Afterthought Heel Pickup Photo Tutorial

Photo Aug 17, 4 09 48 PM

Ready to cut your knitting? This tutorial is for a true afterthought heel – one where you measure to the correct spot, and then follow the instructions below to begin to insert the heel.
If you’re wondering why I don’t knit a line of waste yarn into the sock at the correct height, it’s because that is called a FORETHOUGHT heel, because (as the name suggests) it requires forethought to plan the heel placement.
With an afterthought heel, you can knit the foot and leg as long as you’d like without having to measure for heel placement.

Need a full afterthought heel pattern that will fit the whole family?
Try my Scrambled Socks!

 

TUTORIAL

Afterthought Heel Photo Tutorial

Photo 1: At the correct height, insert your needle into the right side of all the sole stitches in one row (you should pick up half the stitch count of the whole sock). Then, do the same thing two rows up with the other needle.

Photo 2: Pick a middle stitch in the skipped row (where no stitches were picked up), and cut it.

Photo 3: Use a yarn needle to begin unraveling the stitches to the left and right of the cut stitch. Do NOT unravel the last 2 stitches on either side of the row.

Photos 4 & 5: This is how each side should look when you are done unraveling. 4 stitches total are left as they were. They will be knit as normal with the rest of the heel, but leaving them attached will prevent a hole in the side of the heel.

 

To complete the heel, knit as you would knit a toe and graft it shut.
Full sock instructions, including stitch counts and information on where to cut in your heel can be found in my Scrambled Socks pattern.

 

Happy Knitting!

Scrambled Socks

SCRAMBLED SOCKS
By Ruth Brasch

Photo Aug 17, 4 09 31 PM

These socks are knit all out of order – they’re scrambled!

Instead of starting from one direction or another, the entirety of both feet and both legs are knit first, then both cuffs, toes, and heels are added!

The nature of this pattern makes it an excellent mindless project or travel project – you can knit the entire foot and leg tube without having to count stitches, turn heels, or graft toes!

This pattern includes a recipe to help you calculate sock length – whether you want an ankle sock or a mid calf length sock, all the details are included (and don’t worry, i’ve done the majority of the math for you. You just do a simple A-B type equation, and you’re off to the races!)

Video tutorials are included to help you work a crocheted provisional cast on and to separate the tube into two sock legs. A photo tutorial explains how to cut and knit the afterthought heel.

This pattern has been professionally tech edited for clarity and accuracy.

GAUGE

32 sts /44 rounds = 4” (10 cm) in blocked stockinette stitch

 

MATERIALS

  • Size US 1.5 (2.5 mm) knitting needles in the size needed to meet specified gauge, in your preferred style for small circumference knitting
  • Size US 1 (2.25) knitting needles in the size .25mm smaller than gauge needles.
  • Yarn (See chart to right)
  • Scissors
  • Waste yarn (just a few yards)
  • Stitch markers: 2 locking, 2 ring

LINKS TO TUTORIALS
Crochet Cast On

Cutting the Sock Tube for Toes

Cutting in the Afterthought Heel 

STITCHES AND ABBREVIATIONS
K = knit
K2tog = knit next two stitches together as one
Kfb = knit in front and back of next stitch
Ktbl = knit in back loop of next stitch
P = purl
Pg(s) = page(s)
Ssk = slip next two stitches knitwise, one at a time, then transfer both stitches back to the left needle together, and knit them together as one.
St(s) = stitch(es)

 CHOOSING THE PROPER SOCK SIZE
Measure the circumference of the ball of the intended wearer’s foot. For children, choose a size that is 0.5” (1.25 cm) smaller than their foot circumference. For adults, choose a size that is 1” (2.5 cm) smaller. This will ensure a snug fit, which is especially important when knitting a non-elastic stitch like stockinette.

 

Pattern Size Sock Circ.

Inches (cm)

Total Yarn Needed

Yds (m)

MC

Yds (m)

CC

Yds (m)

Toddler 5” (13) 135

(124)

75 (69) 60 (55)
Child 6” (15) 225

(205)

160 (145) 65 (60)
Women’s S 7” (18) 275

(254)

200 (185) 75 (69)
Women’s M/L 8” (20.5) 310

(292)

230 (210) 90 (82)
Men’s M 9” (23) 405

(370)

290 (265) 115 (105)

 

NOTES

  • Sock length should be approximately 0.25” (0.75 cm) shorter than the wearer’s foot length for children, and 0.5” (1.25 cm) shorter for adults.
  • The second, contrasting color is optional, and should be used for heels, toes, and cuffs if you desire.

PATTERN

Provisionally Cast on

40 (48, 56, 64, 72) sts, 20 (24, 28, 32, 36) sts on each needle. I recommend using the crocheted cast on (link to tutorial above)

Knit every stitch for a looooong time. When the tube is long enough, add the details, starting with cuffs, then toes, then heels.

How will you know when the tube is long enough?

Your tube needs to be long enough for two sock legs, and two sock feet minus heels and toes. Don’t worry, I’ve done most of the math for you already!

 

Here’s a simple recipe for you:

  1. Write the wearer’s foot length here: _______________________________________
  2. Multiply A’s number by 2.15 for ankle socks, and by 3.5 for mid calf socks. Write it here: _______________________________________
  3. Total length of all heels and toes (circle the size you’re making):
    5 (6, 7, 8, 10)” / 13, (15, 18, 20.5, 25.5) cm
  4. Do the Math! B-C = minimum sock tube length
    Write it here: ___________________________

Now that you’ve knit your tube, you’re ready to add the details!

Do not bind off the tube – proceed directly to Cuff 1

CUFF 1

**Switch to smaller needles.**

Pattern Round: (k2tbl, p2) around.

