by Judy @ 10:13 PM

I thinks it’s safe to say that my feet will not go cold in the winter. My sock drawer holds quite a few pairs of hand-knit socks. But I have my favorites. And I tend to wear my favorites more than the less-favored (but still nice) pairs. And because I tend to wear them a lot, I tend to wear them out. I am rather fond of blowing out the bottoms of the heels. It may be because my feet are narrow, and my heels even more so, and my shoes tend to be a little loose. Whatever the cause, I usually fail to notice that a pair is inching towards disaster until one morning, bleary eyed and caffeine-less, I pull on a pair of socks and realize that something just doesn’t feel quite right and my heel is a bit drafty…

I am then faced with a choice: to darn or to toss? So far, since it’s always been my favorite pairs, darning has won out. Since I have a pair that needs darning, I thought I would share the process with you, gentle reader, in case you also might want to darn a sock or some other knit object.

the tools of the trade
the tools of the trade

These are the tools of the trade:

  • Thread for guy-wires. Any color can be used but a contrasting color is easier to see. It will be removed after darning.
  • Yarn for mending. I had some yarn left-over from these socks and amazingly enough actually found it. I can use it for mending. If I couldn’t find it, I would try first to match the same yarn in a different colorway. Failing that, I would look for yarn of the same weight and ideally the same fiber content. Color is the least important factor because the patch will be on the bottom of my foot.
  • Two needles: a sewing needle (for the thread) and a darning needle (for the yarn).
  • A darning egg or some other roundish object to provide a solid surface on which to work.
  • adding structure
    adding structure

    First, put the darning egg inside the sock and position the hole over it.

    Examine the hole in the sock. Are stitches missing? Or has the fabric become thin and perhaps torn, but everything is still there? If all of the fabric is there, you can skip this step. But my socks have an actual hole with several missing rows of knitting. Before I can repair the hole, I must first create a structure to hold the yarn while I repair.

    Thread a length of the thread onto the sewing needle. Starting on a row where all of the stitches are present, run the thread through the tops of the stitches of that row.

    Turn and run the thread through the tops of the stitches of the next row. If stitches are missing, continue across the blank space with the thread and through the stitches on the other side of the hole.

    Work back and forth with the thread until you have once again reached solid fabric. Secure the thread on both ends so it won’t pull loose while you are working.

    duplicate stitching
    duplicate stitching

    Now thread a length of yarn onto the tapestry needle. Starting at the bottom of the hole – far enough down so that you are working in solidly knit fabric – begin duplicate stitching the first row.

    When you reach the end of the first row, turn and begin duplicate stitching the next row above it. As you duplicate stitch this row, be sure to work through the stitches you just created in the previous row.

    Continue working up the fabric, duplicate stitching through the stitches that are there.

    filling in the hole
    filling in the hole

    When you come to the point where there are no stitches – only thread – loop the top of your new stitch around the thread. The thread will keep the yarn loop that forms the stitch from accidentally dropping.

    On the next row you will duplicate stitch through the loops that are held by thread in the same way as you duplicate stitched through the stitches held by other stitches.

    In this picture, the brown stitches on the previous row were created by looping them around the thread. Now I am creating red stitches by stitching through the brown stitches on the bottom, and looping the red yarn around the thread on the top.

    Continue duplicate stitching up the rows of the sock until you are stitching through the solidly knit fabric at the top of the hole.

    finished patch
    finished patch

    Once the patch is finished, weave in your ends and remove the thread.

    Here is the finished patch on the bottom of my sock heel.

    Although the other sock is wearing thing, it doesn’t yet have a hole in it. Since I’m darning one, however, I may as well go ahead and darn them both. The second sock will be easier because only the duplicate stitching is necessary. There is no actual hole, so the thread guy-wires aren’t required.

    Darn those socks!

Knitting by Judy @ 10:03 PM

I thinks it’s safe to say that my feet will not go cold in the winter. My sock drawer holds quite a few pairs of hand-knit socks. But I have my favorites. And I tend to wear my favorites more than the less-favored (but still nice) pairs. And because I tend to wear them a lot, I tend to wear them out. I am rather fond of blowing out the bottoms of the heels. It may be because my feet are narrow, and my heels even more so, and my shoes tend to be a little loose. Whatever the cause, I usually fail to notice that a pair is inching towards disaster until one morning, bleary eyed and caffeine-less, I pull on a pair of socks and realize that something just doesn’t feel quite right and my heel is a bit drafty…

I am then faced with a choice: to darn or to toss? So far, since it’s always been my favorite pairs, darning has won out. Since I have a pair that needs darning, I thought I would share the process with you, gentle reader, in case you also might want to darn a sock or some other knit object.

the tools of the trade
the tools of the trade

These are the tools of the trade:

  • Thread for guy-wires. Any color can be used but a contrasting color is easier to see. It will be removed after darning.
  • Yarn for mending. I had some yarn left-over from these socks and amazingly enough actually found it. I can use it for mending. If I couldn’t find it, I would try first to match the same yarn in a different colorway. Failing that, I would look for yarn of the same weight and ideally the same fiber content. Color is the least important factor because the patch will be on the bottom of my foot.
  • Two needles: a sewing needle (for the thread) and a darning needle (for the yarn).
  • A darning egg or some other roundish object to provide a solid surface on which to work.

adding structure
adding structure

First, put the darning egg inside the sock and position the hole over it.

