Category Archives: The Crafting Hour

The Knitting Hour: Dumbledore Socks Hours 7-11

Hi all!  Guess what, I didn’t scrap my work and start over this week!  I don’t know why that’s so exciting for me, but it is.  Just a few notes to add to the project.  I did a gauge swatch at the beginning after I switched yarns, and the gauge did appear to be correct.  I have also taken the socks off the needles and onto a piece of scrap yarn to see how they were fitting, and everything feels great so far.  Ready to see some tangible progress?  Here goes!

Hour 7: Getting to the heel.

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I don’t know why I took this picture from this angle.  Maybe it was to show that I went back to working with two needles again?  I don’t know, but it’s weird.  So, sorry about that.  After another hour the sock was long enough that I felt it was time to go onto the heel.  I was a little worried that the pattern was having me make the sock too long, so I moved onto shaping the heel a bit early.  I am hoping that this was the right decision, but since I’ve never knit a pair of socks before, I could be in for a disaster going forward.  I am hoping for the best.  When I hit the edge of my heel, I switched back to two needles so I could work the heel and leave the top in tact.  I plan to switch back to a single circular needle when I’ve finished the heel.

Hour 8: Starting the heel.

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First of all, look at how the sock is now forcing me to photograph it length wise.  It makes me happy.  Figuring out how to knit a short row heel was somewhat difficult for me having never done it before, as you might have guessed from this week’s tutorials.  It took a little while for me to do so, which is why you don’t see too much progress during this hour.  But, I eventually figured it out and here you can see the first few rows of the heel.

Hour 9: More Heel

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Nothing too special here, just a few more short rows.

Hour 10: Going back towards green

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Truth be told, this photo is from between hour 9 and 10.  However, it shows a pivotal point for me.  This is where I hit the half way point of my heel and started heading back towards working the non-heel part of the sock.  Yay!

Hour 11: Finishing the Heel

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Woot, the heel is done!  I’m ready to switch back to my green and work on the upper part of the sock.  Yay!  I’ll probably pull it off the needles again after a bit to try it on.  I also need to decide just how long I want to wear it.  I usually wear low cut socks, but this one won’t work so well that way.  And I do wear longer socks in the winter.  It’s Minnesota, it gets cold here.  I am hoping that at this pace I can finish the first sock in the next two weeks.

I think I addressed this in my Crafting Hour post, but I wanted to take a moment to say that I hope these hourly posts inspire you to try something new.  Part of the reason I want to do them is to show people that even if they can only craft in small chunks of time, you can still be productive and create things that make you happy.

Speaking of happy, what types of crafts do you do to wind down or get away from the world?  I like to try everything, so I’m always up for something new!


The Knitting Hour: Dumbledore Socks Hours 1-6 (Take 2)

Before we get to the post, I have some exciting news for you:  I’m now on Ravelry!  Thank’s to Sarah for the suggestion.  You can find me there with the username “onyxguenhwyvar”.

So, I went searching high and low to try and find some yarn that would go with my purple to no avail.  The best I could find was to purchase it online for almost 5 times the in-store cost (plus shipping).  This did not sit well with me, but I found another option.  In searching high and low, I visited several specialty yarn stores and found some much nicer yarn that fit the original colors a little better.  And it was on sale for 35% off!  The sad thing is that it was on sale because said yarn store is closing.  😦  While I never visited the establishment much since I don’t knit too often, I do like frequenting small craft stores for my materials.  They usually have a better selection with better quality materials as well. Long story short, I bought new yarn and started over.  I did pull a piece of yarn through my stitches and secure it so I can go back to that purple toe later if I want to though. Here are my new materials: IMG_5537 IMG_5548 Note that I went with a yellowish green instead of bright gold, which is closer to the original.  The purple is more maroon than purple, but it was the best combination I could find.  It’s also a really nice Superwash Merino instead of a polyester, so it’s definitely a step up material wise.  My toes will be nice and comfortable in these!  Below is a picture from the pattern for comparison.

Dumbledore Socks from Knitting Daily

The good news is that it didn’t take me nearly as long as last time since I knew what I was doing a little better.  I was able to keep the increases a little better, though there were still a few dropped stitches.  And I figured out how to cast on in a manner more suited to my style of stitching (more on that later).  It did take a while to wind the yarn into balls as well, especially since the maroon got all tangled.  I didn’t add that into my progress bar though, just to try to make myself feel better.  I think it took around 3 hours.  Earl was starting to get a little worried I wouldn’t eat since I insisted on untangling it first…. Here is my hourly progress:

Hour 1: Casting on and increasing

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Hours 2 and 3: More increasing

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Here is a comparison between the two toes.

