A Yarn Story

Spring Clean! April 26 2018

Yay! Springtime has finally come to Bath! We’ve blue skies and sunshine and after the long, cold winter that was it’s nice to feel that everything is fresh and new again.

Late April / early May is a funny transition time though. It’s not necessarily cool enough for a full jumper but not quite warm enough to forego a shawl/scarf/wrap. It is the time though, when I start thinking about flipping my wardrobe from fall/winter to spring/summer and rotating my handknits are part of that.

Thanks to the amazing properties of wool, handknits don’t need to be washed every time we wear them. When putting things away for the season though, I like to give them a good clean beforehand. Moths are attracted to soil and dirt on fabrics so why leave any snacks for them to munch on?

It’s important for me to note here that we get a lot of customers asking about moth-proofing their yarn or their handknits. NOTHING is completely moth-proof but with vigilance and a regular cleaning schedule it’s harder for them to take up residence in your closet. Here are my tips for making the most of your spring clean:

Check your knits
Pull everything out that you plan to put away for the season and give it a good going over. Are there any stains or pulls to worry about? Mark these with a locking stitch marker so you know where to find them.

Before popping your garment into the wash take a bit of Soak on a cotton bud and gently rub the stain directly, then wash it as usual.

Start with Soak 
There’s a reason not every one likes to handwash their knits and it’s usually because of the rinsing, and rinsing, and rinsing. Which is why we LOVE Soak! The no-rinse formula makes it super easy to handwash everything (makeup brushes, I’m coming for you after I get through the handknits). You can even use it in your high-efficiency washing machine, which I do regularly. Plus, the fresh modern fragrances leave everything smelling fresh and clean.

You only need a small capful with a gallon of cool water. Let the item soak for 15 minutes (but if you forget about it and it stays in longer that's ok too) and then gently pull it out, squeezing out as much water as you can before laying it flat and rolling it in a towel to remove more moisture and then blocking / drying as desired. Check out our blocking tutorial for some great tips too!

Dirt vs. DIRT 
There's the dirt we can see and then there's the invisible dirt that builds up from sweat and skin etc. When you pull your item out of the basin, you’ll see all the dirt at the bottom. Soak is especially formulated to grab onto dirt particles and pull them down, so your water might look mighty grungy or if it’s been a while since you last washed the item. I don’t wash my handknit socks every time I wear them so the water always looks particularly dirty when I do get around to it but they come out looking brand new every time. 

Air dry 
This is where I love to break out my Sweater Care Kit from Cocoknits. The pop-up air dryer is amazing for getting the air circulating around the garment for it to dry faster. Of course in this nice weather, you can also use a drying rack outside or place a towel on the grass or a picnic/patio table in your back garden.

Quick fixes 
Once everything is dry I like to find the other locking stitch markers that I left on my garment that indicate pulls or other areas in need of a quick fix. This might mean weaving in ends that have come loose, evening out a pulled stitch, or darning worn areas. It’s usually quick work in front of the TV at night and then everything is clean and ready to be packed away.

Now back to my knitting!


2018: Sock Drawer Goals January 09 2018

At some point over the Christmas holidays I must have had really cold feet while enjoying the winter wonderland that was Oregon state when I was home for Christmas. Instead of fixating on eating healthier or what bad habits I want to break when the new year rolled around all I could think about was how great it would be to have a drawer full of socks by the end of the year. Or it could be that I’m just sick of the one handknit pair that I’ve been wearing to death. Ugh.

Ravelry even seems to want to help me with this goal as they have a new challenge feature that they’ve added to everyone’s project page. Now I feel super motivated to plan out all the socks I want to knit this year and pair them up with some of our yummy yarns.

I’m usually a pretty non-fussy sock person. I like them pretty basic with not a lot of patterning on the foot, maybe a bit at the top. Here’s some of the patterns that inspired me while I was down the Ravelry rabbit hole:

Free patterns

RyeTin Can Knits
I can’t recommend the Tin Can Knits patterns enough to people and this cushy sock pattern from their Simple Collection is a quick knit in Worsted or DK weight yarn. The pattern is also sized from baby to big so you can make them for your whole family.

 

LemonadeYuka Takahashi
This ankle sock features pretty eyelets and calls for a sport weight yarn. Perfect for our SweetGeorgia Superwash Sport (this would look AMAZING in Mango Ice!). The pattern is one size but knit toe-up so should be easy to adjust.

Hermione’s Everyday SocksErica Lueder
If you’re looking for something with a little texture then these socks inspired by the Harry Potter heroine are for you. These are top down and one size as well but adjustable. With over 21,000 projects listed in Ravelry there’s lots of inspiration to see how others have knit them!

No-Heel SpiralSocksLa Maison Rililie
La Maison Rililie has taken an old idea for socks and modernized it beautifully with these socks, including a mirroring of the spiral, six different sizes and two different toe options. They’re toe-up and I love the contrasting toes and cuffs. Great way to use up leftovers in other colours!

Rose City Rollers Orange Knits Designs
Wool has such amazing temperature control qualities and I think these would be so cute to wear in the summer. Without the body of the sock to knit too, they’ll be an even faster finish.

 

YinYang Kitty Ankle SocksGeena Garcia
Another adorable ankle sock pattern. What’s not to love about these kitties, knowing that they’re hiding in your shoes? And it’s easy to knit them longer, or to match too.

Patterns for purchase

Jelly RollsOrange Knits Designs
If you thought the Rose City Rollers socks were cute, check out these Jelly Rolls! They feature a second roll around the ankle, as well as colourwork patterning in the heel and arch – another fantastic way to use up leftovers.

Vintage Fairy LightsHelen Stewart
I absolutely love how the pair of these that I knit last year turned out. So much, that I think I’m destined to knit some more! Perfect for speckled yarns that make those colours pop out in just the right places.

 

Evesham SocksJoanne Scrace
And because I’m determined to get more proficient with my crochet this year, I’m including these pretty, lacey socks. I’m comforted by designer Joanne’s description that they’re easier than they look!

Socks are the ultimate in portable projects. Knowing how much travel I have planned for this year I’m hoping that’s a good sign that I’ll be able to get a lot of sock knitting done. And with such a small canvas, they’re the perfect way to explore new techniques and stitches. If my big goal is to have a drawer full of handknit socks by the end of the year then my sub goal is to delve more into sock construction and find my perfect sock fit.

If you haven’t knit socks before you know we’ve got classes, right? Our next Learn to Knit Socks class is scheduled for February 4th. Or if you’ve already got some sock knitting under your belt, why not join us on March 3rd to learn from sock knitting maven herself, Kate Atherley? Kate will be teaching us how to knit Two Socks at Once, Side by Side.

- Carmen