Work pattern round for

1.25 (1.5, 1.75, 2, 2.25)” /

3.25 (3.75, 4.5, 5, 5.75) cm.

Bind off using Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind off or Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Better Bind Off.

CUFF 2

With the smaller needles, pick up the held stitches from your provisional cast on.

40 (48, 56, 64, 72) sts,

20 (24, 28, 32, 36) sts on each needle.

Work as you did for Cuff 1.

TOES

This is the fiddliest part of the whole sock, because you literally need to cut the sock in half.

Follow these steps:

  1. Fold the sock tube in half, mark the center row.
  2. Thread a lifeline into the two rounds of stitches that are above and below the marked round (there’s a link to a video tutorial on pg 1 of this pattern).
  3. Snip and unravel the central, marked, round.
  4. Rejoice! You now have two separate socks on waste yarn!

 

KNIT THE TOES

Insert the larger needles into the held stitches of one sock, picking them back up and removing the lifeline after they are all on the needles.

40 (48, 56, 64, 72) sts.
Place markers at beginning of round, and after first 20 (24, 28, 32, 36) sts.

Round 1: knit

Round 2: (sm, k1, ssk, k to 3 sts before next marker, k2tog, k1) repeat once more.

Round 3: (sm, k1, k1tbl, k to next marker) repeat once more.

Repeat Rounds 1-2 until you have 20 (24, 28, 32, 36) sts left,

10 (12, 14, 16, 18) on each needle.

Repeat Round 1 another 2 (2, 3, 3, 3) times.

12 (16, 16, 20, 24) sts remain, 6 (8, 8, 10, 12) on each needle

Graft the toe shut. A good grafting tutorial can be found here:

http://damselflys.blogspot.com/2006/08/grafting-sock-toes-tutorial.html

 

Work the second toe the same way.

Now you just need heels!

 

HEELS
If you have never done an afterthought heel before, check out my photo tutorial for cutting and picking up the heel!

Use larger needles.
Measure from the toe of the sock upwards.

At 1.25 (1.5, 1.75, 2, 2.25)” / 3 (4, 4.5, 5, 5.5) cm shorter than full sock length, insert your needle into the right leg of all the sole stitches in one row, picking up 20 (24, 28, 32, 36) sts.

Repeat the process two rows above the one you just picked up stitches from (Photo 1). Cut a center stitch of the row between the picked up rows (Photo 2), and unravel all except the last 2 sts on each side (Photos 3-5).

Place markers for either side of the heel to divide the top and bottom half of the stitches.

Knit 2 rounds.

*If you have a high instep, knit an additional 1-2 rounds before beginning the decreases.

Now, knit a toe! (Yes – a toe! You read correctly!)

Graft the heel shut, and work the second heel the same way. Weave in all ends and block if desired.

 

Congratulations! Your scrambled socks are complete!


TERMS OF USE

Finished items may be sold from my patterns if they are your handmade work, but may not be mass produced. Standard copyright restrictions apply to the pattern itself. You may not sell, distribute, copy and paste the pattern itself to other websites, or otherwise reproduce my patterns or any of their charts, images, or written descriptions without written permission from me. Use of this pattern indicates agreement to these terms.

—————————————————————

CONTACT

Ruth.Brasch@gmail.com 

http://www.facebook.com/Ruthbraschdesign

Instagram: @RuthBrasch

#RuthBraschDesign

#RBDSocks

I’d love to see your project, and would love it if you’d tag me when you post them on social media!

 

Wrenly Blanket Pattern

 

Photo Nov 13, 2 27 45 PM

Meet Wrenly! She’s a soft, fluffy, textured blanket that is sure to please the little snuggler in your life!

If you would like the ad-free PDF version, you can find it in these places:
Ravelry
Etsy
PayHip

GAUGE: 8 sts/7 rows = 4” of dc

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS: 45” wide x 41.75” tall / 112.5 cm wide x 104.5 cm tall

 

MATERIALS

  • Bernat Velvet 880 yds (805 m) for the size written. Sample is shown in the Cabernet Colorway.
    • If you want to expand the blanket, Please note that 10 rows of this blanket require approximately 125 yds (115 m)
  • US J (6.0 mm) crochet hook

 

STITCHES & ABBREVIATIONS

Bobble = (yo, insert hook, yo, draw up a loop, yo, pull through 2 loops on hook) x4, yo, pull through all 9 loops on hook.

CH = Chain

DC = Double crochet

FDC = Foundation Double Crochet

NOTE: the bobble is worked on the wrong side of the blanket, so when you complete it the smooth side of the blanket should be facing you. This helps make the bobbles tight enough that there isn’t a huge gap between stitches.

 

PATTERN

FDC 99, or any multiple of 8+3

Row 2 (WS): Ch 2, dc, (bobble, dc 3) repeat to last 2 sts, bobble, dc. Turn.

Rows 3-5: Ch 2, dc in each st across (98 dc). Turn.

Row 6: Ch 2, dc 3, (bobble, dc 3) to end of row. Turn.

Rows 7-9: Ch 2, dc in each st across (98 dc). Turn.

Repeat Rows 2-9 an additional 8 times (73 rows total) until your blanket is as tall as you want it.

If you want to work a border, I suggest working a round or two of DC around the edge of the blanket, working 3 dc in each corner. The sample blanket does not have a border on it, as the velvet yarn creates a very finished look.

Boiled Socks

Photo-Jun-29-4-15-22-PM.jpg
The toddler size shown on my 2 year old’s feet

Are you looking for new ways to knit socks?
Have you been considering toe-up socks but don’t know where to start? This is the pattern for you!

Boiled is the first in my series of stockinette socks.
Dip your toes in with this first pattern – it’s as easy as boiling an egg!

