Fall into Socks

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I love the colors of these socks. They are the colors of Autumn to me. The yarn is slightly thicker, more of a sport weight than a fingering weight sock yarn and they are just the ticket for warm feet this winter. Want a pair?  Just $30 plus shipping and they also come in a colorway in shades of blue. Send me a message or use my store and I can custom make a pair for you.  (Some larger men’s sized will cost slightly more due to needing more than 100 g of yarn.) This pair is for a size US  8.5-9.5 woman’s shoe sized foot.  They were the first pair made on my 54 stitch cylinder and have a 2×1 rib stitch on the cuff and leg.  Look for these socks and more of my knitted items at the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati Fall Sale,  November 11-13.  There will be many handmade items by the artisans of the Guild available to purchase!

 

 

WiPs and FOs

I finished a WiP (work in progress) yesterday, Hyrna með krónuprjóni is finally finished after 7 years (approximately 6.75 of those years it was in a bag).  Now it is a FO (finished object). I will submit it to my Weaver’s Guild UFOFF (unfinished objects finally finished) Challenge Exhibit in a week and it will be on display in the guild gallery for a while beginning in May.
Here is a pic of it before being blocked.

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After soaking in a little warm water and Eucalan wool wash, she needs to be shaped and pinned out to dry. I folded it in half for blocking to save space (along with my back–bending over and pinning it out takes a while) andto  keep the symmetry.

HMK Blocking

Wet blocking is a transformative process that softens the yarn, lets the stitches settle into place, stretches out and shapes and opens the lace. When it is fully dry and you unpin it, the shawl keeps it shape.

HMK close up blocking

Have I said how much I love Old Shale lace?

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Socks in progress.  The pink pair is waiting patiently to be removed from the machine and have the toes grafted closed.

Pink Socks

They will be part of the basket my study group is putting together for a raffle at the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati for the Fiber Arts Fair we are having on April 30.  If you are interested in buying fiber art or making fiber art (members will be selling used equipment a tools and extra stash yarn) come to the Fair at the Guild House! I will have cowls, sock and some towels to sell.

I also finished up a pair of clogs for my 13 year old son. They were a collaborative effort.  I bought the yarn, my daughter did most of the knitting.  I finished the knitting, sewed them up and felted them. Here they are pictured with my size 8.5 foot.

Peters Clogs

He has outgrown two pairs (grown 8 inches in the last year), here is the first pair I knit Pair 1 and a post when I was working on his second pair. (for some reason I didn’t take a pic after they were finished) so the new ones are bigger than his size 10 feet to have a little growing room.

 

 

 

Camo Socks

Camo socks
I have begun breaking in my 72 stitch cylinder and ribber dial and can now make nice men’s socks sized small (shoe size 8-9) and medium (shoe size 10-11). I knit these for my son in his favorite color green that is called “Camo”. His dad wants a pair now too, so it’s a good thing I have more of this yarn. I think they will be very popular! These socks have a 1×1 ribbed cuff and a 3×1 ribbed leg. I am working on a pair with a 2×2 ribbed cuff and leg. It requires a different type of cast on and I almost had it the other day, but when I took the ribber off, I saw that I had missed one stitch on the back half of the cylinder.

I may need to save up for a larger cylinder and ribber dial for large men’s socks, but will get some advice from the other crankers at the Crank in next month at the Cape on whether I should get the 80 or 84 stitch combination.

Do you like my sock stretchers?  I got them yesterday at the estate sale of a weaver.  There was quite a lot of yarn, books, and weaving tools, but I spotted these and snatched them up first thing.  They are vintage men’s stocking stretchers.  Before there was such as thing as  superwash yarn, the wool socks would shrink when washed and needed to be stretched out as they dried to maintain the size. (Since I use a superwash wool/nylon blend, I don’t have to worry about that, and they can even be machine washed on gentle.) I think they are a great way to feature my men’s socks and will look good when I get enough inventory to have a booth at a show.

Be Kind To Your Socks

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Now that I am selling more of my Measured Steps socks, I thought I would put up a post about caring for them.  I typically use high quality German sock yarns when I knit.  They are a superwash wool/nylon blend, which means that you can machine wash, gentle cycle and tumble dry on the lowest heat setting if you so desire.  But, I always recommend to hand wash, lay flat to dry or drape over a towel bar.  I use mild shampoo and lukewarm water, let them soak in the sink while I take a shower, rinse and squeeze out water, roll in a towel and press on it get out even more water.  An occasional rinse with hair conditioner is nice too.  If you lay them on a heat vent, they will dry overnight. You can wear them two times before washing if you let them air out between wearings.

