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lauralkeet's 2019 knit-o-rama


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Dec 28, 2018, 1:27pm Top

My 2019 knitting will continue along the same lines as 2018. I am currently working on Level 2 of The Knitting Guild Association Master Handknitter Certification program, and would like to finish by the end of the year.

Besides the certification program I always have at least one other project on the needles. It seems I've accumulated a fair amount of yarn (NO IDEA HOW THAT HAPPENED), most of which appears to be sock yarn, so I'll be knitting socks this year for sure.

I hope you'll stop in from time to time and see what I'm up to.

Dec 28, 2018, 1:28pm Top

Copied from my 2018 thread

I've also been spending a lot of time on Level 2 of the Master Hand Knitter program, which I started in September. Most of the written work is done, including 4 book reviews and a 4-5 page report on the History of Hand Knitting (which was much more interesting than I expected it to be!)

I'm also just over halfway through the 19 required swatches. The first 9 swatches demonstrate different seaming techniques used to join the sides and sleeves of garments. The next few swatches focus on lace and cables. This requires selecting a lace (or cable) motif and designing a swatch within certain specifications (length, width, number of repeats of the design, etc.). The lace swatches are done:

I'm currently working on the cable swatches. After that, there are swatches to demonstrate buttonholes, pockets, neckbands, etc. The swatches are taking me longer than in Level 1, because they are more complex, require more up-front thought and planning, and sometimes involve new techniques so I don't always do them correctly on the first try. Level 2 also requires 3 projects: a wristlet in a fair isle pattern, an argyle sock, and a vest, which I won't even think about until I get through the swatches. So, lots of work still ahead.

Edited: Dec 28, 2018, 1:53pm Top

These lovely skeins of Purl Soho's Linen Quill were a Christmas gift, and are bundled specifically for their Gradient Cowl pattern, which is worked entirely in seed stitch (similar to the borders of those lace swatches above). The finished cowl will be 12" wide and 58" in circumference; it loops around the neck like an infinity scarf. I'm not sure how soon I'll start this, but it sure is pretty.

I'm currently knitting a pair of socks with this self-striping yarn:

Dec 28, 2018, 4:28pm Top

I thought you might have received some yarn as a gift over the holidays. Hmm. More seed stitch! I'll enjoy watching over the next year the projects you tackle. You do such lovely work.

Dec 28, 2018, 5:11pm Top

I love to see the yarns and projects your working on. My husband received some mittens a friend made for him. She knits a lot of socks too and has used some of those self striping yarns.

Dec 28, 2018, 6:29pm Top

>4 avaland: More seed stitch!
Oh boy, yes. You have a good memory, Lois. I assume you are thinking of the Cashmere Ombré Wrap (also from Purl Soho), which I made a couple of years ago?

I had to stifle a little gasp when I looked at the Gradient Cowl pattern and saw the seed stitch. I wonder if the gift-giver (same person as before) has it in for me? 😀

>5 dudes22: Thank you Betty. I don't think I've knit with self-striping yarns before. It's fun to see what colors appear in what sequence, and how they play together, as the socks take shape.

Dec 29, 2018, 12:19pm Top

Have this starred now. Your Cmas yarn looks beautiful.

Dec 29, 2018, 12:53pm Top

>7 tiffin: Hello Tui! Thanks for the star.

Dec 31, 2018, 12:46pm Top

Jan 2, 11:52am Top

I finished the cable swatches for Level 2 of the Master Hand Knitting program. Both swatches require selecting a cable motif (available in numerous books or stitch dictionaries), and designing a swatch to meet certain specifications such as length, width, number of horizontal and vertical repeats of the design, etc. You'll notice the swatch on the left pulls in a bit; this is called "cable flare." The swatch on the right uses a compensation technique to eliminate or reduce the flare. I still see a little bit of flare so am not sure if this will be accepted or will have to be reworked.

I can't believe how much I've learned from these swatches as well as the lace swatches posted previously. I already knew how to knit lace & cable stitches, it's the design part that's new to me: how to select a pattern that will fit within the required dimensions; figuring out how many horizontal and vertical repeats need to be worked; writing patterns in both written instructions and charts. Level 3 of the program requires designing and knitting an original hat and a sweater, and while designing a 6x8" swatch is a far cry from a full garment, I now have foundational knowledge that prepares me for that major step.

Jan 2, 2:54pm Top

How interesting. When I was knitting I did a few things that had cables, but, probably because it was a garment and not just a swatch, I wasn't aware that there is that flare. Sounds like a great course.

Jan 2, 7:24pm Top

I've had a similar experience knitting cables in sweaters and a cardigan. I realize now that garment patterns typically incorporate the compensating techniques necessary to prevent flare, so if you work from patterns you might never come across it. It's something you'd need to know if you were creating your own design, though.

Jan 3, 6:08am Top

oh - that's interesting. Makes sense.

Jan 3, 11:54am Top

What lovely work! All that seed stitch is kind of my nightmare, but the finished look is always gorgeous, of course, and that helps.

Are you completing the program for any specific purpose or mostly as a personal challenge/project?

Jan 3, 12:06pm Top

>14 mabith: Are you completing the program for any specific purpose or mostly as a personal challenge/project?

Ha! I ask myself that question a lot, actually. Some of the participants are doing it because they want to teach, or they own (or want to own) a yarn shop and would like to be able to better serve customers. Others want to become involved in the knitting/fiber industry in other ways. I'm not sure I want to do any of that, although if an opportunity fell in my lap I would certainly consider it. When I started the program, I wanted to better understand why some of my projects have turned out better than others, and how to correct and improve. I also have a technical background (computer science), and once I got into the program I found I enjoyed learning the technical aspects of knitting: how different fibers work, why some stitches look the way they do, some of the math & geometry underpinning design, and so on. I guess it appeals to my geeky side huh?

The shorter answer to your question is, I guess it's more of a personal challenge/project. 😀

Jan 3, 8:25pm Top

The things I learn just hanging around this place. hehe

Jan 3, 9:14pm Top

I'm happy to contribute to your edification, Tui. LOL.