This pattern is also available as a free YouTube series.
Video 1 can be found here

This pattern has been fully tech edited to ensure that it is clear and error free.

**Want the ad-free PDF? You can snag it on
Ravelry:
Etsy
PayHip

MATERIALS
– Size US 1.5 (2.5 mm) knitting needles in the size needed to meet specified gauge, in your preferred style for small circumference knitting
– Size US 1 (2.25) knitting needles in the size .25mm smaller than gauge needles.
– Yarn: 120 (210, 255, 300, 390) yds / 110 (190, 233, 272, 356) meters of fingering weight yarn. Sample uses Must Stash Yarn “Must Match Sock” in the “Kama Sutra” colorway. ” (450 yds / 410 m) per 100g hank | 75/25 Superwash Merino / Nylon)
– Tapestry Needle

LINKS TO TUTORIALS
Cast On (JMCO through TOE):
Heel turn (Short Row Heel):
Bind off (JSSBO):

GAUGE
32 stitches and 44 rows = 4 inches in Stockinette in the round

Sizes available (Finished Sock Size):
Toddler (Child, Women’s S, Women’s M/L, Men’s M)
5 (6, 7, 8, 9) inches / 13 (15, 18, 20.5, 23) cm in circumference
*measured around the ball of the foot*

STITCHES AND ABBREVIATIONS
Circ = circular needle
K = knit
Kfb = knit in front and back of next stitch
Ktbl = knit through back loop
P = purl
PM = Place stitch marker
St(s) = stitch(es)
W&T = Wrap and turn. On RS of work, slip next st to right needle, bring yarn forward, slip stitch back to left needle, and turn work. On WS of work, slip next stitch to right needle, bring yarn back, slip stitch back to left needle, and turn work.

CHOOSING THE PROPER SOCK SIZE
Measure the circumference of the ball of the intended wearer’s foot. For children, choose a size that is 0.5” (1.25 cm) smaller than their foot circumference. For adults, choose a size that is 1” (2.5 cm) smaller. This will ensure a snug fit, which is especially important when knitting a non-elastic stitch like stockinette.

PATTERN
With larger needles, use Judy’s Magic Cast on to cast on 12 (16, 20, 20, 24) sts,
6 (8, 10, 10, 12) on each needle.

Set up round: PM, K 6 (8, 10, 10, 12), PM, ktbl 6 (8, 10, 10, 12). The first half of the stitches are the Instep, the second half are the sole.

TOE INCREASES
*Slip all markers as you come to them

Work Round 2 (below) a total of 4 times.
16 sts increased, 28 (32, 36, 36, 40) sts total.

Then, alternate working Rounds 2-3 until you have a total of 40 (48, 56, 64, 72) sts.

Round 2: (k1, kfb, knit to 2 sts before marker, kfb, k1) twice
Round 3: Knit every stitch on both needles.

FOOT
Knit every stitch around until your work measures
1.25 (1.5, 1.75, 2, 2.25)” / 3 (4, 4.5, 5, 5.5) cm shorter than wearer’s total foot length.

Remember, for a good fit, make the sock approximately 0.5” (1 cm) shorter than the actual wearer’s foot length for an adult foot, and
0.25” (0.5 cm) shorter for a child’s foot.

TURN THE HEEL
The heel will be worked on the second half of the stitches. Since you just finished working these stitches, you need to turn your work before continuing.

Row 1: purl to last st, w&t
Row 2: knit to last st, w&t
Row 3: purl to stitch before wrapped stitch, w&t
Row 4: knit to stitch before wrapped stitch, w&t
Repeat Rows 3-4 until you have 6 (8, 10, 12, 12) unwrapped stitches remaining

Rows worked in heel: 14 (16, 18, 20, 24)

You will now work back across the heel, picking up and working the wraps with the stitches as indicated:

Row 5: purl to closest wrapped stitch, purl wrap with stitch, w&t
Row 6: knit to closest wrapped stitch, knit wrap with stitch, w&t
Row 7: purl to closest wrapped stitch, purl both wraps with stitch, w&t
Row 8: knit to closest wrapped stitch, knit both wraps with stitch, w&t

Repeat Rows 7-8 until all of your stitches have been worked except the two outermost stitches.

Row 9: purl until you have 1 st left, purl stitch with both wraps, wrap last stitch before marker, turn
Row 10: knit until you have 1 st left, knit both wraps with stitch.

Begin working in the round again

LEG SET UP ROUND (ALL SIZES)
Insert right needle from front to back into the stitch that is one to the right, and one below the next active stitch. Yarn over, pull the loop through to the front (1 st picked up). Slip the newly made stitch onto the left needle, and knit it together with the first stitch of the round, knit to marker, knitting the wrap with the last stitch before the marker, knit to last st before marker, pick up and knit the wrap with the stitch.

LEG
Knit every stitch until your sock leg measures approximately the same length as the foot of your sock. Check this by folding your work in half at the heel – your needles should be right about where the widest part of the toe is – at the end of the increases.

CUFF
**Switch to smaller needles**

Pattern Round: (k1, p1) around.
Work pattern round for
1.25 (1.5, 1.75, 2, 2.25)” /
3.25 (3.75, 4.5, 5, 5.75) cm.

Bind off using Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind off or Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Better Bind Off.
(Video tutorials are linked above)

Repeat all instructions for second sock.

TERMS OF USE
Finished items may be sold from my patterns if they are your handmade work, but may not be mass produced. Standard copyright restrictions apply to the pattern itself. You may not sell, distribute, copy and paste the pattern itself to other websites, or otherwise reproduce my patterns or any of their charts, images, or written descriptions without written permission from me. Use of this pattern indicates agreement to these terms.

