Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Yet another pair of socks!

So many of you have posted such wonderful socks...so many pairs and such lovely knitting.  I've just finished one pair and am hoping to knit a second pair before mailing these out.  These were knit with Norwegian sport weight wool, toe up, using a very basic pattern.  I'm modeling them myself.

Elizabeth, one of the moderators here, and I are doing a year long, sock-a-month project.  We are blogging about it and you can see our blog here.  Next month is dedicated to A4A socks.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another pair - green wool socks

I knit this pair while on a tour to Utah and Idaho over the last four days. These are bigger than they look, since I do a very stretchy ribbing on the leg and it pulls in a lot. These fit about a ladies' 6-6.5 foot. I try to make the leg at least as long as the foot; these go up about mid-calf on me.
The yarn is Kashmira Pattern which I purchased at Joann's for making A4A socks. It's 100% wool, multi-ply. I got a lot of comments on the fact that it creates this pattern, a couple people kept asking "but how DO you make the stripes" and couldn't wrap their minds around the multicoloured ball and the pattern on the socks.
I could have made these longer, but I gave a wad of the yarn to a baby (about 6-8 months old) who sat next to me on one of the plane flights. He was fascinated by the yarn during the flight, and when he would not stop fussing on the long descent (a storm required us to be buttoned down earlier than typical, and he had been VERY well-behaved before that) I simply handed the ball to him. Instant silence, followed by cooing, giggling, and chewing. I assured his parents it's chew-safe, washable, and would not be harmed. Since it was so clearly a winning toy and they had another long flight ahead, I trimmed off the yarn (I was working the socks from each end) and handed it to the father before they disembarked. He kept thanking me. I said if it got too loopy, they could just wind the yarn in a ball and start over.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Since Memorial Day

Thought you may want to see some of my Memorial Day Stashbust results. On my 9th pair and I have half a basket of yarn to go. Love me some stash busting charity socks!

Toe-up length

I was wondering if any other toe-up sock makers would find this useful when they're making a charity sock without a specific size in mind. After casting on a toe and making the increases, you sometimes wonder how long the sock should really be, especially if you're using yarn scraps or changing the yarn in a pattern. I compared about 30 friend's and family's measurements and found the following is true for just about anyone over 4 years old.

After finishing the toe increases, knit an inch or two further, then stop and measure across the width of the sock (not circumference). Multiply the width by 2.25 and you have the approximate length. Then subtract how much the heel will take up (half the width) and you'll know when to stop knitting the foot and start the heel.

For instance:
If width is 3 inches, x 2.25 = total length of 6.75. Subtract 1.5 (heel), so start the heel at 5.25 inches.

This is easy and works well, and I don't like math!

Have fun.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

what weight yarn for socks?

Hi, everyone -- I wanted to clarify. I am an enthusiastic supporter of hearty worsted wool socks, because they're fast and they're warm. However! As long as your socks are at least 75% wool, and are knit to a fairly tight gauge so they'll wear well, any weight yarn is just fine.

I am sending out 4 packages tomorrow morning to people who asked for yarn. . . that's it for this campaign. If we get another chance to make socks, I'll do it again.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pink & Teal Striped Socks

These are a very basic, plain, toe-up sock pattern. As I noted in my last post (where the first one appeared across the top) I made these from an oddball of the rose with a scrap of teal making the stripes. When I bound off the second I realized that I had enough yarn for maybe one more row each, but I didn't want to have ends on ends that way.
These are knee high on me - plenty of leg coverage! I made the foot longer than I need because I had the yarn and I have small feet, so need to remember to make longer socks. I'm off to Utah and Idaho this weekend and taking more socks since they are easy and small and very convenient travel knitting.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

yarn for socks!!

It's so close to being certain that socks will be going over soon that Ann has given me the go-ahead to make this offer. I will send yarn to 5 of you to make socks for the [almost] current campaign. I will send either 200 g of sock yarn, to be worked using a double strand, or some of my favorite heavy Maine wool. If you're interested, send your name and address to this address:

yarnystuff[at]gmail[dot] com, replacing at and dot with the usual symbols, of course.

Write soon, because I must mail by Wednesday. If more than 5 people reply, I'll use the time-honored names in a hat trick.

Thick socks are fun, because they're so fast!! Remember, it's very likely that the pair you make will be the only pair of socks that woman or child owns, and think of how cold winter must be that close to the Himalayas. Make them strong and sturdy. (For those who wonder, socks for this campaign are not required to be worsted weight. However, having lived in a northern state, I can attest to the fact that thick socks are warmer.)

If you haven't made thick socks (or any socks) before, my tutorial on worsted weight socks starts here, with each installment linked to the next one.

If you have tons of yarn -- some of us do -- and want to use your own, just remember that socks must be at least 75% wool or other animal fiber, and knit to a slightly tighter gauge than you'd use for a sweater so they'll wear better.

As always, we must run the risk of offending our beloved crocheters -- for the weight yarn I'm offering, socks are so much better knitted. If you have found a crochet pattern that is smooth, stretchy, and comfortable in shoes, by all means let us know!! Otherwise, just remember how much faster it is to crochet than to knit a beautiful blanket; if we're lucky, there will be a campaign soon where that comes in handy. (No, I have no inside information -- just trying to make it clear that crocheters are highly valued by A4A. It's just that sock thing again. . .)


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

making things and finishing stuff

It's great to finish stuff, but Ann wants everyone to know that it's best, for now, to concentrate on socks. So by all means finish that sweater that's languishing and put it aside, if that takes a load off your mind, but if you want to be ready for the next A4A event, it's almost certainly going to be socks. (If you, like me, have half-finished socks around to address, you're all set!)

Target sizes are to fit kids from age 7 up through women's sizes; this means a foot length of anywhere from about 6.5 inches to 10 inches (16.5 to 25 cm) will be useful (that's measuring from back of heel to tip of toe).

I'm using worsted weight for some, sock yarn held double for others. They'll be warm! And they're great car knitting if you're traveling this summer.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Finishing and Starting

In the photo you see a vest that I didn't finish in time for the last campaign - but I know there will be another for children's vests and sweaters, so it will go into a box for whenever. It's made from oddballs of yarn, and everybody has been complimenting me on how well the colours work together. The orange is not really as bright as it photographed, it does blend rather better.

On top of the vest are the light blue socks I also didn't finish in time for the last campaign. I keep debating whether to dye them a dark colour of leave them as-is - it's rather the colour of an Illinois summer sky. I worked until the yarn ran out - about 220 yards of worsted-weight wool.

And in the top of the photo are another pair of socks that I started this weekend, deep rose coloured wool with a scrap of turquoise making stripes (3T, 2R, until the T runs out, then rib in rose) at the top. Since Ann said the next campaign is likely to be for socks, these may be my default knitting for a while. I always wonder what "full coverage" means - should we be doing knee socks? Or just as high on the leg as possible with the yarn available?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

circus school in Afghanistan

Many of you will remember a campaign several years ago when we knit hats in bright red, blue, yellow, and green for children in something called the Afghan circus school. Here's a brief video report on what I think must be the same thing.