Knitting & Crocheting Blog Week: Day Four – Where are they now?

Day Four! πŸ™‚

Today’s question:

Whatever happened to your __________?
Write about the fate of a past knitting crochet project. Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another person. An item that lives with you or something which you sent off to charity.

I started looking back through my blog the other night. I decided to talk about my first Ravelympics project. Here’s the post from when I crossed the finish line back in August of 2008. Oh, and here’s the picture of it:

The details, for those interested, are as follows:

Yarn: Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (80% Acrylic, 16% Wool, 4% Rayon), 7 skeins
Pattern: Coziest Sweater by Mari Lynn Patrick as found in Crochet Today, Nov/Dec 2007
Start Date: August 8, 2008
Finish Date: August 23, 2008

Okay, so what happened with that sweater? Well, it’s in my “cold weather” space bag. I think I’ve worn it once.

It looks fabulous on me, the colors are great, the fit is perfect, it’s a long tunic sweater which looks great over jeans.

Two problems:

1) The yarn turned the lightweight camisole I had on underneath into a fuzzy blue monster (in other words, it sheds like crazy). But, the stitches are just open enough that I’m not comfortable wearing it without something underneath it. Also, see #2.

2) I live in Florida. FLORIDA. The only time it gets cold enough to wear this sweater, everyone is running the heat inside buildings. So, I can only wear this thing if I’m going to be outside all day long and not go inside. Because going from 40 outside (which we consider very cold, thank you) to 78-80 inside, makes me cranky when I’m wearing wool (even if it is only 16% wool, that’s apparently more than enough). Taking off the sweater once I’m inside is not a possibility because see #1.

Vicious cycle I find myself in. Ugh. I keep it, because I do love it. And I keep hoping the day will come when I’ll be up north in the winter and can wear it over jeans with some comfy and cute boots on and be totally comfortable out in the snow. πŸ™‚

This was the second real sweater I’ve ever made. And it was the last. There’s just no point here. I have lightweight sweaters (store bought) that I use to layer when it does get cold and I’m going to be outside.

Sorry for the short post today, but we’re surrounded by tornado warnings today (my sister had one cross by her house a few miles away). So, quick posting between storm bands and then I’m going back to watching the pretty weather maps.

Stay tuned, I’ll have a post each day through Sunday, answering the prompts given at Eskimimi Knits’ site. If you want to read the rest of the blogs that are also posting, you can do a google search on this term: 2KCBWDAY4. Everyone participating will have that term in their post and you can follow along that way. πŸ™‚

Knitting & Crocheting Blog Week: Day Three – Tidy Mind, Tidy Stitches

It’s Day Three!

Here’s today’s prompt:

How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised?

Ah, funny you should ask this today! Tomorrow the Knit and Crochet Show will release the info about the classes for the summer show before registration opens on April 7th. Why am I mentioning this? Because, I’m teaching a class on organizing your space at the summer show! I hope you’ll come out and take the class, we’re going to have lots of fun. I’ve been gathering all kinds of cool info to share.

Anyway, how do I organize my yarn?

As you may have read back in my designing series, I live in a 225 square foot room in my parents’ home. It was the old family room, so it does not have closets. Let me go fix a cup of coffee while that sinks in for you: I live in a tiny room with no closets and I’m a designer.

Ok, I’m back, have you processed that? Yeah. I won’t even discuss the fact that this house was built in the 70s so I only have one outlet on each wall. πŸ™‚

Anyway, for new readers, in this tiny little room I have bedroom stuff, living room stuff, and a full studio. 225 square feet. I’m not a math person by any means, but I can tell you that’s too much stuff and not a lot of room.

However, I have gut checks with everyone who comes in my room and other than a tiny little spot against the wall that holds luggage totes, nothing looks too cluttered. I also declutter every week because I’ve watched too many episodes of Hoarders. If you can watch that show and not go and declutter something in your house, you’re a stronger person than me.

