Lacery Socks with SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock Yarn
Tough Love Sock Yarn from SweetGeorgia is a new yarn in our shop that we have picked up at Alpaca Direct. I like to sample the yarns before the yarn arrives to the store and warehouse so that I better understand the characteristics of each yarn. I am very impressed with Tough Love Sock. This yarn feels like it contains silk even though it is a blend of 80% superwash merino and 20% nylon. The colors are absolutely vivid as you can see from the photo. The yarn has a spring to it so it’s easy on your hands. The result is you get a gorgeous sock with a ultra-high quality merino along with stretch and durability from the nylon.
The sock pattern I chose is called “Lacery” a free download from Michelle Hunter’s website. I love her patterns as they are always written clearly due to her 30+ years of teaching. If you get stuck, there are videos to teach each skill used to knit the patterns. This is a great resource for our customer and students in our classes. I will rate this project with a definite A+++ rating as the yarn is lovely and does not split. Give this a try and I think you’ll love the result!
I have an addiction. I’ve hinted at in another post, but I’ll just admit, I can’t say no to Malabrigo yarn. It’s soft and squishy and the colorways are amazing.
This project started as a one skein scarf I knitted last summer. All the family was over for the Fourth of July, kids swimming, family visiting…I was knitting Just a little scarf called “Feliz Navidad”knit from Malabrigo Rios
Feliz Navidad Scarf knit from Malabrigo Rios
My mom noticed my knitting. “That’s pretty. Did you spin it?” was the innocent beginning to a conversation that ended with “Sure, I can knit you a sweater.”
The Malabrigo addiction must be catching, because she wanted the Arco Iris colorway. We searched Ravelry for a pattern she liked and settled on “Water and Stone” by Vera Valimaki. It’s a sport weight pattern, so happily most the Malabrigo colors are repeated in all their yarn lines, and I was able to order it in Arroyo. Then I waited. And waited…because as with many hand made things, Malabrigo can take a while to be finished. But good things come to those who wait, right?
Finally in late November the yarn arrived and I cast on. It’s still a work in progress-
Sweater knit from Malabrigo Rios
Sweater knit from Malabrigo Rios
Should I rabbit trail on how much I like the addi Turbo Lace needles? I’ll save that for another post. Because I also love Chiagoo and Kollage needles and this is a post about Malabrigo.
Earlier this week, this arrived in the warehouse:
Malabrigo Nube Persia
It’s soft and stunning roving dyed by Malabrigo. This colorway- “Persia” is going with me this weekend to spindle spin.
Is there a support group for Malabrigo addicts? I belong to Malabrigo Junkies on Ravelry . It’s not really helping
After spending all that time on knitting beautiful socks for yourself and your loved ones it’s worth your time to put a little effort into reinforcing your socks! Reinforcing the parts of your socks that get the most wear will help prevent holes from forming and make your socks last longer.
One great way to reinforce the toes and heels of your socks is to carry a strand of darning thread along with your sock yarn as you knit those sections of the sock. But what if you don’t like to knit with two strands at once, or forgot? Not to worry! In today’s blog post we have two ways to reinforce your socks after the fact.
For both methods we’ll be using darning thread to reinforce our knit fabric. If you’d like your reinforcement less conspicuous use a thread that matches your yarn, or you can even use a strand of the sock yarn you used to knit your sock. For both methods we’ll also be placing the thread on the wrong side of the knitting, so that if done with a matching thread it’ll be nearly invisible from the right side of your work.
Option 1: Weaving in yarn on the wrong side
Step 1: Thread your needle with your darning thread or piece of yarn from your sock. Turn your work so that the wrong side is facing out. In this example we’ve already worked a few columns of reinforcement.
Step 2: With the threaded needle pick up every other bump along the portion where you’d like to reinforce your knitting. Thread the needle through every other bump throughout your desired section of fabric. Step 3: Pull the yarn through. Step 4: In the next column work every other stitch as before, but staggering so that the bumps you are working through don’t line up. If you worked bumps 1, 3, 5, 7… in column 1, then in column 2 you will pick up bumps 2, 4, 6, 8… Continue repeating until you’re entire heal/toe/section has been reinforced.
Snip your ends, turn you rework right side out, and admire your work!
Option 2: Duplicate Stitch On the Wrong Side
We talked a little bit about duplicate stitch in this post in reference to fixing split stitches. This is another great application for duplicate stitch! In the weaving method above we worked the reinforcement vertically in columns on the backside of the knitting, with this method we’ll be working in rows horizontally along the backside of the knitting.
Just like working duplicate stitch on the right side of your knitting you’ll want to trace the line of the stitches with your darning thread.
Step 1: Thread your needle through the purl bump, or base of the stitch, and through the bump below and to the right.
Step 2: Next trace the stitch along the curve and thread your needle through the bump on the left of your first bump, and then back through to the bump where you started. Continue tracing the stitches with your yarn, working across the row. In the illustration below the blue yarn illustrates where the darning thread goes to duplicate the stitches. Repeat with the following rows in the same manner until you’ve worked duplicate stitch along your entire section.
