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.
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*
With the holidays behind us and the a new year ahead, it’s time to focus on our goals for 2014. One of my goals this year is to really improve my skiing skills. We got up before sunrise on Saturday and headed up to Lookout Pass to get there right when the ski lifts opened. My son was patiently giving me lessons as I tried new runs and techniques. It was great to spend time with him as I worked on improving my skills. About 3 hours into my private lesson with him I realized I was cold…really cold! In fact, I was so cold that I could no longer concentrate on my ski techniques and had to take a break from the cold and go inside the ski lodge. What was the matter? My fingers don’t usually burn…and my toes were numb. Was it my new Jacket? I normally wear a North Face Jacket but today I wore an Obermeyer Jacket. I have another Obermeyer jacket that I wear for horse back riding and have never had a problem. What was different? I couldn’t figure it out. Why was I so cold when under normal conditions, I would stop skiing because I was tired not because I was cold. We decided to call it a day in the early afternoon and drove home to warm up. It wasn’t until I was removing my snow clothes that I figured it out. I had been wearing regular merino wool socks and not my trusty alpaca socks. I never wear anything but my alpaca when I know it’s going to be cold outside. I would never chance being uncomfortable when I have the perfect solution, especially our new Alpacor ski socks that are super warm and great at wicking moisture out of my ski boots.
When I got up that morning it was dark and I accidentally grabbed the wrong pair of socks. What a huge mistake! I can tell you, I will not make that mistake again! If there are any of you out there who get cold feet and can’t seem to get warm, come in and give our alpaca socks a try! This weekend was a big reminder of what life in the cold was before my alpaca socks and I don’t want to repeat it and wouldn’t want you to either!
Our Alpaca socks have been a big hit again this year. The great news is we just received a huge shipment of socks so you can get them in time for winter and the holiday season. It seems demand for our socks grows every year as they make great gifts. We hear daily from our customers that the socks they gave last year to loved ones were on the top of the shopping list to give again this year. There’s nothing like giving the gift of warm feet!
As most of you know, alpaca socks are a big step up in warmth from wool due to their hollow-core fiber. In addition, they are hypoallergenic, soft and luxurious. We offer three basic categories of alpaca socks based on your needs.
Alpaca Direct luxury socks
These socks have a very high alpaca content in them while keeping them machine washable. Anything higher in alpaca content and they will felt in the washer making them great for your doll collection but useless for your feet. Our thickest, warmest socks are the Alpaca Direct Winter Boot Socks (we call them N20’s for short).
The great news is we just got a big shipment of them in yesterday and we now have them in some great colors like purple, pink, green and blue in addition to the traditional grey and black. These socks are all time favorites with our customers and make a great gift for someone who spends a lot of time outside in the cold weather or for anyone who complains of cold feet.
Alpaca Direct Sport Socks
Our line of sport socks have been selling like hotcakes with rave reviews. The key to these socks is our unique designs combined with the patented Alpacor® fiber.
This is a very technical fiber that goes through 18 processing steps just to make the yarn. The alpaca fibers are wrapped around a Tencel core to give you a lightweight yet warm and durable sock. The entire sock is made with this fiber so you get the benefits of Alpacor® from shin to toe. These socks are truly amazing, we wear them all winter here in North Idaho and took them on our trip to Africa this summer to test them on a Safari in the heart of Zambia. They kept us cool in the African heat and were excellent at wicking away moisture to keep our feet dry.
A Super Soft Alpaca Bear is the Perfect Valentines Gift!
Valentines day reminds us to take a few moments out of our busy lives to reflect and remember someone special. Along with a card and some heartfelt words we often will bestow a gift to show our love and appreciation.
When I look back on the gifts that have meant the most over the years they were often unique handmade “From the heart” gifts or gifts that showed a deep understanding of the recipient. A few years ago, my husband bought me a Stihl BR420 backpack leaf blower for Valentines day…and I was thrilled! With 7 acres and 50 animals to care for, that blower saved me hundreds of hours and allowed me more time with my family, our horses and our alpacas.
This year I’m making my husband a special hat from our warm and soft Alpaca Yarn and I’m sure he will love wearing it on our evening walks down to Hayden lake. Are you looking for something unique for your special person? Many of our local customers know us for our huge selection of luxury yarns and super warm alpaca socks, however we also have wonderful Alpaca fur gifts we hope you will come by and see.
Super Cuddly Alpaca Bears
For the man in your life, we have super warm Alpaca Socks that will keep his feet toasty warm while hunting or camping. Somehow the truckers running the northern route up Highway 95 discovered us and are now pulling into our little store with their big rigs to stock up on socks before heading into Canada.
