Sockpocalypse Summer, part 5 – Mountain Retro Ribs

Today’s Sockpocalypse socks go out to my high school friend, Cammie.

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Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking, wow, Jinger, it’s kind of ridiculous that you, someone who will be 38 years old in two weeks, still has so many friends from high school to send knitted garments to. And yes, you are right. For some reason, I hung out with the best people, and even if we aren’t still in each others’ everyday lives, there are still deep connections there that only take a second’s worth of interaction to restore.

Case in point. Cammie was my “big sister” in high school, meaning that she was a senior when I was a freshman, and she showed me around the school and helped me get around the first few weeks. She seemed to get me immediately. She was warm and friendly and sassy as all get out. She introduced me to Drama Club and the fabulous weird wonderful people of the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Club, establishing a now undying love of theatre and the arts that may not have existed without her prompting. She had amazing mid-90s style, captured in pictures that I used to have, but got destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, unfortunately.

She went above and beyond and became my real, actual friend, rather than just showing me how to get to my classes on time. Of course she deserves a pair of socks.

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Cammie chose a skein of Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Mountain Pass, which is a rich mix of grassy greens, teals, and blues. (And we appear to be back on the discontinued colorway train, people! It’s seriously the colorway used in the gauge swatch on the website, and you can’t buy it! Get it together, Knit Picks!)

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The pattern is Retro Rib Socks by Evelyn A. Clark, from my now-getting-worn-out copy of the Interweave Favorite Socks book. I’ve made a pair of socks from this pattern once before, three years ago when I filled my summer with socks in much the same way I’m doing now. That pair was for my dad, and knit with a much darker and more rigid yarn.

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I really like how different the pattern looks with just a change in yarn. The softer colors and softer hand of the yarn really let the vertical twisted stitch ribs pop out of the background fabric in a striking way.

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I did the same heel modification here that I did back then as well, carrying up the twisted stitches as slip stitches in the heel flap while leaving the rest of the heel in stockinette stitch. I just really enjoy how it elongates the foot, letting the vertical elements of the pattern go all the way down to the sole.

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It just makes for a very elegant sock, in my opinion.

The only requirement that Cammie wanted was for her socks to be “slouchable” if possible.

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The fact that the ribbing doesn’t pull too tight makes it so that these socks can be slouched, folded, or pulled all the way up and still look and feel good. Plus, Stroll has a ridiculous 462 yds. per skein, so you can really go crazy on the leg length if you want.

We’re officially halfway on the Sockpocalypse Summer train, and the official first day of summer (which is my birthday, woo wooooo) hasn’t even arrived yet. My hands are getting tired, but my resolve stays strong.

Sockpocalypse Summer, part 4 – Shadow Braid Socks

For today’s Sockpocalypse update, we have a whole lot of purple.

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Ooooooooooh.

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My friend Kirsten from high school, the personification of a ray of sunshine, chose this gorgeous skein for her own during this Sockpocalypse Summer experiment, and I couldn’t have been happier to make it into something lovely for her.

The yarn is Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering Kettle Dye in Goddess. (And, miracle of miracles, it isn’t discontinued! You can actually buy it! Go get your hands on some of this goddess goodness.) It has multiple shades of royal purple, fuchsia, and lavender, giving the whole thing this wonderful depth without so much variation that you can’t get some stitch patterns in there.

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Also, as we already know, dark purple socks are impossible to photograph perfectly, so these socks look like a bajillion different colors in these pictures. The picture of the skein by itself is the truest to life, if you are a stickler about these things.

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In fact, this yarn was so dark and difficult to see when I was working with it, that Dan had to rig up a little extra lighting for me so that I could tell what the hell I was doing. I needed an overhead floor lamp, plus my usual over-the-shoulder lamp, plus I had to use some lighter bamboo and rosewood needles because I couldn’t see anything with my fancy-pants green variegated ones.

