Saturday, July 30, 2016

A New Smooth Operator Sock

Hi, Knitters,
I've finished another Smooth Operator Sock this morning. This time I combined two Must Stash Yarns and it turned out super cute. 

Click here for the discounted pattern on Ravelry! The sale price is $3.50 and no code is necessary. In a week or so the price will be set at $5.00. I've extended the discount price as a thank you for the huge response to the pattern and also for the first couple of weeks of the knitalong. 

The cuff, heel and toe are in Must Stash Yarns Perfect Sock in the Family Reunion colorway. The speckled leg and foot are in The Wall - Alpha colorway. Both from Must Stash Yarn and both wonderful.

Here is the finished sock! I love it. The cuff length is about 5.5 inches. The sock blocker is from if you are interested.

I will be choosing the first round of prizes from everyone participating in the #SOSkal in a couple of days so jump in and post if you haven't yet. All you have to do is introduce yourself and post a photo. People are still joining in and you can join anytime. You just have to be working on your SOsock to be entered. You don't have to finish your socks or even one sock. I just want people to participate and have fun. 

All of the information for the knitalong is in my first post on the thread. I'll randomly select prize winners from the Knitalong thread on the Itty-Bitty Knits group and from the knitalong hashtag photos on Instagram, #SOSkal. Be sure to tag your photos on Instagram and your projects on Ravelry, soskal. 

I'm so inspired by everyone's Smooth Operator Socks so far. Thanks for the enthusiastic response to the knitalong and the pattern. I appreciate it.

Now to pick out my next sock yarn..... 
xo ~ susan

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

SOSkal ~ In Full Swing!

Hi, Knitters,
The Smooth Operator Sock Knitalong or SOSkal is in full swing. Thank you so much for jumping on board. So far we have 180 projects on Ravelry and over 150 participants in the knitalong. I hope more will join in here as we move along. This is a great turnout and considering what a busy time of year it is for people and families I am pretty blown away. Thank you once again, it's exciting.

The thread on the Itty-Bitty Knits group on Ravelry is already hopping with in-progress photos, sharing and of course, the asking and answering of questions. It is really fun. Remember that you don't have to finish a pair of socks or even one sock to enter into the knitalong and be eligible for prizes. All you have to do is join in and get going on a SOsock. Easy-peasy and pressure free!

Click here to check out the SOSkal thread on Ravelry. Just jump in and leave a comment to join, it's that easy. 

Click here to see the #SOSkal photos on Instagram. Please tag all of your sock photos with this hashtag so we can all enjoy your socks in one collective place. Please tag your Ravelry socks, too, with SOSkal. 

I decided to start a new sock for the knitalong. I am using Must Stash Yarn in the Happy Snowman colorway. It is on the Ritz base which has sparkle or stellina. I love the colors so much. 

Here I turned the Smooth Operator Sock heel and am progressing down the foot. The heel is an afterthought technique where you place the heel stitches on waste yarn for later. Most patterns suggest completing the heel after the entire sock is finished but I like to work a couple of inches past the waste yarn and then I go back to insert the heel.

This order of events is for a couple of reasons:

1. It is simply nice to be finished with the sock when you finish the foot and toe. I find it no different than working the traditional heel flap and turn as far as the sequence of the sock knitting. This is because when you do the heel flap and turn you stop working the long stretch of either the foot or leg of the sock and you are doing something different for that time. This is the same for stopping and working the afterthought heel.

2. The second reason is that putting the heel in before you are finished with the foot makes it much easier to get the foot length correct. You can even try on the sock while in progress to make sure the fit will be good.

Of course you could always finish the heel after you complete the sock if you would prefer to do it that way. I always take a minute or two to weave in the ends as I go and I am always glad at the end. Then you only have that final end on the toe to quickly weave in and you are really done!

Yesterday I finished the sock and it looks and fits great. It is always fun to figure out where to place the heel in the striping sequence. You really can't go wrong but the main thing I try to do is not have the same color stripes right next to each other.

I am thinking about cracking open this new skein of Must Stash Yarn for my next sock cast on, just for fun and to keep things entertaining. This skein is called The Wall - Alpha and it looks to be interesting. There isn't a photo on the label so I'm not sure what it will look like.