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Several things to note:  the width is about the same, but the length is different.  This is due to the fact that I messed up so royally on the first sock and kept needing to increase stitches.  Then I needed to decrease them because I put in too many.  This time around, I was much better with my increases and the number of rows is correct. Also to note is that the toe looks different.  This is because I cast on differently.  I still used Judy’s magic cast on, but I did it backwards so that the needles were in my left hand when I cast on.  I did it this way because when I originally taught myself to knit I managed to teach myself how to knit on the back stitch, instead of the front stitch. This means that all my knitting is, essentially, inside out.  For almost everything (scarves, sweaters, blankets, hats, etc.) this isn’t a problem.  However, because of the way this cast on works, I ended up with a weird seam.  By switching the direction of the cast on, I was able to have the seam integrate into the sock the way it’s supposed to.  Stupid weird idiosyncratic way I knit….

Hour 4: Adding the green.

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Ok, confession time.  I did this twice.  The first time I did it I totally screwed up somewhere along the line and my seeded stitch got all wonky.  That’s the part that looks like alternating high and low rows for the knitting uninitiated.  (Don’t worry, I had not idea until now either. Consider me uninitiated.  Remember the self taught bit?)  Anyways, I tried to fix it, but I kept making it worse.  So,  went down to the purple and started up with the green again.  The good news is that with all that messing around, my pearling is coming along well.  And once I did that, this really did only take an hour.  So that’s awesome.  Now, I’ve got 6 inches of this to knit before moving on to something else, so expect the next couple of ‘hours’  to be just extending this.

Hour 5: More Green!

This hour was a particularly interesting hour.  I had the fortune to visit a friend of the family, but she lives a little more than an hour away.  I thought I’d pass the time knitting.  The twist here is that it was a gorgeous day, so we decided to drive with the top down on the convertible.  I bet if anyone realized I was knitting with the top down they’d really get a laugh out of that!  Anyways, here is the fruits of that particular hour’s labor.  I feel like I’m starting to move a bit faster too. despite to odd circumstances!

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Hour 6: More green!

This was another car hour, but no hood down.  I’ve got about 3 inches of green done.  Another 3 to go before I start on the heel.  Sarah asked about the heel before,  it is a short row heel.  Here is the current progress.

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The sock feels a little big, so I think I might use some scrap yarn to remove it from the needles and try it on.  But there you go: A whole week’s progress in one post.  And six hours to show for it!  Thanks for tagging along so far!


The Knitting Hour: Dumbledore Socks Hours 1-5

The other day when I was in the craft store purchasing fabric for bags, I saw this wicked awesome book full of knitting projects based off of Harry Potter.  It got me really excited, so I bought it.  Of all the projects, I think the Ginny Cardigan is the one I want the most.  But, I figured I’d start small.  And socks are small, so there I went!  I’ve never knitted socks before, so I needed to get some size 2 needles along with the thread.

Here is what the socks are supposed to look like when I’m done:

Dumbledore socks, from Knitting Daily

And here are all of my materials:

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In addition to the pattern, there are 2 size 2 9″circular needles, stitch markers, and the yarn.  I’m using Bernat size 0 Orchid and Aunt Lydia’s size 0 Golden Yellow.  I bought 1 skein of each, but might need a second skein of the yellow in the end.

Hour 1: Casting on… and on… and on…

I had the bright idea to use a single small circular needle with the magic loop method.  Spoiler alert: it didn’t go well for me.  I’m sure this is for a variety of reasons.  The magic loop method is meant to be used with a long circular needle (24″), not a short one.  Also, I’m not sure this method would work for me anyways, but more on that later.  Let’s start with the cast on.  I used Judy’s magic cast on method.  Overall, I found the method rather easy.  Getting my fingers to comply with tiny needles was a bit more difficult.  It took me a few tries to get it all cast on properly.  Here is what it looked like when I did get it cast on so that I was happy.