CONTACT
Ruth.Brasch@gmail.com
http://www.facebook.com/Ruthbraschdesign
Instagram: @RuthBrasch
#RuthBraschDesign
#RBDSocks #BoiledSocks
I’d love to see your projects, and would love it if you’d tag me in them when you make them!

Perfect Picnic Headband

Summer is the perfect time to relax outside and enjoy a little lunch or dinner. The sun, a breeze, and a snack! This headband is the perfect accessory to help keep your hair out of your eyes while you’re on a summer adventure! It’s size adjustable, so it will work for all ages from newborn through adults, or could even be lengthened into a belt!

A close up of a tunisian crochet headband. The headband has diagonal lines in it, and is a multicolored red, brown, and orange tonal yarn.
Perfect Picnic Headband crocheted in Fearless Feet Fiber Co Soft Sock
Colorway: Handprint Turkey

This pattern uses simple Tunisian crochet techniques, but doesn’t require a special hook. As written on this blog, this version of the pattern assumes you have a basic knowledge of Tunisian crochet. If you would like a PDF version with a full, step-by-step photo tutorial and suggested sizing charts for ages newborn-adult, that is available for purchase on Ravelry or Etsy.

The Perfect Picnic Headband is also perfect for using up mini skeins or scraps. Even the adult XL size uses approximately 17g of fingering weight yarn, so all sizes can be achieved with just one mini skein.

GAUGE: 4 sts / 4 rows = 1″ (1.25 cm) in unblocked pattern stitch

NOTES
– This pattern uses US crochet terminology.
– Do NOT replace the initial chain circle with a magic circle. This is your buttonhole to fasten the headband when it’s done.
– Yarn requirement is given for the largest size (model has a 23.5” head). Smaller sizes will require less.

MATERIALS
– Crochet Hook Size US H (5.0 mm)
– 80 yards (74 meters) of fingering weight yarn, OR 40 yards (37 meters) of dk weight yarn.
– (1) button approximately 1″ (1.25 cm) in diameter.
– Tapestry Needle to sew on button (makes sure it’s small enough to fit through the holes of the button!)

Stitches Used:
DC = Double Crochet. Yo, insert hook into next st, yo, pull up a loop, (yo, pull through 2 loops) twice.
DC2TOG = Double Crochet 2 Together. (Yo, insert hook into next st, yo, pul up a loop, yo, pull through 2 loops) twice, yo, pull through all three loops on hook. 1 st decreased.
ETSS = End TSS. Worked in the last stitch of a row only. Insert hook into two loops of last stitch, yarn over, pull up a loop.
RetP = Return Pass. Yo, pull through 1 loop on hook, (yo, pull through 2 loops on hook) to end of row. One loop remains on the hook.
Sl St = Slip Stitch. Insert hook into indicated stitch, yarn over, pull through both loops on hook.
St(s) = Stitch(es)
TSS = Tunisian Simple Stitch. Insert hook from right to left in next vertical bar, yarn over, pull up a loop.
TSS2TOG = Tunisian Simple Stitch two together. Insert hook from right to left under next 2 vertical bars, yarn over, pull up one loop. (1 st decreased)
YO = Yarn over. Wrap yarn over hook from front to back.

Pattern

Chain 9
Join the chain in a circle with a slip stitch.

Chain 2 (does not count as a stitch), dc 9 into the chain circle. Turn.
Begin working in Tunisian Crochet terminology:
Row 2: TSS 8, ETSS, RetP.

Row 3: (yo, TSS2TOG)x4, ETSS. RetP.
Row 4: TSS, (yo, TSS2TOG)x3, TSS, ETSS. RetP.

Continue to work, alternating Rows 3-4 until your work measures approximately 4″ (10 cm) shorter than the intended wearer’s head circumference, not including the buttonhole loop.

Work Row 2 once more.

Slip Stitch in each vertical bar across. Turn.

Ch 2 (does not count as a stitch) DC, DC2TOG, DC until 3 sts before end of row, DC2TOG, DC.

Cut yarn. Weave in all ends, and attach button to the end of the headband that does not have the loop.

Enjoy!

Choosing your first Tunisian Crochet Hook

Photo of Chiaogoo TSPIN Interchangeable Crochet Hooks in their case. The case is a black background with red fabric, printed with small, black, floral designs.
Various Tunisian crochet hooks are displayed. On the left is the Clover interchangeable set - light wooden hooks in a tan case with purple edging. On the right is the ChiaoGoo TSPIN set - light wooden hooks in a black case with red accents. On the table lie various tunisian crochet hooks - long straight wooden ones, one interchangeable head, a double ended one, and a metal hook with a flexible cable attached.
Clover Interchangeable tunisian crochet hook set (left), Chiaogoo TSPIN interchangeable tunisian crochet hook set (right) and assorted other tunisian crochet hooks – straight, double ended, and Knitter’s Pride Interchangeable.

If you’re at this post i’m guessing by now a pretty nifty Tunisian Crochet design (maybe even one of mine) has caught your eye! But, you’ve been told you need a special hook that will likely need to be ordered online.

Which hook is the best? Which size do you buy? Should it be straight, double ended, or with a flexible cord?

Don’t worry, i’ve got you! In this post i’ll cover a few of the basic details you need to know about choosing your first Tunisian Crochet hook as well as my personal favorites (which are NOT affiliate links – just my opinions)!

Types of Tunisian Crochet Hooks

A long, hand carved tunisian crochet hook by Roux Studios. The hook is painted to mimic a chalkboard - a black base coat of paint with intricate floral designs painted in white.
Hand carved tunisian crochet hook by Roux Studios
http://www.handcarvedhooks.com

A traditional Tunisian crochet hook is a long straight version of a standard crochet hook. This type of hook you likely have seen your Grandmother using to do what she calls “afghan crochet” or “afghan stitch.”

