It’s all about the Sock Knit

img_3618Have you ever made yourself a pair of hand knitted socks? Over the last year or so socks have been on my ‘must-make-list’ and during the summer I finally managed to knit the first sock of a pair!

My sock was mainly knitted on a small circular needle and what I have loved most about the whole experience is how  my growing tunnel of stripy delight could be tucked in my pocket or handbag and whipped out at various locations.

I first came across the pattern via Lucy’s Attic 24 blog, as she had recently knitted herself a pair. The pattern itself is from another blogger – Winwick Mum who has published a hard copy of her pattern in her book “Super Socks” which contains some fabulous photos to make the whole process much easier to follow.

If you are thinking about knitting yourself a pair here are a few pics of my ‘sock-knit-in-action’ that might just help.

My sock was knitted with variegated sock yarn (Regia)- hence the self-striping effect. The first part to make was the sock’s cuff in a rib stitch (some patterns start the other way round with the toe first). Stitch markers come in very handy as they help you to easily find your starting point. Once the cuff is created it’s all about the knit stitch to create a tube of knitting that will hug your lower leg.

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The heel flap comes next – that’s the part of the sock that sits against your heel. To give it strength this part of the sock involves a knit and slip technique on every second row. I found this part of the pattern hard to understand at first as the pattern abbreviation for slip 1 is Sl1 which I originally read as ‘slip 11’ opps! The heel flap was knitted on a pair of double-pointed straight needles.

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The next step of your foot warming creation is ‘Turning the heel’ which is how you create the U-shaped piece of fabric that sits under your heel. If you have a look at your heel you should be able to see the part of your foot I’m talking about. img_3032

The gusset is the next section of the sock to knit (I never knew a sock had some many parts until I made one!) which fills the space between the heel flap and the foot part of the sock. I think this is my most favourite part of the sock as it looks like a pretty triangle from the side. By the time you have finished the gusset all your stitches will be back on your circular needles again so it’s easier to keep track of where they all are.

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Here comes that foot!

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img_3617Almost there!

After a bit of decreasing to shape the toes there is one last pattern formation – it’s called the Kitchener stitch. Don’t be put off if its sounds a bit intimidating – there is lots of information out there on the internet to help. All you are really doing is using a darning needle to weave through your final stitches to create a piece of seamless fabric. This is my first attempt – good enough for me and my toes!

So here it is – my first ever finished sock. Just one more to go!

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It’s been a while….

It’s been nearly a year since my last post – I hope you have kept well and had lots of happy adventures in this time. My life (on the crafting front) has become overtaken by hats and I’ve immersed myself in all things millinery to learn as much as I can.

Over the winter it was all about felt cloches and 1970’s style floppy hats with their shallow crowns.

Red Wool Felt Cloche with Black Trim Isabella JoiseGrey wool felt cloche with side sweep Isabella JosieCamel wool felt 70's style floppy hat Isabella Josie12919586_1206147316069739_218316324_o-3

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Millinery Tips and Techniques

All Milliners have their own techniques and ‘tricks of the trade’ and to help me in my learning, I’m keeping a record of these here – some many be useful, others not, if you have any suggestions or tips of your own please share them via the comment box. 

Blocking Tips:

  • Some Milliners prefer not to soak Sinamay to soften it, some spray their fabric to make it damp for blocking and then paint the stiffening solution onto the fabric once blocked into shape.soak sinamay in water
  • If blocking felt hoods using steam, spray a fine mist of water inside the hood to dampen it before steaming.
  • Cover blocks in cling film, plain plastic bags or foil to protect them before use.
  • If blocking velour hoods or black fabric pop some scrap fabric over the covered form before blocking.
  • Increase the size of a crown block by blocking over an old felt hood (covered in plastic). A 1/16th inch thick hood roughly adds 1cm to the head size.
  • Don’t soak fur pile hoods in water based stiffeners – block by steaming.
  • Lay rope on top of Petersham ribbon (or cling film) for shaping grooves or defining shapes in blocks.

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How to make a Buckram Hat Block

As a Milliner on a tight start-up budget, I’ve recently made some buckram brim blocks. They are basically moulds of more expensive wooden forms which you ‘block the fabric’ on to give the hat its shape.

Are you ready to see how they are made? Continue reading

A Step by Step Guide to Making a Felt Cloche Hat

Felt cloche with side swept brimStep 1: Select the blocks you are going to use to shape the fabric and cover them in plastic. Make up a water-based stiffening solution (8:1 for felt). Soak the felt hood in this stiffening solution.

Step 2: Stretch the felt hood and pull the base of the hood over the brim block. Pin the hood roughly in place (North, South, East, West) to hold in place. Continue reading

A Step by Step Guide to making a Sinamay Hat with an up turned brim

sinamay hat from frontI have recently been to London to learn about traditional Millinery techniques from the great Rose Cory. Rose is often referred to as the “Milliners Milliner” and during her forty year career and has made fabulous hats for many celebrities including the late Queen Mum.

I’m writing this post as a personal record / memory jogger of how I made my Sinamay Hat under Rose’s guidance. What has become apparent over the last few months is that there is no right or wrong way to make a hat, every millinery has their own preference, tips and techniques. If you have any of your own, please send me your comment – I would love to know. Continue reading

Lori Rose

A few months ago I had a Facebook message from Angela of Lori Rose who wanted to use my ‘stitch-sharing’ stitch guides in her monthly creations club. I was delighted to have been asked  – especially as I’m keen to help as many people get started on their own crochet journey. Continue reading