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The pattern is Cookie A.‘s Angee socks from her fantastic book, Sock Innovation. They are a perfect distillation of the Cookie A. sock playbook. If you are an adventurous knitter, you’ll know exactly what I mean. First of all, the pattern itself looks like cables, right?

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Nope! It’s actually a cleverly-disguised lace panel pattern, with the texture coming from strategically-placed decreases. I made these while having a resurgence of watching numerous favorite detective shows like Sherlock, Endeavour, and Monk (I guess I’ve got a thing for prickly detectives…), so the Shadow Braid name for these seemed appropriate. They look like they are full of depth and shadow, but it’s all an illusion. (ooooooooo…imagine I just waved my hands around like a magician when I said that.)

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Secondly, there’s an odd number of repeats of this lace panel, five to be exact, which is definitely not typical. Most sock patterns with a panel-type structure either have three, four, six, or eight repeats spread out over the cuff of the sock. This makes it so that you can use only 3 or 4 double-pointed needles in the process and not have to worry about trying to use stitch markers to keep track on such teeny tiny needles. (Not that I haven’t had to do that before for a Cookie A. pattern, but she’s definitely not the norm.) Instead, for this pattern, we have to figure out how to keep track of five repeats, so…five needles it is! It felt like reaching into a bag of porcupines every time I had to start a needle, but it did make this fun little pentagram shape for summoning friendly sock-loving spirits.

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And thirdly, in true Cookie A. fashion, there were three different charts to keep track of as the pattern transitioned from cuff to heel to instep, and that stuff just pleases me to no end. The fiddilier, the better. Cookie A. sees every single stitch pattern through to the end with these really pleasing and harmonious designs, and making them, although mentally-taxing at times, is truly a delight.

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Plus, this week I had some really cute nail polish going on, and I couldn’t stop ogling it next to that purple. I felt like a mermaid.

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See? Cute!

One note about the Hawthorne, just in case you jump on that Kettle Dyed Goddess train with me. These kettle dye variants often feel very…crunchy when you first wind them up and knit with them. I’m not sure why it happens so often with kettle-dyed and tonal variant yarns, but I imagine it has something to do with the dyeing process. They tend to have a lot of residual dye sitting on the surface, which leads to that crunchy and plasticky feeling, and will also tend to stain your fingertips and nails if you work with the yarn for extended periods of time. However, with this particular brand, when you block the yarn, that extra dye washes out easily, leaving the rinse water bright pink but the yarn now very soft with a light brushed halo around the strand, not sacrificing the base color you fell in love with. But, if you combined this yarn with something lighter, like with stripes, you definitely run the risk of bleeding and staining occurring, so just keep that in mind.

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I sent these off today to Kirsten in Florida, sending all my love with them. It was hard to part with their jewel-tone loveliness, but I hope she’ll love them just as much as I do. We all need a little bit of extra love right now.

Sockpocalypse Summer, part 1 – Waving Lace Socks

When I was finished my Stacy Pullover, I felt like I needed another project right away. I needed to keep busy. So, into the stash I went.

And when I did, I turned up 10 skeins of sock yarn just sitting there and begging for my attention. Two of these were special ones that I had picked out just for me, but the other 8 were sort of a mish-mash of free stuff and presents and parts of multi-packs that I bought to get a specific color. Gorgeous stuff, but not things that I desperately needed to have on my particular feet.

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Here they are! Pretty, right?

So, I got to thinking, I may not need 10 new pairs of socks, but surely I know 8 people who need some handknit sock love in their lives right now, right? So I posted that picture above on Facebook and told my friends that the first 8 people to pick their favorite skein would get a new pair of handknit socks from me, custom-made to their size and style preferences. I figured that some people, mostly knitting friends would be into it, and that the replies would trickle out over the afternoon and evening.

It only took 35 minutes.

Eight lovely people, scattered out all over the country and from a million different times in my life, all so deserving of sock love, jumped right on the bandwagon. Hell yeah. That’s all of my summer knitting ready to go! Stash-busting and spreading love through the glory of handknit socks all summer long.