What do you use it for?
It’s excellent for making wide pieces of fabric such as blanket panels, scarves, or even an infinity scarf worked flat. Think of it as the straight knitting needles of tunisian crochet.

Where can I find one?
1) A craft store. You can find a traditional tunisian crochet hook in just about any craft store, but you won’t have many choices for sizes. Likely you will have the option for a US J (6.0mm) or US H (5.0mm) and that’s about it. (Cost: about $6)
2) Furls crochet hooks just started carrying Tunisian crochet hooks. They have plenty of sizes, and lovely wood color choices. (Cost: about $25)
3) An artisan hand-carved hook. These have a wide price range depending on the intricacy of the work. The one in the photo above was $90 because it’s an absolute work of art!

Interchangeable crochet hooks & flexible hooks

Chiaogoo TSPIN interchangeable crochet hook set. 11 crochet hook heads sit in a black case with red floral fabric accents.
Chiaogoo T-SPIN interchangeable crochet hook set

You’ve probably seen interchangeable hook sets around if you’re active on social media. Hook sets like these are popular on Facebook, Instagram, Ravelry, and YouTube.
They feature a solid crochet hook (hook length varies depending on the brand) with a flexible cable that screws into the base of the hook.

What are they used for?
Interchangeable and flexible hooks are excellent for making very long pieces, or shaped pieces. For example, if you want to crochet a triangular shawl like my Dayspring Shawl

A white woman with brown hair stands in front of a weathered barn door. The door is half gray, weathered wood, half painted deep red. She holds a shawl that is striped yellow and speckled red in front of her, looking proud of her work.
Dayspring Shawl by Ruth Brasch

A flexible crochet hook allows you to work around the point of the triangle, from one edge to the other on a single flexible crochet hook. It also allows you to hold a large number of stitches on the cable without the weight of a long straight hook, so the flexible hooks are a little more ergonomic and user friendly.

Where can you find them?
1) The set above is from Chiaogoo; it’s called T-Spin, and is about $135
2) Individual hooks and cables can be bought from WEBS (yarn.com). These are the Knitter’s Pride Ginger hooks, which you’ll hear more about slightly further down this page when I talk about my hook/brand preferences. These were the first hooks I tried, precisely because I could try them without buying a full set.
3) Clover/Takumi also has an interchangeable bamboo set that is very similar to the Chiaogoo set (more comparisons below). My set of these I found at Michael’s. They retail for about $75, but if you catch them when the store has a 40-50% off coupon, it makes the set much more affordable. That’s how and when I got my set.

Double Ended Hooks

A hand holds a double ended Clover, Takumi crochet hook size 6.0mm (USA Size J hook).
Clover Takumi double ended bamboo hook for Tunisian Crochet. Size US J (6.0 mm)

What are they used for?
Double ended hooks are used for working Tunisian Crochet in the round. It’s a super fun technique that I plan to write more about soon!

Where can they be found?
1) You can typically find these in craft stores like Michael’s and Joann’s. The last time I looked in one, I saw about 4 sizes in the store (US H-J/4.0-6.0mm) and a few more online.
2) Online. The google is your friend!

But Ruth, what’s the difference between sets, and which do YOU use?

I’m so glad you asked!

Three tunisian crochet hooks are held up to compare with one another. The left hook has a larger head and shallower throat, the middle and right hooks are almost identical except the right-most hook is pointier.
Comparison of three Tunisian Crochet Hooks
From L-R: Knitter’s Pride Ginger, Chiaogoo T-Spin, Clover/Takumi

Check out the photo above – You can see a hook from each of the three interchangeable sets I mentioned. Here are some of the biggest differences i’ve noticed while using them:

Knitter’s Pride Ginger ($129)
* 12 Hooks, Sizes 3.5-12mm
* Gloss/Sealant on hook for a smoother feel
* Heaviest of the three
* Largest head of the three
* Shallowest throat of the three
* Point on end of head to help with catching yarn
* Medium length
* Comes with standard Knitter’s pride cables – these are the least flexible of the three.
* Has a key for tightening the join between cable and hook
* Storage: Flip cover, snap shut case (plus a matching pen)

Chiaogoo T-Spin ($135):
* 11 hooks size E-N (3.5-10mm)
* No gloss or sealant, but very smooth feel in hand
* Light weight bamboo
* Throat is the same as the Clover set, but with a rounder angle
* Slightly larger and rounder head than the Clover set, much smaller head than the Knitter’s Pride set
* Comes with the standard red Chiaogoo cable with a metal wire inside it – This helps reduce cable kinking.
* Has a key for tightening the join between cable and hook
* Storage: Zip up travel case

Clover Bamboo Interchangeable Set ($179):
* 9 hooks size E-L (3.5mm-8mm)
* No gloss or sealant, but very smooth feel in hand
* Light weight bamboo
* Throat is the same as the Chiaogoo set, but has the sharpest angle to it
* Smallest head of the three, with a medium point – less pointy than Knitter’s Pride, more pointy than Chiaogoo.
* Comes with a clear, VERY light weight cable
* No key for tightening the join between cable and hook
* Storage: a roll up fabric case with a tie


Yes, Ruth, but which one?
If you have the budget for it, I’d go for the T-Spin set. While the T-Spin and Clover sets are very similar, the Chiaogoo set comes with another hook, a tightening key, and a zipping case that’s super compact for traveling and storage.

For a budget friendly option, the Clovers are an excellent choice. They’re very similar to the Chiaogoo set, and if you have a coupon for the store, can be VERY budget friendly.

The Knitter’s Pride set is my third choice. I enjoyed them for my first hooks, and they’re excellent if you want to buy a single hook without needing to buy the full set.

