Pixel Rise Christmas Frankensocks

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The Pixel Rise socks pattern, written by Kemper Wray, makes fine use of fair isle as one pixelated stripe graduates to the next. The pattern begins with a Turkish cast-on, which I worked two-at-a-time, and even now I can’t tell you how I pulled it off. I will definitely be using this excellent cast-on method many times more, so I suppose I’ll have to figure it out all over again when I do. For the heel I worked my very favorite heel, the Fish Lips Kiss Heel. (While the pattern calls for an afterthought heel, I am not a fan.)

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Now for the yarn! All those delicious little mini bobbins comprise the Christmas Frankensocks kit dyed and assembled by Havirland Yarns. (You can find Carol, the owner of Havirland, on Instagram as @havirland). I was obsessed with this kit the moment I saw it because 1) I love Christmas and 2) I am sick of plain old red and green combos. Carol’s colorful yet conservative Christmas vision is my dream come true. Plus the mildly Christmas-y color scheme permitted me to finish these guys well past the holidays because I didn’t feel the least bit queasy working on something Christmas-y in February–a true first for me!

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The embarrassing picture below shows one of the socks turned inside out so that you can see my stranding when working the fair isle repeats. You might be thinking, ‘Why is she embarrassed?’ Well, if you look closely you will see that I twisted the strands after EVERY SINGLE STITCH. This tedious stranding method highlights the severity of my knitting OCD. I cannot handle the idea of pulling on a sock and having a pinky toe caught in one of those strands! However, if you twist after every single stitch, there is no worry. Nutcase, right?

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It goes without saying that I am eager to wear my Pixel Rise socks this Christmas, but I’ll certainly be slipping them on well before then because I know I won’t be able to help myself.

The sock blockers below are from AlexWorkshopDesign on Etsy.

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A Revamp of the Cupid’s Mix Beanie, Just in Time for Valentine’s Day

A few weeks ago I suddenly realized I had not seen my daughter’s Cupid’s Mix beanie in many months. In angst I up-heaved her room, searched through all my knits and combed the house. The beanie was nowhere.

It goes without saying that a replacement was in order. I quickly contacted Carol of Havirland Yarns and purchased a new Cupid’s Mix set. The old mini skein kit is now a set of 20 mini bobbins, which she has labeled “Cupid’s Mix Frankensocks Kit.” (Her other Frankensocks kits are amazing as well.) My original pattern was designed for the mini skeins, which are approximately 10 grams each. The mini bobbins are 5 grams each, so my pattern could not accommodate them. I fretted at first but then decided to simply revamp the old pattern to include two versions: one for mini skeins (left) and one for mini bobbins (right).

Cupid's Mix Beanie

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How did she grow so fast??? You’ve got to be kidding me. It’s only been one year.

To download my free Cupid’s Mix Beanie knitting pattern click here, or to download from Ravelry click here.

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dsc04599Get your Valentine’s knit on!

Watermelon Socks

When I saw Havirland’s “Sour Watermelon Sharks” self-striping yarn in her Etsy shop, I pretty much dumped it in my cart and checked out immediately. I love watermelon, but my daughter especially loves watermelon, and the shades in this particular watermelon colorway spoke to me. I HAD to knit a pair of Watermelon socks for my daughter! This yarn is quite beautiful in its simplicity, and the colors are spot on.

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I knit these socks two at a time, as I knit all socks, because I’m too impatient to do it any other way. I designed them to fit my daughter’s feet a little loosely because she’s been outgrowing her handknit socks too quickly. I then worked a Fish Lips Kiss Heel, which is my favorite heel. Don’t these socks match my Stargazer lilies perfectly?

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After starting these I bounced around on several projects. I have focus issues and cannot seem to complete a project without getting distracted multiple times.

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Finally, however, I managed to get them off the needles and call it a day for these scrumptious-looking Watermelon Socks.

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Now I can move on to the next pair…

Dotted Rays for Days

Typically I like to keep my knitting projects planned and orderly. This project, however, sprang from the sheer impulse to join the Dotted Rays KAL on Instagram. Not wise. But who wants to be wise ALL the time?

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I started the Dotted Rays shawl (pattern by West Knits) with the naivete that I would use only yarn from my stash (below). Tosh DK in Citrus would segment my double wedges, and all would be perfect. Right? Not quite.