So, of course, to start, I had to make a pair for myself. Just to get the sock mojo flowing.

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Ugh. So pretty.

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This yarn was one of those special purchases just for me because this colorway of Knit Picks Stroll Handpainted was just calling out to me and forced me to buy it. It’s called Coffee Shop, and it now appears to be discontinued for some insane reason (seriously, can we stop getting rid of all of the beautiful colors, commercial yarn makers?). This makes zero sense to me.

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I mean, look at that! Shades of brown and gray and then these gorgeous pops of sky blue and purple!? What kind of monster discontinues this color?

Any knitter can tell you that part of the true joy of knitting with variegated yarns is awaiting the moment that the color that you have arbitrarily chosen as the “best” one comes up, even if it’s only for like 2 stitches. It makes you stupid happy for no goddamn reason. And this yarn had 2 (two!) of those showstoppers. So good.

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The pattern is Waving Lace Socks by Evelyn A. Clark, part of the amazing Interweave Favorite Socks book. The stitch pattern is super simple, just decreases and yarnovers, but it makes this undulating wave that looks rich and complex.

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So, now that I’ve got my own feet covered, stay tuned for the next sock pair in our Sockpocalypse. That is a really hard word to type, and spell check refuses to help me with my stupid pun. Here’s hoping I don’t fuck it up a billion times before this is over.

Catch-Up Time, the Last: a Plethora of Kimono

Here it is, our last catch-up post for the fall and winter of 2019.

You remember my dear friends Jonathan and Rebecca? Of course you do. Just last year, I knit them some socks to keep them warm during their cold Bay Area nights.  This summer, I got the exciting news that they, too, were expecting a baby, although she wasn’t due until at least January.

Now, I don’t know if I’ve fully explained just how important these people are to me on here before. Jonathan is my oldest friend. I know that we all have people that we follow on Facebook and check in with occasionally from elementary school and high school, and of course we consider them friends, but Jonathan is the friend who has always been a major part of my life, despite multiple moves and life shifts by the both of us all across the country over the past 22 (is it 22?!) years.

I was sitting here trying to figure out how to sum up how we became friends and stayed close all of these years, but really, it’s not necessary. Just know that he has shaped who I am today and that I love him dearly. Rebecca makes him sublimely happy, and she accepted me and embraced me immediately when we first met, so she deserves the world.

So, as you can see, this baby coming into the world of two of my very favorite people was a big deal. So big that only one knitted item wasn’t going to be nearly enough to show just how happy I was for them.

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And so we have here, a plethora of kimono.

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When I told Dan about the baby, he said, “Oh, you need to make one of those baby sweaters that you made for Dani that time.” He was talking about when my friend Dani in Colorado was expecting for the first time, and I made her two little sweaters, based on the fantastic pattern One-Piece Baby Kimono by Cristina Shiffman, part of the seminal classic knitting book, Mason-Dixon Knitting. At the time when I made those sweaters (here and here, if you want to see how cute they were!), Mason-Dixon Knitting was still a relatively new blog/phenomenon. I was delighted to find out that they are still going strong, now selling their own beautiful yarns and pattern kits.

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However, sometimes it just doesn’t get any better than the classics.

In this case, I went with my own stockinette-based tweak of the pattern. When you modify the pattern so that you do it this way, you can get a whole sweater out of only one ball of Cascade 220 Superwash, my very favorite yarn for baby stuff, plus it just looks super chic and elegant this way, yes?

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Yes.

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After you knit one, which seriously only takes an afternoon if you’re motivated, you can’t help yourself and need to keep going.

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And going.

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And going.

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They are just too much cuteness. You can only really consider stopping after five.

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The colors I chose, in descending order here, are Cascade 220 Superwash in #1946 Silver Grey, #873 Extra Creme Cafe, #905 Celery, and #1949 Lavender, and Berroco Vintage in #5101 for the white.

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Dan picked out the ribbon colors, and I think he did a wonderful job. They are all 1/2″ satin ribbon from Offray, and there are so many colors out there, you’re bound to find a great match.