They should not shrink appreciably in the washing machine and dryer if you follow the instructions from the yarn company, but there is abrasion in washer agitation and tumble drying which can cause the wool to pill and look worn sooner than if you hand washed your socks. If you insist on machine washing, turn them inside out and put them in a lingerie bag to keep them from rubbing and getting snagged on things. The good thing about the yarn is you won’t ruin your socks if they end up the the washer/dryer by accident, but if you treat them kindly you will keep them looking their best and lasting longer. I also recommend not walking around in your stocking feet in the house. Put some slippers on,e specially if you have rugs (friction again).  Keep your toenails trimmed to help keep the toes from wearing out.  Yes your socks will eventually wear out, but I usually get 3-4 years of frequent wear out of a pair of socks made with good quality sock yarn.

Sock Hop

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I have started cranking out some socks again. Above is a pair I knit for me out of Berocco Sox Corib. Now I am working with my warm German sock yarns that you can see pictured below.  I bought some some collections, so they will have similar patterns within the collections, but different colorways. Some are very bright and some are more subdued and conservative. (Plus I have a new colorful collection of Opal Potpourri yarn on the way and will post those pics as soon as they arrive.)   If you want a particular size and colorway, let me know and you can choose from the sets below.  Normally $28 a pair but friends and family can order a pair for $25 (if paid by cash or check (ladies sizes) until the day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday November 25.  I can usually have them ready within a week but will let you know if they will take longer. Shipping is not included. Men’s sizes will take longer since I want to get the ladies sizes knit first. I need to switch out cylinders re-set the machine for a larger foot size. That all takes time and I prefer to knit as many as I can on one cylinder before switching it out.) Extra large men’s feet (above size 12) may cost more if I have to use more than one ball of yarn (in that case heels, toes and perhaps cuffs will need to be knit in a solid coordinating color which I have to buy). Send me a message through the contact form here or on my Measured Threads Facebook page if you want some. 

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Over the Rainbow Collection (numbered from the top row left to right as #1  to #4 &  bottom left to right as #5 to #8)

   

Hot Socks

Hot Socks Collection (numbered from the top row left to right as #1  to #3 &  bottom left to right as #4 to #6)

 

Morning Dew

Morning Dew Collection (numbered from the top row left to right as #1  to #4 &  bottom left to right as #5 to #8)

 

Fiber Arts Sale

IMAG3190I am selling some of my handmade items at the upcoming Fiber Arts Sale at the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati.  The sale begins Friday, November 13 at 4 p.m. and continues on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. The work of many skilled artisans of the guild will be available to purchase for yourself or for Christmas gifts that show you care enough to give hand-made. My cowls that are pictured here are hand-knit with luxurious merino wool hand dyed in Uruguay by a family business (Malabrigo Yarn) that hires local women, uses environmentally friendly dyeing practices, and sources the wool from non-mulsed sheep that are shepherded in the hills of Uruguay. They are a warm and cushy fashion statement.  If you can’t make it to the sale, contact me about knitting one just for you!

Some of my indigo dyed, shibori style cotton napkins are also in the sale.  They are priced for sale in pairs so that you can make a set of 2, 4, 6 or more, and each napkin is unique.  Indigo is a classic color and shibori-inspired fashion and home decor items are really trending right now. They sure make a for snazzy table at a dinner party or just for you family meals.IMAG2998

I have a dye day coming up and can make more napkins, along with generously sized silk scarves that flatter everyone.

I also have submitted handwoven cotton and linen towels to the sale. The warp is ring spun natural cotton and the weft is a blue cotton/linen blend.  Each has a unique weaving pattern. They are individually priced, so you can buy one, two, or all four if you get there in time! Want to commission a set of towels for a gift? Contact me and I can make something similar to meet your needs.
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The Weavers Guild is located at 480 Gray Road, near Spring Grove Cemetery. I’ll be there from 4-8 p.m. on Friday evening.  Get there Friday if you want the best selection, there is always a line waiting to get in.

