Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Updates & Prizes

Hi, Knitters,
Late yesterday I sent out a pattern update to all Smooth Operator Socks pattern purchasers. This new information is now included in the pattern for new purchasers. 
Here is the note I sent out with the update:

Hi Smooth Operator Sock Knitters,
First I want you to know that with this update the pattern is completely the same with the exception of 2 pages of variation notes that have been added to the end of the pattern, pages 14 and 15. Here is the reason for the additional notes.
I’ve been tinkering around with the SOS pattern a bit and have successfully tried some new techniques. I want to share these options with you. The new notes at the end of the pattern include:
  1. A simple technique tip to get rounder corners on your Kitchener Stitch heels and toes.
  2. A new way to finish the heels and toes without any Kitchener Stitch. No Kitchener Stitch anywhere in the sock! I have done the last two socks with this technique and I love the look and feel of this version.
  3. Instructions for another way to do the decreases on the heels and toes that creates an even smoother heel and toe decrease line. It is a single sleek line of decreases that is really quite beautiful and simple to do. This is now my go-to decrease option! Now you can substitute this version right into your own Smooth Operator socks if you like.
Thank you for the support! Enjoy.
xo ~ susan

I've been working away on some new socks using the new variations to the pattern. This one is the Opal Sweet & Spicy 2, color number 8615. The cuff, heel and toe is in the Opal Solid Series, number 5186. I have had this yarn for a long time now and I'm so glad I decided to start working on it.

Here are some links you may want to check out:
The Smooth Operator Socks Knitalong Thread (You can still join in up to August 22, 2016.)
Sock blockers are from
Needles: Double-pointed needles from Signature Needle Arts, US size 1/2.25mm, 6-inch length

For these socks I used the new single line decrease variation and the No-Kitchener finishing for the heel and toe. I love both of these options so much. I think these variations make the sock look even better. The original version is just as good though.

It's all about having options and trying new things. That's how you learn what works best for you comfort-wise for the wearing of your socks and what makes your knitting the most enjoyable experience for you.

Every time I start the heel and pick up the extra stitches to close up the gap I try to experiment a little with which legs I pick up. For every sock it can be a little different, the technique is the same but where I insert the needle under the legs can be different. I look at the stripes (sometimes skinny stripes will get a jog in the stripe, for example) and the different colors and how the pulled up stitch legs will look. If I don't like the look or if I still have a hole I will try another spot. The more times you do this part of the sock the better you'll become at it.

The sock in the photo above is the first time I didn't have any gap or hole that needed stitching up on the one side of the heel where I joined in the yarn. I achieved this by experimenting with the picked up stitch legs. In the past I have had a tiny gap on the side where I joined in the new yarn which isn't a problem because that end needs to be woven in anyway so at the same time I just stitch up the gap, too. Anyway, I feel pretty good about this one!

Here is a close up example of the Single Line Decrease variation and the No-Kitchener Finish. I think it looks extraordinarily clean, neat and tidy and oh so smooth. I really love it. This is the Noro Taiyo Sock yarn. I lost the label so I don't know the color number and I purchased the yarn in Door County quite a few years ago.

The heel finish in the photo above is an example of the Kitchener stitch with the Rounded Corner variation found in the new update. The simple tip in the update really helps smooth out and round the common problem of those pointy corners.

The finished sock is like a little work of art. The Noro Taiyo Sock yarn is a single-ply yarn that looks so much like a handspun yarn. I know that a single-ply won't wear as well as sturdier sock yarns but I don't mind at all.

I haven't talked about this much but one thing about an afterthought heel, like in this pattern, is that it is completely replaceable. You can simply put your needles back in just like you did to pick up the stitches, cut out or rip out the heel if there is a hole and then knit a brand new heel. It is so slick. If I do get holes in my socks it will most likely be in the heel.  

