The 5 keys to long-lasting hand knit socks



After keeping my dad in hand knit socks exclusively for 3 years I've learned a thing or two on how to make long lastings socks. In fact my dad hasn't thrown out a single pair yet and only one pair has been in need of darning. I've boiled my experiences into 5 essential keys to knitting long-lasting socks.

1) Choose your yarn wisely

It's difficult to say what the most important aspect of  long-lasting socks is, but your result will have a lot to do with the material you choose to work with. 

While your soft and beautiful silk- and cashmere blends turn into both beautiful and soft socks, they don't often make long-lasting socks. If you want socks that can handle a heavy rotation, then choose a simple 80% super wash merino and 20% nylon blend. 

You may have to try out a few brands, but once you find one that suits you, I would recommend sticking to it.  


2) It's all about gauge

Once you have a great workhorse yarn, the next essential key is your gauge. The tighter your gauge, the longer the sock will last in my experience. I tend to knit on 2,5mm needles at a gauge of 32 sts per 10cm. It's still a soft a comfortable sock, but it has a strong hold to it and the stitches do not have room to move a lot, which leads us to the next point. 


3) The perfect fit

When you wear the socks in all kinds of footwear it is essential that they have a good fit. If your socks are slightly too big they will move around more between your foot and your shoe. With friction comes additional wear and tear, such as felting, as well as discomfort and what's the point of hand knit socks if they aren't comfortable? 
Heels and toes are the most important. Don't be afraid to create your own toes. I had to tweak my dad's for a while until we finally found the perfect fit. It looks odd when not on the feet, but once on it's obvious that they fit him perfectly. 
Once you've find your perfect heel and toe, it's fairly easy to use them in almost any pattern of your choice. 


4) Wear them well

When you have found the perfect fit, it's time to wear your hand knit socks. Many Westerners are accustomed to wear a pair of socks for one day and then tossing them into the wash. If you have sweaty feet, then by all means do so. However, if your feet don't get really sweaty then consider wearing them for 2-3 days before tossing them to wash. 


5) Wash them well

The final essential key to long-lasting hand knitted socks is how you wash them. You can hand wash them with special soap, but frankly, I would never convince my mum to do so. Mum simply tosses the socks into her regular wash with similar coloured clothes on 40C.  I wash our socks on 30C, but as long as you keep the cycle fairly cool you should be fine. 
Let the socks air dry. Your worst enemy on the quest to long-lasting socks may just be the dryer. 


There you have them, my 5 essential keys to long-lasting socks. Do share your tips, tricks and experiences in the comments. 


 

Knit Crush: Cow Town Knits


It's not often that we see a really good knitted skirt. Kate Bostwick has designed a beautiful pattern for a pencil skirt that looks very flattering. But she is not a one trick horse, she does sweaters, baby rompers and mittens brilliantly as well, just to mention a few of her lovely designs. Below are my top four favourites from her hand. Which of her designs is your favourite?

As always, all pictures in this post are borrowed with permission from their respective Ravelry project pages, by clicking their name, you'll be taken right to them.   

The Helen Pencil Skirt 


Siffleur


Eleanor Romper


Kicking Horse Mittens

11 (okay 3) FOs and a winner.

11 FOs...

My oh my have I been stitching. I'm, quite frankly, unable to keep myself in knitting/crochet these days. I cast on something new and whoosh it's done already, it's so odd, considering it was only last month, I was talking about how I needed to regain my joy and knitting mojo. I need to cast on a me-sized sweater to stop this insanity.

As a result of the just mentioned insanity I bring you 11 FOs:


The first 9 FOs are cotton rounds. What?! You don't think counting them as individual FOs count? Well then, I guess 3 FOs total is a decent amount too. 11 just sounds so impressing, doesn't it, and I needed impressing. 

These are made of lush organic cotton, that is certified fair trade as well. I may have some plans in the work for them, but it is too early to tell you about them.



My second FO is the tiny waves baby hat I wanted to cast on. I started out knitting it as per the directions, but I wasn't a fan on the slouchiness, so I ribbed it back a good deal and then redid the decreasing. It's a lovely little hat, now if only I knew a lovely little baby that could wear it. For now it'll go into the baby gift basket. You can never have too many baby items on hand. 