Jan 18, 7:00pm Top

I'm making progress on these socks. The yarn is self-striping, and I'm starting to wonder when the other colors in the ball will show up!

Jan 18, 7:06pm Top

>18 lauralkeet: Interesting! I'm fascinated with self-striping yarn!

Jan 19, 9:48am Top

Self striping yarns were invented to keep us going on our projects to see what happens next - at least that's my take on it with absolutely nothing to back up the idea! Then we need to try it in another colourway to see how that one turns out, so ...more yarn.

Fair Isle and cable have some of the same attributes.

Jan 19, 10:11am Top

>19 avaland: watch this space, Lois. 😀

>20 SassyLassy: you may be on to something there! The thing is, these socks are knit from the top down. I've knit 4", with 3" to go before beginning the heel. I really want to see some new color in the next 3", but fear all the "fun" will be in the foot, which will be less visible when the socks are worn. Oh well.

But no, I will NOT buy more yarn to see how it turns out. I have 4 pairs of socks worth of yarn in my stash. None self-striping, but that's okay. Must. Resist.

Jan 19, 7:04pm Top

>21 lauralkeet: Couldn't you rewind the yarn so their "end" is at the beginning? (I don't mean for this pair, but in the future)

Jan 20, 8:49am Top

>22 avaland: Short answer: yes, that would work. You got me thinking about this though ...

To be honest, when I wound the yarn I had no notion of trying to make the socks match. The yarn came in one hank, and I needed to make two balls in order to knit two-at-a-time. So I wound the hank into a ball, and then wound half of that ball into another ball, using a kitchen scale to make sure the two balls were the same size. Once I had two balls of yarn, I just started knitting, expecting to see a pattern like this, which is a swatch from the manufacturer:

It looked to me like this yarn had a lot going on, and the likelihood of me being able to match the two socks was just about nil. In hindsight, I'm pretty sure this yarn is dyed such that each half of the hank will create the same striping pattern (side note: sock yarn, especially self-striping yarn, is often sold in balls with enough to make one sock, so you can buy two balls and know what you're going to get).

But still: I was not expecting so many repeats of the same two colors.

Jan 20, 8:53pm Top

Very nice!

Jan 21, 6:50am Top

Thanks Lori.

Jan 21, 7:38pm Top


Feb 6, 9:49am Top

I've finished all 19 swatches for Master Hand Knitting Level 2. The last ones included a neckband, an inset pocket, and several types of buttonholes (which don't photograph well).

Next up are three projects: a Fair Isle wristlet, an Argyle sock, and a vest. I started the wristlet the other day and realized one of my balls of yarn was defective (it kept breaking every 12" or so). A replacement is on the way.

I'm still working on the socks in >18 lauralkeet:. The colors have gone from those green and brown stripes to green and a sort of orangey-rust. Still nothing like the pattern in >23 lauralkeet:, but they look okay. I've decided to work an "afterthought heel" instead of the heel written in the pattern. With the afterthought heel, you knit a long tube, marking the spot for the heel with waste yarn as you go. Then at the end you go back and add the heel. This allows the striping pattern to continue uninterrupted from leg to instep. I'm interested to see how it works.

Also, yesterday I gave my first knitting lesson! I recently joined a new Facebook group of knitters & crocheters in and around my neighborhood. One member reached out and asked if I would meet with her to teach her how to knit. She crochets and learned knitting years ago, but got frustrated and quit. At the time, she'd bought yarn and patterns to make a couple of projects and wants to try again. We spent an hour in a local coffee shop and I showed her the basic knit and purl stitches and lent her some yarn and needles to practice on her own. I had a chance to review her patterns (a scarf and a mitten) to get an idea of what skills she should master before attempting them. It was fun, and we plan to meet again when she's ready to learn more.

Feb 10, 5:58am Top

Your "next up" projects should be really interesting. Haven't you thought the color work was difficult for you? I made an Argyle toddler sweater back in the 80s, but it was simplified in that the lines through the diamonds were done with overlay after the knitting (if I remember correctly I used a yarn needle to do that, but not sure at this point)

Feb 10, 7:13am Top

Wow - those are looking good to me. Lots of interesting things to try/learn/practice. Good luck with your "student" .

Edited: Feb 10, 7:23am Top

>29 dudes22: I have less experience with colorwork than other techniques, that's for sure. Fair Isle uses only two colors on any given row, and you carry the unused yarn along the back as you knit (these are called floats). The challenges are primarily keeping an even tension so the work doesn't pucker, and making sure the floats don't get too long, otherwise they will snag. I've done some Fair Isle work, including a recent cowl which I posted here but it must have been on last year's thread. I feel moderately confident working the Fair Isle Wristlet. The new-to-me part of this project will be trying to keep 5 balls of yarn from turning into a tangled mess (my previous projects used only 2 colors).

The Argyle sock, on the other hand, uses a method called intarsia which is completely new to me. Intarsia creates large blocks of single colors, and it's not practical to carry the unused yarn along the back. From my research it looks like you create small balls or bobbins of yarn. But there's still the risk of a tangled mess. And, as you pointed out Lois, the lines through the diamonds are another challenge. These can be created as you knit the diamond pattern, or using duplicate stitch at the end (which sounds like what you did). Both are acceptable in the Masters Program. I need to experiment a bit to see which method I prefer. I'm using a pattern by a Master Hand Knitter created specifically to meet the requirements of the program, and the instructions are very well written with lots of tips along the way, but I still anticipate a fair amount of frustration/challenge with this project.

>30 lauralkeet: oh, hi Betty! Looks like we were posting at the same time. Thanks for the encouragement.

Feb 11, 5:33am Top

>30 lauralkeet: Ah, duplicate stitch, that's it.

