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Responsibly Handmade Fashion by Jean Chung

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WIPs & FOs: Shibui Socks with Fish Lips Kiss Heel & Hermoine's Everyday Socks

WIPs & FOsJean ChungComment
Plain socks with Fish Lips Kiss Heel, in Shibui Sock "Orchid" colorway & Kroy Sock Yarn "Black" colorway

Plain socks with Fish Lips Kiss Heel, in Shibui Sock "Orchid" colorway & Kroy Sock Yarn "Black" colorway

I finished two sock projects last week - my Christmas Socks in Shibui Sock and my Hermoine's Everyday Socks

Shibui Sock was one of the first non-acrylic yarn I ever worked with. It was when I sample knitted a hat for Anne Kuo Lukito, of Crafty Diversions back in 2009. I was so amazed with its elasticity, so I bought myself a couple of skeins when I really got into sock knitting.....but then I made myself a pair of fingerless mitts with one skein just because. =X

So I had one 50g skein left in my stash, as well as some 15g leftover from the fingerless mitts. I decided to use them all up in my Christmas socks, and use a contrasting yarn for the toes, heels, and cuffs.

This was taken when I was almost done with the first sock. I tried to use short-row heel on it, and as the result, the front of the sock showed that black contrasting yarn. I didn't mind it too much since the socks were for me and not a gift for someone else. 

Then I learned about Fish Lips Kiss Heels, and I decided to try that on the second sock. The result was amazing. I never really hated the short row heel but these were perfect since it didn't require me to go around the sock after the first half of the heel, which mean no black contrasting yarn showing on the front! 

After some consideration, I decided to rip back the first sock to the heel section, and re-knit the heel with the new technique. I'm so glad I did! I love them, and they feel so warm!

Pattern: No pattern, just plain Stockinette.
Needles: US 0/2.0mm Chiaogoo steel DPNs.
Yarns: Shibui Sock (now discontinued) in "Orchid" colorway + Patons Kroy Sock Yarn in "Black" for toes, heels, and cuffs.

 

Hermoine's Everyday Socks in my own handdyed Cascade Heritage Silk.

Hermoine's Everyday Socks in my own handdyed Cascade Heritage Silk.

A while ago, I overdyed some yarns in my stash. One of them was this Cascade Heritage Silk sock yarn in "Citron" which is a lime green colorway. I overdyed with some orange and green, and the yarn came out perfectly autumnal. 

Finished Hermoine's Everyday Socks!

Finished Hermoine's Everyday Socks!

I think this pattern is just perfect for variegated yarns like this. The texture is really squooshy and interesting. It does get a little monotonous after a while though. I used the stitch pattern only, and improvised for my own short-row heel and sizing (I have skinnier ankles and feet, even though the WIDEST part of my feet are still 8").

Pattern: Stitch pattern based on Hermoine's Everyday Socks; number of stitches and heels are my own pattern.
Needles: US 0/2.0mm
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Silk in "Citron" overdyed with orange and green.

 

WIP: Plain Stockinette Socks for Marty

WIP: Plain Stockinette Socks for Marty

Currently my favorite WIP is these plain Stockinette socks for Marty (He's been getting a new pair of socks from me almost every week since last month!)

I tried this new heel technique, "Thumb-Joint Hat Top Heel" by Lara Neel. It's in the free pattern that is supposed to be used with her new book, Sock Architecture. I just purchased this book last week! I haven't really sat down to read each page yet, but I flipped through it and the book has SO MUCH information and different techniques that you can try on socks. It even comes with patterns, so I think I'm going to work on the patterns and read the parts of the book that are applicable for each pattern at a time. 

Anyway, this heel technique is supposed to be perfect for self-striping yarn. What do you think? It was super simple, and fun way to do an "afterthought" heel before the foot section. 

Marty just looked at me funny when I just measured his thumb joint without any explanation while he was playing his video game. He didn't ask. He looked at my knitting, my face, and back at my knitting, gave ma an awkward chuckle, and then went back to playing his game. =D

I can't wait to try other types of heels from the book!

WIPs & FOs: "Christmas-y" Socks and Stripey Socks.. and socks.. and socks..

WIPs & FOsJean Chung4 Comments
Marty's "Christmas-y" Socks

Marty's "Christmas-y" Socks

Two FOs last week! 

Marty's Christmas Socks

I've never made my husband Christmas knits before. His mom is Buddhist and his dad is Christian.. Marty is interested in both religion equally, and is respectful of both. I also respect his culture and upbringing so we always treat Christmas as a regular holiday, instead of religious holiday.

This year, I just found this yarn in my stash during my destashchallenge planning, and decided to make him a pair of Christmas-y socks, just because. It wasn't supposed to be a big deal, and since I wasn't really doing any holiday knitting (#Grinch-A-Long!) I didn't feel pressured to finish these by Christmas or anything.

The pattern I used was Vanilla Latte again, but I guess I only used the stitch pattern. Because I wanted to use afterthought heel on these, I modified the pattern to fit his feet and improvised a lot. 

Yarn: Yarn Love Amy March Fingering 100% SW Merino, 2-ply sock yarn; Knit Picks Stroll, 75% SW Merino 25% Nylon. 

Needles: US 1 (my newfound love Knitter's Pride DPNs!)

Thoughts: With a 2-ply yarn, I think I should've gone down a size. These are very soft and squishy but I'm afraid they might not last long. Hopefully Knit Picks toes and heels will help.

My Stripey Socks

I finally finished my Stripey socks out of Patons Kroy Sock yarn. 

My stripey socks

My stripey socks

So these were obviously very easy to knit. The only thing I messed up was that one night, Marty and I were going to some event in LA, and I wanted to knit on these socks in the car. But it has been getting dark earlier and earlier these days, and I didn't see that one stitch was actually split, so I made a stitch only on one ply. I didn't see it until I was done with the toe.

