------------------------------- ------------------------------------ On and Off The Needles

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sugar Rush

Thanks for all the great words on the tutorial! I’m glad that it helped open up new worlds of design for some of you! I look at stitch dictionaries in a whole new way now that I know I can adapt pretty much any pattern to a pair of socks!

The weather was pretty intense this weekend. Saturday was pouring rain with extremely high winds. Sunday we had sun, but it was still very windy with a few (gasp!) snow squalls thrown in for good measure. The agility trial was not so fun on Saturday – we got our runs in, but it was pretty mushy footing, so we had a few faults. Sunday a few dogs actually got blown around! We had a great run, but I got a little lost on course and instructed Tucker to go over the wrong jump! Sigh. There are 20 obstacles out there and they all look the same – easy to loose your way! But, he did exactly as I told him, which is great!

I did manage to get a leg and half of the heel flap done on the Childs French Sock.

Childs French Sock
The yarn (Cabin Cove Merino/Tencel) is wonderful and has a nice sheen to it when it’s knit up. And is it soft!!! Since the pattern was written for 72 sts (my normal sock stitch count) I didn’t change it at all. It fits pretty well – I’m not sure if it’s the yarn or the pattern or both that is making it not as stretchy as normal. Maybe a combination. But, it fits well so far. The heel flap and picked up stitches should hopefully be done today at lunch!

With Halloween approaching tomorrow, the hubby and I received the annual package from my parents. Every year since I went away to college they have mailed a package on the major holidays. It’s always a treat to get and since they know us so well, they always know favorite goodies to include!
Halloween Box
They even decorate the outside! It’s hard to wait for both of us to be there to open it, but I restrain myself so we can enjoy the surprises together. This year, the goodies included Halloween sugar cookies, Swedish Fish (the original red are my all time favorite candy!), Candy Corn (the yummy Indian corn variety!), Mallowcreme Pumpkins (here is a cute little ode to them!), a freaky eyeball candle (mom always includes a Halloween theme candle!) and some SpongeBob Squarepants gummy Krabby Pattys!
Spongebob Squarepants Gummies
My parents know my love for most things gummy (I’m not a real chocolate fan) and try to include something new and different each year. These are great! The burger and lettuce (or pickle – not sure which they intend it to be) come apart from the bun so you can eat each layer separate. Mmmmm….Luckily they didn’t send too many!

Hubby and I have a deal – he can have all the cookies (his favorite with a big glass of milk), and I get all the gummy items. He did get the Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin also. (both absent from the photo for obvious reasons) The stash tends to get divided up pretty quickly with minimal bickering.

They also sent a really cute Witch door hanging. With all the time I haven't had this season, it's pretty much my only Halloween decoration at this point!
Halloween Witch Hanging
That way the WHOLE box isn’t just candy…..

I booked my flight and I am headed down to visit my sister on Friday as well as meet up with the girls for Stitches! My sister is going to have to work overnight, but lucky for me, Erin lives close by and has offered me a ride! Knitters are the best! I’m hoping to work on my sock during the flight, but am going to put it on holders in case they confiscate my KnitPicks circulars. They are pretty pointy and very well may qualify as a dangerous weapon! (though I did see on the TSA site that you can take scissors on board now - still no Japanese Throwing Stars and dynamite, but yes to scissors!)

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Thought Process

I've never really designed anything knitted before. I've never really tweaked a pattern, or made one from scratch. I'm a follower. I like to follow written out directions for almost everything - from knitting to driving to assembling furniture from Ikea. Designing a sock pattern from scratch was never really in my mind, but it ended up creating itself after frustration in not finding exactly what I wanted out there in the knit world. In celebration of Socktoberfest (in lieu of actual sock knitting), I thought I would take you through my (first time) process of how I designed the DNA socks.

