Posts Tagged ‘crochet’

My first sock!

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Yesterday went by in a trance of sock-weight yarn. I finished my first sock ever, a little sockette, and was almost done with the other sock by the end of the day. It’s all i did, selecting “next episode” of the streaming Highlander over and over while Christine was at her mandolin lesson and at her tutoring. Too late, as Christine was just finishing up her warm up and tuning to leave, did i realize i could have gone with her to her lesson. At that point, i didn’t realize i was going to crochet all day.

My First Sock

I weighed my sockette and the remaining yarn and found i will get *almost* a pair out of the light fingering weight ball (230 yards/50 grams/1.76 ounces = 130 ypo). I have two skeins of this inherited yarn. I can stretch the self striping yarn if i do heels and toes out of some solid sock-weight yarn.

One of the lessons about yarn craft that surprised me is the design importance of the weight and behavior of the yarn itself. It’s obvious once you think about it, but the incredible variation in material still surprises me. Each step introduces a different behavior: the source fiber, the spinning, the plying. It drives me mildly nuts that there isn’t a very standardized yarn description. The fiber content is usually pretty clear. The weight of the yarn can be deduced, the ply is some times reported. There is a metric, wraps per inch, that would give the sense of bulk of the yarn, but that’s rarely reported. One could have a loosely spun and tightly spun yarn which has the same yardage per ounce.

Then there are often a knitters gauge reported (n stitches per some swatch size on some sort of needle) which is maddening: i don’t knit, and even if i did, stitch per inch can be so variable. I suppose this is an attempt to get at wpi — but why not just report wpi?

Why do i care? Well, i’d like to buy some heel and toe yarn, now that i’ve determined i can do this sock thing. Heel and toe yarn could be neutral, and the pretty pretty hand dyed sock yarns make the visible bits. So i begin shopping: it turns out the yarn i have is a little lighter than your average sock weight (130 yards per oz compared to 106 yards per oz). EBay has destashed sock yarn available: what’s a fair price?

Well, first i have to find what i’d be likely to buy at retail. It seems Knit Picks carries a light fingering weight at roughly $2 per oz in a good blend.

A regular sockweight yarn, undyed, at Dharma would be $2.43/oz.

I’m tempted by a silk noil sock yarn at Dharma because i could dye it myself with the fiber reactive dyes i like. It would be unsuitable, i believe, for heels and toes. Noil is a short fiber, and i suspect it would wear poorly on the heels.

I did read about a luxury sock yarn Lang Jawoll, that comes with “a bonus spool of matching reinforcement yarn to carry along when knitting the toes & heels, the parts that get the most wear.” I wonder about adding plain nylon threads to carry along in toes and heels. It seems like a straightforward solution.

What i’d like to figure out is how to cover the bottom of the sock with something like hemp to make slippers with a rugged base but soft and pretty top. I suppose i could just sew a hemp sole to a sock. The silk noil yarn could make the top and foot facing sole. And there’s the fun of uppers for the mohops (although i’ve bought silk ribbon from Dharma with the intention of using that for mohop uppers.

The story of the fingerless gloves

Saturday, March 27th, 2010
Fingerless Gloves for Christine

Once upon at time, about January 12 2009, i had found a fingerless glove pattern CrochetMe via Ravelry [Membership req]. Purple Mitts I had a number of lovely purple yarns in my stash from when i was keeping good track and i chose the smooth, gently variegated bamboo. The gloves worked up in just a few days. I remember how exciting it was to see them take shape under my hook. The first one i did according to the pattern, adjusting due to the difference in gauge: it was symmetric and would fit either hand. The second i tried shaping some so that the palm side was a little tighter than the knuckle side. They weren’t symmetric, but they were mine! And in a wonderful color! And really, lovely.

With the bamboo yarn remaining and the Bernat Boa in purple (“Parrot”) from the trim, so i made a little capelet.Crochet
I used the Shoulder Snuggle by Lion Brand Yarn [Membership Req] pattern on Ravelry [Membership req] as a guide, skipping stitches in the motif, trusting the eyelash of the novelty yarn to fill in. Then i trimmed out the cape with fun motifs in the bamboo — and this was all flying off my hook, zip, zap, here’s a lovely fun set to keep the chill off. I was done sometime in early February

We don’t need protection from cold that often in our home in California, but there can be a chill in the winter, a draft off the windows above my desk and the office 65° F or a little cooler. Christine liked the gloveletts, so we went and picked out a lovely blue yarn for her, and i had beads that went well with the yarn. I started on a beaded pair for her, a pair that would have a distinct back and front. (The beads went on with a backwards stitch so they would face me, one bead per row.)

All this in about a month, and then i left for a trip in Oregon. I pinned a silver pin of a horse to the back of one of my gloves, the easier to see it and use it as a meditation focus. And thend i went for a hike up a hill in the verdant rainforest. I slipped at one point, getting pants and gloves muddy, and i tucked the gloves in my back pocket. When we reached the camp, the gloves were gone, somewhere up the hill.

I was very disappointed.

I kept working on Christine’s gloves, but i slowed down. I finished my hassock cosy. I got distracted by dyes, by my Mohop shoe uppers. I still worked on the gloves. I’d work on them on flights and find i’d made the glove too tight or too loose for Christine. Rip and repeat. Between the right and the left i forgot what hook i was using, so the gauge is different glove to glove. I’d take them to craft and game night and forget to do a bead on a row and have to rip out and redo. I found i split for the thumb too early, and one is slightly shorter than the other. I finally finished them last night. They’re unique and not half bad.

The most important lesson i’ve learned is that the beading on the back should wrap around to the palm side opposite the thumb — the area for the palm is smaller than the area needed for the back. Other than that, though, Christine seems delighted.

Maybe i’ve put my grief of the purple gloves (done in two days!) behind me, and i can make myself a pair again.

Bamboo Yarn Notes: Y8: Bamboo, Purple/Lavender, 100 grams, 250 yards, $13.50 USD $61.29/lb 1135 yds/lb