My room is divided into zones. Unfortunately, when I got my comfy chair I had to move my zones around a bit. So, my divider wall that I used to have by my table is now against the wall by my bed. It works there, I use the top half for a bookcase and the bins for holding swatches and projects.

My yarn, though, my yarn lives under my table. Here, let me show you it:

This is an older photo, and I’ve added a few since then (but there’s not a lot of light in here right now, so no new photos). I use plastic bins and at some point I will buy all matching ones (since it will make it easier to stack them). My yarn is divided mostly by fiber:

Big plastic bin: Acrylic (mostly Red Heart, TLC, etc)
Skinny plastic bin: Simply Soft & other Caron yarns (I’ve just always kept them separate)
Brown bin: Cottons
Green bin: Misc yarns I either need soon for swatching or yarns I can’t figure out where to put them (this bin doesn’t have a lid, so it becomes my “Gotta refile that yarn” bin and every week or so I go through and put yarn away)
Big clear bin: Thread….holy cow do I have a lot of thread
Skinny plastic bin: Wools
Little plastic bin: Lace weight yarns

Over in my storage unit there is a special cloth bin for sock yarn because that is holy and should be treated with respect. Amen.

Every few months I go through and take a hard look at my yarn and destash a lot of it. Last time I did this I gave away a huge black garbage bag full of yarn. And I’m still left with bins that are stuffed full. And it just keeps coming in (as I stare at a stack of yarn I just got for a project).

Organizing is an ongoing process. It’s not something you do and then you’re done. Unless you don’t interact with the stuff you’ve just organized. Otherwise, you have to constantly go back through things and see what’s working and what’s not. The reason my yarn got reorganized was because it wasn’t working for me anymore. It’ll probably get reorganized again once I go through to destash a second time.

So, a bit of a shorter post today (I can’t give away all my secrets that I’ll be teaching about!), but I hope it helped you. Until tomorrow!

Stay tuned, I’ll have a post each day through Sunday, answering the prompts given at Eskimimi Knits’ site. If you want to read the rest of the blogs that are also posting, you can do a google search on this term: 2KCBWDAY3. Everyone participating will have that term in their post and you can follow along that way. πŸ™‚

Knitting & Crocheting Blog Week: Day Two – Skill + 1UP

Today’s question:

Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?

This one is easy.

You know this design?

Photo copyright Interweave and used with permission

A year ago, the only Tunisian crochet I’d done were small swatches. I’d played with it, doing little squares to make sure I understood the process. But that was it. I even taught my crochet group at the time how to do the little squares. We did the three main stitches and that was it. But I was scared to actually do a project.

At the holidays that year (2009) I got a set of Tunisian hooks to play with. It’s this set from Amazon. I love them, by the way. Such a great range of sizes.

Anyway, I figured it was time to do something in Tunisian. So in January 2010, I put together my proposal for Interweave. And I did my swatch in Tunisian. As I worked it, I realized that it made the construction a lot easier because the edges look like crochet stitches, too.

When it was accepted, I realized that I now had to put it together. I was nervous, I’m not ashamed to admit that. But, sometimes I learn best by diving in with a deadline.

So I did. It was a lot easier than I thought it was, which is why I think the wrap is a great first Tunisian project. If I can do it, so can you!

There’s still skills I want to learn (but I won’t go into that now…that’s a later post this week), but I’m going to try to learn them on my own without submitting designs for them first. πŸ™‚

Stay tuned, I’ll have a post each day through Sunday, answering the prompts given at Eskimimi Knits’ site. If you want to read the rest of the blogs that are also posting, you can do a google search on this term: 2KCBWDAY2. Everyone participating will have that term in their post and you can follow along that way. πŸ™‚

Knitting & Crocheting Blog Week: Day One – A Tale of Two Yarns

Hooray! It’s time for Knitting and Crocheting Blog Week!

Today’s question:

Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

I’m going to do a tale of four yarns (gotta do things differently) only because I want to talk about two mass market yarns and two yarn shop yarns. Also, I’m going to talk about yarns that I love. πŸ™‚

Mass Market Yarns

I have many favorite mass market yarns. I think this happened because I don’t have a local yarn shop really local to me. And when I started crocheting in full force I didn’t know there were shops that were dedicated to just yarn.

