Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Native Crafters Ravelry Group

Much to my surprise and delight,

I've joined the moderating team on the Native Crafters group on Ravelry.

This group is pretty small for the moment, it's coughed and sputtered for a while, but I really hope we can breathe new life into the group. We're doing a SAL (spin-a-long) after Christmas and I'm so looking forward to it! By the way, you don't have to be Native to join the group, everyone's welcome and more the merrier.

I met a very talented spinner on there today, she just joined and her handspun knits are absolutely gorgeous! And yes, she spins her own 2ply lace-weight and she's an ace at Navajo plying! I'm so going to enjoy this SAL - I can't wait to see the braids she's chosen spun up.

Here's what I'm going to spin, it's a Merino/Nylon sock kit I got from Smith and Ewe. Isn't it pretty? Just take my word for it that's it's much prettier in person.

It's so hard to get the colours right in the pictures, it's more light to dark mauve/purple with a small amount of blue. The picture shows a little more red than there should be.

Here's what the package says:

"Handspinners Pair of Socks
The 80% Merino/ 20% Nylon superwash rovings have been handpainted,
then split in half to form 2 balls of roving to spin yarn for 2 socks. 125g

It's a novel fibre presentation to me, I've never seen these sock kits before - her prices are definitely reasonable and she shipped really fast, I'll buy from her again!
She's based out of Kamloops, BC.

For the SAL my challenge is: spin Navajo plied fingering weight sock yarn.... ya.... (we'll see, this goal could surreptitiously change!) Come on over to the Native Crafters group and you'll see it all go down! Come and join us and show me how it's really done ;D

Friday, December 2, 2011

*NEW* Toxic sock design first.....then Casting ON

Ta daaa... my new socks! Flames... skull & crossbones... test knitting is complete and the pattern is released! It's top-down, in-the-round flaming stranded fun to do - and it's simpler than you think!

I named them TOXIC firstly since hubby came up with the idea and I liked it and also because if you did the flames green instead of red or flame colour, the flames could be smoke! After all, anyone's feet with green smoke coming off them and a skull & crossbones clearly displayed... obviously has toxic feet.

These socks come in 3 sizes (small, medium & large) and you can choose from 3 different toe patterns. The toe is 'semi-round', as is the heel.

Toe notes:
  • The sample has flaming toes and a striped sole all the way to the end. The pattern has a fun 'cut'n tape toe chart that you can place anywhere on the instep chart to get any length sock you need.

  • But the pattern has a chart to do a striped toe as well. One of my testers did the striped toe and it goes well visually with the heel and gusset.

  • You could also do a plain toe. If you do, I suggest doing the plain toe in the contrast colour (flame colour) and maybe the heel flap too. These choices are all available on the pattern.

I just casted on another pair, this time for my son. Here's a pic of him at work. I thought since he's a firefighter he'd appreciate some flaming socks.

I worry about him when he goes out on calls in all weather and road conditions. I want him to have some squishy soft and warm socks made by mommy, so I ordered some merino superwash to make him some.

OK, onto
Casting on Socks

I love starting new projects! I'm MOTIVATED! I'm SURE the project is going to turn out GREAT! I can't wait to FINISH! ...and I DON'T like being discouraged by uncooperative cast-ons! Read on for my

comedy of errors casting on...

Don't you hate it when:

...you do a stretchy knotted cast on (which takes soooo long)
[because you want to just start knitting and you don't want to have to worry
about not having a long enough 'tail' to finish a long tail cast on]
...then you get out the rest of your dpns and get ready to join in the round...
...and the needles are flopping around making yarn-overs over the ends of the needles and
it's hard to make sure the work isn't twisted which is really fun with black yarn in dim light ...
...then when you start knitting, the first round is so paaaainfully slooooow...
and you're trying to **JAM** the needles into a tight knotted stitch
and the other stitches are spreading further and further apart
so long droopy loops are forming between the casted on stitches...

(arghhhhhh!... expletive... )

Anyway, that's what happens to me.

So I want to tell you about my fave cast on method!

I know a lot of people really like the knotted cast on but (for me) I find the German Twisted knit & purl cast on works the best for me. Why?

  • I find it much faster to cast on since it's a variation of a long tail cast on.
  • I like the finished look better, because even the cast on stitches are either knit or purl so it streamlines the look of the cuff.
  • It's just as stretchy.
  • It has a more substantial edge, so I don't have to fight floppy needles when I'm trying to join and do the first round.
  • The stitches seem more 'stable' to me because the first round is easier for me to work and isn't as slow so I can proceed with my project with that 'new project' smile still on my face.
Remember, that's just my personal opinion and everyone has their own tastes and methods that work for them. Maybe I prefer this cast on because I'm a 'picker' rather than a 'thrower'? I don't know?

So if you want to make some socks
and try the German Twisted knit & purl cast on,
you can watch a VIDEO on how to do it HERE

If you want to cast on Toxic and knit along with the video,
here's an estimation for how long your tail should be when you start.

For fingering weight and 2mm/US0 needles, multiply the total number of cast on stitches by .63 to find out how many inches your tail should be to start with.

