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Patterns

New Release! Port George Socks

These socks are the next installment of my Hometown series. They are named after the beach down by the Bay of Fundy, where we would go to have a camp fire to roast hot dogs and make s’mores on those hot summer evenings. There are rocks to walk across, which is what made me go with this design. The yarn overs create a look that mimics finding your way over all the rocks. The lace also makes for an airy sock that is much lighter to wear on a warm summer day.

The pattern is one that will require more attention, so it’s not exactly a TV knit, but it’s not so intricate that you need to have your eyes glued to the pattern at all times. It makes for a knit that stays interesting.

Blog, How To

Sock Basics Part 1: Your Cuff and Leg

Okay, so you have decided you want to make yourself a nice pair of knit socks. But, they look so complicated! And those heels…how do those even work?! The good news is that socks are not as complicated as they look, and they use some of the skills you probably already have at your disposal. They can be a bit fiddly though. I will try to give you all the tips and tricks that I have learned over the years, to help make your first pair of socks be just the first of many!

If you would like to work along with me as I walk through these steps, definitely try using a worsted or bulky yarn at first, with about a size US 8 needle. This will give you a much better visual of how all these steps come together. Many sock patterns use a sock weight yarn, with about a size US 1/2.25mm needle. That makes for tiny stitches that can be tough to see when you are starting out. Going big will make things look much clearer.

Now, there are two ways you can make socks. You can either start at the Cuff of the sock and work down towards the ankle, or you can start at the toes and work up. Neither of these is necessarily better for learning, but many find that the cast on for toes can be overwhelming, so lets start with the cuff. It’s a simple procedure that will get you going quickly. As you work through making socks, you will be able to decide for yourself which way you like to knit your socks…toe up or cuff down.

When it comes to needles, you can use either double pointed needles, or circulars. My patterns are all written for circular needles. I will do my best to break the steps down to accommodate both. If you are interested in giving circulars a try, you will want a long cord, about 40″ long for the Magic Loop Method, or if you are really bold, you can try the 9″ sock circulars that people are using now. I haven’t tried those yet, but a lot of folks love them.

To start, you will want to cast on the number of stitches listed for your pattern. In this case, I’m going to use my standard size small numbers, and cast on 56 stitches. When casting on your stitches, you need a stretchy cast on. You can use a long tail cast on, but it does run the risk of being too tight on the calf. If you can do a loose cast on with the long tail, then great, go ahead and use this. However, if you are like me and cast on like your life depends on it, and your first row is crazy tight, then perhaps try the German Twisted cast on. It’s a bit looser, but does create a different edge than the long tail. But, I still like it. There are lots of great YouTube videos that can walk you through how to do this cast on. It’s very much like the Long Tail cast on, but adds an extra little twist in there, that gives a bit stretch.

Spread your stitches across your needles evenly. If you are using a set of 5 double pointed sock needles, then divide the stitches over 4 needles. If you are using a set of 4, then divide over 3 needles, and if you are using circulars split the stitches between the two needles. When using double pointed needles, the stitch count may not divide perfectly. Just divide as best you can, making sure that the number of stitches on each needle is as close as you can manage.

Now, you are going to join the stitches to work in the round. This is the same for any other in the round project you may have worked on. You want to make sure that all your stitches face in the same direction, so there is no twist. After you smooth them all out, and they are all in the same direction, join and begin to work your stitches in a knit 2, purl 2 repeated pattern around all the stitches. Most of my cuffs will use this or some variation for about 1″ of length. This will give the cuff a nice stretch to better hug your leg. If you find that you easily loose track of the beginning of the round, use a stitch marker that opens to just hook on to your yarn, so you can see it as you work your way around. Many folks will say to just use the marker, but honestly, if you are using any of the needles listed above, that little thing is going to slip off every time you get to the beginning. I like just clipping it to the fabric where I can see it, but I don’t have to keep moving it or finding it when it falls off my work.