Okay, the first yarn that is my go-to yarn in my stash for most gifts (especially if they’re afghans) is Red Heart Super Saver. I know, many people hate it. I don’t. Is it scratchy sometimes when working it up? Sure. But a quick wash in the machine with some fabric softener and it’s awesome. I’ve made every single blanket I’ve made for my niece out of this yarn. And all of them have held up. Even the ones she dragged behind her as a little kid. The color range is awesome. And I’m always amazed at the new colors that come out each year.

The blankets I made for my niece and step-niece

Photo of Spectrum Afghan made for Coats and Clark

In fact, I’m busting through my stash of it right now working on the 63 Cable Stitches book to make myself a long overdue afghan. See, it’s summer right now (yes, I’m aware it’s almost April, but this is Florida) and working on the bigger scrap afghan I was working on has to be put away until winter. It’s just too hot to have an afghan on my lap. So, an afghan out of squares is perfect.

Photo of my WIP of the 63 Cable Stitches pattern

Anyway, I also love to “kill” Red Heart Super Saver. That sounds horrible, doesn’t it? What I mean by that, is that my favorite way to block Super Saver is with steam. I pin the item to measurements (perfect with motifs) and then hit it with steam from my garment steamer. I love watching it relax. Now, I wouldn’t do this for everything, but for things like afghans, I love having it relax and get a bit more drape.

Josalynne’s Garden Afghan from Crochet World, first afghan I “killed” the motifs on to help them relax

My other favorite mass market yarn is Naturally Caron Spa. This bamboo blend yarn is just sumptuous. It holds up well to wear (I have a pullover out of it) and can be washed in the machine (love that). The one thing that would make me love it more? More colors! Oh, and maybe a fingering weight, but that’s the designer in me talking.

Spa is super soft, though, and holds up really well while crocheting with it. It’s also very lightweight, something that’s great here in Florida. I haven’t done many things with it because I just haven’t had the time. But, I did design and make this pullover in it:

My design, not written down yet, I need to make another one since I can’t read my notes

Local Yarn Shop Yarns

I fell in love with Rowan Calmer when I got it as a gift. Helps that it was in purple (y’all might detect a theme there). πŸ™‚ It’s a cotton and acrylic blend. It was so soft and luxurious to work with. I immediately started crocheting up a Doris Chan pattern and this has become one of my favorite crocheted tops. It even ranks higher than my own designed pullover. It has held up well since I crocheted the top in 2009.

Runaround pattern from Doris Chan’s book Everyday Crochet

My other new favorite local yarn shop yarn is Zitron Noblesse. It’s a Merino and silk blend tonal yarn. I received it to make the sample for the Red Rocks Wrap that was in Interweave Winter. When I opened the box I gasped. When I opened the bag the yarn was in, I was in love. This yarn is so soft and yummy and the tonal shifts are amazing. If I could have kept the extra yarn, I would have. So luxurious. It was fabulous to crochet with. I’m still convinced that it was the yarn that took this design from cool to absolutely amazing.

Photo copyright Interweave and used with permission

By no means are the yarns I listed here my only favorites. I have a ton of other yarns I love and will use for various projects. And while there are yarns I don’t like, for the most part it’s not that I don’t like the yarn itself…it’s that the yarn is hard to work with here in Florida (looking at you bulky weight yarns). πŸ™‚

Stay tuned, I’ll have a post each day through Sunday, answering the prompts given at Eskimimi Knits’ site. If you want to read the rest of the blogs that are also posting, you can do a google search on this term: 2KCBWDAY1. Everyone participating will have that term in their post and you can follow along that way. πŸ™‚

Organizing tool I love

Oh, I know, a rather boring topic. πŸ™‚ But, next week I’m doing the Blog Week so the stuff I thought about talking about today will fit in the topics for that, and well, I needed to save it.

However, as I stated back in my designing series, organizing is a constant thing that always changes. Well, at least it does for me. I’m always finding new and better ways to organize my time, my space, my stuff.