Feb 26, 6:57am Top

I recently finished these self-striping socks. I knit these two-at-a-time, which is really satisfying and will be my preferred method for socks from now on, I think. As luck would have it, as I worked from the top down the stripes matched, more or less, so I decided to modify the pattern to use a different heel technique that was better suited to two-at-a-time knitting and would maintain the matching pattern. But look at the toes: at the very end of the sock the yarn stopped matching!

The heel is a peasant heel, also known as an afterthought or forethought heel. This type of heel is worked after knitting both the leg and the foot as a sort of long tube. Waste yarn is knit into the sock at the desired heel location. When it's time to knit the heel, you pick up the stitches on both sides of the waste yarn and remove the yarn, creating the opening for the heel. This photo shows the waste yarn removed from the sock on the left, and still in place in the sock on the right:

I made one mistake in adapting my sock pattern, and accidentally made the foot section about an inch too long. But the peasant heel was easy to work, especially two-at-a-time, and I'll probably use it again. And fortunately the socks are still wearable, although they bunch up a bit in my shoes.

Feb 27, 5:25am Top

Oh, I love those! And the heels look neat! Honestly, I kind of like that they don't quite match right at the end - it's like a little secret in your shoe, plus that way Athene won't get jealous of your knitting skills...

Feb 27, 7:01am Top

a little secret in your shoe
Oh, I like that!

Feb 27, 9:01am Top

Oh - those are cute! I like the 2 different heels too.

Feb 27, 9:44am Top

Thanks Betty.

On another note, I just learned about this new sock yarn from Opal, inspired by Monet paintings:

Several years ago they had a Van Gogh line and I knit a pair in "Starry Night," which I still wear and love. I love these Monet colorways and just might succumb. It's so hard to choose though. Anyone have a favorite?

Feb 27, 2:34pm Top

>36 lauralkeet: How about one for every day of the week and a pair to spare? Then there's no need to choose!


Feb 27, 2:44pm Top

Those are really nice. I’m going to tell my friend who does socks about them.

Feb 27, 5:45pm Top

>37 SassyLassy: ha! Now there's a thought!

Feb 28, 6:02am Top

Oh, those are all pretty, but I think I like the bottom left one best.

Feb 28, 6:06am Top

>36 lauralkeet: I foresee a whole line of artist-inspired yarns! Van Gogh could be next...then maybe the primary colors of Mondrian or the golds of Klimt....

Feb 28, 6:56am Top

Actually, Opal did a VanGogh line a few years ago, but it's now discontinued:

They seem to do a lot of themed collections. I'd love to see more artists featured.

Mar 7, 5:59pm Top

I received the yarn for this Gradient Cowl as a Christmas gift, and am now knitting happily away. It's a great TV-watching project requiring little concentration and just occasional measuring. Each "stripe" is 3.25", knit with two strands of yarn. The gradient transitions are achieved by alternately using 2 strands of the same color for one stripe, one strand of two adjacent colors on the next stripe, and then 2 of the same color again. The photo shows color A, A/B, B, and B/C. In the yarn photo the colors are laid out in order from left to right. When finished this will be about 5' long, and then seamed into an infinity scarf.

Mar 8, 5:30am Top

>43 lauralkeet: Neat! I love how the gradient works!

Edited: Mar 8, 6:51am Top

>44 scaifea: me too! PurlSoho makes the most gorgeous yarn, and this piece is really all about the yarn. The knitting is very uncomplicated, but the pattern allows the texture and appearance of the yarn to stand out.

Mar 8, 8:04am Top

You really get some nice Christmas presents! That yarn is really pretty.

Mar 8, 12:00pm Top

>42 lauralkeet: That's awesome!

>43 lauralkeet: As noted elsewhere, I find the method of color mixing intriguing.

Mar 8, 9:25pm Top

Love the colors of the gradient.

Mar 9, 7:16am Top

>48 mabith: They are lovely aren't they? PurlSoho sells bundles of yarn specifically chosen for the cowl, and they are all so pretty.

Mar 12, 10:46pm Top

I finished the Fair Isle Wristlet for the Master Hand Knitting Program:

In this project, we have to knit the pattern as provided, with our choice of yarn and colors. The finished piece is 3.5" tall and about 7.25" in circumference. In other words, small. So you have to manage 5 yarn balls and the associated color changes, while keeping tension even across the entire piece. I knit 4 wristlets before I was satisfied with the results. The first two attempts were about becoming familiar with the pattern and figuring out the needle size necessary to obtain the required gauge. Then I had to perfect a few things. Anyway, now it's done.

To submit my Level 2 work, I need to complete two more projects: an argyle sock (pattern selected & yarn ordered) and a vest (pattern selected, yarn on hand, will start knitting soon). More on these later.

Mar 13, 7:12am Top

Having done a Fair Isle sweater (or 2) back in my knitting days, I can only imagine how hard a small one like this was. Great job and I like the colors.

Mar 13, 2:18pm Top

>50 lauralkeet: That is really lovely, Laura. How many levels are there in this program?

Mar 13, 4:13pm Top

>51 dudes22: Thanks Betty. I went into the wristlet feeling pretty confident, not realizing the extra challenge brought about by making something so small, and in the round at that. I knew I'd need to knit it more than once to get a result I was satisfied with, but every time I came to the end I had to put it away for a couple days to regain my enthusiasm. 😀

>52 avaland: I'm happy with the wristlet too, thanks, although I kind of wish it was a wearable thing, and not just an exercise. And there are three levels in the program. Level 2 is reportedly the most challenging, at least that's the consensus in the Ravelry group. Level 3 involves more design: one fair isle, one aran/ one hat, one sweater. I'm leaning towards fair isle for the hat and aran for the sweater, but now I'm really putting the cart before the horse. Better make sure I pass Level 2 first!

Mar 13, 4:17pm Top

This is the vest I'm making for Level 2, and the yarn. The vest can be a “V”, “U”, or crew-neck, but must have edge stitches picked up and knitted around the neck and armholes. The vest also must be seamed at the side selvedges. Besides meeting the program requirements, I wanted this to be a garment I would enjoy wearing, and I don’t really wear vests. After looking at other MHK Level 2 vest projects and an extensive Ravelry search, I chose this design because I liked the cropped style, and I love knitting cables.

