Socking along

Now that summer (all three days of it … yes, I’m STILL griping about the weather) appears to be over, it seems a good idea to focus again on my sock making endeavors.

For several months now, it has been my goal to produce a spreadsheet into which I enter three basic foot measurements (lengths, width around the ball, heel-instep height) with my gauge, and it would automagically pop out a sock pattern.

This has been a mixed bag so far. The fit in width and length has been achieved, but I’m still struggling with the heel. If I could just bring myself to like the short row heel, or even the sweet tomato heel, it would all be easy.

But no – it has to be a gusset heel. What can I say – it fits me best, and I don’t see the point of knitting socks if I can’t make them fit my foot. Perfectly. Like a glove. You know?

This *points below* is NOT a great heel.

Unsatisfying heel

Can you see the loops? Those, of course, have nothing to do with fit … just my inability to properly wrap and turn. But this sock had the same issue I have been fighting with before …ย  according to my math, I need more increases in the turn that I have width in the flap, resulting in the decreases to go up the sides of the flaps instead of being neatly tucked under my heel (I hope that made sense).

Theses socks have been ripped and are now waiting to be cast on again after another round of algebra. And maybe some internet research. I did like the lace pattern, tho:

Hearts and flowers

You can’t see it very well in this photo, but it’s a heart and flowers motif.

Does anybody have any tips for books or websites I should look at that teach you how to determine the numbers for your perfect fit?

You could call it sewing …

… but it wasn’t.

Gingham shirt – placket detail

In fact, all I did this week was finally put some buttons on the second make of Simplicity 2447. These are not the buttons I thought I’d use – I chickened out, and got some press fasteners instead. To be fair, these had been my first choice, but it took me a while to find them online – in the end, I got them at Jaycotts, as I should have known I would ๐Ÿ˜€

Gingham shirt front

I think I like how it turned out, but now, looking closely, there’s still some weird wrinkling going on. The diagonal lines on the front don’t bother me, but the ones around the armscye might need closer investigation.

The most noticeable change I made was to the collar – I left off the collar, and just turned the collar band into a mandarin collar, which I like SO.MUCH.MORE.

Gingham shirt – back

There’s more wrinkle action going on in the back … not too bad, tho. Definitely wearable ๐Ÿ™‚ In fact, it’s on my back while I write this.

This has come a long way from the first, not-so-wearable muslin, and I’m happy with my new short-sleeve gingham shirt. Now all I need are a pair of snakeskin boots to go with it. Right?

Elwing Calafalas – It’s done!

Time is a weird thing. I’ll never quite understand how a few hours can stretch into an eternity, and why the same three months can feel like a heartbeat for one thing and like an eternity for another.

This make felt like it was a long time in the making, but according to my blog (trusty friend) it didn’t take much longer than 3 months. Which, to be fair, isn’t that long for knitting a cardigan.

Either way, it’s done ๐Ÿ™‚

Finished Elwing Calafalas

Overall, I’m very pleased with how this turned out. There are a few minor details that haven’t turned out exactly as planned. One of the sleeves is a bit wider at the wrist than the other, and I might have to think of a way to remedy that. Since there’s no way I’m going to frog and reknit it, however, I’m not quite sure how … maybe something will come to me.

The cardigan was knit as a top-down raglan, and I fitted as I went. Mostly that turned out great, even though the yarn stretched a bit more than expected when I blocked the cardi and it now has generous ease. Probably not a bad thing for layering in winter, tho.

I really like how the picot edging turned out. It was a lot of hand sewing, but I did become better at it and it does give a very nice finish. Now I think about it, the sleeve thing might be because I finished one of the sleeve edges before and one after I blocked – another lesson learned.


After some deliberation, I decided to go for a button band with a one-stitch-twisted-rib stitch, and it turned out fine. Of course I sewed on one of the buttons in a slightly off distance to the others … which seems to be one of my favorites. I could fix that easily, but right now, I’m not bothered, so it stays.

The buttons came out of my (rather sizeable) stash of vintage buttons, and I think they go very well with the cardigan, adding to the somewhat rustic yet light feel of it.

The goal was a simple, somewhat traditional cardigan, and I think I met that goal. It has a weirdly bavarian touch to it, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s done!

That’s the way that it goes

You know what they say – if it rains, it pours.

Without wanting to bore you all to death, things are still such that my overall state of mind is a tad more fragile than is usual for me.