These you are most likely familiar with if you've been hanging around for a while. Another pair of socks are ready for my dad. I've been told that if you only wear hand knit socks, as he does, you'll wear out 4 pairs per year. Thus I've been knitting him 4 pairs per year for years, but it seems his sock drawer is slightly overflowing and I don't think he has had to discard more than one pair yet, if that. As a result I may just take the rest of the year of from daddy-sock making and focus a bit more on Pia-sock making. 

Speaking of socks, I have a new pattern almost ready for you, all it needs is a photoshoot, but the weather has been uncooperative lately on the weekends. 


... and a winner

To end this post, I'm happy to announce that my dear friend Nadia of Abso-knitting-lutely! is the winner of Evin O'Keeffe's book Bake Knit Sew: A Recipe and Craft Project Annual


Free e-guides from Craftsy

Did you know that Craftsy offers a wide range of free e-guides in everything from photography to woodworking?
It's a pretty neat way to learn more about your crafts of choice or maybe dive into a completely new craft to see if it's something you enjoy.

Even if you don't find any of them interesting, which I find hard to believe since I want to read a dusin of them, then go ahead and download one if you have your eye on a class you want to take, since most of them contain a coupon code for classes in that category.

This post contains affiliate links, so if you do decide to get any of the FREE guides, I get a small compensation, which I will greatly appreciate :)





I know most of you are stitchers, so let's start with a few stitching e-guides:


Embroidery
"From picking the best thread for the job to innovative ways of working with beads to enhance your projects, learn everything you need to know for stunning, dimensional stitching success!"
eGuide: Adding Dimension to Your Hand Embroidery

Crochet
"Learn how to crochet a chain, single crochet, double crochet and decode crochet abbreviations."
eGuide: The Beginner's Guide to Crochet 

Knitting
"From necklines to shoulder styles, this eGuide will help you unlock your knitting potential, creating sweater designs perfectly tailored to your needs!"
eGuide: 20+ Sweater Designs You'll Love to Knit 


And in case you have some non-stitching interests or would like to explore some, take a look at these cool e-guides:


Photography
"Learn to manipulate variables like depth of field and shutter speed for breathtaking photos with dramatic effect!"
eGuide: Understanding Exposure for Better Photos Now: Beginner Photography Tutorials

Cake Decorating
"From unique buttercream flavors to pretty piped flowers, this eGuide will help you unlock your sweet creativity to create eye-popping designs that are bowl-licking good!"
eGuide: Not-So-Basic Buttercream Decorating Ideas

Food & Cooking
"From decadent classic glazed to deliciously healthy baked, to chocolate, iced and sprinkled, you'll learn everything you need to master the ultimate breakfast pastry."
eGuide: Delicious Doughnut Recipes You Can Make at Home

Paper Crafts
"From envelop embellishments to color blocked cards, you'll learn over six unique ways to transform leftover paper scraps into Pinterest-worthy projects."
eGuide: 6+ Stash-Busting Paper Craft Projects

Drawing
"Drawing the Human Face covers facial proportions, proper placement of features, accurately portraying eyes and lips, and incorporating shape and value into hair."
eGuide: Drawing the Human Face: A Primer

Painting
"This guide starts your journey into the wonderful world that is watercolor painting. Beginning with the basics, you'll learn how to choose paper and build a color palette. Then, it's time to move on to color study, where you'll discover how to manipulate color transparency, value, intensity and temperature for the radiant, luminous watercolor works you always dreamed of creating!"
eGuide: Beginner's Guide to the World of Watercolor

Gardening
"All it takes is a little expert guidance to unearth your gardening abilities, no matter how small your space. This eGuide is full of rich information on how to container garden, from step-by-step potting instructions to an overview of the best plants for containers, so you can grow your greenest thumb, even if you live in a concrete jungle!"
eGuide: Success With Container Gardening

Woodworking
"With expert instruction, you'll learn the ABCs of woodturning, crucial safety tips, and how to keep your tools sharp and precise."
eGuide: Woodturning Basics for Beginners

Let's review: Bake, Knit, Sew by Evin Bail O'Keeffe and a Giveaway


Review

Baking and knitting are two of my passions, you know that right?! I've dabbled in sewing, but frankly it isn't my forte, but I'd love to get better at it, so what could be better than a book incorporating all those things.