After you finish the specified number of rounds for your cuff, you are now at the leg. This is one of the simple parts of the sock. You are just going to go around and around, following the pattern, until it is the length you like. Personally, I like to go until my whole leg from the cast on is 6″ long. If the pattern you use has a different heel than the standard, it should specify that you knit until the leg is ‘X’ inches shorter than your desired length. This will also depend on the kind of heel the pattern uses. It could be 2″, or if it’s an afterthought heel, which I’ll dive into next time, it will be less.

So, that is it for Part 1 of our sock construction. I’ll be back soon to get into the good stuff. Heel construction is up next!!

Tips and Tricks: When you are working in the round on something like socks, you will notice that regardless of the needles you choose, you can get what is called ladders between the needles. This is a stand of yarn that seems to be leaving gaps. The easiest way to deal with these, is when you are on stitch two of your needle, give an extra little pull on your yarn to tighten it just a tiny bit more. This will help to even things out. If you still have a little bit of a gap, this will even out after you wash your socks. As a note, if you tighten too much on the very first stitch of your needle, especially if you are using circulars, will cause the last stitch on the previous needle to be too tight. So, you want to stick to the extra tightening on stitch two.

Blog, Projects

Having some fun

One of the problems with trying to have your own business, is that sometimes it can get overwhelming and just not feel fun. You can feel like you are bogged down or stuck. That happened this past weekend. I started to feel very stuck. I was overwhelmed by everything going on. My sales have been in the tank, which can be very common during the summer, but it’s still really tough to deal with. So, as I usually do, I start thinking about plan B. That usually involves the thoughts of what I can do to make money via online sales. Perhaps I SHOULD look at getting into Lularoe (which I debate about every 3 months, even though I just don’t have the mental stuff to do it…just really not something I am good at), or perhaps focus more on the Young Living sales (which I might still push forward with), or search for something else. Then I remember that I’m just not the sales type. Which is funny, but I’m not. I need to work on this more, because obviously it would be beneficial for more things.

I ended up going back to the thoughts of my dormant Etsy shop. I thought, what can I put on there that could be good. I settled on keychains. A very specific thing, that I can make varieties of. Just keychains. Keychains with wood burned tags. Keychains with stuffed critters. Keychains with beaded creations. All keychains. I might add stuff later, but for now…keychains. haha

I started working on my prototypes this weekend, while I wait for some yarn to come in for these. Now, the stuffed critters will have safety eyes, but are still not for kids. They are specifically for keychains, and not for play, but are still super cute. πŸ™‚

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These are the three I have worked up so far. The kitty still needs whiskers, and his tail to be attached to his body. I don’t want to have a dangling tail that would get all tangled up. And the other two are getting some kind of mouth. I just need to dig out the embroidery floss to take care of that. πŸ™‚

Stay tuned for these little guys to be released. I have a bunch more options for critters as well (shark, bat, dolphin, a hug), but I need to get the right color of yarn first. πŸ˜€

Thanks to this helping to clear my head and give me some direction, I will have some designs coming down the pipe. I have a couple things that are finishing up testing, and will be released around the 15th. I also have my Scarf of Many Colors that is scheduled to go to the editor on the 12th. That should mean I can start testing of that the following week. Right now the scarf is blocking, and should be dry before too long, so I can get proper pictures. πŸ˜€

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Thanks for reading!!

Blog, Projects

Making Plans

We have been waiting for someone to come and look at a couch/recliner that we have up for sale, so I took the down time to do some planning. It’s good to do that every once in a while to make sure I know where I am heading. This time, it wasn’t all about patterns, though. I am working on getting some products up for sale. I’m not 100% sure how that is going to work. If I can get it to work on here, then they will absolutely be listed here, but if not, they will go up on Etsy.

I was trying to decide what would be the first product listed. Part of the problem is getting myself going. I spend so much time working on my pattern designs, that I don’t do much else. I need to be able to balance my time a bit better. To start with, I have decided to make a bunch of keychain items. I already have some wood burning items I have been wanting to do for that. I am now expanding into little crocheted toys that will be on keychains. I have about 8 different designs that I am working through to get them the size that I want them to be.