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Weaving and sewing in the ribbon is a particular bit of fiddly business that I enjoy. In the original pattern, they only recommend sewing in the ribbon in ties on the side.

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I can’t ever help myself, and I always have to go a little bit further. For mine, I wove the ribbon in and out of the eyelets, skipping two bars on top and one on the bottom. If you try to just weave it in-and-out of each hole, this width of ribbon starts to crumple and fold over in an unattractive way. By skipping holes on the top to create a larger “bump,” everything lays flat and lovely and shiny.

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See?

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After these were blocked and be-ribboned, they got sent off to San Rafael with all my love, just a few weeks ago. I’m glad I sent them early, because Jonathan and Rebecca’s birthday baby girl decided to come over a month early! She is perfect and beautiful, and I hope that she understands just how much she is loved, not just by her amazing parents, but by those of us across the country, sending our love and good wishes and warmth in the form of teeny, tiny handknit sweaters.

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So that just about wraps it up for this fall and winter. I am still exhausted, mostly in the brain area, but taking the time to sit and write these out has helped me to see how much I accomplished this year that wasn’t just assigned to me by professors.

In real life, I am a fairly prickly person. I am slow to friendship. I am exacting and organized and suspicious. Those people around me, the ones who love and care, deserve so much more love and appreciation than I am ever able to fully present with just words. So, I make things with my hands. I try to infuse the good thoughts and warm feelings that lurk deep within so that they can see them, finally, on the surface. And I hope that they understand.

Catch-Up Time: Mending

I am a staunch believer in the idea that knitted (and most handmade items, in fact) are meant to be used, not just observed from afar. I try to make it clear that I want people to wear their hats and socks and scarves and sweaters until they are hanging on by their last stitch.

However, since I have only been knitting for the past 20 years (only!), and I am typically a huge yarn snob that shells out for the good stuff, I have yet encounter a need for a repair.

(You can just feeeel the foreshadowing, right?)

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Cue the sad trombones.

Dan noticed two tiny holes in his beloved vest earlier this year, and after a few moments of heartbreak, I knew what I needed to do.

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These, for the untrained, are felting needles. They are the sharpest things you will ever meet, and they have teeny, tiny little barbs running up the edges of their star- and triangle-shaped stabby bits. These barbs catch onto the natural “shingles” of the wool hair follicles, and when you punch them up and down enough times, cause wool fibers to “felt” and bind together.

Now, usually people use these guys to make little felt sculptures or appliques, working with the unspun wool roving itself. However, since Dan’s vest was made out of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, a yarn made with a distinct “woolen spun” texture that leaves the fibers loose rather than tightly plied, I figured that I could use these bad boys to fix up the holes and reattach the yarn ends, rather than having to stitch up a repair.

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It’s kind of hard to see because of all the texture going on, but dead center in the button band, you can see a purl stitch that’s been separated right at the middle of the purl bump. Due to Shelter’s texture, the hole didn’t really unravel at all, which is really just one of the billion reasons why you need to make something out of it already.

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I snipped off a tiny piece of yarn from the leftover bit of skein, maybe 0.5cm long, and laid it across the broken purl stitch.

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And then I carefully stabbed it about a thousand times.

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There were two broken stitches here, and now all you can see is moss stitch and button holes! I was pretty damn pleased with myself.

However…(bum bum buuuuummmm)…that wasn’t the end of the mending needed this year.

For some reason, this is also the year that decided that a whole bunch of our handknit socks were all going to break stitches in almost the exact same place.

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You might be thinking, Jinger, do you have a terrible moth infestation? Or, do you have a horde of tiny mice with scissors who hate you?

But, I’m thinking that these were all about human error. Where is each hole? Right near the top, where you grab the sides to hike up your socks, of course. Turns out that Dan and I are just monsters with sharp, pointy hands, who like to destroy the things we love most.

Felting needles were definitely not an option here, with multiple broken stitches, a little bit of unraveling, and varying fiber types. How to repair these wounds?