For me, putting together this pattern was kind of like working backwards. I knew what I wanted the finished product to look like, I just needed the map on how to get there. Since my DNA socks are my most successful "customized" pattern to date, I'll be using those as an example as to how I went about the process of making custom socks.

The inspiration came from my sister - she was starting a new job in the medical field and has always commented on how neat the she thought clog socks were. Knitted socks with the leg pattern extending down onto the heel flap. Back at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, we both browsed several times through Socks for Sandals and Clogs by Anna Zilboorg - and debated for at least a few hours on whether to buy it or not (looking back - should have got it!). That was back in May. Come September, she announces she has a new job and is moving to Baltimore. I knew she needed a truly great pair of socks to wear at her new job. I knew I wanted to do something with cables. My first attempt at the Aran Sandal Socks from the Socks, Socks, Socks book were a disaster. There were way too many cables in the pattern and it took me over an hour to do one round. Needless to say, that pattern was tossed. I learned by looking at that pattern how I should structure and orient a cable so it runs down the back, so the pattern was not a total loss. The DNA Cable pattern immediately came to mind when I went looking for a simpler more streamlined cable. Being in the medical field, this would be perfect!

Sock Layout
I started by doing a gauge swatch. From there, I used a guide such as the charts in The Handy Book of Knitting Patterns by Ann Budd or Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch to find out how many to cast on, etc. Some of the many sock calculators out there will offer the same information after you enter your measurements. After finding out I needed to cast on 64 sts, I then went to the cable chart I wanted to use. (we are approaching knitty math - be forewarned!) I then counted the number of stitches in the pattern - 20. I knew that I wanted a cable down the back, as well as one in the front, and maybe a baby cable on each side. So....

20 sts for front cable + 20 sts for back cable = 40 sts

64 total sts in sock - 40 pattern sts = 24 remaining sts

I knew from this I had plenty of room to add baby cables. At 2 sts each, they added another 8 sts (one on each side of both cables), so I now had 24 sts - 8 baby cable sts = 16 remaining sts. You can plug in any pattern you want to use - if it is only a small repeat, say 8 sts, then you can fit in many repeats of the pattern, or just a couple - you can decide! That is the best part of this process. The socks are totally customized to what you want!

Back to the socks. I wanted some stockinette in the socks, so 16 sts was fine with me to have "left over" but, if I wanted to go totally cable crazy, I could have easily put in some 4 sts cables (4 of them) or even two huge 8 sts cables on opposite sides (or next to each other - again - totally your choice!) or some seed stitch, or something else - all you are doing is working with the number of stitches and plugging in patterns until you are as "full" as you want. Think of it this way, I had 64 slots to fill. I filled 40 with the DNA cables, and another 8 with baby cables. The remaining 16 stitches, I filled with stockinette.

This same theory applies to lace and knit/purl patterns as well! Fill the stitches with whatever you want!

***Huge reminder!!!! Remember to make sure you adapt the pattern if needed for knitting in the round (right sides only) instead of back and forth (flat) knitting. You may have to do some re-writing to change purls to knits or knits to purls.

From there, it was just a point of knitting the sock. I used a "generic" sock pattern from the books listed above, but again, the sock calculators will also generate a pattern for you.

My biggest design element for these socks (aside from the cable itself) was the heel patterning. Essentially, to get a sock with a patterned heel (or "clog sock" as they are sometimes referred to) I knew that basically I was going to knit the heel flap in pattern instead of just doing a slip stitch or plain heel flap. My heel was to be done on 32 sts (half the cast on amount) and I wanted to center the cable on the flap. If we draw a line through the sock diagram, we get an idea of what the heel will look like:
Sock Design Layout
I did all this diagramming and pre-planning ahead of time because I wanted to make sure my design would work for the heel flap. If it didn't, I would tweak and adjust until I had what I wanted (add some stockinette here, take away a cable there). I'm a very visual planner, so I tend to draw diagrams for everything. I had a few different designs (with the bigger cables I mentioned above) but when I went to see what the heel would look like, it either didn't work, or didn't fit evenly on the 32 sts I needed. I re-drew until I came up with my final design.

