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Responsibly Handmade Fashion by Jean Chung

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How to make a good pair of socks - PT TWO

WIPs & FOsJean ChungComment

In the last entry, I discussed my preferences for sock yarns and patterns for sock knitting. You can read it here, in case you missed it.

Today I'm talking about choices. Once you have a favorite sock yarn or two, and know what to knit, you still have choices to make, like colors and washing methods.

3. Colors

I mentioned how beautiful sock yarns are, right? Socks are mostly hidden. Although my husband and I are fairly conservative and boring in our day job outfits, we are adventurous with sock choices. I have cartoon characters on my socks! The crazier the better. The new trend is splash dyeing. I love how these socks knit up. Usually very light blush/peach or white or black, and then bam! splashes of colors. 

I just got a beautiful skein of 100% superwash merino yarn from Baah Yarn. 

It IS 100% superwash merino, but where we live, there's really no reason to wear socks (knitted or not) during the day, other than the conventions. While some parts of the country are still very much covered in snow, or just getting warm enough to ditch jackets, we've been in the full summer temperature since January. We have A/C on right now. My knitted socks, especially the ones in 100% merino are for home use only. Besides, the splash dye thing is just so fascinating to look at!

For the first few years, I only gravitated towards rich, solid or semi-solid colorways. For my husband, I often went with black or gray while I went for plum or red/pink tones. Now with two dogs and messy toddler boy at home, I go for more variegated themes. Self-striping is addicting, "I'll just knit until the next color change..." which is perfect for those with second-sock syndrome. 

4. Washing

I toss my husband's knitted socks in the washer. I refuse to wash his dirty socks by hand. For this reason, I stick to yarns I KNOW that can withstand the washer (AND DRYER).

For my socks, I wash by hand. So I do occasionally, knit socks with non-superwash yarns, including the ones I spun myself. When they're dirty, they go into a lingerie bag, separate from my usual dirty laundry hamper. When I have 4~5 pairs, I fill my bathroom sink with cold water and mix in knitter-approved cleanser: SoakEucalan or Allure. I let them soak for 10 minutes, then drain, roll them up in a big bath towel and press so that excess water gets absorbed by the towel. Then I air dry on the rack. Occasionally, I use Gleaner to get the pills and my dog hair out.  

I think, at any given moment, I have about 3~4 pairs of socks WIPs -- and I just did some spring cleaning and organized yarns by weight. I found that I could fill all my worsted AND chunky yarns, often bought in sweater quantities, in ONE Rubbermaid storage box..... while I could fill one in the same size with just my sock yarns. 

I don't even know why I keep hoarding sock yarns... it's not like they are going to disappear if I don't keep them hostage at home!

What hoarding problem?

#DestashChallenge, Destash ChallengeJean ChungComment

We knitters have a euphemism for our hoarding issue. We call that our "Stash." 

Stash.

As if we are going to hibernate one day and need to stash all our yarns for the hibernating season. 

....no.

Last weekend at Yarnosphere, I accumulated a lot of new yarns. And with holiday season coming up, I was on other yarn store websites, looking at yarns on sale. And then I got curious how my last year's serious effort to destash has worked out. 

So today, I went to pull out all the yarns from every corners of the house.

And I was fully disappointed.

Last year, when I decided to destash, I started with 3 plastic bins. When I gathered all the yarns, I had to get an additional bin. And the 3 bins I started out with last year? were still full. At least last year, the sock yarn bin was half empty. This year it's FULL!

And I found so many WIPs. Those alone filled the biggest basket I had in the house..  Unbelievable.

Remedy: Similar to the destash challenge I did last year, I decided to finish at least 1 WIP before casting on for a new one. I have 2 baskets: 1 full of WIPs, 1 full of bags with yarns and patterns I matched up with the yarns. When I'm done with one project from the WIPs basket, I will cast on from the other basket.

Fortunately, the WIPs I have are mainly from last winter, so they'll be weather appropriate once I am finished. I have a lot of baby knits on my mind right now, so wanting to knit for Logan will keep me on task (hopefully)!!!

 

WIPs & FOs: ...and Spud & Chloe DISCOUNT CODE! (..Giveaway?)

WIPs & FOsJean ChungComment

I have a quite of bit of things to show you, since I took a week off last week. I have some things I made for Logan, and a thing I made for myself, and at the end of the post, there's a DISCOUNT CODE for a Spud & Chloe pattern!

Last week's FO projects first!

Last few weeks have been extremely hot in Southern California. 85+ degrees almost everyday! So naturally, I just couldn't bring myself to even touch the other projects that I was working on in thick wool, especially sweater projects that are half done so that they would cover my lap. 

So I picked up this wool blend yarn called Vincent Rich 8-ply, from KnitLove. KnitLove is the company I met at TNNA a couple of years ago, and they graciously gave me some samples to try. 

vest2

The yarn has 95% wool and 5% acrylic, and because it's mostly wool, it doesn't feel cheap or plastic-y at all. The 5% acrylic does make the yarn a little more splitty, but in Stockinette st it just worked out fine.

The pattern is Striped Boatneck Sweater, from What to Knit When You're Expecting. I omitted the sleeves part so that Logan can wear it over his shirt without getting too warm. 

 

bow hat

Again, in warm weather, I like to work on small projects that I can finish knitting in a couple of days. 

I improvised on this one. I used Berroco Comfort DK I had, and made a really cute bow for the finishing touch! I was able to cast on and finish in a few days. I'm going to have to wait until the weather cools down a little bit to wear it, but I really like this impromptu project. 

bowhat2

This one is another one for Logan. I just knitted a regular yoke cardigan in the round, but added random scraps of yarn for the top portion. I made the sleeves a little longer so that Logan can wear it for a long time. I have NO IDEA how big/small babies are so I'm just hoping that these all fit him well. :)

The buttons are of course, from my haul last year. These are Vince buttons, probably from their factory in LA. They look so mature, and match perfectly with the tweed yarn I used for the MC.

The tweed yarn is Tahki Yarns Sedona in "Burgundy" colorway, and I used some leftover worsted weight wool from other projects.

Now onto the WIP project!

This one is currently on my needles - it's Popsicle Socks, by Susan B. Anderson. They were originally designed for Spud & Chloe Fine yarn, but recently Spud & Chloe came out with new line of yarn, Stripey Fine. It's in the same base, 80% Superwash Wool and 20% Silk, but dyed in variegated shades. The one I'm working with is Cherry Sundae! It's cheerful and sweet. 

The Stripey Fine's each colorway is comprised of colors from the solid-colored Fine palette! This means, you can mix-and-match Fine and Stripey Fine for stripes and colorwork for more interesting effects. GENIUS.

DISCOUNT CODE &... and a GIVEAWAY:

From today until March 7, 2015, you can use this DISCOUNT CODE: Stripey to get 50% off the Popsicle Socks pattern (the code only works on Ravelry)! I'm also going to be giving away 3 skeins of this Stripey Fine yarn so that you can make your own Popsicle Socks! Stay tuned for the review and the giveaway contest this Friday!