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I choose to believe that it’s a testament to my knitting skill that I hadn’t had to buy a darning egg before, but I think it’s more likely that I knit mostly for people who live in warm climates and only wear their knitted socks once or twice a year.

Anyway, time to get down to business to save our precious lizard, helix, and complement socks.  I had never done this before, but I looked at the instructions on the back for an abnormally long amount of time, plus several different tutorials online. And then I shoved them all back in a drawer and waited another week until I could stomach it.

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Now, the technique I’m using here is the “grid” method of darning socks, helpfully explained in detail here by the Radical Homemaker. You spread the area that needs repair over the darning egg to flatten everything out and make sure that you can see the stitches clearly.

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Then you run your darning thread in vertical lines, catching each side of the hole with a little bit of allowance on each side so that they are firmly anchored in the stable areas.

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After that, you do the same thing running in horizontal lines, anchoring the stitches and weaving in-and-out of the grid lines exposed.

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When you’re done, you have a little patch that’s stable, frayed ends that are trapped in the grid and unable to unwind any further, and a pretty cool-looking scar to show the sock’s rightful battle wounds.

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Really, if you have a penchant for variegated yarns and stripes, you really can’t see much of anything at all. The area is no longer quite as stretchy as the rest of the sock, but our scars act the same way, right?

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Even when they aren’t visible, they serve as a reminder for the things we’ve been through and the harm we’ve survived. They remind us of our weak points and the parts of ourselves that we’ve built up to be stronger.

And in this case, they remind us that the things that we make for ourselves and others are meant to be incorporated into our daily lives. Used so aggressively and lovingly that they fall apart and need mending. Trusting that what made them strong in the first place is what will help them to come back to life.

Catch-Up Time: Night Sky Saurey

For our next catch-up post, we have a real labor of love.

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Not that it was a difficult thing to make at all, but it was a project infused with love from the start.

You remember my lovely friend Kelli?

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Of course, you do! She is a glorious ray of sunshine in my life, and when she told me that she and her husband Taylor were having a baby, I immediately got to work finding the perfect baby blanket pattern for her. After finishing up a happy dance around the kitchen, of course.

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Kelli is a very stylish lady. She effortlessly surrounds herself with handpicked items that suit her perfectly, without ever looking too very. She taught herself calligraphy, and it is always a treat getting hand-addressed letters and cards from her in the mail. She loves the handmade and the one-of-a-kind, making her the ideal person to grace with a truly loving handknit project.

I’m pretty sure it was only a few days (maybe even the next day?) when I starting prying her for details about her perfect baby blanket. Cables? Stripes? Intarsia?

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Lace? Bingo. Introducing our Night Sky Saurey.

Kelli and Taylor weren’t going to find out the gender of the baby ahead of time, and she had already decided on a “night sky” theme for the nursery, so something lacy and reminiscent of the starry, inky night sky was just perfect.

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She picked out the pattern herself, from a curated selection from me, and specified that she wanted it in navy blue.

The pattern? Saurey from Berroco, made in Berroco Modern Cotton. The color Goddard was just the perfect shade, somewhere between navy and royal blue, to evoke those sleepy nighttime nursery vibes.

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Now, I am apparently not the only person who thought that it was just perfect, because it was on back-order from every single online store I could find, for at least 2 months. However, patience won the day, and I ended up with 3 skeins of this beautiful stuff with 2 months to spare to knit the thing.

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And let’s talk about this yarn for a second. Kelli specifically wanted cotton, something that would be able to be washed and beat up a little bit and not get too hot, because regardless of the season, we do live in Louisiana where the weather is trying to murder us at all times. Modern Cotton is a pima cotton and modal blend, meaning that it’s super soft and pliable, not hard and unforgiving like a lot of other cotton yarns, but still very resilient.

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It’s got great stitch definition, even when knit up a little bit loosely, like is required for this pattern. It’s also got a wee bit of a sheen, and when combined with the lace yarnovers and the tiny spaces between the stitches, it makes it look like it’s shimmering when it moves.