(If you're using larger needles like 2.5mm/US1, you'll have to go up a bit eg: to .65 - .7 )

For small (70sts) 45" / 115cm
medium (80sts) 50" / 128cm
large (90sts) 57" / 145cm

Following this formula, you shouldn't run out of tail before your cast on is done - and you should still be smiling =D

Let's cast on!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Creamsicle Romney

Fun with koolaid dyeing :D

This is Fine Romney I got from Joybilee Farm, and I dyed it using koolaid. Did you know that tropical punch and cherry are actually the same colour? The cherry is just a little darker. Live and learn... I used tropical punch, cherry and orange for this.

I dyed the locks then blended by hand carding some of each along with white. After I made the rolags, I pulled the end of the rolag to draft each one out lengthwise to make bumps.

And here it is 2-plied, it's about a sport weight and 450.5 yds.

I think they want to be fingerless gloves...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What?! Resolution time AGAIN!?

How did I measure up in meeting my resolution goals last year? Not tooooo bad...

1st was to work on my spinning skills. I'd call this one a success! I'm building up my spinning supplies/equipment too.
  1. I now have a drum carder and I'll just have to post pics (later)of it because it's 78 years old and it's still going strong.
  2. I have a spinner's gauge from vipfibers.com, just last week actually, so I haven't tried it yet.
  3. I spun up almost half a full fleece to make a sweater for hubby and it's coming up a nice dk weight. I think I'm going to double it for a 4ply bulky though.
  4. I ordered some merino/nylon fibre to try my hand at 2ply fingering weight so I have to see how that goes once it gets here. I ordered that from SmithandEwe on Etsy, a shop out of Kamloops, BC.
  5. Hubby made me some hand combs that work great - I'll have to get pics up of those too!
  6. I have plans for a home made picker.
  7. Still not accomplished: I have to find some Llama or Alpaca fibre to blend with wool to make my son a sweater! The farm down the street from me is out of stock and I haven't been able to find any raw or carded that takes paypal :(
My second resolution was to get the website up. SUCCESS! It's (surprise surprise...) http://www.skukumknits.com . Only one problem with the site, when you make a purchase the confirmation email you get isn't set up properly so... you end up with a long text of programming language. In there amongst the computer-speak is the link to download the purchased pattern.

I haven't the foggiest idea how to fix it. I've posted for help on the 'opencart' site, (opencart is the software used for my site) but so far no-one's been able to help me out. My apologies that this confirmation email is so unprofessional but I'm not a professional coder so it's a steep learning curve LOL.

My third resolution was to design more. I didn't quite meet my goal but there are some more designs. I'm finding the more I design, the more unique I'm demanding they become so it's taking longer. I also find the test-knitting step takes a very long time. It isn't just me that test knits, but as many as 15 people test each design for accuracy and clarity.


  1. Design MORE
  2. Fix my website confirmation emails
  3. Spin llama/alpaca & wool for my son's sweater! (I have to find the fibre first)
  4. Learn to spin fingering weight sock yarn
  5. oh yes... and keep my blog up to date LOL (my ravelry friend sproutsnknits has challenged me to post regularly - thank you, I'll do my best :D )
Stay tuned, I'll share some pictures in my next posts... happy spitting (spinning & knitting all in one?) gooooaaaaaannnn that was a bad one.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Publish or ePublish?

I have a mitten pattern that's currently being tested and it's going great. It actually feels more like a KAL than a test which I really like. The testing is nearing completion and now I have a question... the WAY I should release the pattern.

Only thing, is I have another motif charted for these mitts. Should I test the motif in a separate test and publish two different patterns, or merge the patterns?

There is also a matching double knitted snowboarder hat boasting these two motifs. My thought is maybe publish two hat and mitten sets.

My real wish is to hang on to these patterns, then release them as a downloadable ebook. I would LOVE to have these for sale both on my site (if it ever gets up and running) and possibly Amazon. I would have to research that possibility to find out what's involved.

My rav & yahoo friend Kelly Klem is a published designer working on publishing her first hard cover book. I'm so happy for her and I know she'll do very well, she's a talented designer! But for me... I know there's a lot of information out there but also a lot of costs involved depending on how you choose to publish. That's one reason I don't think my first 'book' will be hardcover.

How about selling my patterns from this 'Legend Series' as a book for Kindle users? Now that idea I'm really interested in!

There's a lot of research to do. I can do that as I add to the 'Legend Series' patterns, work on layout, editing, testing, cover design, sample production and the photoshoots. I'm sure I missed something lol.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Lose weight?...nope

try to be nice?... nope, I'm already nice he he

cut down on coffee?... not a chance

I don't usually make resolutions, but I do like to set goals for myself and take on new challenges.
For this year, I want to achieve three things.

First thing, will be to hone my spinning skills and I have a couple of wool fleeces here to do that with – yah!

Next thing, is to get my website up and running. I have the domain, but nothing's on it yet L It'll be an exercise in motivation learning what all is involved with that too.

Lastly, I want to do a whole lot more designing. I've only been releasing one pattern every two months... I want to try to double that this year. Actually, I also released a free pattern called Radial Heat Cowl! So, I did a little better than one every two months. I hope I'm not jinxing myself by setting that goal, and I want to do my best to not let myself down.

I have a couple of designs waiting to be written into proper format, then the testing has to be done. The editing and testing take quite a bit of time. My current design is being tested by a lovely group of ladies and I can't wait to see their results!

In 2010 designs released were the Voyageur hat, Whispering Wings, then Lush Lace Stole. The lush hat followed that, then the Chele Lace Hat & Scarf set. The last one was the Spirit Mobius... and let's not forget the cowl.