Now, for those who know me well, know that I thrive on to do lists. I have multiple ones. Probably not the best option, but because I have a lot of different types of things going on, I need different lists for each one. I have a general master list, I have lists for each project, I have lists for each section of my business, and I have my weekly and daily to-do lists. What I didn’t have was one place where I could write down everything, move it around easily, edit easily, and have multiple sub tasks. I’ve tried every task manager I could find online and on my iPod. I also use a regular Day Timer, but this holds only my weekly and daily lists otherwise I get overwhelmed.

Last week I was reading through many of the blogs I follow, and the website Workflowy was mentioned. I checked it out because it was free and I was curious.

Well, I then spent the next hour setting up my list. I have everything I need to do written out. For me, my main “tasks” are: “Accepted Projects” (things with deadlines), “Fibers By Tracie line” (you know, ’cause this is the one thing that I end up letting go by the wayside when I get busy), “Submissions” (one of those many plates I have to keep spinning), “Classes” (since I’m working on my lesson plans), “Long Range Planning” (self explanatory), and then I have a couple other items that are more personal. Underneath each of these I have many many subtasks (and some going even deeper in subtasks).

The things I love about this website? Oh, let me count the ways:

1. I can expand and collapse as much as I want. So, I can show the one thing I’m working on as expanded and everything else doesn’t distract me.

2. I can have as many items as I want. There is no limit that I’ve found yet.

3. I can move items around. Sometimes due dates change, or something new comes in that’s due before something already on the list…now I can move things around with no trouble.

4. When something is done, I mark it as complete and a happy little line goes through it.

5. If I get too many crossed out things, I can hide completed items with the click of a button.

6. It automatically saves as I type. (Awesome!)

7. I can delete items easily.

8. It’s clean and streamlined and not cluttered by buttons and forms and all that.

9. It’s super easy to use.

10. It fits my needs.

Yeah. No, I’m not being paid by them. I’m just so incredibly happy to find something that works for the way my brain works. When I tweeted about this the day after I found it, one of my designing friends commented “It’s like having my brain on paper”. Yes. This. Exactly.

Now, it is not a time management tool. This is not a scheduler. It’s not a calender. It is simply a dynamic to-do list.

And that’s all I need. I use a paper calendar backed up with a Google calender. Yes, I somewhat believe in redundancy in my scheduling programs. But that’s my issue. πŸ™‚

So, if you’re like me and love to-do lists, but need something to hold your entire “brain”, then give this a try. It’s free, and it works.

Announcement!

Knitting and Crocheting Blog week 2011

I’m going to participate in the Knitting and Crocheting Blog Week this year (I just heard about it, so spread the word to your favorite bloggers!). So, from March 28 to April 3, you’re going to get a post a day from me. I know, shocking! πŸ™‚

You can click on the link below the photo above to find out more information. Let me know if you’re going to participate, too! I hope you’ll come back to check out what I’m going to blog about. πŸ™‚

Two new patterns out

I’m so excited to be able to tell you about two new patterns of mine that are out now! Both patterns use new yarns and so I get to tell you about them, too!

The first one can be found in Crochet World April 2011 issue. Glitterbug is made out of Simply Soft Party and came about during the Knit and Crochet Show last year. Michele Maks took my amigurumi class and we met afterwards to talk about designs. I sketched this out for her and had it to her a month or so later.

Okay, here’s a picture of the little guy:

Photo copyright DRG

I just love him so much! Let me tell you about the yarn. Simply Soft Party is all the goodness of Simply Soft with a metallic thread running through it. Now, metallic threads tend to feel itchy to me, but this is actually soft. How soft? Well, at that same conference, I had a crocheted chain of it (double stranded) around my neck as a choker for the Dance Party. I never noticed it on because it was that soft.

The other great thing about the metallic thread? It’s the same color of the yarn it’s in. Which gives it a very subtle glitz. I really love it and can’t wait to design a few more things in it.