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I mean, could there have been a more perfect blanket for a night sky theme? Or a friend more deserving? I don’t think so.

Only two more installments of catch-up posts! More baby stuff, plus something I’ve never done before! Exciting!

Catch-Up Time: the Killer Sandworm Beastie Hat

Almost a year-and-a-half ago, my co-worker and friend Samantha gave me a little book full of knitting patterns for baby hats, mittens, and scarves. And every single pattern features an awesome monster.

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How cute is this?! So freaking cute. (Here’s a link to go get it!)

She was pregnant at the time, and eventually had her son that November. He was the recipient of the extremely awesome Star Illusion Blanket at the time, but with this new book in tow, I knew that I had to get it together and make him a monster of his very own for his first birthday.

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Introducing…the Killer Sandworm Beastie Hat!

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Now, you’re not going to find this guy in the book exactly, but you will find his inspiration, Serrated Shark Hat. However, I didn’t have enough gray yarn to do the entire body and fins, so I had to get creative.

I started matching up other yarn leftovers (and seriously, this book is amazing for using up all kinds of odds and ends), and found a bunch of black Brown Sheep Nature Spun leftover from my Hamilton hats. I’m pretty sure that the gray that I had was left over from Mischief Managed, but I can’t be totally sure, but it matched weight almost perfectly.

What to do? Stripes!

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I also wasn’t the hugest fan of the way that the teeth worked in the original pattern, so I went on YouTube and found a crochet sawtooth pattern that made some hilariously pointy teeth. (Here’s the link for that one!)

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With its goth stripes and bright green eyes, Dan and I couldn’t deny its uncanny resemblance to the stripey sandworms from Beetlejuice.

Quick note:  Snap-in doll’s eyes are great for this, but they have extremely pointy and scratchy ends that end up on the inside of the hat, rather than being hidden inside the stuffing like they would normally be. To combat this, I sewed some little felt patches to the inside of the hat, covering the posts. I didn’t get any pictures of this, but just make sure you’re keeping those baby heads safe.

I got some pictures from Samantha a few days ago of her son enjoying his hat, and they are just so precious I can’t stand it.

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I mean…those crazy pointy toothed ear flaps just make me so insanely happy. I desperately need an adult-sized one right away.

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Stay tuned for more baby-related projects! It’s never-ending!

Catch-Up Time: Cardamom, the friendly dragon, and the Little Dragon Hat

I am very tired.

For the past eleventy-billion weeks, I have been heavily involved in my (hopefully) second-to-last semester of grad school, including performing my DNP project. And working. And writing a million papers. This may sound like complaining, but really, I think that I’ve earned the right just a little bit. It’ll all be worth it when I can make people call me Dr. Jinger, right?

Right.

Anyway, throughout all of it, I have still been working on a multitude of projects, mostly because my loved ones just will not stop having adorable babies and letting them grow up into adorable toddlers. It’s relentless. So, for the first of these “catch-up” style posts, I’ll be featuring two freaking adorable knitted items that I made for one of the super cute babies in question.

My wonderful friend Tobias and his girlfriend Alexis welcomed a baby boy in September, and because these are the dear friends with whom I lived out my D&D adventures for many years, I knew that I had to make them something that was both adorable and adventure-based.

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“Where thou go’est, weary traveler?”

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Presenting, Cardamom, the friendly dragon.

This sweet little guy was knitted up using the fabulous free pattern Tarragon the Gentle Dragon from Knit-A-Zoo, purveyor of all sorts of cute knitted animals. I loved the original name, but I definitely more of a sweet than savory person, so Cardamom it is.

This pattern really threw me for a loop while I was making it and putting it together, mostly because I just couldn’t get over how freaking cute all of the details were as they appeared. Like, there are little toe bumps on the dragon’s feet.

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Toe bumps!

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The shaping of the head alone gave it so much personality, even before the eyes and spikes got added.