Remember my huge reminder about converting the pattern to knitting in the round? Well, here is where you will need to revert to back and forth/flat knitting. After you knit the cuff and leg with your desired and beautifully planned pattern, you get to the heel flap. Here is where those original patterns come in handy. The heel will be knit back and forth instead of in the round. Charted designs are easiest to use - for knitting in the round, just read every row from R to L. Then, when you get to the heel flap, just read like you would for normal knitting - right side from R to L, wrong side from L to R. For written patterns, it may be easiest to make a chart, or write out the pattern both ways. Whichever you choose, just make sure you switch it up when you get to the heel flap!

From here on out, it is like any normal sock. Pick up stitches along the heel, re-join for the gusset and knit away! You can choose to carry the pattern down the top of the foot, or leave it plain. I tend to leave my soles plain and knit the pattern down the instep. For this, just make lots of notes and write down what row on your chart or pattern you left off at when you started knitting the heel flap. This way when you re-join, you can easily know what row to knit next. My pattern is usually full of scribbles and notes by the time I finish one sock. I make notes as to how many rows of ribbing, leg and heel I do (as well as what row of the chart I finished on for double checking), how many stitches I picked up along the heel flap, and how many rows in the gusset and foot. The second sock is much easier when I have very detailed directions. Less trying on to do!
Pattern Notes
I hope this little tutorial on design helped empower you to jump in and use that stitch pattern from a sweater or scarf you've been eyeing on a pair of socks or something else all together. I know I'm looking at knitting from a whole different point of view now!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Back a little poorer

(you thought from that title I went to Rhinebeck, huh?)

Back from the trial on the Cape with a few ribbons and $500 worth of car problems. Of course, the parts only cost $12. Gotta love electrical issues. The interior lights would not shut off. I discovered this when I started the truck up to go to work yesterday morning. Drove it straight to the garage. Six hours later, they discovered two shorts and a few rubbed wires in the process. The joys of an older vehicle. But, it is fixed now and I'm (not so) happily back at work.

On a positive note, Tucker continued his upward trend and on Saturday got his AKC Open Jumpers title which moves us up another level! He also got to run on the beach and do some swimming. Cute doggie pics to follow soon! I'm so proud of him - he has really improved and is having so much fun! Moving up a level to the Excellent class was interesting. There are many, many more people at this level, so the course walk throughs are pretty crowded.
Walking a Course
Walking the Course is the most important part of your run - you learn where obstacles are, how far apart they are, and the best path to take from one to the next - for both you and your dog! You look for potential problems as well as opportunities to pick up time. I tend to walk a course about 5 times total to really ingrain it in my head. Then you sit back, watch and wait for your run!

They had a HUGE flag at the fairgrounds. With the bright blue sky, I had to snap a picture.
Flag at Barnstable Fairgrounds

In knitting news, I started a few socks this weekend. Only one survived though. The Child's French Sock (link is a great example of a finished pair) from Knitting Vintage Socks. Sarah is knitting the same pair, though she is already a sock ahead!

My first pair was a toe up attempt at the "Small Capitals" sock from Sensational Knitted Socks. Something went awry and I ended up ripping it back. I then tried to get all creative and do the French Sock toe up as I had a perfectly good toe sitting in front of me. That ended up in a pile of frogged yarn as well. So, third try and I am through the ribbing of the French sock - top down.
Childs French Sock - ribbing
Yes, the yarn is that bright! It is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in "Pink" - it is more like Magenta though! I have not used CTH as of yet, and it is taking the frogging and re-knitting like a champ. My stitches look a little wonky, but I know a blocking can do wonders. Knitting with kinky yarn probably didn't help. The yarn has a great tight twist, and is really soft. The colors are also incredibly saturated.

