Thursday, December 29, 2016

Knitting Socks

I started knitting my first sock this fall, and now I want to knit a drawer-full for myself and give more away as gifts! But... I wish I had started with a different pattern, because the one I chose, The Time Traveler, uses a size 0 needle, and that is so small! 

I chose based on looking for an easy pattern, but I didn't realize what a difference it would make to use such a teeny, tiny needle. After many hours of knitting, I still only have a partial sock (the blue one on the right). 

Some brainstorm hit me and I realized that I could look for other patterns that use sock yarn but that also use larger needles, so I could knit faster. I found the one on the left above, Straightaway Socks, which is somewhat similar, but it uses size 2 needles. The striped partial sock on the left has come together so much faster! 

Also, my hands feel a lot better. Working with the size 0 needles, I tended to clench my hands up pretty tightly, to try to keep my stitches tight and even. I'd end up feeling pretty arthritic if I knitted for very long. It is really nice to knit the striped sock and feel like I'm not hurting myself. 

Of course my clenching is not the fault of the pattern! Maybe when I am a better knitter I will be able to knit with small needles with a more relaxed hand-posture. I also clench because I am afraid of stitches falling off the needles, even though I know how to pick up dropped stitches. And even though I increase my confidence every time I fix a mistake, I'd still rather avoid them altogether!

So now my inner debate is this: should I unravel the blue sock and use the yarn to make Straightaway Socks with the larger needles? I think I could knit two Straightaways faster than I could finish 1.25 Time Travelers. I really like how the Time Travelers look, but I also like the cushier feeling of the slightly looser knit of the Straightaways. They might feel a little better to wear. 

What would you do?

More info about my partial socks:

The blue yarn is Craftsy's Cloudborn Highland Superwash Sock Twist, which I dyed with indigo this summer. 

The Time Traveler pattern is by Liz Sedmak, and is available for free on Ravelry. It's toe-up, with flat stockinette stitch on the bottom of the foot, and ribbing on the top and all the way around after you knit the Fleegle heel. I haven't had any trouble with this as my first sock pattern, and I'm past the potentially tricky parts! So I feel like I can recommend this to beginner sock knitters, as long as are comfortable using teensy size 0 needles.

The striped yarn is Patons Kroy Socks yarn, which comes in a bunch of fun color combinations. I bought a few different colorways to make socks and hats. My feet are going to look so good! 

The Straightaway Socks pattern is from, and it's on sale for about $5, which includes the pattern and enough yarn to make the socks (it comes with Cascade Heritage yarn, not the Patons Kroy that I'm using). This one's also knit toe-up and it has ribbing all the way around, except for the toe and the afterthought heel. I have to knit another inch before I get to the heel, but it looks like the technique is just like how I've added 4 sweater sleeves before, and some thumbs on mittens, so I think it will be as easy as the sock has been so far. 

Do you have any favorite, easy-ish sock patterns?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

New Year Sewing Goals

It's almost a new year, and I've got a new blog and new sewing goals!

There are tons of things I'd like to sew, but this year I thought I'd make a more manageable list of sewing projects I'll try to complete, inspired by Rochelle at Lucky Lucille. I already have all these patterns and most or all of the materials that I'll need. 

I'm choosing 10 things, which seems manageable. I don't even have to sew one item a month! That should leave enough time to knit, crochet, paint, and make things with and for my kids, right?

I love the neckline on this one, and the uneven split hem. I may not make the back quite as long as shown, but I'll check out some reviews and see how it looks on different people. 

I am thinking of using the above blue fleece to make this, but I'm not sure if it will be stretchy enough. The pattern calls for fabric with at least 30% stretch. I'll have to test my fleece. If it won't work, I'm sure I have something stretchy in my fabric stash.

2. Button-up shirt

Archer Button Up from Grainline Patterns

Granville Shirt from Sewaholic Patterns

I want to make another button-up shirt this year. Last year I made a flannel Archer, and I do like that pattern. But it sounds interesting to make a more feminine-shaped shirt, like the Granville for my next one. I have this flamingo fabric awaiting my decision:

Cotton + Steel Rifle Paper Co. Les Fleurs Lawn Flamingoes Ivory

I already know how the Archer fits, so I won't have to make a muslin. I probably wouldn't sew up the Granville without a muslin, since it's more form-fitting and might need adjustments. But if I have to make a muslin and adjustments, I might put it off forever. So I guess I'm leaning toward another Archer. 

3. Scout tees

Gingham Rayon Challis (seems to be unavailable)

I made a handful of Scout tees last year and I wore them a lot throughout the summer and fall. I may not make them out of all four of these fabrics, but I'd like to make at least a couple more. I think I can make them assembly line-style and bust out a few in one day or over a weekend. 

4. Driftless cardigan

I'm excited to whip up this charcoal cardigan and wear it for the rest of the winter. I think it's pretty simple to sew, so it shouldn't take long to make. 

5. Astoria sweatshirt

Double Knit Quilt Patch

I've been wanting to make this since it was released, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. The shape is really nice, and it will feel like a comfy sweatshirt, yet it will look a bit nicer than that. I think it will look great in this quilted double knit. 

6. Marianne dress


I've started sewing this dress already, so it should be quick to finish. The fabric is some jersey that I dyed last summer. I'm using a dark purple for the contrast fabric (where it's white in the photo above). I think this dress looks very cute and super comfortable, a great combination.

7. Coco dress

I want to make a sweatshirt fleece Coco dress. It would be so cozy with leggings!

8. Morgan jeans + Ginger jeans

My big sewing challenge for the year is going to be making jeans! I got some inexpensive denim from to make my (hopefully) wearable muslins and then some nicer Cone Mills denim from Threadbare Fabrics. I bought S-Gene denim, which has some lycra in it, for the Ginger skinny jeans and non-stretch, 100% cotton for the Morgan boyfriend jeans. 

I'm a bit intimidated but also excited about this new adventure!

9. Lottie dress

Do I have time to make this for New Year's Eve? We're going to a party, after years of staying in on NYE. I think it will be pretty casual, so it might be fun to meld fancy-ish metallic fabric with a more casual shape.

10. Toaster sweaters

I made a Sweater #1 already, and now I want to make Sweater #2 and maybe another #1. These are very fast to sew, so I think I can knock out a couple in one afternoon.

Whew! Those are my 10 planned patterns to sew, though I totally cheated and actually planned 15 garments, plus 2 jeans muslins. And I still want to make some Hudson pants, too. I will have to think up some strategies to keep my kids busy and happy while I sew! Or maybe learn to sew faster.

Are you planning your sewing projects for the year, or just winging it? When you make a plan, do you feel like you must stick to it, or do you allow yourself to veer off if you change your mind?