I hope you are having a great week so far. I'll be back soon with much more.
xo ~ susan

Friday, July 22, 2016

Smooth Operator Socks Knitalong Begins!

Hi, Knitters, 
First, I have randomly selected three winners for the Must Stash Yarn giveaway! The winners are (by Ravelry usernames):

Congratulations! I have contacted the winners and Stacie of Must Stash Yarn. Stacy will be getting in touch with all of you to make arrangements for your yarn and delivery. Thanks to Must Stash Yarn for the support and fun.

SOSkal Information
I haven't hosted a knitalong for a very long time so this should be really fun. I am excited to be starting our sock knitting adventure together. 

Today I am announcing the beginning of the Smooth Operator Socks Knitalong or SOSkal. The knitalong is being held over in my Ravelry group, Itty-Bitty Knits. You can enter socks or a sock you've already started no problem. You can join in anytime as well. 

I've posted two threads that are stickied at the top of the forum. One thread is a chatter and joining in thread to share your socks, yarn,  questions, encouragement, compliments, any photos, etc. The other thread is the place to post your in progress or finished socks. You can post as many photos as separate socks you are working on during the knitalong. There are already 67 SOS projects posted on Ravelry so that is exciting.

The pattern for the Smooth Operator Socks is still at a discounted price of $3.50 for a couple more weeks to celebrate the start of our knitalong! Click here for the discounted pattern on Ravelry! No code is necessary to get the sale price.

Click here to check out the SOSkal chatter thread or to join in! Please ask all questions on this thread. I will be checking in very frequently but sometimes someone else in the group can get to answering questions before me and this is very helpful all around. Please jump in and answer questions anytime, I need all of the help I can get.

I hope you'll join the Itty-Bitty Knits group because it is a very active, smart, helpful and fun group of knitters but it isn't a requirement for joining the SOSkal. 

Here is the general information from the thread on Itty-Bitty Knits:

Hi, Knitters!
Welcome to the Smooth Operator Socks Knitalong! Please tag all projects SOSkal so we can check them out. On Instagram let’s use #SOSkal, too! I haven’t hosted a knitalong for a very long time so this should be fun.
To join the SOSkal simply make a post in this thread to say hello and tell us your SOS plans (and then hopefully share your progress along the way). Then before the ending date be sure to post a photo of your progress in the photo thread to be entered in the prize drawings.
The Smooth Operator Socks pattern is still listed at the sale price of $3.50! I just haven’t gotten around to changing it to the regular price yet. Now that I am starting this KAL I think I will continue to wait a bit and I will change it to $5.00 in a couple of weeks from now.
The SOSkal starts today, July 22, 2016. You can enter socks that you have started already, there is no official starting date. Some have already finished entire pairs of SOS socks. Totally fine, enter those as well! You can join in at any time along the way. All participation is good and welcome and any sock yarn can be used!
You don’t have to finish your socks by the end of the SOSkal, you can just start a sock, get one sock done, or finish 2 socks, or 1.5 socks. It doesn’t matter. If you join in and post a photo of your work in progress or finished socks in the photo thread you are entered in the prize drawings at the end.
I will have another thread for photos and descriptions only. This thread is for photos, questions, comments, compliments, chatter, encouragement, etc.
The ending date is Monday, August 22, 2016!
I hope you’ll join us.

I'm going to be randomly selecting prizes throughout the SOSkal. I will select prizes in the chatter thread and also on Instagram and at the end in the photo thread. Please use the hashtag #SOSkal on Instagram to share your photos. I will be selecting prize winners from the postings on this Instagram thread.

Also on Ravelry use the tag SOSkal for your sock photos. Remember the socks can be in progress only. You don't have to finish. I just want people to join in and have fun without any pressure at all. Being together and working on our socks together is the main goal.

I am going to be working on a new pair of SOSocks, too, starting today. I am using Must Stash Yarn's Happy Snowman colorway on the Ritz base, it's sparkly. This is fun because I am considering the yarn to be a holiday/winter yarn so it fits in with my Christmas sock knitting in July goal.

