The Trials and Tribulations of Knitting My First Pair of Socks

The Trials and Tribulations of Knitting My First Pair of Socks

For my sister’s birthday, I wanted to make her something by hand. I remember over the holidays finding a pattern for a pair of Boston terrier socks on the Knit Picks website. They were so cute and looking at them from the picture, I thought this would be a fun project and a great way to start my first pair of socks!

Sadly, that was not the case. While the socks did come out great in the end, they were a huge labor of love requiring me to learn some new techniques including how to make a sock, how to do intarsia knitting, and how to shape. I was excited to do the sock making part, but I didn’t even realize the other techniques until I got to the second sock.

The first technique that really got me struggling was the shaping of their ears. To make them stick up like that, the pattern required I knit a ribbed edge (most socks have ribbing around the leg) through the back loop. The entire section required that you knit every stitch in a way that’s not average when you’re making anything else. That was fine, but I kept on messing up knitting through the regular method than through the back loop. I messed up about five times on this part, so my stress and frustration levels were already through the roof.

Intarsia knitting is a method used when you’re knitting a design within your work. Adding an initial to the front of a sweater? That’s intarsia. Got that terrible holiday sweater with a big Christmas tree on the front? Probaby intarsia knitting. It’s a method of knitting I’ve never tried since the most colorwork I’ve done is a few stripes. I was a bit confused by the pattern because I didn’t know intarsia was used, so I made one sock in the method that made sense to me at the time and the other sock using intarsia.

Left sock is created using intarsia. Right sock is made without it.

When I realized I had to use the intarsia method, I was already one sock in. I tried to think if I should take the leap and just make three socks instead. However, I had already worked on these for so long, tried so many times to get it right, and didn’t have a lot of time left to get these to my sister (who lives across the country) before her birthday. So one sock uses the intarsia method properly and the other doesn’t.

The end product is a little bit wonky, but I like to think they are sisters and not twins.

After finishing the face pattern, the rest of the sock was pretty easy. Although, I had to switch over to double pointed needles for the rest of the way, which can be a pain because there’s things sticking out at you from all angles. But once the sock was complete, omg there was a sense of elation. I made a sock! And it looked like a sock! I had heard some pretty weird sock stories and truly intimidated by the process. But when my friend told me she recently got into and loved it, well, I had to try for myself.

These socks came out so great. They aren’t perfect and if you look close enough, you can see their imperfections, but I made them by hand. I made a pair of socks! And I can’t wait to make sure. However, I might hold off on doing any more intarsia knitting for a while. I think I much rather work on textural pieces than ones with a face.

“Heart to Heart” Crocheted Bookmark

“Heart to Heart” Crocheted Bookmark

This Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day, I was working on a little gift for my friends and wanted to make a little something handmade for them. While thinking about what to make, I grabbed a few balls of leftover yarn in various shades of red, picked up my crochet hook, and tried to make some crocheted hearts.

I looked around for a crocheted heart pattern. When I came across the one by The Painted Hinge, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. It has some super easy steps and these hearts can easily be used in a garland or as a fun addition to a crocheted shawl or blanket pattern. I could even see these used for a baby mobile! All credit to The Painted Hinge for creating the pattern and sparking my imagination!

I first started out with the plan to make a garland to go around my bookshelf, but I realized I didn’t have enough yarn to make several hearts in various colors. So instead, I decided to make them into little bookmarks. How else can you celebrate the love for your current read? For connecting the hearts, I just did a simple crocheted chain for about 50 stitches and then sewed the pieces together. I will admit, the backs of these little hearts aren’t the prettiest.

But I absolutely love the way these came out! I pressed the bookmarks between the pages of the book to flatten them out a bit and I’m just smitten!

I do want to mention that I’m not the best crocheter in the world. I’m not a professional at all with the hobbies I do; I just do them because I love to do them and create beautiful little pieces I can adore for years. But, I thought these would be great gifts for my girlfriends this Galentine’s Day and perhaps friends in the future.

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I loved doing it!

Reading and Knitting: Oversized cardigans, epic worlds, and werewolf girls

Reading and Knitting: Oversized cardigans, epic worlds, and werewolf girls

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on the Effortless Cardigan from Lionbrand. Since this was my very first cardigan, I wanted to try something easy, but not too easy. I wanted the challenge of making a piece of clothing from a ball of yarn and this one definitely challenged me in healthy ways to overcome my own fears of knitting.

This is a top down cardigan where you work from the top of your work all the way to the bottom. In the end, the cardigan looks like one giant knitted piece. Even the sleeves look seamless! I think the only issue I had was the underarm. I’ve never used my stitch holders, so having to put all the stitches that would later become my sleeves on a separate piece of plastic and then continue on with the sweater felt weird. It felt even weirder going back and actually knitting those sleeves later.

But the top down cardigan is so quick and easy. I’m working on another cardigan now that’s made in pieces and while it’s easier and everything is flat and you don’t have to worry about stretching out parts of the work to accommodate your needles, it’s going to be a lot more work later when I have to sew all the pieces together and weave in those ends (aka the bane of every knitter’s existence).

Can I also mention that when I blocked this work I felt like I had no clue what I was doing? I’ve never blocked anything before mostly because I was making scarves lol. But this work, I blocked and many articles and blog posts really don’t go into detail on how to block or what to look out for or tips and tricks. In fact, most of the articles all say the basic thing; handwash the garment with lukewarm water in a bucket. Squeeze out all the water. Then put it on the blocking materials and pin it down. Maybe that part will get easier the more I do it.

I did learn a few things in the process of making this sweater. First off, that I can make both sleeves at one time! I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos on knitting and they’ve been helpful in finding new tricks that I didn’t know before. There are so many techniques from all over the world and they are all legit.

I’m so happy with the results though. It’s got its little snares here and there, but it looks so cute and oversized. It’s most definitely warm because it’s 100% acrylic, which also means it’ll be easy to clean. I blocked this piece too, so I’ll probably continue to handwash it and block.

Books I Listened to While Knitting

Of course, there are the books that fueled my knitting life. Seriously, reading and knitting has become my favorite hobbies. I get to listen to a great story and create a piece of clothing I can actually wear afterwards. This particular one was special to me because it’s the first cardigan I’ve ever made, so I’m glad to have read some great books while putting it all together.

Lobizona by Romina Garber

This was an absolute stunner and I’m actually surprised it didn’t get more love on Goodreads! It starts off as this story about a young girl and her mother who are running from her father and move to America in order to outrun him. In many ways, she’s “illegal” as an undocumented person living in the United States, but when you get deeper in the story is when the truths start to come out. I will say that Manu felt a bit like a Mary Sue, but truthfully I chocked that up to her instincts. But the story moved with tons of action and lots of emotion. It was definitely fun getting to know Manu and the world she comes from and I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

Skyhunter by Marie Lu

I’ve been a huge fan of Marie Lu’s work, so it made me so excited to read Skyhunter, her latest series. This is an epic dystopian futuristic story about a young woman who recently lost her partner and assigned a new one; a skyhunter. The skyhunter himself reminded me a lot of Wolverine with his mechanical wings and ability to destroy anything that comes in its path. But I love that Mara has the tenacity and drive to face her odds and still win out. She’s a strong soldier and most definitely outrank the other officers she works with, but when she finally pairs with the skyhunter and they’re working together, that’s when the questions start getting asked and the answers start revealing themselves. So well done!