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.

Jeans Recovery

I repaired an old butJeans repair still serviceable pair of jeans today.  The button had pulled out of the waistband and left a hole where the button should be. One can’t just sew the old button back on (even if it could be found) because jeans buttons attach with a rivet. I know you can buy a new riveted button that can replace the missing one, but it needs to go next to the old hole since it will just pull out immediately if attached in the same spot and then won’t line up with the zipper.  Alternatively you can reinforce the waistband with a double layer of denim behind where the missing button should be before riveting a new one on. Instead, I cut a square of fabric including the button out of a worn out pair of jeans that I am saving to weave a rag rug.  I had to slightly enlarge the hole that was on the jeans I was fixing, pushed the button through the hole and sewed the square of fabric onto the good pair.  Reinforcing and replacing at the same time!  Shown is the back side after I sewed it  on my sewing machine. The square of fabric making the repair has to be big enough to sew around the button with the presser foot on (button side up of course). I can wear my jeans again!

Back to School

Cricket Loom with Tweed ScarfThe fall season of classes has begun at the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati. Our registration/payments are now online at Eventbrite. I currently have two beginning rigid heddle weaving classes scheduled.  The first is September 12 and the second is October 17.

Rigid Heddle weaving is a great way to get started weaving in a simple way. Rigid heddle looms are inexpensive, portable and quick to warp. You will learn to direct warp a rigid heddle loom with easy to find knitting yarn, learn the basics of weaving, and create a beautiful plain weave scarf in 6 hours. Looms will be provided for class.  No previous weaving experience needed.

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.

Calculated Steps

I have an excel spreadseet to help me figure out the number of rows to knit for a foot on a CSM.  I have found a way put my calculator here on my website to help all the CSM folks out there.  It is included in this post and on a permanent page under Socks on the menu above. I hope it helps.  I would love to hear some feedback.  Does it work for you?  Do you have a problem with it?  Any feedback is welcome.  For best results, it does require making and washing a sample tube, figuring out your rows per inch, and figuring out how many rows will be in your heel and toe.

House Call

2015-07-08 10.43.04I have been going to Suzanne’s house on Wednesdays to teach her to weave on a floor loom.  She had been weaving on a rigid heddle loom on her own, and decided to buy a floor loom.  She found a used 4-shaft Macomber loom in okay shape, but it needed some TLC. I went over one day and gave her a written evaluation of what she had bought, what she still needed to do to get the loom in working order, and what she still needed to buy or make in the way of tools and accessories.

I showed her how to put the rachet brake back on the loom and sent her instructions to make lease sticks and a special raddle to work with her sectional beam.  She cleaned up the wood with Old English; de-rusted and painted the shaft; de-rusted and polished the heddle bars; sorted heddles on a jig so that the tops and bottoms were aligned, alternated in an A and B pattern and then replaced them on the heddle bars; replaced the dirty old old apron and dry rotted apron cords with some Texsolv then was ready to weave a couple of weeks later.  2015-07-08 11.04.19

beaming the warpThe second time I went to her home, I taught her how to wind a warp on a warping board and warp back to front onto the sectional beam without any special sectional warping equipment. The warp went on easily and before she knew it, she had the heddles threaded and the reed sleyed in the pattern from my Dishcloth Cotton Point Twill Towels project that I use when teaching people on their own equipment.  I call it a “get to know your loom” project.

The third time I was there, we troubleshooted for crossed threads and added the floating selvedges. She learned about the tie-up and treadling portions of the draft and how to change the tie-up to “walk” the treadles. We began with a plain weave hem and then she started weaving the first treadling pattern.  She is now weaving away on the towels and will treadle some different patterns. The next time I go back, we will cut them off and she will learn about wet finishing and hemming the towels.


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Color and Weave Sampler

winding color and weaveOn Monday and Thursday evenings, Halie comes to my studio for weaving lessons. She is a student of Interior Design at DAAP at the University of Cincinnati. She is thinking about a Master’s Degree in Textiles and wanted to learn to weave. We started working on a rigid heddle loom since it is small and quick to learn about plain weave. It is also a loom she can afford, can easily transport and can easily keep in different student housing situations.  We will move on to a 4 shaft loom in the fall when she returns to school from a month of study abroad beginning in August.

She made two scarves that she direct warped to learn the basics, one with a multicolored yarn that gradually changed colors and one in a houndstooth check. Then we moved on to a color and weave sampler. We worked on the design together, basing it on some ideas in the books I have, and customizing it to work with one of my Cricket loom with a 10 inch weaving width, a 12 dent heddle and 8/4 cotton carpet warp.  Halie used a warping board for the first time to wind the two colors separately.