So, I hope you’ll check out the April issue and give it a try. It’s a great beginner amigurumi pattern. The only sewing you have to do is to sew the legs and antenna on. The body is made in one piece. Oh, and here’s the Ravelry Link.

The second pattern is a great home piece. It’s a quick project and can dress up the little storage ottomans that you can get at Target for under $20. It’s simple to make and works up fast because it’s a chunky yarn.

Here’s a pic:

Photo copyright Coats & Clark

The Granny Ottoman Cover (Ravelry Link) is made with the new Red Heart Super Saver Chunky. This yarn is just as hard working as regular Red Heart Super Saver, but in a new speedy weight. This will be a great yarn for making thick scarves and hats or quick afghans. Or, ottoman covers!

I hope you check out both of these patterns and if you give them a try, let me know!

I should hopefully have a few more patterns to show you soon. I’ve seen them in the newest Aunt Lydia’s catalog (oh, could that mean they’re thread items?) and once they get them up on the website, you will hear about them.

Also, speaking of thread, there’s a CAL over on the Fibers By Tracie group on Ravelry for the Natural Beauty Wrap. We’re running until the end of April because we’re all so busy. I do hope you’ll come on by and check it out and join us! There will be prizes!

Okay, gang, that’s all for this week! I hope you have a fabulous week!

National Crochet Month Treasure Hunt 2011

National Crochet Month Treasure Hunt 2011

Win a Fabulous Crochet Gift Basket!

In honor of National Crochet Month 2011, Fibers By Tracie is partnering with Crochetville and a number of indie designers, spinners, dyers, and hook and toolmakers for the Crochetville NatCroMo 2011 Treasure Hunt.

Each indie business has donated one or more special items for a super-special crochet gift basket that will be presented to one lucky winner by March 31.

The following contest logo has been hidden somewhere on each indie business’s website:

Contest participants will have to find the logo on each indie business’s website. Entry forms may be submitted from March 8 through 11:59 PM CST March 25, 2011. Participating businesses will hide the logo on their site by March 8, so please don’t begin searching until the evening of March 8.

Click here to visit the Crochetville site for complete contest details and an entry form!

List of Participating Businesses

Crochet Renee

Cute Crochet

Edgery Doo

Fibers By Tracie

Jelly Yarns

KRW Knitwear Designs

Poetry in Yarn

Positively Crochet

Now, I’m gonna tell you a secret…you’re not going to find the logo on my website. πŸ™‚ Part of that is because I need to move the site and haven’t made changes to it in a while over on the current server. But, if you go to my sidebar (which means if you’re reading this on a reader, you need to click through to the actual blog), you’ll find an interesting little link where you might maybe find the treasure photo. Just saying. πŸ˜‰ I can’t give it away, y’all gotta work for it.

But do check out everyone’s websites!

Oh, and what did I donate? An autographed copy of the Southern Lights Cowl pattern. Yes, a hard copy, in a sheet protector, with my messy little autograph on it. Looking at the list of participants, this is gonna be a cool gift basket. You should totally try to win it! πŸ™‚

I’ll have another post later this week (maybe, unless I hold it for next week) to announce a few other patterns of mine that have come out. Until then, have a fabulous week everyone!

I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting Socks by Karen Ratto-Whooley

Photo copyright Leisure Arts and used with permission

Okay, so everyone who knows me knows that I love crocheted socks. My sock yarn stash has a special bin that I can reach at any time. If I have extra money to spend, it will often go to sock yarn. This is because, to me, socks are the perfect travel project. They fit in my purse, are easy to do on a plane or bus, and allow me to make something for myself in a short amount of time. I actually bought a pair of shoes that show off my crocheted socks and wear them proudly to any yarn event. My socks never match my outfit, and I don’t worry about that.

See?

So when I heard that my dear friend and fellow designer, Karen Ratto-Whooley, was coming out with a sock book, I was so excited. When she asked me to do a stop on her blog tour, I was over the moon. The book is I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting Socks and is published by Leisure Arts.

