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Friday, March 30, 2012

Designer's Challenge: Beaded Peacock Socks (Part 3)

After another round of additional swatching (see Part 2) to decide on the kind of beads to use and bead placement, I must have knit about 5 socks worth by now - but have only two 1/2 socks to show for it… and they are different sizes…!

Well, the sizing is sort of intentional as I am experimenting with how to size the design…

Decision: I went with color-lined, size 6/0 glass beads in multiple colors.

Used the "Hooked On" method with a crochet hook to add beads to fabric.
Only leg above heel has beads so to not interfere with wearing shoes.

And, I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten lazy with writing down what I am doing with all the unraveling and restarts that it will make it hard in the end if I want to turn this design into a pattern…gotta get my act together!

So, back I went to unravel my 2nd 1/2 sock and re-did it filling in any missing information to recreate a 2nd matching sock. :)


At first, I rushed to finish my sock because I was getting awfully close to the deadline of end of the month and didn't consider alternate cuff finishes...and didn't like what I saw...and paid by unravelling again. :(

After a couple of attempts, I was finally happy with the cuff. The peacock "wheel" now comes to a nice finish and the bind-off is stretchy (used Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off).

Picture Time

It's 2 days before the end of the month and I am off to take pictures or better, I've recruited my 10-year old son to tag along and take the pictures while I modeled the socks. :)

Luckily, here in Colorado, we rarely have to worry about not enough sunshine as sunshine seems to be the norm here (300+ days of sunshine per year), but how do you typically take pictures of socks? After a quick overview on Ravelry, I got some ideas and found the ideal spot not too far away from home: a clam background of gray concrete that will not interfere with the sock color and pattern.

I take all my pictures with my Canon PowerShot XS100 IS, so nothing really fancy. And the best thing with digital cameras is that you can take lots and lots of pictures, view them on the camera's little screen, retake and later delete all unwanted shots. :)

And here is the finished pair of my Beaded Peacock Socks:

March Designer's Challenge entry: Beaded Peacock Socks
 You are welcome to email me if you would like to be notified when the pattern becomes available. :)

EDIT: 1st place winner in March Designer's Challenge on Ravelry!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Designer's Challenge: Beaded Peacock Socks (Part 2)

After my first excitement over the March Designer's Challenge matching up with something I have been thinking about (see Part 1) for a while, I realized that I've never knit a toe-up sock before! That sure gave the word "Challenge" in "Designer's Challenge" it's fullest meaning for me. :)

Toe-up Cast-on

Hm, to get out of the starting block I needed to do some research and try out different toe-up cast-ons. Oh, my, there are so many different ways of doing this! There are
  • Judy's Magic Cast On, 
  • Turkish Cast On, 
  • Figure 8 Cast On, 
  • Provisional Cast On,
  • Backwards Loop Cast On
  • Short-row Cast On
just to name a few!

KnitPicks has a great series of tutorials for most of these toe-up cast-ons. There are articles on Knitty.com and then there is always the quick search on YouTube...

That was a very interesting exercise and I've added a couple of new techniques to my knitter's tool box. Have to love that! :)

Decision: I will use the Figure 8 cast-on for this sock.


Then came multiple rounds of swatching during which I realized that the peacock pattern I had in mind could not be reversed for a toe-up knitting direction. Sniff! My swatches looked great BUT not for toe-up...I'll definitely will keep them around for other peacock designs, though. No loss there! :)

After a few more days letting my brain stew over the problem I've finally come up with something that will work. Whew, what a relief!

Yarn Selection

Well, that was sort of easy for me because my sock yarn stash is rather limited (and I did not want to go out and buy new yarn) as I am not really a sock knitter. I was VERY lucky though to have one skein of a purplish sock yarn (5th Avenue Toe-rriffic Sock Solids by Herrschners) handy that could fit the notion of being regal since royalties often kept peacocks for their beautiful gardens...

...hm, it could use some sprucing up to be more peacocky (is that a word?)...

Colorway: Violet (#0503)


That's when it hit me that I could combine my need for some additional samples for my workshop “Knitting with Beads” that I will be teaching at the Estes Park Wool Market later this year (June 7-10) and I could add some beads!

Off to another round of swatching to hash out which direction I should take with the beads. Decisions had to be made for
  • finishes: opaque, matte, lined, metallic, transparent
  • size: 8/0 or 6/0
  • one color, multiple colors 
Next entry in this series: Designer's Challenge: Beaded Peacock Socks (Part 3)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Designer's Challenge: Beaded Peacock Socks

The March Designer's Challenge is up!
Object: a pair of socks
Theme: Peacocks
Technique: Toe-up
And I actually have an idea for the peacock theme that I have been toying around with for a long while but for a different type of garment though… Will have to reconsider and reconfigure to see if I can make it fit a sock!

Next entry in this series: Designer's Challenge: Beaded Peacock Socks (Part 2)