I just started knitting this today.

Mar 14, 8:57am Top

This is the Argyle Sock required for Level 2. The sock must be a traditional argyle style using intarsia technique, and worked from the top down with picked-up stitches along the heel flap. Kitchener stitch is required for the toe. Only one sock is required for submission and it should be left open on the back leg seam so the reviewers can easily see the wrong side. I'm using an argyle sock pattern developed by a Master Hand Knitter with this program in mind, which has excellent detailed instructions. I'm also using the brand of yarn specified in the pattern, but chose my own colors. Because the intarsia technique is completely new to me, I thought it best to go with proven design & materials.

For this sock, the background will be knit in light gray, the diamonds in red and blue, and the lines in yellow. It will be a while before I produce anything remotely resembling a sock, because I want to practice a few techniques before diving in.

Mar 14, 2:08pm Top

Are you going to make two so you'll have a pair when they come back to you? Also I like the vest a lot.

Mar 14, 2:29pm Top

>55 lauralkeet: I like the colors you chose. So the socks in that pattern are not knitted in the round? Is that unusual?

Mar 14, 3:55pm Top

>56 dudes22: Betty, I'm going to wait for my feedback before knitting the second sock. I want to have the yarn on hand in case I need to resubmit the sock, and if I do need to resubmit it will probably be suitable as a mate for the first one.

>57 rosalita: Most of the other socks I've made were knit in the round, but then I did a Christmas stocking for a friend that was seamed. So it's not typical in my experience, but maybe not as unusual as you might think.

Mar 14, 5:19pm Top

>58 lauralkeet: Interesting! I've never gotten the courage to try socks. Right now a hat knit in the round is as adventurous as I can go, although my WIP does have color changes to it so that's exciting. :-)

Mar 14, 8:05pm Top

The fair isle looks so nice! I look forward to seeing the sock in those lovely colors.

Mar 15, 6:14am Top

I love the argyle sock pattern! I've never been too adventurous with my socks, using either one color yarn or that self-striping stuff, but I'd love to try something like this. I've also never heard of a sock not knit in the round - interesting! And I love your color choices, of course!

Edited: Mar 15, 6:46am Top

>59 rosalita: color changes are definitely exciting! Have you tried cables? They look nice on hats too.

>60 mabith: Thanks!

>61 scaifea: Argyle is really outside my comfort zone, Amber. I've never done this technique so at the moment I'm feeling a little nervous/intimidated. I've been merrily knitting my vest but this weekend I'd like to at least knit a gauge swatch with the sock yarn and come up with a good way to practice intarsia.

Mar 15, 7:00am Top

>62 lauralkeet: I'm completely a novice at intarsia, too, and I've always wondered how it would work with socks - won't your toes get stuck in all the yarn on the inside? Am I a complete dummy for thinking so? *shrug*

Mar 15, 7:05am Top

>63 scaifea: I think that's part of what the reviewers are looking for in the sock, Amber. It's important to manage color changes well on both the right and wrong sides. Unlike Fair Isle, where you carry the yarn along the back side, with Intarsia you cut it and weave in the ends.

Mar 15, 7:43am Top

>64 lauralkeet: Aha! I didn't realize that you cut and weave with intarsia! Thank makes much more sense for a sock, then.

Mar 15, 10:21am Top

>62 lauralkeet: I did make a hat with cables! This one:

It's hard to see in the photo but the cables zig-zag to cross over and under each other like a chain-link fence. I cringe now seeing all the uneven stitches, but it is what it is.

Mar 15, 12:14pm Top

I think it's fab! Go you!

Mar 15, 12:33pm Top

Aw, thanks! Now that I have more experience, I'd like to tackle the same pattern again.

Mar 16, 8:47am Top

>66 rosalita: I think it looks great!

Mar 17, 11:31am Top

>66 rosalita: Love the hat, despite the self-declared imperfections. You have come a long way since then!

Mar 17, 1:59pm Top

Thank you, Amber and Lois! All of your encouragement is making me think I'll tackle this pattern again sooner rather than later. I'll be sure to post a picture so we can compare and see if I've really improved. :-)

Apr 9, 4:37pm Top

Work-in-progress: the Argyle Sock for Level 2 of the Master Hand Knitter program (see >55 lauralkeet:). This is the halfway point of the leg. I need to work another row of diamonds with the blue & red sections flipped, and then I'll be ready to work the heel. The intarsia technique is slow and tedious. Each row requires about a dozen color changes in order to work the gray background, the yellow "lines," and the diamonds. I have to limit myself to about 4 rows per sitting in order to maintain my concentration. At this point I can't imagine voluntarily doing more projects like this one!

Edited: Apr 10, 6:02am Top

That's looking really nice, Laura. I can see it would need a lot of concentration.

Apr 10, 6:43am Top

Thanks Betty!

Apr 12, 5:55am Top

Can you just make the one argyle sock or do you have to make a pair? It is excellent work.

Apr 12, 6:47am Top

Lois, we are only required to make one sock for the program. Thank goodness! I have enough yarn for two, but then there's also the possibility of having to use that yarn to rework the sock or a portion thereof. I'll decide later whether I make a second sock.

Apr 13, 12:08pm Top

I imagine a lot the work of the argyle will be paid off in a sense of extreme accomplishment at the end, at least. It looks great so far!

Apr 13, 12:20pm Top

>77 mabith: Thanks Meredith. Just yesterday I had to undo about 6 rows to go back and correct a mistake. Argh! But I agree, once this baby is done I will feel quite accomplished.

Apr 13, 5:58pm Top

>76 lauralkeet: Perhaps you can use the one sock for a holiday stocking for one of the pets:-)

Apr 13, 6:27pm Top

>79 avaland: I don't know about that. If it passes I might have to frame it!