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Once that happened, I could knit relatively well.  It was a bit cumbersome to use the magic loop with such small needles, but it was working ok.  After about a half an hour of stitching (the first half hour was casting on), I managed to get to the point at the picture below.  The problem that I really had with it was that where the two sides separated, it was too stretched.  I was just having too much of a hard time keeping the sides close when I switched from one side to the other.  So I decided to go back to the beginning and try with two circular needles.  I’m not really sure if the stretching was because of the magic loop method or the small needles, but since I already had one small needle I figured I’d try with two needles.  I have tried stitching with double pointed needles before, and it’s just a mess.  I drop needles, the gaps between needles is even more noticeable than here… it’s just not for me.  And thus ended hour one right back where I started, except I needed to go out and get another needle.

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Hour 2: Some noticeable progress

Once I went out and got a new circular needle, I cast on again with the magic cast on method.  Why everything is magic with knitting, I’m just not sure.  Anyways, it went a little easier with two needles, but it was a little harder to keep everything in place with the two loose needles.  After a few tries, I was happy with the results.  This took much less time than before.

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The problem I had this time was remembering that my lower set of needles was twisted with this cast on and needed to be knitted backwards for the first round.  I had to re-cast on another 2 times.   But then, I did it right and could keep going.  I’m a ways in right now.  I started with 17 stitches per set of needles and am now at 31.  I need to get it to 40.  The only problem I’m having now is that no matter how closely I pay attention, I can’t seem to get my increases right.  I’m supposed to knit one round and then knit adding a total of 2 stitches per needle (4 per round) and it never comes out quite right.  I’ve got the two even now, but I’m not sure quite how even the increase is.  In the end I think it will be just fine though, and I don’t really want to go and re- cast on.  I didn’t do a gauge though, so I’m also hoping that the size will be ok.  I decided to go with the medium sized socks, so I guess we’ll see how it goes.  Here is where I’m at at the end of two hours. Isn’t it just the prettiest sock toe / purple lips you’ve ever seen!

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Hour 3&4: Purple (for now!)

Hour four brings me to the end of the toe.  It may not look like much more than before in the first picture, but note that it is folded over.  So it’s a bit more than twice the size from before.  It’s ready to have the yellow added in now. I also switched to a single circular needle, I really like knitting in the round. Yay for Yellow!  There are a few spots that aren’t too pretty, and if you look closely you can tell where I had some issues increasing.  However, when I put my toes in the socks you can barely tell, so I’m going to just keep it as is instead of starting from scratch.

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Hour 5: Adding, then removing, the yellow

So, I added the yellow and then I realized that I had added it half a round too early.  Boo.  So, I picked up my purples and removed all the yellow.  Then I knit about 5 rows in.  I could tell that I really didn’t like the texture of the new yarn very much for socks, but I figured I’d give it a bit of a chance.  After 5 rounds, I’ve decided that I just don’t like it.  It isn’t knitting particularly well, there are large gaps unlike with the purple, and it’s got a more plasticy feel to it.  It’s not really plasticy, but I don’t know how else to describe it.  So, at this point I plan to head out to the craft store and see if I can find a yellow in the Bernat.  Maybe go for a more yellowy green.  If not, I’ll see if I can find something with a similar texture.  If still not, I’ll order it online.  Last resort, but there it is.

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I’m actually really happy that I managed to get 5 hours (and maybe a little more) of knitting in since Sunday.  Admittedly, most of those were the after dinner type hours and a few morning hours before work.  Also, while the project is still new, I get excited and put more hours in.  I’m hoping to keep this pace up for the next week, but expecting that it will slow down soon after that.


The Crafting Hour

As you read in my introduction post, I want to do one tutorial/how to a week and one “around the web” each week.  I’ve wanted to do a third post that chronicles some of my longer term projects, and that’s where this post comes in.  Often I only have an hour or two to work on a project.  For this series of posts, I’ll follow a single project that I expect to take me a while.  I can tell you that there will at least be a “Knittting Hour” and a “Quilting Hour”.  Other possible hours are “Painting” and “Sewing” hours.  The title of the post will have the project and the hours chronicled.  These hour posts will only happen once a week, on Wednesdays.  There will be at least one, but it might not always be the same one.  So I might put down the socks for a while and then switch off to the quilt.  This way, you can follow along with me as I work on larger projects.  In the end, I’ll put up a post with a picture from each hour so you can see the overall progress.  These posts aren’t quite going to be tutorials, but will talk about some of the struggles I have with particular projects and how I (hopefully) overcome them.  And to a certain extent, I guess you could probably use them as a tutorial.  I won’t be going step by step like I do with the tutorials though.  Look forward to the first hour this Wednesday:  “The Knitting Hour: Dumbledore Socks Hours 1-?”  We’ll have to see how far I get between now and then!

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