AD Sock KAL Wrap-Up & Winner

We’ve had such a wonderful time hosting our first ever knit-a-long, the Alpaca Direct Sockalong! We’ve seen so many beautiful projects, and you can see them here on the Alpaca Direct Pinterest board or in the KAL thread in our Ravelry group.

win sock blockers from Alpaca DirectCongratulations to Gail M, who wrote “I’m new to sock knitting. In fact, I just finished my first pair! So I would love to win a pair!” We’ll be in touch to arrange delivery of your prize. 

 

 

 

ADSockAlong Staff Sock Wrap Up

We’ve been knitting for nearly a month now and have made great progress! I think we’ve all learned something that motivates us to knit another pair of socks and try a new pattern or technique. There’s always something to learn!

Kelley, Owner of Alpaca Direct

Kelley, Owner of Alpaca Direct

Socks completed with a picot bind off.

Socks completed with a picot bind off.

 

Kelley finished her socks and has worn them already!

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Courtney finished her socks!!!!

Courtney finished her socks!!!!

 

Courtney finished her socks and is ready to start a new pair.

Tina, Store Manager

Tina, Store Manager

Tina has made it to the leg!

Tina has made it to the leg!

Tina checks in this week:

“Finally knitting the leg(s)! I’m so pleased with the fit of the sock and especially the heel. However, note to self, on my next sock KAL, don’t decide on a 10-row lace repeat and expect to get them done in a month……LOL. My new mantra……KISS……keep it super simple! Or knit for someone with very tiny feet.”

Melissa, Social Media

Melissa, Social Media

Progress on sock #2

Progress on sock #2

 

Melissa says:

 I’m almost to the second heel where I get another shot at practicing short rows!  I can’t wait to have two finished socks!”

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

Second sock is coming along!

Second sock is coming along!

 

Kjirstine reports:

“This pattern came out great. This is the right sock, with the cable on the right side of the foot. The first sock had the cable on the left. I usually knit socks top-down with a heel flap, which is reinforced with slipped stitches. I’m wondering if the short row heel is as durable?”

Hope you are having good success with your socks, we’d love to see your progress on our Ravelry thread or on our Facebook page.

Hey- Socks are halfway there!

We’ve been knitting along on our socks for three weeks now and we’ve already had some pairs finished!

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Courtney is done! Speed Knitter!!

 

 

 

 

Tina, Store Manager

Tina, Store Manager

Both heels just finished!

Both heels just finished!

Tina’s update is: “Two heels just barely done through the short row phase. Will set up socks for knitting in the round next. I used the Fish Lips Kiss heel pattern as I find I have better success with the heel shaping. Used lifelines at beginning of heels……didn’t need them this time:) “

Melissa, Social Media

Melissa, Social Media

Ready to bind off!

Ready to bind off!

Melissa: “I’m ready  to cast off my first ever sock! Anyone have any tips on the cast off? I’m a pretty tight knitter so I think I’ll use a stretchy one to get the most comfortable fit.”

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

One Sock Done!

One Sock Done!

Kjirstine says: “I just cast off sock #1 last night, using Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. It fits and looks great! Ready to cast on sock #2. I think the short row toe will come much easier the second time around!”

Kelley, Owner of Alpaca Direct

Kelley, Owner of Alpaca Direct

Socks completed with a picot bind off.

Socks completed with a picot bind off.

 

Kelley: “Finished my socks and will wear them to the fair!”

AD Sockalong Giveaway!

We’re nearing the end of the Sockalong, and we think it’s about time to host a giveaway here on the Alpaca Direct blog! This giveaway is open for everyone, whether or not you’re participating in the Sockalong.

You can still join the Sockalong in the Alpaca Direct Ravelry Group.

You can also catch up with all our previous blog posts:

July 23: Sock Knit-A-Long
July 30: Ready to Start Our First Knit-A-Long!
July 31: Working the Toe
August 6: Sock Progress Report
August 14: Adding Patterns to Your Socks

Blockers (1)

 

Giveaway

Enter for your chance to win Sock Blockers! These are used for blocking your socks after you’ve finished knitting them to help even out the stitches, shape the socks, and make sure they are nice and clean before their first wearing.

To enter leave a comment on this post telling us about your sock knitting experiences. Haven’t knit socks yet? Tell us what’s holding you back! Want to know more about knitting socks, and have a question for us? Is there a sock related topic you think we should do a tutorial on?

We’ll choose one lucky winner on Sunday, August 31. Good luck!

Note: You must be a US resident to enter.

AD Sockalong: Adding Patterns to Your Socks!

We’ve really enjoyed seeing everyone’s progress on their socks so far. We can’t believe it, but some people have already finished both socks! It’s not too late to join us–you can participate in the Alpaca Direct Ravelry Group. We’re knitting the Universal Toe-Up Sock Pattern Formula by Amy Swenson.

