Socks for Husband

At long last, Jon received his first pair of hand-knitted socks.  He likes to say that the more I love someone, the less often that person receives handmade items from me.  There does seem to be a strange correlation there.  But correlation does not prove causation!

The sock pattern is from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks.  The stitch repeat is called a railway stitch.  It is a simple pattern consisting of strictly knitted and purled stitches that results in an interesting textured fabric. 

I used Louet Gems fingering weight in caribou.  It's a soft yarn, but not as squishy as I prefer for a sock yarn.  Sometimes while knitting it felt more like string than yarn.  Yarn should have some stretch and puffiness to it, which this usually did.  But there were tight sections with almost no give whatsoever that prevents Louet from being my new favorite sock yarn.  It makes a nice sock, it just doesn't feel amazing to work with.

The worst part about knitting socks for Jon?  Size 13 feet.  I can't wait to make Mike a pair of size 16 socks.  It is amazing how much additional time it takes to knit the extra rows for a longer foot!  I was so excited to make socks for my comparably tiny feet -- because they would be smaller and also because it meant a new pair of socks for me!  :D


Revisiting Socks

After a small break in sock-making I made this pair for me.  The pattern came from Nancy Bush's book Knitting Vintage Socks.  I adjusted the pattern slightly by using only 60 stitches instead of the suggested 80.  Apparently I have narrow feet though I never thought so before I began making socks.  
The design on the sock is called a lozenge pattern.  It is a series of crisscrossing diamonds though it is a little difficult to make out in the picture unless you know what you are looking for.  I love diamond designs almost as much as I love spirals.  They are interesting to knit up and keep my interest as I go because it takes a bit of thought to figure out whether you are increasing the width of the diamond or decreasing and therefore where the purl stitches go.  I love to watch the diamonds take shape row by row.  

The yarn is by Austermann Step.  It is gorgeous, soft, squishy sock yarn.  I am in love with it and will definitely buy it again.  I got this yarn from The Loopy Ewe, my favorite yarn store.  If you are interested in visiting The Loopy Ewe online, I have a link on the right side bar under "favorite places."  You should check it out, it's awesome yarn!  The color I used for these socks is called Dune but there are loads of other equally beautiful colors made my Austermann Step.  Most or all of their yarn is self-striping.
I don't like trying to make my striped socks match exactly.  I prefer the fraternal twin look.  It gives the socks more character and makes it more obvious that I did not buy them.  Plus, Dobby would be proud.  Not being obsessive about matching exactly also prevents me from cutting off several feet of yarn in order to get to the same place in the striping patten.  Somehow I can never bring myself to cut the yarn to get to the beginning of the color sequence.  
Making this pair of socks has put me into a sock-knitting mood again.  I am now more than halfway finished with a pair for my husband too.  Yay socks!


A Jersey for Jenn

This is a jersey I customized for my sister-in-law. She recently lost her dad, who used to play minor league baseball, to cancer. My husband thought it would be more meaningful to get her a jersey like one he used to play in instead of just a card. He is so great at thinknig of gifts for people!

Jon found a jersey on ebay that was the same style as the one Jenn's dad wore to play. It had the team's name and logo on the front with a plain back. I made the letters and numbers and sewed them onto the back for the finished product pictured here.

I made the letters out of thick fusible interfacing and lining that would normally be used to line a dress. The lining was by far the closest match to the team name on the front for color and shine. It is a more flimsy material than the letters should be, but that is why I used the thick interfacing -- to make up for the thin lining.

To start, I traced the letters from the computer screen (we don't have a printer) from a font I downloaded at Abstract Fonts. The font matched the lettering on the players' jerseys very closely. The only difference was the curves, like in a "C" or "S" were softer on the actual jerseys. Not something a normal person would notice anyway. Just a crazy person like me. ;)

Next I cut out the characters from the tracing paper and traced them onto the interfacing. I cut those out and fused big squares of the red material onto the lettered interfacing. Since the red was such a thin fabric, it would have been nearly impossible to cut out the letters perfectly. But bonded to the interfacing, I was able to cut away the excess and ended up with a clean-cut letter (or number, as it were).

To make sure the name was in a straight line, I put masking tape along the lower line of where I wanted the letters. I put the tape on perpendicular to the pinstripes so that it would be straight. Then it was a simple matter to sew the letters into place. The pinstripes were a big help in making sure everything was straight up and down, especially for the numbers.

We framed the jersey with a picture of Jenn's dad to give to her.
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Grkmwk's Quilt

Another LibraryThing friend recently had a baby and this is the quilt I made for her. She had told me the nursery was a jungle theme especially with monkeys and giraffes. I searched online for monkey prints and found the one I used in the block centers. It was so cute I definitely wanted to use it but I didn't buy it right away from the website. A couple of days later at JoAnn's I found the same print! I was in shock. JoAnn's never has cool stuff! I immediately bought a bunch and chose the supporting fabrics based on the monkey print. The supporting fabrics all came from Hancocks-Paducah.

The quilt ended up being about 55"x55". I was very happy with how it turned out. Sometimes it's hard to know just how much I'll like a finished product until it is a finished product. I was thrilled with this one. The blocks with the monkeys in the center are called snowball blocks. The ones with the leafy print in the center are called puss-in-corner blocks.

Here is a close-up of the monkeys. I love all their facial expressions! Too cute! The quilting is also more visible here. I did an all over zigzag because such forms are common in African art. My main goal in choosing a quilting design was not to have really obvious distracting lines running through the monkey faces. To mark the lines, I applied 1" masking tape all over the quilt in a zigzag and then quilted above and below the tape, using the tape as a guide for straight lines and corners. When applying the tape, at first I tried to measure each piece so that it was straight by the numbers. After a few attempts, I switched to making the lines look straight. That worked much better.

The binding and the back of the quilt are giraffe print. It took me ages to find a giraffe print. I looked in local fabric stores and combed the internet with no luck. After about a week of searching, I was at a quilter's guild meeting and a fellow member passed around a catalog for Hancocks-Paducah. I thumbed through the catalog with very little hope of finding a giraffe print but behold! They had two different kinds! I've been a loyal customer ever since. The corner pictured also has my signature, which I stitched in the same light color as the giraffe print, making it blend in like a giraffe in the shade. Later I wondered whether I should have used green or orange thread, but too late for second guessing myself. The quilt has been shipped and received.
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