I hope this was a helpful article for you! I’d love to hear which hooks you end up choosing and how you like them!

Goals

Many skeins and cakes of yarn stacked up on each other on a wooden table. A gray stone wall is in the background. Yarn colors are green, pink, purple, blue, orange, and white.
A pile of yarn being de-stashed by Ruth!

Goal writing posts are everywhere this time of year, and apparently my blog is no different! This year I’m making goals that are more general and attainable, rather that super specific.

Goal 1: Finish or Frog all WIPS started before 2020. I did a lot of this already, and I’m down to about 9 WIPS/UFOS. So I’m excited to get some of these super old ones resolved one way or the other!

How? Finish or frog one old project per month.

Goal 2: Purchase With Intent. This means I want to buy yarn only when I have specific projects in mind for it.

How? Self control!

Goal 3: More Out Than In. 2019 was a little heavy on stash acquisition. I’m really happy with the things I bought, but now I want to use the pretties I already have!

How? I’m using an excel spreadsheet to track yardage in and out. Yardage will be logged when yarn is bought, or projects are completed.

That’s it! What are your goals for this year?

What’s Up With All the Mohair?

4 angora goats stand on grass in front of a gate.
Angora Goat – The source of mohair yarn.
Photo copyright domesticanimalbreeds.com

Edit (12:07 PM, 11/20/19): It has come to my attention since I wrote this article that I have sorely neglected to mention a very important mohair source – small, local farms! I plan to correct this lapse in a future article.

Every so often trends pop up in the fiber arts community that cause questions. You might hear things like “what’s brioche?” “What does HOTH mean?” Or, in this case, “what’s up with all the mohair?”

That last one was me. Recently, a fairly popular designer named Andrea Mowry published a pair of socks that are knit with 1 strand of sock yarn and 1 strand of lace weight mohair/silk held together. Holding mohair with another strand of yarn has been a growing trend for a few years now; if you do a Ravelry search for mohair held double, there’s currently 34 pages of results, but only 9 of those patterns are socks. It’s safe to say that mohair socks are fairly unusual. However, with AM’s socks only having been published for 8 days, they already have the most projects of all the 9 patterns.


If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that i’m very interested in the various bandwagons going around but I don’t hop on quickly – I like to check out the trends, see what people think, etc.

I did a little research on the various mohair yarns out there, as well as having a lovely Instagram Live chat (which sadly I managed to not download!) and I’m sharing my research and chat notes below. I hope these help!


Why hold mohair with anything?

This is an excellent question that comes up frequently. Why do people hold mohair with other yarn, what are the benefits of it? One benefit is that yarns with lots of open space in them (as opposed to being very dense) trap the air, which in turn adds a significant amount of warmth.

Secondly, as noted above, mohair is trendy. When something becomes trendy, designers tend to ask “what can I do with this?” So, when brioche was beginning to return to popularity, it was suddenly on socks, hats, shawls, gloves – anything you could slap the stitch on, designers did. I suspect mohair is the same right now: designers are adding it because they can, which leads to the second point.


What does mohair yarn cost?

This varies significantly depending on the source you purchase from. In general, and in the trendy sense we are typically seeing patterns that call for one strand of lace weight mohair/silk blend. Mohair and silk are both considered “luxury” fibers, and any time you see the word “luxury” attached to a product you can expect a fairly high price. Usually it means the fiber is less available, or requires more time/effort/care in the sourcing of it.

While there are tons of yarns with mohair in them, I want to focus on a few yarns I talked about during the Instagram live – a few low cost, a few medium cost, and a few higher cost. The list below is definitely not exhaustive, but hopefully it’ll give you a few helpful details. All prices are in US Dollars, as converted at the time of writing the post.

1. Drops Kid Silk ($4.92/25g ball)75% mohair, 25% silk. 218 yds/200m.
2. Knit Picks Aloft ($7.99/25g ball) – 72% super kid mohair, 28% silk. 260 yds/237m.
3. Valley Yarns Southampton – ($7.99/25g ball) – 72% kid mohair, 28% mulberry silk. 230 yds/210m.
*Note: WEBS (yarn.com) has a discount on many yarns on their site: 20% off a purchase of $60+ or 25% off a purchase of $120+ so if you utilize that this yarn would be $5.99-6.39/25g instead, making it the second most affordable option i’ve found.
4. Rowan Kidsilk Haze ($14.99/25g ball) – 70% kid mohair, 30% silk. 225 yds/205m.
*Note – this one is also eligible for the WEBS discount if purchased through them, making this yarn $11.24-11.99/25g instead.
5. Indie Dyed Mohair/Silk Blend – Here you’re going to find a wide range of options and prices. The mohair blend I dye is $29/50g hank – 459yds/420m. I’ve seen it as high as $32 and as low as $27.
6. Manos del Uruguay Cabrito ($19/25g ball) – 80% kid mohair, 20% polyamide. 230 yds/210m.


Lets talk about sock yarn

Since we’re talking specifically about knitting (or crocheting) socks, I think it’s helpful to have some sock yarn prices listed here too. Some of these i’ve tried, some I haven’t.


*Note: I realize that listing brands like Cascade is controversial.
Please take a moment to think about the fact that being financially able to boycott a certain brand is a privilege that not everyone has. Some makers, including myself sometimes, need to choose the most locally available or financially friendly option, thus it is important to include these in a list of lower price options.
Yarns on this list are included because of availability, not as a statement of support for any company.


