Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Halloween Socks and Ghosts and Ghouls ~

Who knew knitting with self-striping sock yarn was so much fun!  I'm just sorry I waited so long to give it a try.  Albeit mayhaps my yarn color choice might be questioned but I am not deterred.

Wouldn't these socks look great worn with a long black dress, pointed black shoes, and a tall pointed black hat!  Oh dear, do you suppose I might then look like a witch?  All I would need to complete the look is a broomstick, a cauldron and a toad.  I'd better rethink wearing these with black.  In any event I'm sure I'll have plenty of outfits that go well with bright green and dark purple stripes.  In fact I'll probably end up wearing them more than you can imagine.  Maybe.

This is a fun pattern, but to knit it with ease you will need to know how to do a seamless yarn join if you want to knit it with a solid color heel and toe.  When you knit the solid areas you need to cut out the contrasting colors and rejoin the yarn as often as necessary to knit a solid color block.  This can be a hassle if you do not know how to do a seamless yarn join and so I'm going to share with you how I do a "spit and twist" seamless yarn join.  If you are squeamish about germs or have "issues" with spitting into you hand then this is not the yarn join method for you.  Otherwise read on.

Mr. Puffy's knitting tip for a seamlessly yarn join ~ Spit and Twist Method

Caveat.  The spit and twist yarn join method will only work with yarns that will "felt."  In other words it will not work with superwash yarn or cotton blends, etc.  If you are in doubt, simply test your yarn to see if it will felt by rolling a small amount in your palm with moisture and see if the fibers felt together.


1.  Tie a knot in the two ends of yarn that you want to join seamlessly leaving approximately a 2 inch yarn tail on both sides.  Tug on the knot to make sure it is snug.

2.  Working each side separately, carefully untwist the 2 inch yarn tail into individual plies which opens up and loosens the fibers.  Cut off roughly half of the yarn plies roughly 1/2 to 1/4 inch from the knot.  Wrap the remaining yarn plies around the new yarn strand.

3.  After both sides of the yarn tails have been prepared, lay the yarn in your palm with the knot in the center.  Now spit into your palm covering all areas of yarn that you want to felt.  Now vigorously roll (i.e. twist) the yarn in your palm until the fibers felt together forming a seamless join.  Periodically open your palm and check to see if you need to add more moisture and that your yarn plies lay flat.  You want the felted yarn to be only minimally more bulky at the join than otherwise.

4.  Do not knit with your yarn until it has dried completely.  I also like to test the join by giving it a slight tug.  If it has fully felted it should feel as solid at the join as the rest of your yarn.

If you would like a visual demonstration I found this video showing the "spit and splice" method which is very similar, but does not begin with Step 1 (i.e. tying a knot).  I like to begin by tying a knot because that helps stabilize the yarn which is particularly helpful if you want a precise color change at the join.

Particulars: Down the Rabbit-Hole (ravelry link) a free pattern by designer Kimberly Pieper; 1 skein Laudanum Lache in the Witchy Bitchy colorway (380 yards self striping yarn) by Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs aka: gothsocksyarn; US1 needles medium size (64 CO).   This is a gem of a free pattern and I highly recommend it for self-striping yarn.My only modification was to stop the spiral at the start of the toe rather than knitting the spiral to the end.  My only caution is that the spiral pattern causes the leg to be tight without much "give" (as opposed to a rib pattern which has lots of "give") and so you want to make sure you have enough give to slide over your heel.  My standard sock formula is US 1 needles with 64 stitches which is the medium size for this pattern.

To see more Halloween inspired socks, self striping socks, or virtually any type of sock pattern you can imagine visit my favorite sock yarn muse, Andi, who writes the very entertaining knitting blog my mysistersknitter.

 ~ Halloween Ghost Story ~

This Pumpkin Girl was sewn from scraps of wool felt and embellished with odds and ends from around my house (twigs and various sewing notions).  She is a type of American primitive folk and  I bought the pattern from The Cheswick Company which sells a number of fun Halloween and primitive craft patterns.

And now, in honor of Halloween, I'm going to share with you a true ghost story based on events that happened to me many years ago.

It was well past midnight on a dark and lonely night.  The wind was howling outside and I lay alone beneath my bed covers shivering in anxiety and anguish as a worry took hold of my mind and would not let go.  I was in a state of despair and there was nothing I could do except pray. Unworthy as I am I tremulously offered a prayer seeking solace and wisdom.  And it wasn't long after that I heard a scratching noise at the front door as if something or someone was trying to enter the house.  I leaped up in fright and crept over to see who or what was at the door.  Standing there was a black dog that I recognized as belonging to a neighbor.  I opened the door and in she walked as if she belonged.  I crouched down and hugged her and was overcome with relief that in my hour of darkness I was not alone.  After a time I opened the door and into the night the dog disappeared and I returned to bed and fell asleep.  Never before or since that night has this dog ever come to our home in the night, let alone a house dark with no light on.  Why would this dog appear then and there?  Some might say that dogs have senses that humans don't and maybe she was able to sense my distress.  But where we live the houses are not close together and I wasn't making a sound.  I just do not find that explanation plausible.  What I believe is that this dog came to me as an answer to my prayer for solace that night.

Until next time be well and love well and may you have a frightfully fun Halloween filled with spooky decorations, yummy pumpkin goodies, and only friendly ghosts.