Goody Two S(ock)s


It has been awhile since I have posted about socks, hasn’t it? Actually, it has been awhile since I have posted, period. In any case, finally I have a post about socks. Not just one pair, but two!

Both pairs are patterns that I have done before, for the most part.

I previously did this pattern using Dragonfly Fibers’ Djinni in the Bad Moon Rising colorway. This time it is the same base yarn, but in the Tortuga colorway.

While doing all of the knit through the backs of stitches and all of the cables takes a bit of time, this sock pattern does something for me that no other sock does: Has a will of its own to stay put on my leg! Other socks seem to work their way down to my ankle after doing such things as crossing and uncrossing my legs, but this socks stay put; and I respect them for that.

Another reason for doing this pattern again is that I plan to write up the pattern. I had planned to have that done already, but plenty of other things have come up that have gotten in the way of that.

And this pattern is an old standard for me. It is one of my go-to patterns when I just want to knit something. It is from Schurch’s SKS book. The heel, though, is from her new book, The Sock Knitter’s Handbook: Expert Advice, Tips, and Tricks.

The heel is the no-wrap short row. While I like the actual results of the heel, I think that there may be an error in the instructions for it in the book. It seems that the count is off when going back to do the second half of the heel. Has anyone else tried the heel and found the same thing, or is it just me? I wound up changing things around to get things to work out the way that I thought that they were supposed to.

Now I have to figure out what sock I want to knit next. Not a bad position to be in!

Copyright 2012 by G. P. Donohue for

The Twist


So, to whom do I owe my speedy ability to do a blanket twist fringe on my weaving?

Why the Olsen twins, of course! This trusty little twisty braider is the tool I use for doing fringe on scarves and shawls. Here is how it works.

On this model, there are two prongs with hooks that you can access by pushing up on the bottom of the prong. There are models that have three prongs, but it was hard enough finding this one, so I am not going in search of a three-prong-er.

Place a bout of warp threads that are to form the fringe in each hook.

Try to keep where the hooks are securing the bouts even so that the bouts get twisted the same amount.

Now to do the twisting.

There is a button on the side of the braider. Moving the button up towards the “1” marking causes the prongs to twist clockwise.

This twisting is the important part to be consistent on. There are two ways to judge your consistency between twists that you do along the width of your weaving:

  • By feel. The more twist that you put into the yarn, the harder it will feel. While it does take a little practice, it is easier that it sounds.
  • By angle of twist. Angle of twist is the same as it is in spinning yarn, the angle that is formed by the yarn. You should be able to do this by eye, with no need to get out the protractor.

Why don’t we use counting the number of twists as they go into the yarn? Because 1) the hooks may be grabbing the yarn at a different distance from the weaving as you do each piece of fringe so the same number of twists among different lengths of yarn will produce different looking fringe, and 2) those prongs go around so fast, you will have a tough time counting.

Now, it is time to twists the bouts around each other by moving the button towards the “2” marking.

This moves the prongs around as a set counter-clockwise. Don’t get to concerned about your consistency on this part this, as the bouts will naturally twist on each other to achieve a balanced fringe.

Now, just tie a knot to secure the twist while wet finishing.

After wet finishing, I re-tie the knots so that the fringe is the same length across the width of the weaving, then trim the fringe near the knots.

And here is the shawl again. If you would like to win this shawl, or just support Komen of Maryland, just sponsor me in Race for the Cure. For every $5 you sponsor me for, you get an entry in the raffle for the shawl. The race is October 3, and the raffle will be October 10 at 5 PM Eastern.

Copyright 2010 by G. P. Donohue for

Experiment IV


This has been a pretty productive two weeks for me, even though I only have one thing to show you. I got a good bit of spinning done on the alpaca/merino/tussah silk blend, but there is really no need for a picture as it just looks like there is a little more on the bobbin. I maybe have about three hours left of spinning, and I will be done with the singles for it.

I am almost done the sock club pattern, but I may design up a second sock pattern, as a new idea popped into my head recently, and I think I might like that design better. In any case, I can’t show you that because that would ruin the surprise for the club.

But I can show you these:

Yes, the heel experiment is done. And, it is a success! Here are the socks lying flat in profile.

The top sock is the sock with the increases diverging as they approach the heel turn, while the bottom one is with all of increases along the center of the foot, causing a pointy heel. Even lying flat, I can tell that the top sock is going to fit my heel better because it is a bit more rounded there.