Loom is warped

She sleyed the rigid heddle holding the cross in her hand, first with the light color while leaving spaces for the dark color based on the warping plan we made. Then she filled in the dark color. You can see how the color sequence changes across the warp. The threading started out with a little bit of log cabin; alternating single ends of dark and light for about an inch, then alternating light and dark for a half inch, then back to alternating dark and light. After that, the sequences of dark and light changed to some other classic color and weave combinations.

Beginning to WeaveIt was a short warp and the color sequence to weave the weft was the same as the warp. Multiple iterations of color and weave effects can be observed in one small cloth and the sample is to be used as a reference tool for fabric design.

 

The sample was hemstitched on the loom, and now she needs to determine the edge treatment before the cloth is wet finished and pressed.  I sent the classic Virginia West book, Finishing Touches for the Handweaver, with her for the weekend to select one. I am excited to see what she comes up with!

Finished Sampler

Color Play

I am pretty sure I have decided on Bumberet for the structure of my next set of towels. Bumberet is a textured fabric with a ribbed appearance and plays well with color.

Color is always where I struggle.  I know what I like, but I have trouble knowing if they “go” together with an artist’s eye. I was never good in art class; I guess I never found my medium.  Crayons and paint never spoke to me the way fiber does.  I have learned to trust more that what I like usually turns out fine.  The color workshop I took at the weavers guild in the fall helped a lot to convince me to trust my choices.  I have a few tools I lean on such as a color wheel and the computer.

palette

I uploaded a picture of a beach volleyball game that I took in May and used an online tool to help pick out colors. I chose to select the medium blue color as the color I would choose to coordinate with.  I also thought I would put the suggested triad colors in. I didn’t have a limey green so picked a turquoise (one of the other colors in the generated palette) to be part of the triad with the blue and fuchsia which I had in my stash.  I also picked a gold to make the split complement. I think 4 colors is plenty for the warp, but may play with adding a neutral tone in there too.

turquoisegreen  gold fuschia bermudablue

Then I looked to my other colors of 8/2 cotton for weft colors knowing that I wanted to weave towels with only one shuttle for weft. I like to keep the weft in darker values to liven and help the warp colors pop.  If I chose white or light pastels they would wash out the warp colors. You can see how the gray in the last image washes it out a bit.   I changed the weft colors around to see what each looked like.  I chose black, navy, purple, then a lighter blue and gray. My favorites so far are the navy and the purple.  What do you think?

black weft  Navy Weftpurple weftbluegray weft gray weft

 

Linen and Lace

lace sample I am currently working on a weaving sample for a class. This is woven with Juniper Moon Farm Zooey a linen and cotton blend yarn. It has a real nice feel to it. In this end of the sample I am using the same yarn for warp and weft. There is leno lace and Spanish lace. I have some blue Hemapathy yarn that I will use for weft when I sample at the other end to see what difference it makes in how much the lace shows up. I think it can be a real nice table runner or if made wider, a placemat. It might even be nice for a summery scarf if I beat a little lighter to have more of a warp dominant fabric.

Cotton Club

2015-07-01 16.42.31I have ordered a nice variety of colors in 8/2 cotton for weaving towels. I don’t have any specific structure in mind yet. A good twill is always nice, but there were some bumberet towels recently in Handwoven magazine that I really like. Bumberet is a new structure for me and I love playing with colors.  I can put a real variety of color in the warp, and weave with one color, changing for each towel.  One shuttle weave make that part go much faster.  I really need to make sure I don’t get carried away with too many colors in one warp though.

I will have to sit and play with the drafting software and will try to post some of my planning process as I go.  Hopefully I can get some woven and up for sale soon.

That reminds me I need to hem up the last towels I wove in cotton and linen and get them up for sale too.  I just need to find a place to set up the sewing machine and leave it out for a couple of days.

Summer School

I have 2 private lesson students starting this week. I love teaching new weavers. One has prior experience on a rigid heddle loom which is a great way to get started.  She has since purchased a used 4 shaft Macomber Loom that needed some TLC and has since restored it to nice condition.  I met with her a few weeks ago to evaluate what she had, give her some advice on continuing the restoration, helped her put the brake pieces on properly and give her a list of things to buy or make that she needed before getting started.  We met again this morning to start winding the warp for her first project which I call a get to know your loom project.  They can be hand towels or placemats.

point twill towels

Tomorrow evening I am meeting with an art student at DAAP who wants to learn about weaving.  I will start her on a rigid heddle loom and a beginner scarf. After one or two projects, I will rent her my 4 shaft Dorothy table loom and a few items to begin 4 shaft weaving.  She doesn’t own any equipment yet.  We plan on meeting twice a week through the month of July.

I am really excited about it.  If things continue this well, I may have to get another small table loom or floor loom for students.