Today’s post is about adding a stitch pattern to your socks. We love basic sock recipes like this one because they give the knitter room to be creative. Rib patterns are great for socks because they provide lots of stretch. Besides your classic rib patterns we have three other ribbing patterns in today’s blog post.

You’ll work your stitch pattern on the top of the foot (which means just half of your stitches), and then after turning the heel the pattern can be worked on the leg (all of the stitches). When adding patterns it’s important to make sure that the number of stitches on your sock is compatible with the number of stitches required for your pattern. For example, if you’re working a k2, p2, ribbing you’d want a number that’s divisible by 4 .

Example:
Total number of stitches: 64, 64/4=16 –perfect!
Total Number of stitches: 70, 70/4=17.5–this isn’t going to work, as you’d end with either 4 knits or 4 purls. At this point you have you can increase two more stitches, work a k1, p1 rib that would work with any even number of stitches, or find another stitch pattern that’s compatible with the number of stitches for your sock.

Alpaca Direct stitch patterns for socks

 

For sock knitting we’ve written the directions for all of the patterns to be knit in the round. Broken Rib (Even number of stitches)
Round 1: *K1, p1*
Round 2: Knit

Cable Rib (Multiples of 4) This isn’t a real cable, but a mock cable that doesn’t require a cable needle.
Rounds 1-3: *P2, k2*
Round 4: *P2, k2tog but leave on the needle; then insert right-hand needle between the 2 stitches just knit together and knit the 1st stitch again; then slip both stitches from the needle together*

Waving Rib (Multiples of 6)
Rounds 1-4: *K4, p2*
Rounds 5-8: *K1, p2, k3*

We’d love to see your sock progress! Share photos in the Alpaca Direct Ravelry group, or leave us a comment on this post!

Sock Knit Along- Humming Right Along

We are all humming right along!

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Courtney finished her socks!!!!

Courtney finished her socks!!!!

 

Courtney has already finished her pair of socks! She loves the fact that they are sized to fit her feet precisely and is planning to make another pair that incorporates a pattern design.

Tina, Store Manager

Tina, Store Manager

FOT4A62

 

Tina’s report for this week:

Had a slight mishap in my dragonfly pattern…..darn those yarn overs. Ended up carefully taking out 5 stitches down 4 rows, figured out the mistake and laddered up each stitch correctly with a crochet hook. Success! Can’t even tell which stitches I was working with. Around and around I go toward the heel…..”

Melissa, Social Media

Melissa, Social Media

Melisssa is changing to two circulars after working her first sock on DPNs.

Melissa is changing to two circulars after working her first sock on DPNs.

This is Melissa’s first pair of socks and she’s learning many new techniques.

“I completed one sock using 4 dpns and it was a royal pain. So…I bought 2 circular needles and some thicker yarn and started over working 2 socks on two circular needles . I got through the toes easily enough and now am working in the round, I am being careful to knit on/off the same needles, I am finding that as I go, one set of needles is facing the opposite direction on every other half…”

Any advice for her?

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

Worked the heel as written, now on to the cuff!

Worked the heel as written, now on to the cuff!

Kjirstine writes:

“This is my first attempt at a short row heel and I am pleased with how it came out. It was easy to do and fits nicely. I wasn’t sure how long to knit my cuff, but Tina suggested that it should be approximately as long as my foot. Sounds good to me! Anyone have a different “Rule of Cuff” that you use?”

We are having a lot of fun knitting these together and watching each other’s unique progress. Until next week!!

Sock Progress report

We’ve been knitting along on our socks for a week now. We have slow starters and speedy knitters. We have socks!!

Tina, Store Manager

Tina, Store Manager

Lacey Dragonfly

Lacey Dragonfly

 

Tina chose to work a pattern on her sock, and it is the lovely, lacy, Dragonfly Socks. Here’s her report:

Chose the Dragonfly Socks from Cavyshops.com. Pattern was written as top down, so inverted dragonfly pattern to work as toe up. Have about 1-1/2 to 2” before beginning heel. Here is where tiny feet would be a plus!”

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Sock number two

Sock number two

 

Courtney is already on her second sock! This is what she’s shared with us.

When moving from short rows of toe and heel I needed to pick up stitches to avoid getting a hole. I just knit the picked up stitch together with another on the next row.”

 

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

Added a little cable!

Added a little cable!

 

Kjirstine is ready to start the heel.

“This is when having big feet is a disadvantage. I finally finished the 8.25″ for my foot and I am ready for the heel. I am incorporating the pattern Socks on a PlaneWhite socks seemed too boring, so a little cable twist gives me more to think about.”

 

Melissa, Social Media

Melissa, Social Media

Ready to cast on

Ready to cast on

 

Melissa is enjoying some time away with her family, but she plans to start soon.

She says “ I’m on vacation and then casting on.   Since I”m working worsted I think I”ll finish no problem during the KAL.”

