buying it. This helps me to cut down on impulse buying. I know there were well over 30 of these fabric grab bags. Normally Thimbleberries or any other name brand designer grab bags retail over $100 for the 12-pound size. This bag was $50 so it was a very good deal. The bags sold out in a day and a half.

Sorry if this is boring but as I mentioned I’ve done Internet searches on what comes in these bags so thought I’d share.

***Edited to add that I’ve bought a second scrap bag but this one was a random pick instead of a theme. Lots of scraps but definitely not as nice as the thimbleberry bag. I wouldn’t recommend this one unless you’re a big fan of scrap quilts and even then….


Rainbow Slippers

Despite saying that I was going to cut back on the yarn buying this year I ended up buying three balls of yarn from Value Village for $1.99. I couldn’t resist because they were grandkid colours.

This is what I ended up making hopefully they will fit, if not I have more yarn leftover to try again.

Chase’s rainbow slippers. Yarn discontinued Bernat Sayelle.

Couple more photos after adding pompoms.

Very quick about two hours for the pair.

The pattern is Parkspin Slippers courtesy of Joan Janes on Ravelry. A very quick knit using two strands of worsted weight yarn.


Drop in the Bucket

Finally finished the second 12-inch block for January:

This square is called Drop in the Bucket, created by Janie Herrin. I almost had it finished and then decided it was too ripply so I ripped it back to the centre medallion.

I recalled reading one of the moderator’s posts on Ravelry about how she modified the square to cut back on the ripple effect so I followed her suggestions. LOL, then I ended up steam-blocking the square to get it to 12 inches and because it was too tight, never win but it’s okay now 🙂





Sweet Petals

This year I’ve made a resolution to use “The Stash” so I’ve joined several groups on Ravelry to help me with that goal. One of the groups is the 2012 Crochet a Block a Month forum. Each month there are actually three blocks to crochet; one is a 6-inch block and the other two are 12-inch blocks. I’ve decided to go with the two 12-inch blocks so at the end of the year if I keep up I should have an afghan’s worth of blocks to put together.

I’ve had some yarn in my stash for a couple of years now (seems just like yesterday, I swear) that I bought while visiting our friends at their cottage, which just happens to be 10 minutes down the road from the Listowel Yarn Factory. Needless to say I like seeing them at their cottage.

To get the deals you usually have to buy by the bag or in multiples of three. I bought four bags of Paton Decor in Country Blue and Sweet Country Varigation.

Paton’s Decor Country Blue: 75% Acrylic / 25% Wool 100 gram ball, 192m/210yards.

Paton’s Decor Sweet Country Varigation: 75% Acrylic / 25% Wool 100 gram ball, 192m/210yards.

I have 12 balls of the blue and 12 balls of the varigated. I’m wishing I had some matching darker blue to go with it for a focal point but that would mean spending more money and buying more yarn and the idea is to use up yarn not buy more so I’ll stick with what I’ve got for now. I might go with another colour to join the squares we’ll see how it works out.

Anyhow the first 12-inch square is Pretty Petals by Melinda Miller, this is a variation on a square I did myself (quite common square) that I made into a full sized afghan and gave to Jen. Jen’s Afghan

Pretty Petals.

For some reason this square turned out wonky. It’s almost like the spiral effect you get in knitting when you’re knitting a tube. I don’t know why unless I needed to square up the flower petals somehow. The square actually sits perfectly flat and is square if you can avoid thinking it’s off kilter from the colours. Oh well three hours later I’m not ripping it out and it won’t be noticable when put in the afghan anyhow.

One more square and I’m done for the month. I’ve done not to badly to date. I finished Chase another earflap hat exactly the same as the previous one I made him. Apparently Jen says he will not wear anything else so I had left-over yarn so just knit another in a bigger size. 

Today I also managed to get some strips sewn for a quilt I am making for myself so three things in one day is pretty good. Now if I can only be this righteous every day I might get somewhere (or not vbg).