So, with a week and a half left in Socktoberfest, I have fallen quite short of my goal of three pairs. I'll be lucky to finish one at this point! Life tends to get in the way when you least expect it! The weather this weekend didn't help either - it was pouring and really cold on Friday, and very windy on Saturday and Sunday. Not too conducive to knitting outside. Once again though, my hopes are high for dedicated knitting time this week.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another Goal Done!

Another goal completed! I finished DNA sock #1 last night!

Front View of DNA Cable sock #1
My only concern is that they fit me. I think they might end up being a little long. But, that is ok - I put in a lifeline before I started the toe so I can easily frog back if I need to!
Toe Lifeline
What are your opinions on shortening the sock? Should I make the toe decreases quicker or rip back some of the sock itself? I started with 64 sts and decreased 4 sts every other row until I got to 32, then every row until I ended up with 12. I'll be mailing them off to her today to try on and see how they fit. Meanwhile, the second sock is on it's way back to me so I can finish it as well.

I leave today for the Cape - I'm not sure I will meet goal #3 of starting my new sock, but I do have the yarn and pattern ready to go and I fully intend on doing bunches of knitting while at the trial this weekend. I am bringing along the 12" addi's I got to try that method out and see how I like it. I tend to hold my needles close to the tips anyway, so they may be ok.

Only a few weeks left in Socktoberfest! If you haven't already, head over to the Flickr Socktoberfest Group and take a look at all the wonderful socks!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Cross off Goal #1

We all know what this means.

smocking snippets
An episode and a half of season 2 of Veronica Mars later, and seaming was done. It wasn't so bad, I just had to sit down and do it.

I proudly wore it to work today. I thought the copier made such a scenic backdrop.
Smocking on the Move finished
(excuse the blurry self timer shots - no one was here at 6:30 to take my picture!)
The laser printer also wanted it's shot at blogdome fame -
Smocking on the Move finished
It still needs a final blocking, but it fits perfect (I'm wearing a long sleeve tee underneath).

Final thoughts:
Pattern: Smocking on the Move by Teva Durham from Winter 2003 Interweave Knits

Yarn: Softwist Bulky by Berroco (discontinued) I used about 7 skeins total.

Modifications: I made the sleeves in one size smaller than the body. I liked the measurements of the body, but the sleeves would have been too big and long, so I just made them one size smaller. My worries about them fitting into the larger sleeve openings in the body were for nothing. They seamed up just fine.

Now, onto Goal #2!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Attack of the Virus

I had such great hopes of getting tons of knitting done this weekend. It all went out the window. Instead of needles and yarn being my constant companions this weekend, I ended up with these guys

sick friends
I was miserably sick all day Saturday and Sunday. So sick I didn't even feel like knitting. I sat in my chair at the dog show in a decongestant induced trance all weekend. Last night I finally managed to get a good nights sleep and feel better today.

On Friday, before the cold virus had taken over my entire body, I did manage to finish up the neckline of Smocking.
smocking neckline
The sewn bind off was really easy and fast. I like how it came out. I think I ended up doing 3 rows of K1P1 ribbing, then bound off. Using the sewn bind off leaves a nice edge that matches the ribbing.
Sewn bind off
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions - I think it suits the pattern well - it is simple and doesn't' distract from the sweater as a whole. Both sleeves are also attached - one fully and one just the cap. I forgot how much I detest seaming. So far so good in the fit department. Ends are still hanging out, but I think it will be great once it's done!
smocking neckline - tried on
(once again, excuse the loud colored tshirt underneath!)

The DNA sock #2 is at the heel turn. I plan on dedicating a few hours today knitting on it. So much for my ambitious Socktober plans. Two weeks to go and I don't even have one pair of socks yet! The cruise socks don't need to be done until early December, so at least there isn't a tight deadline - but at 18 sts/4" they will go quick once I start.