First off, a little about Karen. She is so completely awesome. I met her in person at the 2010 Knit and Crochet Show. We clicked instantly and hung out most of the weekend. Unfortunately, we were so busy chatting and having fun that we failed to get a photo together. And of course, we didn’t notice that until we were back at our respective homes. She is the utmost professional, and a very talented designer.

Okay, so the book. When I got it in the mail, I dropped everything and immediately flipped through it. This book is so very well put together. She explains the parts of the sock, the differences in fiber types, and all the tools you’ll need to make socks. Once you get addicted like we are, you’ll start keeping a whole kit together just for your sock projects. Go ahead and set it up now, you’ll thank me later.

One thing I love about this book is there are two patterns explaining the basic sock methods: Toe up and Cuff Down. And Karen has written the patterns where you can change color in each different part of the sock. It’s not necessary, but if you’re making socks for the first time, this is really great to understand the concept of what you’re doing. I love it.

Basic Toe Up Socks. Photo copyright Leisure Arts and used with permission

Basic Cuff Down Socks. Photo copyright Leisure Arts and used with permission

Another thing I love about this book is the patterns themselves. There’s a great mix between toe-up and cuff down. There are two socks sized for men (which after making socks for my dad and brother after extrapolating a pattern I typically used, this is a great thing…less math for me!). All the sock patterns suggest sock yarn, which means these will fit in your shoes! Also, no seaming (unless you’re doing cuff down, then you just have to close up your toe)!

Ripple Socks. Photo copyright Leisure Arts and used with permission.

These ones are my favorites and the ones I’m currently working on. I’d hoped to have at least one to show you, but life got in the way and I didn’t get them finished in time. But they will be done soon and I’ll blog about them! These are the Ripple Socks and the pattern is very easy to understand. I will share one bit of advice. Trust Karen. Seriously. She knows what she’s doing. I had a moment where I thought, “Hmmm, that’s different than I usually do it, I better be prepared to fudge it to make it work.” But you know what? I didn’t have to. It was perfect.

The photography is fabulous in this book. Especially in the first two patterns which are broken down like tutorials. Perfect for new sock crocheters. The patterns are clearly written. Everything you need to know is there. If you’ve ever thought of crocheting socks, this is the book to get.

Now, I wanted to do a question and answer with Karen, so here we go:

Karen, as a fellow sock addict, I’m so thankful you did this book. Why do you love crocheting socks so much?

There are lots of reasons! They are fast and portable. A whole lot faster than knitting socks! I love all of the self-striping and long-striping yarns available in sock weight yarns. I end up crocheting a whole lot longer because I want to see “what the next color will do”. And then when that color is done, I want to see the next one. LOL!

Many crocheters seem to be afraid of crocheting socks. Why do you think that is?

Honestly, I think crocheters are intimidated by the size of the yarn. When you see a knitter knitting socks, they are using very small needles (Size 0 sometimes!) That is not true with crochet. I actually encourage using a larger hook than you would normally in order to get the drape and elasticity needed for socks. Crochet is already dense. The larger hook helps reduce that density.

The other thing I think that crocheters don’t realize is that you can use sock yarns. So many patterns in the past use sport or worsted weight yarns. The result is “slipper-like” socks, that won’t fit in a shoe, and many times are so bulky that most people don’t like the way they look. By using sock yarns with a slightly larger hook, the result is a sock that can be worn and is lovely to look at.

What would be your advice for a crocheter trying socks for the first time? Should they do one of the tutorial patterns in a larger yarn? I know you suggest a “light” yarn for those. Do you find this helps the crocheter learn the steps before committing to smaller sock yarn?

If a crocheter hasn’t made socks before, I would say, definitely try the cuff-down tutorial pattern first. Try using the sock yarn first, but if you are struggling, then go up to sport or worsted weight. Once you can see what you are looking for, then bump back down to the sock yarn. The cuff-down sock would be the best for a first timer. Once that has been accomplished, the toe up will make more sense.

There are so many sock yarns on the market now. Do you have a favorite sock yarn? Do you prefer yarns that will stripe or just regular variegated yarns? What’s your go-to sock fiber?