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The beginning was quick and fun, and the rays sprouted like weeds as I moved from one color to the next–even though I had decided to knit two rays/wedges per color. From the center out (below) the yarns are Tosh DK in Citrus and The Flying Kettle Blimp DK in the colorways Ice Faerie, Dobby and Bees Knees. I then added The Flying Kettle Pokeberry but had to blend in some Tosh DK Lepidoptera, as the former was a mini skein.

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The wedges continued to knit up quickly, and a friend even complimented the shawl so sweetly that I told her she could have it. So the shawl became a gift for Karen MaCall–a master knitter, designer and spinner also known as @karenmacalldesigns on Instagram. She quickly decided she’d knit me a shawl as well, so we agreed upon a shawl exchange. Fun! Little did I know, Karen would throw together one of her beautiful shawl designs in what seemed like minutes and ship it my way in a flash, along with some of her delicious homespun yarn and several Agate stitch markers that she also made. (Seriously, my jaw dropped when I opened the package.) In the meantime, I tried to knit furiously on her Dotted Rays. Coffee helps! Below I have added Tosh DK in Modern Fair Isle blended with some Malabrigo Worsted in Natural, followed by Tosk DK Fathom and Mare, which I had to blend together as well.

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Finally I reached the final color (the last two wedges of the pattern), which ended up using over two-and-a-half skeins of yarn! The colors are Tosh Vintage Glass Bottom Boat blended with Havirland Lexington DK Butterfly Garden. These last two wedges were VAST, and then there was a 10-mile I-cord bind-off, so I had to grab some more GBB and Citrus.

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But at last, here we are! All EIGHT FEET of this massive shawl–the Dotted Rays for Days, as I’ve named her–blocked and finished and glowing in the afternoon clouds. Alas, there was no sun but enough light to see the well-placed holes. Kudos to my husband Andy for climbing trees and threading rope through the branches, just so the holes could be displayed properly.

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Now she’s on her way to Karen’s house, where she can be enjoyed as a shawl or blanket. As with all West Knits patterns, it was an incredible journey.

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Droid Skew Socks

When I saw Havirland’s self-striping sock yarn in color themes for the droids BB-8 and R2-D2, I grabbed some right away. My husband has always been a die hard Star Wars fan, and my son caught on around the age of two, so it was high time I knit something for the love of Star Wars.

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This year I have been completely devoted to sock making, and when I chose this yarn I knew I wanted to do something special, something beyond plain self-striping socks. When I came across Skew, a free pattern by Lana Holden, I dove right in.

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Check out the diagonals (on Star Wars bedding, of course)!

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And the heels!

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I had never seen anything like it in knitting, and it was a pleasure making these Droid Skews. They are more than a pair of socks; they are a work of art!

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Andy’s G-Rated Socks

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I recently finished my husband’s second pair of knit socks, and I’m thrilled with how they turned out. Firstly, he desired a great fit, so I tailored these to stretch around his big, wide feet with the perfect amount of negative ease. Secondly, he wanted them to look good without being too cheerful or flashy. In other words, he wanted them devoid of color.

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The yarn (he picked) is by Havirland Yarns. If you’re unfamiliar with this gifted Indie dyer, I pity you. Just kidding. Carol, the face behind Havirland, is an aficionada of the horror film genre, an interest that is patent in her work. In Carol’s Etsy shop, Halloween-esque colorways–such as “Toxic Ooze,” Fortune Teller” and “Who You Gonna Call?”–abound. She also offers lighthearted colorways that are just as rich and unique as their wicked counterparts, and she makes some darn cute project bags. For these socks, Andy selected the innocuous colorway “G-Rated Movie Macabre.” Perhaps it’s due to all the PG movies my kids watch, but I really wanted the R-Rated version, which sprinkles in a little red for the sake of gore, but alas, he craved less excitement. Still, it’s a stunner of a colorway and well suits my husband’s mostly black wardrobe. And they look so good on my sock blockers, which I ordered in a set from Burning Impressions, also on Etsy.

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I chose to knit these socks magic loop, two-at-a-time (always, for maximum efficiency!) and toe-up.

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And I used a Fish Lips Kiss Heel. My heel experience is a bit limited, but I favor this heel above all others that I have seen. It is quite simple and does not require picking up stitches. I think Sox Therapist is a genius for coming up with the pattern. (For more notes on this project, visit my Ravelry page.)

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Now, Husband Andy has a good pair of socks with the perfect fit that he can kick back and relax in. Look at that fit! Yes!
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