Apr 20, 12:41pm Top

Apr 30, 7:13pm Top

We've done a little redecorating in our guest room to increase our storage space, especially since this room is seldom used as an actual bedroom. Today I tackled a satisfying little organization project:


My yarn stash, needles, notions, etc. all stuffed into two baskets in my bedroom closet.


Same items, reorganized in guest room closet drawers.

It helps that I don't have a huge yarn stash. I tend to buy yarn for specific projects rather than just for the sake of buying yarn.

May 1, 6:17am Top

Are the acrylic boxes part of the shelving or did you pick that up separately? I really like that for craft storage—you can see everything!

May 1, 6:55am Top

Lois, the closet is IKEA's PAX wardrobe system, which can be endlessly customized. Basket drawers are cheaper, but some customer reviews said they would catch on clothing. They also offer solid drawers, but I liked the acrylic fronts. Even for a typical bedroom clothing closet, I thought it would be helpful to be able to see what's in the drawers. I like that feature even more for craft storage.

May 1, 12:59pm Top

I like that a lot. giving me something to think about.

May 29, 11:09am Top

Woo hoo! I finished the Argyle Sock for the Master Hand Knitting program.

This was knit from the top-down (WIP pictured in >72 lauralkeet:), and I was able to move more quickly once I reached the heel, since the sole of the foot was knit in only one color. The sock is also knit flat and seamed, but we are required to submit it unseamed. I expect that makes it easier for reviewers to evaluate the work on both the right and wrong sides. I'm reasonably happy with how this turned out, especially since it was my first project using the Intarsia technique. There are some spots where the stitches aren't as clean as they should be, especially the yellow lines, so this may not pass. But I would prefer to submit it and get feedback, than second-guess what the reviewers are looking for.

I now have only one thing left to finish before submitting my Level 2 work: the cable vest pictured in >54 lauralkeet:. I set this aside for a few weeks while I went on vacation, and am just about to pick it up again. I'm working the upper part of the front section. The back will knit up more quickly because it's mostly plain stockinette stitch with just a small rope cable on each side.


Socks make nice portable travel projects so before our trip, I started a pair of socks in a lace pattern. While on vacation I finished one sock and made a good start on the second. I'm now working the heel of the second sock so it won't be long before I'm finished. Lace looks kind of scrunchy until it's blocked so photos will have to wait.

May 29, 5:34pm Top

It looks terrific, Laura, great job!

May 29, 7:02pm Top

That's very nice looking, Laura. Since you submit it flat but it looks like a sock in the picture, where is the seam? I'm trying to imagine where it would be that wouldn't be uncomfortable when you wear it.

May 30, 6:51am Top

Thanks Lois & Betty. And yes, I got tricky and photographed it so it would look like a sock. The unseamed part is on the under side of what you see. It runs down the side of the leg. It might help to imagine a seam running through where the blue and red diamonds touch on the leg, and then between the patterned and solid parts of the foot. That's where it would be, just on the other side of the sock. If that makes sense.

Edited: May 30, 4:50pm Top

Oh - ok. Got it. Now I see even more why it's difficult to knit.

Edited: Jun 21, 6:36pm Top

I started this pair of socks in late April, just before leaving on vacation. They were a perfect travel project; I finished the first sock and started the second while relaxing and/or traveling on trains and planes. I finished the second sock yesterday. The name of the pattern is "Embossed Leaves." The yarn was a giveaway at a knitting retreat I attended last year. I love the color.

Jun 21, 9:45pm Top

Wow! Those are cool! Love the color.

Jun 22, 7:33am Top

Thanks Betty!

Also, I meant to say that the "embossed leaves" are a lace motif. It's a little hard to tell in the photo, but when you put the sock on, the design opens up more.

Jun 22, 8:59am Top

Oooh, pretty! I love the color *and* the pattern! I've never attempted more than a simple ribbing with socks, but I want to fancy it up at some point...

Jun 22, 11:36am Top

Here's a better look at the lace design. The lighting conditions were much brighter this morning, which affects the photo color.


>94 scaifea: Amber, you wouldn't have any trouble "fancying it up". The pattern is usually worked only on the leg and instep (with heel, sole, and toe in easy-peasy stockinette). If you know how to work lace or cable stitches, you can do lace or cable socks!!

I have yet to try colorwork socks, but your mitts are inspiring ...

Jun 22, 11:40am Top

Yes - much prettier when you can see more of the pattern. While I was at the farmer's market today, I was looking at a skein of sport weight alpaca yarn for a gift for a friend who makes a lot of socks. I think I might buy some and save it for a birthday gift.

Jun 23, 7:30am Top

Oh, I thought I had left a response here, but I don't see it. As noted elsewhere, I love the color and pattern.

Edited: Jun 23, 8:29am Top

Thanks Lois!

Yesterday I spent a few minutes choosing patterns for the three skeins of sock yarn waiting patiently in my stash. I chose two patterns I already have on hand in books, and one popular pattern on Ravelry. All three yarns have something going on, color-wise. Here's my current thinking although I reserve the right to change my mind, LOL.

Almondine, with Yarn Indulgences Zed Cashmerino Sock
I made these socks before and loved them, until they accidentally went through the dryer. I received the yarn about two years ago as part of a yarn subscription, but didn't want to make the shawl pattern that came with it. I think the gradient in the yarn is subtle enough to work with this pattern.

Cable Rib Socks, with Zwerger Garn Opal Sweet & Spicy
I've had this yarn for ages & ages (like 6 years), and had actually kind of forgotten about it until recently. It's self-striping but I wanted to do something with it that wasn't just a plain sock. The cable rib is a nice accent.

Hermione's Everyday Socks, with Polka Dot Sheep Tenderfoot
This yarn also came as part of a subscription, but again didn't really like the pattern provided. I tried making the Embossed Leaves sock with it, but the lace motif was overpowered by the colors. The Hermione's Everyday Socks pattern is hugely popular on Ravelry, with more than 27,000 projects on record. I want to see what all the fuss is about.

Jun 23, 8:31am Top

I love all those combinations! I can't wait to see the results!