So instead of ripping it out, I did a duplicate stitch on that one stitch. Fortunately it wasn't on the underside of the sock, so the duplicate stitch wouldn't bother me when I walk.

WIPs

The first WIP project is Marty's vest, in Cascade 220 (Worsted). I cast this on a LONG time ago, finished the Back, and let it hibernate. Fortunately, like the Sportweight one, I found notes I took while knitting the Back, so I was able to cast on the Front with no problem.

WIP: Marty's Worsted weight vest in Cascade 220 - Black

WIP: Marty's Worsted weight vest in Cascade 220 - Black

The second WIP is my Hermoine's Everyday Socks, out of my own handdyed Cascade Heritage Silk.

WIP: My Hermoine's Everyday Socks, out of my handdyed Cascade Heritage Silk.

WIP: My Hermoine's Everyday Socks, out of my handdyed Cascade Heritage Silk.

Lastly, another sock project!

WIP: My Christmas socks, out of Shibui Sock and Cascade Heritage black leftover.

WIP: My Christmas socks, out of Shibui Sock and Cascade Heritage black leftover.

These are just going to be Vanilla Socks, with black contrasting toes, heels, and cuffs, except I think I'm going to try short-row heel on these instead of afterthought heel.

Alright. That's it! Lots of sock project this week again, hopefully I'll have more FOs next week! 

 

 

Review: Sock Blockers and Sock Yarns from Craft Stores

ReviewsJean ChungComment

These days, I'm all about socks. I'm knitting few pairs of socks, and shopping (=ogling) sock yarns, and buying knitting accessories for socks. So I thought I'd share with you what I tried last week, and then do a short review of sock yarns that you can get from "big box" arts & crafts stores such as Michaels and JoAnn.

Last week, I ordered these sock blockers from Tesla Knits on Etsy. She not only has sock blockers in different sizes (both women and men size, but also children's!) but also mitt blockers in these beautiful plastic material. She also has small selection of project bags, like this one in Dr. Who fabric.

First I put the socks in a sink full of warm water with some Soak wash, and squeezed out the water with a small towel. Then I put them on these blockers. Getting the socks on the blockers while the socks were wet was not easy, since these blockers are just thin, flexible plastic material. I didn't want to stretch out the fabric unnecessarily. But once they were on, they looked great! I could easily photograph them as they were drying, and after I took them off the blockers, the shape really looked cute. 

Next time, I might try getting the socks on the blockers first and then put them in water.

Sock Yarns

Two of the sock yarns that you may typically see at a big franchise craft store are Lion Brand's Sock-Ease and Patons Kroy Sock Yarn.

Lion Brand Sock-Ease

I tried this yarn a long time ago as a beginner sock knitter. I liked the color scheme and the generous yardage on the ball. The colorway I tried was Taffy, and it had 438 yds per ball. I finished the socks in January 2011. The pattern is Jaywalker

How do they wear now? 

jaywalker2

The colors have faded a bit but they're still holding up. The caveat: these are not my favorite pair of socks, so I don't wear them as often as other socks I have made. But these have been washed both by hand and by machine, and the durability is very impressive.

The complaints: There are a couple of reasons for these being not my favorite. One is the stitch pattern, which has nothing to do with the yarn. I thought the stitch pattern was clever and would show off the variegated yarn. But this stitch pattern is not the stretchiest pattern, and in a sock design, that could be a bad thing. As the result, they don't hug my feet as much as other socks I have knitted and they kind of stretch and bag around my feet.

The second reason IS the yarn. The yarn was scratchy when I was knitting with it, but I thought machine wash and dry would soften it up. WRONG. After almost 3 years of abuse, these are still the scratchiest socks I have. Literally when I wear them, I have to reach down every so often to scratch my feet. Not very attractive. I wear these if I look at my handknit sock drawer and see that these are the ONLY pair left. 

Patons Kroy Socks

Compared to the Sock-Ease yarn, these are really great sock yarn. Just recently, Michaels had a huge discount on Patons yarns, and I had 25% Off Total Purchase coupon, so I kind of went crazy and bought 12 balls of Patons Kroy Sock yarn. On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being the Sock-Ease (#sorrynotsorry) and 5 being maybe Anzula's Cloud MCN sock yarn, these yarns are a solid 3.

These are Hedera socks I made in June 2012. Despite being knitted in black, and I have two white dogs that shed year round, I love these socks. Now, I think Kroy Socks vary among the colorways. These black ones are quite thick, and I used US 1.5/2.5mm needles, so they don't show off the lace pattern that well. They're definitely soft enough to wear on my feet without scratching. 

There are other pairs that I have knitted for my husband, and ones I am currently working for myself.

marty'skroysocks
stripeysocks

These two are on US size 0/2.0mm needles, and they're still quite comfortable without being too thick. We live in sunny Southern California and we rarely need thick socks. These are Kroy's Stripes and Raggs lines, and perhaps these lines are a little bit thinner than the solid color lines.

Kroy socks are 4-ply yarn, and the Stripes and Ragg lines are so fun to knit with. They don't look like they're going to fade any time soon either. These are my Hedera now.

Hedera2

They also were washed by hand and by machine, and the lace part has some felted areas but not as bad as my other lace socks. I might need to make them again in black in knee length! 

 

All in all, both sock yarns are very affordable, especially with those weekly coupons you can get from these franchise stores. But about 2 weeks ago, I saw a bunch of Sock-Ease yarns at Tuesday Morning for $4.99 per ball, I still didn't buy any. At that price, I know I can get more Kroy :) I might have to try Sock-Ease in solid color before really finalizing my thoughts on them, since when I first got my Sock-Ease, solid colors weren't available, and they might be different.