Loom Heaven

2015-08-06 13.40.36I recently returned from a vacation to the Red River Gorge area of Kentucky. We decided to make a little detour to the town of Berea on our way home. Berea has a lively artisan community, due in great part to the presence of Berea College where admitted students (primarily low income student from Appalachia) can attend tuition free by working 10-15 hours a week in the  Student Crafts program. They are producing traditional Appalachian style crafts in ceramics, woodworking, jewelry making, broom making, basket making and of course, weaving, which is the heart of their Student Crafts program.

2015-08-06 13.39.36I visited the weaving studio and talked for over an hour with Amy Judd, the Weaving Supervisor. She graciously showed me around and we talked about looms and weaving for over an hour. Amy shared with me some of the unique problems of running a large production studio that the usual home weaver doesn’t have. (Trying to get enough yarn of the same dye lot to warp 100 yards for a blanket warp!) I got some tips on warping my sectional beams on my looms from one cone of yarn rather than multiple packages by using a tension box with a chained warp that is two or three times the length of my needed warp. She fired up the AVL loom to show me the student designed draft they were working on for bread cloths with 10/2 cotton which will be a new item in their line of products. They weave two items side by side with cutting lines and sewing lines so they can have fringe on all 4 sides.

She also sat down at the loom with the fly shuttle, automatic advance and a sandpaper beam and roller system to show me how it worked.

This set up allows them to put on very long warps for production weaving. They do not wind the finished cloth onto a beam, but let it hang down until it is finished. Space is left for fringe and the weaver begins the next blanket. The blankets can be cut off as they are woven without having to retie the warp to a cloth beam, it is just held under tension between the beam and roller in front and never has to be retied.  This is a great time-saver.

2015-08-06 13.40.47 You can see the woven cloth hanging loosely in this picture on the left.  It takes a path between the sandpaper beam and a lower roller and keeps the tension on the warp that way.

 

 

 

tying on new warpThe studio has certain looms set up for certain projects and always tie the new warp onto the old one so that they don’t have to re-thread the heddles each time and introduce threading errors in the new warp.  In this photo on the right, one of the student workers is tying on a new placemat warp.

If you are interested in buying their products, you don’t have to go to Berea (although I highly recommend a visit there).  You can purchase their handcrafted items online.

Measured Steps Socks

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Treat your feet & buy yourself a pair today!

Do you know how hard it is to take a good picture of your own feet?  I have gotten better at it over the years since I have always loved handknit socks and enjoyed documenting my creations on Ravelry, Facebook and my blog. Now I am selling my own line of handmade socks.

These short Measured Steps socks are fun and funky sport socks of a machine washable and dryable, 50% merino wool, 25% rayon from bamboo and 25% nylon blend yarn. They are soft and comfortable and handmade on my circular sock knitting machine. You. can read more about that here.  They are made with the ideal yarn for summer socks, wool for moisture control and softness, bamboo for coolness, and nylon for durability.

Because I got the yarn at a good price, I am just getting started in the business and want you all to know the joy of handmade socks, I am currently taking orders for women’s sizes 6-9 and offering them for a special introductory price of $14 a pair to my readers and friends (paid in cash and picked up). If you want them mailed to you, it will be an extra $2 to cover Paypal fees and postage. There is a limit of one pair per person at this special price and you must order by Friday, May 22. If you are local, use the “contact” form in the right sidebar (or below if you are on mobile) to let me know. If you are out of town, please place your order through my store.  In either case, I will contact you for color and sizing details and let you know how long it will be before I can get them made.

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The colors available right now are below.  Your computer screen may render the colors slightly different than the actual color, but they are very close on my screen.

Yarn #s 1 & 2 on the right will produce a “Fairisle” look like the pair above.

yarn choices

click for bigger picture

 

The yarns on the left (#s 3,4 & 5) will produce a striped pattern similar to this.

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Again, send me a note using the contact form to order or use my store if you are out of town.

 

False Starts

I have had some false starts getting to know my circular sock machine (csm).  There is a huge learning curve and I actually think it is harder than hand-knitting a sock with double pointed needles.  One little misstep, and you have to start over.  I have had a lot of little missteps, but as always, learning from your mistakes and trying to fix them is the best way to learn.  I am really understanding the process now, I can pick up dropped stitches on the machine like a champ and have been able to crank out a complete short sock with a good heel and toe that fits.  It won’t be a pair, since I am working on sampling yarns and techniques right now.