Ravin was a good boy at the show this weekend - he hasn't been shown in a while, so it took him a bit to get back into it. He looked great!
Ravin at HMM
(he is in the middle)

Fall has definitely come to New England. They had to postpone the start of the show because the frost was so slippery! I had my millions of layers on and felt like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. At least it was sunny - the sky was simply stunning all weekend.
Blue Sky
Not a cloud anywhere. Funny how in the fall, the sky just seems bluer.

Goals for this week (before I leave on Thursday for the 3 day agility trial with Tucker on the Cape):
1. Finish seaming smocking and weave in ends
2. Finish DNA socks (the one I have in my possession)
3. Start Socktober pair #2

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Major Sock Crisis Averted!

What a beautiful weekend! The weather was absolutely perfect - low 70's with that crisp, clean fall air. The foliage in New Hampshire was almost peak and the colors were just beautiful. I would have captured it all, but the camera spent the weekend forgotten at home.

Tucker was a superstar - out of our 5 agility runs, he got two second places, a third and a fourth! I was so proud! He was having so much fun, and we just really clicked this weekend.

I did do a tiny bit of knitting this weekend - I managed about 15 rows on the second rDNA sock. The bag it was in then managed to fall out of my bigger bag and worm it's way under the chair of the person sitting next to me at the trial. I packed up all my stuff and left Sunday afternoon. I got home Sunday evening ready to do some knitting and the sock bag was no where to be found. I promptly freaked out (to put it mildly). The pattern, chart, all my notes for the first sock, the unique hand dyed yarn were all in that bag. I called the venue where the trial was held - they were closed by this point, so I left a message of desperation hoping someone may have found it and turned it in. Agility people are probably the nicest group of people around (next to knitters, of course!) and I knew if someone found it they would turn it in. I then called my trainer hoping to get the phone number of the woman who sat next to me - I knew her (we train with the same instructor) but not her phone number. My trainer happily informed me that she had my knitting safe and sound!!! I let out a huge sigh of relief and thanked her about a thousand times. I nearly cried. What a feeling of relief! I should have my sock back tomorrow or Wednesday.

In my gleeful mood after knowing my sock was safe and sound, I put that good knitting mojo to work and seamed the shoulders of smocking together. I'm undecided as to what to do with the neck. The model has a small mock/funnel type neck shown here:

smocking on the move
I'm just not sure I want that kind of neck - I tried it on last night with just a few rows of in pattern knitting (ignore the stylin' purple t-shirt under it!):
Smocking first fitting
Instead of the called for neck treatment, I could do a simple crochet edging, ribbing, simple bind off, seed stitch, or something else I'm not thinking of? I would probably wear a t-shirt under this, and I have plenty of yarn left (probably 2 skeins). Simple would most likely be better with the smocking going on over the sweater itself, and I'm up to try anything. Let me know what you think - you guys always seem to have the right answers!

Speaking of answers, the questionnaire that Lolly put up has really been interesting. Seeing everyone's answers all over blogdome has not only made me laugh and empathize with some of the first sock stories, but there are techniques out there that I just have to try.

Both Sarah and Kristi listed their preferred knitting style as using 12" circulars. Up for trying anything new (and possibly easier) I clicked on over to Ebay and grabbed a pair of 2.5mm Addi's from The Best Shop (great Addi prices and quick shipping!) Now, I'm just waiting for them to arrive to try them out. I tend to pick up my #1's the most, so I ordered those to try out the new technique with.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Traveling Socks

The first DNA sock is complete up to the toe!
DNA Sock - 3/4 view

DNA sock - back

DNA first sock side
I stuck it on an extra circular needle I had so I could mail it off to her to try on. These need to fit perfect, and the only way I know to achieve that is to have the wearer try them on. Since they aren’t a surprise, I don’t mind sending them on a little vacation to visit her. I have already done the ribbing and a few rows of the cable for the second one. To put yet another twist (no cable pun intended!) into designing my own socks, I want the DNA strand on this second sock to mirror the one on the first. After pondering how to “flip” the cable chart over, I printed out the chart onto some clear overhead paper, then put it into the copy machine, flipped it over and copied it. Viola! A reversed cable pattern! Now, of course all the numbers, cable stitch key were backwards, but I just copied a new key and taped it over the inverted one. Brilliant! (clang go the glasses of Guinness)

Still no seaming on the smocking as of yet. My nights have been so busy recently that I haven’t had a chance to sit down and start it. Seaming for me is a methodical thing. I need to be at a table and really concentrate on it. Otherwise it just ends up a mess!

