How I Roll: Rose City Rollers, Havirland Style

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The Rose City Rollers sock pattern is (or certainly ought to be) a staple of every sock knitter’s library. Mara Catherine Bryner (@orangeknits) released this sensational free pattern back in 2015. Soon after we began to see examples of her blending technique, where she fades colors from one to the next as she knits the sock. Apparently everyone wanted to know how she worked such magic, so in June of this year she met their demands and released a new pattern called How I Roll. This pattern details her process of blending, as well as offering endless knitting options, including top-down and toe-up; texture patterning; square, rounded and asymmetrical toe shaping; and three different heel flap styles. Undoubtedly, with this pattern you get your money’s worth! The How I Roll pattern can be purchased here.

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I knit my socks two-at-a-time (I rarely don’t) and chose yarns from my stash–all from one of my absolute favorite Indie yarn dyers, Carol Ocker, who operates under Havirland Yarns. I used five colorways and blended each sock in opposite order of the others. The colors are Space Cadet, Sock Science, Lady Orange, Hawaiian Punch and I Need More Yellow in My Sock Drawer. I allowed Lady Orange to dominate the other colors in my scheme because orange is one of my favorite colors, and somehow I don’t have any mostly orange socks as of yet.

Her yarns are divine! Visit the Havirland Yarns shop here.

Oh, also I made soap (above). I’m always trying new things, and soap-making is probably going to turn into a permanent hobby for cooler weather. (It’s hot making soap in my garage right now!) This batch is a lemongrass soap, and the recipe is from the book Pure Soapmaking.

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I adjusted the pattern a bit to accommodate a smaller ankle because I like it SNUG. As you can see from the pic above, my heel flap is teensy.

Now that my new Rollers are complete, all that is left to decide is when to cast on the next pair…

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A Jump on Summer: My Self-Striping Smooth Operator Socks

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These cheerful, self-striping socks were such fun to knit that it felt like summer, hence my naming the project Jump on Summer. The juicy yarn is from Nomadic Yarns and is called “Wanderlust.” This shop, whose talented owner/dyer is Ashley Aguilar, offers a vast selection of self-striping sock yarn, as well as other yarns and accessories. In fact, I have been holding a ball of “Harry”–a self-striping, Harry Potter-themed creation–from Nomadic Yarns for some time now, and I’m growing quite anxious to knit up a fabulous pair of socks with it.

 

*The slice of carrot cake above right uses my all-time favorite recipe. It’s from Epicurious and can be viewed here.

For some reason I can no longer recall, I started knitting these socks one-at-a-time, which I soon found agonizing, so I combined them for two-at-a-time after working the cuffs. The pattern is called Smooth Operator Socks and is authored by Susan B. Anderson. I’ve knit many, many of her patterns, and let’s just say she knows her stuff! I had knit with self-striping sock yarn before, and the appearance of the heel (unless worked in a contrast color) can be unsightly, so I was eager to try a pattern that produces a more attractive heel. The Smooth Operator Sock pattern clearly fit the bill, and my socks fit perfectly.

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I plan to use this pattern for my Harry socks, and it goes almost without saying that I highly recommend it!

Magnetic North Mash Potato Socks

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A lot of yarns do not photograph well or consistently due to their color and/or texture. This yarn from the fantastic Indie dyer Lauren of Old Rusted Chair is one of them, despite being among the most beautiful colorways I have ever seen. This magical, speckled, blue/purple tonal colorway is called “Magnetic North,” and I have found the camera is not fond of it or of most any bright cool-toned yarns, especially periwinkle shades like the above. Yet, after a little elbow grease I managed to get a couple of decent shots. Just trust me that in real life this yarn is to die for!

The pattern is called Mash Potato Socks and is authored by Verena Cohrs of The Wool Club. The stitch pattern creates a lovely texture, but yes, it does get a little tedious and mind numbing after a while. I knit mine two-at-a-time and worked a Fish Lips Kiss Heel in lieu of the heel flap.

My Mash potato socks turned out a little big around the circumference of my foot, which is strange because I went with the second smallest size, and with a foot circumference of 9″ I have never knit a pattern in the smallest size, so perhaps I knit the pattern stitches too loosely. All in all it was a lovely pattern that I will likely knit again, only in the smallest size.

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Below you can see delicious detail of the Magnetic North yarn. Ugh, I just sighed. Again. It always has that affect on me!

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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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I Joined that KAL on Instagram…Again

It seems like so many–too many–of my knitting projects cut line and disrupt my neat little plans, and almost all of these interrupters arise from Instagram KAL’s. I am a visual person (hence my addiction to Instagram), so the copious numbers of beautiful knitting projects on Instragram often inspire–no, seduce–me into starting more projects than my time affords.

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My newest unplanned project is the spawn of MSKAL2016, or the Monster Socks knit-along. To ride this wave, socks must be knit with scraps or chunks of yarn but otherwise in any form or fashion, if my understanding is correct, and be completed by Oct 1st. I think. Anyway, I’m calling these my Scrappy Stripey Speckled Socks (though there are a few tonals in there).

I took way too many pics of these socks. I blame my obsession with color. I knit these two at a time and toe up, which is my favorite way to knit socks, mitts, or anything that comes in a pair.

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Shortly after starting this project, we became the proud owners of this little guy, an eastern box turtle hatchling. I just wanna squish him.

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These socks are knit with many of my favorite yarn dyers: Havirland, Spun Right Round, The Flying Kettle, Life in the Long Grass, Republic of Wool, Black Trillium Fibres, Miss Babs Yarns and Hedgehog Fibres. It’s a mouthwatering combination.

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I knit these socks to conform to my feet. I like a tight-fitting sock, and that’s just how these turned out. For the toe I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On, as instructed in the book Toe-Up Two-at-a-Time Socks. For the heel I just winged it, knitting back and forth and keeping it small since I have a small heel. (Wish I could say the same for my size 9 shoe size!) For the cuff I knit 1×1 ribbing and bound off using Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off.

I’ve been wearing these socks like crazy! And now onto the next pair…because there must always be a pair of socks on the needles in my house.

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Perle Cottage Socks

Last month Mara Catherine Bryner released yet another fabulous pattern called Perle Cottage Socks. In fact this summer she has released a whopping total of three sock patterns (and that’s not even counting Rose City Rollers Littles, a children’s edition of her 2015 pattern Rose City Rollers)!

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Having knit all of Mara’s previous patterns, I was pretty psyched when I saw the Perle Cottage Socks on her Instagram account @orangeknits. Still, I had way too many projects going and I swore to myself I would abstain from starting this project for a while. I broke that promise.

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For my Perle Cottage socks I pulled from my stash this “OOAK” colorway by Republic of Wool. Hard to believe it’s one of a kind, isn’t it? By the way, if you didn’t already know, Michele of Republic of Wool is a dyeing genius.

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Mara included a couple of options for the cuff of this sock. I selected the simple single roll rather than multiple rolls to better highlight the yarn and all those beautiful slipped stitches.

This final pic was taken outside and showcases the orange in the yarn. Orange remains one of my favorite colors, so to me this pic is the best.

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Perhaps Mara will now hold off for a while so that I can get caught up on all my other projects–but I have a feeling she won’t. Mara is tirelessly creative.

Happy knitting!

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…