That is exactly what Evin's book Bake Knit Sew: A Recipe and Craft Project Annual does in 12 chapters, one for each month of the year she brings you a total of 13 recipes, 7 knitting patterns, 5 sewing projects. 

What I love the most about the book is the stories. The little insights into her family are lovely and warming. All the baked goods make my mouth water from the pictures, but I have to admit I haven't made any of them, so I can't vouch for the taste, although I'm sure they are wonderful. 



What didn't really speak to me as much is the patterns. I'm not aware of the targeted group for this book, but some of the patterns seemed a little too simple to me. Pattern in case: the Smudge's handspan headband. I completely agree with Evin's philosophy behind the design, but the design itself just doesn't speak to me. 

In terms of the sewing projects, they were all simple enough that I'm confident I could make them without any troubles. One project in particular stood out to me: the Upcycled Felt Mittens. Those are so beautiful, I almost wish I had a washing accident. 



Giveaway

All in all, this would be the perfect book for someone just beginning their journey into domesticity and since I probably won't be using it I figure I would pass the copy that Evin generously provided for the review along to someone who might be gushing over it. 

If that person is you, with or without the actual gushing, just leave a comment below telling me which of the three activities is your favourite and why. 

The lucky winner will be drawn next Tuesday (24/02-15)

Winter Rainbow Salad - A Colourful Winter Blues Remedy


Do you ever find yourself craving colour in the middle of winter? I tend to engorge myself in hearty winter dishes when winter first hits, stews, meatloafs, roasts, they all make my mouth water and my stomach and heart sing, until that fatal day where I just can't stand another bland looking, although brilliantly tasting, dish. 

When I get that sudden urge for colour, I make the winter rainbow salat, it's not quite a rainbow in its colours, but it's good enough for me with purple, white, green, brown and orange.

I want to stress that this is not a medicinal remedy for any kind of serious depression, but a colourful pick-me-up for those of us suffering of a very mild case of the winter blues. On the other hand, unless you are allergic to the ingredients I don't think it could do you any harm. Use common sense, ask your doctor and all that jazz.

Ingredients 

Salad
Red cabbage
1 fennel bulb
2 oranges
a couple of handfuls of pumpkin seeds  

Dressing
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp sugar

Instructions
Finely chop enough red cabbage to feed everyone.
Chop and add the fennel.
Cut all of the skin from the oranges, cut the meat into smaller bits and add to the rest.
Roast the pumpkin seeds on a dry pan until they start popping. You can either add them to the salad or use them as a topping. 

Mix up all the ingredients for the dressing and add to the salad. Toss the salad until the dressing covers everything.

Serve with just about anything your heart desires, from cuts of meat to lasagna. 


What is your favourite food remedy for the winter blues?

Oooh Shiny or How I Want To Knit All The Things



Mission completed! I have regained my lost joy and am currently bursting with ideas and wanting to knit it all NOW.

A FO

Bella is done, well almost done. The knitting is done, the seaming is done, but she still needs a good bath and some buttons. I rarely put buttons in baby knits before I know which baby they are going to or rather which parents. Buttons can be a huge investment and people like different styles, both are taken into consideration to finish off the knit in the best possible way.


A WIP

First on my must-knit-it-now list was a pair of socks for my dad, since I have no clue when I'll see him next and his birthday was late January, so really I should get going on his present, right...
The first sock is almost ready for a heel flap and as usually I'm really enjoying this meditative knit. My hands know exactly what to do and just do it with out me having to think to much about it.


A Long List of Ideas

Then there is the list of ideas. I still want to knit the hat I mentioned here
Additionally, there is a sweater for my MIL in the pipeline.
I really want to knit a dress or something for myself, maybe this one.
And another pair of socks for me would be nice too.
There is more on the list, but this sounds like a good few months of knitting already, so lets leave it here.


How are you feeling about your knitting at the moment? Is it full of joy?