And thanks for the encouragement - I do love that Cable Rib pattern, so I may try something similar soon...

Jun 23, 9:05am Top

Amber, let me know if you'd like a copy of the pattern. I could scan and email to you as a PDF.

Jun 23, 9:42am Top

>100 lauralkeet: Oh, thanks so much! Yes, please! No rush, though, just whenever you get a chance.

Edited: Jun 23, 10:41am Top

Sure thing, just PM me your email address when you get a chance.

ETA: never mind, I already have it!

Jun 25, 6:04am Top

>98 lauralkeet: Oo, I like that last pattern! It will be interesting in that yarn.

Jun 25, 7:39am Top

>103 avaland: Yeah, I hope the yarn and stitch pattern work well together. The colors aren't ones I would choose for myself, so that ruled out anything that would be really visible when worn (shawl, cowl, etc.). The colors would be great for a baby garment but I don't have any babies in my life at this point in time. So, bring on the socks!

Edited: Jul 3, 9:29am Top

My vest is finished! It was fun to knit (I love cables), and because there are no sleeves, it came together reasonably quickly.

And with that, I've finished all the work necessary to submit my work for Master Hand Knitting Level 2: vest, argyle sock, fair isle wristlet, 19 swatches, and written work. I'll drop it off at the post office later today. My work will be routed to three reviewers and then returned to me with detailed written feedback. This review process takes something like 10 weeks, and I will have follow-up work to do as a result of the feedback. I expect much more rework in this level than I had in Level 1, because in some cases I had to work techniques that I didn't have much experience with, and all of the techniques are more complex than Level 1.

I'm looking forward to knitting just for fun for a while. Yesterday I finished my gradient cowl project (photos soon), and started a pair of socks.

Jul 3, 10:30am Top

That's a nice looking vest. When I used to knit, I liked doing cables. Fingers crossed that there wont be too much to rework.

Jul 3, 12:29pm Top

Thank you Betty. I realized quite late into the project that the all-over cable pattern made seaming more complicated, and seams are on the short list of techniques evaluated in the vest. So I'm crossing my fingers as well! I really wanted to knit something I might actually wear, but sometimes I wonder if I should have done a very plain vest as a sort of throwaway project to make things a bit simpler.

Jul 3, 7:28pm Top

I say - if you're going to take the time to make it, it should be something you'll get to use.

Jul 4, 12:40pm Top


I'm really happy with this Gradient Cowl. The knitted piece was about 5' long and then seamed into an infinity scarf. I love the texture of the yarn (wool/alpaca/linen) and the way the colors play with one another. Even though it's a bazillion degrees outside today, I tried this on by twisting it in a figure eight around my neck. Yes, it will do nicely, and go well with my black winter coat.

Jul 4, 1:23pm Top

That is fabulous! I love the colors!

Jul 5, 5:21am Top

I love both the vest and the cowl - well done!

Jul 5, 6:36am Top

Thank you Betty & Amber!

Jul 6, 7:55am Top

It feels strange not to be working on the Master Hand Knitter program, but it's a good time to knock out some quick projects. Like those socks in >98 lauralkeet:. The other day I started the Almondine socks in that blue-green yarn, and have knit most of the leg on the first sock. I'm waffling over whether I should work one pair at a time or have more than one project in progress.

Jul 8, 10:58pm Top

Would one project have an advantage over another in different circumstances (or, if all socks, would it make enough of a difference?)

Edited: Jul 9, 7:50am Top

I like having two or three different kinds of projects going on, and working on whichever one is calling to me at the moment. But as you noted, two sock projects probably aren't different enough. It's funny how your brain starts to fill the void. I have this batch of sock yarn bought on impulse: 10 mini skeins of 90 yards each, in complementary colors. A pair of socks would take 4-5 skeins, so I started thinking about sock designs that would work. I need to work a gauge swatch but that requires the needles I'm using for my current socks! I guess I need a second set in that size.

I'll post yarn photos and more about my thought process here in due course.

Edited: Jul 11, 2:21pm Top

These are the 10 mini-skeins of sock yarn mentioned above: all ten (left), and then separated into earth tones (middle) and gray/blue tones (right). This is enough yarn for two pairs of socks. The construction would be pretty standard; the design effort is about using the colors effectively.

For now I'm only working with the earth tones. There's not enough contrast for Fair Isle motifs, so I’m looking at stripes with a single-color ribbing, heel, and toe. I could do a uniform stripe pattern (i.e.; 5 rows per color), but I'm also leaning towards varying the size of the stripe. One way I've seen that done is to use a fibonacci series (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, ...): knit 1 row, change colors, knit 2 rows, change colors, knit 3 rows, etc. Here's an example using 3 colors:

For my sock I would use the darkest color (at top of yarn photo, let's call this color A) to work a 1.5" ribbing, as well as for the heel and toe. The remaining 4 colors (B-E) would rotate through a 5-sequence series. This will vary both the number of rows per stripe and the size of each color (so color B isn't always a 1-row stripe, etc.):
1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 ...
B, C, D, E, B, C, D, E, B, C ...

I need to work a gauge swatch and calculate yarn requirements to see if this design will work with the quantity of each color.

Any thoughts/reactions to this?

Jul 11, 2:33pm Top

I like the idea. I started a couple of quilts once that use the Fibonacci sequence to cut strips of fabric. You've reminded me that they are still unfinished. (hangs head in shame). Without figuring it out, I'm guessing that using the sequence you have there, would use the yarn approximately evenly? I just wonder if 8 rows of a color would be too wide a stripe. What about going up then back... 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 5, 3, 2, 1,....?

Jul 11, 4:08pm Top

>117 dudes22: ooh there's a thought. I am worried about the 8-row stripe too, but wasn't sure how to get around it. The sample fibonacci sock in my post uses 3 colors, so it only needs 1, 2, 3 5 from the sequence.

Jul 11, 5:03pm Top

Maybe if you go up and then down, you could leave out the 8 and still have a variation.

