Thrums might sound like something that’s hard to make, but they’re not. You do need to be a secure knitter who has the dexterity down for knitting in general. If you’ve knit a hat in the round, you can absolutely handle any project that uses thrums.
There are different ways to make thrums. Go look it up! This is the way I like to do it. In my opinion, this technique makes thrums that won’t easily come undone or lose fibers, and — when done right — is not too bulky.
Or maybe you’re an overachiever like me and want to take to the next level. Thrums are also great inside hats and slippers! If those ideas make your heart go pitter patter, be the boss and figure it out.
I have merrily churned my way through — oh my god, Ravelry does not lie! — 47 pairs of socks over the years, most of them top down and usually on DPNs. It’s just what feels right. If I am doing plain a vanilla sock, I will gladly take it with me to the movies. Do you know how much knitting you can get done in the dark when you just have to go round and round?!
In 13 years I’ve knit 2 pairs (and some partials) of toe up socks. The first pair was knit almost 10 years ago in an orange colorway of Koigu KPPPM that was given to me as a gift. I loved the yarn, but the socks came out baggy. Whatever. I still liked them and I wore them until I wore them out (vowing never to knit socks with Koigu KPPPM again!) and stuck with my top down approach for the next many years.
As my knitting skills progressed and I met other knitters who had their favorite ways, I decided I should give it another shake. I cast on with some orange and red patterned Opal and got stuck at the heel. Those sat for a while. Like a couple years in the WIP basket. I loved the yarn too much to never have socks out of it so I bravely ripped it out last year.
On impulse this fall, I bought some Patons Kroy self-striping yarn that was on sale at the big box store. It was rainbow-y and under $10 for a pair, what can I say? I decided this was my moment to try toe-up again, so I could use every bit of the yarn. With a little help — encouragement, scolding, and nudging — from my friends, I made it through and knit the entirety of both skeins.
This pair of toe up socks fits better in that they are not baggy, but they have problems. I hate the kitchener toe, which sticks out and won’t shape to my foot even after being worn and washed for three months. Also, these tall socks have no shaping for my Hungarian peasant calves, so they bunch up around my ankles. I wear them around the house rather than try to stuff them in my shoes for both of those reasons. Since they contain nylon and get a little less wear than my other warm socks, they will probably last forever. First world problems, eh?
I know there are things I could do to make toe-up socks work for me, but I think I am at the point in my knitting life where socks are background, comfort knitting that I do not want to think about. Maybe I’ll try again in a few years; maybe not.
With not much more than a shoe size or foot length measurement, I can cast on a knit anyone a pair of socks with the formula in my head. Why mess with something that works?
I love this pattern! Riin picked the colors and I designed this striped asymmetrical shawl with a deep edging of beehive lace and a simple crochet edge to highlight the new DK Merino yarn base offered by Happy Fuzzy Yarn.
Some patterns fight back in the design process and require a lot of ripping back, swatching, swearing, and finger-crossing. This one was smooth, joyful, easy, and sprang pretty much full-formed without fuss.
If you are the kind of person who loves a big cuddly shawl or scarf, Spring Valley will make you happy too. Happy to knit, happy to wear.
I can’t wait to see what other people do with this pattern — other color combinations, perhaps other weights of yarns. If you are a clever sort of knitter, it would be no big deal to knit this in any weight of yarn so long as you set yourself up with the correct stitch multiple for the lace.
The Baby Surprise Jacket was the most fun thing I knit all year. Bold statement considering we have three more months to go, but I’m sticking by it.
This is probably one of the world’s most famous knitting patterns, first published by Elizabeth Zimmermann in 1968. The knitter just knits along, tracking some not-complicated increases and decreases, and when you bind off, you are left with an odd blob, but with a quick fold here and there, the garment’s shape is revealed. A couple quick seams later and you have a really cute jacket.
This pattern has spawn child and adult versions and is a favorite for those who want to use scraps and handspun because the geometry of this pattern shows off stripes and multicolored yarns to great effect.
I was able to see all this for myself in Ravelry under the projects tab for this pattern. Armed with that knowledge, I chose a gender-neutral green and yellow multicolor from Happy Fuzzy Yarn called “Colorado River” in the Superwash Sport base. This yarn is incredibly squishy and dyes up vibrantly thanks to the superwash quality.
It knit up quickly and when I was near the end, I puzzled out the folding just to see what it look like.
It took my breath away, it was soooo adorable. I think the Baby Surprise Jacket, done up in a sportweight yarn, makes a sweater that fits a 3-6 month old — well, based on standard clothing sizes for babies. YMMV.
If the pattern weren’t awesome enough by itself, my son FINALLY learned to knit one night on a weekend trip by working a couple rows on this sweater. Yes, I left them in. His stitches were fine! (Those are his hands in the action shot above.)
This sweater was a gift for our newest nephew, born at the end of August. He’s a little bean now; we can’t wait to play with him when he gets a little older!
I can’t recommend this pattern highly enough. It kind of makes me want to go on an EZ pattern bender. Have you made any of her patterns? I’ve knit a few and enjoyed them also; I think it’s time to discover others by her.
I installed a new theme for the site. Changing the furniture around here is so much easier than in my actual house. Also, WordPress is getting easier to use all the time and more and more functionality is trickling down to those of us who mostly use the free themes and plugins. Woohoo!
I started a new part time job working for Riin Gill at Happy Fuzzy Yarn in October. Turns out we’re neighbors and her need for a studio assistant and my additional availability this fall with both kids in school coincided nicely. I’ll write more about the inside life of a artisanal fiber arts studio because it is FASCINATING, but for now suffice to say I wash and skein dyed yarn, package up orders, talk to new local yarn stores about carrying our yarns and combed tops, share studio shots on Instagram, tweet about sales and news on Twitter, and keep the couches warm in our Ravelry forum.
You should totally come join us. For January and February I am hosting a knit-along for socks and a spin-along for the Local WoolProject (both run for two months). There will be prizes at the end!
I am feeling better. My health was poor last year and it took me forever to figure it out. I have so much more energy for everything now. I’m going to be a total ass and not go into details here, but instead reassure you that all is well now.
Well, there’s the socks for the knit-along that I mentioned above. I’m using a gorgeous colorway of HFY Corrie Sock called “Heliotrope”. I started off making the February Lady Socks by Kate Atherley, hoping beyond reason that the lace was simple enough and the variegation wasn’t so strong that it would overwhelm the patterning. Alas, I was proved wrong. So now I am doing a simple knit-and-purl pattern that provides interest while remaining stretchy.
I’m also knitting a hat in HFY American Worsted “Wine”, trying out a simple but attractive cable design. I love the cables in the semi-solid colorway! I’m on my second attempt; I needed to go up a couple needle sizes because it turns out this is a heavy worsted yarn. This ain’t no Cascade 220. And, truth be told, the crown decreases are kicking my butt.
And… there’s more, but that’s all I’m going to confess to at this time!