Examine the hole in the sock. Are stitches missing? Or has the fabric become thin and perhaps torn, but everything is still there? If all of the fabric is there, you can skip this step. But my socks have an actual hole with several missing rows of knitting. Before I can repair the hole, I must first create a structure to hold the yarn while I repair.

Thread a length of the thread onto the sewing needle. Starting on a row where all of the stitches are present, run the thread through the tops of the stitches of that row.

Turn and run the thread through the tops of the stitches of the next row. If stitches are missing, continue across the blank space with the thread and through the stitches on the other side of the hole.

Work back and forth with the thread until you have once again reached solid fabric. Secure the thread on both ends so it won’t pull loose while you are working.

duplicate stitching
duplicate stitching

Now thread a length of yarn onto the tapestry needle. Starting at the bottom of the hole – far enough down so that you are working in solidly knit fabric – begin duplicate stitching the first row.

When you reach the end of the first row, turn and begin duplicate stitching the next row above it. As you duplicate stitch this row, be sure to work through the stitches you just created in the previous row.

Continue working up the fabric, duplicate stitching through the stitches that are there.

filling in the hole
filling in the hole

When you come to the point where there are no stitches – only thread – loop the top of your new stitch around the thread. The thread will keep the yarn loop that forms the stitch from accidentally dropping.

On the next row you will duplicate stitch through the loops that are held by thread in the same way as you duplicate stitched through the stitches held by other stitches.

In this picture, the brown stitches on the previous row were created by looping them around the thread. Now I am creating red stitches by stitching through the brown stitches on the bottom, and looping the red yarn around the thread on the top.

Continue duplicate stitching up the rows of the sock until you are stitching through the solidly knit fabric at the top of the hole.

finished patch
finished patch

Once the patch is finished, weave in your ends and remove the thread.

Here is the finished patch on the bottom of my sock heel.

Although the other sock is wearing thing, it doesn’t yet have a hole in it. Since I’m darning one, however, I may as well go ahead and darn them both. The second sock will be easier because only the duplicate stitching is necessary. There is no actual hole, so the thread guy-wires aren’t required.

Darn those socks!

P.S. I will add this post under the Techniques menu so it will be easier to find in the future.

Knitting |Techie Talk by Judy @ 8:13 AM

clown-barf-socks
clown-barf-socks

OK. So can you tell that I’m happy that the clown barf stripy socks are finished? Oh, I cannot begin to express my joy at this event!

I don’t hate them. Really. But I want you to follow this link and then scroll down until you find High Desert. Then pop the bigger picture up.

That’s the yarn that I saw in the skein. Glorious, isn’t it? Whodda thunk it that it would knit up like this? The colors in the sock picture are brighter than they actually appear in real life. It’s early in the morning and raining again so the light was a little weird.

These socks had it in for me right up until the last. I finished up the ribbing, and leaned forward in my chair to fetch my needles from my knitting bag. As I sat back I heard crrruunnnchhh. Yep. Broke two harmony needles. One from each circular. Aaaaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhh I’m not safe around wooden things, apparently. I’d best stick to metal.

The Particulars:

In completely non-knitting, techie news, I’ve been fighting with the new WP 2.5 admin panels. All I can say is ICK. The write panels were especially horrible, as all of the little check boxes and drop-down lists were moved under the post write area, making it necessary to scroll for a bazillion miles every time I posted. Which I realize has not been often lately, but let’s not digress.

A long, long, long thread started over in the WordPress.org support forum amongst those of us not happy with the new arrangement. The end result was that this intrepid reporter, along with a few others, made changes to the panels to make them more usable. You can see a picture of the new panel here

If you are a self-hosted WP 2.5 user and would like to incorporate these changes, you can download them here, although I think this is the version that has an extraneous comma in the draft list. Or, to get the very latest version, download directly from the WordPress bug report. The files all go in wp-admin/, except for global.css, which goes in wp-admin/css/. Sorry, I can’t help you if you are on WordPress.com.

Didn’t know I had such mad codr skilz, didja? 😆

Knitting by Judy @ 12:44 PM

Remember me? I’m the one that used to have time to knit and used to have time to blog. Once upon a time, there were new things to read here more than once a week or so.