Snuggly Stripes Wool by Loops & Threads ($8.99/100g ball) – 75% wool, 25% nylon
*Note: This yarn appears to only be available online, and at Michael’s in Canada.
Paton’s Kroy ($5.99/50g ball) – 75% wool, 25% nylon
Knit Picks Stroll ($5.49/50g ball) – 75% fine superwash merino, 25% nylon
Valley Yarns Huntingdon ($5.49/50g hank) – 75% superwash merino, 25% nylon
*Note: this yarn is eligible for the WEBS discount noted above in the mohair list.
Knit Picks Felici ($6.99/50g ball) – 75% superwash merino, 25% nylon
Cascade Heritage Sock ( $11.00/100g hank) – 75% superwash merino, 25% nylon
Knit Picks Hawthorne ($13.99/100g hank) – 80% fine superwash highland wool, 20% nylon
*Note: this yarn is thick for sock yarn, and is more of a sport weight yarn.
Regia Pairfect ($17.50/100g ball) – 75% wool, 25% polyamide
*This yarn is eligible for the WEBS discount
Malabrigo Sock ($19.49/100g hank) – 100% superwash merino
Indie Dyed yarn – Again, ranges from about $20-35/100g depending on fiber content, dyer, dye technique, etc.


Whew! What a list, right?
Take a minute, go get some chocolate, coffee, whatever, and come back. I’ll wait!


Price per project

This is the portion i’ve been leading up to. The entire reason for listing a large range of yarns is so we can talk about the total cost per project. Using the prices listed above, and assuming a pattern requires more than 50g of sock yarn per pair, that means you’re buying in 100g quantites for socks, and larger quantites for shawls, cowls, sweaters, etc.
Mohair is laceweight, so you need roughly. 25g of mohair for every 50g of sock yarn.

Socks (no mohair): $8.99-$35
Socks (with mohair): $18.83-73.98
200g Shawl (no mohair): $17.98-70
200g Shawl (with mohair): $35.96-140
*Note: this is assuming the fingering weight yarn is one of the sock yarns listed above. There are many fingering weight yarns with luxury fibers like silk, yak, alpaca, angora, etc that would raise the price considerably.


Price to make garments

Pullover Sweater (I’m using the yardage/size information from Spector by Joji Locatelli because it’s long sleeved, has total yardage for sizes from 32-63″ (80-158 cm), and is a good representation of a sweater from a popular designer.

Information will be listed as follows:
Size (yarn amount required) = cost without mohair/cost with mohair
Lowest prices listed use the Sunggly Stripes Wool for fingering weight ($8.99/100g) and Knit Picks Aloft price for mohair (4.92/25g)
Highest prices listed use the high end of indie dyed yarn for fingering weight ($35/100g) and the Manos del Uruguay Cabrito for mohair ($19/25g)

32″ size (300g) = $26.97-105 / $56.49-$219
34″, 38.75″, 42.75″ sizes (400g) =$35.96-$140 / $75.32-$292
46.75″, 50.75″, 54.75 sizes (500g) = $44.95-$175 / $94.15-$365
57.5″, 63.25″ sizes (600g) = $53.94-$210/ $112.98-$438

*Note: Crochet sweaters require more yardage than knit ones purely by nature of the technique used, so for crocheters these are also low end prices.


Ruth, why are you telling me all this?


I’m giving you this information because knowledge is power.
When a trend comes along it’s good to have information no matter who you are:
maker, designer, or yarn dyer.


Makers: Please consider that designers and dyers *are* somewhat required to keep up with trends to make a living. Designers and dyers often collaborate together and depend on one another for mutual support. This is not a condemnation of designers and dyers collaborating together to create lovely, fuzzy patterns.

Designers: Please consider that your customers and test knitters/crocheters may not be able to make the financial commitment to your garment if mohair is included. As a designer, I understand the importance of checking that a pattern works as written.
*First Thought: Would you consider allowing testers to substitute a yarn that is the equivalent of your two yarns that are held together? I guarantee some of your customers will be doing this anyway, so it’s actually more thorough testing to allow testers to substitute a yarn that works for their budget and meets your requirements.
*Second thought- I hear overwhelmingly from makers that they’d like to *try* mohair, as opposed to jumping right in to a full garment, so they can find out if they like it before committing to a garment (or because a $400 sweater isn’t realistic for their budget).
Food for thought.

Dyers: Love you. You’re making lovely colors! I know you get lots of pressure to give quantity discounts so your yarns are more affordable. I have mixed feelings about the level of discount some are offering, because I know you need to stay in the black. If you discount too much there will be no profit. If you are unable to do give a discount, would you consider making alternate kits that don’t include mohair and offering both (in all sizes!)? This way you can support the designer you’re collaborating with AND have a more affordable option. That means you’ll gain customers you never would have had – more customers = more profit. It’s a win.


Wear & Care

To finish this up quickly, one last thought to consider is the wear and care of mohair.

Mohair is a non-superwash fiber that *can* felt. That means you will need to carefully handwash any item you make, including socks. While you can get away with the very rare washing of outerwear sweaters, shawls, and maybe even hats, you may begin to get some sideways glances if you never wash your socks.

Lastly, mohair is slippery. If you make mohair socks, please be careful (and don’t blame me if you slip! My official recommendation is to not wear mohair socks on slippery surfaces).


Good golly that was a lot of information!
I’m always here if you want to chat.

If you want to catch the next instagram live where I chat about topics like this one: follow me at @ruthbrasch

Renewal

It’s traditional when launching a new endeavor, such as a website or rebranding, to explain one’s goals or dreams.

In one sense, this post is no different; in others it is completely different. Instead of telling you I’m amping up my work, explaining how I’m pumped up for sooo many new things, I invite you to something else:

Join me as I slow down.

For years I’ve believed that I need to do it all – family, career, self-made hobby careers. I’ve overloaded myself to the point where my life is a scatter of post-it notes, all demanding to be given attention first; their neon scraps clamor for my time and energy.