I got the tension right to get a sock that fits well around the foot without being too loose and learned how many rows to crank for my foot size.  I even felt good enough about itto graft the toe closed. Many CSM knitters Kitchener from the inside (purl side) with the waste yarn in place, and it worked like a charm.  Maybe I will break out the good sock yarn in a day or two to try to make a complete pair.  Hopefully I can start reliably knitting socks for sale by June 1 and offering a service to knit sock with your yarn.

short csm sock

Sock Knitting Wins the War

wwi knit poster

In WWI our soldiers were suffering trench foot due to spending most of their time in the wet trenches on the front lines.  Often, it caused gangrene and resulted in amputation. They needed to change socks several times a day to avoid this.  An all out effort was made by the Red Cross to get people to knit all kinds of wool garments for the soldiers, especially socks. Wool is a miracle fiber, a fantastic insulator, naturally repels water for a time, can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture and still feel dry.  It can keep you warm even when wet.

 

Multiple songs were written about knitting for the soldiers. Here is one example that is specific about how important the socks were to these men.

Knit, Knit, Knit Sister Sue

“A soldier who was fighting with the enemy in back,
With bullets buzzin’ ’round his ears, took down his old knapsack.
He wrote a letter, on a shirt front Sister Susie sent
And then he went and got it signed by all his regiment.
He said ‘Dear Sue, we’re stong for you, you sew those shirts so neat.
But how are we to beat the foe when we’ve all got cold feet?     So—”

“Knit, knit, knit a little Susie,
For what good is a shirt
when all our ‘Tootsies’ hurt?
My poor big toe sticks out,
You know it doesn’t like the snow.
Oh my left foot is red white and blue.
‘Pon my sole, there’s a big blister too.
The soldiers toes are froze to bits,
‘Holy Hoses’ Susie,
It’s a long tramp, tramp to Tipperary
So knit, knit, knit Sister Sue.”

“Don’t knit them white,dear Sister Sue, ’cause white will be no use.
While hanging on the firing line, they’ll look like flags of truce.
Don’t knit the kind that’s itchy, Sister knit them nice and thick.
We’ll put on two pairs at a time and charge them double quick.
The socks we wore before the war are full of darn old darns.
They won’t be hard to make; the daily papers full of yarns.     So—”

Music: Raymond Walker, words: Chas. McCarron, 1914, Broadway Music Corp., NY.

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People would knit every where, even school children learned to knit socks and knit during breaks at school. People who couldn’t knit were urged to buy wool for the knitters and children were urged to do the housework for mom so she could spend her time knitting. The knitters could not keep up with the demand for socks since even a fast knitter could take up to a week to knit a pair. So, the International Red Cross gave people hand cranked circular sock knitting machines and wool if they promised to knit at least 30 pairs of socks for the war effort.  Knitting rooms were set up and production increased enough to help with the goal of knitting almost 400,000 pairs in 3 months that was set.  These Circular Sock Machines (CSMs) produced socks quickly and as high a quality (or better depending on the knitter) as those made by hand.

Antique CSMRecently there has been an interest developing in restoring and using these cranky old machines to knit with modern sock yarns. People love handknit wool socks, but again, they take so long to knit, that hand knitters can’t keep their own families in socks, much less knit them to make for gifts or to sell. To make it worthwhile to sell a pair, you would have to charge more than $100 if you wanted more than $2 an hour for your time.  (High quality sock yarn alone retails for $18-$25.) Finding parts to repair and cylinders to change the sock sizes in these antique machines has been a challenge. Enter PeeWee Erlbacher and the Erlbacher Gearhart Knitting Machine Company!

 

Wrapping up the Towels

CH Towel 1 CH Towel 2

CH Towel 3 2015-04-01 14.23.32

 

Pictured above are the 4 tea towels off my warp of 8/2 cotton woven with cotton/linen blend weft threaded in the Caroline Halvorsen pattern in Davison’s A Handweaver’s Pattern Book.  Each one is a different treadling pattern.  The fourth towel is my own treadling variation using an M and W treadling, but I think I like personally like pattern 3 the best.  I will probably keep one and sell the rest once I have them hemmed. They will $23 each right now to local folks who can pick one up and pay by cash or check, if you want one, send me a note.  I plan on creating a shop page before the end of April. If I use Etsy or another shopping cart service and take credit cards, the price will be higher due to their fees.   I have hand knitted cowls for sale as well and will post about those once I can get a couple of pictures taken.