The Family Reunion colorway in the original socks is up for pre-order on Must Stash Yarn (at least at the time of posting). Click here to visit Must Stash Yarn.

I am working on gathering loads of prizes right now. I have a lot of stuff already and I will be contacting some friends to get a few more things to add to the pot.

Post a comment here and most importantly on the Ravelry thread and let me know if you are joining in! I'd love to hear from you.

I'll be back soon with more.
xo ~ susan

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Wedding Necktie ~ a new little pattern!

photo credit: @abbotslane or

Hi, Knitters,
First for some business things, thank you for the enormous response to the Smooth Operator Socks pattern. Wow!  I am going to announce the three winners of one skein each of Must Stash Yarn (I see she has pre-orders back up for the yarn!) on Friday, July 22nd, 2016. On this same Friday I am also going to give the details for a Smooth Operator Socks Knitalong. Start your socks now if you like (I don't care about a starting date) and just join in and post when everything is up and organized. People who join in don't have to finish their socks, you could finish one sock, one part of a sock, or the entire pair of socks, it's all good. Joining in is the main goal and absolutely everyone is welcome! Any yarn is welcome, too. So Friday is the day. Threads will be set up in the Itty-Bitty Knits group on Ravelry and ready to go on Friday, too.

Let's call the upcoming knitalong the SOSkal and hashtag it #SOSkal on Instagram. I am leaving the sale price up on the Smooth Operator pattern for a bit longer just because! I'll post more about the knitalong and the yarn winners on Friday, July 22, 2016. Keep your eyes out if you want to join in. It is going to be a very relaxed and fun knitalong.

Now on to the regular blog post.

My son got married last Saturday. It was one of the best days of my life. It was better than the most perfect day we could have imagined. And it was the most fun I've ever had with the people I love the most in the world. I'll post more details about the wedding at some point but for now it still feels a little overwhelming and personal. Thank you for all of the kind and supportive wishes along the way.

I made many things by hand for the wedding and bridal showers. One thing that I had been posting about along the way was my son's wedding necktie. He asked if I would knit him a tie in navy blue. I was skeptical that it would work. I looked at all sorts of necktie patterns on Ravelry and they were all good and fine but none fit the exact tie I had in mind.

There are lots of good necktie patterns on Ravelry if you'd like to check any of them out and some are free!

I had no intention of writing up this pattern at all when I was knitting the tie but a couple of things changed my mind. One thing is that I really had fun knitting the tie and figuring out the measurements, the fabric texture and gauge, and adding the keeper loop on the back. I still wasn't convinced it would look good enough to wear for the wedding. I kept telling my son that just because I made the tie didn't mean he had to wear it in the wedding. I did not care if it didn't work out at all. In the end it turned out to be a beautiful, handsome necktie and I felt really proud of it. I loved that I knit him something to wear in the wedding, it meant a lot to both of us.

The other thing that happened is that while I posted a couple of photos on Instagram and Facebook I started getting a lot of messages and comments all over the place that people really wanted the pattern for the tie. When the necktie turned out so great and my son wore it and received so many compliments I started thinking that it would simply be a nice thing to make the pattern available for others to enjoy.

I am hoping others can knit the tie for their loved ones for everyday wear or for any type of special occasion. That would be pretty cool.

Click here to see more information about The Wedding Necktie or to purchase the pattern!

Those are Signature Needle Arts double-pointed needles.

Here is some information you might like to know about The Wedding Tie pattern:

The Wedding Necktie


July 2016

Sport / 5 ply (12 wpi) ?

7 stitches = 1 inch
in seed stitch

US 5 - 3.75 mm

181 yards (166 m)

