Sunday, January 26, 2014

Holey socks, Darn It!

During the holidays the NorDakPurlGurl asked me about my hand knit socks and how they wore. I was quite indignant and said I had yet to have even one pair wear out, they were “as strong as iron.” Not a week later as I was folding the clean laundry I discovered a hole in not one but two pairs of socks! A week later while  doing another load of clean laundry I found yet another hole in a pair of socks I knit years earlier.
A few years ago, in anticipation of this event, I bought a darning egg. And have been waiting to use it ever since. Now, the time has come and looking at the four socks – one pair has holes in both socks of the pair – even though they are hand knit I'm not sure they are worthy of repair.

I have never darned socks. Although very frugal Mom never darned socks. It wasn’t because she didn’t know how, in fact she darned Dad’s socks for several years after they were married until the day Dad walked in the room while she was darning and said it really wasn’t worth her time or effort. It was the last pair Mom ever darned! So I must ask myself is it worth MY time and effort?

Pair number one: Holes in both socks. Three years ago while on vacation at the beach I knit three pairs of socks. They are cotton, wool and nylon and because of the simple black and white color they were worn frequently my last few years of teaching. The socks were knit from the cuff down with a heel flap. Both socks have holes in the heels and will soon have holes at the balls of the feet. I recently ordered the exact yarn “Licorice” and think that I’ll just replace them rather that fix the holes. The Wyoming Cowgurl asked if I would save holey hand knit socks for a a Christmas project she does with her preschoolers these are my first contribution!

Pair number two: These were socks I knit as a novice and although they have a nice pattern to them I knit the pair in wool 4 ply - no nylon. I have worn them very little, usually while home instead of slippers. One sock has a hole on the ball of the foot and the second will soon have a hole there as well. I think they may be a good first pair to try darn.
Because this is my first attempt at darning I  decided to use a completely different color yarn. The socks on the left are darned in the Swiss darning method, basically a duplicate stitch. This is the best method I think BUT you must repair before the hole is completely worn through. The repair on the right is in the typical darning method and considering the large hole this was a pretty good repair. Done in 100% wool we'll see how long they last. After this repair they will also find their way to Wyoming - land of the dead socks.

Pair Number three: This pair of socks are a favorite pair. They were knit from the top down and are still sturdy except for the hole on the ball of one foot. I have two options: 1) One is to darn the hole or 2) Cut the toe of the sock off and re-knit it.
In my early days of knitting socks I preferred knitting them from the top down. Great for a reknit toe when the hole is so lose to the end.  Afterthought heels would be as easy to repair but I've moved on the the Fish Lip Kiss Heel. 

After a try at the darning repair in the last socks I opted for a reknit.
Attach needles, reknit the toe....
I use smaller needles now and so the new fabric is denser but wearable! We'll see when and where the next hole appears....

Tip for the sock knitters:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

At Christmas, The Chick brought me some sock yarn she bought a few years ago. At the time she only knew how to crochet and wanted some new socks. This was at a time when we thought if there was a crocheted sock pattern then it was possible…What a disaster!! A poorly written pattern, no give in the socks…WORTHLESS!

She brought me the yarn thinking I could use it for the Rabbit Hole Mitered Square Blanket. What a thoughtful daughter! (I may NEVER have enough yarn to finish it!!) But alas, this yarn is 60% cotton, 20% wool, 20% nylon and I'm using 80% wool and 20% nylon...

So I began a new pair of socks, now that I’ve found the Fish Lips Heel Pattern designing socks is a breeze! This is a very simple spiraled slip stitch that occurs every color change in the sock.
Pattern: Fish Lips Kiss Heel Pattern
Yarn: 60% cotton, 20% nylon 20% wool
Colorway: Pastel stripes
Amount: One skein
Needle Size: US Size 0

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pirate Sweater IV

A little over a month ago, while The California Dreamin' Gal was in Africa at a conference, older sister sent me this SOS photo message:
I found out later, The California Dad felt The Pirate could do without his mom or he could do without his sweater but he couldn't do without both! So, The Pirate wore his sweater to school until Christmas break.

By then I had frantically begun knitting Pirate Sweater IV but even after completing three sweaters  previously, or perhaps because of it, I ran into a little technical difficulties. Following some discussion and soul searching I decided I could live with the imperfection. The skull and bones (minus the cross) would remain and I knit on.

Meanwhile, The Pirate started the New Year minus his sweater. Last Monday, after a week without it, a friend brought up his loss. He was very happy to report that there would be a new Pirate Sweater on his back by the end of the week. The news went through the 5th grade like wildfire! The Pirate would be appropriately dressed once again by week's end!!

He was even more delighted when the sweater arrived early. He wore it under his jacket Thursday and had a grand reveal once he arrived at school. The kids at school were excited - one did an impression of a very old gramma knitting in a rocking chair and asked if that's what I was like. Cameron said "No, that's not what my gramma is like at all." (Smart boy if he wants me to continue outfitting him in sweaters!)
Pattern:Wonderful Wallaby
Yarn: Encore Tweed
Colorway: Dark Wedgewood
Amount: 5 skeins
Needle Size: US Size 6 and 8

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What do you think, Matey?

Argh!! This is the fourth pirate sweater I've knit for The Pirate and I can't believe what just happened! Look carefully and tell me what you think:
Usually I can't stand to have known errors in my knitting. However, ths time I knit a solid 6 hours after the mistake before I noticed. The Pirate didn't notice when he was shown the sweater...
 Shall I rip it out and lose 12 hours total keep on? While I'm waiting for a verdict I knit on this:
202 squares and counting!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A great breakfast bread

The Chick received a bread making machine for Christmas and was interested in this recipe:

Cinnamon Sunrise
Regular loaf                           Large loaf
3/4 c               Water                1 1/8 c
2 1/4 c            Flour                 3 1/3 c
1 T                 Dry Milk            1 1/2 T
21/2 T            Brown Sugar     3 T
3/4 t               Salt                    1 t
2 T                 Butter                1/4 c
1 1/2 t            Cinnamon          2 t
1/3 c              Pecans               1/2 c
1 t                  Yeast                  1 1/2 t
                      (fast rise)
1 1/4 t             Yeast                 2 t
                       (active dry)

Place in machine and bake.

This bread makes great toast in the morning!