As you can see it’s nearly invisible from the front side.
Which one should I use?
The weaving method is great for wool yarns that will felt into the fabric. The duplicate stitch method is best for plant based yarns, since this is a much more stable and plant yarns don’t have the teeth and gripping power of animal fibers.
The first day at Stitches was a whirlwind of energy and excitement. Kristin said she felt like a little kid at Disneyland with all the yarn, fiber and fiber arts enthusiasts. The show was really, really busy. In fact Jody and our crew had to park 4 blocks away and make the hike back to the convention center. Kristin is due in a couple of weeks but she’s a trooper and made the hike along with the rest of us.
Lot’s of folks noticed the Alpaca Direct ambassador shirts and wanted to participate in the photo contest we set up on our Facebook page.
Kristin and Cherie
Kristin our “Double Knitter”! with Sarah at Stitches West
Tons of great yarn and fiber for everyone! This yarn from Apple Tree knits was almost edible!
We finished out the date with a little rest and then Kristin won a door prize on the way home!
We love Stitches Marketplace as much as everyone. With our store and warehouse now in North Idaho the journey is over 900 miles. So… this year we wanted everyone to know our hearts and minds are with you even though we won’t have a booth at the show. Instead we have Alpaca Direct ‘Ambassadors’ enjoying the show this weekend and spreading the word about us. These ambassadors are wearing one of our new “I Luv Alpaca Direct’ t-shirts and also earn a $20 gift card just for sharing their Luv with the crowd at Stitches!
If you would like to be an ambassador we have a few shirts remaining so just email us
and we’ll tell you the secret location (booth) to pick up your shirt at the show. As part of the contest we’re running, other folks attending Stitches can enter a ‘Selfie Photo Contest’ where they take a picture of themselves with one of the ambassadors (That’s you!) wearing a shirt and post a comment. There will be a $100 gift card to the person with the most votes!
Hey folks…that can pay for a nice stash of new yarn!!!
I love Alpaca Direct T-shirt
Here’s Jody our first Ambassador who will be hitting the show floor on Friday morning. Look how great she looks in this nice T-Shirt!
Sometimes you’ll find that you’ve split a stitch long after binding off when knitting. What’s a knitter to do? Re-knitting the whole item doesn’t seem like a reasonable option, but don’t worry, there’s a much easier fix!
Here you’ll see a split stitch. This happens when you don’t grab the whole strand when knitting a stitch. It’ll create a bit of a whole in your knitting, but more importantly this is a weak point in your knit fabric. If your item is going to get lots of wear (which we’re sure it will!) this spot is the first place that’s likely to get a whole in it. So prevent the hole from forming at all! Today we’re going to show you how to duplicate stitch over your split stitch to reinforce the area and hide the split stitch.
First we’ll show you in another color yarn. This fix is so invisible that if we demonstrate it with white yarn there won’t be anything to see! Start by threading your tapestry needle with yarn and poke your needle through from the wrong side at the base of the stitch that you wish to duplicate. With the duplicate stitch method you are embroidering over a stitch, duplicating the yarn and placing another stitch on top of the one that was knit.
Pull the yarn through the base of the stitch.
Thread the tapestry needle underneath the stitch above. Be sure to go under both sides of the stitch.
Pull the yarn through. You’ll see that we’ve already duplicated the right side of the stitch.
Now thread the yarn through the same spot where you started your duplicate stitch–in the base of the stitch, and pull through to the wrong side.
Now you’ve duplicated your stitch! Now it’s time to do it with the same color yarn as the swatch and cover up the split stitch.
Follow the same steps, place the needle from the wrong side through to the from at the base of the stitch.
Then work your needle underneath both sides of the stitch above, tracing the yarn with your needle.
Pull the yarn through and re-insert back into your original starting point at the base of the stitch.
And Voila! There’s no longer a hole in the knitting!
On the right is the duplicate stitch in yellow, and on the left in white. As you can tell the stitch in white is indistinguishable from the other stitches.
On the back you’ll see there are some ends. Just weave these in through your work just like any other end. Do not cut without weaving them in! If you cut your ends without weaving them there won’t be any friction to keep the yarn from falling out and exposing your split stitch again. The duplicate stitch is also used to make colorwork patterns, and can also be used to fix other common mistakes. If you’re working fair isle and worked a stitch in blue that was supposed to be white just duplicate stitch over the erroneous stitch with the correct color. If you have one purl that should have been a knit in ribbing just duplicate stitch over it!
This is a great technique that can help you to trouble shoot lots of different problems in knitting.
These Addi Sock Rocket circular needles have the silky smooth nickel-plated finish that is so well-known on the Addi turbo’s. If you haven’t tried Addi turbo’s they allow the stitches to slide along the needles at incredible speeds. Some folks may find them a little too slippery but I am all about speed when it comes to knitting socks so these work great for me. They have tips almost like the Addi Lace and the ChiaoGoo Red Lace which are more pointed but not so much that they grab the next stitch.