2¼ inches at the widest point, 1¾ inches at the narrowest point; 62-inches long
This pattern is available for $1.50 USD  buy it now
My oldest son was married last weekend. His only request was that I knit him a necktie to wear on his wedding day. I studied various patterns on Ravelry but nothing was exactly what I had envisioned. Finally, I used a store-bought tie that we liked as a template. Armed with one skein of Quince & Co. Chickadee and a tape measure, I went to town making The Wedding Necktie. The resulting necktie was elegant and perfect. You wouldn’t have even known it was a handknit tie. My son received countless compliments about his knit necktie on his wedding day.
I had so many requests for this tie pattern and I had so much fun making and seeing the tie in action that I decided to write up the pattern for anyone interested. Of course the tie doesn’t need to be for a wedding, it is a good everyday tie for any occasion.
Photo credit @abbotslane.
Finished measurements: 2¼ inches at the widest point, 1¾ inches at the narrowest point; 62-inches long. Measurements taken after a gentle wash and block. For size reference, my son is 6-feet tall.
Yarn: Quince & Co. Chickadee (100% American Wool; 181 yards/50g), 1 skein in Peacoat. Or a similar amount of sport weight yarn. I used almost all of the 181 yards with only 6 grams remaining at the end.
Needles: US size 5/ 3.75mm, set of 2 double-pointed needles used to work flat. Use the size to get the correct gauge.
Gauge: 7 stitches per inch in seed stitch
K Knit
P Purl
Kfb Knit in the front and back of the same stitch.
K2tog Knit two stitches together.
SSK Slip two stitches separately as if to knit, pass the stitches back to the left needle, knit the slipped stitches together through the back loops.
St(s) Stitch(es)
RS Right side
WS Wrong side
Pattern notes
• You will want a crisp, dense fabric for the tie. Make sure the needle size you select creates a slightly dense fabric.
• For the side edges be sure to give an extra tug on the yarn to tighten up the edge stitches as you work. This will help to create a clean-looking edge.
• If possible, have a favorite tie of the recipient to use as a guide for the preferred widths and lengths of your tie. The width and length of the tie can be easily adjusted.
• If your tie is adjusted to be larger I suggest getting two skeins of the Chickadee yarn.

So thank you for the encouragement along the way and for motivating me to write up this new little pattern. The pattern price is very low, only $1.50, and it will stay this way.

I'll be back on this coming Friday with lots of SOSkal talk! I hope you are all well. I can honestly say that after the wedding was over I have never been so exhausted in my life. I have been bone-tired for the last few days. Today I feel things coming around and my energy is returning.

Happy and tired for a fun reason isn't a bad thing though!
Much love to you all.
xo ~ susan

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Smooth Operator Socks Pattern ~ Sale Price & Must Stash Yarn Giveaway!

Hi, Knitters,
Today is an exciting day. First, I have randomly selected a winner for the Morning Bright Yarn giveaway. The winner of a skein of choice from Morning Bright is.... Molly Cline! I have contacted both Molly and Becky from Morning Bright and prize planning should be on its way soon. Thank you to everyone for entering.

There is more good news to go along with my new sock pattern release. Stacie of Must Stash Yarns has offered a very generous giveaway to go along with the pattern debut. Stacie is giving me two skeins of the Family Reunion colorway, the same as the socks in the photos, and one more skein of choice from her fantastic online shop to give to you! Three winners with a prize of one skein each of the hard-to-get Must Stash Yarn!! Hooray! Thank you, Stacie, for adding to the fun.

Details for entering are at the end of the post.

See how the Smooth Operator Socks match exactly? In the pattern I show and tell you how to get matching socks with your self-striping or patterning yarns whether or not your yarn was divided into two balls and dyed for matching socks or if you have one skein of sock yarn that you need to figure out how to match. 

Why the name Smooth Operator Socks you might ask? Just look at the socks in the photo above. These are the smoothest looking socks I have ever knitted. The heel transition is almost undetectable. And the toe is just as smooth with only a small line of decreases. They look clean and crisp but best of all they fit like a glove!

The pattern is on sale for a discounted price starting today, Wednesday, July 6th, 2016 through Sunday, July 10th, 2016. I have listed the pattern for $3.50, no code is necessary. On July 11th, 2016, the pattern will be set at the regular price of $5.00. 

I love the look of the Smooth Operator Socks and I loved knitting them just as much. 

FYI about the clogs: Birkenstock, Bern (style name), wool (I've had mine for years and I can't remember where they were purchased. I think they might be discontinued at this point.)

The yarn is from Must Stash Yarn in the Perfect Sock base and it is the Family Reunion colorway. I purchased this at the DFW Fiber Fest last spring. It is a lovely yarn. Be sure to enter to win by leaving a comment on this post. 