To start my day, I cleaned up my desk, but you would never know it now.

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I’m playing around with yarn I currently have on hand, but I do have a bunch of specific colors coming to make what I am planning. I have to find my keychain hardware though. I know I bought some. lol I also bought craft safety eyes a while back, and have no idea where they are. But, I know I don’t have near enough, so I went ahead and got some more. My original craft room is still in complete disrepair, so the eyes are probably down there…somewhere. hehe

I better get myself back to work, or I will never get these going. Thanks for reading!

Patterns

New Release! Nictaux Cowl

I’m so excited to have this cowl ready for release. It has been in progress for about 8 months now. Phew! It can take a long time to get a pattern out the door. πŸ˜€ But, testing and editing are done, and I gave it another look over yesterday to see if anything else caught my attention. It is as ready as it’s ever going to be.

I’m starting something new with this, as well. This is the first of a series of patterns that will be named after the area where I grew up….towns, counties, rivers, etc. The name of this cowl is Nictaux Cowl. Nictaux is the small town in Nova Scotia where I grew up. The beauty of this cowl is that I have also included instructions on how to make it larger or smaller, depending on your preferences. When it’s laying flat, it measures 20″ wide x 26″ tall by default. So, 40″ around. It gives enough height to be able to pull it up over your head on a particularly cool day, while still keeping your neck warm.

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I hope you will all love this one as much as I do. πŸ˜€

Blog, Projects

New Things

Goodness I have been busy lately. Most of it has been things behind the scenes that isn’t visible. Over the past year I’ve had the debate raging in my head of where to go next with my designs. Do I open my own store? Do I go back to Etsy? Do I keep going as normal? Then Craftsy changed things up, and all my stuff was gone from there, and I was pretty annoyed at the idea of uploading everything again. That made the debate go even more. So, the decision was made to go ahead and set up a store on here.

Once my choice was made, it was all about dealing with the logistics. Tax numbers needed to be obtained (that was being taken care of by other places). Once I was legal all over, I could start the store for reals. I listed everything and was all set. But, now what? At this point, I am looking at making sure I have some sort of advertising campaign going.

Of course while I was doing all this, I needed to make sure that the designs didn’t fall through the cracks. No point in having my own store if I have nothing new to put into it. Right now, I have three projects in testing. That means August will be busy with launches. πŸ˜€ Here are some pics of what is coming down the pipe!

Socks:

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Hooded Cowl:

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Scarf:

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And a sweater (about to go to editing and also get a proper photo shoot):

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I also have a couple other things in progress. One is a scarf made with mini skeins:

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And a Game of Thrones inspired snowflake shawl:

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I can’t wait to get these all out to everyone. πŸ˜€ I think I need to do a brain storming session soon, though. I’m hoping to get these latest in progress items finished in the next 3 weeks to get them all out for editing. πŸ˜€ I will be sure to post in the patterns page when these each launch!

Photography

Up and Running

It’s been a while since I had planned to get going on all things photography. But, life has a way of getting crazy. However, I have finally managed to get started. Part of it is finding a platform. A big deterrent in my getting started was the idea of how to get the product out the door. If only I had a way that people could order and someone else would do the work. Enter Society6. Depending on the art that is uploaded, the artist can choose what their art will be used to create. Such as wall hangings, bath mats, curtains, pillows, iphone cases, etc. There are a lot of options. I’m working on my editing to get the images to the sizes needed to add other products to the list, but I have been able to make them available for various types and sizes of wall art, mugs, phone cases, etc. Here are the examples of the images I have been able to upload so far:

Pink Flowrs 3//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Rose Bush//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

pink flowers 2//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Blueberries//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

I will of course be adding more photo’s as I go, and I will post them here. Until then, be sure to check out my store!

How To

How To’s

Welcome to my “How To” section. My goal over the next few months will be to start writing up some detailed posts on various topics, such as how to do a heel turn on a sock, or how a sweater is constructed. I am hoping to get a number of topics covered to help people when getting started on a new skill.