And the spikes!

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Although I had no idea what to expect when I started knitting that little purple strip of spikes (seriously it took me a minute to understand exactly how they would work, but, just trust the pattern, it knows what it’s doing), they sewed in so perfectly and were, by far, my absolute favorite part of the project.

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But, wait! The wings!

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And his little tail!

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So good.

I didn’t really modify anything here, because everything was so perfect. The only thing I did was use my standard felt eyes, rather than the pre-made doll eyes suggested by the pattern, just because I want all of my handmade creatures to look a little bit sad for some reason.

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That face.

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Such a sweetheart.

Now, I had plenty of yarn left over, and I knew that just a little dragon toy wasn’t enough, especially for a future adventure-baby, so I figured that I had to make a little bit of adventuring gear to go along with it.

What better than a little dragon hat to match his new dragon friend?

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Modeled here so excellently by R2D2 is the Little Dragon Hat, made from the pattern Little Dragon by Fox & Crow. Fox & Crow’s website is a smorgasbord of cuteness and style, albeit all in Dutch, but do go give it a look and feel all kinds of knit-based envy.

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The overwhelming delight of being able to match the hat to the stuffed animal? Almost too much.

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This one was so much fun, even during the little fiddly bits. I have to admit, somewhat sheepishly, that I originally attached the wrong color and knit 2 spikes in green before I realized that something was wrong.

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And then, after I was finished with all the spikes, I had to go back and undo and replace the very first one again, just because it was one stitch off from laying flat with the other ones, and it was going to make me go insane if I didn’t fix it.

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It was definitely worth it to get it perfect. The hat is a little (lot) too big for the baby right now, but I know he’ll get plenty of use out of it later, when he’s venturing out to explore his new world.

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Don’t they make a charming pair?

I knit both of these with Debbie Bliss Rialto DK, but really any DK- or sport-weight yarn would work wonderfully, as long as it’s not too high on the acrylic/viscose/whatever-plastic content. I only say this because you need to do a fair bit of ironing for the dragon’s spikes and for getting your hat spikes perfect and pointy, so you don’t want something that’s going to melt or get weird and shiny. Rialto is a 100% merino with a very fine multi-ply structure, so you get really good stitch definition.

For these projects, I managed to make both out of 3 balls of Apple and 1 ball of Wisteria, but now that I think about it, I don’t even think that I touched the third ball of the green. August seems like forever ago, you guys. Stay tuned for more catch-up posts as I try to piece back together a year that felt like it took 3 years to pass.

Effervesce: A Very Fancy Name for a Very Pretty Sock

It’s my first project of the year! Coming in just under the wire for January, we’ve got Effervesce.

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A fancy name that really does befit a lovely sock, but makes me feel like I’m in a pretentious perfume commercial when I attempt to say it.

Effervesce. By Lancôme.

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But, seriously, those are some pretty things. They deserve a pretty name.

Effervesce. By Dior.

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My friend and co-worker, Kristen, is equally lovely. She is a former dancer and a kickass nurse, and it’s one of my favorite things when I get to give her report in the morning. She’s also a dead ringer for Simone Giertz of shitty robot fame, who is just one of the coolest people in the world. I’m a firm believer that only the coolest people get the coolest doppelgangers, so there you go.

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This pattern, beautifully written and charted by Purrlescent on Ravelry, has so many things that I am just a sucker for. It’s got symmetry between the feet, both in the cable twists and in the overall pattern design.

Effervesce.  By Calvin Klein.

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(Important note: my camera just cannot handle purples, for some reason, so just imagine a sock that is somewhere between all of these disparate photos. Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering in Goose Hollow is actually a kettle-dyed-style mix of blues, purples, and pinks, and it looks like a cotton-candy wonderland.)

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Effervesce.  By Oscar de la Renta.

Even though I’m making an awful lot of fun of the name, this is one of my favorite sock patterns that I’ve knit in a long while.  It’s just too good. Each sock has its cable twists going opposite ways, plus the enlarging twisted rib detail just kills me. There’s something very satisfying about all those super straight lines.