Here is some information you might like to know about the pattern:

Sock blockers are from

Smooth Operator Socks


July 2016

Light Fingering / 3 ply ?

8 stitches = 1 inch
in stockinette stitch

US 1 - 2.25 mm

440 yards (402 m)

To fit: extra-small (small, medium, large) OR to fit the circumference measurement at the ball of the foot at: 7 (8, 9, 10) inches. The patttern is written with 1-inch of negative ease for a snug fit.
 This pattern is available for $3.50.
Discounted release price: Starting Wednesday, July 6th, 2016 through Sunday, July 10th, 2016 the pattern is priced at $3.50. No code is necessary. On July 11th, 2016 the regular price will be set at $5.00.
Sizes included in the pattern:
Extra-small (will fit a large child)
Medium (this is the size I make for myself!)
Large (will fit men or a woman’s larger size foot)
I love knitting top-down socks and I love self-striping and patterning sock yarn. I also love it when the patterning in the yarn doesn’t get broken up or rearranged on the front of the sock. This often happens when you are knitting the heel section of the sock. To avoid this problem I started exploring the afterthought heel, where the heel stitches are placed on waste yarn and saved for later. With a little variation of my own, I’ve found that this heel is a clever and perfect solution for your striping sock yarn woes.
What’s different about the Smooth Operator Socks you might ask? The pattern is written for four different sizes and includes instructions for both double-pointed needles and Magic Loop. The tutorial pattern is written in conversational style with tips and tricks along the way. The pattern includes step-by-step tutorials with photos but also has a quick read version at the end for those who don’t need the tutorial or want to have a printed version. The quick version is 3-pages long without photos.
I have a modified twist for placing the heel waste yarn that makes it much easier to remove later. Also, I’ve never loved the look of the bars of stitches in between the decreases that run along both sides of the heel and toe. I’ve found a sleeker decrease sequence to eliminate those bars so the sock looks almost completely seamless and so smooth. I like to complete the afterthought heel before the foot of the sock is finished so taking accurate measurements for the foot length is much easier.
I hope you enjoy knitting the Smooth Operator Socks as much as I do. This is now my go-to sock for self-striping or patterning yarn although it will work for variegated, solid or tonal yarns just as well.
Yarn: 100 grams of fingering or sock weight yarn
Needles: US size 1 or 2.25mm, set of 5 dpns or a long circular for magic loop or your preferred method for working in the round on a small number of stitches. Be sure to check your gauge and adjust the needle size as needed.
8 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch
13 rows per inch in stockinette stitch
An extra set of needles in the same size (optional) Detachable stitch marker
Yarn needle
Ruler or tape measure
Smooth waste yarn in the same weight, about 3 yards

I am really pleased with the tutorial photos for the pattern. The pattern was definitely a labor of love that I hope will help you evolve and gain more techniques for your beloved sock knitting.

For those of you not as interested in the tutorial section I have a knitty-gritty only short pattern version for you at the end of the pattern. It is only 3-pages without any photos. This way you can print out that section only or refer to that section only and have a quick complete pattern at the ready. 

Let me know what you think about the new pattern. I am considering a knitalong so we could share our awesome socks along the way. Let me know if you'd be interested in a knitalong, too. I'm sure I could get Stacie of Must Stash to throw in another skein of her impressive yarn for a prize (if not I'll share one of my skeins). 

Click here for the Smooth Operator Socks pattern on Ravelry! Remember the discount is only available through the weekend, July 10th, 2016. 

To enter to win a skein of Must Stash Yarn please leave one comment on this blog post that includes your Ravelry username or an email address so I can get in touch if you win. Please only enter one time. Only click on "Publish" one time and please be patient. There is a delay before your comment will appear on the blog. There will be 3 randomly selected winners, two for the Family Reunion sock yarn, and one winner gets a skein of choice from the Must Stash Yarn shop. So exciting! I'll randomly select winners next week after the sale price closes.

Thank you for your sock support if you purchase the pattern. If you have used my free How I Make My Socks pattern through the years I really think you will like the Smooth Operator Socks pattern even more.

Good luck if you enter to win Must Stash Yarn.

Let the comments begin!
xo ~ susan