Another pair of socks has managed to make it out of the sock drawer - the Jungle Socks are keeping my feet cozy and warm on this chilly fall day.
Jungle Socks Out and About
The hubby, Tucker and I are off to New Hampshire this weekend for an agility trial. As an added bonus, we are staying with some of our best friends, and I get to visit all my old haunts from when I lived up there. We may even fit some apple picking in. The foliage should be just beautiful up there as it has just started to turn here. I have to say, this time of year I am so glad I live in New England!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

My Sock Story....

Lolly put up a great questionnaire for Socktoberfest. I really enjoyed doing it. Thinking back to those first socks - the trials and tribulations and frustrations! Pictures of all the finished socks are in the links on the last question.

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?

I started in April of 2005 (a mere 3 1/2 months after I first picked up a pair of needles) with the Very Tall Socks from Knitty (ambitious for a first project, no?). They were for my sister who always has cold legs in the fall and winter. I quickly got both bored and frustrated with the leg part - not only are my sisters legs not the exact match to what the pattern was (customize? what is that?) but they were too narrow. I stopped them mid calf and call them "Not so Very Tall Socks". It probably didn't help that I used Patons Classic Merino on size 2 needles, and did striping, and did a short row heel (yes, I knit with worsted yarn on size 2's. I had been knitting for 4 months. I knew no better). I shudder now just thinking about it! That pretty much sums up my knitting mentality - just jump right in and try it!

I learned sock knitting entirely from books and the internet (as I have 98% of my knitting in general). I'm a loner. I have to say, once I figured out how to turn the heel (my first real experience in having faith in directions and just doing it) and then did it, I thought it was pretty much hands down the coolest thing ever and wanted to knit another (though shorter) pair.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?

My first pair were the Not so Very Tall Socks listed above. My sister does wear them around the house and being that the worsted yarn was knit on size 2's, it's wearing like iron. My first "real" pair were a pair of BMG Footies. I was much smarter and went for ankle socks the second time around. I used Magic Stripes yarn, and gifted them to a friend who they fit perfectly. I finished them in six days! (I still love anklets for that reason!)

What would you have done differently?

Not picked a knee sock, not used worsted yarn on #2 needles, not picked a pattern with shaping, not done striping, not done a short row heel (I think that covers everything!)

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?

I have tried to sample as many different sock yarns as I can - through trades or (sigh) purchase. The MD Sheep & Wool festival this past year was my sock yarn buying bonanza. So far, I have enjoyed (though not knitted all of them as of yet):
Socks That Rock (both the Medium and Light weight)
Lornas Laces Shepherd Sock - this has to be one of my favorites - I have 2 pairs knit from it and it was truly joy knitting with the yarn! I'd like to try some of their "almost solids"
Louet Gems Opal
Trekking XXL
Henry's Attic Kona (my newest addiction)
Three Waters Farm
Tess' Designer Yarn Supersock
Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Ultra (the heathered colors are truly beautiful)
Cherry Tree Hill Supersock (love the twist and color depth of their yarns!)
Dave's Cabin Cove Merino/Tencel (can't get much softer with a nice sheen)

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?