(Sorry that I couldn’t get a better photo. I am not a contortionist.) If you look really, really closely in the picture, you can see that the sock on my right foot conforms to my heel better, as expected. I think the moral here is not line the increases up next to each other. At least a few stitches of separation is needed by the time the increases meet the heel turn.

As for the Socks that Rock Lightweight that I used, I am still not that crazy about it. For one thing, there was a flaw in the skein, which is a major sock yarn no-no in my book. Yardage is usually at a premium with sock yarns, and flaws, especially in handpainted yarns, has a major impact on what is left to work with. Also, the yarn is just not elastic enough for me. I joked in knitting group that it was everything that you like about wool, and less. If only they didn’t have such wonderful colors….

And speaking of wonderful colors, look what arrived in the mail for my just before the Independence Day holiday!

It is my “first course” in my Fiber Feast subscription from Hungry for Handspun. I joined it on Opal‘s recommendation, as Opal is my sister in color. This fiber is merino and tussah silk in a colorway call Sea Kelp Salad. LOVE IT! Now, to finish up what is on the wheel at the moment so I can dive into it.

Copyright 2009 by G. P. Donohue for

Silky Soul


Ok, so maybe you want a little more information about the scarves that are yet to be. I understand. Here is the one that is currently on the loom.

DD silk scarf close up

The yarn for both the weft and the warp is silk fingering weight yarn dyed by Dave Daniels. I have it sett at 18 epi on my 8 harness Baby Wolf loom. Here is the drawdown for the design in the scarf, to give you a better idea of what I am doing.

DD silk scarf drawdown

The reason why you didn’t see this in the previous post is because I was still working on what design to use. This is the third design I have woven on this warp, and I am finally happy with the resulting cloth (at this point, anyway.) In my first design attempt at weaving the warp, the design got lost in the changes in color in the warp. My second design attempt (that was actually on the loom in the picture for the last post) had float in the design that were too long for the size of yarn that I am using. In this one, no thread goes over more than three threads in the perpendicular direction. (I am losing the non-weavers, aren’t I?)

In any case, progress is being made on it now.

One tip that I can give is that to keep the continuity of color changes in a varigated weft thread, I try to wind all of my bobbins at once, threading them onto a string. The first bobbin on the string is the last bobbin used, and the last bobbin wound is the first bobbin used for weaving.

Strung bobbins

One more thing: I am adding another scarf to the raffle.

Completed scarf Close up of finished scarf

And it is a prize winner, too!

Copyright 2008 by G. P. Donohue for

(Sley) Ride


OK.  A few notes before I go forward with this entry:

  1. I have changed warps on you. I am using yarn that I spun a couple years ago for the project you are about to see. I didn’t want anyone thinking that weaving had the magical power to turn fingering weight purple silk into worsted weight handspun blue/green/purple mohair and romney.
  2. The information here is not intended to be a complete course in weaving. Far from it. But it should give you an idea of what is done, and maybe encourage you to learn some more. The best beginning weaving book that I have found is Learning to Weave by Deborah Chandler. Highly recommended.
  3. A reminder that this is just the way I normally do things. It is not the only way to skin the cat. (No offense to the cat lovers out there.) I say this because I am about to show you how I put a warp on the loom, and this is something that some people get very passionate about.

On with the show! Continue reading

Virtual Insanity


While this entry could be about how things are going right now (I have a few too many balls in the air at the moment,) this is actually about something I do to make sure my socks are the same size when knitting. Some of the women from the knitting group were curious about it, so I decide (a while later) to post it here in case it serves anyone else.

Sanity lines in STR socks

When someone saw the thread running up the sock, she asked if it was a lifeline. I said no, and then I quipped that it was a sanity line, so that I don’t have to count the number of rows over and over (and over again) while doing the second sock to make sure I did the same number of rounds for each foot when there is no discernible stitch pattern to easily count.

To do the sanity line, I just take a tapestry needle and weave a scrap piece of thread in every five rounds and out every five rounds from the end of the toe shaping to the beginning of the heel. I do the same thing on the second sock while I am knitting it. Breaking all of those rounds up into smaller, consistent groups makes it a lot easier for me to keep track of how many more rounds I have to go on the second sock before I start the heel. I basically do the same thing on the leg of the sock, starting at the end of the heel. Hope this helps.