I have to choose? LOL! I love the striping yarns, I love the variegated yarns. I love the solid colors. I think I pick my yarn based on the pattern. If there is a lot of detail in the sock pattern, I will gravitate toward a solid or a tonal yarn. If the sock is more basic, I will chose a striping or variegated yarn

As far as fiber, I really love yarns with bamboo in them. Not only are they soft, but they have a beautiful sheen. I always make sure that my yarns have a little wool or acrylic for those who might be allergic to wool. Wool and acrylic have more elasticity than cotton, silk or bamboo. Using a blend helps with fit! My LYS just got in a sock yarn with Cashmere. I haven’t tried that one yet, but just by touch I think that could be a new favorite.

What is your number one tip for sock crocheting success?

I think the best tip I have is to TRUST in the pattern. I teach that all the time in my sock classes. A lot of the time my students will start a toe-up sock and it just doesn’t look right to them at the beginning. Many times the pattern for a sock isn’t straight forward. But if you just trust and keep going, you will discover that it usually works out in the end.

Can I just toss in an “absolutely!” here? πŸ™‚

One of the complaints I hear about making socks (both by crocheters and knitters) is having to make two items from the same pattern. Any tips to help stave off the dreaded ‘second sock syndrome’?

Split your ball of yarn, and work both socks at the same time! If you purchase a large ball of yarn (350-450 yards in a single ball will usually make a pair of crocheted socks) have the LYS wind and split the ball evenly for you. If you have to do it yourself, use a kitchen scale that has grams. Weigh the ball before and then keep weighing until you have split the ball in two.

When working the pattern, do the cuff on one sock then do the cuff of the other. Then one leg, then the other. Same for the heels and foot and toe. It goes faster and you don’t have to remember for very long or have to write down your row counts as much if you do it this way. And it is something that knitters cannot do necessarily unless they know how to knit 2 at once on a circular. We just have to pull the hook out.

Confession time. I have nine pairs of completed crocheted socks and three pairs that just need some finishing (or are close to being done). Just how many pairs of crocheted socks do you have?

For myself, I only have 2-3 pairs. My kids each have more than that and even my husband has a pair. The rest of the socks have gone to either family, models for classes and/or books! Although I do have a pair that are in progress just for me! If I ever get a chance to get back to them!

I’m beginning to think I might have a problem now.

I’m a huge fan of toe-up socks because I hate that seam at my toe (and no matter how smoothly I try to do my whip stitching, I can always feel it). What’s your favorite direction to work your socks?

Toe up is definitely my favorite way as well. I am one of those people who doesn’t like to sew either. This way, I only have the ends to weave in.

However, there are times that the cuff down with the heel flap and gusset are better. I think for men’s socks especially. Men seem to have trouble with getting their feet into socks if it is too tight at the ankle. The way I do my short row heels help in the ankle area. And I am working now on a pattern with a toe up heel flap and gusset pattern, so that I can avoid that issue.

For people who may want a hands on lesson in learning to crochet socks, where can they take classes from you?

I regularly teach at Crochetville.org. I have 2 sock classes on the schedule there this year. Cuff down starts May 6th and Toe Up starts November 4th!

I am also starting to teach online at my website. The Crochet Learning Studio will be open this month, hopefully by March 7th, 2011 for registration. The link is http://www.krwknitwear.com/learningcenter. I have a newsletter there just for classes, so be sure to sign up if you are interested.

If you are local to me, I teach classes at Great Yarns! in Everett,WA http://www.greatyarns.com. Check the website for the class schedules.

I also teach nationwide. If you have a guild or a shop that might like to have me come and teach, let me know! I love to visit new places! I also teach at major events like Stitches and The Knit and Crochet Show. I always have my schedule on my website: http://www.krwknitwear.com.

I hope you enjoyed our visit with Karen today! If you love crocheting socks, get this book. If you’ve always wanted to try crocheting socks, get this book! You, too, will be saying, “I can’t believe I’m crocheting socks!”

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