I'm a Magic Looper all the way. I started on DPN's but my hands ached after only 10-15 minutes of knitting. I think it's because I tend to hold the needles too tight. Probably the same reason my hands ache after driving a while - I grip the steering wheel too tight also! I have a 40" #3 Addi that I use as well as 32" KnitPicks circulars in 0, 1 and 2. I'm not a crocheter at all - I leave that to my sister.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)

I actually really enjoy both. Short row heels are great when I'm not in the mood to pick up stitches or purl a lot. They are also great on self striping or patterned yarn. I'm currently liking a flap heel as I've recently discovered I can carry the stitch pattern down the heel flap! Pretty neat! Plus, using Grumperina's "pretty" technique for picking up stitches, I have done a nearly perfect heel on my current pair.

How many pairs have you made?

Let's see (links are to pictures of finished pair) - 2 for my sister (Not so Tall and Lux Sockees), 2 for friends (BMG footies and Sprite footies), a pair of Dublin Bay for my mom, Jaywalkers, Jungle Socks, Falling Leaves, Simply Lovely Lace and Gentlemans Fancy Socks (my favorites so far) for me, 2 for the hubby (Thuja and RPM), and a pair of toe up's for dad.

That makes lucky 13 pairs! Holy Cow! I really had no idea I knit that many!

Looking back I'm really surprised! Lots of great patterns, fun yarns. For me, Socktoberfest is all about new things. I want to knit at least 3 pairs (a lofty goal) and use all stash yarn. I have one sock of my current pair done, and have the next pair waiting in the wings. Socks have really become a staple in my knitting bag - I feel lost without one on the needles! Lots of sock patterns are on my "to knit" wish list. Hopefully I can cross a few more off my list this month. (a few are already done!)

30 sock mosaic

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Smocking is Blocking!

With no agility trial this past weekend, I managed to make a dent in some things around the house. I cleaned, organized and generally got things back in order and on track.

I also made some great knitting progress. Smocking on the Move is now blocking!

Back of Smocking Blocking

Smocking Blocking
I had to block in two shifts, so I did the back and one sleeve the other night, and the front last night. All should be dry and ready for seaming tonight! Assembly is not my most favorite activity, but I think this sweater I just do the shoulders, then have to pick up stitches for the neck and knit that next. So, no full on seaming for a night or two. It blocked out very easily to the measurements, so I’m really hoping it will fit. I always worry when I’m in the final stages of sweater making that I won’t like the final result. But, I guess there is only one way to find out!

The DNA socks are coming along fast (for me anyway!). I’ve turned the heel and now have to pick up stitches for the gusset. I’m kind of making up the pattern as I go – I inserted the cable pattern and a mock twisted cable along the sides, and am doing all the numbers and structural designing myself. My first “self made” sock!
DNA sock with heel turn
These are going to be hard to give up – I really love how the cable runs down the heel. They will be going to a person who will wear them all the time, and knows the work that goes into them. (Now I just hope they fit!) They look even better on…(I had to do a bigger pic of this shot - I just love them!).
DNA sock modeled
It shouldn’t be too far to finish them – just the gusset decreases and the foot! The second sock is not far behind!

Taking the dogs for their morning stroll today, I was greeted with not only pitch black skies, but a nice nip in the air. With the temps falling, and the seasons changing, what better time than to get out my handknit socks from last year. Today, I’m sporting my Falling Leaves socks I knit from Lorna’s Laces in Daffodil last fall. So comfy. I love handknit socks!
Falling Leaves in action
Speaking of socks and fall, Lolly is back with the now annual Socktoberfest! It’s a really great KAL, not so much with a finish line, but more just a celebration of socks. There are tips, contests and a Flickr Group as well. With all those socks and sock lovers, how could you go wrong!

In more sock KAL news, I spotted a really great one over at Rebecca’s blog. My first toe ups looks like a great place to find all sorts of instructions, patterns and help in general for knitting those toe up socks. I wish it was around when I was knitting mine! I plan on looking around for some great tips and patterns though. It’s amazing the information that is available to all of us cyberknitters these days! Get out there and knit!