These are my daddy's feet, in the socks I knit for them. They fit, he loves them, I'm happy. :)
Olga colored a card for Daddy, and one for Grampa, and Olga and Gavin bought their daddy some wonderful manly-scented shaving soap. It smells delicious, so of course he smells delicious. We're all happy.
Igor (center) and Gregor (right) have come to live with Maggie (left). Igor and Gregor are Icelandic cross sheep, Maggie is an Angora/Nubian goat. The three of them were recently shorn, so as soon as I get my act together, I'll have pictures of their fleeces and yarn.
Olga needs a swim suit, and I'm not about to go spend $30 or more for a quarter yard of fabric sewn into some mini-hussy bikini with Dora all over it. She's still in diapers, too, so I would also need a swim diaper. But I can sew, right? Why not make Olga a swimsuit? And why not make myself one, while I'm at it?
I did a little fabric shopping, and came up with a couple of wonderful swimwear fabrics from Fabric.com, and then I ordered some swimsuit lining, fold over elastic, and findings from Fabric Depot. I also ordered some white PUL (that's polyurethane laminated fabric, a waterproofed fabric very popular in the cloth diapering world) from Sherrie Daigle, who runs the Sewing Supply Co-Op. I used Wild Ginger's Child's Play pattern software to draft a halter-style top, and I'll use Catharine's Chloe Toes diaper pattern to make a swim diaper.
Using just the swimsuit lining fabric and my printed out pattern, I basted together a muslin of the top. Olga has a toddler tummy, so I knew I would have to lengthen the center front a little bit. The muslin allowed me to see about how much. I lengthened the center front about 1.5 inches and tapered to nothing at the side seams. I left the back unchanged. I pulled out my basting stitches, cut a new front, and sewed it to the back for the swimsuit lining. Then I cut the front and back out of the swim suit fabric and sewed the side seams together. I decided it would look really cute with a contrasting ruffle at the bottom edge, so I cut a strip of fabric about 3 inches wide and 30 inches long (I eyeballed the length), sewed the two short ends together, and gathered one long edge with long basting stitches. I pinned it to the bottom edge of the swimsuit, fiddled with the gathers until I was pleased, then basted it on. To attach the lining, I pinned the lining and the swimsuit with right sides of the fabric facing each other and the ruffle sanwiched in the middle, then stitched around the bottom edge. When I flipped it inside out, the seam was hidden.
I should have taken more construction photos. To bind the edges, I used FOE (that's fold-over elastic). First I bound the top front edge. Then I decided I didn't want this to be a halter top, I wanted the straps to cross in the back, and be adjustable. So I figured out about how long to make the straps, then starting at the front side edge, sewed the FOE all the way around the back of the swimsuit and back around to the top edge, leaving enough FOE "tail" to make the other strap, like the photo above.
To make these straps adjustable, I used some findings, which I purchased at Fabric Depot (link above). These are 3/8" rings and sliders. I also have a little scrap of FOE about 3 inches long.
I cut my FOE scrap in half, so I had two 1.5" peices. The length isn't important, but I needed a little extra to hold onto while sewing. I folded the FOE in half along the fold line, then threaded it thru one of the rings, and pinned it in place on the back of the swim suit where I wanted my straps.
After I had them both positioned where I wanted them, I sewed them on, then trimmed the excess.
Below are photos outlining the completion of the adjustable straps.
I'm pinching together the loop where I stitched.
Here's what it should look like on the outside when done.
This is the best ribbing bind off, but it only works for 1 x 1 rib. You will almost certainly need to click on the photos for a better view.
Top of the sock, still on four needles. I like to put the sock on two needles, before I work this bind off, but it's really a matter of personal preference. Leave a tail of yarn long enough to go around the sock at least four times. Thread your blunt needle.
Begin with a knit stitch. Insert your needle as if to purl (from back to front) thru the knit stitch.
(A different view of the step above.)
Next, insert your needle as if to knit (front to back) thru the next stitch, which should be a purl stitch.
(A closer view of the step above.)
*Go back to the first knit stitch (the one you "purled" thru) and run your needle front to back thru this stitch, then slip it off the needle.
Next take your yarn in front of the purl stitch you've already worked, and insert it back to front thru the next knit stitch. Snug up your yarn.
Go back to the purl stitch and insert your needle back to front and slip it off the knitting needle.
Next is the tricky part. Take your needle behind the knit stitch, then between the knit stitch and purl stitch...
... so you can insert it front to back in the purl stitch, like this.
Repeat from* After binding of a few stitches, this is what it will look like.
After binding off all the stitches, this is what it will look like.
Well I just did a little quick math, and I've invested over 15720 stitches in these socks, and counting. Yep. I have 60 working stitches around the sock, 61 rows of stockinette in the foot, another 10 rows of stockinette after the heel, and 70 rows of ribbing. Add in the toe and heel stitches (which I'm way too tired to calculate right now... ) and that puts me well over 7860 stitches each. I'm nearly done with the cuffs, and tomorrow I'll show you how to do the invisible bind off up close.
Lookie! I'm still working on the same project. Those who know me know I am easily sidetracked. As you can see, sock two has caught up to sock one. You can't really tell in this picture, but I'm still using both ends of that one ball of yarn for both socks. The yellow yarn is a row marker; I placed it after the 25th row of ribbing on the cuff, and when I get to 50 rows, I'll place another one. That way I don't have to keep counting over and over and over again. Well, I guess I still have to count, but at least I don't have to count more than 25 at a time. :)
Oh, by the way, those are US size 1 needles. I probably should be using size 2 or 3 with this yarn, but I only have one set of each of those, and I have two sets of size 1, which means it's a lot easier for me to knit both socks at the same time, since I don't have to constantly slide my stitches on and off of a holder.
Here's another view of that clever heel I told you about that can also be a toe, depending on where you work it. You can see the color of the socks a little better. I'm trying to decide if I should do the last few rows of ribbing on the cuff in blue.
Socks on the needles today. These are for a certain father in my life (and if you are that certain father, you should not look at these pictures!). It is a little hard to tell in the photos, but the main sock yarn (and the large ball on the left) is heathered grey, and the heel and toe yarn (the smaller ball on the right and the butterfly skein) is heathered denim blue. I spun these from pencil roving last year, and couldn't figure out what to make with them. Duh!
I happen to know that the father whom these socks are intended for is particular about how high he likes his sock cuffs (nice and high) so I'm leaving sock one on the needles while I get sock two going, then I can knit the cuffs at the same time. I'm using both ends of the grey yarn at the same time. Oh, did you notice? I'm knitting these from the toe up. This is probably the only way I will ever knit plain socks again. You start at the toe, then you can make the cuff as long or short as you need. Never again will I run out of yarn two inches from the toe, or have 15 feet of leftover self-patterning yarn that could have gone into the cuffs.
I discovered at long last how to make the hourglass heel properly. Look how nice that one is! The Knitting Fiend has some fabulous photo tutorials that made it all clear. Also check out her wonderful Sock-u-lators. I just finished knitting a pair of socks before discovering her site, and just for chuckles I punched in my foot measurements and yarn gauge, just to see what the pattern would be, and whaddayaknow? Spot on with my own calculations. An added SUPER-benefit of her calculators is if you don't have someone's foot measurements, just plug in their shoe size, and the sock-u-lator calculates approximate measurements for you.
For the last several socks I've knit, I've used this toe, called the hourglass toe, or short-row toe. It is worked the same as an hourglass heel. It's so comfy, stretches really well, and the sheer novelty of it makes it a clear winner.