Edited: Jul 11, 8:46pm Top

I was checking out your thread over on the 75 Challenge group and like the spreadsheet you created for your series. I'm going to steal your idea and create something similar in Excel. With FictFact gone, I was going to just use the series feature under stats/memes but I like your idea better.

ETA: I just noticed that LT says I have 442 series (Some of which are not started yet) so this may take a while.

Jul 11, 9:03pm Top

>120 dudes22: I'm glad the spreadsheet is helpful! Your comments about the stats/meme data really resonate with me. One of the main reasons I used FictFact was that I could choose which series I wanted to pay attention to. Some of what LT considers "series" seem a bit of a stretch. And sometimes you read the first book in a series and decide not to continue. I'd love it if LT improved their series tracking, but I'm not holding my breath.

Jul 12, 5:28am Top

There's been a big discussion going on in the Talk group about the redesign of LT. Maybe you could make a suggestion. I haven't read through all of it yet (there are multiple threads), so I don't know if it's come up yet or not. Before I was on LT and heard about FictFact, I used to keep a spreadsheet with a different page for each of my favorite authors and which books I had read, but I gave it up after FictFact.

Edited: Jul 13, 6:02pm Top

>122 dudes22: thanks Betty, I'll check out those threads.

>118 lauralkeet:, >119 dudes22: Today I've been looking at gauge and weight, with the goal of making sure the mini-skeins are sufficient to do a 4-color stripe with a solid ribbing/heel/toe.

First, at a very high level, I weighed a completed hand-made sock to see how much yarn it used in grams. Dividing that by the number of colors gives me how many grams of each color, per sock. Double that for a pair of socks. The result was well within the 25g of each color that I have on hand.

Since I needed to verify my stitch and row gauge by knitting a swatch, I decided to use the swatch to estimate yarn requirements in a different way. After knitting the swatch I weighed the ball of yarn to determine how much I had used. From that I was able to determine how much yarn was needed to work 1" of a sock, and I could break that down further to how much yarn is required per row.

Then I looked at the Fibonacci sequence and determined how many rows of each color would be worked, and calculated how much yarn that would require (again doubling for a pair of socks). After all this, my head hurt but I was satisfied that I have enough of each color to do a stripe pattern. But I wasn't satisfied with the Fibonacci sequence, especially that 8-row stripe. I played with some variations but didn't like them either.

Then I found a random stripe generator online and used that to generate about 150 rows of random stripes using 4 colors, with stripes no larger than 5 rows. The generator produced an image of the pattern with text instructions. I think this will satisfy my desire not to have a perfectly uniform pattern.

Jul 14, 8:30am Top

That's a good idea. And I like the look of it. Amazing all the things we can find online.

Jul 14, 9:58am Top

Interesting discussion! A random stripe generator! I once had an assignment where I produced a piece of patchwork and some embroidery to illustrate The Golden Mean (I am forever enthralled with spirals). In another assignment we had to use one of a collection of science-based images and do something creative with it. So, I made a small velvet bag with the image of some kind of bacteria done in beadwork.

Jul 15, 6:24am Top

My eyes crossed at all those calculations, but I *love* the idea of a random stripe generator! And it gives you the text instructions, too!

Jul 15, 8:05am Top

>124 dudes22:, >126 scaifea: right, I just googled "4-color stripe sock" and the generator popped up. It's pretty nifty. I think I might make a small adjustment though. I told the generator I wanted stripes of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 rows, but I don't think I want to bother with a 1-row stripe. It seems like it might not show up all that well, and the extra color changes aren't worth the effort.

>125 avaland: that sounds interesting, Lois. It definitely stretches your mind to think about how to illustrate nature or science in fiber.

Jul 22, 9:00pm Top

A random stripe generator! The future is now, truly. I'm looking forward to seeing how your socks turn out, Laura. I love both sets of colors that you'll be working with.

Jul 23, 7:39am Top

>128 rosalita: Hi Julia! I actually started working on my random stripe sock and have done the leg and heel of the first sock. So far so good! I'll post a pic of the first sock here when it's finished.

I'm also nearly finished with the Almondine socks mentioned in >98 lauralkeet:, so I'll have pics of those soon as well.

I guess this is turning into my "summer of socks" lol.

Jul 23, 2:33pm Top

May this be your first of many themed summers! LOL!

Edited: Jul 28, 5:17pm Top

I finished my Almondine socks. They fit well and I'm happy to stuff them into my sock drawer to await colder weather!

I'm also making good progress on my Random Stripe socks. The first sock is finished; here it is alongside the stripe pattern:

The colors in the sock don't match those in the pattern graphic, but hopefully you can still see how the sock stripes (which begin just below the ribbing) correlate with the graphic. The graphic is 150 rows but I only needed 120 rows (65 for the leg and 55 for the foot). And the good news is, my yarn estimates were conservative and I have plenty of each color to make the second sock.

Later today I'll start the Hermione's Everyday Sock, pictured in >98 lauralkeet:. It has a sort of textured pattern, and the yarn is a multi-color pastel that I couldn't figure out what to do with (it would be perfect for baby-wear, but alas there are no babies in my life at the moment).

Jul 28, 4:55pm Top

For the curious, Hermione is at >98 lauralkeet: (it was my first guess). :-}

Jul 28, 5:18pm Top

>132 Lyndatrue: whoops! Thanks Lynda. It's fixed in my post now.

Jul 29, 5:21am Top

Oh, I love the colors for the random stripe sock!

Jul 29, 5:23am Top

It looks like the random generator did a good job. That's a great looking sock! And so is the Almondine one. I like the subtle lacy pattern. And I love the color.

Jul 29, 7:09am Top

>134 scaifea: Thanks Amber. The random stripe sock is literally the first time in my life I've knit something without a pattern. I enjoyed figuring out how to put the basic elements of a sock (heel, toe, leg, foot) together, while also managing the color changes.