Berry Colorful Yarning: (l to r) Bright Beginnings, Berry Punch and Hulk

Last but not least, I have randomly drawn for three more prize winners for the Smooth Operator Socks Knitalong! BC Yarning generously sent me three skeins of her beautiful self-striping sock yarn a bit ago. I am so excited to share it with three of you. I randomly selected two winners from the SOSkal Photo thread and one winner from the Instagram #soskal photos. 

The three winners have been contacted and they are:

Congratulations to all three winners! I'll be drawing for more prizes next week. I am having the best time with the knitalong. It's so inspiring and I can't believe how many SOsocks have already been completed. There are already 437 posted projects at this time. That's impressive. Socks are really the perfect summer project.

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

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Noro Taiyo Sock Love

Hi, Knitters,
I have been playing around with the Smooth Operator Socks pattern a little, making some new twists and turns. I love the results. I started a sock in some Noro Taiyo Sock yarn that I purchased quite a few years ago in Door County, Wisconsin, at Spin of Door County, when we were on an end of summer trip. I lost the label on this one so I don't have the color number but I do know that the Taiyo Sock is a single ply cotton/wool/silk/nylon blend. It is a wonderful mix of fibers and I love the feel and look of the yarn. The sock is soft and textured and really has the appearance of handspun yarn. 

You may notice that I have streamlined the decrease even more on the heel and toe of this Noro sock. I had been thinking of trying this different technique and lo and behold it worked. I honestly wasn't sure if it would work but I really love the result.

For the sock in the photo I just let the Noro yarn do its thing for the cuff, leg and foot of the sock and then I striped the heel every two rounds with two different balls of the yarn that I had wound off before starting. The effect is stunning and I am pretty excited about it.

The wooden sock blocker is from

What I am going to do is write up a few notes on the minor pattern tweaks I have made here on this new sock. These variations include:
~ a different decrease technique for the heel and toe.
~ a new technique tip to help round out those corners on the Kitchener stitch heel and toe.
~ and a twist on the finishing of the toe and heel that doesn't involve the Kitchener stitch at all. 

The toe in the sock photo above doesn't have any Kitchener stitch and I think I kind of love it! I love trying new things and experimenting. This is how things change and get even better.

The write up of these few notes (which I haven't done yet) including these variations will be included at the end of the Smooth Operator Socks pattern. I will send an update when it is completed to everyone who has already purchased the pattern. And of course, the new variations will be included in the pattern for all future pattern purchasers.

The variations should be coming out sometime in the next week or so.

Click here to find out more about the Smooth Operator Socks pattern! Still available for an automatically discounted price. No coupon code is necessary. 

Click here to check out the Smooth Operator Socks Knitalong! We have over 230 participants now which is fun and exciting. You can join in anytime up to August 22, 2016. All you have to do is participate, post a photo and mainly have fun to enter in. You don't have to finish your socks or even one sock to be entered into the prize drawings, of which there will be many.

In fact, I just sent off the first two prizes....

Knittedtowel (rav username) or Jessamyn won this beautiful gradient mini-skein set from Vice Yarns. It is 600 yards of merino/nylon fingering weight and it is so vibrant.

The second prize was drawn from the Instagram hashtag #SOSkal photos. The winner of this gorgeous set of fingering weight mini-skeins from Vice Yarns is pjknits (Instagram) or Pennyj (rav username)! 

Click here for Vice Yarns! Thank you so much for the beautiful prize donations. 

The prizes have already been sent to the winners. I will be drawing for 3 prize winners later this week. I have some excellent prizes lined up.  

Amazingly enough there are already 322 pairs of Smooth Operator Socks posted on Ravelry which is so much fun to browse through. The yarns and color choices are varied and inspiring.  

I have some new projects and a few new patterns that I am working on right now for various publications. Things are moving right along this summer. I hope you are having a good summer and that you are getting out to enjoy the warm weather. Fall will be here before we know it which actually sounds kind of nice.

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