Sunday, June 26, 2016

The crochet sock pursuit continues

I've dedicated this summer to the pursuit of the ultimate crochet sock and with my first sock underway I decided to source more patterns that I could try out.

My first port of call was the Craft Yarn Council Certified Instructor's Program private Facebook group. Students, graduates and teachers all frequent this group so there are some extremely knowledgeable folk on there. My wonderful master crochet teacher, the always helpful and super friendly Barbara Van Elsen suggested I try Karen Whooley. I put her on my list.


Looking on I discovered Karen had written two crochet sock books. I ordered the first one I Can't Believe I'm Crocheting Socks published by Leisure Arts. What a great name! And then I looked for the most recently published crochet sock book. Crochet trends change and techniques do tend to improve over time.I found New Methods for Crochet Socks by Rohn Strong which was published by Annies' Crochet, another reputable crochet brand. 

Checking Rohn out online I discovered he is a Craftsy instructor teaching Crochet Socks: Essential Techniques Sold! I placed my order. Coincidently, one of my favorite American crochet podcasters Mary Bird was interviewing Rohn that same week. Socks came up A LOT in the interview and Marly is always great to tune in to so it is well worth a listen!

Rohn had also just set up a brand new Facebook group Crochet Sock Addicts! with a July Sock CAL (crochet along). What perfect timing! There is actually a scientific name for this phenomena when one thing leads to another "correlated novelties".
So while I was waiting for my two books to arrived I started on my second crochet sock ..... pictured above is the gauge swatch already underway.

Until next time, hook on everyone!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The hunt for the Ultimate Crochet Sock begins!

One of my lovely regular workshop students, who doesn't knit, told me recently that she had always wanted to make crochet socks. Around this time I discovered the marvelous Crochet Circle Podcast which I reviewed a few weeks ago here. Fay and Lynne, the hosts of Crochet Circle, mentioned another British podcast Crafternoon Treats so I had to check that out. Binge-watching back episodes of this podcast, I found out about their sockalong which started with a free crochet sock pattern Survival Socks by Elin Stoodley so I chose this to crochet along with my student.

We had to do a bit of conversion to create an American version of the pattern.  For foot size add 2 to UK sizes to get US sizes and for UK double crochet (dc) read US single crochet (sc). I'm British and even after four years in the US still have to rely on the Craft Yarn Council's conversion chart to change mms to American sizes for hooks and needle size.  

The pattern is really well written and I appreciated the photos in the survival sock pattern A LOT! When you're a novice sock maker you may not be able to exactly visualize where a gusset goes. I've only knit cuff down socks before and crocheted slippers so I really needed the visual. I've decided I like the toe up design very much so I can try it on as I go along. 
My gauge swatch was a bit off height wise so I had to modify the pattern a little before starting out. My foot widens as it goes up so I had to customize the sock with increases before the heel and then decrease before getting to the cuff but that's fine. Feet come in all different shapes and sizes and I'd expect some customization. My student's sock fits her well. The photo shows where we are with the survival sock so far... We're make good progress!

I've already started on crochet sock pattern #2. The hunt for the ultimate crochet sock continues! I will update you on how I'm getting on here on the blog. And I'm tagging my hunt with #ultimatecrochetsock on Twitter or Instagram if you're on either of these. (I'm craftyescapism on both.)

And if you have any crochet sock stories to relate, I'd love to know in the comments below...

Before you go though, have a little listen to the latest episode of The Crochet Circle podcast: It made me laugh SO MUCH when around two minute in, Fay and Lynne started talking about my review. I wasn't ready for that! I've got to meet those ladies in person someday! They are so fun!



Sunday, June 12, 2016

Summer of Socks and Sporadic Blogging

My children are on holiday now (our summer vacation is 11 weeks long here in Texas - woah!) so my weekly blogging schedule may become a bit more sporadic over the next few months. I'm going to try my best to still write weekly but just in case put your email in the box top right and I'll let you know when there is a new post. We have our annual jaunt to the UK to visit family and friends in July and a fun summer road trip planned to North Carolina in August - a new state for us. And I have a couple of research projects to juggle too (my day job - amazingly crochet is only my side gig).

Strawberries for bunting evoke memories of British
summer time. Pattern from Simply Crochet issue 18

And I have a summer project - I have made it my mission to find the ultimate crochet sock pattern. I have knit several socks over the years and there is now such wonderful sock yarn out there I don't see why us crochet lovers should miss out on all the fun. And socks are really portable when you're travelling - another good reason for the sock choice. I will be writing all about my quest here on my blog.

My summer of socks progress is already underway on my twitter and instagram accounts so if you're on either of these I'm @craftyescapism on both. I've adopted the hashtag #ultimatecrochetsock despite the advice of my eleven year old daughter "mum, never ever use hashtags."

And if you have tried crochet socks, have a good pattern to recommend, anything crochet sock related know what to do, write a comment below or get in touch on twitter or instagram.

And in the meantime .... hook on!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Houston Fiber Fest is THIS month!

I am going to Houston Fiber Fest later this month. I'm super excited because it's the first time I've EVER been to an event like this. The Fiber Fest is on Friday June 24th and Saturday June 25th around 20 minutes from me at the Berry Center in Cypress. This is the second year of the event and everyone I've spoken to who attended last year told me that it was a total knockout success.

I have been given various bits of advice on attending an event like this:
  • Get there early to avoid missing good shopping opportunities (Friday if possible or early on Saturday)
  • Go around ALL the vendors first before starting to buy.
  • Wear something that I made myself to show off 
The vendor hall is free to enter, there are classes for a fee, sit and stitch, shopping of course with over 40 local vendors, swaps, a talent display..... Gosh!

I am hoping to meet a lot of other crafty folk there too, maybe some people I've only met online before. And there is a meet up table in the atrium with a different theme each hour. Marvelous!  I'm going to be there for the crochet meet up on Saturday at 3pm for definite so please join me if you're attending! 

I've also bought a $10 ticket for the Thursday night trunk show and lace project presentation by the incredible lace designer Romi Hill (at a different location).

They have a rather cute knitalong too, the mascot of the Fiber Fest Lester the Leicester available as a free pattern on Ravelry. Of course we are in Texas so he wears a cowboy hat and boots! Isn't he just adorable?


So head over to the website to read more on the Houston Fiber Fest and there is also a Fiber Fest Ravelry Group with more information. The organizers very kindly provided the images for this post. So thank you!

I promise to write all about my first Fiber Fest experience in a future post. I hope to see you there if you're local!! Counting down the days now....... And if you have any advice for me on how to avoid being completely overwhelmed (which I'm sure I will be!) just let me know in the comments below!