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Like, look at that! So neat and tidy and orderly and perfect.

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As you can imagine, having this type of symmetry required a whole lot of charts. Four, to be exact, and they were super clear and easy-to-follow, which can be quite a feat. What a good job. Plus, there’s a bonus recipe for sangria at the end of the pattern, which, although it’s not my favorite thing, is super fun. Who doesn’t love drinking and knitting?

Effervesce.  By Marc Jacobs.

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I’m particularly enamored of the way the cables unfurl into the slipped stitch heel. I’ll be sneaking these into Kristen’s work locker tomorrow, and I hope she feels the same.  And I hope she loves the name as much as I do.  And then we can both stare off into the middle distance and say it in unison.  Effervessssssce.

Warm Feet = Love

A few years ago, my best friend since high school, Jonathan, and his lovely wonderful wife, Rebecca, moved from New Orleans out to beautiful San Rafael, CA.

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I miss them all the time.

Ever since visiting them in the middle of summer last year, I am also concerned about the state of their feet. The entire San Francisco area is ridiculously cold at night, no matter what time of year, and I knew that this had to be remedied with some precious handknit socks, post-haste.

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I happened to have a gorgeous skein of Mrs. Crosby Loves to Play Satchel hanging around, an impulse purchase made during a huge sale at my favorite LYS, McNeedles. This weirdly-named yarn is one of my all-time favorite sock yarns, supersoft with gorgeous color saturation and a lovely single-ply twist that manages to still yield some great stitch definition with a soft fuzzy halo around it. This colorway, Peacock, is just absolutely stunning, and Jonathan and I felt like it was perfect for Rebecca.

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The pattern is the Cookie A. classic, Monkey. I’ve been wanting to make these since the first time I saw them in Knitty, 12 years ago, and I finally got to add them to my Cookie A. oeuvre.

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Seriously, I have made a lot of Cookie A. socks. Look through the archives, if you don’t believe me, because it’s just now the end of the semester of my second year of grad school, and I just can’t muster up the energy to look them all up and link them here for you. But trust me, there’s a bunch.

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There’s nothing overly twee or clever about these, just a really good, classic sock pattern, with a little bit of lace and mock-cables to keep things interesting.

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They are so incredibly soft and plush. The perfect thing to keep this wonderful woman’s toes warm this winter.

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The only thing that I might change, if I were to make these socks in the future, is to try them with a yarn that’s maybe more tightly-spun or smoother, because even though the halo of Satchel is glorious, it does obscure the more subtle bits of the patterning. I’d love to see what it might look like in something more defined.

As for Jonathan…well, it would just be really mean to make beautiful, warm socks for his wife and not make him anything at all. Too rude to even think of.

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How freaking cool is it that I somehow have pictures of both of these people that coordinate somehow with their new socks? Uncanny. (You’d almost think that I did it on purpose, but I didn’t. I swear. I’m just good at picking out sock yarns, I think.  We all have our talents.)

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I’ve had this skein of Berroco Sox in my stash for years, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it. You don’t just jump into a self-striping sock without having the perfect pattern and perfect person to use it for. This colorway, the tragically-discontinued Lancaster, was an utter joy.

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I mean, that’s a lot of pictures of the same thing over and over, but I don’t know how else to reveal those little flecks of soft browns, purples, pinks, and grays throughout the whole thing. The pattern is my old stand-by, perfect for showcasing crazy stripes and colorfades, the Good, Plain Sock Recipe by the Yarn Harlot.

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Just a standard 3×3 rib pattern to show off all those tweedy stripes. Such good stuff. It’s hard to not feel like an aspiring Ivy League professor trudging through the fall leaves while you’re wearing these.

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These beauties got packed up and sent on their way to California, where they are doing their important job of keeping the toes warm of the people that I love.

That’s what true love is, right? Keeping your loved ones warm, any way you can, even from across the country? I think so.