So when this happened, it felt like the end of the world:

Wiksten Tova – dead!

This was my second make of the Wiksten Tova (apparently unblogged, I have no idea how this could happen … ). It looks like this, just in a different fabric.

Now, I fell in love with the Wiksten Tova the moment I first saw it on the Pins and Needles blog. After I’d made my first one, I noticed a few fitting issues.

Mainly, the shoulders were too tight. Now, as mentioned before, this is not a new thing for me, but one I tend to forget about.ย  And at that point in time, I had not yet discovered the wonderful world of fitting.

My solution to the issue, which I misdiagnosed as the armscye being too short, was to add an inch to it’s depth – or so I thought. Basically, I just cut it a little deeper in the side seam, thinking that would add the extra room.

Ha – now I know how wrong I was, and as a matter of fact, once I tried on my second make of the Tova with the “adjusted” armscye, I immediately realized that my “fix” had made the issue worse, not better … but I really like(d) the fabric, so I wore it anyways. To be fair, it was a bit wrinkly over the shoulders, but not looking too bad.

The biggest problem was getting it over my head when I wanted to take it off again, and that’s when it happened – one night last week, I tugged and I pulled, and I heard the distinct “rrrrripppp” of tearing fabric. At first, I thought it was the seam, though.

So when I realized that my seams had actually held up fine, and it was the FABRIC that had ripped (WTF? C’mon, I mean, really?!), I felt a tad proud of my seams.

Seams mostly intact

Nonetheless, this Tova is dead. R.I.P., little Tova ;(

And now, I’ll set out to actually FIX this pattern – I still love it, and want to make more. And I might or might not listen to this song while doing so.

The dilemma of pretty handmade socks

Cotton mix socks

It’s quiet on the crafty front here these days. I did finish the socks above, and apart from my ongoing heel issue, they’re fine.

After wearing them for the first time, it looks like the yarn stretches a bit, but that’s alright. I’m curious to see how they’ll behave in/after the washing machine.

Which brings me to a topic I’ve been kicking around my brain for a while.

While I am deeply in love with many handspun, handdyed, and otherwise just fantastic artisan yarns, I have noticed that none of them deal well with being machine washed.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I didn’t know that before I chucked them in. It says on all labels very clearly handwash, dry flat.

But my life really doesn’t play well with hand washing things. There is the time factor, as a FT working person it’s hard enough to fit in some general cleaning/laundry/house-holdey activities without sacrificing all your free time, and hand washing my socks just isn’t in there.

So I’m now looking for alternatives, and I’d love to hear about your favorite, machine-washable sock yarns!



Chevron Jeans Skirt – the finishing line

Welcome to part 3 of the epic tale of my upcycled denim skirt.

Where did we stop? Oh, yes … I was pondering how I could make my panels actually fit around me.

To achieve that, I took my Simplicity 2211 and put it down on some brown paper. Then I folded it in half, and started playing with the panels. At some point it occured to me that I could use the angled top of the front panels as pockets, and that made me very happy ๐Ÿ™‚ Skirts should have pockets.

So in the end I drew around the front and back panels (having made the back longer than the front by two stripes), copied the new pieces, drew some pockets (generally following the Jalie ones) and cut all the new pieces from stash rags.

Chevron skirt – pockets

Yup, it’s got roses and skulls in the pockets ๐Ÿ™‚ And the side panels were cut from leftovers from the above mentioned Jalie jeans.

Continue reading “Chevron Jeans Skirt – the finishing line”

It’s all getting a little much – hence less :)

This has been brewing a while – the eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that I struggled to keep up my 3 times a week posting schedule.

My life is just a bit too chaotic at the moment. My current contract is rapidly nearing it’s end date, and I am getting rather nervous about my future. (Hint – if you know of a company seeking an experienced web tester, preferably close to me or willing to move me to sunny Hawaii, send me a shout!)

Anyways, I don’t want to boreย  you with the million things making it hard for me right now to do as much crafting as I’d like. So, the long and short of it is: for the foreseeable future I’m going to scale down a little bit and only post twice a week. I’m aiming for Monday and Thursday, and I believe I’ll have enough to tell you about to cover those.

And just so you have something nice to look at, please go and check out Full disclosure: yes, I know the people behind this project, and I love the idea!

Basically, they post a challenge and you can submit your pattern drafts. Then the community votes, and the winning draft will be made into a free, downloadable pattern. What a fab deal!