I’m taking my life back! ❗

Thank you to all who commiserated with me about my long-long-ago report card. I did get over it eventually. As I tell #1 Son (and repeated just the other day), it is possible to rise above the unfortunate events of your childhood. (No, you don’t have to be late just because your mother always occasionally is. You, as an adult, can learn to do better and be on time!)

My childhood, for the most part, was a reasonably happy one.

The Plan B class has been taken several times and passed several times and the best results handed in. Ahem. Other yearly stuff that means nothing here is now wrapped up and in the hopper, and I should be back to just the normal level of madness.

And I have been knitting.

stripy feet
stripy feet

Look! I’ve turned the heels on the Clown Barf (note to self: find a better name for these) stripy socks.

And I’d like to talk a little bit about colors.

Yes, I know the title says this is going to be about heels. Hang with me, gentle reader, and we’ll get there.

I don’t hate these socks. In fact, as they’re knitting up I think they look just fine. I’m not going to wax rhapsodic over their delights. But they’re OK and I think the intended recipient will like them well enough.

But here’s the thing. I just had to add this yarn to my collection because, in the skein, the colors were so gorgeous and vibrant that it just jumped out at me. Even in the ball, the colors are lovely.

But knitted up? Not so much. The colors combined in the stripes in such a way that they look… muddy. The gorgeous brightness is totally lost.

But look at the heels!

lovely colorful heels
lovely colorful heels

Here. We’ll take a closer look. Pop up both of the pictures so you can really see the difference. Go head. I’ll wait right here.

On the heels, you can see why I fell in love with this yarn. With each color spanning multiple rows, the intense little hits of color really pop.

I want the rest of the socks to look like the heels. I’m resigned. I know it won’t happen. But for the other skein that I have (slightly different colorway but still bright), I’m thinking… entrelac. I do appreciate all of the suggestions for how to fix the color. I think with entrelac, even if the colors shift in the middle of a diamond, those hits of color will really show up.

But we’re talking about color and I really meant to talk about heels.

Nice heels, eh? I’m quite taken with how they look. I should be. I knit the $#@% heels 3 times.

I go through the same process every time I knit short row heels. I say to myself, Self, you are, in some ways, an experienced knitter. At times you are even an advanced knitter. You can conquer that pesky wrap-and-turn! Go for it!

I then proceed to knit standard short row heels with wraps and turns. And I get holes. And the heels gets bumpy and icky inside. And there are little hard bits. And sometimes the wraps show. And there are holes.

I’ve tried multiple ways of doing the wrap. Regular wraps. And YO wraps. And even Japanese short-rows which leave the wrap unwrapped until it’s picked up.

It doesn’t matter. I get holes and icky hard bits, etc.

Eventually I give up, because despite evidence to the contrary I can be taught, and I do Sherman heels. And they always look lovely. And I wonder why I keep putting myself through such grief.

Are there any knitting techniques that you just can’t seem to master?

Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 11:31 PM
tags: ,

a light in the darkness
a light in the darkness

Saturday night I flipped on the light switch in the kitchen, saw a flash, heard a pop, and realized that I was once again down to one working bulb out of seven.

I don’t mean to not replace the bulbs when the burn out. It’s just that the darn things all go at once. Two weeks ago, the first burned out. And there’s been a steady progression of burnout in my kitchen ever since. And I didn’t have any spare ones. And for some reason when I’d stop at the store to pick something up, my focus on that thing would take up both of my remaining brain cells and there was no place left to store the need to do something about the growing darkness. Until last night when I realized I was nearing a total eclipse of the kitchen, and I would be reduced to cooking by flashlight if I didn’t do something about it soon.

If you’ve been visiting here for very long, gentle reader, you will recognize this situation. Yes, I can be taught, but sometimes it takes many repetitions.

So today at the store I concentrated really hard and managed to remember light bulbs — and even remembered to buy some extra ones. Of course I forget TP. But that’s a different story.

When I got home, I replaced all of the burned out bulbs. The light has returned.

And I have a question for you. Have you tried the florescent bulbs? I think in some parts of the country, the incandescent bulbs are no longer being sold? We can still get them here in Oregon. But I bought one of the florescent bulbs just to see what I thought of it. And I’m not really diggin’ it. It’s bright enough and all. But here in the rainy, dark, northwest winter I really appreciate the daylight type bulbs I usually get. Florescent light is cold. brrrrr The bulb fits a little strangely in the can, too. It doesn’t go flush with the ceiling. I compared it to an incandescent bulb and it’s longer. It’s certainly bright enough, though. And it’s much better for the environment, uses much less energy, etc. The jury is still out for me.

What do you think?

No knitting. I haven’t had time to knit. I’ve barely had time to do anything by work. Another couple of weeks, and I think I’ll start to have a bit of spare time.