>135 dudes22: Betty, I love me a good stitch pattern and I admire those who can design stitch patterns that "work" on a garment. In the Master Hand Knitter program, we had to do two swatches (one lace, one cable), where we chose a stitch pattern and knit it up in a swatch with a required number of pattern repeats within a specified size (length/width). It was a challenge to find a stitch pattern that worked within the specs, and then lay it out correctly. And that was just to make a rectangular piece. To do that for a sock? It makes my head spin.

Jul 30, 5:30am Top

>136 lauralkeet: Good for you! I remember the first time I sewed something without a pattern - scary, but exciting and fun.

Jul 30, 8:11am Top

Thanks Amber! Scary, exciting, and fun pretty much describes it. It helped to have foundational knowledge of sock construction -- I can't imagine doing any "design" without that.

In Level 3 of the Master Hand Knitter program, you have to design and knit both a sweater and a hat. And one needs to be Aran, the other Fair Isle. Yikes. I feel like in some small way, these socks are good preparation.

Jul 30, 9:12am Top

>138 lauralkeet: Agreed. It's pretty much essential that you understand the basics before going it on your own without a pattern (or at least that's the case with sewing). Now, even when I *do* use a pattern, I almost never follow it to the letter, but alter it to suit what I want. I'm not that good at knitting yet, though...

Edited: Aug 13, 1:59pm Top

I finished the random stripe socks. Can you spot the difference?! The two socks match except for one stripe. It turns out I unknowingly used the wrong color on the first sock, but didn’t notice the mistake until I was well past the same point on the second sock. I can live with it.

And I now have a new appreciation for self-striping yarn!

Aug 14, 6:15am Top

Oh, I LOVE how those turned out! The colors are great, and the stripe sequence is really cool! And honestly, I love the different stripe, too. Adds interest, plus it's always good to have at least one little mistake, so Athene doesn't get angry...

Aug 14, 6:47am Top

Thanks Amber!! And I absolutely love the idea of appeasing the goddess. Not that I expect anyone to say "hey you have a mistake there," but it's a great way to explain it!

Aug 14, 7:12am Top

I like those socks too. I found the stripe but - hey - as long as you don't stand with your feet close together no one will ever know.

Aug 14, 3:29pm Top

I agree with Amber, those turned out fab!

Aug 14, 4:00pm Top

>143 dudes22: Betty, it also helps that the "oops" is on the leg and I'm most likely to be wearing these with pants or jeans. I think it'll just be my little secret.

>144 avaland: thanks Lois! It was a fun experiment in "designing" something to use the mini skeins of yarn. I still have 5 mini skeins in gray/blues to use another time. I might do a more uniform stripe (5 rows/color?) but with a stitch pattern for interest. But I'm in no hurry, and I want to let the possibilities rattle around in my brain for a while.

Aug 14, 4:39pm Top

Love the socks, and the oopsie just proves they are homemade! (Not to mention pretty hard to even see.)

Aug 18, 8:04am Top

The socks are great. I keep doing big projects (afghans/blankets) for my grandchildren, but every time I see these kinds of lovely projects, I’m tempted to make them wait. :-)

Edited: Aug 18, 9:41am Top

>147 NanaCC: Colleen, I usually like to have a couple of projects on the go, one "big," like a sweater, and one "small" like socks. More recently I've been on a bit of a sock binge. It's been satisfying to whittle down my stash, but I'm also getting just a little bit bored with socks. I'm almost done with one pair and plan to knit one more before moving on to more stash-busting with a hat or two.

Aug 18, 7:22pm Top

>140 lauralkeet: Does it have to count as an "oops"? Think of it as more interesting this way. Some people work happily with random stripes.

An "oops" would have been two different sizes, dropped stitches, that sort of thing.

Edited: Aug 18, 7:35pm Top

>148 lauralkeet: Why do you need to whittle down such a tiny stash? My yarn stash is at least four times yours, probably more.

I just wanted to tell you that I am here lurking, rather than have the bad manners to just lurk. I had never considered doing the Master Knitters program. I think, from looking at your work, that I'd be up to it. Do they give you enough instruction? I'd just be a little scared, I don't know why. The worst thing that could happen would be that I wouldn't pass, but surely many people don't pass. Were you fearful at first?

I've been knitting sweaters with sock yarn doubled. Works great, and it particularly works to mix two skeins of the same yarn by the doubling: it seems to prevent pooling. At least I think it does. I like the small yarns, but I don't want to knit great huge swaths of stockinette or anything, really. Anyway, I play with knitting socks, but I seldom finish one.

Edited: Aug 19, 9:19am Top

>149 SassyLassy: I guess it's only an "oops" because I intended to knit the same series of "random stripes" (size & color, in the same order) on each sock. But I agree it doesn't really matter. If I were using self-striping yarn, the socks might not match and that would be totally fine.

>150 sallypursell: Hi! Thanks for asking about the Master Hand Knitting program! The Masters program is not a "course," per se. You learn by doing the work, and also by the research required to do the work (by that I mean, researching methods for the various techniques). TKGA (The Knitting Guild Association) provides a huge amount of content on their website to support that research, and of course you can also use other sources. You can also ask questions in TKGA's Ravelry group when you get stuck.

From my participation in the Ravelry group, I can say that everyone is a little fearful when they start, and nervous when they submit their work for review. It is extremely rare for someone to pass a level on the first review. I'd say 99% of participants receive a detailed, very helpful, kind and supportive letter highlighting what they did well, providing constructive criticism, and noting items that need to be resubmitted. "Resubmits" are a normal part of the program, and a key part of the learning process.

Now, all that being said, a lot of people (myself included) find it helpful to start with one of TKGA's correspondence courses. I took one called "Basics, Basics, Basics" which covered techniques I thought I already knew, but I still learned a lot. And I learned "how TKGA works" so I was familiar with their method of learning before starting the Masters program.

I encourage you to take a look at the course descriptions on TKGA's website and check out the Ravelry group. If you'd like, you can also visit my Ravelry page. I have projects there for "Basics," as well as Level 1 and 2 of the Masters program. Finally, I'm happy to answer questions so feel free to ask!

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