Addi Sock Rocket Tips
I found that the sock rocket tips don’t appear to be quite as sharp as the addi lace tips but are just right for socks. I think they are my new favorite’s for knitting socks. I can knit even faster than normal with these needles, they are super comfortable with a nice, thin flexible cords. If you need a needle with a little more grab then the Karbonz by Knitter’s Pride might be a good choice for you. We will be adding the larger size Sock Rockets to our Addi line that we already carry on our website. Sock Rockets and the regular Addi Rockets are a great addition to Skacel’s needle line. Thanks Skacel for offering such great products for our customers!
Here’s a better way to graft the toe of a knitted sock…
A better way to graft a sock
Step 1: Work your sock to the toe, stopping just before grafting the toe stitches together.
Step 2: You should have the same number of stitches on both needles.
Step 3: Before you start grafting you need to work the setup. Thread the tail of your yarn through a tapestry needle and insert the threaded tapestry needle into the first stitch on the needle closest to you as if to purl and pull it through, leaving the stitch on the needle.
Step 4: Then insert the needle into the first stitch on the back needle as if to knit, leaving the stitch on the needle. Pull the yarn through.
Step 5: Now insert your tapestry needle into the first stitch as if to knit, slipping the stitch off the needle.
Step 6: Repeat with the second stitch, insert the tapestry needle into the second stitch as if to knit and slip off the needle, as if you were doing a ssk.
Step 7: Then insert the needle onto the next (3rd) stitch as if to purl, leaving the stitch on the needle. Pull the yarn through. You have now grafted two stitches off the front side.
Step 8: Insert the tapestry needle through the first two stitches on the back needle as if to purl, slipping both stitches off the needle.
Step 9: Insert tapestry needle as if to knit on the next (3rd) stitch, leaving the stitch on the needle.
Pull yarn through. You have now grafted two stitches from the back needle.
Continue grafting as normal. Remember on the front needle: knit off, purl on, and on the back needle: purl off, knit on.
Continue grafting until you have 2 stitches on the front and back needles. ( 4 sts total)
Step 10: Insert the tapestry needle through the last 2 stitches on the front needle as if to knit.
Step 11: Pull stitches off the needle and pull the yarn through.
Step 12: Insert tapestry needle through last 2 stitches as if to purl.
Step 13: Pull off the needle and pull tight.
Step 14: Pull the end through to the inside of the sock and weave in your end! This technique is also great for the tops of mittens. Decreasing in grafting can also be helpful if you have an uneven number of stitches to graft.
Have fun grafting your socks and say goodbye to Donkey Ears!
We are excited to be carrying the new Karbonz circular needles made by Knitter’s Pride. I am using La Jolla sock yarn by Baah Yarns, circular Karbonz in size US #1 40 inch, and a pattern called Isabella D’Este found in The Knitter’s Book of Socks which I have checked out from our local library. The needles feel light as a feather in my hands. The finish is similar to wood but just a hair more slippery to the touch. People who love wooden needles should definitely try these circulars. The cord is soft and flexible and feels similar to signature cords and the join from the needle to the cord feels smooth and stitches move freely from the cord to the needle without catching on the join.
Knitter’s Pride Karbonz Circular Needles
The brass tips of the needle are not a lace tip but somewhere in between Skacel’s Addi Turbo’s and their lace needles. I am finding the needles a joy to knit my pair of socks with! The brass tip is well constructed with a dark Carbon Fiber body with excellent tensile strength. One thing I’ve found is that dark colored yarns do not show up very well on the dark Carbon Fiber body. On the plus side, the US size and mm are clearly written on the face of the Carbon Fiber in white ink so you can see the size without glasses. The price for the needles starts at around $13.00 retail which is a great buy for such a quality set of circular needles.
Recently Alpaca Direct has teamed up with Shooting Yarns, a local fiber artist here in Northern Idaho. Susan Schroeder has an amazing sense of color and design. Her hand painted colorways are unique and inspiring.
I’ll let Susan tell you about herself-
Susan and Susie Q
“Shooting Yarn is located at The Rusty Spur Ranch in Rathdrum, ID, where we have a small heard of Angora Goats guarded by our llama, Suzie Q, who try and ignore the quacking, clucking, barking and meowing of the other residents.
I began to knit many years ago because my husband told me I needed to find something different to do than reading in the truck, because I would get annoyed when he interrupted me to talk. He soon found out that interrupting a knitter is just as bad as interrupting a reader…. I had attempted to learn to crochet from my mom, but it was a total bomb. So I thought I’d try knitting, and after a lot of cussing and dropped stitches, I did it! Knitting led to handspinning, because boy was that handspun pretty and I have this thing about doing it myself…. Which of course led to dyeing, because I love color. Then a drumcarder to make batts. And then I had to pay for all this! I gave my job the boot in spring of 2012 and fiber is now my full-time passion! I hope you love fiber as much as I do, and happy spinning!”
Kelley’s Treasure is an exclusive colorway Susan created just for Alpaca Direct! It’s available in three fiber options:
All of the Shooting Yarns colorways are beautiful and versatile. Find some color inspiration and support an Indie yarn dyer. You can view these yarns and many other hand dye yarns on our website at www.AlpacaDirect.com.