Dyeing to Knit Socks

Here is a little photo essay.  I had a ball of the merino/bamboo blend sock yarn in cream that I wanted to dye and knit up for a teacher gift. I used a sprinkle dye method with dry Kool-Aid and bottles of food coloring. You need a bit of acid provided by vinegar and heat provided by microwaving during the process to set the colors.  Since the dyes are food, they are safe in your everyday pans.

Skein up the yarn and tie around it in different places to keep the tangling down.

Soak the skein in warm water for a while in a microwave safe dish.
sprinkle dye
Pour off most of the water and add a glug of vinegar. Swish it around.

Start with the lighter colors and sprinkle them on dry (Kool-Aid) or drip them (food color).
sprinkle dye
Let the colors saturate the skein for a while move it gently around to expose undyed areas and add more sprinkles. Microwave in bursts of 1-2 minutes between colors.
sprinkle dye

After coloring to your satisfaction (be careful not to overdo it the first time).  Give it a final trip on the microwave carousel to fully set all the dyes for another 1-2 minutes.

Let cool a bit, then rinse fully in lukewarm water.

sprinkle dye
Hang the skein to let it dry.

Twist it up and keep or sell.

sprinkle dye

Wind it into a ball when you are ready to use it.

sprinkle dye

 

I then put it on my CSM bobbin to knit it from.
sprinkle dye

Finished socks are ready to give or sell.
sprinkle dye sprinkle dye

Treading the Boards

3 pairs of socks

These are the socks I have knit so far this week.  A pair for Katie on the left, and the other two pairs are up for grabs for $19 a pair.  If you are interested and in town, send me a note in the contact form.   They are a woman’s size 8-9.  If you  like the purple ones on the left, I can get more of that yarn in a couple of days.

Step by Step

This post is a link to the step by step instructions I made to help myself make a wrapped heel and toe on the CSM.  It is free to those crankers who are interested.  I needed a step by step set of instructions to help be successful cranking out a wrapped heel and toe. I based it some on the manual I received with my machine and watching You Tube videos.  I make no guarantees it will work for you or that it is error free.  Please let me know if it helps or if you find mistakes.

CSM Wrapped Heel and Toe Step by Step

CSM Wrapped Heels and Toes

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.

 

Camnesia

Once again, I forgot to to take pictures at the end of one of my classes.  Today my “Tuesday Knitters” finished their felted clogs.  One was a woman’s size and the other a child’s size.  The child size pair was completely adorable.  I may have to knit a pair just because they are cute, but sorry, no photo.

Last weekend, I did remember to take a picture at the conclusion of my Rigid Heddle Weaving class.  It was a more advanced class and they wove my “Stripes and Floats” pattern.  Click on the pics for a closer look.

AF StripeFloats MP stripe float

Round and Round I Go

Pagewood Socks

I have been spending hours each day learning on the sock machine.  I am having some successes finally, so feel like I am breaking out of the learning curve.  The above socks are the same size, fit me and came out as I expected after knitting a sample tube and doing some calculations with a little spreadsheet I made.  It seems to work!

This pair is lovely, but came out too big for me, but Mom can wear them.

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I plan on knitting a pair a day for the next week, so look for a quick daily post.

 

 

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

Crankin’ Away

I went to Cape Girardeau, Missouri this past week to pick up my circular sock knitting machine and participate in the Annual Open House and crank-in that is sponsored by the Erlbacher Gearhart Knitting Machine Company.  They make reproductions of the antique Gearhart sock knitting machines that I have mentioned previously.  I love to hand knit socks, but cannot keep up with my family’s demand much less make enough to sell.  Socks also take long enough to knit that a pair would cost over $100 to make it worth my while to sell them.  Since one of my goals is sales, I wanted a hand cranked machine that worked correctly right at the start.  I also wanted one that I could easily get extra cylinders and ribbers for so I can make different sizes. For those reasons, I chose to buy a new one instead of an antique.

Their usual models of the machine come in green and yellow (think John Deere colors) or red. I got one of their last Pink Lady machines, a special paint job on 25 of them.  Part of the profits went to support a fundraiser in honor of a friend of the Erlbacher family who died of breast cancer.  The money would be used to help fund mammograms and support breast cancer patients in need. A woman in Chicago had purchased the machine, but after 2 or 3 weeks decided she did not like knitting on a machine and preferred to knit her socks by hand after all.  (The Erlbachers refer to this as “stick knitting”.)  So I got it at a good price with some extras.

machine

I had a great time there and learned the basics of how to use the machine.  In fact, I even learned how to use the ribber which is something they don’t recommend learning until you have knit a few sock with a turned hem and stockinette or mock rib leg.  I decided to make sure I knew how to use it while I had someone by my side to help and to make sure my machine worked correctly with the ribber dial on.  I am currently working on the matching sock to the one I knit at the crank-in.

Here is a little movie of it in action.

Crankin’ away at home.

A video posted by Nancy (@measuredthreads) on