Our Super Warm Alpacor Winter Alpaca Socks
Our stuffed toy alpaca bears and stuffed alpacas are also a Valentines favorites. They are of course made with super soft Alpaca fur and are very cuddly and available in a variety of sizes. As with many of our products there is a story to share with you about these stuffed toys. Each one is unique and handmade for us by a family in Southern Peru. We first met this family a few years ago during a trade conference in Lima Peru. Each year the Peruvian government holds a lottery and a few artisans are allowed to travel to Lima and show their products at the international trade show. At the show we met Marco and his wife and were very impressed with their handmade alpaca products. Through a translator we were able to establish a relationship and now are the primary source of income for them and their growing micro-business in Alpaca fur products. The beauty of this is that the money goes directly to Marco and his family instead of going through several layers of distributors, wholesalers, etc.
Two years ago we were back in Lima Peru at the trade fair and this time we brought our daughter Lauren. She was thrilled to be sitting up front during the high fashion runway shows hosted by Vogue seeing and meeting all our commercial suppliers but the true life lesson was still ahead.
Lauren and me at the Fashion Show in Peru
Lauren and me in front of our Hotel in Lima Peru
After a long week at the show I had an email from Marco requesting to meet us on a Sunday morning before we departed from Peru. He didn’t of course win the lottery that year so was not able to be at the trade show. We were tired and ready to go home, but I knew how hard Marco had worked for us and told him we would be happy to meet him at our hotel in Lima. Upon arrival Marco looked very tired as he mentioned that he and his wife had travelled 15 hours by bus to meet with us that morning. At that moment we experienced the importance our business relationship and the commitment they had to work with us to create quality products.
In reflecting back on this experience, it was great that our daughter Lauren was there to experience first hand how true commitment and partnership in business translated into the products we sell in our store and on our website. If you come visit our store and hold one of our stuffed toy alpacas or slip into our hand made alpaca slippers, you can rest assured that your purchase will help support a wonderful family in southern Peru.
We visited Marco's family workshop in Arequipa last year
In case you have not heard about us, Alpaca Direct is a direct merchant of high quality yarn, apparel,gifts and socks. We stock a full line of fiber art accessories, including needles and thousands of yarns. Our unique selection of products also includes Peruvian alpaca sweaters, hand-loomed lace scarves, performance alpaca socks, cuddly alpaca teddy bears & unique international jewelry.
Our building is handicap accessible, with ample parking and is easy to find. We are located on Hayden Avenue, just two blocks west of Hwy 95 at 1016 W Hayden Ave. in Hayden.
Our Alpaca fiber experts are on call 11am – 6pm Tuesday through Friday, and 10am – 3pm Saturday. Visit us at 1016 W. Hayden Avenue or online at www.AlpacaDirect.com– your local destination for luxury yarn, apparel & gifts. “Like” us on Facebook and Yelp for exclusive coupons, product spotlights & news!
St. Valentine's Day is right around the corner and I can't help getting a little bit excited. Yes, we all have our personal feelings about the Day of Love…some of us revel in it while others don't even acknowledge it. Somehow I feel that we fiber artists understand that elusive emotion more than most. Our craft requires us to dig into ourselves, to selflessly devote precious time, to ponder and work and start again and again, all the time with a heart toward the receiver of our finished gift. We quietly think about this person our project is for. Hours, days, weeks and sometimes years go into these gifts of love. All of you inspire me and make me proud to be part of this community. I hope you will embrace the holiday this year. May each and every one of you feel a portion of the love you have freely given to others.
Happy St. Valentine's Day!
Below are links to some free patterns for you to use in spreading the love!
When you think of the greatest legends of golf, what do you see? Jack Nicklaus striding down the fairway? A black-and-white snapshot of a young Arnold Palmer teeing up? Whatever image springs to mind, we bet we know what they’re wearing: that classic, V-neck cardigan sweater. They came in bold, bright colors, with just 4 or 5 simple buttons down the front. We’re sure you remember the unassuming, gentlemanly style– but did you know those sweaters were made from alpaca?
The alpaca golf cardigan has been a staple of high-end golf apparel since the late 50’s, and for good reason. Each alpaca fiber is incredibly fine– only half the width of a human hair– yet has a hollow core to provide unparalleled insulation. That means an alpaca sweater can protect you against the harshest April breezes, without the bulk or itch of a traditional wool sweater. The look is refined & classic without a hint of fuss, and every golfer from the “Golden Bear” to Bing Crosby had one. In fact, Sports Illustrated reports that Frank Sinatra had the charming habit of selecting dozens of alpaca sweaters as gifts from the pro shop (in his own choice of garish colors, of course), with instructions that they were not to be accepted as returns!
Thankfully, alpaca golf sweaters are no longer exclusive to Rat Pack establishments & expensive pro shops. Since alpaca are native to South America, Alpaca Direct imports top-quality sweaters directly from Peru, so you pay a fraction of what Arnie did back in the 60s. Our classic golf cardigans & vests are equally well-suited for the third hole or the third course at the club, keeping you comfortable, warm & stylish. Plus, we’ve just begun our largest inventory clearance sale ever, with dozens of styles up to 50% off just in time for spring’s first tee time.