Don’t tell anyone that might want to find a way to use it up. 🙄

Knitting by Judy @ 11:20 PM

jungle animals, moose, mice and kitties
jungle animals, moose, mice and kitties

On Saturday, a group of Seattle-area knitters rode the early train down to Portland for a little crawl through the Pearl District yarn shops. Bobbie helped to arrange for a few PDX Knit Bloggers to meet the train and welcome our fellow Northwest knitters to Stumptown. Since I had never been to two of the Pearl shops (what can I say – we have over 20 yarn shops and I just can’t make it to all of them all the time), I thought it would be really fun to join in.

But I wasn’t going to buy any yarn, because my stash is feeling sufficient right now. I especially wasn’t going to buy any sock yarn.

I wish I had snapped a picture of all of the knitters milling around the station when the train came, but user error messed my pics up. Charisa, who had spearheaded the yarn crawl, had name tags for all of us that entitled us to discounts at several of the stores, and a handout with a map and such and gave everyone last minute instructions. A very nice Amtrak employee asked me if I needed any directions or maps and what time would be all be back? He looked a little confused when I told him that I live here, but smiled and said that I thought the visitors had it all in hand.

The groups split up so that we didn’t overwhelm the shops by hitting them all at once. I needed to find a free place to park my car for the day, and several of the PDX Knitters joined me in the search. Our first stop was Dublin Bay, where I finally got to meet Chrissy. On a little rack towards the back of the store, I found these really cute little buttons. I have no idea what I’m going to do with them. But they’re so cute, I just had to have them. And they’re not yarn.

If you’re reading this through a feedreader, go on over to the blog and pop up the picture so you can see how cute the buttons are. I’ll wait right here.

a friendly gesture to cold dancers
a friendly gesture to cold dancers

As I turned from the button rack I saw a knitter clutching Zen Yarn Garden skeins. I had already ignored the siren call of Fleece Artist and Handmaiden, although I did pet a lot of yarn. All the yarn, I think.

The colors of the Zen Yarn Garden were so pretty.

From Dublin Bay a few of us walked down to Knit Knot Studio. Along the way we came across these poor, cold statues dancing on the sidewalk. Hand knits were offered as a temporary warm-up. They looked so cold.

Knit Knot Studio is a tiny but cute little yarn shop that’s packed full of really yummy things like naturally dyed silk and handspun cashmere.

Look what I found someone said, holding a skein of Noro Kureyon Sock.

I love Noro colors, but not necessarily Noro yarns. I have two sweaters knit with Noro, and both times I became annoyed at having to pick twigs and such from the fiber. And what’s with the knots? For what we pay for that yarn, can’t we have one continuous strand? Especially since the strand after the knot always starts with some totally random color, leaving the poor knitter to decide whether to ruin the flow of the stripes in the finished object, or buy more yarn in the hope of matching. I’d felt some of the new sock yarn, and it seems so stiff and scratchy. Not fun to knit with. I just didn’t have much desire to knit with Noro sock yarn, and had said so.

But the colors were so pretty.

post-crawl knitting
post-crawl knitting

From Knit Knot Studio we hopped on the streetcar, which conveniently stops right in front of Knit Purl.

At Knit Purl, a skein of JitterBug leaped off the display and into my arms and demanded to be taken home. The color was so pretty.

Then I saw a really lovely colorway of Lorna’s Laces that I had never seen before.

Teresa came over to say hello and laugh at my sock scarf.

I’m not buying any sock yarn I told her, as I grabbed some Schaeffer Anne off the wall. The colors were so pretty.

Teresa started laughing hysterically, as did others who heard me. Are you going to completely change your personality? Teresa asked. Judy without sock yarn? hahahahaha

Ahem…

sock yarn?  What sock yarn?
sock yarn? What sock yarn?

L-to-R, top: Zen Yarn Garden in Cafe Au Lait and Creamsicle, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Pioneer, Colinette JitterBug in Morello Mash
L-to-R, bottom: Noro Kureyon Sock (the yarn I said I’d never buy) in S184, Schaeffer Anne in Toni Morrison. hmmmmm do you see some strong themes with these colorways?

Well… the buttons aren’t sock yarn.

After At Knit Purl, I decided that maybe I’d done enough damage for the days. Leaving the Seattle knitters to their fate (I believe a spin through Powell’s Books was in their near future), we headed over to Starbuck’s for a cuppa and a slice of pumpkin bread.

In the picture, you can see that we whipped the knitting out again while comparing hauls.

On the chair, you can see The Wings Of A Dream in a glob by my purse. I had just messed up by forgetting a whole row with beads. But all was fixed. I have finished the first wing and started on the second wing. I’m still hoping to complete it in the next couple of weeks. We shall see.

I had a great time on the crawl, despite the damage to my pocket book. It was great fun getting to meet all of our northern knit-buds. I hope they crawl down this way again!



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