Kelley, Owner of Alpaca Direct

Kelley, Owner of Alpaca Direct

Which heel to choose?

Which heel to choose?

 

Kelley is also ready to do her heel! Her update is:

 I am ready to turn my heels. I am not sure if I will do the short row heel or pick another heel from a different pattern. I decided to do a pattern on the top of my socks. It is a broken rib pattern which has a 2 stitch repeat + 1. Row 1 – knit across row. Row 2 – P1 K1, P1 across row.”

Hope you are knitting along with us and we’d love to see your progress on our Ravelry Thread or find us on Facebook and Pinterest.

spinzillaphotobomb

Spinzilla 2014

spinzilla banner

 

October will be here before you know it! We’re excited to be participating in the second annual Spinzilla week. Last year all the spinners combined to spin 1,373,175.06 yards of yarn. Our Alpaca Direct team spun more than 17,000 yards! All in one week!!!

Sign ups for participation start August 4, 2014  at 10 am Eastern time and continue until September 22, 2014. You can sign up here: Spinzilla registration

There is a $10 registration fee, paid to The National Needle Arts Association Spinning and Weaving Group. This fee is donated to the Needle Arts Mentoring Program (NAMP) which was founded in 2000 as a fiber arts program for at-risk students.

During the event, there will be prize drawings, specials offers and lots of fun. Find our team forums on the Spinzilla Ravlery page or you can find us also on the Friends of Alpaca Direct Spinzilla team thread. Please consider joining us for “A Monster of A Spinning Week”!! Spinzilla 2014!

 

short-row-toe

AD Sockalong: Working the Toe

Today is the official start of our first ever Knit-A-Long: the Alpaca Direct Sockalong! It’s not too late to join us! You can learn more about what a KAL is, how to participate, and our special yarn sales for the KAL here.

short-row-toe
We’ve heard from a few knitters in the Sockalong Thread on Ravelry that they are worried about the toe construction on the Universal Toe-Up Sock Formula so today we’ve taken some photos of a work in progress toe to show you just how easy it is!

The sock starts with a provisional cast on. Then short rows are worked to create one side of the toe. In this toe construction you actually knit back and forth, and then later join to knit in the round and work the foot of the sock.

DSC_0166Following the numbers according to your gauge and sock size as outlined in the pattern you’ll continue working short rows until your knitting is triangular in shape. It’ll start looking like the toe of a sock!

DSC_0171Once you’ve finished your first set of short rows you’ll start working the other side of the toe with double wrapped stitches.

DSC_0176You’ll keep double wrapping until you’ve completed the other side of the toe. At this point you’ll remove your provisional cast on and begin knitting in the round to work the foot of the sock.

DSC_0187

 

What are short rows?
A short row is just that–a row that’s short because not all of the stitches on the needle are worked. There are many different ways to work short rows, and the Wrap & Turn is a common technique. There is also the yarn over short row, make one short row, Japanese short rows, and German short rows.

Why the short row toe?
The short row toe is easier for some people who have never knit socks. You can also knit socks starting at the tip of the toe by casting on both the top and bottom of the toe at once using either Judy’s Magic Cast On or the Turkish Cast On, but these can be tricky the first time you do them.  It’s also a little awkward to work with so few stitches, fine yarn, and small needles. If you have knit socks before we encourage you to try the short row toe in this pattern anyways! It’s always great to learn new techniques and challenge yourself.

Can I work a different toe?
Of course! If you’d like to work a toe that begins at the tip of the toe you can cast on Ex2 stitches, with E stitches on one needle for the front and E stitches on another needle for the bottom, then increase until you have C stitches.

Alpaca Direct Sock Knitalong

Ready to start our first Knit Along!

We are so excited to be participating in our first Alpaca Direct Knit Along! I’d like to introduce a few of our staff who are knitting along with everyone else:

 

 

Kelley, Owner of Alpaca Direct

Kelley, Owner of Alpaca Direct

Kelley is planning to do her socks two at a time using the magic loop technique. Her gauge is 7.75 sts/inch on a #1 addi Turbo needle.

 

Tina, Store Manager

Tina, Store Manager

Tina is also doing her socks two at a time using the magic loop technique. She is using a #0 Kollage needle. Her gauge is 7.5sts/inch.

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager

 

Kjirstine is using double pointed needles, Kollage #2.5 and her gauge is 7sts/inch.

 

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store

 

Courtney is using the magic loop technique and a #0 needle. Her gauge is 7sts/inch.

Melissa, Social Media

Melissa, Social Media

Cascade Superwash 220

Cascade Superwash 220

Melissa plans to use a size 8 needle with a gauge of 4.5sts/inch

We’re knitters of all different levels and styles. It will be fun to see how each person puts a little of themselves in their project. We’re looking forward to knitting with you for the next few weeks. If you haven’t signed up yet, go to our Ravelry page and join the fun.

Kjirstine, for the Alpaca Direct staff