I’ve bought into the lie that if I just push hard enough I’ll “succeed.” That I’ll have value because of tangible accomplishments that I can tally up and lay out before others. It’s taken me years to realize that’s what I’ve been chasing after – the approval of my peers and even, to some extent, my husband, though he never placed this demand on me.

It’s hard to look at yourself and realize you’re chasing the wind
– always grasping at what is just out of reach.

The truth is, I know where peace is. It’s not a mystery to me. Peace is found in surrender to Christ. It’s counter intuitive in some respects, and completely intuitive in others.

If you’re not a Christian and are still reading this, you’re probably a little angry right now – here’s another Christian preaching about peace and giving up on her business and dreams. It’s ok to be angry. I’ve been there.

I’m not giving up on dreams or goals, I’m realizing that where I am and what I’ve been pushing for isn’t where I’m supposed to be, and that I’ve been aiming at the wrong target this whole time.


But Ruth, this is a step backwards.
Ah, but is it?

There’s a Greek word used often in the New Testament: “Metanoia.” It literally means to change one’s mind in the sense that you turn away from what you should not be doing, and turn to what you should. Frequently, it is translated into English as “Repentance” – but not the sad kind, the good kind.

I’ve always been taught that when you drive a car, the sooner you realize you’re going the wrong direction and turn around, the sooner you will get to the place you’ve been trying to go all along. That’s Metanoia. The act of turning around from going the wrong way, and heading back in the right direction.

In my case, it’s significantly cutting back on the “business” work that I’ve been doing.


How did I get here?

I started with knitting and crochet just for fun as a kid.

It branched out into design when I was in college and has been an almost compulsive habit ever since.

Another branch of this fiber arts pursuit is yarn dyeing. For years I watched others create start up businesses in their kitchens; dyeing beautiful yarns and soaring to internet fiber arts popularity overnight. I knew it was something I could do well, and have spent quite a lot of time, money, stress, and tears, and hours of sleeplessness over trying to replicate the “success” of others. I’ve failed.

I’ve. Failed.

I’m ok with that failure.
It means that I tried, and also that I’m being honest enough to stop when I realize i’m not pursuing what I should be, and also that the business side of things is just not working.

Failure isn’t negative by necessity, but often we deem it so.


Recently, in attempting to assess why my dyeing business isn’t exploding with “success” as others’ are, I’ve come to a few conclusions:

  1. Success in the indie yarn dyeing industry takes more hours of my life than i’m willing to devote. In order to do well, you must give 3,000% of your time and energy. Many do that very well, and I admire their dedication and hard work, but it’s not something I can give right now.
  2. I’ve been focusing on the “now” instead of the “later.” By which I mean I’ve been focusing on individual batches of yarn, current projects, and short term “success” rather than where I will be in 1, 2, 5, or 10 years if I keep following this trajectory. So many dyers and designers are burning themselves out just to try to keep up in this fast paced industry, and if that’s what success looks like, I don’t want it.
  3. My heart is not in the business end of dyeing. I want to create art, to give it to people who appreciate it, and watch their faces light up.

My realization has been that I would rather spend time with my kids than be traveling to do yarn shows. If I push super hard, succeed in becoming a popular dyer, work with renowned designers and artists, and make a profitable career, that will mean i’ve worked through my children’s childhood. You don’t get the little years back – or any years for that matter.


I know for some that’s not an option, and that to even have the choice to stop us a luxury. For many years, I haven’t had the option to think about whether I want to push this hard trying to help keep our heads above water financially. Now I do. And by the way, keeping on putting money into an unprofitable business doesn’t help my family anyway.


This isn’t defeat.

Motherhood isn’t defeat.
Motherhood isn’t a punishment.
Motherhood isn’t what happens to women who don’t have enough drive.
Motherhood isn’t failure or second best.

We live in a culture that pushes children to the side,
But Christ teaches that their lives are precious.

So i’m choosing my family.

I’m going to be faithful to the needs of my family, and with God’s help be the best stay at home mom I can be – to raise and teach my kids before they’re grown and I’ve missed the chance.


TL;DR

Will I still design patterns? Yes.

Will I allow it to consume me? No.

Will I still dye yarn? Absolutely!

Will it be on the scale and intensity that it is now? No.

Other questions? check out the FAQ page, or send me an email.


What will you find on this website?

  • A consolidated hub of all my doings. Right now that consists of mostly fiber arts – knitting, crocheting, spinning, dyeing yarn, etc.
  • Yarn will stay where it is right now.
  • Designs will stay on Ravelry, with some coming over here as well (primarily the free ones, but possibly others as well).
  • I’m hoping to get back to reading. I used to read more than anything else, and I haven’t read a physical book in years. So, you may see book reviews or notes about what i’m currently reading. This will potentially include Bible study thoughts, or reviews of Christian faith based books.
    • I’ve kept my faith separate from my design and dyeing work for a long time, but holding it back is eating away at me. I know lots of people don’t like Christ, or don’t want to hear about Him. Those posts will be clearly labeled (as will the fiber arts ones), but they’ll be here. To what extent, I’m not sure. I’m not trying to become a Christian lifestyle blogger or Bible study writer.

I don’t expect that everyone who started reading this page will finish it.

I’m sure that to some of you this is a huge disappointment.

Please rest assured that this is a choice I’m making freely, and that even just typing out this page of explanation has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders.


For dyers and designers I currently have contracts/
verbal agreements in place with:
I will be honoring those contracts. If I have agreed to create a design, or have sent you yarn support for you to design with, I will not change what we’ve agreed upon. If, after reading this, you feel you need to change what we’ve agreed upon, please email me with questions, concerns, or thoughts. I’m happy to chat!