Thursday, December 10, 2015

What to do with hole-y socks Part 6 (and last)

 Finally! We will go on to another topic next week. But i have to share this last item with you but I am so excited about it. This will work for you if you don't wear through the toes of your socks, because we will be using the toes.

 I always felt bad throwing the toes out. Not very bad, but just a little bad. And the result of this is such a useful object for me. I am a headphone junkie. I have lots of different headphones. Some are for running, some are for sleeping, some are for planes, etc. They are a pain to keep neat. The more expensive ones come with their own case but the cheap ones don't. So this pattern for a earbud case hits the spot extremely well.

 Pick up sts at the top of the toe. You may be able to use yarn you've unraveled but usually there isn't enough to actually knit a case. So attach a piece of yarn from elsewhere in the sock, or a new piece of yarn. In this case, you can see a little of the st pattern right below the needles. This is important because you want a bit of a straight part before you start decreasing. Sometimes you will have enough to just start decreasing. At other times, you will have to knit straight for a bit before you start decreasing. All of this is rather organic. I have been knitting straight for about 1/2" to 3/4".

 Once the straight part is knit, I start decreasing 4 sts on every other round, exactly as you would decrease for the toe. The idea is to reduce the circumference a bit to hold the earbuds in place. The case doesn't need to go down to a very narrow top. I decreased 4 times, so 8 rounds of decreases. Then I switched to rib and ribbed straight for 8 rounds - which is about 1". Then a loose bind off in rib. That is it.

 The other side is from the sole so there is not little row of patterning.
 Earbuds in the case.
 A view from the side.
 The earbuds next to their case so you can see how big or small they are relative to the case. I ended up with two of these from the pair of socks. One lives by my bed for my night-time earbuds and this one lives in my purse with these earbuds that I use for walking, running, housework, gardening, etc.
 I also made another one from this sock. You can see the shape is a bit different. In this case, the sock was knit with slightly bigger needles but I was lazy and didn't feel like digging out another set of needles so the top of the earbud case was knit with a smaller needle that the bottom. But it works.
If you wear a hole through your toes, you can easily knit one of these cases. I would just start with a slightly wider bottom - maybe 40 total sts in a sock gauge rather than the 24 or 32 we usually start fingering gauge socks with. That is both sides of the cast on, using something like Judy's magic cast on. Increase every other round 5 times which will result in 60 sts (40 cast on + 4x5 increased). Knit even around for 1" or so and then do the decreases and bind off as above. If you have larger earbuds, then you can make it larger.

Interesting, isn't it? These earbud cases also make good quick little gifts for people and there is time to make them before Christmas!

I think I will do a travel post next week as I don't have anything else to write about re: knitting or spinning. I need to get the spinning wheel going again but I've been busy around the house and with other things on weekends. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

What to do with hole-y socks Part 5

 I am sure you are wondering when this will end. Soon, my friends, soon... Even I am totally out of the upcyclling mood now. I am just documenting what I've already done.

 Over the years, I have made many mug cozies. Unlike the disposable cup cozies, these involve having to go through a handle, and therefore need an opening in the side. I love the idea of a sweater for my mug as I think hot liquids in ceramic mugs cool off way too fast. But I have not come up with a perfect design yet and I will continue to experiment.

 The last one I made a few years ago was a coaster/cozy in one. I attached a circular coaster to the bottom of a cozy similar to the one I will show you. But it falls off half the mugs I've tried it on. Attaching a coaster is not a great idea, either. But these experiments have taught me many things about cut knit edges which has helped with steeking real knitted objects. If you are afraid of steeking, what better way to get over it than by cutting into a sock with a hole? What is the worst that can happen? You have to throw it out!

 In this case, after I made the finger-less mitts, I was not happy with the way the cut edge unraveled. I stabilized with sewing after the fact but I thought, why not use a crochet steek? So I tried it.
 I started with this. It is the leg of a sock, with a hem where it has been cut. The ribbed edge is the cuff of the sock.
 Crocheted steek instructions can be found on Kate Davies's blog, and Eunny Jang's blog. I am not going to cover them here but focus instead on working the technique on a tightly knit sock. I used sock yarn and then I went to thin crochet cotton, which I did not photograph.
 It is possible to work a crochet steek on a sock, but it is not worth it. I ended up having to use a very tiny crochet hook to get into the stitches. That hook kept splitting the yarn and the crochet cotton. But I persevered.

 And finished it. Once fully across the length of the piece and then part-way across. I pulled them both out because it was way too bulky. You can see that in these photos. That is only one side of the steek. I'd have to repeat that on the other side and the bulk would be way too much. Not pleasing at all.

 So I went back to another steeking technique that I used on my Rose Lace Collar. It is fast, holds quite well and adds no bulk at all. What is it? Back stitch along one leg of a column of stitches. On the Rose Lace Collar, I did 2 rows of back stitch - one along each of the legs of a column of stitches. But for this I just did one.

 Can you see it? I used a slightly different color of blue. The thread is doubled and I just make sure that I am making tiny stitches so that each knit stitch is secured by at least one back stitch. It took me less than 10 minutes to do this with a lot less aggravation than the crochet. It worked like a charm. Those are the cut edges above in the two photos - one of each row of back stitches.

 I stitched down the right leg of one column of stitches and up the left leg of a column of stitches with two separate rows of back stitch. I left one whole knit stitch in the middle of the two rows of back stitch. I cut along the center of that column of knit stitches. So it was very close to the stitched row. For a larger project, I would probably leave a bit more space. For the fingerless-mitts, I probably wouldn't.

 Then I picked up just below the backstitched row - 3 stitches for every 4 rounds of the sock - and did a 2x2 rib o each side. On one side I worked 4 yarnover buttonholes. That is just a yarnover followed by a p2tog to keep the rib pattern but it could be a yo and a k2tog and one can work the decrease before or after the yo.
 Completed ribbed edges showing the insides. I whip stitches the edge to the ribbed edging to keep it neat.
 Finally, I went through my button collection (mostly from sweaters and coats that I no longer own) and found 4 small buttons. The yo buttonholes were very small given I was using 2 mm needles. The buttons are all the same size but they don't match. Oh well.

 The problem with this mug cozy? It is too tall for most mugs. So I still don't have a great mug cozy design. But this one will also work for disposable cups (unlike my coaster attached one) and can be used on insulated mugs, if needed.

 I have one last item I made from sock parts and I think it is a winner. They are earbud cases and they use parts of the sock that I've discarded so far. So hold on and the series will soon be over!

For your viewing pleasure, here is a photo of my Jenkins Turkish spindle family and a couple of sample skeins I spun on two of the newest members.
 From left to right, Egret, Swan, Agean, Lark, Delight, Finch and Kuchulu. I got the Egret at Rhinebeck but haven't spun on it yet. The Lark and the Finch were acquired recently in updates at the Jenkins website. I just happened to be online when they were going on sale and I lucked out in getting them. They sell out in minutes.
 Abstract Fibers Merino/Superwash Merino/Silk in Huckleberry spun on the Finch.
Abstract Fibers Targhee in Hopworks spun on the Lark. I didn't think I would enjoy spinning dyed brown fiber but I did.