The legends knew that golfing & alpaca was a match made in heaven– so why stop with sweaters? Keep your feet warm & dry on the fairway with our new Dahlgren Walking socks, engineered with golfers in mind! Each sock has wicking rings to keep moisture moving up & out of the shoe, preventing discomfort & blisters. The carefully selected blend of merino wool, nylon & alpaca provides optimal insulation, cushion & durability with each step. Available in a variety of colors in both men’s & women’s sizes, these socks are ideal for any walker or athlete looking for a true performance sock.
If you’re planning an outdoor adventure this winter, don’t forget to take care of your feet! Cold temperatures, dry air & stiff boots work together to wreak havoc on your heels & toes this time of year. Protect your feet from cold, discomfort & blistering with a pair of carefully constructed Dahlgren socks from Alpaca Direct! We stock 3 types of socks designed specifically for cold weather: the Sno sock, the Sno Comp sock, and the Expedition sock.
For an all-purpose winter sock, the Dahlgren Sno sock can’t be beat. It is a well-balanced sock with padding & insulation right where you want them: under the foot & around the shin. They're available in 3 colors for women and 1 for men.
Serious skiers have got to try the Sno Comp line for pro-level performance. All-over compression promotes blood flow to keep your feet warm without adding any bulk inside your ski boot– great for progressive stance! And that gorgeous pattern down the side of your calf? They're actually wicking "super highways" to channel moisture up & out of the boot. Plus, they look wicked cool. Two colors for men & six choices for ladies!
On the other end of the thickness spectrum is the Expedition sock, our thickest & warmest Dahlgren sock. It’s an extra tough, extra tall boot sock with added alpaca for maximum insulation. It's your favorite blanket, foot-shaped! Check out the Men's Expedition socks & the Women's Expedition socks from Alpaca Direct.
All three of these socks have Dahlgren’s patented wicking technology, which channels moisture up the sock & away from your foot, keeping blisters at bay. Come feel the difference at Alpaca Direct, your online source for alpaca socks & more!
“I’ll see your merino wool & raise you some alpaca!”
From colorful poker metaphors to colorful polka-dot knee-highs, our conversation yesterday with Kris Dahlgren, President of Dahlgren Footwear certainly stoked my curiosity!
Anyone who’s seen (or, better yet, worn) a pair of Dahlgren socks knows they need a bit of introduction & explanation. Why?
Because they look a bit like socks that took fashion advice from microchips.
What I learned from Kris, however, is that not one square centimeter of a Dahlgren sock is arbitrary; every piece is carefully crafted to serve a very specific purpose. Ultimately, each type of sock represents an interlocking web of mechanisms engineered to provide two things: comfort & dryness.
Of the two, it sounds like comfort is much simpler to achieve. As a knitter, I feel like most of this fight can be won with the right fiber & some strategic construction choices. Dryness, on the other hand, takes a little fancier footwork (to use a particularly germane turn of phrase). Think of a soggy bath towel. If you are my neat, tidy husband, your wet bath towel is returned to the towel bar not long after you’ve finished drying off. Yet, even a few hours later (or, for those in moister climates, perhaps the next day), you can still feel residual moisture hovering inside the towel, even with air actively circulating around. (Worse still, if you are me, your towel tends to land in a dishevelled heap somewhere near the dresser & takes even longer to dry.)
Now imagine how much harder the dryness equation gets when we talk about socks, which are, more often than not, trying to dry off while inside shoes. This conundrum is what much of Dahlgren’s construction seeks to remedy.
For example, a Dahlgren sock uses strips of merino/alpaca to absorb moisture around the foot, in tandem with rings of ECO-Dri to transfer that moisture up the sock & out of your shoe. The funky maze pattern maximizes the surface area of each section, boosting the wicking effect by 40% over a traditional build. Our intestines absorb nutrients using a similar principle– they’re long & snaky because that makes for a bigger surface than a more blobby organ like the stomach.
All in all, this extremely thoughtful construction process results in a superior performance sock that outshines even the highest quality straight-merino, which absorbs until it’s saturated but no further. Good moisture control improves comfort, prevents blisters, & protects against frostbite. So, if you’re ready to sink your tootsies into some gorgeous little portable Rube Goldberg machines for your feet (and if you don’t recall what a Rube Goldberg machine is, or even if you secretly do, trust me & brush up with the video below), pay us a visit!
We're proud to introduce a series of new styles and colors of Dahlgren Women's specific sized socks. These socks have a special taper more consistent with a women's foot and nice vibrant colors like eggplant and marine. Of course the new socks will have the classic high-performance of all Dahlgren socks with it's patented moisture wicking system.